I have about 2 weeks schedules for a trip to Romania and Bulgaria. Does anyone have any recommendations on where? I've heard (according to Rick) that Bucharest isn't necessarily worth a visit while Sofia might be. Has anyone been to Suceava or the Black Sea coast? I'd like to do a little more than the typical Transylvania thing. Also...I won't have a car.
We traveled through the Balkans last year. In Bulgaria, we visited Sofia (need 2 days here) Plovdiv with a short side trip to the Bachkovo monastery) and then Veliko Tarnovo before heading to Bucharest. We did not spend too much time in Bucharest but headed for Brasov and did visit Bran (aka Dracula's) castle from there. Loved Brasov and my kids enjoyed Bran castle. Can't speak to the Black Sea coast or some of the other great towns in Romania as we didn't have any more time.
I went to Sofia expecting a dreary, drity ex-communist capital (like Skopje). I left with the complete opposite impression. Sofia has some of the most impressive Orthodox churches outside of Russia, and it is a very pleasant, walkable city.
We went to Romania Sept of 2007. We stayed in Sighisoara for 4 nights at the Casa Cu Cerb www.casacucerb.ro
We took a train to Brasov and met a tour guide and a driver. They took us to Peles Castle (wonderful) and Bran Castle (located in a neat little town). There was a walled town called Rasnov that we didn't have time to go visit, but I wish we would have. I liked Sighisoara but probably should have stayed a couple nights in Brasov. It seems like a good place to do some day trips from. If you want my tour guides contact information, drop me an email. Both her and the driver were very knowledgable and professional.
I've been to Sofia and I wasn't really impressed.
Bucharest is quiet dirty and crowded, but if you have enough time, maybe spend 1 day or 2. You can take a look to one of the largest building in Europe, Casa Poporului=people's house. I heard you can visit it inside, but not sure when.
Transylvania is cool. Go to Brasov and Poiana Brasov, Sigisoara, Sibiu. All mostly German cities.
Suceava is not that spectecular. It's in North and it's very different than center Romania. The mountains are great in Romania, if you would like to do some hiking.
About Black sea. when I was there last time in 2002 , the beaches were very dirty, hotels looked outdated and prices were high. Customer service was bad and I heard some German companies canceled their deals with that part of Romania because of that.
Constanta, the largest city in taht area might be worth a short visit.It still has some Turkish reminicenses sepaking of buildings and people. There is mosque there,also the post is kind of nice, Ovidius' tomb I think is there also.
Tripadvisor.com has some good posts about Romania.