I decided to plan a trip to Transylvania on a hunch.
A photo online with a cobblestone lane and colorful houses grabbed my attention and looked nothing like the images in my mind of a place where the legend of Dracula began.
There are so many amazing places to visit in Romania yet it hasn’t captured the full attention of travelers planning European trips. For this reason, there’s no better time to plan a trip to Transylvania and see for yourself some of the best places in Romania.
How to Plan a Trip to Transylvania Romania
The itinerary ideas in this guide can be done in as quick as a week if you move at a good pace and you stick with the main Transylvania points of interest.
If you’d like to plan day trips to see Bran Castle or to hike into the mountains, 10 days or more will really allow you to enjoy some of the prettiest towns in Romania and take in the charm that is Transylvania.
If you’re still deciding where to travel in Europe, find out why you should visit Romania. Otherwise, pack your bags and let’s discover all the things to do in Transylvania!
Sinaia and Peles Castle
Sinaia is the gateway into Transylvania.
It’s a quick and easy train ride from Bucharest and one of the most famous places in Romania because of the fairy tale Peles Castle. King Carol I fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding the tiny village of Sinaia and its historic monastery.
He had Peles Castle built as a summer residence for him and his family. The result is an elegant castle with the coziness of a family home.
It’s possible to stop in Sinaia to see the monastery and Peles Castle en route from Bucharest to Brasov in the same day. Visitors staying longer can ride the cable car and hike into the Bucegi Mountains.
No matter how much time you plan to spend in Transylvania, a visit to Peles Castle should be at the top of your things to see in Romania’s list!
For more detailed information about Sinaia and Peles Castle, check out:
How to Visit Sinaia Romania and the Wonderful Peles Castle
Where to Stay in Sinaia:
The Ioana Hotel is a beloved upscale hotel in Sinaia and Vila Retezat is equally as loved, but more budget-friendly. Both hotels have won Travelers’ Choice Awards for 2017 and are conveniently located near Peles Castle and the Sinia Monastery.
Book Now | Check Latest Prices in Sinaia | Explore Local Lodging
Pro Tip – Visitors to Peles Castle are taken through the castle on a guided tour. If you have the budget, opt to also see the upstairs. Only a handful of people buy tickets for this, but it’s a chance to really talk with the guide and get an insiders’ look at the Castle.
Brasov is one of the best cities to visit in Romania for good reason.
Its ideal location within Transylvania makes it a great base to discover some of the top places to visit in Romania. Start in Brasov because of its neatly preserved medieval center and all the things to do in Brasov.
Brasov sits at a cultural crossroads because of its geographic location. The Saxons to the west and the Ottoman Empire to the east left historical marks on Brasov’s churches and architecture.
Begin your visit in Brasov with a free walking tour. The tour will orient you and give a great overview of the life for the Saxons within the over 600-year-old fortification walls and the Romanians who lived just beyond the city gates.
Read more about the top things to do in Brasov with this guide:
12 Terrific Things to Do in Brasov
Where to Stay in Brasov:
I stayed at the Kronhaus Guest House.
There is a large common area where guests can enjoy snacks and drinks while getting to know each other. Kronhaus is located just 5 minutes walking from the Piata Sfatului, Brasov’s main square.
You’ll want to stay in and around this area for easy access to the Brasov’s sights, restaurants, and nightlife.
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Pro Tip – With so many what to see in Transylvania spots nearby, day-tripping from Brasov is quite common. Rasnov Fortress and Bran Castle are in convenient reach from Brasov whether you’re traveling with a guide or independently. It also makes logistical sense to begin a multi-day Carpathian Mountain hiking excursion from Brasov.
Sighisoara was built by the Saxons during the 12th-century. It’s one of 7 citadel cities in Romania and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Climb the Clock Tower and make your way up to the Church on the Hill. But, be sure to spend time just wandering the cobblestone streets and gushing over the brightly colored houses and medieval charm.
Of all the towns in Transylvania, Sighisoara is absolutely one of the prettiest!
Transylvania’s Dracula legend is loosely based on a man named Vlad the Impaler, who was born in a small house just next to the historic clock tower.
Luckily, despite a few shops in the village center selling Dracula teeth and garlic-shaped magnets, Sighisoara shines for the well-preserved historical gem it is.
Plan your visit to Sighisoara with this detailed guide:
How 1 Fairytale Day will Make You Love Sighisoara Romania Forever
Where to Stay in Sighisoara:
Look to stay within the Citadel to have easy pedestrian access throughout the medieval village.
I stayed at the gorgeous Fronius Boutique Residence. (It was my only lodging splurge in Romania!) The historic hotel sits along the main street in the heart of Sighisoara’s Citadel. The rooms have vaulted ceilings, antique furniture, and a quaint outdoor garden where guests can enjoy breakfast.
Book Now | Check Latest Prices in Sighisoara | Explore Local Lodging
Pro Tip – Most visitors come for just the day. Stay the night if you can spare the time in your itinerary. From late afternoon through the following morning, you’ll feel as if you have the village all to yourself.
One of the best places to visit in Romania is Sibiu. It’s known for its wide-open squares, worry-free ambiance, historical roots, colorful Lower Town, and of course, its houses with eyes.
If you can’t decide what to see in Romania (because there’s so much!), just spend your time strolling with an ice cream in Sibiu! 😉
The city has grown since being founded in the 12-century but its Cathedrals and stone wall defenses remain intact. In 2008, Sibiu was named the 8th most idyllic place to live in Europe by Forbes and it’s easy to see why.
It absolutely has to be one of the most beautiful places in Romania!
From the birds-eye views to the colorful buildings in beautiful decay, Sibiu will absolutely steal your heart.
The unspoiled countryside is one of the best places to see in Romania. Luckily, it surrounds Sibiu. Set aside time to cycle into the hills or explore nearby villages and, in the process, experience Romania’s authentic agricultural lifestyle.
Read more about this Transylvanian gem you won’t want to leave:
15 Splendid Things to Do in Sibiu
Where to Stay in Sibiu:
Plan to stay in Sibiu’s historical center in and around Piata Mare and Piata Mica.
You’ll find many of Sibiu’s sights, restaurants, and shops within easy walking distance. I had a great stay at Pensiunea Chic just 2 minutes from the Lutheran Cathedral.
The rooms were basic but super comfortable and included air conditioning. Breakfast is in the outdoor courtyard while taking in the Cathedral views overhead.
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Pro Tip – Sibiu is host to many festivals and cultural and sporting events. For what to do in Transylvania and Sibiu, check the calendar of events to see what’s happening when you plan to visit.
How to Get to Transylvania
Transylvania is easily accessed by car or by train.
From Bucharest, direct and local trains run to all of the towns listed above. When possible, book tickets for direct trains. Not only will you arrive quicker, the trains are a bit newer and are likely to be more comfortable with better seating and air conditioning.
Local trains, while perhaps a bit warmer and more cramped, offer an up-close look at daily life in the countryside.
Check the Romanian train website for schedules and tickets. If you know your schedule and the tickets are available for purchase, buy and print your tickets online. In the smaller towns and villages, it may be slightly more challenging to find a train station agent who speaks English.
Pro Tip – If you finish your trip to Transylvania in Sibiu, take the overnight train to Budapest to extend your travels and/or for better international airport access.
So, which places in Romania would you like to see? Which Transylvania points of interest top your list?
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38 thoughts on “How to Plan a Trip to Transylvania Romania”
Amazing post! I’ve always wanted to visit Romania, it looks beautiful and full of history and culture. I think I fell in love with Sibiu and Brasov only by seeing the pictures!
Thanks so much, Miguel! Sibiu was my fav…so easy to fall in love with Transylvania!
Super helpful tips Jackie, thankyou! I love finding itinerary ideas from travel blogges who have been, little gems that you can’t often find elsewhere 🙂 In all my time in Europe I never visited Romania, definitely in the plans for the future!
Thanks so much, Kim. You’ll love Romania when you make there. 🙂
Love the pro tips in the post, your pics are excellent. I can see why you feel for Sibiu – gorgeous. I have to get to Romania…
Thanks, Dorene. Hope you make it to Romania soon!
I’ve heard such great things about visiting Romania- would love to enjoy the view from the Clock Tower in Sighisoara!
Thanks for reading, Tamara. You’ll absolutely love the view from up there! 🙂
This looks so awesome! I’m hoping to get to Romania next summer. I’ve never heard of Sighisoara, but it looks absolutely incredible. It’s now on my Romania wanderlist.
Thanks for reading, Paige! You’ll fall head over heels with Sighisoara, for sure! 😉
I instantly think Dracula when I hear or read Transylvania. How beautiful it looks. It really is somewhere I want to visit. The cobblestone picture would have swayed me to visit too.
Glad you understand, Sara! 😉 Too much temptation not to visit.
Seems like such a quaint, cozy area! I love that you touched on it being a borderland between East and West. That geography never fails to create rich histories! Great post and great pictures!!
Agreed, Becke! The history from crossroads like this is so interesting.
Love those funky homes with “eyes.” Have never been to Romania, but have being seeing many articles recently about the area. Sibiu looks like a gorgeous place and the first place I’d visit on my trip. Great read and nice to take a virtual trip through your words and pictures.
You have a good eye (no pun intended!), Rosemary! Sibiu deserves to be at the top of your Romanian bucket list.
I will be in Slovenia this September and I’m strongly considering making my way over Transylvania. The photo of cobblestone lane and colorful houses has just grabbed my attention too!!! lol I’ve always liked the story of Dracula. I like that it’s a quick train ride from Bucharest.
If you have the time to spare, Christopher, I definitely recommend heading further east to Romania! 🙂
I was not much aware of Transylvania. But reading your post is indeed a revelation of sorts. The place has a kind of vintage and old world charm which is so endearing. Romania has so many hidden treasures and we do not see many posts about it. It is heartening to read your post about this lovely country.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the read, Sandy. Hope you can visit Transylvania someday.
I can’t wait to visit this part of Europe, and I would love to plan day trips to see Bran Castle or to hike into the mountains, so 10 days or more it is! Thanks for the helpful tips – I’ve fallen in love with Transylvania through your photos of the scenery and architecture – such stunning castles, and colors and spires – incredible access to heritage and history!
That sounds like a great plan, Megan! I was so glad to have extra time built into my Transylvanian itinerary. It allowed time to take day trips and also soak up the charm, particularly in Sibiu. Hope you can visit soon! 🙂
I loved your article about visiting Romania. Just made me want to go travel around my own country again. There are many hidden jewels like the ones you have seen here. Next time make sure you go to Cluj-Napoca and Alba-Iulia as well or the Danube delta.
Hi Olga, thanks for reading! 🙂 You name 3 places at the top of my list for my next visit to Romania. I loved my trip to your country and I can’t wait to return.
Romania is a tiny yet pretty country. I completely fell in love with Brasov and Sighisoara. As I am from India, the architecture of these medieval places was something new to me. We have different architectures here. 🙂
I’m so glad you loved Romania, Deepak. Brasov and Sighisoara are so pretty. I’d love to make it to India to admire the architecture there, too. 🙂
Did you travel between cities by train or bus?
Thanks for reading, Kymberly. I traveled by train for my whole trip. It was easy to do and I bought most of my tickets just before traveling.
Hi Jackie, thanks for your great insights, we are visiting Romania in September this year and have 4 nights to share beween Brasov, Sighisoara, and Sibiu. We are hiring a car from Tulcea after a week travelling the Danube Delta. So our first stop will be Brasov. Which of these beautiful places would you spend 2 nights in?
Thanks for reading, Jeanie. Romania is fantastic. Brasov tends to be the typical base in Transylvania. You can easily get to spots outside of Brasov like Peles Castle, Bran Castle, or the Rasnov Fortress, and the town has interesting sights like the Black Church. But, in terms of charm and still plenty of to do in and just out of the city, I’d choose Sibiu for 2 nights. I loved the vibe there and the old town has so many nooks to wander in and out of. There’s also a great open-air museum just outside of town that’s a great way to see Romanian daily life and culture. Enjoy Romania! 🙂
Thanks Jackie will book 2 nights in Sibiu and maybe a night in both Brasov and Sighisoura. Thanks for your help.
Enjoy! Sibiu is fantastic. 🙂
Ok Jackie. Romania just jumped up to the top of our list and will likely be included as part of our trip to Austria next summer. Thanks for this guide. I will be pouring over it in the coming months.
I do have a question for you – we will probably only be able to dedicate 4 days. We were thinking we would focus on Transylvania. Thoughts?
Thanks for reading, Christine! 🙂 Yes, definitely focus on Transylvania. It’s a great intro to Romania. You can see Peles Castle in Sinaia and still get to Brasov on the same day by train or by car. Brasov is typically where people like to base themselves. But, I wouldn’t miss out on Sibiu…The town is such a gem and the countryside all around is gorgeous. Let me know if you have more questions.
The best times to visit Transylvania is on Halloween. There is a very funny party in Sighisoara citadel with magician’s shows, Vampire Killing show and a Ritual Killing of a Living Dead. Nothing scary just people enjoying a well-organized masquerade party with contests. Another one is Bran Castle Halloween Party, which is a club like atmosphere and the biggest in Romania
Thanks for reading, Alexandra. It sounds spooky! 😉 But also perfect for the mystique around Transylvania.
My Father was born in or outside of Sibiu, He came to America around 1917. I Don’t think I’ll get there , however thanks for the photos and descriptions ,l enjoyed them.
Thanks for reading, Ted. I’m glad the photos and article helped you connect with your family roots. Sibiu and the surrounding area are very pretty and my favorite part in all of Romania. 🙂