There are many places you can go for day trips from Bucharest but Sinaia Romania and the wonderful Peles Castle should rank at the top. While Bran Castle is a crowd pleaser thanks to its assumed connection to Dracula, Peles Castle will blow you away with its sheer beauty. After all, it is one of Europe’s most well preserved royal castles and it certainly looks the part.
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What Is Peleş Castle?
This Neo-Renaissance creation was built especially for King Carol I in the late 19th century and completed in 1914. Its location is very strategic, being positioned on a historical medieval route that connects Transylvania and Wallachia. This way, the King could easily reach Peleş Castle and reside in the wonderful half-timbered castle during summer time. He had the castle built because he couldn’t help but fall in love with the surrounding mountains, which are part of the Carpathians.
To add to the castle and help with one of his favourite pastimes, hunting, Peleş Castle was complimented by the Foișor Hunting Lodge and Castelul Foişor. To keep his future heir close, the king had a second residential castle built for nephew and future King Ferdinand. Pelișor Castle was built simultaneously and therefore matches the architectural style of Peles Castle perfectly, although it is technically an art nouveau-style building.
From outside, the castle looks straight out of a fairy tale already: several towers and turrets, winding stairs, classical statues, nooks and niches, it is truly photogenic. But the real adventure begins inside with its hidden passages, glamorous galleries and intricate ornaments. The interior furniture is carved from teak that was sent as a gift from the Indian Maharajah of Kapurtala. Here’s a fun fact: Peles Castle was the first castle in the entire world that was powered by locally produced electricity.
In fact the handicraft within the castle span various countries. The handmade silk embroideries adorn on walls and ceilings come all the way from Turkey, while the Theater Hall paintings and frescoes were created by Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Frantz Matsch. You can enter the castle only as part of the museum and get access to the armory, galleries and collections. Peles Castle entrance fee for the ground floor rooms only is 30 lei and allows for 45 minutes. For Pelisor it is 20 lei and a tour costs 60 lei per person, taking 75 minutes.
Opening times: Tue + Thu-Sun 9:15am-5pm, Wed 11am–4:15pm, Mon closed
Address: Aleea Peleșului 2, Sinaia 106100, Romania
Video provided by Art & Craft Romania as part of their campaign to introduce traditional Romanian handicrafts and wonderful off-the-beaten locations to international visitors.
What to Explore in Near Sinaia Town
Sinaia is a quintessential Romanian town in cute pastel colours and wooden frames. Among simple historical buildings, you can also marvel at 19th-century buildings. Admire the woodcarving skills displayed in window frames as well as the veranda pillars and balcony railings. Nothing with woodcarving in Romania is coincidental.
In fact, back in the day, every peasant possessed basic woodcarving skills and special woodsmen turned it into a sought after art form. But woodcarving isn’t only a part of buildings but of interior design as well, such as crates, wooden flasks and jewellery cases, which you can bring home as authentic Romanian souvenirs. Get them at the airport or online at Art & Craft Romania to commemorate your Romania trip.
The town itself was named after the nearby monastery, by the way. Sinaia Monastery dates back to 1695 and named after Mount Sinai. Before Peles Castle was completed, this was where the royal family resided.
Address: Strada Mănăstirii 2, Sinaia 106100, Romania
Other local attractions worth visiting in Sinaia Romania are Dimitrie Ghica Park, which was created according to Swiss influences in 1881. It lies directly opposite Sinaia train station.Take a short stroll along the pond and take a look at previous famous visitors, including Mihai Eminescu and Ion Creanga,Nicolae Bălcescu and Dimitrie Ghica. Just a short walk away you can visit Muzeul Orasului Sinaia in Castelul Stirbey.
Address: Bulevardul Carol I, Sinaia 106100, Romania
Planning a Hike in Bucegi Natural Park
Just an hour away from Sinaia Romania, you can bask in the glory that is unspoilt nature. Rugged cliffs rise above tranquil mountain lakes and fir trees overlook shady valleys of Bucegi Natural Park. Peles Castle, is in fact part of the national park and you can easily enjoy one of the many hiking trails to take part in some forest bathing. After all, 60% of the national park is covered by forests.
The entirey of its 32.663 ha is officially protected land, particularly due to the fantastic Babele and Sphinx rock formations on the Bucegi Plateau. If you want to explore as much as possible and are a true hiker and outdoor lover, be sure to do multiple-day treks. You can rest your head in the cabanas along the paths.
This national park is the most cherished one in Romania due to its connection to God. Bucegi mountain is said to be the holy mountain Kogainon where God Zalmoxis resided in a cave. Its highest peak is Omu Peak and reaches 2505 metres.
Enjoying the Ski Resorts in Prahova Valley
Thanks to its alpine climate, you can encounter alpine limestone grasslands, alpine rivers and mountain hay meadows in Bucegi Natural Park. The snowfall that its mountains collect settles down in Prahova Valley in winter, attracting hundreds of visitors for ski season.
As a result, there are several ski resorts, such as Sinaia and Bușteni. With both you can find ski lifts and cable cars helping you up the mountain and to ski slopes and winter hotels, such as Hotel Marea Neagra or Hotel Carpathia. Popular winter sports in Sinaia include skiing, sleighing, snow trekking and snowboarding. You can get ski and gondola passes from Sinaia town hall starting at 65 lei per adult for half a day. There are ski slopes of varying degrees of difficulty.
What Souvenirs to Bring Home from Sinaia Romania
Romania is known for its passion for traditional handicraft and skills. Pieces are practical in nature and, if you ask me, those are the best kinds of souvenirs. Why not bring home traditional pottery with handpainted designs in understated earthen tones to compliment your dinner set at home? Don’t overlook the woodcarved souvenirs as mentioned above either. This will particularly remind you of the wonderfully inticuate Peles Castle.
If you don’t want to lug around your Romanian souvenirs, you’d be happy to hear you can purchase it right at the airport at Art & Craft Romania, such as at Sibiu International Airport, Transilvania International Airport, Targu Mures and Henri Coanda International Airport. Or you can get it shipped right home when you order online at Art & Craft Romania.
What to Pack for Sinaia Romania & Weather Conditions
Since the weather is mild throughout the year without drastic temperature differences, layered looks with a jacket are the way to go. Early summers can be rather fresh and it rains a lot, so bring your umbrella or poncho and water proof walking shoes.
For those coming to ski in Sinaia, you know to bring thermal underwear, ski sunglasses, woollen hats and gloves as well as ski gear. There can be heavy snowfall in winter, so even if you are planning on walking, dress warm. Snow can stay until May, so the best time to visit Sinaia is in late summer and early autumn. Unless you want a winter wonderland, which would be in late November and throughout December as the freshly fallen snow creates an even layer of white across the land.
How to Get to Sinaia from Bucharest
If you have a car at your disposal, drive up north on the DN 1 highway toward Sinaia. This takes around 1h and 45 minutes.
In case you are taking a train, you can buy a ticket online or at the train station Bucuresti Nord. Trains generally leave every twenty minutes, take less than two hours. A one way ticket costs 30.6 lei.
For bus trips, take the mini bus from Bucuresti Nord towards Braşov, which takes 2 and a half hours.
Where to Stay for a Trip to Sinaia
Since Sinaia can easily be reached from Romania’s capital, staying in Bucharest is a popular option. During summer, you can easily stay in Bucharest, such as the glamorous JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel or Hotel Ambasador. If you don’t have a big budget and want to stay close to the trains station for your day trips, why not consider Hello Hotels Gara de Nord?
To make the most out of your Sinaia trip, why not turn it into an overnight so you can explore the national park as well? Make Hotel New Montana your base for some laid back luxury feel. Tostay within one of the pretty Sinaia houses, choose Vila Wendy. If you want to treat yourself and experience the royal-style life, stay in the fancy Regal 1880 or right next to Peles Castle in Vila Economat.
Should You visit Sinaia Romania and Peles Castle when in Bucharest?
Absolutely! Bucharest is a great city, don’t get me wrong. But to discover the authentic Romania, you gotta hit the road and drive into the countryside. Sinaia and Peles Castle aren’t far away and situated within the wonderful Carpathian Mountains. Passing landscapes will make you stop and stare aplenty and the castle itself will definitely satisfy your princess/prince moment dreams. I definitely recommend a visit and loved my very own day trip. In fact, Peles Castle is one my favourite Romanian attractions.
Tell me: Have you heard of Sinaia and Peles Castle before? During which season would you love to visit most?