Sinaia is a beautiful mountain town about one and a half hour’s drive or train ride from Bucharest. In the almost two years that we’ve been living in Bucharest, we have gone to Sinaia for weekend getaways at least 4 times. We have been there in summer, in spring, and just yesterday for the first time in winter too and the town is pretty and full of activities all round the year.
On our first trip, we just stopped in the town for lunch and a visit to Peleș Castle on our way to Brașov. The town is small and idyllic and ever since our first trip we wanted to go back and we often did 🙂
It’s a town out of a fairy tale — old European buildings against the backdrop of the beautiful mountains. The city also grew like a fairy tale. Stories (or history) tell that when King Carol I visited Sinaia for the first time in 1866, he fell in love with the landscape and decided to build his summer residence here, which till today is one of the most well preserved European castles. Here are some pictures from our trips over the time to this little jewel of a city.
Peleș castle is the topmost “thing to do in Sinaia” even if it is the only thing you do!
Peleș castle was the summer residence of the Romanian Monarchy. Under Communist regime it was used mainly by military personnel and after the 1989 revolution, the castle was established as a heritage sight and opened to public as museum.
The castle is beautiful from inside and outside with grand gardens all around, towers and intricate work inside. The castle actually took almost 40 years to complete! It had multiple architects during the time and one can see the influence of different architects inside the castle. I would highly recommend that if you have time, do go inside the castle and take the guided tour. You can choose to do just the ground floor or both the ground and first floor. Check for palace timings at their main website.
Gondola and up the mountains
The mountains of Sinaia is open for year-round activities. In summers, they are ideal for day hikes for both beginner and adventurous trekkers. The Bucegi mountains are beautiful and you can get all the way to the top (2050m) by gondolas or telecabin. The gondolas run continuously while the tele cabins have a frequency of one in every 30 mins.
The views from gondola are beautiful and once on top the panorama is breathtaking. Both in summers and winters!
Hiking in Bucegi Mountains
In summers, there are many easy, moderate, and also difficult treks as well as mountain biking trails in the mountains. The hikes are well marked and you can also take pictures of the maps to keep along.
Hikes to the cross and the sphinx are about 6 kms one way from the Gondola drop point.
If you love snowboarding or skiing, sinaia is the closest destination from Bucharest and while there are a lot of people, it is a very big mountain :-). We did a small hike around the mountains in the soft snow. Reminded me of a quote:
When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on the clouds.
Other attractions in Sinaia include the Sinaia monastary which is the oldest building of the town, the Sinaia museum presents a good overview of life in the city under the different regimes, the Townhall, and also just spending time in the downtown center.
Bucharest to Sinaia
Sinaia is about 140kms from Bucharest and well connected by both road and train. By car, Bucharest to Sinaia, takes about 1 hour and 40 mins through the highway E60.
There are many trains from Bucharest to Sinaia through the day. It takes around 1 hour 30 mins. You can reserve your seat by making online reservations or you can also buy tickets at the counter but you are not guaranteed a seat.
In Sinaia, the train station is close to downtown. Just a short walk to the telecabin spot or take the local bus (2 lei per person) to the Gandola station to go up the mountains.