Visit Romania, Visit Transylvania

9 Fantastic Things To Do In Transylvania

Things to do in Transylvania

Even if most of the time when you say things to do in Transylvania you think of the dreaded Count Dracula, you won’t find any dark forests, haunted castles, or any mythical creatures here. Instead, you’ll discover a fairytale land covered in the mystery of nature, where people live peacefully.

Transylvania is about simplicity, unique nature, rich history, impressive culture, and most of all, tradition. Here is the place to explore the most beautiful villages in Europe and discover important medieval cities. The art of mixing the traditional with the new and modern is what makes this region unique.

Read also: Visit Transylvania – Travel guide for first time visitors

So get ready to immerse yourself in a world of legends sprinkled with a touch of originality.

Feel Like Royalty In Romania’s Famous Castles

Transylvania castles

With a generous number of castles, let’s say several hundred, there’s no better place to feel like a prince or princess, rather than Romania. If you’re a history fan, Transylvania is the place for you.

Its many castles have UNESCO World Heritage status and are surrounded by unique villages, magical landscapes, and stunning architecture. To make things a bit easier for you, here’s a list of some of the most iconic castles in Transylvania.

Bran Castle

Without any doubt, Bran castle is the most famous landmark in Transylvania. So, a visit to Bran Castle will always be among the best things to do in Transylvania. Considered already a symbol of Romania, this castle rises imposingly on the border of Transylvania and Muntenia, 30 km away from Brasov.

The Saxons built the castle, and it impresses with its medieval appearance. Here, you can move around the dark corridors and rooms, go up in the tower that points high in the sky, and admire the green landscape.

The castle is considered one of the most frightening destinations in Europe due to the Legend of Dracula, built around the ruler Vlad Tepes. Yet, the location and the beauty of the building are the things that are going to get your attention.

Corvin Castle

A worthy opponent of Bran Castel is Corvin Castle, also known as Huniazilor castle. This medieval wonder was built in the 15th century and belonged to the famous Iancu de Hunedoara, one of the greatest European political and military leaders of that time.

Nowadays, the gothic masterpiece from Hunedoara is considered one of the most beautiful medieval castles in the world. Besides the beauty that promotes this castle, different legends surround it to make it even more exciting.

So get ready to learn some fascinating history and lurk in one of the most haunted European castles.

Banffy Castle

Way up in the north near Cluj Napoca, in the village of Bontida, you’ll find another famous castle. Banffy Castle became very popular in the last few years due to the ”Electric Castle” festival that takes place here.

Considered in its heyday the Transylvanian Versailles, Bánffy Castle was built gradually from the 16th century and gained its final look in the 19th century. You’ll find features from different decades, such as Renaissance style, Baroque style, and Romantic style, as it was often reconstructed.

Book one of our tours in Transylvania:

3 days in Transylvania medieval tour

Price on request
Transylvania is a land full of legends, fortresses, and shadows of the knights that once lived here. Are you ready to discover them? Medieval Transylvania tour will show you the beautiful cities of Sibiu and Brasov, both dated from ancient times, the Sighisoara citadel, the only citadel in Europe still inhabited, some amazing fortresses and the remains of medieval history – the fortified churches. This itinerary in Transylvania will be enough to make you want to come back again. And if you want more, choose a longer tour from our Transylvania experiences.

4 days in Transylvania itinerary

Price on request
Are you interested in a 4-day tour in Transylvania? Enjoy this amazing itinerary starting and ending in Bucharest that will show you the best of Transylvania: medieval cities, secluded villages lost in time, natural wonders, and of course Bran castle, the famous castle of Count Dracula! For those who don't have so much time to explore Transylvania, this is the perfect choice! Or you can try another tour in Transylvania.

7 days in Transylvania road trip

Price on request
Are you ready to enjoy a 7-day Transylvania tour and discover the best of it? This region in Romania is a perfect choice for a road trip: beautiful cities, charming villages and windy roads are ready to welcome you. This 7-day itinerary in Transylvania was designed to offer you a relaxing holiday. During this tour, you will discover mysterious legends and exciting stories. Medieval cities and fairy tale castles will unveil themselves in front of you. Your taste buds will be charmed by the local cuisine. Beautiful landscapes will amaze you and the most important places in Transylvania will be discovered one by one! Or you can try another tour in Transylvania.

Dracula tour in Romania – 8 days

Price on request
Spend 8 days in Romania and explore the mysterious land of Transylvania. Transylvania is known to be the land of Dracula, but do you know how the legend of the famous vampire came alive and who really was he (because he was a real person that inspired the story)? Did you feel chills and goosebumps when reading Bram Stocker’s novel? Are you curious to visit the places mentioned in the book and the castles that hosted the major life events of Vlad the Impaler, the cruel ruler known to be Dracula? Then this is the perfect tour for you! Enjoy this 8-day itinerary in Romania for an adventure that will offer you mysterious places, breath-taking landscapes and a little bit of history. This 8-day Dracula tour in Romania includes the places mentioned in the book connected with Dracula or with the journey of Johnathan Harker in Romania. But this is also an amazing opportunity to find out everything you want about Vlad the Impaler. On the way you will also explore the places where the major events in his life took place. (his birthplace, his castles etc) The legends about vampires in Transylvania, ghost stories and creepy rituals interwine with the real history. And at the end you will have a full picture of this mysterious region called Transylvania. Check here other long trips in Transylvania.

Legends of Transylvania Small Group Tour

From 1,275  /person
Have you decided to visit Transylvania? Are you searching for escorted tours to Transylvania, but it is difficult to find one that you like? Maybe it’s time to try the Legends of Transylvania! In 5 days you will see the best of Transylvania, learn some secret legends and taste the delicious food. Perhaps you will also make new friends. Are you ready to enjoy this trip? If you want to visit the most beautiful places in Transylvania and enjoy its rural landscape, you have several options. You can rent a car from Bucharest or Cluj Napoca and embark on a road trip through Transylvania. In this case, make sure you document yourself well in advance. Another option is to book a private tour to Transylvania that the travel consultant will customize according to your schedule and wishes. The advantage is clear here: you will get a vacation as you want and more importantly when you want. It is an excellent option, but in general, they are more expensive due to the included premium services. Discover some of the private tours we organize in Transylvania and they are all customizable. A third option is a small group tour. This option is also a great choice for those who want a pre or post tour for the Danube river cruise.

Weekend in Transylvania 2-day tour

Price on request
If you want to spend a weekend in Transylvania then you cannot miss this unique opportunity! This Best of Transylvania tour will show you the most beautiful medieval towns in Transylvania and the main attractions in 2 days. On the first day, this tour will take you to Brasov. Brasov is one of the most important cities in Transylvania. And on the way to Brasov, we will stop to visit Bran Castle, the famous Dracula’s castle. After this enchanting day, you will spend the night in Sibiu. The next day, your guide will help you explore Sibiu. Sibiu is another important medieval city in Transylvania. At the end of the tour, he will show you the fortified church in Cisnadie. You will finish your tour in Bucharest with your heart full of beautiful memories and amazing pictures. If you want to enjoy more than a weekend trip to Transylvania, you can choose a longer tour here.

Enjoy the silence in the fortified churches

Fortified churches in Transylvania Prejmer

Transylvania is considered a mythical land, so its fortified churches couldn’t be less than legendary. These stunning constructions add a peculiar charm to the region. Some of these fortified churches still preserve their old paintings, myths, history lessons, and spirituality. Here are the fortified churches you shouldn’t miss while visiting Transylvania.

Viscri

The old white fortified church of Viscri is part of the UNESCO heritage, and it’s today a Lutheran church. Inhabited by the former Saxon community, the church has plenty of traditional objects to showcase.

The church itself is modest, small, and spotless. It is a complex of two towers and bastions linked to the initial tribune. The fortification was built around 1500 to protect the community from the Tatar invasion.

Nowadays, it still displays old paintings, and you can wander around to admire each of them.

Biertan

The charm of Biertan is completed by the gothic church that reigns above the village. This church was built between 1486 and 1524, and its particular features and beauty never cease to attract countless tourists.

What makes this church unique is the altar, being the largest one in Transylvania, as it contains 28 icons and the door to the treasury room (dating from 1515), with its 19 closing points.

Sachiz

The Saschiz Fortified Church is the town’s main attraction, being under World Heritage protection. The church was built in 1493 on the site of an older Roman basilica and was dedicated to King Stephen I of Hungary.

Prejmer

The fortress and the fortified church are among the tourist attractions of this place in the Brașov area. Prejmer is a typical Transylvanian village with lofty landscapes and tumultuous history.

The church’s construction started in 1218, and its interior is gothic and simple. However, here you’ll find the oldest triptych altarpiece in all of Transylvania, dating somewhere in 1450.

Valea viilor

Located in the Vineyards Valley, near Sibiu,  this fortified church was built in 1263.  Later, in the 15th and 16th centuries, the church was enlarged and fortified in a gothic style. The building holds a unique element —a well in the centre of the church choir. Its purpose was to provide water for the locals during sieges.

Discover the archaic atmosphere of medieval towns

Sighisoara -medieval towns Transylvania

One of the main attractions of Transylvania has always been medieval architecture. And those cities that have the chance to keep their old historical centers always enjoy the attention of travelers. Get ready to experience unique sensations close to the relics of the past. You must visit:

Sibiu

The city of Sibiu is an important cultural and economic center in southern Transylvania and one of Romania’s most flourishing medieval cities. One of the most important tourist attractions in Sibiu is the Bridge of Lies.

Many legends have been told about the Bridge of Lies, but the best known is that the bridge “would have ears” but also “inexplicable powers,” and any lie told here will be found.

While you’re there you should also see The Council tower, a place that offers you an exciting view over the entire city, and Piata Mare (the main square), the best place to try some traditional food, while marvelling at the stunning city hall.

Another place that should be on your list is Astra Museum. Placed in Dumbrava forest, the outdoor museum that looks like a little village showcases traditional homes from different parts of Romania. You’ll be amazed by the complexity of the place.

Brasov

Brasov is the favourite holiday destination of thousands of tourists annually due to the city’s various attractions. It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Romania.

If you visit Brasov, then make sure you don’t miss out on The Black Church, a marvellous masterpiece that is 700 years old, right in the middle of the city. Then take a walk on The Rope Street, the narrowest street of Brasov that is unique in Europe. And a trip to the top of Tampa Mountain, to admire the stunning view of this medieval city.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara is one of those towns worthy of a postcard. Rich in color and narrow streets, the citadel is one of the few medieval cities in Europe still inhabited. Due to its architecture, surrounding nature, and geographical position, the city has been nicknamed the “Pearl of Transylvania” since the 19th century.

While visiting Sighisoara, make sure you walk the covered school staircase, which was built in 1642, and included 300 steps. After repairs in 1849, the staircase contains nowadays only 175 steps that lead to school and The Hill Church.

The home of Vlad Dracul should be a must since is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. As it is a restaurant now, you can order some delicious dishes and see Vlad’s old room.

Your next stop should be The Clock Tower.  This is one of the most expressive monuments of military architecture in Transylvania. The tower has a unique interpretation of “The  Day and Night” and it is also the town’s museum. At the top of the tower, you’ll find signs with directions to different countries and a beautiful picture of the colorful city.

Unlock the history of Transylvania’s fortresses

Transylvania fortresses - Rupea

There are many medieval settlements all over Transylvania, some almost a thousand years old. The fortifications that have withstood the best are those built on hills with terraces or steep slopes, ditches, and great waves of land around the walls.

Today, many of the fortresses in Transylvania can be visited by tourists, exposing the history of the Romanians from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Rasnov fortress in Transylvania

The Teutonic Knights built the Rasnov fortress in the 13th century. This medieval fortress was built atop a rocky hill to protect locals from invaders. During times of attack, the people of Rasnov took refuge in the maze-like passages of the fortified village.

Nowadays, travelers worldwide come to explore this historical place and admire views of the mountains and surrounding rich forests.

Rupea fortress

The imposing Rupea fortress is one of the oldest archaeological vestiges on the Romanian territory, with traces dating from the Paleolithic. First documented in 1324, the fortress is just halfway between Sighisoara and Brasov.

Rupea fortress impresses through its unique shape, dimensions, and centuries of history.  The defence building expands on three levels( upper, middle, and lower), and each level has its own towers. Make sure to take more time to visit this stunning history gem.

Fagaras citadel

Fagaras fortress has a fascinating history, so it takes a few hours to discover it truly. After the Ottoman danger passed and the Habsburgs took over the region, this fortress was not abandoned like most fortifications.

During the 17th century, the medieval fortress was turned into a sturdy and stunning princely court. The building has a military purpose until the first decades of the 20th century. The darkest period of this fortress dates back to communist times when it was used as a prison.

Alba Carolina Citadel

Alba Carolina Citadel is the heart of the city Alba Iulia and will surely keep you occupied for an entire day.

Designed by Italian architect Giovanni Morando Visconti, the citadel is the largest fortress in Romania and one of the most excellent examples of Vauban military architecture in Europe.

While you’re here, take time to visit The Baroque Gates, which are considered a representative monument of the baroque style sculpture in Transylvania. Then a walk in the ancient ruins and the medieval fortification will be your life history lesson.

Make sure you also visit the Union Museum, which is the greatest romantic style edifice in Alba Iulia.

Experience the simple life in the traditional villages

Transylvania trditional villages Rimetea

If you’re looking for an unmatched experience in the traditional villages and want to learn more about the cultural heritage of their communities, then start moving around and let those welcoming people tell you their stories.

Get ready to discover historic homes and explore a world of traditions that are kept alive by the very dedicated locals.

Rimetea, the white village in Transylvania

At Rimetea, you can’t help but feel like stepping into another world when you see, right from the entrance to the village, the white houses with green wooden windows, unchanged for centuries. And many people have preserved the tradition of old and unique 19th-century architecture.

It is also the first village in Romania awarded the “Our Europe” prize by the European Commission for the conservation of material cultural heritage. The best words to describe this idyllic place are history, rural architecture, and beautiful landscapes near Trascău Mountains.

Cisnadioara

Cisnadiora is located only a few kilometres from Sibiu and is one of the most beautiful modern versions of the Saxon villages from Transylvania.

The village’s main attraction is the fortified church built in the 13th century. Placed on the highest hill, the church has solid defensive walls and beautifully carved portals. Due to its location, it gives you a peaceful feeling making it very hard to leave.

So take your time and absorb all the stillness this places offers.

Viscri, the village prefered by price Charles

Viscri is like a treasure village in the heart of Transylvania, marked by the old Romanian traditions and the goodness of the locals.

In Viscri, there is no place you won’t like as it gives you plenty of traditional houses to explore, streets full of stories, and plenty of delicious food. You can move around by bike or on foot to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the simple life.

Get lost in the beautiful nature of Transylvania

Romania offers stunning views and gorgeous natural wonders that you want to discover and explore in-depth. The wilderness of nature is still going strong in this part of the country. So whenever you want to plan a trip to Transylvania’s vast mountains and forests, make sure you book a guided tour. While you’re here, you should visit:

Turda salt mine

Considered the most spectacular underground modeled by people in the world, Salina Turda is a tourist destination you shouldn’t miss.

You will go on an adventure through deep galleries and tunnels, enchantingly lit and with impressive acoustics. Various attractions await you here, like a Ferris wheel, sports fields, an amphitheatre for shows and concerts, and boats on the underground lake.

Top things to do in Transylvania: hiking in Fagaras mountains

Named by Emmanuel de Martonne in 1907, the “Transylvanian Alps” are certainly the most impressive mountains in Romania. The Fagaras Mountains are known for their majesty, the wilderness with which they outline their landscapes, and the numerous natural treasures that make any tourist discover the joy of hiking the mountain.

If you are passionate about mountain landscapes, fresh air, and sports, these mountains offer you no less than 107 peaks over 2000 meters and 8 peaks over 2500 meters. Here are some unique spots you should check out while discovering the mountains:

  • Balea lake: A glacier lake located at 2,034 m of altitude, this is one of the most popular lakes in Romania.
  • Balea waterfall: With a total height of more than 60 meters in the shape of a fan, this waterfall will definitely amaze you with its peculiar beauty.
  • Transfagarasan Highway: This highway is a natural rollercoaster since it’s filled with plenty of curves that offer a spectacular mountain view. As the speed limit is a maximum of 40 km/h, you’ll have the perfect time for sightseeing.

Turda gorge

Turda Gorge, or Cheile Turzii in Romanian, is a natural reserve close to the famous city, Cluj Napoca. This natural wonder will impress you with its limestone cliffs, caves, and rock towers that await to be explored.

The stunning karst formations were carved over millennia by a rushing river. They are now considered a protected area, popular among hikers and climbers. So pack your bags and start exploring.

Apuseni mountains

One of the most attractive tourist destinations is the Apuseni Mountains area. The fauna, flora, relief, and traditions still preserved in Tara Motilor complete the series of reasons that describe it as a place that no tourist should miss.

Apusenii are young mountains generally composed of a mosaic of rocks, including over 400 caves and several gorges. While exploring this mountain you must see the Scarisoara Cave, which houses the largest underground glacier in Romania, and the Bears’ (Ursilor) Cave, famous for its many and very diversified formations and a real preserved bear skeleton.

Make sure you have the time to follow a mountain trail like Cantonul Negrea – Porțile Bihorului Cave Boga –  Bulbuci Waterfall, which offers gorgeous views and unique natural wonders.

Racos volcano

Whether you are looking for spectacular landforms, you’re a geology enthusiast, or just looking for good photography landscapes, Racoș Volcano should definitely be on your list.

The inactive volcano in Racoș is a real spectacle of nature, a unique place in Romania, and you can reach the area by car. You’ll be surprised by the reddish color and the unevenness of the crater, which look like scenes from a Mars movie.

The volcano area is a protected one and you can find here plenty of colorful butterflies. So get your camera ready and take some magical photos.

Follow the steps of Dracula

Transylvania Dracula places Bran castle

Your trip wouldn’t be complete without following the steps of the famous Count Dracula. With a guided tour, you can have fun and get in-depth information about the cruellest ruler, Vlad Tepes. Get your fangs ready and let’s fly over these places together.

The house of Vlad Dracul

Placed in the heart of beautiful Sighisoara, the house of Vlad Dracul is actually the birthplace of Vlad Tepes. Born in 1431, the ruler lived here by the age of four. Nowadays, the house was turned into a restaurant, where the staff can show you Vlad’s old room.

Bran Castle

Bran Castle will impress you with its conical towers, views over the thick forest, and the creaky-floored rooms furnished with bearskin rugs and 19th-century antiques. Even though the connections with Stoker’s character or the historical figure, Vlad The Impaler, are really thin, the place will simply amaze you with its unique beauty.

The medieval prison of Corvin Castle

Probably the oldest prison in the castle is not the one every tourist can see. There is a special place in the Knights Hall, a little dungeon under the floor, that was used to punish people.

Legends say that Vlad Tepes was kept as a prisoner here for several years. That is why, because of rage, grudge, and lack of light, the ruler turned into the feared Count Dracula and then killed his enemies.

Borgo Pass

Borgo Pass is mostly famous because of Bram Stoker’s book and is home to the beautiful resort, Piatra Fantanele. In this resort, you’ll find the only Dracula Castle Hotel built according to the author’s description.

The castle is a real masterpiece. It seems to be a medieval fortress, yet it is so modern because it pleasantly combines the current requirements with the medieval style. This may seem the perfect spot to enjoy the medieval experience.

Explore the hidden gems of Transylvania

Transylvania hidden gems Sarmizegetusa regia

Rich in beautiful nature and traditional villages–Transylvania also has some hidden treasures that are begging to be explored. While visiting this region, try to squiz in these magical destinations.

Carta monastery

Carta monastery is the oldest Cistercian construction in Easter Europe. The Cistercian monks built the monastery in 1205, which binds the romanesque style with the early gothic.

The monastery became famous in the last few years, due to the creators of the movie “The Nun,” which used the legends of the monks as inspiration. It is said that the Carta monastery is still haunted by the Cistercian monks who died at a very young age.

If you’re a fan of horror stories this is the place for you.

Sarmizegetusa Regia

Sarmezegetusa Regia is the sacred site of the Dacians. Located in Orastie Mountains, the fortress represents the capital of ancient Dacia. Due to the remote location of the fortress, it is often seen as the most surprising and mysterious historical attraction in Romania.

Samizegetusa is included in the UNESCO heritage as it’s the largest Dacian fortification in this country. On-site were found Dacian treasures, jewels, and other valuable ancient objects.

Giardini di Zoe

This garden from Banpotoc, Hunedoara, is a hidden piece of Heaven that will help you relax and enjoy life. Developed by an Italian entrepreneur passionate about gardening, Giardini di Zoe amazes with its color, perfume, and beauty.

Giardini di Zoe will enchant you at first glance, so get ready to explore the natural maze of this Italian garden.

Rosia Montana

Rosia Montana is the first documented village in Romania. About 100 kilometres of unique Roman galleries in the world were discovered here.

Nowadays, while visiting The Roman Galleries from Rosia Montana, you can also visit the Mining Museum and the Apuseni Gold, the center of the village with many historical buildings.

Have a taste of Transylvania’s traditional food

The favorite part of every journey is the food tasting of different local food. Given that Transylvania is a mixture of different communities, you’ll find a great variety of dishes.

One thing you should remember, though, is that in this region, pork is king. So prepare your belly for a feast!

A regular Romanian meal always starts with a snack and soup. The appetizers are delicious and you should definitely try zacusa, which is a mouthwatering dip made from red peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant or bean. The bread covered with lard and onion is a quick snack made from fresh bread, pork fat, and, red onion with a pinch of salt. Also, try to make some room for the eggplant salad, which is also a dip, made from eggplants, mayonnaise, and fresh onion.

As for the soup, there is a wide variety that covers different tastes. But, while you’re in Transylvania, make sure you try the bean soup with soaked pork and red onion. The serving of this soup is very authentic since it will be brought to you in carved bread.

If you want something more light, you can try the dumplings soup, which is made from chicken birth and fresh carrots. You can’t leave Transylvania, without trying Transylvanian pork soup, which contains smoked chunks of pork meat, and vegetables like carrots, potatoes, peas, cabbage, and freshly cut parsley.

Your journey into Transylvania cuisine continues with the main dish. The official dish of the Romanian people is sarmale, which is practically stuffed cabbage with pork meat and rice. They are served next to polenta, sour cream, and pickled hot pepper.

You must also try the Transylvanian stew with potatoes and smoked pork meat which is a very common, but utterly delicious dish. Another dish, that Romanians love is mititei or mici. Served next to a big pile of french fries and mustard, this dish made of ground pork and beef is an excellent choice for a nice barbeque.

A good meal always ends with dessert. There are various sweets from which you can choose the one that suits you best. The best Transylvanian deserts are by far papanasi. They are a traditional fried pastry with a cheese dough and it’s shaped into a doughnut. You can put on top different toppings such as sour cream with jam or even Nutella.

Cozonac is a sweet leavened bread, made from eggs, milk, and butter and is usually baked around major holidays in Romania. What makes it delicious are the toppings inside it like, hazelnuts, walnuts, or chocolate.

You should also try Gomboti, which are sweet dumplings filled with plums. The plums are wrapped in a potato-based dough and then boiled and rolled through a mixture of breadcrumbs, sugar, and cinnamon.

Conclusion

Transylvania is a Romanian region that you should visit at least once in a lifetime. Rich in history, culture, magical landscapes, and beautiful people, Transylvania is a top destination for many travelers.

There are many things to do in Transylvania. If you want to follow the steps of Dracula, explore the fantastic mountains, or enrich your cuisine culture, then a guided tour to bind them all is the perfect solution. Secret Romania is here to help you plan and experience a pleasant journey without the struggles of finding accommodations and driving on unknown roads.