Raw mountainscapes and a bite of Bram Stoker are the main reasons to linger in northern Transylvania, though city chic isn’t far behind. Just south of Maramureș, the region’s heart is Cluj-Napoca: Romania’s second city is criminally underrated, and chock full of bars and galleries. The challenging hiking terrain of the Apuseni Mountains ripples westward.
Northeast of Cluj, passing the proud remains of Bánffy Castle, extends the perilous terrain of Bram Stoker’s imagination: Bistriţa and the Bârgău Valley, key locations in Dracula, each now boast a themed hotel. But the more rewarding travels here are timed for Untold or Electric Castle, two of the music festivals transforming this region into a musical hub.