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Best things to do in Transylvania

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Romania  /  Transylvania

Top 15 things to do in Transylvania

1. Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle), Bran

Originally built in the 14th century, Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle) draws visitors because of its association with the bloodthirsty 15th-century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler. The castle served as a fortress guarding the mountain pass and was advertised as the home of the ruler--also known as Dracul (the devil), who inspired the legend of Dracula. Perched on a rock above the river, the site offers panoramic views of the mountains. Today, its interiors feature art and furniture that belonged to the last Romanian Queen, Marie. Different rooms house some historical writings and the royal family tree. Check out an open-air museum in the park at the bottom of the hill with traditional Romanian peasant cottages and barns.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle)

2. Centrul Istoric Sighisoara, Sighisoara

Go back to the time of medieval craftspeople and merchants at Centrul Istoric Sighisoara, a small, fortified town--now a World Heritage Site--built by Saxon settlers in the 12th century. This was the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, a daunting Romanian ruler whose life story inspired the legend of Dracula. Strategically built on a hill, the town played an important commercial role on the route between Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Walk amidst the stone and brick houses topped by high tiled roofs. Take the long stairway, covered by the 17th-century wooden roof and guarded by a clock tower, to reach the citadel on top of the hill. Nine out of the original 14 watchtowers remain standing on the citadel wall.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Centrul Istoric Sighisoara

3. Salina Turda, Turda

Board a panoramic wheel and observe the 1,000-year-old stalagmites, or row across a small underground lake at Salina Turda. Romans began unearthing this huge underground mine in the 2nd century. It was closed in 1932 and reopened for tourists in 1992. Old mining machines take visitors through its massive halls, and the textured salt caves also house spa equipment for halotherapy. The pressure and dampness of the caves help in the treatment of asthma and allergies. The mine also features a family entertainment area with ping pong tables and bowling lanes, an echo chamber, a crystal hall, and a 50 m (164 ft) wide and 80 m (262 ft) long hall.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $87 › Learn more about Salina Turda

4. Dracula Castle, Peles Castle and Brasov Small Group Tour from Bucharest

Likely to sell out FROM $37
Escape the urban bustle of Bucharest for the day to discover the legends and treasures of Transylvania. Wander through the Gothic chambers and turrets of Bran Castle, nicknamed ‘Dracula’s Castle’ thanks to its spooky atmosphere and ties to Vlad the Impaler, and then feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale on a tour of splendid Peles Castle, the former royal residence of Romanian kings. Finally, explore one of Transylvania’s most well-preserved medieval villages on a walking tour of Brasov.
Suggested duration: 12h
Tours from $37 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Big Square (Piata Mare), Sibiu

Big Square (Piata Mare) features medieval and classical houses noted as "the eyes of the city," because the narrow roof window openings resemble half-open eyes. Surrounded by museums, cafes, and restaurants, and paved with granite tiles, the square was initially established as a grain market during the 14th and the 15th centuries. See the central fountain with the iron grates and the statue of Gheorghe Lazăr, founder of the first language school in Romania. Prominent buildings include Brukenthal Palace, which houses a museum, the city hall, and an 18th-century Jesuit church. Notice the flag on the roof of the Council Tower, which bears the emblem of the guild.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $5 › Learn more about Big Square (Piata Mare)

6. Piaka Sfatului, Brasov

Lined with red-roofed medieval merchant houses evoking the region's German heritage, Piaka Sfatului shows off Black Church, the town's most prominent landmark. You'll find a pillory in the middle of the square, where witches and other misfits were once scorned and punished. The square was named after the 15th-century council house, which is home to the town's history museum. The ancient watchtower, which today is part of the main building, is even older. Take a break at one of the many indoor or outdoor terraces or in the Renaissance Merchant's House, which has been turned into a restaurant.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $17 › Learn more about Piaka Sfatului

7. Muntele Tampa, Brasov

Walk up one of the twisting trails or ride a cable car to reach the top of Muntele Tampa, which offers panoramic views of the city. The mountain rises 900 m (2,952 ft) above sea level as a natural landmark that divides the new area of the town with condos and factories from its medieval section. You'll be able to distinguish the old German district of the town because of its red roofs. From the top, you can walk over the ridges of the hills following the marked trails to higher altitudes. The shaded alley along the side of the old fortress walls at the foot of the hill is a popular strolling spot.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $346 › Learn more about Muntele Tampa

8. Transylvania and Dracula Castle Full Day Tour from Bucharest

FROM $43
Discover two of Transylvania's most stunning castles on this day-long adventure: Bran Castle, a 13th-century hilltop fortress known as "Dracula's Castle," and Peles Castle, a masterpiece of Neo-Renaissance architecture. On this day trip, you'll be ferried by climate-controlled bus to both landmarks, and will also have the chance to wander the medieval city of Brasov.
Suggested duration: 12h
Tours from $43 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Black Church (Biserica Neagra), Brasov

See what survives of the Gothic Black Church (Biserica Neagra), blackened by smoke and flames of the great 1689 fire. The interior features a huge organ with 4,000 pipes, a cast-iron tabernacle, some late Gothic murals, and an extensive collection of Anatolian carpets. Outside, the architecture draws interest, as the church is decorated with portals, arches, and many sculptures. The ruined bust of John the Baptist in the choir section is the oldest surviving sculpture in the church. Look for the city's coat of arms beneath the statue of Mary and Jesus.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Tours from $17 › Learn more about Black Church (Biserica Neagra)

10. Castelul Corvinilor, Hunedoara

Soak in the atmosphere of medieval Romania in the chambers and dungeons of Castelul Corvinilor. Military figure Iancu of Hunedoara--said to be the illegitimate son of the Hungarian king--built the castle in the 15th century. Legend has it that Vlad the Impaler lost his sanity while imprisoned in the castle's dungeon. The courtyard houses "the bear pit," where two hungry bears allegedly took care of the unwanted. The castle features a lady's chamber with 19th-century furniture, a collection of armor in the knight's hall, a royal chapel, a torture chamber, and the Diet Hall, decorated with medieval flags. Climb to the tower and take a peek at a Gothic fireplace.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $82 › Learn more about Castelul Corvinilor

11. Gradina Botanica "Alexandru Borza", Cluj-Napoca

At Gradina Botanica "Alexandru Borza", see the Amazonian water lilies--a lotus with gigantic leaves and white flowers--which turn pink as they mature. The garden supports three greenhouses with topical and sub-tropical species, a herbarium with over 635,000 plants, a museum, and an institute. In the Roman garden, look for archaeological ruins from the Roman colony of Napoca, including the statue of Ceres--the goddess of grain and bread. The Japanese garden, intersected by a brook, features a Japanese-style house.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $1,483 › Learn more about Gradina Botanica "Alexandru Borza"

12. Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Tour from Brasov with Optional Peles Castle Visit

Likely to sell out FROM $51
Discover Bran Castle, known as ‘Dracula’s Castle,’ and Râșnov Fortress on this 4-hour small group tour from Braşov. Travel to Râșnov to explore its stunning 13th-century fortress, and then visit Bran Castle, the turreted hilltop palace linked to Bram Stoker’s fictional Count Dracula. Walk through the spooky rooms and hear tales about Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century noble who was imprisoned here and inspired Stoker’s blood-stained vampire. Upgrade to extend your tour to the beautifully ornate Peleș Castle (to be paid when you are doing the booking by choosing the option!).
Suggested duration: 4h - 5h
Tours from $51 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Cetatea Alba Iulia, Alba Iulia

Star-shaped Cetatea Alba Iulia showcases six monumental gates decorated in the early Baroque style and adorned with sculptures of ancient gods. Charles VI commissioned the building of the fortress, which was completed in 1735. The Italian architect laid out the fort as a seven-pointed star with bastions using the building system of Vauban, the leading military engineer of the 17th century. The citadel includes two palaces, a library, a university, a Romanian Orthodox church, and a medieval Catholic church. Try to time your visit to catch the ceremonial changing of the guards. Amenities include a few restaurants and cafes.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $74 › Learn more about Cetatea Alba Iulia

14. Le Lac Balea, Sibiu County

Legend has it that Le Lac Balea was named after a brave young shepherd who became the king's chief commander before he fell into the lake during a storm. The site features views of the surrounding mountains, and amenities include two chalets, a mountain rescue station, and a small improvised market near the lake where you can buy local food. During winter, you can stay at the first ice hotel ever built in Eastern Europe. To reach the site, take the cable car from Balea waterfall, or navigate a car or a bike up the Transfăgărășan Road.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $71 › Learn more about Le Lac Balea

15. Dracula's Castle and Transylvania Day Trip from Bucharest

Likely to sell out FROM $38
Transylvania is perhaps one of the most popular places in the world for the legends and mysteries surrounding his paths. On this tour you will discover in a small group the charm of the Castles of Transylvania: Peles Castle and Dracula's Castle (Bran Castle) and the legend of the famous Count Dracula and enjoy the city of Brasov, one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania.
Suggested duration: 12h - 13h
Tours from $38 › More about this tour at viator.com ›