Less than a two-hour train ride from Bucharest, Romania and you can be in the picturesque town of Sinaia. The town boasts the usual charms of a smallish village but its main attraction is the Peles Castle. This bad boy is touted as the castle which kicks the ass of the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, that is Bran Castle.
Grab a train from Bucharest Nord, settle in, and enjoy the interesting views out the window. Watch men who watch cows, stray dogs, people walking on the tracks, or sleep off your hangover. It’s delightfully heated on the train, but should you head into the land of nod, make sure your gear is safe.
Walk out of the train station and head on up. There’s a teency bit of walking up the hilly road (or grab a taxi, lazybones) but you’ll be at Peles Castle before you know it and it’s so purty. King Carol knew how to create a crib. To build this place in 1874, it cost the equivalent of US$120 million today.
You can get inside the castle with a guided tour but be sure to check whether it’s open before you make the trek. It can be closed certain days, times and months dependent on the whim of the cleaning lady.
Just down the road (like 100m, lazybones) is the Pelisor Castle, which you can combo deal up (would you like fries with that?). King Carol built this secondary castle as a summer hangout for his nephew Ferdinand (heir to the throne) and his handy home decorator missus Marie. It’s worth a peek through, plus you get to wear some really cool slippers to protect the carpets from your grubby shoes. Like most buildings in Romania, you pay a fee to take photos.
This area is also worth looking into during the winter for skiing. Everything looks extra picturesque snowcapped – the mountains, rivers, castles, and even brown bears should you be ‘lucky’ enough to cross their path.