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Train and Bus Travel Romania

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1. Posted by wheres_luke (Budding Member, 4 posts) 16 Sep '13 18:33

wheres_luke has indicated that this thread is about Romania

Hi everyone,

I need some help. I am going to Romania in March, it is only going to be a short visit, but I want to cram as much as I can into the 5 days or so that I will be there. So far my trip is going as follows:

Day 1- Arrive Bucharest 3.30pm catch a train or bus to Pitesti and stay the night there(I have no interest whatsoever in Bucharest, and if possible I don't want to waste a night staying there)

Day 2- Somehow get to Curtea De Arges, I really want to have a look at Poienari Castle. After this if possible I would like to catch a train or bus to Baia Marie. If that is not possible then I would like to catch a train or bus to Sighisoara.

Day 3- Check out Baia Marie and surrounding Villages. Or if I am in Sighisoara, then I would like to check out the town and the sights and then catch a train or bus to Baia Marie

Day 4- Check out Baia Marie again.

Day 5-Catch a train or bus back to Brasov and spend a night there.
Day 6-Catch a train or bus back to Bucharest and be there by 2pm, for a 4pm flight to London.

So basically I am wondering if anyone can help me out in regards to getting infromation on train or bus travel in Romanina, timetables, prices etc etc. Any help would be appreicated. Thanks

2. Posted by bucharestG (Budding Member, 7 posts) 16 Sep '13 23:51

Hi.

So, if you arrive at 15.30 at Otopeni Airport, you need to get across town (hard stuff to do) ,to "autogara Militari" ,the place from where you would get the bus to Pitesti or Curtea de Arges.
Curtea de Arges is quite close to Pitesti, so i would reccomend you to skip Pitesti (as is more or like as Bucharest ,only 20 times smaller and not as interesting! so if you want to skip Bucharest, skip Pitesti too).
There is a bus from "autogara Militari" at 18.30 straight to Curtea de Arges, the trip is 2 hours and 28 minutes and is about 10$, so about 9 PM you should be in Curtea de Arges. If you spend the next day in Curtea de Arges, the following day you can take a bus from Pitesti to Baia Mare (there are a lot of busses Curtea de Arges-Pitesti) ,and as much as i can see there are only two options : at 8.45 am or 12.45 pm. Either way, the trip is 10 hours long and it costs 25$. There is no straight train from Pitesti to Baia Mare.
I can't find any train or bus to Sighisoara from Pitesti.
Arriving so late in Baia Mare, you can't do much but sleep and spend the next day in Baia Mare.
You can catch a train from Baia Mare to Brasov, as that much Bus would make your body ache by now, but there is only one that starts at 18.45 in Baia Mare and arrives at 3.33 am in Brasov. You can also take a sleeper.
You can get straight to sleep, and spend the next day in Brasov.
Brasov- Bucuresti is...probably the busiest road in the country so finding a train or bus to Bucuresti is quite easy. I would reccomend a bus again, because you can ask the driver to leave you off straight at the airport.

If you ask me this is one weird ittinerary :) ,if you accept changes ,pm me and i will try to make you a more coherent one! Take care.

3. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 261 posts) 17 Sep '13 00:12

All I can add to that great answer is a warning that I did the Brasov - Bucharest train journey a few months ago, it was running about an hour and a half late and this didn't seem unusual - leave yourself plenty of connection time for your flight.

If you wanted to know about prices beyond the transport, we thought Romania was the cheapest place we've been in Europe. A nice dinner with wine for under £5. And free daily walking tours run by students in both Bucharest and Brasov, each has a website.

4. Posted by bucharestG (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 Sep '13 01:37

Why not hire someone with a car to drive you around? I mean, transport can go up to 100$-150$ by busses, trains, etc. And can give you plenty of headaches with so many tickets, stations, places to go and get them and delays.
i think 200$ can cover the driver and the car (and maybe some gas) and the gas can go up to another 100-150$. I know a theology student (yep, a priest) who hires himself to people and his 1990's East-German made "Trabant" - quite slow but reliable and cool way to see a ex-comunist country, in a communist car, and he has a crush on this girl who is from Baia Mare :D ,i am sure you can hire him quite cheap to make him go there :)) ,plus he's a good english speaker, and knows all the cool places. He's one of the "Rosia Montana" activists ,if you know about the protests.
ME? finding myself for just 4 days in a country where the language seems like Italian and French mixed with Turkish and Russian, where timetables are a joke and everyone likes to scam a tourist, i would go straight to this option :)

This way you have the shuttle from and to the airport assured, you can go straight to Curtea de Arges, find with the driver a decent place to sleep (being alone, you do have a extra bed in the room, right?- so you don't pay extra) ,he can ask locals everything you would ask, cut all the waiting time, connections ,etc. Protect you from pickpockets (english people know how skilled are our gipsy - sorry Uk folks, they do the same to us also) ,have someone to talk to around,stop whenever you want to take a picture, rest your legs, etc, etc,etc, etc. I think 200$ more for this service can make a diffrence between a nice 4 days rush cross-country or a total disaster :) your call.

[ Edit: Edited on 17-Sep-2013, at 01:46 by bucharestG ]

5. Posted by wheres_luke (Budding Member, 4 posts) 17 Sep '13 02:58

Thankyou BucharestG and Andyf. There is some very useful information from both of you which I will take into consideration.

I know my itinerary is very bizarre but unfortunately I have a very specific list of countries on my bucketlist, and an even more specific list of things I want to do in those countries. I do think I will skip out on the personal driver however, I've never really been one for that type of thing.

I do have one question though, what is the best way to buy tickets for buses etc. Is it best to do it online or just rock up to the train or bus station, and do you have to book in advance? Thanks again

6. Posted by bucharestG (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 Sep '13 03:43

Unfortunately, online might be reliable only when it comes to trains, as there is only one major cross-country operator, but even so, you can expect having your seat taken. Bus operators are many more,but most tickets are payd to the driver. You can search every one of them, if they have online booking, but i doubt that. Romania is breathtaking...but seriosity is something it lacks when it comes to transportation. If you need specific help, pm me.

7. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 261 posts) 17 Sep '13 07:24

$100-$150 for transport and people scamming is not my experience. Found it cheap and easy apart from some delays.

8. Posted by bucharestG (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 Sep '13 08:34

Quoting Andyf

$100-$150 for transport and people scamming is not my experience. Found it cheap and easy apart from some delays.

He needs to go cross-country, and stop at the middle. Bucuresti - Curtea de Arges 35 RON ,Curtea de Arges-Pitesti 15 RON ,Pitesti - Baia Mare 85-100 RON ,Baia-Mare - Sighisoara 60 RON , Sighisoara -Brasov - 30 Ron ,Brasov - Bucuresti 50 RON. That's about 300-310 RON ,about 90-100$ .Train is 30-40% more expensive then the bus, so if mixed bus/train ,you get about 150$.

We are talking about more than 1200 kilometers (about 900 miles) , it's not that expensive when you think about it. And you can lose your bus/train, it can have delays, etc. I don't do bus/trains anymore in my country. Get in the car and drive. But that's just me.

9. Posted by budgeteurotrip (Budding Member, 38 posts) 1 Oct '13 03:18

hitchhike!!!!
is very easy to get a ride in romania, people there are friendly and helpful.
I did it several time and I had to wait just few minutes.
Expect to pay just a small fee, in this way you have fun, save money and meet locals

10. Posted by wheresluke (Budding Member, 7 posts) 14 Oct '13 14:15

Hi Everybody,

I appreciate your help, so far it has been great.

I have decided that I have to change my plans. Reality hit and I have realized that this itinerary is just too much to try and do in such a short space of time. So the new itinerary is:

March 15th (Saturday)- Arriving in Bucharest at 12.30 in the day. So I will spend the day and the night in Bucharest and just check out the town

March 16th (Sunday)- Leave as early as possible and catch a train or bus to Poenari Fortress. This is where I start to need some help. If anyone knows how i do this with public transport that would be great. I would also probably like to spend the night in either Curtea De Arges or Pitesti, so I would need to know how to get back there as well.

March 17th (Monday)- Again leave early and catch a train or bus to Sighisoara or even a maxi taxi. I want to spend the day in Sighisoara and either catch a late train/bus/maxi taxi to Brasov and stay there the night, or just stay the night in Sighisoara.

March 18th (Tuesday)- Spend the day in Brasov and the night

March 19th (Wednesday)- Catch a train/bus/maxi taxi back to Bucharest airport for a flight to London at 4 pm.

So essentially I was wondering if anyone could help me out with my itinerary. I know that I already have some advice, but things have changed. I guess I need to know a couple of thing. Firstly how to do this with public transport, as I am not really keen on doing a tour and I don't really want to hire anyone to drive me around. And the second thing is do I need to book my transport in advance or can I just turn up to the train or bus station and get tickets on the day?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

Luke