Discover Romania’s Regions
Tower of the Cincsor Fortified Church © Warren Singh-Bartlett

What you should know about Transylvania

By far the best-known region in Romania to travellers from all over the world, Transylvania got its name from “silva”- the Latin word for forest, so Transylvania literally means “the land beyond the forests”.
Home to 150 well-preserved fortified churches that stand as a testament to centuries of Saxon inhabitation, Transylvania is also known for its rolling hills, dense forests, and scented meadows.
Of particular interest is the story of Dracula and his castle. While Bran Castle is definitely worth a visit, there’s hardly any proof that Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian Prince who inspired Bram Stoker’s character, ever lived in there.
  1. Visit Corvinilor Castle in Hunedoara, considered by many as one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Europe. Built in the 15th century, this castle is known to have been the place where Vlad the Impaler spent some time imprisoned.
  2. Alba Carolina Fortress in Alba Iulia has been recently renovated and definitely worth discovering, as you make your way towards the Apuseni Mountains, in the Western part of the Carpathians.
  3. Turda Salt Mine dates from Roman times and is one of the most surprising and unique underground places you can visit in this part of Europe.
  4. Visit the eye-catching towns of Sibiu, Brasov, Sighisoara, and Cluj to discover the great mix of architectural influences and let the lively atmosphere of these important economic and cultural centres of the country wash over you.
  5. Discover some of the region’s charateristic Saxon villages such as Viscri, Malancrav, Biertan, and Miclosoara.
  6. Venture further afield and investigate lesser-known Saxon villages such as Veseud, Cund or Gherdeal.
  7. Visit the Black Church in Brasov, the largest Gothic church in SE Europe.
  8. If you love nature, go hiking, biking (everything from mountain biking to a leisurely cycle), truffle hunting, horseback riding, and walking.
  9. Get a feel for the local culture and stay in some of the traditional guesthouses dotted over the region.
  10. Don’t miss out on the regional gastronomy. Enjoy meals prepared by local people, attend local festivals, and shop for produce at the local markets.
  11. Hike in the Carpathians and enjoy the local flora and fauna. Get to know the indigenous plants and track the wildlife.
  12. If you’re into caves, head west towards the Apuseni Mountains, the border between Crisana and Transylvania. This region is home to more than 1500 caves, some dating back roughly 3000 years, such as Scarisoara, containing the largest underground glacier in Romania.