I’ve read of many people going on a road trip with kids in Romania, even with young kids. I always wondered how they make it: sleep in different hotels each night, drive many kilometres and live out of the car. Maybe even in the car. Or other creatures start living in the car. However, it was never an option for us.
We made the experience that our kids hate driving (we had our worst holiday in New Zealand. Amy was grouchy all over and we saw only playgrounds.) They just love to have a constant place where to sleep. At least for 3-4 nights. In Thailand we travelled by train and planned our trip exactly that way. 4 days in Bangkok, 4 in Chiang Mai and 4 in Hua Hin. They were balanced and happy – so were we. Even on the many different islands of the Seychelles we’ve chosen one accommodation for at least 3 nights.
Our summer holiday 2014 was supposed to be with our camper. 3 months through Europe was the initial plan. Unfortunately our timeschedule had to change due to some important meetings. Left were only 2 weeks. The flights to Romania were booked for me and the kids. My husband wanted to drive with the RV to pick us up there. Like this we would have avoided being on the road for almost 1500km with the grouchy kids behind us to reach the romanian boarder.
New plan: we all fly two way.
Questions: and there?
We got a car and started the road trip with kids in Romania at our initial point: Sibiu.
Sibiu was European cultural capital a few years ago. This inheritance is still the main reason for many tourists to visit this stunning and very well renovated city. With a small airport it’s connected to many European cities. I love Sibiu because of it’s historic architecture, the pedestrian area in the middle of the city and the vibrant atmosphere. On every corner one can find another cute Café. Our favourite one is the Erasmus Büchercafe. It’s a Café near the centre with a high quality playground and a bookshop. Totally calm and without any streets nearby. It’s easy to watch the kids, drink a fresh limonada and rummage in various books.
After a day in Sibiu we headed to Agnita.
Agnita shows how well-heeled Romania was many, many years ago. But it also makes clear that many people migrate and leave sometimes even their young children to earn money as caretaker for seniors in the US or waiter in Spain. Streets are empty, people whinge about their bad situation and nobody cares to renovate buildings or rebuild streets. In the evenings wandering around this ghost town made us depressed and think about the hard times in life. Interestingly some young people remain living there, earning 200€ per month as a cleaner and don’t want to take the chance and move away. Changes are still angst-inducing, whereas the known is the secure option.
From Agnita we drove to Sighisoara as third city on our road trip with ids in Romania.
This daytrip was better than expected. Sighisoara is a very historic town with a castle up the hill, narrow streets and small squares. It’s definitely worth to climb up the many stairs to the top of the historic tower. Who would have thought that our 2 year old didn’t ask to get carried but climbed them all on her own? Have a look at the tower:
Back from Sighisoara we stayed only one more night in Agnita. My husband was keen on visiting the Red Bull Romaniacs. It’s a hard enduro rallye with the best enduro drivers worldwide. If you’re not familiar with enduro, here the definition:
We ended up in Sibiu again, where the Prolog took part. A closed road was converted into a course. Only the riders (on total more than 400) who make it through this track are allowed to join the rallye for the coming 4 days.
It was fascinating to see worldclass drivers together with hobby riders conquer or fail. Fears that it might be too noisy for the kids or too crowded were far away from reality. Their fascination climaxed in cheering for drivers with purple tricots (the 2 year old one) and drivers from Germany (the 5 year old one). We ended the day with a delicious pizza at the Pardon. While we waited for the food the kids went on there own to visit the dinosaurs in the nearby nature museum. For 1 Lei entry they came back proud and self-conscious showing us their entry tickets.
Relaxed and satiated with impressions we started into the night. Kids felt asleep early and we headed to Brezoi, direction Arges. Our final destination should be Caciulata. We heard of thermal springs there and wanted to give it a try. Everybody needs some relaxing days while being on a road trip with kids in Romania, don’t they?
In Brezoi directly next to the Highway we stayed at Hotel Class Brezoi. A 4 star hotel accommodates us in a suite with one queen size bed and a sofa bed for 60€. Unfortunately the breakfast wasn’t 4 stars worth, but we still liked it there. While sitting on our small terrace the kids played at the playground and we watched the ducks paddling on the nearby river.
No moaning children because it took us only 20min to arrive at Caciulata. Directly at the towns beginning we discovered that on our right the Hotel and Restaurant Casa Romaneasca has also a thermal bath with 2 indoor and 1 outdoor pool. I began to whinge when the cashier said the waters temperature would be 32 degrees. “So cold? I won’t swim here.” was my answer. Luckily the guy had no clue! It had at least 36 degrees.
After relaxing in the thermal water we wanted to have some action again. Our next day was spent near Petrosani.
The Romaniacs took part there. With challenges like driving through rivers, uphill and some funny, not dangerous accidents our picknick couldn’t have been more entertaining. Again we had to cheer for purple and german riders. Surprisingly all ages took part, 17 year old guys and 50 year old (grand)dads. I talked to one guy who took part together with his son. They developed the same hobby and spend weekends ahead to become good enough for this challenge. Not only conquering the course is a challenge but also to have sufficient funds for new tires, the mechanic working night shifts on their bikes and the whole set up. Good to have daddy with you!
After two days Romaniacs we decided not to drive directly to Timisoara but to spend some relaxing hours in Baile Felix near Oradea. Therefore we had to sleep somewhere near Deva.
It was very late already, but we still had no hotel.
Fortune favors fools. I found a nice 5 star hotel on booking.com: Conacul Archia. We drove there and found paradise:
In a very spacious family room (1 queen-size bed and 1 child bed) our two kids immediately felt asleep again. Afterwards we enjoyed a drink on the terrace and had a quick sauna session. We slept like babies that night. I’ve never been in a hotel with such a harmonious interior design (and I’ve been to many already).
Seldom one sees hotel owners use their own facilities and relax. More often they are occupied by sorting out small issues and interfere in daily business. Not here. We got to know the owner who were relaxing on the pool the other day. That’s how to run a business!
The hotel is not only equipped with pool and sauna but also with a horse riding stable. For 5€ kids can have a ride on the pony for 15min, for 15€ adults may have a lesson or ride across unspoilt countryside.
I don’t have to mention that this was paradise: kids happy because of the pony, we happy because of the great service, perfect weather and the nice staff who let us enjoy the pool although we already checked out.
After a delicious lunch we started our journey to Baile Felix, only 200km away. 25 road works, 35 degrees outside, no aircon and 4.5 hours later we finally arrived in Oradea, a city 5km next to Baile Felix. What a hassle to get there. Like this we didn’t want to travel on our road trip with sweating kids. A road trip with kids in Romania is supposed to be fun…
As much luck we had with our hotel on Deva as much bad luck we had in Oradea. I booked the Continental Forum Oradea on the internet some hours before we arrived. The reservation staff forgot our booking. Finally he made it somehow to give us a room. Upstairs after unpacking, making the kids ready for bedtime and brush their teeth we shared our bed with a small, not so cute cockroach.
During our stay in Mauritius we became high skilled cockroach hunter, so killed that one after only one second. Not in the mood to complain we felt asleep just to wake up for a basic breakfast. This wasn’t the kind of hotel to stay longer.
In Baile Felix we headed to the thermal pool. A huge area with different slides, two kids pools and many hot water pools. Trying not to get sunburned we enjoyed two lovely days here. Our basic needs for food, drinks and relaxation got satisfied to its fullest.
We recommend the Restaurant Casa Romaneasca. They have best romanian food, different soups and salads. Don’t forget to eat Papanasi and chestnut cream as desert. I think we put on a bit of weight during our road trip with kids in Romania.
Next destination of our road trip with kids was our favourite city in Romania: Timisoara.
Historic centre, many students, thousands of Cafés, friends living here and a lot of parks and playgrounds make a stay very comfortable. The apartment we stay in is the same as always and it feels home as soon as we put our luggage on the floor.
We love it here and enjoyed being at a place we already know.
This was our first road trip with kids (2 and 5 years old). We had a good time but would still rather take our RV for longer trips. To eat always in Restaurants isn’t that exciting anymore and we got fed up soon. We’d rather be able to prepare something on our own. Nevertheless after the bad experience in New Zealand we made huge progress.
Have you ever been in Romania? What would you like to see? Are you afraid of anything there?