When planning a European interrailing trip, it’s often tempting to stay within the traditional tourist zones - Eastern Europe has always been a favourite with our customers, with cities like Budapest and Prague being among the most popular - however at Euroventure we always recommending going a bit further afield if you can. Not only will it benefit your pocket, it will also give you a great insight into Europe’s huge variety of cultures and historical significance across the continent. Plus, Europe train schedules are really great, and with a limited budget, you can easily design a great trip.
You might not have considered it, but Romania’s capital is one of the best emerging destinations for European backpackers and younger travellers. And it’s easy to see all the country using the Romania train system. Up until more recently it has remained somewhat of a hidden gem in Eastern Europe, with its melting pot of cultures – Latin, Roma and Slavic – which combine to give the city a unique and exotic feel. Nowadays the city is coming into its own as a fascinating, budget-friendly and welcoming capital city - one which is the perfect place for backpackers and low-cost travellers looking to explore Europe in more depth. As already said, the Europe train schedule is great, so with a bit of planning you can have a blast!
Like many other Eastern European countries, Romania doesn’t use the Euro but has its own national currency (Leu), which is one of the reasons it remains a very affordable place to visit. Bucharest travel is easy as the prices for accommodation, food and drink are quite reasonable. This makes it the perfect place to start a longer period of travelling as you won’t bankrupt yourself before you’ve begun! A three course meal in most restaurants won’t be too much more than 12 Euro per person, while a beer should set you back less than 2 Euro per pint. Compare this to many European capitals and the advantages are clear – you can easily find yourself paying up to 7 or 8 euros for a beer in some touristy cities!
Being a vibrant city with a large student population means Bucharest has a great variety of cafes, bars and clubs where you can take advantage of these low prices. Some of our favourites include Acuarela – a colourful bar with innovative and artistic décor – and Gradina Eden, whose beautifully lit terrace is a favourite place to hang out on a summer evening. Without strict licensing laws restricting opening times, Bucharest’s nightlife continues into the early morning and centres around the Old Town area – a great new addition is Shift Pub with its amazing urban gardens, sitting alongside old favourites such as Caru’ Cu Bere.
As well as a network of public transport which makes it very easy to get around the city, Bucharest is (contrary to popular opinion) very well connected to the rest of Eastern Europe train schedule and through to Western Europe too. In fact, it has the most extensive transport system in the whole of Romania, meaning it’s the perfect place to start a European adventure. Plus, Romania train tickets are fairly cheap, when compared to other Eastern European countries, so you are easily able to get a bang for your buck.
Regular services include:
- Frequent trains to Brasov which is a great gateway to the well-known Transylvania region, with its famous fairy tale castles, mysterious forests and mythical history. Bucharest to Brasov by train is a quick 2.5 hours trip, and it’s breaking up any onward journeys nicely.
- Nightly sleeper trains run to Budapest and Belgrade, connecting Bucharest to major transport hubs further West such as Vienna and Berlin.
- Nightly services to Sofia in Bulgaria, which in turn connects Eastern Europe to Greece via Thessaloniki. From here you can even venture into Turkey and central Asia at the very furthest frontier of Europe.
These trains do however take a little bit of research, as the timetables can change and tickets can be hard to source from abroad given all the different providers and postage charges. However, Europe train schedules are easily available online. The tickets you can either buy at the station, however buying them in advance saves money and stress.
If you want to plan a European adventure around Bucharest but you’re not sure where to start, then why not save yourself the hassle of planning it all yourself. Euroventure offers personalised Interailing itineraries all over Europe – from Greece to Finland to Portugal. Check out our readymade packages including trips to Bucharest, Brasov and the rest of Eastern Europe at www.euroventure.eu/packages or create a custom quote including these cities today at https://www.euroventure.eu/create-euroventure-interrail-route-planner/ !
Words by Catherine Livesley for Euroventure