Transylvania, Romania conjures imagines of bloody vampires – thanks, Bram Stoker! -, fortified churches, rolling hills and a hearty cuisine.
It is the largest region of Romania and possibility the best well known among travelers. Rich in myths and mysteries, Transylvania is home to the country’s best preserved medieval castles, the only medieval city still inhabited in Europe, offers amazing hiking trails and tasty cuisine. The friendly cohabitation of Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons has shaped the life, architecture and cuisine of this area.
>>consider purchasing an Eurail Romania pass for this trip
3 days in Cluj-Napoca with day trip to Turda Salt Mine
Your best point of entry into Transylvania is Cluj-Napoca. Its international airport is served by both low-cost and full service carriers. If you are already in Hungary, for example, you can take a train from Budapest to Cluj-Napoca.
You can get to know Cluj-Napoca by taking a walk in the Old Twon and soak up the atmosphere of the cobble stones and the remains of the medieval walls. In the same area, spend some time in Union Square, pass by Avram Iancu Square and then see the city from Fortress Hill (Cetatuia).
Dedicate the second day to a day trip to Turda Salt Mine . You can either take a bus to Turda or hire a car for easier access. The time spent here only depends on how much you like the mine. We absolutely loved it. If you travel with infants, be aware that they should not spend longer than 2 hours inside. If you still have time on your hands, consider visiting the Roman Ruins of Potaissa and the history museum in Turda.
Accommodation wise, consider a home stay . Prices start at 14 USD a night if you book 2-3 months in advance. I like many areas of the city, but you want to be either close to the city center or with quick access to the public transportation.
Cluj-Napoca to Alba Iulia by train or bus
There are four non-stop trains, operated by CFR (SNTFC) between the two cities, with travel times between 2h20 min and 2h55min. A single adult ticket in 2nd class costs 41 lei / 10.10 USD. The price does not depend on seasonality. There’s a bus available as well , operated by Fany. The price is not available online.
1 day in Alba Iulia
Since the train arrives in the morning, you can spend a day in Alba Iulia and then travel to your next destination. You can spend the entire day visiting Alba Carolina , the city’s citadel. It has been restored and now offers a lot of places to visit and things to do. The trail of the three fortifications is a good way to learn more about the history of Alba Iulia.
Alba Iulia to Sighisoara by train
In the evening, catch the train to Sighisoara. A single adult ticket in 2nd calss costs 47 lei / 12 USD.
2 days in Sighisoara
Sighisoara is home to the only European medieval citadel which is still inhabited. You can easily check it out during a day but I do recommend to linger more. Walk up to the citadel and just allow yourself to get lost on its streets. Then make sure to walk all the way to the Church on the Hill for amazing views of the city. Lastly, check out the history museum located in the Clock Tower. The views from the viewing platform are also interesting.
Accommodation wise, there are two hostels available and prices for a single private room start at 21.35 USD per night if you book 2-3 months in advance.
Sighisoara to Brasov by train
There are seven trains on the route , operated by CFR and they take between 2h42min and 3h35min. A single adult ticket in 2nd class costs 41 lei / 10.10 USD. There is also a bus operated by Fany. It takes 2 hours but prices are not available online.
1 day in Brasov
Don’t forget to visit the Old Town and check out the interesting Black Church. Head up on Tampa for the panoramic views of the city. Explore Brasov Citadel and walk on the narrowest street in Europe – Strada Sforii (Rope Street). Time permitting, you can take a short trip to Rasnov (15km from Brasov) to see the fortress.
Accommodation wise, home stays start at 34 USD a night in Brasov if you book 2-3 months in advance.
If you have more time on your hands, you can use Brasov as a starting point for a lovely road trip in Romania, focusing on Peles Castle – which is amazing! – , the famous Bran Castle and reaching the capital of Bucharest.
Important note: before planning your trip around Europe, check your visa entry requirements. Romania is not part of the Schengen Agreement but European Union nationals can travel visa free to the country.
Do you like this itinerary and want to personalize it to fit your needs? Drop me a note. I can help.