For those of you who like to go somewhere different, to break free from the conventional tourism that you’d see in Europe, try a classic car road trip from Bucharest to Vienna.
Bucharest offers you the heart of Romania. It is charming and elegant; however you do have to make the effort to look for this. The architecture may be crumbling in places but the city is rapidly developing with a hint of glamour arriving with some of the newer shops and bars.
You may not want to stop over in Bucharest so keep moving northward towards Transylvania via Buzau, where you can pick up a less frequented route through the Carpathian Mountains to Brasov. In a little over two hours from Bucharest (90 miles), you would pass the village of Berca. It is worth stopping to see the geothermal Mud Volcanoes and there is B&B accommodation close by.
A little further on you may like to stop at the remote Ciolanu Monastery (signposted left in the village of Magura), surrounded by its sculpture gardens, and where you can have your car blessed by a monk (for a fee), or simply enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
After the mountains, continuing south west beyond Brasov will bring you to Bran in three hours from Berca (121 miles), though you may choose to stop for a while in Brasov, a sophisticated city with a mixture of old and new. Bran, an obvious tourist destination, is famous for Dracula’s Castle which makes for an interesting visit and provides information about the connection between Vlad Tepes and Bram Stoker’s character.
From Bran, the route heads towards Sighisoara. On the way you can leave the tourist trail via Piatra Craiului National Park, Sasaus (the first ever Saxon settlement in Romania), the abandoned village of Gherdeal, and beautiful Saxon fortified churches such as the excellent example in Dealu Frumos. Sighisoara can still be reached comfortably in five hours (131 miles) and is a great stop over that boasts a UNESCO World Heritage site at its heart – the medieval fortified town on the hill. Book accommodation up in the citadel with its cobbled streets, medieval buildings that include hotels and restaurants, and great views.
The main route from Sighisoara to Oradea (and Budapest) is shorter and offers stretches of recently built motorways with very little traffic, but before you leave Romania, you may like to go via the Apuseni National Park (234 miles taking around six and a half hours). You’ll find accommodation along the way, or you could choose a luxury hotel where hot springs feed swimming pools at Hot Spas, in Baile Felix just south of Oradea.
Time to head out on the road again to the wonderful Budapest. Budapest is the heart of culture and politics in Hungary; the Art Nouveau architecture, romance and the abundance of hot springs and a diverse history. Overseen by the watchful statue of St. Gelert, Budapest offers tourists its excellent wines and fine food delights whilst reminding you of its complex history. There is a sense of sadness that overcomes the city with reminders like the poignant Shoes on the Danube memorial and the Terror House, but in contrast the concert halls and theatres have been renovated and are a must see.
It’s time to say goodbye to the wonders of Budapest at this stage of your classic car road trip from Bucharest to Vienna and make your two hour (120 miles) drive to Bratislava. Here you’ll find history, architecture, tradition, culture and art. It’s located on the River Danube and offers the most incredible wine cellars of Slovakia’s Small Carpathian Wine region, or Austira’s Hainburg and Hungary’ Rajka wine regions. The Crown Tower of the Bratislava Castle is something you must add to your list to visit. If offers viewers a 360-degree view of Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Just an hour away from Bratislava is the elegant Vienna (50 miles). Packed with imperial history and contemporary museums you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave. The atmosphere is buzzing, with beautiful sharp coffees in the cosiest feeling coffee houses in Europe. It’s considered a somewhat romantic place with its brilliant opera houses and fine delicacies. Walking through the city offers you the best chance to explore, so park your classic car and prepare yourself for something extra special.
Reason to try this classic car road trip: for something that is extraordinary and takes you away from the typical tourist attractions of Europe
How long will you need to fully embrace the trip: between 7-14 days
Anything important you should know: The weather is relatively nice however prepare your tyres for the slips and slides of the journey. Don’t drive with speed, exercise caution.
Tour Itinerary around Transylvania recommended by Transylvania Offroad Tours.
• (A) Start at Bucuresti, Sightseeing around the City.
• Drive to the (B) Muddy Volcanoes near Buzau (145 KM, 2h 15m) Sleep at B&B next to the Volcanoes.
• Drive to Bran to visit (D) Dracula’s Castle (195km 3h) via the (C) Ciolanu Monastery where you can have your car blessed by a monk. Sleep in Bran.
• Drive to (H) Sighisoara (211km 4h 45m) via Piatra Craiului National Park, (E) Sasaus (The first ever Saxon settlement in Romania), the abandoned village of (F) Gherdeal and the beautiful Saxon Fortified Churches along the way such as the excellent example in (G) Dealu Frumos.
• Drive out to Oradea (376km 6h 34m) via the Apuseni National Park where you can find accommodation along the way or take the short route out using some motorway via Cluj. In Oreada you can relax in Hot Spas at (J) Baile Felix before
(B) Berca Mud Volcanoes
Geothermic activity causing mud to bubble to the surface making mini volcanoes. Small but interesting site that does’t get much foreign tourism.
B&B available next to the site with food and a bar.
More information: travelguideromania.com/berca-mud-volcanoes/
(C) Mănăstirea Ciolanu (Monastery)
Remote monastery with interesting sculpture gardens surrounding it. You can have you car blessed by a monk (for a price) or simple enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
(D) Bran Castle
The Famous castle of Dracula. Very touristy here with many stalls selling souvenirs ranging from traditional Romanian handy work, food and toys for kids.
Next to the castle is an example of a medieval Saxon Settlement where they moved bit my bit entire buildings for the public to view in a convenient place.
For more information: https://www.bran-castle.com/
Piatra Craiului (National Park)
The small but beautiful national park that has a collection of settlements “trapped” in the middle of it which is enchanting to drive though on your way to the next destination.
For more information: romaniatourism.com/park-national-piatra-craiului.html
(G) Saxon Fortified Church at Dealu Frumos
Nicely restored but not open to the public. If you speak to www.Transylvaniaoffroad.com, they will be able to arrange for the key to let you in to look around.
Fantastic city with delightful medieval streets to explore and great restaurants to choose from.
More information: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/romania/transylvania/sighisoara
(J) Baile Felix
Luxuary accommodation with hot springs feeding swimming pools. A great place to relax, have a massage and recover from your long days touring Romania.
Discount available if booking though www.transylvaniaoffroad.com
More information: https://www.perla1mai.ro/index.php/en
Other Classic Car Road Trips in Europe you might like:
- Top 4 Classic Car Road Trips in Europe
- Classic Car Road Trip from Paris to Berlin: Culture
- Classic Car Road Trip Through Italy: Authentic Good Food
- Classic Car Road Trip from Portugal to Morocco: Sand and Wine
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