A Taste of Transylvania - Top activities in Romania
TD active Holidays | 15 February 2021
The Balkan nation of Romania is a country full of diversity. Transylvania, the largest and most famous region of Romania, is set amidst the magnificent Carpathian Mountains and is home to breathtaking scenery, imposing fortresses and an abundance of native wildlife. The beautiful countryside offers a selection of walking trails, while its unique culture fascinates with a marked contrast between traditional rural life and the modern character of its thriving capital, Bucharest. Its medieval and Saxon towns are wonderfully preserved, and are the perfect place to uncover the essence of Romania as you wander through their charming cobbled streets and characterful squares, stopping to visit quaint cafés and old churches. But just don’t take our word for how spectacular Transylvania can be. We have included a selection of images captured by Dublin Photography School during our Transylvania Photography Holiday and some recommendations for top activities to do in Romania.
Discover Bran Castle
No trip to Romania would be complete without a visit to Bran Castle or as it’s commonly known ‘Dracula’s Castle.’ Bram Stoker’s iconic novel ‘Dracula’ was inspired by the violent exploits of Vlad the Impaler, although there is no evidence that he stayed in Bran Castle, it’s still a fascinating medieval fortress to explore. The name “Transylvania” may instantly conjure images of spooky castles, swarms of bats and bloodthirsty vampires, but the dark past that has inspired this picture is just one of the many reasons to visit this fascinating region in Romania.
Learn more about Romanian Bears
It’s estimated that there are more than 6,000 brown bears in Romania, the biggest population in Europe. The Libearty Bear Sanctuary, the oldest Animal Protection Association in Romania, was founded to rescue bears who were living in poor conditions and who were being exploited in the entertainment industry. You can take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see the bears enjoying a much more peaceful life.
Brasov Town Square
Sighișoara is a town famous for being the birthplace of “Dracula”, Vlad Tepes. Founded by German merchants and craftsmen, it’s a wonderful UNESCO town to explore with its cobbled streets and colourful buildings. Other highlights of Sighișoara include the 13th century Clock Tower, where a different wooden figure emerges each day when it strikes midnight.
Horseman in Sighisoara
The group getting set up at Lake Balea
See Lake Balea in Fagaras Mountains
One of the most stunning natural landmarks in Romania is Lake Balea, a glacier lake situated at 2,034m above sea level in Fagaras Mountains, which has been named the ‘‘Transylvanian Alps.’ The highest mountain range in the country is perfect for those looking to enjoy a walking holiday in Romania, as there are a variety of hiking trails. Even the journey to reach Balea Lake is wonderful, as you travel on the scenic Transfagarasan highway, a spectacular mountain road built in the 70’s by Romana’s infamous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
With its exquisite architecture, it’s no wonder the city was dubbed ‘Little Paris.’ From strolling along the historic Calea Victoriei avenue to relaxing in its beautiful parks and gardens, there is so much to see in Romania’s capital. We think a guided bike tour of Bucharest is one of the best ways to explore the city and see the top sights. One of Ceauşescu’s controversial and decadent creations, The Parliament House is a symbol of Romania’s dictatorship and after the Pentagon it’s the largest government building. You will need to book ahead to get a guided tour and it is definitely worth visiting.
Local life in Transylvania
The medieval city of Brasov is full of wonderful highlights, including the Black Church, Nicholas Church, the oldest Romanian Orthodox church in the country and Piața Sfatului, the old town square. There is so much history that we recommend taking a guided walking tour of Brasov. We also suggest taking a cable car up to the Tampa Mountains or if you’re feeling more energetic you can hike up, where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Brasov.
Panoramic views over Brasov taken from Mount Tampa
The colourful cobbled streets of Transylvania
The Saxon town of Viscri
Hike the Bucegi Mountains
One of the top hiking destinations in Europe, you can experience an exhilarating walk across the Bucegi Mountains. On the Bucegi Plateau, weather erosion has sculpted the rocks into remarkable shapes such as the Sphinx and Babele, which means ‘old woman’. Nearby is the town of Sinaia, the “Pearl of the Carpathians”, is worth a visit due to its magnificent mountain scenery, Monastery and the fairytale Peleș Castle, which was used as a summer palace by King Carol I.
Our September 2017 group with their photography tutors at Lake Balea
Would you like to learn how to take incredible travel photographs? Our guided photography holidays are the ideal way to develop your documentary, street and landscape photography skills while taking in an exciting destination. Stewart Kenny, an award winning fine art landscape photographer, plus an additional tutor from Dublin Photography School accompany all of our photography tours, offering tutorials, demonstrations, and photography tips. Alternatively, you can experience Romania by foot with our Transylvania Walking Holiday or soak up the country's wonderful culture with our Explore Transylvania guided holiday.
Join us when we travel to Romania to discover for yourself how bewitching Transylvania can truly be. Take an adventure tour of Transylvania and uncover the true beauty of Romania.
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