Spectacular self-drive tour in Romania - 12 days
Self-drive tour in Romania – 12 days itinerary:
Day 1: Welcome to Bucharest
Day 2: Discover Bucharest
Day 3: Carpathian mountains and Peles Castle
Day 4: Brasov medieval city and the Bran Castle
Day 5: Explore Sighisoara
Day 6: Targu Mures and Turda salt mine
Day 7: Discover the Apuseni mountains
Day 8: Corvin Castle and the Bear cave
Day 9: Deva fortress and Alba Iulia
Day 10: Take a long walk in Sibiu
Day 11: Drive on Transfagarasan
Day 12: Good-bye, Romania!
Details of the Self-drive tour in Romania:
Duration: 12 days
Start and endpoint: your hotel or another chosen point in Bucharest
Note: “Self-drive tour in Romania 12 days” is a private tour, so it can be customized according to your wishes
Spectacular self-drive tour in Romania 12 days - itinerary description:
Are you planning to visit Romania and you want a self-drive tour? Driving in Romania can be an adventure! So we have prepared some tips and tricks to help you plan this experience. Also we have designed a 12 days itinerary in Romania.
This is a self-guided tour. That means that we can book the car rental and accommodation for you. We can also help you with local assistance on the way.
If you like this Romania itinerary, but you are not sure whether driving in Romania is a good idea for you, we can also offer you this tour as a private guided tour. This way, your only job will be to admire the landscapes. Your tour guide will take care of everything else.
Try also other multi-day trips in Romania.
Before showing you how you can spend 12 days in Romania, let’s answer some questions. These are questions that you may have before any self-drive trip in Romania.
Driving in Romania
Is it safe to drive through Romania?
Romania is unfortunately in the last places in the EU in terms of road accidents and the victims resulting from them. But if you follow the traffic rules, driving in Romania becomes a safe and even a pleasant experience.
Once you get behind the wheel, it is important to respect the speed limits. It is also mandatory to use a seat belt and a child seat for smaller passengers. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol and do not use your mobile phone while driving. The legislation has zero-tolerance for alcohol consumption when driving.
Also, pay attention to pedestrians, animals, cyclists and horse-drawn carriages. They could be traveling on the same road as motor vehicles, especially in rural areas.
Does Romania have good roads?
Romania has a total of almost 90,000 km of roads divided into national roads, county roads and communal roads. Highways (just under 1000 km in total) are part of national roads.
Therefore, a road trip in Romania can take longer than one in countries with several highways.
National roads and most county roads are in good condition, with a few exceptions. That is why it is important to plan your trip according to the road restrictions, the condition of the roads and the congested areas.
Some national roads become extremely crowded because they connect the important cities of Romania, but you can avoid congestion if you know when to pass by there.
Do you have to wear a seatbelt in Romania?
The seat belt must be worn in Romania by all passengers of a car.
Driving a car without wearing a seat belt is categorised as a class I fine and is punishable by a fine and penalty points. Passengers in a vehicle can also receive the same penalty if they do not wear a seat belt.
Exceptions to this rule are only pregnant women and people with a medical certificate that exempts them from wearing a seat belt.
What is the speed limit in Romania?
Speed limits are indicated in kilometres per hour. The other road signs including distance are indicated using meters or kilometres because Romania uses the metric system.
The speed limits in Romania are:
50 km/h – inside the cities or villages (unless the road signs mention something else)
130 km/h – on the motorway
100 km/h – on express, national and European roads
90 km/h – on the other categories of roads, outside the built-up areas
Which side of the road does Romania drive on?
Although there are states and regions where you drive on the left side of the road, accounting for about 35% of the world’s population, in Romania you drive on the right side, as in most areas.
Can foreigners drive in Romania?
If they are staying for a maximum of 90 days in the country, foreigners can drive in Romania with any international driving license. Not all national driver’s licenses are accepted.
For example, U.S. citizens who wish to drive in Romania must have an International Driving Permit in addition to a valid U.S. state drivers’ license.
How easy is it to travel around Romania?
For public transport, Romania has trains and buses. The main cities of the country are well connected, but sometimes the public transport schedule won’t allow you to see as many things as you could by driving.
Also, the rural areas are not so well connected, so it is harder to visit the attractions located outside the city without a car. But a good itinerary, excellent planning and a car rental can ensure you the best way to travel around Romania.
Start your tour in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. You will pick up your car rental from the airport and experience your first time driving in Romania. Go to your hotel in Bucharest and get some rest before starting to explore Romania. Your road trip from Bucharest includes some beautiful surprises!
In the evening, you can have a delicious dinner at one of the restaurants in the old town. This way, you can also feel the party atmosphere of this place.
Accommodation in Bucharest
If you are interested to discover the dark secrets of Bucharest, you can also book our Haunted Bucharest tour.
Bucharest is the capital of Romania and the biggest city in the country. It doesn’t have a great history like Rome, but it has something to offer for everyone.
You can find here the second largest building in the world – the Parliament palace, which deserves a stop. The Parliament Palace can be visited only on a guided tour, and to enter you will need an ID or a passport.
Once you get here, you will go through a filter like the one at the airport, so as not to bring dangerous objects.
Inside you can see some of the attractions that made the building famous: a huge 2-ton chandelier, red velvet curtains with gold and silver thread, glass ceilings and pink marble columns.
If you need a quick preview of the different regions of the country, take a long walk in the Village Museum. It houses monuments of traditional architecture: households, churches, and craft workshops. He also owns ethnographic and folk art pieces: traditional clothing, pottery, and wood and glass icons.
If you need, we can recommend you a good restaurant in the area to try also some Romanian traditional food.
In the evening come back to your hotel.
Accommodation in Bucharest
You can read here about what to expect in Bucharest.
On day 3 leave Bucharest behind and drive to Sinaia, a mountain resort at the foot of the Carpathian mountains. You can visit here an amazing castle: Peles castle.
The Peles castle is built on the royal estate of Sinaia, in a place with wonderful landscapes, away from the hustle and bustle of the mountain resort. It has 160 rooms and more than 30 bathrooms and over time has hosted members of the Romanian royal family.
At the end of the 19th century, Peles Castle was one of the most modern European royal residences, being the first fully electrified castle in Europe.
Once you have explored the beautiful castle, continue your Romanian road trip to the next mountain resort, Busteni. Here, you can take the cable car to the top of the Carpathians and see some natural wonders: Babele and Sphinx stones. From the cable car station, you will have a short walk to these two natural landmarks.
Come back to Busteni and continue to drive until you reach one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania: Brasov. Here is your last stop for today.
Accommodation in Brasov
Welcome to Brasov! Start your morning with a long walk in the city centre of Brasov and discover its medieval charm. Surrounded by mountains, very old and colourful, Brasov is one of the most visited cities in Romania.
The narrow and cobbled streets, the colourful houses and the specific red roofs, all these elements harmoniously combined, give charm to Brasov. In order to discover the best of Brasov, we have prepared a self-guided walking tour in the city centre.
Here you can stop in the Council Square, at one of the traditional restaurants, you can visit the Black Church or you can climb Tampa, the mountain at the foot of which the city was built.
In the afternoon, go by car to visit the best-known attraction in Romania: Bran Castle. Bran Castle is known as the castle of the famous Count Dracula, a fictional character inspired by Vlad Tepes, a cruel Romanian ruler. A visit here will tell you the story of this leader, but also of the Romanian royal family whose history is intertwined with that of Bran.
In the evening come back to Brasov for a delicious dinner.
Accommodation in Brasov
On day 5 of your Road trip through Romania it’s time to leave Brasov and go to Sighisoara. Sighisoara is an explosion of colour, but at the same time, it is a well-preserved piece of history, an open-air museum. Almost 800 years ago, the fortress of Sighișoara was documented, under the name of “Castrum Sex”. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only medieval fortress still inhabited.
On the way from Brasov to Sighisoara, you can stop to visit some of the traditional villages in the area. A part of them hosts other UNESCO heritage sites in Romania: the beautiful fortified churches of Transylvania.
Accommodation in Sighisoara
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel in Sighisoara, start your next day driving to Turda. On the way, you can explore another medieval city of Transylvania: Targu Mures. During this Romanian road trip, you will discover the medieval charm of Transylvania and how well it was preserved during times.
In Targu Mures, you can have a delicious lunch (Targu Mures is famous for its tasty restaurants). But don’t spend too much time in Targu Mures, because in the afternoon you should visit one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Romania: the Turda salt mine. This incredible salt mine dates back from Roman times. Today, inside you can play games, visit the salt museum or even take a boat trip on the underground lake.
Accommodation in Turda
Day 7 will take you to the beautiful Apuseni mountains. You will see here scenic landscapes and enjoy short mountain trails that offer you the best view points.
But whatever you do, you cannot miss Scarisoara cave that hides the biggest glacier in Romania. Usually, the temperature in the cave is minus several degrees, reaching only a maximum of 0.5 degrees Celsius in summer. Therefore, in any season you come here, it is good to come prepared with warm clothes. Outside the season, it is better to call the cave’s guide before getting there, to make sure that you can visit it.
In the evening, drive to Arieseni, a beautiful mountain resort where you will spend the night.
Accommodation in Arieseni
Continue your adventure in Apuseni mountains with another mysterious cave – Bears’ cave. Drive from Arieseni to Bears’ cave and wait fro the next tour to go inside. A pink underground scenery and a very old bear skeleton will make you wonder what else is hiding our planet?
From Bears’ cave go to Hunedoara. Your day will end in Hunedoara, with a beautiful fairy tale castle: Corvin castle.
The story of Corvin Castle begins in 1409, on these lands where there was a stone fortification. Decades later, Iancu de Hunedoara, voivode of Transylvania and illegitimate son of the then king of Hungary, built the amazing castle that still stands today.
Children and adults love it for its medieval air, large interiors and princely atmosphere. A visit inside, after you cross the beautiful bridge at the entrance, will unveil to you the legend behind the castle and its true history.
Accommodation in Hunedoara
Find here other castles you can visit in Romania.
On day 9 it is time to discover other beautiful attractions in Romania. On the way to Sibiu, your host for this night, stop in Deva to visit the Deva Fortress, a medieval fortification built to protect the border of two historical regions: Banat and Transylvania.
Once you go up by the funicular you will have a 360 view of the Mures valley and you will see why this place was chosen to build it.
Back on the road, there are other attractions that can be included in your Romania road trip itinerary depending on your wishes: amazing gardens, ancient fortresses etc.
In the afternoon you can explore a beautiful city with a star-shaped fortress: Alba Iulia. This place has enormous meaning for Romanians all over the world because this is the place where the grand unification took place.
In the evening, go to Sibiu, probably the most beautiful city in Transylvania.
Accommodation in Sibiu
Sibiu is like poetry. Wherever you walk, its romantic atmosphere will enchant you. The narrow streets, the old houses, the tile roofs with their small windows like eyes that seem to follow you everywhere, all increase its charm.
In order to discover them all, but also to find out the story behind them, you can explore Sibiu using our self-guided tour.
Accommodation in Sibiu
It’s time to go back to Bucharest, but on the road, you still have to experience probably the most beautiful road in the world: Transfagarasan. This is the most famous road in Romania since the Top Gear TV show named it the best road in the world.
You must be a good driver because Transfagarasan will test your limits. On the way you can stop on top, to see the Balea lake, on Vidraru dam and in Curtea de Arges to visit the beautiful monastery.
Accommodation in Bucharest
Your oad trip in Romania ends on day 12. Drop off your car rental at the airport and take your plane back home. You have gathered a lot of beautiful memories during this tour and every time you miss Romania, it will welcome you with its arms wide open. So don’t hesitate to come back!
Not ready to say “pa, pa”? Extend your stay with another trip perfect for families – Dobrogea and Danube Delta tour.