So resplendent are Sighişoara’s pastel-coloured buildings, stony lanes and medieval towers, you’ll rub your eyes in disbelief. Fortified walls encircle Sighişoara’s lustrous merchant houses, now harbouring cafes, hotels and craft shops. Lurking behind the gingerbread roofs and turrets of the Unesco-protected old town is the history of Vlad Ţepeş, Transylvania’s most notorious ruler; he was born in a house that is visitable to this day. Revered by many Romanians for protecting Transylvania from Turkish attacks, Ţepeş is better remembered as Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, fuelling a local industry of vampire-themed souvenirs.
Allow time to lose yourself along Sighişoara's alleys, hike to its hilltop church, and sip coffee at cafes half a millennium old. If Sighişoara doesn’t sate your thirst for medieval splendour, it also makes a great jumping-off point to explore Saxon villages like Viscri and Biertan.