11 Key Reasons to Visit Transylvania This Year

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Have you ever wandered about what a journey to Transylvania would be like? This mysterious land, shrouded in mystery and folklore, is best known for its gothic castles, pristine natural beauty, and enchanting history.

Nestled in the heart of Romania, there are many reasons to visit Transylvania, the most bewitching region in Eastern Europe.

As you wander around the medieval towns and villages, you will uncover something fascinating at every turn.

But if you’re not sure whether you’re ready to hit the land of the infamous Dracula myth, then allow me to share with you some of the top reasons to be visiting Transylvania on your next trip.

What is special about Transylvania?

aerial view of red roofed homes in translyvania

Transylvania is not just about vampires and dark legends. The Transylvania region of Romania boasts breathtaking scenery, with the Carpathian Mountains providing a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures.

You can hike through pristine forests, marvel at cascading waterfalls, or unwind in the therapeutic thermal baths.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking an otherworldly experience, Transylvania awaits with its unique blend of history, folklore, and natural wonders.

I had long been convinced that Translyvania could no longer show me anything to excite my appetite for wandering about it again. I felt I had lived all its possible adventures.

I was wrong. So wrong.

For every traveller prepared to venture here, this land in Central Romania has something magical, spectacular, and original.

Reasons To Visit Transylvania

Here are some of the main reasons that inspire me to wander over Transylvania more and more.

Are you ready? Let’s take a look!

1. Beautiful Nature

green mountains

If nature and hiking are part of your life, come to Apuseni. These mountains are located in the western part of Transylvania and belong to the Carpathians. A large area is included in Apuseni Natural Park.

I walked dozens of superb trails through this national park. I crossed forests, villages, picturesque hamlets, and everywhere I met caves, karst plateaus, spectacular gorges, waterfalls and lakes.

In Apuseni, too, there is the region also known as Ţara de Piatră or Ţara Moţilor.

A field with a mountain in the background

It is one of the most charming areas, with houses scattered along valleys and ridges, with idyllic landscapes and villages barely touched by modernity.

Plan to stay at least one week to enjoy the nature.

Perhaps I am most attracted to Transylvania because of the fabulous landscapes it was blessed with. 

Large valleys, impressive mountains, wild gorges will arise before you. It’s enough to leave cities behind for a little while.

The houses surrounded by forests and scattered over the hills form a charming rustic picture.

2. Villages with Fortified Churches

a stone castle
Fortified Church Biertan

In Transylvania, there are over 150 (once 300) fortified churches. These picturesque Saxon villages can be viewed via different tours and will amaze you with their architecture and beauty.

Many of these simple fortresses around the churches, founded by Transylvanian Saxons for defense, could never be conquered by their attackers.

But they conquer me every time with their charm.

The Saxons (saşi), a German-speaking population, arrived in southeastern Transylvania between the 12th and 13th centuries, invited by the kings of Hungary and they built numerous villages.

Some of the most beautiful fortified churches are those of Biertan, Prejmer, Viscri, Câlnic, Dârjiu, Saschiz, Valea Viilor, included on the World Heritage List.

3. Lovely Cities

A view of a city with snow capped mountains in background

Every beautiful city in Transylvania, large or small, has its charm and sprinkle of poetry.

Sibiu, the only city in Romania which has so far held the title of European Capital of Culture, will win you over with its old romantic places, and with the multitude of performances taking place each season.

Târgu Mures is worth visiting for its elegant palaces (the Palace of Culture is beautiful on the outside and full of splendor inside) and cultural diversity.

aeiral view of Sighisoara Town Transylvania
Sighisoara Town

With one of the few medieval cities in the world that is inhabited today, Sighisoara has to be put on the must see list  More than once have I forgotten about myself wandering through the paved streets.

Brasov is the city where I like passing time in the secluded streets of the Old Town, or sitting at one of the dozens of terraces.

In Alba Iulia you have the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful citadels in Transylvania. Every day, the change of the Citadel Guard takes place, and that’s a show that you shouldn’t miss.

historic buildings along a river

You may like the following tours as you explore the cities of Transylvania:

4. Kind People

people walking cows in the snow
Transylvania people

Transylvanian people are said to be faini (meaning good and nice), serious and reliable. I absolutely agree!

With them, I’ve always felt good, because they are open, they find time to sit and talk, to laugh and joke.

They like to show their kindness and be welcoming. You can find yourself invited in their house and sitting down at their table, before being able to tell them your name and where you come from.

5. Beautiful Handmade Crafts

Crafts Beautiful handmade gifts
Beautiful handmade gifts

In Transylvania, you can find dozens of small workshops where craftsmen work various objects by hand: of wood, painted furniture, glass icons, ceramic pots.

If you go in winter through villages, you are likely to attend a şezătoare (meaning a social evening). In the long winter evenings, women gather in a house (this gathering is called şezătoare), some sit at the loom, others spin wool and while weaving colorful rugs, they talk and sing.

A magical atmosphere!

6. Unique Traditions

Nun working the loom Transylvania
Nun working the loom

This is where I rejoice every time I see how beautifully celebrations and old traditions are kept.

Young and old, everyone loves to celebrate such moments.

If you get to the villages, for Christmas or for the New Year, you will see groups of young people, often dressed in traditional costumes, wassailing from house to house and wishing visitors a good new year.

It should be easy for you to fit in a holiday celebration no matter what time of the year you travel to Transylvania.

Our celebrations are another reason why Transylvania seems full of life and authenticity.

7. Incredible Transylvanian Castles

courtyard inside Bran Castle

Transylvania is home to over 50 castles spread across the region, each one tells a unique story and offers a glimpse into Transylvania’s rich history and architectural heritage.

One of the most famous castles in Transylvania is Bran Castle, also known as Count Dracula’s Castle.

Perched on a cliff just outside the picturesque city of Brasov, this iconic fortress is steeped in mystery and is often associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and is said to be the inspiration for Dracula’s home (or Vlad the Impaler as he is sometimes known).

You can explore its winding corridors, secret passageways, and eerie chambers as you immerse yourself in vampire lore.

Another must-visit castle is Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle.

With its Gothic architecture and imposing presence, it is considered one of the most impressive castles in Romania.

Other notable castles include Cantacuzino Castle, Banffy Castle, Peles Castle, and Transylvania Castle, each offering its own unique charm and fascinating tales.

8. Relaxed Village and Countryside Lifestyle

Rimetea Village at foot of greenmountain Transylvania
Rimetea Village

In many small settlements in Transylvania, time seems to be different from the time we townspeople are accustomed with.

In villages you can enjoy quietness, as people languidly care for animals, household, family.

If you’re an avid photographer, you won’t be able to let your camera down. Every window, every tree, every moment is there to be snapped for memories.

I cannot stay away too long from the places where almost everything has remained exactly as it was in my childhood. And I find that extraordinary.

smoke rising from cow pasture field in a valley

I can see men mowing and women gathering hay. Animals returning from pasture slowly, in the evening, in the ringing of bells hung around their neck; this is a day by day picture. I like to give up the car and occasionally take the means of transport as old as mankind, a cart full of newly mown hay and pulled by a horse.

All these simple bucolic scenes, of an unparalleled charm, will delight.

9. Delicious Cuisine

food on a plate

I should say that I love Transylvanian cuisine. And so it is, just with a small personal note: being especially based on meat, not all dishes are to my liking.

Although, before giving up meat, it occupied a place of honor in my menu!

Whether you like to eat meat or not, Transylvanian cuisine is so varied that you will undoubtedly find your favorite dish. But do not expect exquisite specialties. It is not at all a sophisticated cuisine; it is a blend of Romanian, Hungarian, Transylvanian Saxonic flavors, but with a special, delicious taste.

Sour soups (recommendation: taste bean sour soup with smoked ham), stuffed cabbage, walnut pound cakes just taken out of the oven, are easily entered the list of culinary preferences of travelers.

10. Vibrant Atmosphere

Rasnov Citadel on edge of mountain
Rasnov Fortress

Everything that makes me come back again and again to Transylvania points to the atmosphere: traditional, simple, profoundly spiritual.

In the long summer days, I am overjoyed with those leisure moments when dusk slowly descends over the village. Under the myriad of stars and among the songs of crickets, long stories go off, between friends.

Winter holidays are lived by faith and loaded with magic and wonder. It is an essential travel experience to celebrate with the locals.

To get to know the superstitions, which are not limited at all, their beliefs, and their dreams.

This superb atmosphere gives life to Transylvania. And I madly love this patriarchal, original, mysterious land.

11. Unique Tourists Attractions

brasov sign on mountain overlooking village street

Transylvania offers a wide range of tourist attractions that cater to various interests, making it a wonderful destination for anyone who visits.

Whether you want to explore Bran Castle or hike up the steep slopes to the Brasov Sign (like the Hollywood Sign), there is something for everyone.

A must-see attraction in Transylvania is the city of Brasov, with its well-preserved medieval architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Climb up the Black and White Tower, stroll along the Council Square, and enjoy the picturesque streets lined with colorful houses.

For a more unique attraction, wander down Strada Sforii, the narrowest street in Brasov.

For nature enthusiasts, the Carpathian Mountains offer opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and breathtaking scenery. If you don’t enjoy hiking, take the cable car up Tampa Mountain.

The charming town of Sibiu boasts a well-preserved historic center, featuring cobblestone streets, medieval walls, and impressive architecture.

Other notable attractions include the fortified churches of Transylvania, such as Biertan and Viscri, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Transylvania also offers a unique cultural experience with its traditional villages like Malancrav and Saschiz, where visitors can immerse themselves in local traditions, crafts, antique shops, cafes, and more.

Final Thoughts On Reasons To Visit Transylvania

When people think of Romania, they think of the capital of Bucharest and forget all about Transylvania.

Transylvania has a unique rural character that you won’t find in any other region of Romania and is dedicated to the preservation of its traditions and way of life.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or just want somewhere quiet and relaxing to explore, we hope these reasons inspire you to visit Transylvania on your next Eastern European trip.

BIO: Mira Kaliani is a travel writer and photographer and owner of Călătorii la Singular travel blog. She loves to travel through her own country, Romania, but has the same joy in exploring new places and cultures around the world. She likes slow travel, enjoys simple things that make life wonderful and is delighted in giving people ideas and inspirations to travel and live the life they dream of. You can find Mira on Călătorii la Singular or Facebook.

Have you been to Transylvania before? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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