3. Turda Salt Mine
The second greatest drive in Romania, the Transalpina Highway is kind of like the little brother of the Transfagarasan. Almost as impressive, this high altitude arrangement of hairpin turns through the mountains is a little more rugged. There is a river that runs through part of it, you get sweeping views, and it is a popular area at the higher elevations for skiing. You will find campgrounds and ski resorts. Some of the road is a bit rough, so expect that. I made it through with a sedan, so I don’t think 4WD is required unless there is heavy rain or snows. I would imagine it could be a little treacherous.
Located in Hunedoara, this gothic renaissance castle is massive and very impressive. It’s exactly what I’d imagined a real medieval castle would look like. Something you would see in the movies. In the nearby town there is gas and groceries if you need it since the place is a bit out in the countryside.
Slanic Salt Mine
Salina Slanic Prahova is another salt mine in Romania, the biggest salt mine in Europe in fact, is almost as impressive as the Turda Salt Mine. Less flashy though. Inside it looks like a giant airplane hangar. There are sports activities, inflatable slides, and even a wellness area where you can chill out with a blanket on a lounge chair while reaping the supposedly medicinal benefits of the salty air. Popular place for asthma treatment. There is also a small park nearby.
Very cool, young, hip city. Less touristy and more of a local feel than Bucharest. Good nightlife and old town area. I didn't spend much time here, just met up with a friend and wandered the old town a bit. I would go back and spend at least a full day. Good place to stay and explore if you visit Turda.
Wallachia / Poienari
Home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula.
- Lodging: $256 (AirBnB)
- Transportation: $401 (train, taxi, rental car)
- Activities: $39 (castles, salt mine)
- Food: $200 (estimated $20/day)
- Rental Car. I used Sixt, after having used them several times in Europe. Great company and customer service at reasonable prices. Much better and cheaper than the "bigger" guys. Very prominent in Europe. Office in Bucharest city center at the Radisson Blu lobby or at the airport. Go in person and you will get a better deal.
- Discounts. If you're a student, bring your ID to get 25-75% off!