MSN and the Points Guy often collaborate on travel on the MSN website. I find the Points Guy to be quite informative, though I have some strong opinions about using my travel miles and points. But he provides a great perspective, particularly if you have never played the points and miles game. After all, I am a graduate of the Samurai School of Discount Travel, with a Ph.D. that I earned back in the 80s, when I traveled extensively on business.
The place is Brasov, Romania, home to Dracula’s Castle:
He listed several places that are “Off the Beaten Path” with one in particular that caught my eye. It is a place where I visited with Dirty Pat, the Fulbright Scholar in Bucharest, Romania back in 2019.
Nestled in the surrounding Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is a city you don’t want to miss when visiting the Transylvania region of Romania. You may want to skip Bran Castle (please do not skip!), which is 45 minutes by bus or 30 minutes by car south of Brasov. It’s marketed as “Dracula’s Castle” but is more of a tourist trap than anything. Instead, hike up (we took the sky tram) to the Brasov sign. It’s kind of like hiking up to the Hollywood sign in L.A. but a more spectacular view, especially when the colors change in the fall.
Brasov is easiest to reach by a 3.5-hour (well worth spending the day) train from Bucharest. If you’re able to route on LOT Polish Airlines to Bucharest, Romania (OTP), you could book round-trip business class flights for just 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles without hefty fuel surcharges that some other airlines pass along. Otherwise, business class flights on Air France or KLM start from just 53,000 Flying Blue miles each way, though pricing is variable and will depend on travel dates.
The people are nice, the food is great, and beer is cold and plentiful. It was a great day trip from Bucharest. As we ascended up the tram, we saw the state-of-the-art clay court tennis center owned by Ion Tiriac. In fact, Tiriac, former doubles partner of Ilie Nastase, is the richest man in Romania, thanks to his buddy Ceausescu, everything has his name on it, Tiriac Motors, Tiriac Insurance, Tiriac Taqueria, Tiriac Hospital, you name it!!
As far as Bucharest, and Dirty Pat, and Mrs. Pat, I could not have been treated any better. It was a great trip, to immerse in a different culture, meet some great people (including my new travel hero, Katy), and have some great meals.
Definitely, go to Romania, and visit both Bucharest, and Brasov. Dracula will welcome you.
PS: They are accepting large numbers of refugees from the Ukraine. It might be wise to wait until the war ends to visit.