You must have at some point heard about Transylvania, it's kind of inevitable, especially if you have a look at the pop culture references that are made in the media.
You probably have a vivid mental picture of pasty vampires hiding in a formidable castle; I did that too. Now, however, I have a very different view of the stunning place that is Transylvania.
It does have a lot to offer beyond just castles. First, let me start by dispelling some misconceptions. Transylvania isn't just some small town or a place; it occupies about 1/3rd of the country of Romania, effectively becoming larger than Austria.
To truly enjoy Transylvania, you need to have at least a minimum of 3-5 days on your hands. That is the only way to understand why the region is so famous.
Transylvania is not like any ordinary European town; it isn't the kind of place where you spend one day and then move on. It is a lot deeper than that. It has an idyllic village life attached to its charm. At its heart, one needs to enjoy the Village life ( as historians have coined it).
But if it is still as a tourist that you want to explore the city, then have a look at our list.
I'll just clarify this one first and then move on to the rest. Thanks to the Dracula Novel and then the 1992 movie, this castle is arguably one of the most famous castles in the world.
It is a sight to behold with dramatic landscapes surrounding it, aligning with the menacing turrets and, medieval looks, this castle is worth every inch of the hype created around it.
This is as touristy as it gets in Transylvania.
With the amount of instability in the middle ages, most settlements in Transylvania were made with defense as a priority. They also all have a citadel nearby to take refuge in times of turmoil.
These buildings stand tall to remind the people about the fascinating history that has made Transylvania what it has become now. You can go to the Citadel of Sighisoara or the Saxon Villages, which even host royalty.
Apart from being UNESCO Heritage site, they are also like stepping into a time capsule. They have managed to preserve how their ancestors and still follow the same mantra of life.
Wander Through The Old Town of Sibu
This city is for the modern one. A welcoming and cosmopolitan city, Sibu has a great cultural scene. You can find museums, art galleries, and festivals within its vicinity.
Even though it has a vibrant cultural scene, its real magic lies in its Old Town. Throughout the Old Town, you would find these atmospheric cafes that boast splendid Baroque architecture. Visualize handsome plaza's, cobblestone streets, and architecture that spans eight centuries and my absolute favorite, secret passageways that lead to quaint bookstores and fancy bistros.
Drive On What is Dubbed The Greatest Road In The World
Connecting Sibiu and Pitesti is the greatest road in the world, a highway that rises to an altitude of 2,034 meters and passes through the southern Carpathian Mountains. It was even featured in Top Gear as the best driving road in the world.
Beyond being an excellent road for motorists, it also has a rich history attached to it. Apparently, a record number of dynamite's was used during the communist times while carving out the 2,000m highway.
This highway features breathtaking views, impossibly steep descents, and crazy hairpin turns. It is a pleasure to travel through, no matter whether you're in a car, motorcycle, or even a cycle.
Travel To An Underground Amusement Park
Tundra salt mine is one of the two salt mines of Romania; you should consider making your way to. After being renovated in 2010, it went from being a desolate place to one of the most visited tourist attractions of Transylvania.
Once you travel about 400ft underground, you will find an underground wonderland. Boasting of a spa, Ferris wheel, and boating lake. If you can, make your way down there I'm sure you won't regret it.
Experience A Melting Pot Of Old And New At Brasov
I close proximity to all the Ski resorts lies the city of Brasov. It the ultimate culmination of the old and new. A cosmopolitan city on the exterior and a medieval city on the interior. You can spend the day exploring the beautiful cobbled streets that are packed with antique shops and designer boutiques. Once you start tiring out or want a break, make your way to the Piata Satului ( the main square) for some coffee and pastry.
Once the evening comes, head out again to enjoy a plethora of restaurants, clubs, and pubs.
Take A Trip To Balea Lake
About 2,304m up in the Fagaras mountains are the crystal clear waters of Lake Balea awaiting your presence.
What makes it truly remarkable is the alpine scenery that surrounds it. It is a scientific reservation and provides excellent opportunities for all hiking, climbing, and skiing enthusiasts. It is also the location of Eastern Europe's first Ice Hotel.
Located about 80km away from Sibiu, you can take the gorgeous Transfagarasan Highway to reach here.
As you must have realized, Transalvaniya has a lot more to offer other than just castles. So, if you are making your way there, do keep your vampire veneers at home.