Immortalised in Western culture as the home of Count Dracula, Transylvania is actually a beautiful pastoral region in central and western Romania – bordered by the Carpathian Mountains – as well as an important historical region.
Join one of our Transylvania holidays to discover this fascinating region, where myths and beauty abound in a distinctly medieval landscape and its multi-ethnic heritage shines through in its architecture, food, folk costumes and music.
In its early history, the territory of present-day Transylvania belonged to Dacia, the Roman Empire, the Hun Empire, the Gepid Kingdom and the Bulgarian Empire. As a political entity, Transylvania is mentioned from the 11th century as a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. It then successively became a principality under Ottoman suzerainty in 1571, a part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1711 and a part of the Kingdom of Romania after the First World War.
Transylvania is home to the dramatic Carpathian Mountains and mystical forests where you can follow hiking trails to explore hidden caves and cascading waterfalls. You’ll also discover well-preserved medieval towns, castles and fortified churches. Bran Castle, famously associated with the Dracula myth, offers a glimpse into Transylvania’s dark tales.
Transylvania holidays are particularly alluring during the winter when the landscapes are draped in snow and one of the best ways to explore is on a snowshoeing tour through fairytale woodlands, meadows and ancient villages. Visit a local bear sanctuary, learn about the region’s folklore and experience the centuries-old traditions.
8 Daysfrom£ 1,299
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Explore majestic mountains and villages looking for Brown bears
This wonderful seven-night self-guided holiday explores the mountainous region of Transylvania, leaving the stories behind to uncover a beautiful country with a rich and fascinating history; full of medieval castles, high peaks, incredible wildlife, and -of course- warm hospitality.
Bran Castle: No trip to Transylvania is complete without a visit to the iconic Bran Castle. Often associated with the legendary character Count Dracula, this medieval castle stands on a rocky cliff and evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. As you step inside the ancient walls, you’re transported back in time, and you can explore the castle’s labyrinthine corridors and discover its rich history. The stunning architecture and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside make Bran Castle one of the most spectacular sites in Transylvania.
Peleș Castle: Nestled in the picturesque town of Sinaia, Peleș Castle is an architectural masterpiece and one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. Built in the Neo-Renaissance style, the castle boasts ornate decorations, stained-glass windows and lavishly furnished rooms. Intricate woodwork, exquisite artwork and luxurious details adorn the interior of the castle, and the surrounding Carpathian Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop.
Traditional villages: Exploring the charming villages of Transylvania is like stepping back in time. Visit the fascinating Kalibash villages of Magura and Pestera which sprawl along the ridges of the Carpathian Mountains and acquaint you with the rural communities and their centuries-old traditions. It’s intriguing to learn about the history of the villages and their turbulent past when they were invaded by Turks, Mongols and Tartars.
Traditions and Folklore: Transylvania is renowned for its vibrant folklore and traditional customs, which are proudly preserved in its friendly communities. As you immerse yourself in the local way of life, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and love for the region. Indulge in authentic foods, meet local craftsmen and visit old wooden churches. The medieval fortress of Sighișoara, with its colourful buildings and cobbled streets offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history and captivating architecture.
Culinary delights: Transylvania’s cuisine reflects the region’s multicultural heritage with traditional dishes influenced by Romanian, Hungarian and Saxon flavours. From hearty soups like ciorbă and traditional stews like paprikash to mouth-watering desserts such as kürtőskalács, Transylvanian food takes you on a culinary and sensory journey. Explore local markets and indulge in regional delicacies as you discover the distinctive flavours of Romania.
A really interesting week’s snowshoeing in beautiful mountians in an unspoilt part of the world
Well organised trip, faultless hosts at Villa Hermani and an excellent leader in Sebi. The scenery was amazing and the walks were all excellent and well paced for our group. The bear watching in the hide was outstanding.
This was a really interesting trip in rural Romania; we were blessed with amazing weather, so the views and scenery were quite beautiful. The trip was a good mix of sight seeing, exploring and walking. The walking wasn’t difficult and very leisurely, plenty of time to soak in the surroundings. Personally, I would have enjoyed more walking , but visiting Bran Castle and Brasov was interesting. The visit to the bear hide was undoubtedly the highlight, we watched 9 females and 5 cubs for over an hour, a very special moment. The guest house was comfortable and the food was delicious, home cooked and plentiful. There were no options, vegetarians and vegans may struggle.
Transylvania is famous for many reasons, including its beautiful natural landscapes, medieval fortified churches, the Carpathian Mountains and fairytale castles. Bran Castle, often associated with the legend of Dracula is one of the most famous of all the castles. The region’s rich folklore and traditions that blend the cultures and influences from Romania and Hungary have lured visitors from all across the world. Transylvania’s charming towns and villages, with their well-preserved architecture also add to its allure.
What are the best things to see on Transylvania holidays?
Transylvania not only boasts stunning natural landscapes, but it also has a rich historical and cultural heritage. Firstly, visit the iconic Bran Castle, often associated with the Dracula legend. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Carpathian Mountains and explore the charming medieval town of Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its well-preserved citadel. The vibrant city of Cluj-Napoca is also worth visiting with its remarkable architecture, lively squares and thriving arts scene. Journey through the Fagaras Mountains and witness the ancient monasteries at Carta and Sambata de Sus, which is the only Wallachian-style monastery in Transylvania.
When is the best time to visit Transylvania?
With balmy summers and typically snowy winters, Transylvania offers different seasonal experiences and when you travel will depend on what you want to see and do during your trip. January and February are ideal for snowshoeing and winter walks in the Carpathian Mountains but if you prefer to visit when the landscapes are green and filled with flowers, you’re best travelling in the spring or summer months. September is also a good time to visit Transylvania as the temperatures are slightly cooler and make ideal walking conditions.
What are the local delicacies in Transylvania?
The region is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine and food lovers will be in their element sampling the local delicacies, which include sarmale (cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice), mici (grilled minced meat rolls), papanași (fried cheese donuts), and palinca (a traditional fruit brandy). The rich cultural heritage also includes a wide choice of local cheeses and wines, famous for their distinct flavours. Many of the regional dishes have taken influences from the food of Hungary, Austria and Serbia. Hearty, flavoursome cuisine is made with ingredients such as game, wild mushrooms and seasonal vegetables to create tasty and satisfying meals.
Where can I see bears in Transylvania?
The region plays host to diverse landscapes and is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears. If you’re eager to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures, there are a few places you should visit. The Carpathian Mountains, with their vast forests and protected areas, provide some of the best opportunities to observe bears in their natural habitat. National parks such as Piatra Craiului and Fagaras are also great places to go in search of bears and with purpose-built hides, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close to get up close and personal in complete safety.
Where are the best walking trails in Transylvania?
Made up of unspoilt landscapes, Transylvania has some fantastic walking trails. Arguably one of the most well known in the region is the Transylvanian Alps Trail, popular for its stunning views of the Carpathian Mountains. The Piatra Craiului National Park also boasts a range of scenic trails filled with a variety of flora and fauna. If you want to soak up the history of the region, the medieval Bran Castle Trail guides you through picturesque villages and ancient ruins. Along the Bucegi plateau, trek to the unusual rock formations, Bucegi Sphinx and Babele.
Can you go snowshoeing in Transylvania?
Snowshoeing offers a unique experience and is a great way to explore the snow-covered landscapes of Transylvania in winter. If you are planning on booking a snowshoeing trip, it’s best to go between December and February when the scenery is drenched in thick snow, and you can enjoy the phenomenal mountain views. Traverse tiny villages, deep gorges and remote valleys that wind among the Carpathian Mountains and experience the traditions of local communities along the way.