Peleş Castle: an easy day trip from Bucharest

You don’t have to be in Germany to visit a German castle…

Back in early March, I headed to Bucharest for the weekend to explore more of Romania, during which time we headed to the beautiful Peleș Castle – one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. Located in the mountain resort town of Sinaia, Peleș Castle is an easy daytrip from Bucharest.

Peles Castle exterior close-up 5

On your approach, the first thing you’ll notice is the incredible setting the castle is located in. The mountainous backdrop makes for some amazing photos on a clear day, and the forests add a classic bit of Transylvanian charm. It’s easy to see why King Carol of Romania fell in love with the area when he visited in 1886.

Peles Castle exterior close-up 4

The setting is quite unique in that it perfectly suits dark ominous clouds for a gothic look, or bright blue skies fit for an Alpine setting.

Peles Castle exterior

The exterior of the castle is very impressive. It was inspired by German-style Alpine villas, giving it the look of a very ambitious hunting lodge.

Peles Castle exterior close-up 3

The history of Peleş Castle

The castle was built between 1873 and 1914 on a spot that Romania’s first King, Carol I, reportedly fell in love with.

It's easy to see why King Carol was so taken with the area
It’s easy to see why King Carol was so taken with the area

Born Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the King brought many German influences to his new residence, which was built to resemble a hunting lodge.

Peles Castle courtyard

At the time of its completion, Peles Castle was a relatively modern castle, featuring full plumbing, flushing toilets and was even fully electrified using locally-produced power.

After the forced abdication of King Michael I in 1947, the castle was rarely used, but was fully restored after the fall of Communism in Romania.

Peleş Castle Interior

Peles boasts over 170 different rooms, many with different themes and styles, including a striking Oriental room and ‘English-style’ taps in all bathrooms. The interior features many Germanic influences and nods to Baden-Württemberg, King Carol’s home region.

Peles Castle interior 2

Peles Castle interior 3

Most of the interior is focused around a striking mint-green atrium, decorated with very dark wooden features. The atrium spans several floors, and includes a beautiful spiral staircase, which hovers on the second floor. (Excuse my very blurry photos!)

Peles interior

Peles Castle interior 5

Peles Castle interior 4

In the library, you’ll find a secret passageway which led to the King’s private chambers. However, rather than functioning as a secret escape route or a hidden storage room, the passage simply allowed the King to access his offices quicker. Bit boring, if you ask me.

Can you spot the hidden door?
Can you spot the hidden door?

One quirk of the palace is that many doors are disguised to appear like wardrobes, for some reason. I’m not really sure what the reasoning for this was but it’s pretty cool all the same.

White wardrobe or hidden entrance?
White wardrobe or hidden entrance?

To get a better insight into the castle and its rooms, I would really recommend the English-language tour that the castle offers – it delves into the history of the palace and allows you to explore several rooms. However, the tour does get very busy so make sure you stick close to the tour guide to make sure you catch all the information. You can find more information here.

The popular English-language tour
The popular English-language tour

Also in the region

Whilst in Sinaia, you can also explore the simple monastery, located on a small hill above the town.

Sianaia Monastery

Sinaia Monastery 2

If you have more time (and access to a car), you can also drive to or through the scenic village of Busteni. The town is home to the less-attractive and far less impressive Cantacuzino Castle, formerly home to one of the richest families in Romania. However, the real draw here is the fantastic views of Bucegi Mountains, which rise up sharply to the immediate West of the town.

I did this day trip with fellow bloggers Vlad from Eff it I’m on Holiday and Adri from CityoftheWeek. Check out their excellent posts on the day here:

Disclaimer: many thanks to Peleş Castle for the complimentary tour, however all opinions stated here are my own.


7 thoughts on “Peleş Castle: an easy day trip from Bucharest

  1. As a kid, we did a lot of school trips at this castle and I was always imagining secret tunnels leading to secret rooms and was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to visit them. I think I was even more disappointed as an adult to learn they are merely shortcuts 🙁 Your photos are great, considering how poor the light is in there.

    I had a great time with you and Adri that day, we should do it again sometime! 😀

    1. Haha, thanks Vlad though yours are much better! <3

      I definitely agree - the castle could do with some good secret tunnels. Such a wasted opportunity...

  2. I am fully enchanted! I sigh every time you or Vlad post the photos of Peles Castle. And especially love the Romantic Revival (or whatever the style is called) frescoes.

    1. Anna, YOU NEED TO GO TO ROMANIA ALREADY! This castle really is magical – and the scenery is just amazing. The best part is, you can reach it easily from Brasov or Bucharest too.

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