Travelling to Romania with Kids – Suggested Itineraries
As an intrepid traveler when I was first invited to join Easyjet’s inaugural flight to Bucharest, I jumped at the chance, then it donned on me….
‘Where the h*ll is Bucharest?’
I’ve been to Budapest in 2000 for the Solar Eclipse, but drew a blank on Bucharest, after a quick Google I worked out it’s in Romania and the same part of the world but farther south bordering the Black Sea and is less than 3 hours away by plane. As it’s farther south it was about 5 degrees warmer, so made it very pleasant in late October.
Prior to my visit to Bucharest I knew very little about Romania. I was in my last year of high-school during the revolution and my world didn’t extend much further than my home town. The only other experience I had was the documentary ‘Children Underground’ (2001) which follows a group of homeless youth while they try to survive in the streets and subways of Bucharest, which may have left me with the wrong impression of Bucharest, it’s not to say that this doesn’t still happen, but I felt just as safe walking around the city as I would in any large city.
‘Little Paris of the East’
With the recent investments by the EU I can’t help feeling that Bucharest is an up and coming destination. It boasts large boulevards, lots of green space, loads of museums, the old town is heaving with outdoor bars and cafes and the people are extremely friendly. Definitely a great weekend city destination for couples.
Things to do in Bucharest with Kids
I didn’t have my daughter with me but on any trip I’m always looking at it from a families perspective. Would I bring my daughter here? Yes, I do think the capital city is a great start to any holiday in Romania and will put things into context for you. So, before you dash off to the visit the fairy-tale castles, beaches and small towns spend a day or two in Bucharest.
Although very interesting and informative for adults, I do think a trip to the Palace of Parliament, walking tours and some of the museums may be a bit heavy for younger kids and not overly engaging/interactive but I would recommend a visit to the places below.
The Village Museum is a must. 5o buildings representing the history of rural architecture in Romania have been transported from their original locations and rebuilt giving you an opportunity to explore inside and out. The Museum is set in 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau. Take a picnic and make a day of it.
In summer time, they have tonnes of workshops for children. Handicrafts, weaving classes, music classes, painting Easter eggs, traditional art, religious art (icon painting) and other fun activities. You can spend a half a day there.
I really wanted to go to the Peasant Museum, a collection of artifacts representing rural peasant life in Romania, there is also a display of communist iconography in the basement which also includes one of the very few pictures still remaining of Ceauşescu unfortunately time wouldn’t permit.
The Geology Museum is also a must as they are one of the only museums in Bucharest that has actively put on activities for kids.
The Bucharest parks are quite amazing, with lots of flowers and beautiful trees. Cismigiu is the most central of the parks and boasts 30,000 trees, with a big lake in the middle where you can hire small boats and hydrobicycles and in the winter it turns into a skating rink, open-air cafe’s, and a large children’s playground. Herastrau Park is one of the most popular parks on the northern side of Bucharest covering 187 hectares and home to the Village Museum although it’s busy it’s large enough to swallow up the crowds. And don’t overlook Tineretului and Titan as some of the locals argue that they’re far superior to Cismigui and Herastrau.
There is a small zoo, which won’t compare to some of the larger zoos that you may have visited but has an excellent display of exotic birds and would make a good half day out.
Eating out with kids in Bucharest
In Bucharest , you will find every kind of eating establishment from fast food to Michelin Star. The majority of restaurants are child friendly but do bear in mind many of them still have large smoking sections and can get a bit smoky. To avoid this I’d suggest eating a bit earlier, self catering or find one that is non-smoking.
Suggested Itineraries for Romania
If you’re planning a family holiday to Romania, I’ve quizzed the locals about suggested itineraries for family breaks. Here are two suggested itineraries, you could stretch them out for longer breaks.
Itinerary one (7 days)
Bucharest – 2 days
Danube Delta – 3 days
5 hours drive from Bucharest, also accessible by train is a natural wonder. Children are delighted to see thousands of birds, nenufars and other aquatical plants. While you enter the natural reservation the landscape is truly amazing. Children can learn how to fish or swim in the Danube. Hiring boats is not expensive. The food (based on fish and related products) is great. You can see and explore the point where the Black Sea meets the Danube and also enjoy quite virgin beaches.
The seaside – 2 days
It is two hours drive from the Danube Delta. In Mamaia resort you have lots of clubs and an intense night life. In Vama Veche resort you have a hippie atmosphere.
Itinerary Two (6 Days)
Bucharest – 2 days
Sinaia- 2 days
2 hours drive from Bucharest (if not in the week-end) Sinaia- Peleş Castle, an adventure park suitable for children, the mountains (highly accessible for all ages).
Braşov – 1 day
Braşov – 1 hour drive from Sinaia Braşov- a mountain city, with gothic churches and an excellent Aqua Park. Bran Castle, often named Dracula’s Castle even the history tells us that it has nothing to do with Dracula .
Sibiu – 1 Day
2 hours drive from Braşov Sibiu region- isolated villages with traditional houses, excellent for families as the children can play in big gardens, just near the woods.
A HUGE thank you to Ana-Maria Caia who put these itineraries together for us. If you do take a trip to Romania with your kids or have been already I’d love to hear your tips.
Flights to Bucharest
With easyJet now flying into Bucharest 4 times a week with fares starting from as little as £28.49 including taxes (per person based on two people flying on the same booking) it’s never been easier.
And if you’re just looking for a weekend away easyJet Holidays are offering a two night stay at the Grand Hotel Continental in Bucharest for £140 per person, which includes flights (price correct as of the 15th October 2013) for more details check out easyJet Holidays.