If you close your eyes, can you visualize all the natural shades of green coming together to create an alpine setting perfect for a summer retreat? Imagine a place where the fresh air filling your lungs feels as if it was newly exhaled by the surrounding evergreen trees just for you.
Capture this image in your mind, place it on a perch among sloping mountain peaks and you have the darling town of Sinaia, Romania.
Sinaia has historic roots centuries-old but first took shape with the building of an Orthodox monastery in 1695. The town and the monastery are named in honor of Mount Sinai in Egypt. In the late 1800s, King Carol I fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding the monastery. He decided to build a summer residence in Sinaia known as Peles Castle.
Visit Sinaia Romania and Peles Castle and you’ll find yourself at the gateway into unspoiled and utterly romantic Transylvania.
Are you ready to board the train from Bucharest?
Grab a covrigi (see the deliciousness below) as a snack for the ride and let’s go!
Although technically still in the Wallachia region of Romania, Sinaia is an easy stop on the way from Bucharest to Brasov or as an excursion from Brasov. A CFR train from Bucharest to Sinaia takes about 1 1/2 hours and just 1 hour for journeys starting in Brasov. One-way tickets cost between $4-$10 US depending on your starting point.
You can spend as little as a 1/2 day in Sinaia or opt to stay the night to fully absorb Sinaia’s charm. If you’d like to hike through the Bucegi Mountains, add more time to your stay. You can easily spend a couple of days hiking the trails accessed from the cable car into the mountains, as well as plan multi-day hiking excursions to explore the surrounding area.
Traveling to Sinaia Soon?
Check the latest hotel prices in Sinaia.
If you’re stopping in Sinaia en route to Brasov or Bucharest, Hotel Caraiman, just up the steps from the train station, will hold your luggage for 10 lei ($2.50US). A fellow traveler shared the tip that Rina Hotel, also up the steps from the rail station, offers bag storage for a small fee, too.
Taxis stand at the ready outside the train station to carry visitors halfway up the hill, but the walk up to Sinaia Monastery and Peles Castle is lovely whether you use the shaded forest path or stay along the main road to see the potpourri of houses and buildings reflecting the time periods of Romania’s past.
Halfway through the walk from the train station, the forest path stops at the entrance gate to Sinaia Monastery. If you’ve taken the road, you’ll loop to the right and see signs showing the way.
Are you ready to go inside?
Access to the Monastery grounds is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. You’ll need to buy a ticket for 5 lei ($1.25 US) at the entrance.
Completed in 1846, the new church stands in front of you as you enter and is open to visitors.
Within the Monastery walls, circle the grounds on foot. You can also visit a small religious museum and go inside the building housing the bell tower.
Be sure to visit the old church in the back courtyard, which was completed in 1695.
The Orthodox-style walls and ceiling were recently restored.
The paintings and mosaics will capture your attention with their bright colors and detailed story scenes.
Your visit to the Sinaia Monastery won’t take much time but will leave you feeling as if you’ve discovered a special spot off-the-beaten-path. It’s just another showing Romania as a must-visit destination.
As you exit the Monastery, continue your walk to Peles Castle along the forest path. You’ll see the entrance again if you walk up from the Monastery and into a small parking area on the right. Or if you prefer, just keep walking uphill along the winding road.
It’s no secret Peles Castle is the gem of Sinaia. The castle and the grounds it sits upon are straight from the pages of a fairytale, like Sighisoara. From this vantage point, a velvety green grass directs your gaze up to the castle’s entrance while your ears take in the sounds of a small river flowing in the forest behind you.
Peles Castle is open for tours Tuesday-Sunday in summer (mid-May to mid-September) and Wednesday-Sunday in winter. Except for Wednesdays when tours begin at 11:00, the first tours begin at 9:15 a.m., with the last tours of the day starting at 4:15 p.m. You must join a guided tour in order to go inside Peles Castle.
You can choose to tour just the ground floor for 20 lei ($5.35 US) or the ground floor and the next floor up for 50 lei ($12.50 US). If it’s in your budget, choose to tour both floors. The view of the main foyer and the rooms upstairs are worth the extra bit.
Even better is having the upstairs almost entirely to yourself! When I visited, only 3 of us continued the tour. It was like having a private guide talk to you personally about the castle. I highly recommend!
You can’t take photos inside the castle unless you purchase a camera license for 32 lei ($8 US). Castle guides and employees take this seriously and patrol each room. If you want to take photos inside, buy the license in the holding room before starting your tour.
Would you like to see why Peles Castle is so special and a must while in Romania?
Don’t worry I won’t show you everything! You’ll have to visit for yourself! 😉
Peles Castle has what you’d expect for a royal residence, grandly designed rooms, luxurious tapestries and fabrics, expertly carved marble, and wood. This strikes you just as the tour begins with the staircase up to the main foyer.
The guide will tell you about the castle’s inauguration in 1883. You’ll hear about the furnishings and how Peles was the first castle in the world to be completely lit by electricity.
However, as you tour the rooms, what comes through is the humanity within the castle. It’s cozy. The genuine warmth of a real family living there has seeped into each room. The King’s love for Peles Castle is transparent. Furniture and design choices must have come from the royal’s deep connection to their summer residence and from what actually made sense from living there.
Upstairs, bedrooms are not cold chambers as you might expect to find. Rather, the King and Queen’s personal tastes are reflected in every detail. Can’t you imagine a person sleeping in that bed or reading a book in that chaise?
Having allowed yourself to get wrapped up in the fairytale of Peles Castle, you just might not want to leave. But, knowing you must, a friendly carving bids you a cheerful farewell. 🙂 Not to worry! Romania has plenty of other gems like Sibiu and Rasnov Fortress to discover!
Back outside, enjoy the views of the Carpathian Mountains in the distance just as the royal family did.
If you have the time and 20 lei to spare, stroll over to Pelisor Castle next door. Pelisor Castle was built at the turn of the 20th Century for King Carol’s nephew Ferdinand. He was next in line for the throne. Pelisor is more modest in its scale and decor, but completely worth a visit. You even get to use the door knocker to be let in!
After having spent a few hours immersed in a fairytale castle on top of a fairytale hill in Transylvania, you just might feel the urge to kick up your feet and skip back down the forest path. If you do, get a basket of fresh berries to complete your visit to Sinaia Romania and Peles Castle.
Would you like to visit Sinaia Romania and Peles Castle?
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42 thoughts on “How to Visit Sinaia Romania and the Wonderful Peles Castle”
Unfortunately my budget wouldn’t stretch to the upper floor tour or the permit for photos so it’s lovely to see what I missed 🙂
So glad to help out, Kiara! 😉 Seeing the ground floor is better than not visiting at all. Thanks for checking out my post hot off the presses!
I’ve never been to Romania, but your photos have sparked some wanderlust for it! Love the pictures of the monastery and the road leading to the castle. Your photos are truly lovely! Would you say it’s worth paying the extra to visit the upper floors and take pictures?
So glad to hear your wanderlust is piqued, Kim! I would pay to see the upstairs of Peles. The rooms are lovely, but there’s also a good chance you’ll have the guide to yourself or just a small group. I love taking photos so I paid the fee. I’d say about half the group paid and half chose not to.
I was a Peles just a few months ago. I thought it was worth the visit more so than the Dracula Castle (Bran). What I didn’t like is that you had to pay extra no top of the entrance fee if you wanted to take photos inside. Regardless, like you, highly recommend anyone to visit the Palace.
I totally agree, Adonis. Visit Peles over Bran if you’re looking for more authenticity and charm. The photo fee is a bit of a cash grab, but if the photos are important for you, it’s worth it.
Gosh, the architecture and orthodox art is REALLY striking, isn’t it! – looks like quite a unique place!
Yes! The colors and mosaics really grab you, Fiona.
Wow! What a magnificent place to visit. You sure provided wonderful photos. SI’m not sure I’ll ever get to Romania but if I do I’d love to see Peles Castle.
Thanks, Sue. 🙂 I hope you can make it to Romania someday!
Oh it really is beautiful and just like a fairytale. Well worth doing the extended tour to see the opulence upstairs. It’s amazing to see how well the furnishings and everything have been preserved, I’m more used to visiting Japanese castles and they are incredible but the inside is generally empty so it’s not so easy to imagine how life would have been back in their heyday
The personal touch really is part of the charm, Toni. Japanese castles must be so interesting from an architectural standpoint. I’d love to visit some, too. 🙂
I love the photo of the room with the harp in the middle. I definitely see what you mean about feeling the genuine warmth of the family through the castle. Really beautiful!
Thanks, Mar. 🙂 The warmth truly sets Peles apart from other castles.
I love the way you started this post. I’m a visual person so the minute I close my eye I’m picturing everything you are saying. Already loving it. The place is awesome. I love the harp in the middle of the room, very cool. Great post.
Pictures a great, right Christopher, but you really need the senses to go along with it to capture the experience, too. 🙂
I spent a week last August in Brasov, exploring Transylvania, and did a day in Sinaia. The Peles Castle was especially beautiful. Without a doubt, one of the more underrated travel areas in Europe. The whole region is so pretty!
You hit the nail on the head, Drew. Transylvania and Romania, in general, are certainly underrated European travel destinations. I think the boom is coming, though. So good you visited already!
I want to live in the castle :)! What a cool experience and everything looked and sounded amazing!! I would definitely be skipping down the forest path eating berries.
Wouldn’t that be fantastic to live in Peles Castle?! I’d definitely sign up for that, too, Bryanna! 🙂
I love a good castle and this one looks really quaint. Hope to see it in person one day
Hope you can make it to Peles Castle, too, Claire.
I love the Orthodox-style of the church; it’s so colorful! I had never really thought yo visit Romania, but I really want to now. Thanks for the inspiration Jackie!
Fantastic, Vicky! Romania is a hidden gem in Europe. You’re sure to love it!
Hi, Jackie! How long does it take to tour Peles castle?
Thanks for reading. Peles is great. I’d say about 3 hours altogether from the time you walk up to the castle, take the tour, see the grounds, and get back to the train. The tours are at set times so depending on when you arrive you may have to wait 15-20 mins for the next tour to start. I easily took the train from Bucharest, got off in Sinaia, stowed my luggage at a nearby hotel, toured the castle, and continued on to Brasov by train all by mid/late afternoon. Enjoy! It’s fantastic! 🙂
I am romanian and I’m proud to see other people notice what a beautiful country we have and actually seeing the good not just the bad.
Thanks for reading, Alex. Yes, I loved Romania! It’s a beautiful country. Hopefully, I’ll get to return someday. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experiences in Sinaia. Did you go on the cable car ride in Sinaia? If so can you share your experience?
Thanks so much for reading. I didn’t ride the Cable Car in Sinaia. I’m sorry I can’t offer any info or tips about it.
Thank you so much for your helpful directions. Unfortunately due to train delays I arrived at the castle too late to do the full tour but it will encourage me to come back one day!
Thought it might be worth mentioning that you can also store your luggage at the station for 10 lei (opening hours 9am-7pm) 🙂
Thanks for reading, Laura. Sorry to hear you couldn’t do the castle tour! That stinks. 🙁 Great tip about the train station luggage storage. When I was there, they didn’t have it…or something got lost in translation! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your Romania trip.
is there any bus from train station to Peles Castle?
Thanks for reading, Norma. There are 3 public bus routes in Sinaia and I believe it’s T1 that gets you closest to the castle. If not, there are also taxis typically waiting outside the train station to drive you up the hill. Enjoy Peles Castle! It’s fantastic. 🙂
Where did you buy the berries 🙂
Ha! I’ve never been asked that before. 🙂 I bought them from a few women who were selling them as I walked back down from the castle. They were along the path through the woods. If I remember correctly, there were a few others selling crafts, too.
Hi Jackie! Well, after reading several pages on visiting the castle looks like i’m first on the internet to me tion that the last ticket for both floors is sold at 3:15. Of course i walked very slowly up from the train and had a sandwich and coffee only to be told at 3:30 it was ground floor only. Also I hadn’t read cash only so i had to run around a bit to find two more lei to go inside. Today, Sept 2019, it’s now 30 lei for one floor and 60 for both. Had a wonderful sunny day but boy oh boy do i wish i had read the 3:15 thing. It’s not on any sign at the castle, ticket booth, or website. Thanks for the great post!
Thanks for reading, Shade. And man, am I sorry to hear that! I will update the post with this info. I appreciate you sharing your experience.
I fell on your blog post about Romania as I’m looking to book a little holiday there in October – I will probably stay in Bucharest with day trips in the countryside. One question is haunting me: in mid-October will the place already have turned cold, grey and misty/foggy and more difficult to enjoy? I come from the eastern region of France where the mist/fog is swallowing the best of your day from mid-October and throughout the winter months. For that reason, I recommend to visit Burgundy in the spring, summer and september months. What about Romania? Thank you from a fellow teacher, Viv
Thanks so much for reading, Viv. Romania will be cooler in October but it’s still within the frame of time when it’s ideal to visit. The Fall colors will be a pretty sight to see! Hope you have a great trip! 🙂
You are the first blogger / traveler to pay the photo tax at Peles Castle and actually post some photos from the interior. It is truly stunning and worth the extra money for the extended tour & photo tax. I’m still not sure why they have this photo tax but… it’s their decision and if you’re passionate about photography, simply pay it! You will see why…
Thank you for reading, Robert. I love to take photos and I didn’t want to regret not being able to take photos once I got upstairs. 🙂