What are the main tourist attractions in Transylvania?
Travelers, Dracula fans, vampire hunters, paranormal enthusiasts or culture-passionate people from around the world have always had an interest in Transylvania. Maybe it is because of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel or the way it is revealed in Media and the pop culture that formed around it, but besides the thrills, the visitors always find a place with amazing sights, picturesque sceneries, welcoming locals and stories to remember.
Basically, there it is:
Transylvania is one of the three major historical regions of Romania. Geographically, Transylvania refers only to the Transylvanian plateau surrounded by the Carpathian arc; but as a geopolitically, the historical region of Romania also includes Banat, Crisana, Satmar and Maramures.
Across history, the territory of Transylvania was populated by Geto-Dacians in antiquity and belonged to the Dacian Kingdom then to the Roman empire after the conquering of Dacia. In The Medieval Ages, The Voievodate of Transylvania appeared. It’s first known mention appears in a Medieval Latin document from 1075, named as Terra Ultra Silvam, meaning "The land beyond the forest".
At the beginning of the 11th Century, the Kingdom of Hungary started the annexation of Transylvania, a process that was finished at the end of the 12th century. Also, between the 11th and 13th century the Hungarian Kingdom brought Hungarians, Saxons, Cumans and Teutonic Knights in Transylvania in order to colonize the region, hence the ethnic and cultural diversity we find there these days.
Between 1526 and 1699, Transylvania was an autonomous principality and a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. After 1699, the Principality of Transylvania was administered by the Austrian Empire.
After the first World War and disintegration of Austro-Hungary, containing a Romanian majority population, Transylvania united with the Kingdom of Romania, through the Treaty of Trianon, and remained a part of Romania even after World War II.
Bran Castle - Bran, near Brasov (Brasov County)
When it comes to Transylvania, Romania, the first place that comes to most people’s mind is the Dracula Castle. The Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel is inspired by Vlad the Impaler and his layer by Bran Castle. There isn't any historical evidence to suggest the connection between Vlad and Bran Castle, but the tourists are always welcome to visit the place and discover it’s true story.
Corvin Castle - Hunedoara (Hunedoara County)
Also known as Hunyadi Castle, Corvin Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe and the largest castle in Transylvania. Along with Bran Castle and Poenari Castle, it is believed that the Castle was also an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Alba Carolina - Alba Iulia (Alba County)
Having 7 bastions and approximately 12 km of walls, Alba Carolina is the largest citadel in Romania. It’s most unique feature is the Change of Guard where Austrian soldier style dressed people play an authentic Habsburgic changing of the guard ceremony.
Retezat National Park - (Hunedoara County)
With over 50 glacial lakes, the Retezat National Park is dominated by beautiful waterfalls, canyons, and mountain peaks that easily surpass 2000m. It’s the perfect place to escape civilization and feel the nature. Being visited by 18.000 tourists each year, the national park has lots of routes, even some child-friendly routes.
Turda Salt Mine - Turda (Cluj County)
For almost two millennia, it served as a salt mine and in time of need, even as a bomb shelter and warehouse for cheese. These days, Salina Turda serves as an underground amusement park visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, being considered The Coolest Underground Place In The World.
Sibiu, Sighisoara & Medias Medieval towns
The medieval towns in Transylvania are the most unique due to the Saxon heritage and cultural mixture that formed across the centuries. Sibiu, Sighisoara and Medias are the best-known places in Romania where the medieval architecture and some of the tradition remained almost unaltered, making them the perfect location for medieval themed festivals.
Biertan Fortified Church - Biertan (Sibiu County)
Biertan Fortified Church is placed in Biertan, one of Transylvania’s oldest settlements. The church was built in the Late Gothic style, in the 16th century. It has monumental dimensions and is surrounded by three sets of walls, with six towers and three bastions. Together with the other fortified churches of Transylvania, Biertan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
*Besides Biertan there are other fortified churches you can read about in our article on Transylvania Fortified Churches.
Visit the Turda Salt Mine - Visit Turda Salt Mine in one day and get the chance to explore the surrounding sites.
Visit the Castles of Transylvania - We have prepared a 4 days Transylvania Castles Tour with departure from Bucharest so you can visit Bran Castle, Corvin Castle, Sighisoara Citadel and many more.
*If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of Dracula and the places that inspired the stories, check out our 8 days Dracula Tour.
Find out more about the local culture and cuisine - besides castles and Dracula, Transylvania is renowned for its culture and unique cuisine and that’s what made Sibiu a gastronomical capital in 2019. Find the crafts forgotten in the modern world taste the amazing Transylvanian food and even try to cook a recipe in a 7 days Amazing Romania private tour.
Explore the villages and the fortified churches - With a Classic Romania Tour, you can go from Bucharest and explore Romania through Transylvania to the northern areas of Maramures. You’ll get to explore the towns with fortified churches and the Maramures time-forgotten villages.
Learn More about the history of Transylvania - Take a three days Private Tour of Transylvania starting from Cluj Napoca and learn more about how Transylvania evolved across the centuries and how the mixture of culture created such a beautiful place.
Discover the wildlife of Transylvania - The Carpathian Mountains are the home of the last large mammals in Europe. Thousands of bears, wolves, lynxes, Carpathian chamois, Elks, and over 300 species are currently living in the Carpathians and can be observed in their natural habitat. You can ask for a bear tracking tour, wolf tracking tour or bird watching tour, or visit the Libearty Sanctuary from Zarnesti to view the bears in their natural environment.
Spend the Haloween in Transylvania - For details check our Halloween in Transylvania Tour.
In order to get to Transylvania, you have to put in your travel schedule an occasion to visit Romania. The easiest way to get to Transylvania is by plane. You can fly to Otopeni Airport (near Bucharest), Romania’s biggest international airport, then drive for three hours to reach Transylvania.
Besides driving you can reach Transylvania from Bucharest in almost four hours by train to Brasov, or in 50 minutes by plane to Cluj Napoca.
The fastest way to get to Transylvania is to fly directly to Avram Iancu International Airport Cluj. If you don’t have a direct flight to Cluj Napoca from your nearest airport, you can opt for a flight with a layover in Bucharest.
If you are planning to visit us, our travel guide for Romania can be one of the best resources.