Day Trip to Peles Castle

Day Trip from Bucharest or Brasov, Romania

Peles Castle’s stunning Neo-Renaissance architecture and location in the scenic Carpathian Mountains in Sinaia, Romania makes this castle a must-see if you are staying in Bucharest or Brasov. Its beauty is considered to rival that of Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria (I personally preferred Peles, but that’s just me). Built in the late 19th century by King Carol I, under whose rule Romania gained independence, the castle was the summer palace for the Romanian royalty.

39E4D23A-DA2B-4775-BA3E-554B9732FFAA

What I loved about this castle is the combination of European styles in the castle’s interior. Designed by German architect Johannes Schultz, the castle combines classic Italian, German, French, Turkish, and Austrian styles, transporting you to a different country each time you enter a new room. In addition, the entrance hall is an extraordinary example of intricate woodwork and contains a magnificent wooden spiral staircase. The castle’s beauty truly is the epitome of fairytale romance and needs to be seen in person!

 

To visit the interior, you must join a guided tour. I enjoyed having a guide because we learned so much more about the castle, and she even showed us secret doors and passageways that I wouldn’t have noticed on my own.

On your way to Peles, you can also stop and wander the peaceful Sinaia Monastery, located conveniently along the route to the castle. It’s a beautiful Orthodox monastery that dates back to the 17th century.

B361D44C-0F4A-445D-8BBD-7F44349417E4

After you have finished exploring the castle and monastery, you can relax with a meal at one of the many restaurants located in the town of Sinaia while you wait for your train. Dewey and I enjoyed some Romanian beer and Mamaliga, a traditional Romanian dish similar to polenta served with cheese and sour cream. Yum!

The combination of the striking Carpathian Mountains, the enchanting castle, and the charming monastery made this day trip a highlight of my time in Romania that I highly recommend if you are visiting Brasov or Bucharest.

How to Get There

The castle is just a short train ride from either Brasov or Bucharest.

Traveling from Brasov
Train time: 1hr 10min
Cost: 1-3€ one way

Traveling from Bucharest
Train time: 1hr 40min
Cost: 4-7€ one way

Finding the castle is simple once you arrive in Sinaia. From the train station, simply follow the signs that take you to a forest path that leads to the castle. The Sinaia Monastery is located along the path to the castle and is impossible to miss.

Castle Information

Opening Times

Summer: open daily from 9:15-4:15pm, Wednesdays 11:00-4:15, closed Mondays
Winter: open Thursday-Sunday 9:15-4:15pm, Wednesdays 11:00-4:15pm, closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Cost

The castle has two guided tours you can take. The main tour takes about 45 minutes and includes most of the castle except the upper floor, while the optional tour takes 1hr 15min and includes some rooms on the upper floor. I recommend taking the full tour while you’re there; it isn’t much more expensive and the rooms are spectacular!

Main tour:
Adults- 30 lei (6.50€)
Students- 7.5 lei (1.50€)

Optional tour:
Adults- 60 lei (13.00€)
Students- 15 lei (3.00€)

A Day Trip to Howth

4E77DAD6-B0AF-45A5-A560-7F5AB81B56B4The sky is overcast with strips of sunlight piercing through the clouds. The air is crisp, with a faint, salty smell from the fishermen’s most recent catch in the harbor below. It’s a cool 45 degree day, and I am comfortable in my white down jacket and beanie hat that covers my ears. I’m walking along a narrow, dusty path that traces the side of the mountain. In front of me are strikingly green hills sprinkled with yellow ferns and vibrant purple heathers. The hills transform into moss-covered rock as they approach the sea, and the water calmly laps against the edges. It’s my first time venturing out of the city, and I now understand why Ireland is so famously called the Emerald Isle. The sight is spectacular and I am happy to have left the busy city for a day spent exploring the coastal town of Howth.


If you are visiting Dublin, a trip to Howth (pronounced Hoth) is a must. It is a small coastal town with gorgeous views, plenty to do, and provides a calming escape from the city. It’s only about a 35 minute train ride on the DART (the Irish rail system) from the city center and costs about 3.50 euro each way. Keep reading for ways to make the most of your day.

1. Meander through the Howth Market

Conveniently located directly across the street from the rail station is the Howth Market. An array of Irish crafts, such as handmade jewelry, are sold here and are great for gift shopping. However, there are some touristy-type items as well, such as overly-priced souvenirs, so be weary of that.

There’s also plenty of food vendors offering everything from steamy empanadas and sausages to freshly baked goods. If you’re like me and enjoy some hot soup when it’s a bit chilly out, I recommend getting the chowder. It’s creamy, filled with vegetables and chunks of fresh salmon and cod, and it’s the perfect snack to give you some fuel for the hike ahead.

2. Pick a trail and get hiking!

There are four hiking trails (blue, red, green, and purple) that provide scenic views of Howth, Dublin Bay, Baily’s Lighthouse, and Ireland’s Eye, an island just north of the harbor. Fortunately, there are signs for each trail immediately when you exit the rail station. Each trail has a varying level of difficulty with red and purple being the longest/most difficult.

I chose the green trail, which was relatively easier than I had anticipated. It was more of an upwards stroll rather than a hike, but it was relaxing and a great option if you are traveling with kids or want to bring your dog along (I met a cute Labrador named Trixie). The views were fantastic and the trail offered many photo-ops!

If you are looking to see the views but in need of something a little gentler than a hike, there is an option to drive or take a bus to the summit and then walk your way down until you reach the town of Howth.

1CDC34BC-050B-4C9C-91CB-503729FDD883

3. Have a beer at the Summit Inn

Once you’ve made your way to the top, you’ve earned yourself a nice cold brew. The Summit Inn serves a variety of hearty food and has relatively cheap beers on draft. It was originally built as a cottage in the 19th century and has an authentic Irish pub feel. It’s the perfect place to rest your feet before you begin the walk down to the town.

4. End the day with dinner at one of Howth’s many restaurants

Being a coastal town, most of the restaurants here are known for their freshly caught seafood. Having had chowder earlier in the day, I opted for something a bit more hearty, yet still an Irish classic: Shepard’s Pie. I ate at Dog House Blue’s Tea Room, a funky restaurant that features a dining area set up like a cozy outdoor living room with soft cushion chairs and couches. They have a wide selection of tea and coffee perfect for sipping in front of their fireplace.  It’s BYOB, so if you’d like to drink you’ll need to stop by a convenience store first.  They have heat lamps, so no need to worry about being cold!

If you are interested in sampling Irish fish and chips, many have recommended getting take away from Beshoff’s, a popular place with Dubliners. It’s a great option if you are looking to nibble on a classic as you stroll down the pier.

ED977F90-6DF4-4A38-8910-5D2D69B086BF


At the end of the day, all you have to do is hop on the train and it will take you directly back to Dublin’s center.

If you are only in Dublin for a few days but would like a chance to see all of the green that Ireland is so famous for, or if you would just like a calming escape from the bustling city center, Howth is great option.

Though it’s not necessary to plan much (half the fun is just discovering things to do as you go!),  Here is a link that provides more detail on things to do and places to eat in Howth.