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Sinaia is the most famous Romanian mountain restort and one of the oldest. Situated at an attitude between 767 m and 860 m, Sinaia is nicknamed "The Pearl Of The Carpathians", having ski slopes at an attitude of up to 2000 m.
The name Sinaia comes from a 17th century monastery built in the current area of the city by a Romanian nobleman upon return from a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai in Egypt.
It has been first attested in documents as a mountain resort in 1869, the year in which the town saw it's first hotel being build.
The climate in Sinaia is a subalpine one, characteristic for low altitute mountain passes. Average annual temperature is 8°C, average temperature in June is 15°C and average temperature in January is -4°C. Average annual rainfall is 900mm, the maximum being registered in June (173 mm) and the minimum in September (55 mm) and February (40 mm).
Snow falls start in November and stop in April or early May. The thickness of the snow fall varies between a couple of tens of centimeteres and up to three metres.
Sinaia experienced the effects of global warming during the past couple of years, this meaning summers with temperatures of over 30°C, shorter springs, summers and autumns and longer and colder (up to -25°C) winters.
The city is located in a mountainous region, at the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains.
Getting to & around
By car, Sinaia is reachable using European road 60 ("Drumul European 60").
Sinaia was the summer residence of the greatest Romanian composer of all time, George Enescu. His residence, now known as Vila Luminis hosts the George Enescu Museum.
Another important attraction is the Sinaia Monastery built in 1695 in Brancovenesc style by Mihail Cantacuzino.
The Sinaia Casino, a notable building, was build using the Monte Carlo Casino as model in 1921.
The Bucegi Museum located in the Cumpatu district is a showcase of the flora and fauna of the Bucegi Mountains.
There are also many winter sports facilities in Sinaia such as a bobsledding run, 1.5 km long and various ski runs enchanced with cabs, ski elevators and even floodlights in order to extend skiing time well into the night.
The winter slopes in Sinaia are situated at an altitude of 2000 m, offering the best high altitude ski experience in Romania. The slopes are divided into two sides: on one side of the mountain, the one pointing to the city, you can experience the most spectacular and dangerous slopes, also known as the black ones while on the other side of the mountain there's the Sun Valley ("Valea Soarelui" in Romanian) with easier slopes for beginners, intermediates as well as snowboarders.
During summer, Sinaia is the ideal place to pick as a starting point for forest hiking. The hiking routes on the Bucegi Mountains are well marked and in good shape. In Romania, all trails must be marked with colored signes and thus getting lost is going to be a challenge. You can also experience the artwork created by the forces of nature in a monument named "Babele" ("The Old Ladies") or in another monument named "The Sfinx" ("Sfinxul"). Both of the monuments are strange shaped rocks. Sounds quite basic but it'll surprise you.
If mountain biking is your thing, then the Bucegi Mountains is a great place to test your skills. You can use the high altitude trails for this and you can even reach the Omu Peak (2505 m), the highest in Bucegi, with your bike. If you didn't bring your bike with you, don't worry!, you can rent one in Sinaia.
Sinaia is known as having a stimulating climate with very clean air that's benefical for the human body. There are also a couple of mineral springs in the Dog's Valley (Valea Cainelui).
There's a botanical reservation named "Sinaia alder tree grove" at the entrace in the Cumpatu district. The reservation is placed under the protection of the Romanian Academy. In the very same place, there's a research station for ecology under UNESCO patronage.
Tourist camping is only authorised in designated places.
Perhaps the most important attraction in Sinaia (well, other than the winter sports facilities) and deserving its own section on this page, is the Peles Castle.
It was built using wood, stone, marble and bricks at the orders of King Carol I to be used as a royal residence for the summer in 1883. There are more than 160 rooms in it.
The castle is amongst the most beautiful in Europe and served as the resting place for Romanian monarchs such as King Carol I that died here in 1914.
The main style of the castle is Germain Renaissance though one might see that other styles were used in various other places such as Italian Renaissance, German Baroque, Gothic or French Rococo.
Peles Castle is surrounded by seven terraces hosting different statues, vases, marble or stone-made-walls. Wood has been used in abundance both inside and outside, giving the castle a special charm.
The castle became a museum since 1914. Ceausescu thought different about this though and closed it to the public during his regime. It was opened again for visits after the 1989 revolution and it is a must see landmark if you're in the area.
The rates for visitors in 2005 were:
- 10 RON per person - for both Romanian and foreign tourists;
- 5 RON per person - for students and military personnel.
Adjacent to Peles Castle there's a castle named Pelisor ("Little Peles").
King Ferdinand, the successor of King Carol I, wanted to use Peles as a summer residence but apparently found it too big for its own tastes and order a smaller castle to be built. And thus Pelisor.
Built in art-nouveau style, Pelisor comprises 70 rooms and features a unique collection of Vienesse furniture as well as Tiffany and lalique glassware.
The rates for visitors in 2005 were:
- 8 RON per person - for both Romanian and foreign tourists;
- 3 RON per person - for students and military personnel.
Smaller rates for a smaller castle, you might say.
Please visit our page of Sinaia hotels to get further information on Sinaia accommodation or to comment or rate a specific hotel.