At the top of the mountain in Sinaia

A Day Trip From Bucharest to Sinaia

­For us, part time travelers, a weekend trip is sometimes the best way to get out and explore new places, considering we all have limited annual leave. We usually spend a lot of time in airports, often neglecting what we have in our own back yard. Thus, after weeks of discussing with my friends, we compromised on a day trip instead of a full weekend (damn growing up) and decided to revisit Sinaia, a place I haven’t seen in years, located only a few hours away from Bucharest. It’s a small picturesque town in the Carpathian Mountains, perfect for both relaxing and sightseeing. Although the weather wasn’t the best, we still had a great time and for me it was the perfect way to test my new baby (aka a 35mm lens for my camera). Here are the top 5 things you can do in Sinaia on a weekend or a day trip.

Visit the Peles & Pelisor Castles

The construction for the Peles Castle started in 1873 at the request of King Carol I of Romania who wanted a summer residence in a little village he has fallen in love with for its breathtaking scenery. A Neo-Renaissance building, in my opinion, is the most beautiful castle in Romania. I could spend hours just photographing all the details on the facade and the garden, but the interior is equally impressive. Sadly, out of all my visits to the castle I couldn’t find one single photo from the inside. 🙁 If you want to visit, there are two types of tours, one only for the ground floor (that costs 20 RON or €4.5) or one for both the ground floor and the first floor (that costs 50 RON or €12).

Pelisor is a smaller castle nearby, built for Carol’s nephew and heir, King Ferdinand. It has “only” 99 rooms, while Peles has 160 and the most impressive one is the gold room, with Art Nouveau decorations. This was my first visit to the castle and sadly, I don’t have any photos of the interior because their policy is stupid and there’s no point in paying a photo tax if I’m not allowed to share them here. The entrance is also 20 RON (or €4.5) and unlike Peles, you can walk freely on the halls and admire the beautiful rooms.

Pelisor Castle, Sinaia

Take the cable car

As I’ve mentioned before, Sinaia is located in the Carpathian Mountains so you shouldn’t miss the chance of going to the top of the mountain. You can either hike or take the cable car to an altitude of 1400 or 2000 meters. There you can enjoy a nice cup of mulled wine during the cold season, go sledding or skiing from December to May. There are multiple ways to get to the top of the mountain, either by chairlift (18 RON or €4), by cable car (31 RON – €7 or 62 RON – €14, depending on the altitude) or by gondola (34 RON – €7.7), which is smaller than the cable car and only goes to an altitude of 1400 meters. Additionally, there is a Ski Pass that gives you access to all these for more days. I will probably use it, once I learn how to ski.

Visit the Sinaia Casino

Opened in 1913, the elegant casino located in the charming Dimitrie Ghica park, was a place where people of that time used to go and waste a lot of money. Nowadays, people waste a lot of money elsewhere (betting agencies everywhere) so the Sinaia Casino has become an event hall, perfect for corporate events or weddings. The guided tour was interesting and I learned a lot about the history of the place. I’ve always been fascinated by secret tunnels and passageways and I was interested to learn there were tunnels under the casino that went to the Peles Castle and….the Sinaia Monastery. I guess priests liked to gamble? 😉 A complete tour costs 15 RON or €3.4 and I highly recommend it if you visit Sinaia.

Light a candle at the Sinaia Monastery

Dating from the 1690, the Old Church in Sinaia was built to house 12 monks, similar to Jesus’ 12 apostles, but over the years their number grew and a new monastery was built, forming the “New Court” of the monastery. Built in the Romanian representative architectural style, Brancovenesc, it’s a quiet place, close to all the main attractions of the city.

Eat a traditional Romanian meal

I’m not sure why, but whenever I go to a restaurant in a different city than my own, I find the food to be so much better! So obviously, you can’t leave without eating a traditional Romanian soup (beef, my favorite or the ever popular, tripe soup), some sarmale cu mamaliguta (stuffed cabbage rolls with polenta), or papanasi for desert. Yum! 😀

Would you like to visit Sinaia?

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  • I would absolutely love to visit Sinaia! Thanks for sharing all those great photos! If the inside of the Peles Castle is as elaborate as the outside, it must be pretty amazing.

    • I remember the inside of the Peles Castle blew me away the first time I’ve been there and now I’m thinking I need to revisit and take photos 🙂

  • Veeeery nice! I think I’m gonna have to squeeze in this same itinerary for a weekend trip to Brasov and its area I’m planning to do, hopefully soon 🙂 I didn’t know there was a casino in Sinaia, but it looks absolutely amazing! And btw, I just LOVE the food we have here 🙂

    • I haven’t visited the Sinaia Casino either and I’m not sure if I knew about it. But a few days prior to my trip I saw a beautiful photo, googled and realized we can visit it, haha.

  • OH. MY. GOD. These castles look like they are from a Disney movie! I had NO idea that Romania had that – especially in such a drop-dead gorgeous mountainous setting. Love it!

    • There are over 230 castles, palaces and fortresses in Romania, most of them very well hidden. I wish I could visit them all, haha.

  • Lauren Marinigh

    OMG I can’t get over how gorgeous all these photos of buildings are!

    • Thank you, they’re truly impressive 🙂

  • Wow- these images are really stunning. This place is certainly on our radar.

    • I’m happy I could make you interested in Sinaia 🙂

  • The_Paris_Itinerary

    Lovely review. Bummer about that photo tax! Short day trips can be so nice.

    • Thank you! I am so annoyed whenever there is a photo tax, but I often end up paying it, haha

  • Ruth Rieckehoff

    Vlad, love your photos! I would like to learn more about Romanian food. The soup and pastry look very good.

  • The camera is clearly working well, gorgeous photos. I isn’t believe Sinaia is only a few hours away and already looks so different to Bucharest. I love the castles – and would definitely try the cable car! Next time I am in Romania I hope I can visit. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thank you! I hope you can visit Sinaia next time you come to Romania, I’m sure you’ll love it 😀

  • Well the papanasi are some kind of donuts made with cottage cheese, served with sour cream and jam. They’re super tasty 😀

  • samiyahl

    These photos are just too beautiful! makes me want to visit these castles now! the monastery, casino, all look lovely 🙂

    • Thank you, the castles are my favorite part of Sinaia! 🙂

  • Your post reminded me of my trip two years ago… However, I never knew there was a Casino in Sinaia. This must be something new. It looks grandiose.

    • The casino dates from 1913, but it was only recently opened for visitors, I think it was a couple of years ago.

  • Beautiful photos and I could really go a big bowl of that soup to keep warm!

    • Thank you, I love having a bowl of soup on a cold day. Or after getting soaking wet in the rain, like it happened in Sinaia 😉

  • Shere

    Both castles look amazing! ! Well worth the visit

    • They are indeed spectacular, Romania has many beautiful castles 🙂

  • Ohhh nooo!! I can’t believe that I’ve missed #WeeklyPostcard this week… I totally forgot it was only for 48 hours 🙁 next week then!! Sorry!!

    This place is stunning, wow!!!! I remember when you told me you were there.
    I’m impressed by the architecture… and I always get happy when you mention the food 😀

    • The link opens today, in 8 hours, I’ll let you know 😀 If (or more like, WHEN) you come to Bucharest, you should consider a day trip to Sinaia, you’d love it 😀

      • I think I might have to stay longer in Romania, as there is sooo much to see!!
        Today starts the link up again right? I always miss it because it’s on the weekend haha. I will try to remember to do it tomorrow early in the morning 😀

        • Haha, John had that same conclusion after spending a few days in Romania! 😀
          The link up opens tonight, I’ll remind you on Twitter! 😉

  • Karilyn Owen

    Beautiful! Romania is on my list and now so is this!

    • You should definitely visit Sinaia, it makes a great day trip from Bucharest or a stopover in the way to Transylvania. 🙂

  • Victoria@celebratetheweekend

    One thing not many people know about me is that I got married in Sinaia some 20+ years ago! (it was an elopement of sorts, but we met some wonderful people at Sinaia who officiated). I hope to come back one day and bring the kids.

    • That sounds awesome! I’m sure your kids will love Sinaia 😀

  • Gin

    Hello Vlad ! I think I’ve missed this round, but I’ll try to join tomorrow ! Awesome idea 🙂

    • Hei Gin, the new linkup starts in roughly 8 hours and it’s in my latest post 🙂

  • Hannah Logan

    Peles castle looks SO PRETTY. Ps I’m in the process of planning my trip in October. Expect lots of creeping from a Canadian IP address. haha

    • Haha, feel free to creep and let me know if I can help you in any way. Are you also coming to Bucharest? Maybe we can meet for a coffee (or beer?) 😀

      • Hannah Logan

        Would LOVE to meet up! I’m down for either- haha. I’ll keep you posted but I think I will be in Bucharest Sept 28th (arrive around 1:30 in the afternoon) then the full day of the 29th, and moving on to Sinaia the 30th.

        • Perfect timing, I’m going to Barcelona on Sept 30th, I was worried I’d miss you, haha. We could meet on either of those days. Where are you staying in Bucharest? The Little Bucharest hostel offers a 15% discount for my readers 😀

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  • stunning places!