Transylvania is arguably one of the most beautiful and mysterious regions of Romania. It is famous for its culture, forests, amazing history, stunning castles, and of course, rumours of vampires as well. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula first put the region on the map for an international audience, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The area is shrouded with myths and legends, and is home to over 100 fortresses and castles. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the region too, as Transylvania is surrounded by the majestic Carpathian mountain range. Here are 6 top reasons why you should visit this magical region.
#1: The Quaint Villages are Awesome
One of the best parts of visiting Transylvania is seeing the area’s bright and colourful native villages. The old traditions are still very much alive in the area, and you can meet weavers, shepherds, blacksmiths, carpenters, and other traditional artisans on your travels.
The food in the smaller villages is all fantastic too, and is made from locally grown, organic ingredients. You can even take tours of small cheese farms and brandy production houses in many of these towns. Some of the area’s most stunning villages include Viscri, Breb, Magura, Sirnea, Biertan, Rimetea, and Valea Viilor.
#2: The Castles are Iconic
It’s no secret that Transylvania has a reputation for its magnificent castles. The most legendary one is Bran Castle in Brasov County, which is associated with Walachian Prince Vlad Tepes, the man who inspired Bram Stoker’s character Dracula. Closeby are many fortified churches like Harman, a towering temple with 13 Saxon towers, and Prejmer, Southeastern Europe’s largest fortified church. Corvinilor Castle near Hunedoara is also worth a visit.
#3: The Festivals are Legendary
Transylvania has a modern side to it, too. The area is home to dozens of festivals and events for visitors of all ages, and these happenings are as fun as playing Australian bingo games. Some local favourites include Electric Castle at Bontida Cluj, Untold at Cluj Napoca, Nedeia Muntlor at Fundata, and Haferland Week in the Saxon villages. Oktoberfest in Brasov is a must-attend event, and the Medieval Festival at Sighisoara will definitely appeal to history buffs.
#4: The Food is Divine
Transylvania has its own local cuisine that tourists absolutely love. The food in the region has many Saxon and Hungarian influences. Varza a la Cluj is a popular baked dish that includes layers of shredded cabbage, minced pork and veal, rice and bacon. You will also find some potent brandies like palinca, rachie and horinca when you visit Transylvanian taverns and pubs.
#5: The Hiking Trails are Mind-Blowing
Being surrounded by the Carpathian mountains, Transylvania offers endless hiking opportunities. There are hikes available for hikers of all levels of skill, including highly challenging ones for professionals.
Apuseni mountain range is a favourite among those who love rural views, simple hikes, caves, gorges and forests. The Scarisoara cave which houses the continent’s second largest underground glacier can be found here too. Nature lovers will also adore Piatra Craiului National Park with its native wildlife and untouched forest views.