City Spotlight(s): Bușteni and Sinaia, Romania

Bușteni and Sinaia, Romania

September 2015

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Length of visit: 1 day

Lodging: Hotel Silva

This large hotel situated at the base of the Bucegi Mountains in Bușteni cannot be beaten for its view.  The mountains outside the windows and balconies are stunning (see above – doesn’t do it justice).  For $40, we had a double room in a great location with breakfast. Was it luxurious? No. Were there enough outlets? No. But it was absolutely fine for what we needed, and I can’t stress enough how important a good location is if you’re planning to ride the funicular up the mountain first thing in the morning!

Can’t Miss Sights, Tours, and Experiences

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+ If you are here during the summer (AKA non-snow season), you absolutely must ride up the funicular to the peaks of the Muntii Bucegi.  These are part of the Carpathian Mountains, and this particular funicular takes you to a high-elevation plateau where you can see spectacular figures carved into rock by the wind and rain.  Just off of the funicular, you’ll find the Sphinx and the Babele.  They are extraordinary, and you do yourself a disservice if you don’t make time to really see them.

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+ Once you’re finished taking in the staggering beauty of the plateau, take a 10-minute cab ride to Peleș Castle.  The Neo-Renaissance castle, situated in nearby Sinaia was built between 1873 and 1914 for King Carol I, the first king of an independent, unified Romania. Pay for the full (two-floor) tour in English (or your language of choice), and pay the photography fee. You will not regret it, as the palace is opulent, has been beautifully restored, and is really a marvel. The docents are knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous. You might have to wait in line for a bit for your tour to begin, but it is totally worth it.

Great Food

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+ Right next to our hotel in Bușteni, we tried out Restaurant Alicia.  L had a tasty pizza, while I had a more traditional Romanian dish, including mămăligă with a pile of meat, french fries, and pickled goodness. Also, mulled wine, my new favorite beverage. Note: they only take cash.

Overall

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Bușteni and Sinaia were the perfect ending to our loop through Transylvania.  It was a nice pairing of natural beauty and manmade beauty. Eventually, I would like to look into doing a longer hike along the Bucegi Mountains with L – you can hike from Bușteni to Sinaia, and even further along. It’s a beautiful region, and I would absolutely go back again!

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