One decision in your life that you will never regret is visiting Romania. The country offers a mesmerizing mix of unique architecture, rich history, medieval cities, spectacular nature, friendly culture, and delicious cuisine. And when in Romania, it would be a historical and cultural sin not to visit Transylvania, the birthplace of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Apart from bloodthirsty vampires, Transylvania also resonates with history, harboring some of the most iconic historical places and medieval cities. Given below is an ultimate guide to visiting this historically and culturally rich place.
Transylvania – A Quick Glance
Why Visit Transylvania?
Transylvania is the central-western region of Romania and has numerous mementos of medieval times. Famous for housing savage werewolves and blood-thirsty vampires, the region is also known as one of the places with the richest history, standing tall even after millions of years. The region offers its visitors lush mountains for hiking, sprawling cities for sightseeing, and several other attractions. Get lost in the land of castles and time travel to the past by visiting the old towns and exploring one-of-a-kind art culture that will mesmerize you with its beauty.
Things to Know Before Visiting Transylvania
Transylvania is the safest region of Romania; however basic safety precautions should be taken when traveling. Keep your valuables safe and secure and avoid walking alone at night. When traveling solo, try to familiarize yourself with the local customs and laws. Be respectful to the local culture and in case of emergency, you can either contact the local authorities by dialing 112, or you can contact your embassy if the situation requires it. It’s better to opt for a tour guide as they will help you interact with people, and you will feel safer with someone by your side who knows their way around the region.
As Transylvania is located in Romania, the main language spoken there is Romanian. Romanian language is closely related to French, Spanish, and Italian and belongs to the Latin family. However, the country harbors a diverse linguistic landscape, and you will find that people in the region speak several other languages. These languages include Hungarian, German, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Romani.
Romanian leu is the official currency of Transylvania. Before you embark on your journey, make sure to check the exchange rate. You can exchange the money at currency exchange offices, banks, and even some hotels. ATMs are also widely available throughout the region, and you can even use your credit/debit card to pay. However, it is best to always keep some cash on you as some places don’t accept payments via cards.
Best Time to Visit Transylvania
The best time to visit Transylvania is year-round. Each season the region has something different to offer. In the spring, Transylvania is filled with the colors and scents of blooming nature. And as nature awakens so do the traditional villages. The villages come to life during spring, hosting festivals, and showcasing their culture and traditions. Visiting Transylvania during summer is also a great option. The warm sun on your face, the sunlight dancing off its lush landscape, and the birds singing in the trees will surely transport you to another realm.
Now autumn is the time when Transylvania colors its forest and mountains in varying hues of brown and orange. Visiting the region during autumn will give you a glimpse into what heaven looks like. When winter comes around, Transylvania dons a robe of softest whitest snow. If you have kids who are fond of snow, and winter sports, then Transylvania is the best place to visit when the wintery spell surrounds the world.
Transylvania offers a ton of accommodation options to its visitors both in urban and rural areas. Three of its most popular cities that you can and should stay in are Sighisoara, Brasov, and Sibiu. Sibiu is regarded as the heart of Transylvania and hosts the most spectacular festivals that shed light on the region’s culture and traditions. If you are more interested in visiting the home of Dracula, Bran Castle, then Brasov is the best place to stay as it is close to the castle. However, in case you want a genuine medieval experience Sighisoara is the ideal city for that. Rich in history and traditions, the city allows its visitors to witness rare and unique parts of Romanian past.
Getting to Transylvania
You have three options for getting to Transylvania, by plane, train, or car. The safest and the quickest option is obviously the plane, but it is also on the expensive side. However, if you a willing to indulge then it is best to travel by plane. The slowest option is the train. Romania is not very well prepared on this line, so if you wish to travel by train, it would do you a whole lot of good to opt for small routes. The most convenient and comfortable option, which is also cheap is the car. You can rent a car easily at an affordable price and use it to explore the surroundings and historical gems Transylvania has to offer.
Must-See Transylvania Attractions
The first thing that pops into our head when someone mentions Transylvania is Bran Castle. Bran Castle is regarded as the home of Dracula and garnered much attention when Bran Stoker’s gothic horror novel, Dracula, graced the bookshelves in 1897. It is believed that Bran Stoker took inspiration from the Romanian prince Vlad Dracula who was a sadistic leader responsible for the deaths of more than 80,000 people. The castle is soaked in history, legends, and stories, and harbours secret passages and other attractions, making it the most visited tourist destination in Romania.
One of the most beautiful castles in Transylvania is the Corvin Castle. Also known as Hunyadi Castle, the Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance tourist attraction surrounded by a medieval air. The castle harbors well-preserved towers, meeting rooms, and crenels that tourists can visit on their trip to Transylvania.
Turda Salt Mine
Turda Salt Mine is the most unique attraction that Transylvania harbors. In 2008, after the installation of cleverly designed lightning, the abandoned Turda Salt Mine was opened to visitors and since then has become Romania’s top tourist destination. Underground, visitors can explore the huge grottos and many galleries and can also indulge in various activities like bowling, minigolf, boat paddling, cinema, and a lot more.
Scarisoara Ice Cave
The Scarisoara Ice Cave represents one of the natural wonders in Romania. The exact date of discovery of the cave is unknown however, for years the ice cave has been delighting the eyes of the tourists who are lucky enough to visit it. The cave is known for sheltering the biggest underground glacier and is located in the Apuseni Mountains. It is 720 meters in length and is split into several rooms with the most interesting being The Church.
Hoia Baciu Forest
For all the horror fanatics out there, you can satiate your hunger for all things paranormal by visiting the Hoia Baciu forest which is regarded as one of the most haunted forests in the world. The forest has been featured on several paranormal documentary shows including Destination Truth and Ghost Adventures. Apart from being a hub for paranormal activity Hoia Baciu Forest also offers several recreational activities like biking, archery, paintball, and airsoft.
Transfagarasan is a place that you can only visit during the summer season as during winter and spring the area is prone to avalanches. Located at an altitude of 2,042 meters, Transfagarasan is 151 kilometers long and crosses the north-south side of the Fagaras Mountains. Transfagarasan offers a unique driving experience, comprising of twists and turns, surrounded by such unreal beauty that will leave you awestruck. The highway was built for military purposes during communist times and due to the huge resources, that were spent to build it, Transfagarasan is also regarded as Ceausescu’s folly.
Cost of Traveling to Transylvania
The best time for visiting Transylvania without breaking the bank is form January 1st to April 1st and September 3rd to December 9th, except the week of October 15th. Given below is a table that shows the average cost of a 7-day visit to Transylvania:
|Average Solo Traveler||Average Couples Trip||Average Family Vacation (4 people)|
|Price Range||$793 to $1,661||$1,936 to $3,134||$2,578 to $5,864|
|Travel, Sightseeing, and Food||$29 to $51 per day||$58 to $102 per day||$116 to $204 per day|
|Airplane Ticket Price||$362 to $914 for economy||$724 to $1,828 for economy||$1,448 to $3,656 for economy|
|Accommodation||For 2 or-3-star hotel: $49 to $65 per night|
For 1-bed vacation rental: $38 to $46 per night
|For 2 or-3-star hotel: $49 to $65 per night|
For 1-bed vacation rental: $38 to $46 per night
|For 2 or-3-star hotel rooms: $98 to $130 per night|
For 2-bed vacation rental: $53 to $69 per night
Transylvania – Private Tour
You can book a private tour of Transylvania with Transylvania Tours. They offer various packages including a 7-day tour, a 6-day tour, and a 3-day tour. These tours, cover every wonderful attraction the region has to offer and provide a deeper Romania Experience. Their tours start from 350€ and you can book them by visiting their website.
Another country in Europe that harbors the most beautiful castles is Scotland. The country is brimming with rich history and tales that will transport you to the time of kings, queens, sieges, and wars. To know more about the exotic castles Scotland harbors, consult our article.