So pretty it should be arrested; from the moment you enter its fortified walls, wending your way along cobblestones to its centrepiece square, Sighişoara burns itself into your memory. It's like stepping into a kid's fairy tale, the narrow streets aglow with lustrously coloured 16th-century houses, their gingerbread roofs tumbling down to pretty cafes.
Looking over bucolic Saxon Land, the forbidding Făgăraş Mountains look like something from Lord of the Rings. The Transfăgărăşan Road – a real Transylvania highlight for those hiring wheels – sometimes opens only in early June, after the last of the snows melt from the road, closing by early October.
Your first glimpse of Biertan's medieval church is unforgettable: towering over the square below, clustered with vividly painted houses and backed by vineyards and tussocky meadows, this feels like a place that time forgot. There's a couple of places to stay, a decent restaurant and a market in the square that sells handicrafts.
At the foot of the mountains (20km via highway from Victoria, or 10km by a somewhat rough, but paved back road), the Sâmbăta complex is home to one of Romania’s wealthiest monasteries and a key access point for Făgăraş hikes. Ceauşescu liked it enough to build a villa here on the monastery grounds.
If you only visit one Saxon village in this area ensure it's this one. Rural Sibiel reminds of Little Red Riding Hood country, with the village almost swallowed by the neighbouring forest, and in recent winters packs of wolves have been spotted. Bears too are regular visitors to Sibiel's orchards, stocking up on fruit.
Twenty kilometres southwest of Răşinari is the stunning low-key ski/summer resort of Păltiniş. There are five ski runs – green, blue and red – to suit most levels of skier, and come summer, the landscape of forested mountains has breathtaking hiking trails through it. The cable car costs 8 lei.
Făgăraş (fuh-guh-rash) town is 25km east of the start of the Transfăgărăşan Road, but has more services than any access point north of the mountain range. Dead-centre Piaţa Republicii, where you’ll find a bank, is one block northwest of the maxitaxi stop on B-dul Unirii. The train station and bus station are 1km north of the maxitaxi stop.