Transylvania Tours and Trips
Transylvania is undoubtedly Romania's hidden gem: a rich cultural, geographic and historic region with many must-see attractions, some of the best in Romania. But Transylvania is also a place where the rural way of life of our ancestors, the true heart of Romanian culture, still exists in daily life and is preserved by the village elder. Check our Transylvania guide to understand more about the region and have a look at our selection of tours that will show you the best of Transylvania!
Start from: Cluj-Napoca
Start from: Brasov
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Cluj-Napoca (pick-up)
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sinca Noua; pick-up available
Start from: Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara or Alba-Iulia
Start from: Brasov
Start from: Brasov
Start from: Cobor or Brasov
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Cund
Start from: Bucharest
Start from: Brasov
Things to do in Transylvania & planning your trip
Contrary to popular belief, Transylvania is not just the home of Count Dracula. It is, in fact, a very important and culturally diverse region located in the heart of Romania.
Transylvania is really something else; first visitors to the region are consistently converted into regular tourists on discovering the beauty and variety of things to do. Prince Charles can be counted among the travellers who have been captivated by the Transylvanian charm, as he bought and restored no less than 3 traditional village houses where he spends his summers!
The word Transylvania is Latin for ‘land beyond the forest’ and it is quite an appropriate title. The region is located in the Carpathian arc and is very large; made up of vast woodlands, rolling hills and quaint villages. And the way of life in Transylvania is refreshingly different to that of the modern and connected world we find in most cities today.
A trip to Transylvania is one that requires a bit of forethought and planning. To fully appreciate the region it is important to have an understanding of the history and culture of Romania. On arrival, the best thing you can to do is to take it slow, meet the locals and their eat incredible food. There are plenty of guided tours run by locals in the area who are thrilled to introduce visitors to their beloved Transylvania.
A small history lesson about Transylvania
Over 2000 years ago Romania’s Dacian ancestors arrived in the South West of Transylvania and several settlements began. Their capital city was called Sarmisegetusza Dacia. In the year 105, the Dacians were conquered by the Romans (after many long battles); the long process that gave birth to Romania in the middle ages had started.
Since the Roman settlement, Transylvania has welcomed people from a wide variety of cultures. Which in turn influenced all aspects of life there; from the architecture and the cuisine to the language spoken. The region of Transylvania as we know it today was founded by a mix of Vlachs (Romanians), Hungarian Székelys and German Saxons.
Thanks to the unique blend of cultural influences in Transylvania, the cuisine you will find there is also very special. Transylvanian cuisine is slightly different than traditional Romanian food - heavy on the fat and largely focused on pork, vegetable stews and sour soups (ciorba). The best way to discover Transylvanian cuisine is through a local food tour, especially in the region around Sibiu which is know for its culinary diversity. Since Romanian cuisine is unknown to most tourists a guided tour can be very helpful for making the most of your trip to Romania.
Quick facts about Transylvania
The region is 1/3 of Romania's total surface with an area of approx. 100 square kilometers; it is actually bigger than the whole country of Austria! The population of the region is around 7 million and there are a number of important cities to consider for your trip. If you are flying straight into Transylvania your best bet is to go to Cluj-Napoca as the city is very well connected to all the important sites. Other cities with well-served international airports are Sibiu and Timisoara. You could also fly into Romania's capital, Bucharest, and drive 3 hours to Brasov or 5 hours to Sibiu via car or train.
The main language spoken in Romania is, of course, Romanian. In the Eastern part of Transylvania, in the counties of Covasna, Harghita and Miercurea Ciuc Hungarian is predominant as an enthnic hungarian minority lives there. You will also hear English spoken in the larger cities and around main tourist sites.
Main cities of Transylvania
Transylvania is actually made up of a few smaller regions: Transylvania proper includes Brasov, Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca and the Tg. Mures area, Crisana consists of the North-Western border region around Oradea, Maramures is the region up North.
Brasov is one of Romania’s most popular tourist spots, for both local trips and foreigners! Brasov is a charming, medieval city surrounded by lots of fresh air from the Carpathian Mountains. The Piatra Craiului Mountain Range is located in the Carpathian Mountains and it is ranked up there with the best. It is a hiker’s paradise and famous for its sharp limestone ridge that zig-zags up to heights over 2,000m.
Brasov is also an excellent choice for one day nature trips that don’t require much preparation or equipment. Mountain bike fans will love the forest trails, including some challenging downhill rides, with stops along the way to admire the beautiful views of the area. It is equally a great destination for winter sports lovers; Poiana Brasov nearby is considered the best ski resort in Romania.
Sibiu, heart of the Transylvanian lifestyle, is said to be one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe. It’s multicultural and intellectual history give the city a bohemian air. Sibiu is host to a variety of major local and international events. For example the International Theater Festival, Jazz Festival or Sibiu International Film Festival. The cities welcoming people, cobbled streets and schedule of events make it a hit and Romania trip highlight for many. There are so many things to see and do!
From Sibiu you can easily reach the medieval town (and birthplace of Vlad Tepes), Sighisoara. On a trip to Sighisoara you will be able to see several UNESCO heritage listed sites! Sighisoara Citadel is Europe's best preserved and still inhabited medieval fortress, nearby is the Biertan UNESCO Fortified Church and also the charming Alma Vii village.
Cluj-Napoca is known as the tech and youth capital of Romania. The locals are very friendly and creative and there is always something going on; it has been nicknamed the ‘biggest festival in Europe’. Cluj-Napoca has the 2nd biggest airport in Romania so it is a great base to start exploring Transylvania and the country. There are a huge number of guided tours that you can do nearby so tourists can easily spend 10 days and not run out of things to do in the area. The most popular tourist attraction in Cluj county is the Turda Salt Mine, which doubles as an underground amusement park! You could also go on a guided tour of the Hoia Baciu haunted forest, which is located on the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca.
Timisoara is the 3rd largest city in Romania and the European Capital of Culture for 2021! Timisoara has always been a little more rebellious than the rest of the country and it was the starting point of communist uprising in 1989. Timisoara airport is well connected and the city is close to the Danube River, the Carpathians and many more things to do in the area.
Top Things to do in Transylvania
- Visit Medieval Castles and Fortresses
Bran Castle is one of the most famous castles in Europe, mostly because of its association with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is situated just 30 km from Brasov and erected over a high peak. Corvin or Hunyady Castle is another; it looks like something out of a fairytale and represents Gothic art in Transylvania. The castle has a majestic drawbridge, over 40 rooms, high thick walls and red towers.
Rasnov Fortress is located on a hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains. It was built in the middle ages as protection against the Turkish and Tartar invaders. There is also Fagaras Fortress, which initially served as the residence of Transylvanian rulers and is an important political centre.
- Biking and cycling tours
Hit the trails with a Carpathian Mountains biking tour from Brasov. You will experience nature at its finest and maybe even stumble across some Brown Bears on your trip. If you prefer something shorter, the bike tour to the viewpoint in Brasov will not disappoint. For those travellers who start in Cluj-Napoca; cycling tours to the Turda Salt Mine are very popular.
- Hiking and trekking trips
Transylvania is an incredible destination for hiking and trekking tours. In the Carpathian Mountains there is so much exploring to do and nature to be seen. When hiking in Transylvania make sure to go with a licensed mountain guide who has on-the-ground knowledge of specific mountain trails. The best Transylvanian hiking routes are in the mountain ranges of Fagaras, Apuseni and Trascau (Western Carpathians), Calimani and Rodnei (Eastern Carpathians).
- Wildlife watching and tracking trips
Transylvania has rich wildlife, like nowhere else in Europe! The region is home to the largest Brown Bear population in Europe. These bears are protected by law and the best way to see them is by taking by going on a guided bear watching tour in Brasov. It might be quite hard to spot one otherwise, and bear spotting is not the best thing to do by yourself.
- Ski and winter sports tours
Poiana Brasov, in Transylvania, is the most popular ski resort in Romania, and for good reason. It is only 12 kilometres from Brasov so convenient as a day or short trip. The ski village boasts the longest slopes in Romania! Poiana Brasov is also the most expensive option for skiing in Romania; you will find there many 4-5* hotels and fine dining restaurants.