getting from bucharest to transylvania

Street map focused in on Bucuresti, Romania. Getting from Bucharest to Transylvania

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If you’re coming to Transylvania via plane, chances are you’ll be flying in to either Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) or Budapest Ferenc Liszt (BUD). Despite it being slightly farther away from the Transylvania region, you’ll probably fly into Bucharest OTP. Traveling within Romania is not always as straightforward as traveling within the rest of Europe. This is largely due to the fact that Romania’s infrastructure is sorely lacking – and the trains are usually slower than the buses! Still, there are plenty of options for getting from Bucharest to Transylvania, no matter where in the region you’re staying.

For links and resources, scroll to the bottom of the post.

important things to note

taking the train

The rail system in Romania is not as fast, advanced, or as well-connected as other European rail systems. While it’s an inexpensive option, don’t expect to get where you’re going very fast! If night trains are available, these will be your best option for longer distances. Not only do you get to lay down and rest, but you also save some time as well as save on a night of accommodation!

renting a car

Renting a car to drive from Bucharest to Transylvania is a good option, but stay on alert if you’ve never driven in Romania before. Particularly in Bucharest, where the traffic is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure.

Be sure to have your IDP (International Driver’s Permit) if it’s required based on your country of citizenship.

domestic flights

Bucharest is connected to many of the local airports in Transylvania, so depending on your time constraints and your luggage situation, taking a domestic flight may be your most attractive option.

general take-aways

Driving is generally the fastest and most efficient option to travel within Romania. If you have access to your own vehicle or can rent a car, this is your best bet.

The cities of Timișoara, Arad, and Oradea are more easily accessed by flying into Budapest. Depending on where specifically you are going in Transylvania, this may be a better option.


when is the best time to visit transylvania?

getting from bucharest to…

cluj-napoca

Views of Cluj-Napoca from Cetatuia Park during sunset.

train

The fastest train from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca takes over nine hours. There are numerous trains throughout the day, including some overnight options. An overnight train is ideal, since it saves you money on a night of accommodation. Total costs to get from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca by train runs between $13-$60 USD. The cost largely depends on which train you choose and, if you opt for a sleeper train, which sleeper compartment. The higher price tier is for a single sleeper compartment.

bus

Transport by bus is also an option from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca. The direct ride is about nine hours and costs around $20 USD. Fany operates the direct bus route that departs Bucharest once daily.

There is also a bus route via Piteşti that is much faster despite the transfer involved. This option takes just under seven hours and costs $30-$60 USD.

plane

Flying to Cluj-Napoca from Bucharest is probably the easiest and fastest option. This flight is operated by Blue Air, takes 55 minutes (of air time), and prices start at just $17 USD for a one-way ticket.

car

If you want to take a scenic drive through the mountains to reach Cluj-Napoca, renting a car is also an option. The drive takes about six hours. This option is great if you want to do some sightseeing or plan on using a rental car for the duration of your trip, departing Romania from OTP once your vacation is over.

things to do in cluj-napoca

day trips from cluj-napoca


sibiu

Views of Piata Mica in Sibiu from Council Tower.

train

There are three daily trains departing Bucharest for Sibiu, all taking between five and six hours. Prices range from $8-$26 USD. Trains depart at 09:55, 16:40, and 17:45 daily. This is an inexpensive and hassle-free way to travel from Bucharest to Sibiu. Plus, it doesn’t take all that long! Trust me, once you’ve been in Romania a while and begin traveling around the country, travel times don’t seem quite as long as you get accustomed to them!

bus

Fany and Tur Cento Trans both operate daily buses that travel from Bucharest to Sibiu. The route takes five-ish hours and starts at $11 USD.

plane

Although there is an airport in Bucharest and an airport in Sibiu, flights between the two require connections and over 10 hours! Find an alternate route.

car

Driving from Bucharest to Sibiu takes about four hours. Driving will always be your fastest option between these two destinations.

things to do in sibiu

where to eat in sibiu


timișoara

Colorful piata in Timisoara, Romania with bright flowers in the foreground.

train

A direct train departs from Bucharest and lasts upwards of nine hours. Prices range from $13-$42 USD.

There is also a night train option that leaves around 22:00 and arrives around 08:00 the next morning, also within the aforementioned price bracket. This is a really attractive option if you’ve had a long-haul flight and just want to lay down!

bus

Unlike most other bus routes from Bucharest to Transylvania, this option actually takes longer than the train! The bus departs daily at 07:35 and takes upwards of 11 hours.

Viitorul Transport operates this bus route. Prices range from $19-$29 USD.

plane

The plane ride from Bucharest to Timișoara is a great option if you’re short on time or don’t have a lot of wiggle-room in your schedule. The flight itself is only 55 minutes (not including check-in, baggage claim, etc.) and costs $14-$110 USD depending on the time of year.

car

The drive from Bucharest to Timișoara takes just under seven hours. Personally, I think the night train or flying would be better options. However, if you’re planning on renting a car for the duration of your trip and are departing again from Bucharest, this option might make the most sense for you.

things to do in timișoara


brașov

Red rooftops of Brasov in the forest-covered mountains of Transylvania.

train

There are plenty of different train options from Bucharest to Brașov, the shortest of which lasts two and a half hours. The prices range from $4-$15 USD. Given its (relatively) close proximity, you have plenty of time tables from which to choose.

bus

Fany offers bus transit to Brașov daily, albeit at an odd hour – the bus leaves at 02:00 and arrives in Brașov around 05:40. So, if you’ve got a flight arriving at OTP late night/early morning, this may be a good option for you. It’s more expensive than the train and takes a bit longer, so if your schedule allows, the train is a better option. Prices run from $12-$17 USD.

plane

There is no airport in Brașov, and thus no air options between Bucharest and Brașov.

car

Driving is the fastest and most convenient option, and takes under two and a half hours.

thing to do in brașov

day trips from brașov


târgu mureș

Colorful buildings of Targu Mures, Romania during springtime.

train

There is one direct train from Bucharest to Târgu Mureș, which departs Bucharest daily at 12:15. The train ride lasts just under nine hours, putting you at Târgu Mureș around 21:00. This option costs roughly $11-$36 USD.

bus

Fany operates a bus running between Bucharest and Târgu Mureș, taking just under seven hours. The bus departs at 02:00, however, so this option is really only feasible if your plane gets in super late. Prices between $16-$24 USD.

plane

Flights from Bucharest to Târgu Mureș aren’t an option – the closest city Bucharest flies to is Cluj-Napoca. Find an alternate route.

car

Driving from Bucharest to Târgu Mureș will take just under five hours.


oradea

Riverfront buildings in Oradea, Transylvania, Romania under cloudy skies.

train

The train ride from Bucharest to Oradea is looong! There are a few different options, but the shortest route still takes over 12 hours. I strongly suggest not taking a train unless it’s a night train, which are also available. Prices range from $17-$50 USD, depending on which route and which class you choose.

bus

The bus from Bucharest to Oradea is slightly shorter, however it’s indirect and requires a transfer in Pitești. The total travel time is under 11 hours and price ranges from $44-$60 USD.

plane

Flights from Bucharest to Oradea are your best bet – the flight time is only 55 minutes. Depending on what time of year you fly, prices range from $35-$55 USD. It’s definitely worth a little extra money to get there so quickly.

car

Driving from Bucharest to Oradea takes just about eight hours. Depending on your rental car needs, this could be a good option. If you don’t need a rental car for your trip, however, I’d opt for flying or a night train.


arad

Arad Town Hall with colorful flowers in the foreground under bright blue skies.

train

The train from Bucharest to Arad takes just under 11 hours. There are a couple of different options available, including a night train. For long distances and long travel times, I always recommend taking the night train. You don’t ‘waste’ as much time, plus you get a night of ‘free’ accommodation! Taking a train from Bucharest to Arad costs between $20-$50 USD depending on which train and which class you choose.

bus

The bus from Bucharest to Arad takes over 12 hours. I do not recommend this option, as it is more expensive than the train and does not have a night option (meaning, a place to lie down and sleep!). Prices start at $24 USD.

plane

Although Arad does have an airport, there are no direct flights from Bucharest. Find an alternate route.

car

Driving to Arad from Bucharest takes just under seven hours. It’s the closest city on our list to the Hungarian border, so if you have the option, consider flying into Budapest instead.


baia mare

Wooden churches in Baia Mare, Romania (Transylvania).

train

There is only one direct train traveling from Bucharest to Baia Mare, which departs daily at 06:00 and arrives at 20:00, with a total travel time of 14 hours. And there are NO night trains – oof. Prices from $18-$55 USD.

bus

Fany offers one bus from Bucharest to Baia Mare. The route takes just under 12 hours (11:30-23:15). Prices range from $23-$35 USD.

plane

The flight from Bucharest to Baia Mare involves one hour and 25 minutes of flight time, with prices ranging from $35-$80 USD.

car

Traveling from Bucharest to Baia Mare by car takes about eight hours.


satu mare

Famous fountain of Satu Mare with blue water in Romania.

train

There are no direct trains from Bucharest to Satu Mare. If you don’t mind a connection, there is one option that requires a transfer in Brașov. This may be an option for you if you want to see some sights in Brașov or stop for a bite to eat. The total travel time with this route is just over 14 hours and costs between $20-$60 USD.

bus

Fany offers a direct bus from Bucharest to Satu Mare. The trip duration is still quite long, at about 12 hours. Prices range from $25-$40 USD. There is one bus departing daily, which leaves at 11:30 and arrives in Satu Mare at 00:15 (next day).

plane

The total flight time between Bucharest to Satu Mare is one hour and 25 minutes, with costs ranging from $55-$130 USD.

car

Driving from Budapest to Satu Mare takes about eight and a half hours.


resources & links

Things to do in Transylvania

MAV Railways

Romanian Railways (CFR)

Skyscanner

Flixbus

Fany


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