Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni is not as famous as Peles Castle but well worth a visit nonetheless. It is less than 10 km away from Peles, so you can easily combine the two castles on Prahova Valley into a one-day trip from Bucharest or Brasov.
About Cantacuzino Castle
Prince George Grigore Cantacuzino finished the building of the Castle in Busteni in 1911, so it is one of the ‘new’ castles in Romania. He was one of the wealthiest people in Romania at the time. In fact, legend says he was so rich that he wanted to pave the alleys and cover the roof in gold coins. Fortunately, he gave up on that idea.
The architect, Grigore Cherchez, chose a Neo-Romanian style for the castle he was building in Busteni. The surrounding park is decorated with fountains and a grotto hidden by a waterfall. Still, probably the most stunning feature of the estate is the view over the Carpathian Mountains from the castle’s front terrace.
How to get there
Busteni is about 150 km from Bucharest and less than 40 km from Brasov. If you’re driving, allow some extra time because traffic is terrible around Busteni especially during the weekends.
There is parking available inside the gates, and it costs 5 lei (roughly 1€).
You can easily plan a train trip to escape the traffic. The train ride from Bucharest takes 1h and 40 minutes and costs about 40 lei which is a little more than 8€. From the train station in Busteni, it’s an easy 20 minutes walk up to the castle.
A visit to Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni
Cantacuzino Castle is open for visits every day from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. You can choose to visit the castle, the art gallery or both. The tickets cost from 12 lei (about 2.5€) for the park only to 40 lei (about 8€) for the combined ticket.
You can only enter the castle on one of the guided tours, starting every hour. Check the full schedules on the official website.
Unfortunately, the original furniture disappeared after the communists seized the property in 1948. Still, you can admire the beautiful wooden ceilings inside and a heraldry collection in the central pavilion.
The park has an interesting metal sculptures exhibition. During the summer, an adventure park will keep the young one entertained as well.
The castle also has a gourmet restaurant at the ground level. The terrace in front is a perfect place to sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy that amazing mountain view.
Other things to do in Busteni
Depending on the time of your visit, you can ski on Kalinderu Trail in Busteni or hike on the numerous trails around Busteni.
The trails can be dangerous during the winter, so don’t go up the mountain at that time. Some of the easy and safe hikes, no matter the season, are Caraiman Monastery or Gura Diham Cabin at the foot of the mountains.
Where to eat in Busteni
One of my favorite places to eat around Prahova Valley is Casa Ancutei in Busteni. If you’re looking for something fancy, this isn’t the place. However, if you’re in the mood for traditional, hearty Romanian food, you found it! Try the beans soup served in bread, “tochitura” (a meat dish, typically served with polenta). Also, if you make it to dessert, take the “papanasi” (a type of donuts served with sour cream and jam).
Where to stay in Busteni
If you plan to stay in Busteni, you can choose Cantacuzino Castle Villa, right next to the castle.
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