Planning a trip May 2016 to include Transylvania area and beyond. Had full intentions of driving and a Romanian friend is discouraging me from doing so. I told her we would be primarily in the country and she insisted it was not a good idea. Anyone out there in travel space experienced this? Thank you!
Driving there is a little bit on the wild side but doable. Don't drive at night. By the way Romania is in Europe, not beyond.
We seldom hear of tourists driving throughout the Romanian countryside, as most just visit Bucharest. It's also a country where many rental car operations don't want their cars going. Romania may be best traveled with a professional tour guide leading the way.
Years ago, I read of a tour guide that led incredible trips into the back roads of Romania. His reviews were so good on him that I took note of his website: http://www.covinnus.com
Another fine local Bulgarian tour operation is Pavlina Docheva at Easy Bulgaria Travel Ltd.. You can read of their services at http://www.easytouristguides.com, and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 00359 2 967 0260.
These tour operators' itineraries would be useful to someone that wanted to travel off the beaten path of this country. I know so little of Romania that I've not even heard of most of the cities they visit.
Can you ask your friend why she is discouraging this and post it here? There doesn't seem anything unique to driving in Romania that would be really difficult - it seems well signed. There are always warnings about driving at night, probably due to visibility issues and poor road conditions in some places.
As for the prior comment, (American) tourists do not mostly visit Bucharest - rather they land in Bucharest and head straight for Transylvania (including Brasov, Sighisoara, Peles and Bran castles, etc). In general, I think knowledge about this country is very thin in the US. Check out a Lonely Planet book and look to other forums to get a better idea (this is really not a good forum on Romania).
Go for it. Just don't drive at night as the roads are a bit poor and they are narrower than what you're used to. There's little need to have to drive at night anyway so don't worry about it.
Go to google maps and look at street views or photos there and you'll see it's just like driving in a lot of less-developed places. no big deal.
The main problem with driving at night are unlit horse wagons, bicyclists, pedestrians etc.
My husband, daughter, and I drove through Romania, including Transylvania, and found it to be mostly easy. You do need to check and see if there are car rental restrictions depending on your trip. We were driving through several eastern European countries and had to rent a car in Germany in order to be allowed to take it from country to country. Call the car rental agency and ask if there are restrictions. Pay special attention to laws from country to country regarding such things as driving with lights on or lights off. We were stopped once because we didn't have our lights on. Luckily we were send on our way without an incident. Also, maps may at times indicate a major road, and the reality may be a dirt road. We thought we were going on a major road such as a highway, and it turned out to be a quite rough [but passable] road. My husband and daughter finally got out and jogged while I drove because our pace was about the same. It was a beautiful jog and I have several memorable photos of the two of them crossing the Romanian countryside. Also, road are not always clearly named and/or marked. Sometimes we got from place to place by following the signs from village to village, but we always made it. When you book hotels, make sure to book hotels that have locked parking so your car will be safely looked after during your stay. All said, it really was a lovely experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!