If you’re spending more than a few days in Bucharest you might start wondering what else there is to do.
After checking out all the popular tourist spots and walking all over the city it’s a good time to consider going on one of the many day trips from Bucharest.
Romania is a pretty big country but it’s well connected with bus, train and it’s easy to take a private transfer anywhere.
When it comes to day trips from Bucharest many people choose to go to Brasov and visit the nearby Dracula/Bran Castle.
The entire Transylvanian region is full of castles, unique little cities and a range of natural beauty including mountains, alpine lakes and dense forests.
There are plenty of companies that will arrange a trip for you, but if you’re traveling on a budget it’s a lot more affordable to figure out your transportation on your own.
Private tours are a good idea if you don’t mind spending a little bit more money and you want a guided and worry free trip.
If you plan on going on a day trip expect to spend anywhere from 6 to 16 hours away from Bucharest.
Some of the closest areas to check out are still a few hours away so between the time the spent getting there and the time spent exploring you will be gone for most of the day.
Check out these options and see what seems the most interesting to.
Whether you like castles and history or you just want to get away and spend some time in the woods there is definitely going to be a day trip that interests you.
The Most Popular Day Trips from Bucharest
Brasov and Bran Castle
About 3 hours away from Bucharest the medieval town of Brasov. This is where you’ll find the notoriously famous Bran Castle.
These two locations are the most popular option when it comes to day trips in Bucharest and I highly recommend visiting these places if you’re spending more than three or four days in the city.
Brasov is located in the heart of the Transylvania region and is surrounded by the high peaks of the southern Carpathian Mountains.
It’s one of the most popular cities in Romania for tourists and is centrally located in the country.
It has an incredibly well preserved Old Town and provides direct access to all of the mountain resorts in the area.
Some of the popular things to do in Brasov are:
- The Black Church – a beautiful Gothic church from the 17th century
- Rope Street – one of the narrowest streets in Europe
- Catherine’s Gate – the only city gate that’s left from medieval times
- Tampa Mountain – the mountain that dominates the skyline of Brasov, be sure to check out the Hollywood-esque sign
The city is only a few hours away from Bucharest by train and it’s small enough that you could walk throughout the whole thing in an afternoon but, if you can, I recommend staying overnight or even for a few days.
To get to Brasov from Bucharest check out my post detailing the journey here.
Only 30 km away from Brasov is Bran Castle.
This is the infamous Dracula’s Castle, although it’s unlikely that the original Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, ever lived here and it’s hard to say if he even ever visited.
Even if the history is a tiny bit inaccurate Bran Castle is one of the most beautiful in Romania and definitely worth a visit for its cultural and historical value.
The castle was originally designed and use of the fortress but today it’s now a museum and art exhibit you can walk through on your own or with a tour guide.
It’s quite easy to reach from Brasov and definitely makes for one of the best day trips from Bucharest.
If you have the time, or if you rented a car to explore the region, be sure to check out the nearby Peles Castle.
It’s another beautiful castle in the region and definitely worth a visit. It’s not that far from Brasov so if you arrive early enough you can make it to both castles with time to spare.
A Day Tour Going from Bucharest to Bulgaria
Close enough to Bucharest is Bulgaria and are plenty of day trips and tours available to get there.
While possible, it’s a bit difficult to reach some of the bordering Bulgarian cities on your own using public transportation, so if you’re interested in visiting Bulgaria I recommend using a private tour company.
For starters, it’s quite a distance to Bulgaria and the nearby border cities but along the way there are quite a few things to do a check out.
You will start the day by driving along the Danube River before reaching an area where you’ll begin to see the Ivanovo churches.
These are a collection of churches that were built from out of the surrounding rocks and contain beautiful frescoes from the 14th century.
The churches are classified as a UNESCO heritage site and are definitely worth checking out if you plan on heading to Bulgaria for daytrip.
The closest, best city to visit once you cross the border into Bulgaria is called Veliko Tarnovo.
This beautiful city, also called the City of the Tsars, makes its home on the winding Yantra River.
At one time Veliko Tarnovo was the capital city of the Second Bulgarian Empire and was used as a fortified stronghold to defend the area from intruders.
Walking around the city you won’t miss the impressive fortress and the well preserved Old Town. Be sure to check out the Tsarevets Palace and the former patriarchal church for some of the best views of the city.
While you’re still in Bulgaria had to the nearby town of Arbanassi.
It’s not too far away and it boasts a quiet, medieval atmosphere. The city itself is hundreds of years old and full of impressive architecture and beautiful homes.
There are plenty of guided tours for this option but if you’re planning on renting a car be sure to check in advance that you are able to cross the border into Bulgaria with it to avoid any problems.
Head to the Coastal Town of Constanta
Located on the shores of the Black Sea is the popular coastal resort city of Constanta.
It’s one of the oldest cities in Romania and it’s frequented during the summer months by locals trying to beat the heat.
There are quite a few different tour companies that will take you on a guided tour here but Constanta is quite easy to reach on your own using public transportation.
One of the coolest things in the city is the Carol I Muslim mosque that was built in 1912 in order to pay respects and be used as a place of prayer for the Muslim community living there.
If you want an incredible view of the city be sure to head up the Minaret Tower and spend some time up there taking photos and enjoying the view.
Some other things to do in Constanta:
- Constanza casino
- The Greek church
- Genoese lighthouse
- The Museum of national history
- The House with Lions
Not only is Konstantin a popular resort area but it’s also the largest port on the Black Sea and one of the busiest, and biggest in all of Europe.
If you want to escape the noise and crowds of Bucharest Constanta is the best choice to make.
Wallachia and the Real Dracula’s Castle
One of the best day trips from Bucharest involves a trip to Wallachia and the real Dracula’s Castle.
The Poenari Castle, currently in ruins, is the real home to Vlad the Impaler. Vlad, or Dracula as we know him today , repaired and renovated this castle to make it one of his most important fortresses.
Unlike Bran Castle this is the actual place where we know Dracula actually stayed and lived.
The castle itself is located in the foothills of the Fagaras mountains and is situated close to Curtea de Arges, which is one of the oldest and most historically important towns in the area.
It’s possible to visit both the castle and the small, ancient town in the same day while still having plenty of time to walk around and explore both destinations.
In Curtea de Arges there are quite a few churches and a stunning Old Town to walk through and enjoy.
This trip will take you quite a distance from Bucharest so, whether you are on a guided tour or making the journey on your own expect to spend most of the day out of Bucharest.
Go on a Transfagarasan Road Trip
The Transfagarasan highway is a road that takes you directly up and over the Carpathian mountain range in central Romania.
It has been called one of the most beautiful highways in the world by Top Gear and it’s full of scenic spots and countless areas of extreme natural beauty.
From snow-covered, rocky mountain peaks to vast meadows and thundering waterfalls the Transfagarasan highway is a must-see and I highly recommend you make time for it even if you’re only spending a few days in Bucharest.
The highway has a quite interesting history, being built for military and national security purposes, but today it remains as a scenic 150 km route through the mountains.
It’s possible to find a guided tour for this trip, and I recommend that if you are not interested in going through the hassle of renting a car, but driving it on your own is by far the best way to experience the Transfagarasan.
If you’re looking for some great tours to experience the Transfagarasan from Bucharest here are some of the options that I recommend:
Any personal favorites when it comes to the best day trips from Bucharest? Let me know in the comments below!