There's more to Transylvania than just vampires and castles. This historical region in central Romania is full of beautiful scenery, interesting history, and plenty of things to see and do.
Here are the top 10 sights and activities to check out on your next trip to Transylvania in your tour package to Europe.
Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle, is a national monument and landmark in Transylvania, Romania. The castle is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, in a strategic location between Poenari Fortress and the trade route from Braşov to Bistriţa.
Bran Castle was built in 1377 by the Saxons as a fortification against Ottoman invaders. In 1459, Vlad III Dracula (also known as Vlad the Impaler) conquered the castle. Today, Bran Castle is a popular tourist attraction in Romania, especially for fans of vampire lore and Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.
What to see at Bran Castle
When visiting Bran Castle, tourists can explore the castle grounds and learn about its history at the museum located inside the castle. Visitors can also take a cable car up to Mount Tampa for panoramic views of Transylvania or go hiking in nearby forests. For those interested in vampire lore, several "Dracula" tours are available that visit sites associated with Vlad III Dracula or Bram Stoker's novel.
Peles Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, Prahova County, Romania. It was the summer residence of King Carol I of Romania. The first royal castle was built between 1873 and 1914 on the site of an earlier monastery by King Carol I, who needed a place to escape the heat of Bucharest during the summer months.
What to see at Peles Castle
Peles Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe and is definitely worth a visit when you're in Transylvania. The castle's exterior is intricately detailed, with carved stone and stained glass windows. The interior is just as opulent, with marble staircases, ornate fireplaces, tapestries, and paintings. You can also tour the grounds, which include a beautifully landscaped garden and a hunting lodge.
The Black Church
The Black Church is the largest Gothic church in Transylvania and one of the most important historical monuments in Romania. It is located in Brasov, in the heart of Transylvania.
The church was built by German settlers who came to Transylvania in the 12th century. The original name of the church was "The Church of St. Mary". But it was later renamed "The Black Church" because of its dark color, caused by the smoke from the candles and torches that were used during its construction.
What to see at The Black Church
The Black Church is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, and it is worth a visit when you are in Transylvania. Inside the church, you can see many interesting things, such as the most extensive collection of Turkish carpets in Europe, an old organ that is still used for concerts, and a wide variety of stained glass windows.
The Paradise Cave
The Paradise Cave is a natural wonder located in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania. This cave is one of the most beautiful caves in the world, and it is also one of the largest caves in Europe. The Paradise Cave was discovered in 1868 by Emil Racovita, and it has been open to tourists since 1932.
What to see at The Paradise Cave
The Paradise Cave is a stunning example of nature's beauty. The cave is approximately 30 kilometers long and features many incredible formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and columnar structures. The cave also has a beautiful lake, which is said to be bottomless.
The Merry Cemetery
The Merry Cemetery is a cemetery in the village of Săpânța, Maramureș County, Romania. It is famous for its colorful tombstones with poetic epitaphs. The cemetery was founded in 1802 by Stan Ioan Pătraş, and is still in use today.
What to see at The Merry Cemetery
The Merry Cemetery is best known for its colorful tombstones with poetic epitaphs. The epitaphs are often humorous, and sometimes critical of the deceased person's life. The cemetery is also home to a number of sculptures, including a statue of Stan Ioan Pătraş, the founder of the cemetery.
The Bear Sanctuary
Bears have been present in the Carpathian Mountains for centuries, and their populations have fluctuated over time. In the early 2000s, there was a growing concern for the welfare of bears in the region, as they were often hunted or kept in captivity in poor conditions. In 2006, a group of Romanian and Swiss animal welfare organizations came together to create The Bear Sanctuary, which is now home to 18 bears.
What to see at The Bear Sanctuary
The sanctuary is located in Zarnesti, about 4 hours by car from Transylvania's capital city of Cluj-Napoca. Visitors can take a guided tour of the facility, which includes a forest Walk where you can see the bears roaming and playing in their natural habitat. There is also an on-site educational center that provides information about bear conservation.
The Salt Mines
The salt mines have a long and interesting history, dating back to the 13th century when they were first established. For centuries, the salt mines were an important source of income for the local economy, and they continue to be so today. The salt mines are located in a picturesque setting, offering various activities for visitors to enjoy.
What to see at The Salt Mines
There are several things to see at the salt mines, including the miners' village, the mine itself, and the museum. The miners' village is a great place to learn about the history of the salt mines and the people who worked there. The mine itself is an impressive sight, and it's interesting to see how it operates today. The museum is also worth a visit, as it contains a wealth of information about the history of the salt mines.
The Ethnographic Museum
The Ethnographic Museum in Transylvania was founded in 1875 by the Saxon ethnographer Georg Hörmann. It is located in the city of Sibiu, which was once the capital of Transylvania. The museum's collection includes over 200,000 items, making it one of the largest ethnographic collections in Europe.
What to see at The Ethnographic Museum
The museum is divided into three sections: the history section, the folk art section, and the ethnocultural section.
The history section chronicles the development of Transylvanian society from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The folk art section features traditional clothing, woodworking, pottery, and other crafts from Transylvanian villages. The ethnocultural section explores the region's various ethnic groups and their customs.
The Saxon Villages
The Saxon villages are a group of villages in Transylvania that were settled by Germanic people during the 12th century. The villages have well-preserved fortified churches and traditional houses.
What to see at The Saxon Villages
There are seven Saxon villages in Transylvania: Biertan, Calnic, Darjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Viscri, and Weingarten. Each village has its own unique history and culture. Visitors can explore the fortified churches, traditional houses, and museums in each village.
The Dracula Experience
The Dracula Experience is a unique attraction in Transylvania that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker's iconic vampire.
The experience includes a guided tour of Castle Dracula, where Vlad once lived, as well as a visit to the village of Borgo Pass, where he was born. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the dark forests that inspired Stoker's novel and see first-hand how Transylvania has been shaped by its association with vampires.
What to see at The Dracula Experience
The Dracula Experience is an ideal attraction for those interested in history, horror, or both. The castle tour provides an insight into the life of Vlad the Impaler, while the forest walk allows visitors to explore the dark and atmospheric woods central to Stoker's novel. The village of Borgo Pass is also worth a visit for its picturesque setting and traditional Romanian architecture.
If you're looking for a truly unique and spooky vacation destination, look no further than Transylvania. With its castles, caves, and haunted villages, Transylvania will surely give you a vacation you'll never forget.
Book your Europe tour package to Transylvania now to see those beautiful things.