This is the perfect itinerary for you if you only have a limited amount of time, but still want to explore Transylvania, the Danube Delta, the Black Sea coast, and the capital Bucharest.
Yes, more time is always better but sometimes it is just is as it is. It's still possible to see the highlights and some hidden gems of Transilvania, the Danube Delta, the Black Sea coast, and the capital Bucharest in just one short week. This is the perfect road trip itinerary if you don't want to move every night and you don't want to drive excessive hours each day.
To make the most of your time make sure to get an early start from Bucharest. Make the most of your trip and drive the scenic route. The Transfăgărășean is one of the best panoramic roads in the world and the views will blow your mind! Yes, you won't be as fast as on the main road but it's well worth it! Stop along the road to buy one of the traditional cheeses as the perfect road trip snack. On the way, you'll also come past Poenari Castle, the real Dracula castle. Contrary to the popular Bran castle, Vlad the Impaler or Dracula as you might know him, really stayed here. Additionally, the Argeș Lake makes for a scenic stop along the way.
Distance: 360km (224 mi)
Sibiu is the perfect base to explore Transilvania. It's a cute town with lots of restaurants and bars to relax after a full day of sightseeing. We enjoyed the Delis Restaurant for some traditional Romanian food. The old town with its two town squares is charming and of course, it has a small citadel.
The number one highlight you should not miss in this area is Hunedoara Castle. This Gothic-Renaissance castle is one of the largest castles in Europe and is hands down one of the prettiest we've ever seen. If you are looking for a real hidden gem, explore one of the fortified churches of Transilvania. We loved Câlnic – and the best part is that they produce their own wine. Romanian wine is a total recommendation by the way.
Other noteworthy stops for you to explore if you have more time or stamina are the salt lake of Ocna Sibiului or the amusement park in an old salt mine Salina Turda.
Today, we explore the eastern part of Transilvania. Here, you'll find the famous Bran Castle, which is overpriced and over-touristy if you ask us. But go ahead and see for yourself, maybe you'll have a better experience. The much better alternative for us is the Râșnov Citadel. It is heavily fortified. Walls have shielded it from invasion and two courtyards provided space for a well and with living areas on the inside. It's beautiful, there are tons of areas to explore and the view is breathtaking – and did I mention that they have a Hollywood type sign?
Buzau is a good place to interrupt the long journey towards the Danube Delta and get a nights rest.
Distance: 320km (200 mi)
Buzau is a great stop in Romania because you are very close to the Berca mud volcanoes. They are small volcano-shaped structures typically a few metres high caused by the eruption of mud and natural gases. And they are nothing like we've ever seen.
After you've explored the mud volcanoes drive to the Danube Delta and base yourself in Tulcea. Here, you can explore the town or the Danube by kayak. Make sure to get enough rest before your full day of exploring the Danube Delta tomorrow.
Distance: 240km (150 mi)
Today your car gets a rest day! If you've been following us for a while you've probably heard us rave about the beauty of the Danube Delta. Definitely take at least one full day to explore the area in depth. We recommend you to take a fast boat, which will take you to the charming settlement of Mila 23 and Letea Forest, the oldest natural reservation in Romania, where you'll have the chance to see wild horses. On the way, you'll have plenty of opportunities to spot the local wildlife, especially the birds. Don't miss the chance to taste the local fish and the local booze Țuică. Make sure to end your trip in Sulina at the Black Sea beach. This beautiful beach is just the best place to relax!
On your way to Bucharest make sure to check out some of the Black Sea beaches. Vadu and Corbu are two beautiful natural beaches. If you are looking for a bit more infrastructure and beach bars, check out Constanta. Constanta also has a nice city centre. Make sure to explore the casino and the archaeological park with Roman-Byzantine relics.
Enjoy your evening out in Bucharest and hit the amazing bars!
Distance: 350km (220 mi)
To make the most of your time in Bucharest, do a free walking tour. This will give you an overview of the history and the most important sights in a short time. Next to the charming old town itself, our must-see recommendations are the Parliament Palace, the largest parliament building in the world, the Revolution Square, the Macca Villacrosse Passage, and the Patriarchal Cathedral. Make sure to leave enough time to relax in one of the many restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed the traditional restaurant Caru' cu Bere, which translates to the beer wagon.