Peleș Castle in Sinaia is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, former summer residence of the kings of Romania. Set in a large park landscaped in the English fashion and richly decorated, it is considered a Versailles in miniature. The castle is one of the best preserved royal residences in Europe and the first to have electricity and central heating installations.
Carol I of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen, the first king of Romania, decided in 1866 to build a castle in Sinaia, but the foundation stone was not laid until 1875. Built in German Neo-Renaissance style, with an abundance of decorative elements adorning the façade, Peleș Castle is considered to be one of the most important monuments of its type in the 2nd half of the 19th century Europe. Its rooms were decorated by artists brought from all corners of Europe, in a mixture of styles ranging from those of the Turkish and Arab palaces to the Italian and German Neo-Renaissance. Even in those times, the castle benefited from running water, a phone and an elevator.
Among the castle’s 160 rooms (out of which only a third is available to tourists), the most impressive are the Reception Hall, King Carol’s Work Cabinet, the Council Room, the Moorish Hall, the Florentine Hall, the French Hall, the Turkish Parlour or the Music Room, each decorated in different styles. Peleș Castle was transformed into a museum in 1953, exhibiting, among other things, one of the most important paintings collections in Europe, summing more than 2000 works by artists such as Rembrandt, El Greco, Raphael, Velasquez, Titian or Bruegel. You can also admire sculptures, medals, oriental carpets, furniture pieces, costumes, ceramics, silverware or weapons, a diversity of valuable objects tastefully combined, which will definitely overwhelm you.
Apart from Peleș Castle, the museum complex also includes Pelişor Palace, Foişor (the hunting pavilion) and other annexes, today transformed into hotels and restaurants.
Pelişor Palace was built by Carol I for his heir, Ferdinand. It is not as monumental as Peleş, being designed more as a Swiss chalet. Queen Maria, named “the Artist Queen” due to her writing and painting talents, participated herself in the castle’s decoration, combining the Art – Nouveau style with Byzantine and Celtic features. Visit the Golden Room which will definitely impress you with its walls covered in 24-carat gold leaf.
How to get there:
Sinaia is situated at 125km from Bucharest and 37km from Braşov.
By car: From Bucharest, take DN1 national road in the direction of Braşov.
By train: There are many trains linking Bucharest to Braşov that stop in Sinaia train station. From the train station, access to the castle is easy, by following the indicators.