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Train from Budapest to Transylvania

Planning a 10 day trip to Budapest April 2018 with my wife and father in law who are Hungarian. This will be second trip to Hungary for wife and I and my father in law goes back 1-2 times per year. Considering a mini trip( two nights perhaps) within time frame to visit Transylvania, either Sighisoara or Brazov. Need advice on planning or feedback from anyone( James E comes to mind) who has done this and if they have a preference between the two towns or another suggestion. Thank you in advance.

Posted by
4637 posts

I haven't been to Sighisoara. Brasov is pretty historic city in the mountains. But it certainly won't be a mini trip from Budapest. There are 4 direct trains. The fastest is a little over 13 hours, the slowest little over 16. I would take a sleeper. To fly you would probably have to fly to Bucuresti and then by train. Theoretically that could be a little faster. You can check train schedule on Deutsche Bahn website.
Many years ago I took train from Prague (via Budapest) to Sinaia which is station beyond Brasov. Of course a sleeper. It's a long ride.

Posted by
6758 posts

I think the best/easiest connections with Budapest are Timișoara or maybe Oradea, neither of which are in Transylvania but still appear to be lovely and interesting places to visit. I would look to see if there is anything resembling a high speed train to either of those two cities, which are at least closest to the Hungarian border. To get to Sighsoara or Brasov, you're better off starting in Bucharest first.

It doesn't seem like a 2 day jaunt to see Transylvania would be worthwhile if you're coming all the way from Budapest. Even if you were coming from Bucharest, it still doesn't seem like enough time to see such a big region given the time spent in transit. Trains in Romania are slow - 30 mph.

Posted by
153 posts

Thanks Ilja, good to know. Knew it would be overnight, but wasn't sure if it was worth the time out of the trip. Becoming very interested in Romania but maybe a separate trip of it's own?

Posted by
153 posts

Thank you Agnes. We are planning to see my father-in -law's hometown of Szeged which is close to Timosoara. That might be a better option.

Posted by
6758 posts

I have not been to Timișoara, but the architecture looks gorgeous. The city gets very positive reviews in general, and I think it would be very worthwhile to visit. It makes much more sense than Transylvania for the purposes of your short trip.

Posted by
4637 posts

Szeged is in Hungary. It's a hometown of szegedin goulash - very good. Try it when there.

Posted by
12576 posts

Brasov was "interesting" for me.
Sighisoara was "AMAZING" for me.
Timișoara was............ well, never been there. But it is always well spoken of.

Posted by
12576 posts

But as noted, they are sort of far out there unless you fly.

Bill, you know i go to Budapest at least 3 times a year, but there is more to the world so I rarely just go to Hungary. There are so many time efficient options that it becomes hard to choose. There are discount flights to/from Budapest to Cluj and Bucharest. Fly into Bucharest from the states and drive through the heart of Transylvania and then out of Cluj to Budapest. Or fly into Bucharest and drive to Szeged, Contact Daniel Georghita at http://covinnus.com/ and tell him what you want to do. He will probably be able to arrange it.

For us, every trip is someplace new and Hungary with either an open end on the way in or a RT in the middle of our stay.

Posted by
6737 posts

Same as James -- Sighisoara is gorgeous, Brasov is interesting.

If your father-in-law is from Szeged and you're going there, why not stop in Kecskemet on the way there or way back? Beautiful city with great Art Nouveau architecture and a cool photography museum.

Posted by
19214 posts

Timisoara is, indeed, a good place to visit. The historic core has a lot of half-timbered buildings, now mostly in good repair. It's the city where the revolution started; there's a good, if very old-fashioned, museum on the subject. Probably because of the location, the city has a sort of western feel. I had quinoa in a small restaurant, for example.

I only visited Oradea briefly, but it has some cool art deco buildings. Not the same density as the half-timber you'll find in Timisoara and some other Romanian cities.

Cluj-Napoca also has a good-sized historic district and feels rather prosperous. One of the local youth hostels puts together groups for 1- and 2-day small-group tours. You don't have to be staying at the hostel to participate. I loved the 2-day Maramures tour I took. The wooden churches are stunning, and it's a very folklore-rich area.

Posted by
153 posts

Thank you all for the helpful replies. A lot to think about and plan, which is half the fun. Romania is beckoning but might just dip into Timosoara this time around as there is still much in Hungary we would like to tackle and also spend time with my wife's family