A friend and I will be traveling from Budapest through Cluj-Napoca, Sighisoara and Brasov ending in Bucharest in August. Around Brasov especially we want to see Peles Castle, Castle Bran, etc. In Cluj-Napoca my friend wants to visit Hoia Forest as well. How is public transportation for getting to sights not within the city proper? Would it be better to rent a car for most of the trip through Romania or maybe just for a day or two in certain cities? Our budget is rather tight so we are trying to find a balance of cheap and convenient.
I was in Romania 14 years ago, but I don't think the situation has changed much. You can easily get to most places by train, and some of them by bus. I went everywhere you mention (except Hoia Forest) and don't remember having any trouble getting to the places. And if you don't mind, hitchhiking is a way of life in Romania. I've been picked up by almost any type of vehicle, even a postal truck. Most of the drivers, however, expect a little money in exchange, but it's much cheaper than the train anyway.
Nicole, you can reach almost any village or city by train or local buses, but if you have a luggage with you or if you want to stop by to take photos or to buy organic fruits and vegetables from locals, then you could rent a car and you can save time instead of adjusting after train/bus timetable.
Do not miss Transfăgărășan, Bigar Cascade Falls. I suggest Brasov instead of Cluj-Napoca (only if you do not have enough time). For example close to Brasov I know this great lady that cookes excellend and she lives in an old, restored saxon house. If you need me to put you in contact with locals from Transylvania, please let me know.
Adina from FamilyVacation
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