A Weekend Getaway to Busteni, Romania
There’s a slight chance you might have never heard of the small mountain town of Busteni in Romania. Which is OK, considering I’ve been living in Romania for over two decades and never even thought of going there. I only knew it was a popular ski resort, and that was pretty much it. But when I had to meet John and Vlad at the Peles Castle for a little blogger’s meetup, I knew I didn’t want to spend the night in Sinaia and started looking around instead.
That’s when I stumbled upon a neighboring town of Sinaia’s called Busteni, which is located in the Prahova Valley, at the foot of the majestic Bucegi Mountains. After I saw a picture of the place my misconceptions of a snobby, high-end ski destination immediately disappeared, and I instantly booked one night’s accommodation at a local’s place. The photo which Google showed me looked something like this:
So what can you do here? My answer is: PLENTY!
I am not exaggerating when I say that this small mountain has a little something for everybody! Check out the list of numerous attractions and activities in Busteni:
- Visit Cantacuzino Castle
One of the highlights this small town has to offer is the 100+ year old castle, which once belonged to one of the wealthiest families in Romania. After the forced nationalization of 1948 and afterwards, during the communist period, the castle was unfortunately emptied, since most of the family’s goods were stolen. The walls, which were beautifully painted were also destroyed. That’s why, when you enter the castle, it will seem a bit empty. Most of the interior is made up of old manuscripts and paintings. Guided tours run every hour and last up to 30 minutes. We were pretty disappointed that the tours were held only in Romanian and the foreign tourists can only get information from a few signposts on display. A tour costs 20 Ron, somewhere around 4 euros. If you’re interested, make sure you check out the schedule of Cantacuzino Castle tours.
Besides visiting the castle, one can also offers interesting expos of paintings and sculptures. Although we opted out of this because our lack of time, it’s good to know that Picasso was on display at the time and a Salvador Dali expo was held just before.
2. Enjoy the View
If visiting castles, museums and expos is not your thing, don’t worry! You can order a tea/coffee/beer/glass of wine instead, sit down on the castle’s terrace and let it all sink in. Yep, I’m most definitely talking about one of the most awesome views any terrace in Transylvania has to offer!
3. Go on a Refreshing Hike to see the Waterfall
If you’d love to do some outdoor activity, but don’t actually want to overdo it, then I definitely advise you to hike up to Urlatoarea Falls. After an hour of smelling the pines, enjoying the forest and getting a bit of exercise you get to admire the small, but lovely Urlatoarea (translates to Screaming Falls). It’s an easy walk (can’t even call it a hike), which you can even enjoy together with your little kids. Our time went by even quicker, as we were following the guidance of a very experienced leader:
If you haven’t had enough of Busteni, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy it and its surroundings. When we were there, we were battling with the choice of going up to the mountain in the cabin car. Although it takes you up to one of the most iconic places of Romania, the Babele, it still costs 70 RON! (approximately 15 euros). Numerous hiking trails can also easily be accessed from there, but we had to get back home by nightfall so we couldn’t have done any longer hikes.
Luckily, the choice was made for us, because when we got there, the cable car wasn’t in function due to the strong winds atop the mountain. We were actually glad, since we eventually decided we’d come back one day to this stunning region and hike up to the Babele and other famous landmarks in the area. Another favorite tourist spot is the Caraiman Cross, with a killer view over the town of Busteni, also easily accessed from Babele.
A pack of restaurants serving delicious food, various accommodation sites and plenty of opportunities for skiing in the winter can also be found in the small town. Like I said, I was extremely surprised to see the myriad of leisure opportunities here.
So what about it, are you up for a weekend getaway in Busteni?