Misty forests, haunted castles and, of course, vampires. Transylvania’s hair raising reputation allows the imagination to run wild. What many people don’t realise is that Transylvania is in fact a real place. It is a province in Romania, located in Eastern Europe. A certain 19th century novel by the name of Dracula might have birthed its spooky image, but what is there actually to do there?
Transylvania is home to lush green landscapes, gothic castles and medieval villages. It’s not difficult to see why the fantastical landscapes indeed blur the line between fact and fiction. Rest assured Transylvania’s locals are a friendly crowd. In fact, they’ve been here centuries and claim to never have seen a single vampire.
What is there to do in Transylvania? Behind the name, there is a world of history and beautiful landscapes to discover in Transylvania.
Deep in the Prahova River Valley is the enchanting town of Sinaia; home to Peles and Pelisor Castle. Both are Neo-Renaissance spectacles of fairy tale proportions. The Peles castle was commissioned in the 19th century and it’s beautifully preserved interiors capture visitors far and wide. The Art Nouveau features and oak timbre of Pelisor castle perfectly compliment surrounding greenery. The interior holds a treasure trove of 20th century Viennese furniture. It’s easy to imagine yourself as a character in Bram Stoker’s novel.
Both castles sit at the foot of the Carpathian mountains. A popular attribute of the area is the cable wires which take visitors up the mountainside for sublime views.
Brasov is the 7th most populous city in Romania and totally engulfed by the Transylvanian Alps. This city is conveniently located in the centre of Romania and the perfect base for visitors.
A drive from Brasov will take you through a rich forest. Shortly, you will see Bran Castle splitting through the mist, also known as Dracula’s castle. Once you notice its red conical roof peeking through the bed of green forest, goose bumps will erupt across your skin. The truth is there is no proof that Bram Stoker intended for Bran Castle to be the Dracula’s castle, but there are certainly close similarities.
This Saxon city is a preserved medieval fortified town and has earned its place as a UNESCO world heritage site. A walk through the streets and you will easily spot the 13th century Clock Tower crowning the town. The colourful buildings winding up to the Clock Tower is an immersive experience within itself.
The unofficial capital of Transylvania is another walled fortification from the medieval period. Despite its historical framework, the city has a widely diverse hand to offer. If you’re looking for an edgy scene to suit your eerie trip, Cluj-Napoca has an active nightlife with plenty of bars and clubs. For culture, the city has cultivated astonishing art galleries and exceptional botanical gardens. The standout St Michael’s church is huge in both proportion and historical wealth. The gothic church has existed in Cluj-Napoca since the 14th century and continues to fascinate visitors.
How do I get there?
Using a tour is the perfect way to step into Bram Stoker’s iconic characters, offering inspiring tours that are conveniently packaged for all kinds of adventurers. Check out our Romania tours that highlight Transylvania here.