Welcome to Transylvania
Transylvania’s forested valleys and Gothic castles are forever embedded in the popular imagination. Even before arriving, most visitors can picture this land of dark fairy-tales, where fog drapes like cobwebs over the Carpathian Mountains.Explore these stirring landscapes on hikes through Piatra Craiului National Park, or the Bucegi (and tougher Apuseni) Mountains; or see them frozen over at winter sports centres... Read More
Top experiences in Transylvania
Transylvania Castle Tour
Rise and shine, and hop aboard a climate-controlled bus from your hotel, which will transport you from Bucharest to Transylvania. Famous for its romantic views, thick forests, and many medieval castles, this central Romanian region is beautifully atmospheric…and home to the legend of Count Dracula. This 12-hour tour is certain to please Bram Stoker fans looking to learn more about Romania’s most famous vampire, as Bran Castle — also known as “Dracula’s Castle” — is the first port of call. A 13th-century hilltop marvel, it’s one of Romania’s most popular (and macabre) landmarks. Peles Castle is also on the itinerary: the former summer residence of Romania’s royal family, it’s a Neo-Renaissance architectural masterwork. Your day in Transylvania will continue with a walking tour of the medieval town of Brasov. Look out for landmarks like the Black Church and the city’s historic fortress walls, and enjoy some free time to scout out lunch, a coffee, and do some solo exploring. As the day winds down, hop back in the bus, which will drop you directly back at your hotel.
Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Tour from Brasov with Optional Peles Castle Visit
Leave central Braşov by air-conditioned car or minivan and head south to the village of Râșnov, nestled beneath the Bucegi Mountains in the Southern Carpathian range.As you travel, hear historical tales about Râșnov Fortress, the citadel built by Teutons in the 13th century to stave off Tartar invasion. Set on a wooded hill above Râșnov, the chunky stone fortress is stacked with red-tiled turrets and buildings, making it look like a walled village.After around 30 minutes on the road, head inside Râșnov (own expense) with your guide. Walk around the courtyards and ramparts, and admire the sweeping views from the walls. See the fortress’ well as your guide explains the legend surrounding it, and hear how medieval villagers would live in the fortress as a refuge in times of war.Opt to have lunch (own expense) in Râșnov if you wish or continue straight to Bran Castle, the 14th-century Transylvanian fortress-palace linked to the legend of Count Dracula, the vampire of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel.Admire the high-turreted hilltop castle on approach and pay at the entrance (own expense) to go inside. Wander the eerie rooms filled with Gothic furniture and armoury as your guide unravels the castle’s links with Dracula, sparked by its association with Vlad the Impaler. This brutal 15th century nobleman was imprisoned in the castle in 1462 and known for impaling enemies on stakes.Having investigated the Dracula legend, hop in your minivan or car, and return to Braşov where your tour ends at the start point. Alternatively, opt to stay on in the countryside and extend your tour (own expense, paid on the day of your tour) by three or four hours to visit nearby Peleș Castle. If you continue, drive to the town of Siniai and visit 19th-century Peleș Castle (own expense), considered one of Europe’s most beautiful. Ogle its grandiose rooms with a castle guide, and, then visit its impressive neighbour, Pelișor Castle, before ending your tour back in Braşov.
Small-Group Day Trip to Dracula's Castle, Brasov and Peles Castle from Bucharest
On our way back, we will stop for a short walk in Brasov downtown, just to show you how a typical Transylvanian old city looked like.Itinerary & visits:Bucharest - Sinaia: Visit Peles Royal Castle in Sinaia - General Exhibition standard tour 1 hour (on Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter season you will visit Cantacuzino Palace in Busteni or Rasnov Citadel in Rasnov instead)Peles Castle, erected between 1873 and 1914, has been the summer residence of the Romanian Royal family and it is the most visited museum in Romania.Sinaia - Bran: Visit Bran Castle (also known as Dracula's Castle)Bran Castle (14th century) has been serving for ages as a military fortress controlling the entry route to Transylvania and it is nowadays frequently associated with Dracula"s myth.Bran - Brasov: Walking tour of Brasov downtownBrasov - BucharestOn our way back, we will stop for a short walk in Brasov downtown, just to show you how a typical Transylvanian old city looked likeThe tour includes transportation, specialized guide services in English and entrance fees, but does not include the lunch (around 10-15 USD).Between 16 September and 14 May every year, Peles castle is open from Wednesday to Sunday only. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni or Rasnov Citadel will be visited instead.Between 15 May and 15 September every year, Peles castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday only. On Mondays, the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni or Rasnov Citadel will be visited instead.Between 1 November and 1 December, Peles Castle is closed for cleaning. During this period, you will be able to visit the smaller replica - Pelisor Castle.During official holidays and weekends the traffic to the mountain area might be busier than usual so the return could be later than scheduled (around 9 -10pm).
Small-Group Brown Bear-Watching Experience from Brasov
Meet your driver-guide/forest ranger in central Brașov in the late afternoon and set off by air-conditioned minivan or car into the Carpathian Mountains of Romania's Transylvania region. The area’s forests are known as bear country and home to the wild Carpathian brown bear. Around 5,000 of these animals are believed to live in the dense forests, hills and mountain meadows, alongside other wildlife including lynx, wild boar, wolves and deer.As you travel, gain fascinating insights into the brown bears, hearing how they can grow to enormous sizes, with some males reaching up to 770 pounds (350 kgs). Learn about their lives in the wild, and how their sharp sense of smell is vital in ensuring their survival.On arrival, your forest ranger will escort you to one of the numerous, specially designed bear hides in a restricted area of the forest. After a safety briefing, set off with the experienced ranger, following a wooded path to the secure and camouflaged hide.After roughly 20 minutes, arrive at the hide and settle in to watch for bears. Stay quiet and enjoy ample time to look for these magnificent animals. There’s around an 80% chance of sightings, and you may be lucky enough to observe everything from large males lumbering through the trees to females playing with their cubs: it's an unforgettable experience to see them roam free in their natural habitat. Snap photos and watch for other wildlife such as boar, roe and red deer, and the game birds known to live here.When your viewing time is up, walk back through the forest accompanied by the ranger and reconvene with your driver-guide. Your experience then ends with drop-off in central Brașov.Please note: The forest ranger accompanying you in the forest may carry a handgun for your protection in extreme situations.
Sighisoara, Rupea Fortress and Viscri Day Trip from Brasov
Leave central Brașov by air-conditioned car or minivan and travel north with your guide into the Transylvanian countryside. As you travel, listen to fascinating facts about Romania’s history and admire the passing scenery of rolling hills, age-old villages and pine forests.After roughly 1.5 hours, arrive at Viscri, a historical village that’s hardly changed in centuries. Discover how Prince Charles owns a property here and visit Viscri church, one of Transylvania’s UNESCO-listed fortified churches.Built by Saxon colonists in the 1300s, this remarkable sanctuary is encircled by white stone battlements that lend it a fairy tale appearance. Go inside (own expense) with your guide to explore the bastions, covered corridors and church, and learn how the fortifications, an incredible 16 feet (five meters) thick in places, were built to defend against invading Turks.Continue to the medieval, UNESCO-listed town of Sighişoara, one of the best preserved in Europe and the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration behind Dracula. Enjoy a walking tour of its jewel-like center to see its 14th-century Clock Tower, Church on the Hill, and Citadel, an atmospheric web of cobbled lanes and crooked walls.After a little free time to have lunch (own expense) or explore Sighişoara independently, travel on to Rupea Fortress, one of Transylvania’s most impressive medieval castles. Built in the 1300s, this hilltop fortress has a lower, middle and upper level, with ramparts and terraces coiling up to the summit.Head inside (own expense) and inspect the curtain walls and red-roofed towers on a guided tour. See the original 196-foot (60-meter) well, whose water is still drinkable, and learn how Saxon colonists used Rupea as a village in the 1700s, giving it its own market, chapel and meat storerooms.Having explored here, return to central Brașov where your tour ends.Please note: The order of activities as described above may be subject to change on the day of your tour.
Piatra Craiului National Park Hiking Tour
Meet your guide in central Brașov and travel by air-conditioned vehicle to the Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. Known for its forests, meadows and steep Zarnesti Gorge, the park boasts one of Romania’s highest mountain ridges, and wildlife such as deer, chamois, wolves, lynx and bear.On your roughly 1-hour journey, discuss the day’s hike with your guide and your group. You can choose from two 6- to 9-mile (10- to 15-km) routes depending on the weather and your group’s experience.Whatever the route, your hiking tour ends with a drop-off in central Brașov. If time allows and your group agrees, stop to visit Bran Castle (own expense) — the inspiration behind the Dracula legend — on the way back to Brașov.Mountain Villages Route – Easy to ModerateWalk through Piatra’s wooded lower slopes, absorbing the breathtaking views on route. See the Zarnesti Gorge, meadows and shepherd’s huts, and as you trek, spot wildlife and learn how the locals eke out a living farming sheep and making cheese.Stop at two villages, Magura and Pestera, and watch the villagers go about their daily tasks. Snack on any lunch you’ve brought with you or have lunch (own expense) at a guesthouse, choosing from simple fare like bean soup or polenta. After around five to six hours of hiking, drive back to Brașov.Mountain Hut Route – Moderate to HardTrek into the mountains through forests, valleys and meadows. Cross the Zarnesti Gorge and visit a sheep farm (June and September only) to learn about local shepherding and try some sheep’s cheese. Stop for lunch (own expense) at a mountain hut, savoring dishes such as buiz — polenta with cheese. Or, refuel with any snacks you’ve brought with you.Leave the hut, and if you wish, take a harder route up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) and hike part of Piatra’s main mountain ridge — taking your original 5- to 6- hour walk to an extended 9-hour trek. After your hiking, arrive at your vehicle and return to Brașov.