Head into the heart of Romania with this 11-day itinerary that will take you through the Transylvanian countryside and cityscapes. You'll go far into this forested region to experience traditions and architecture dating back centuries, visiting at castles, natural attractions, and even some vampire lore along the way.

Highlights

  • Explore the Saxon heritage of Transylvania
  • Visit the medieval Bran & Peles Castles
  • Stroll through the fortified church in Viscri
  • Experience the woodcrafts of Maramures

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bucharest Bucuresti
Day 2 Bucharest to Brasov Brasov
Day 3 Bran Castle & Rasnov Fortress Brasov
Day 4 Brasov to Viscri Viscri
Day 5 Viscri to Sighisoara Sighisoara
Day 6 Sighisoara to Maramures Botiza
Day 7 Explore Maramures Botiza
Day 8 Maramures to Cluj Napoca Cluj
Day 9 Cluj Napoca to Sibiu Sibiel
Day 10 Sibiu to Bucharest Bucuresti
Day 11 Snagov Monastery & Depart Bucharest Bucuresti

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest

Bucharest's old town
Bucharest's old town

Welcome to Romania! Your trip starts in Bucharest, or—as the city's Romanian name, Bucuresti, translates to—"the city of joy." 

Before it became the country's capital, Bucharest began as a village along the Dambovita riverside commercial route. It had only 60,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 19th century but reached 1 million residents by World War 2.  Its long history has given it a diverse architectural scene, spanning from medieval architecture with Ottoman influences to neo-classical, Communist, and modern buildings. 

You can explore on your own and rest up after your journey. Or, if you'd like something more active, take a guided tour of the city with stops at the Parliament House, Patriarchate, Manuc Inn, Victory Square, and more. 

Day 2: Bucharest to Brasov

Peles Castle in Sinaia
Peles Castle in Sinaia

Leave Bucharest in the morning to begin your trek out to Transylvania. Your first stop is the town of Sinaia, named after its 17th-century monastery built by a Romanian nobleman after he returned from a pilgrimage to Egypt's Mount Sinai. The first king of Romania built his summer residence in the town at Peles Castle, an architectural gem nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. Stop at the Monastery of Sinaia as well before you get back on the road.

You'll continue to Brasov, your home for the next two nights. Take a walk around the town to scout out your surroundings once you arrive.

Day 3: Bran Castle & Rasnov Fortress

Bran Castle
Bran Castle

Start off with a visit to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle due to its resemblance to the castle described in Bram Stoker's novel. The 14th-century Gothic architecture may indeed bring vampires to mind.

Continue to Rasnov fortress, another well-kept medieval structure. Then return to Brasov for an afternoon stroll up the Tampa hill overlooking the city.

Day 4: Brasov to Viscri

Viscri's UNESCO fortified church
Viscri's UNESCO fortified church

Keep going into Transylvania as you continue to the village of Viscri. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a fortified church that recently celebrated its 700th anniversary. You can also pay a visit to the town brickmaker, who is creating traditional bricks and tiles to restore the historic houses in the village.

Day 5: Viscri to Sighisoara

Inside Sighisoara's citadel
Inside Sighisoara's citadel

Continue to Sighisoara, a 12th-century medieval citadel considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Walk the narrow cobbled streets to the Tailor's Tower or climb up the Clock Tower to take in an aerial view over the town and surrounding countryside.

In addition to its medieval architecture, Sighisoara is also known for being the birthplace of Vlad Tepes. The ruler of the providence of Walachia from 1456 to 1462 is perhaps better known as Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for the original Dracula novel.

Day 6: Sighisoara to Maramures

Villager taking the hay home by horse cart
Villager taking the hay home by horse cart

Head towards Maramures, a 5.5-hour drive away through beautiful landscapes. Enjoy the scenic route on your way to town, where you can visit of the Church of Leud, the oldest wooden church of Maramures and a UNESCO site. 

Day 7: Explore Maramures

Barsana monastery, a wooden masterpiece
Barsana monastery

Take a short 2-hour walking tour with a local guide to start your morning in Maramures.  After your tour ends, you can venture off north of the town to Sighetu Marmatiei, the former capital of Maramures. The town on the Ukrainian border is home to the Memorial of Communism Victims, a museum inside a former political prison that will provide insight into Romania's years under Communism.

On your way back, stop at the Barsana Monastery, a convent formed in the 1990s and built using traditional methods and style for a modern example of Maramures craftsmanship.

Day 8: Maramures to Cluj Napoca

Cluj's center with the Cathedral
Cluj's center with the Cathedral

Go from Maramures to Cluj Napoca, one of the most important university cities in Romania. Cluj Napoca is known for its cosmopolitan culture and Hungarian heritage.

Day 9: Cluj Napoca to Sibiu

Sibiu streets
Sibiu streets

Get back on the road after breakfast and you can make it to Sibiu in time for lunch. Considered to be one of Transylvania's most beautiful cities, the medieval city of Sibiu is well-preserved and restored. Its unique architectural style and atmosphere earned it a designation as the European capital of culture in 2007. Spend some time roaming the city and you'll see why.

Day 10: Sibiu to Bucharest

Curtea de Arges monastery
Curtea de Arges monastery

Transfer out of Transylvania and back to Bucharest today. On your way, stop at the Curtea de Arges monastery. This limestone structure is also the burial place of the Romanian royal family.

Day 11: Snagov Monastery & Depart Bucharest

Snagov Monastery
Snagov Monastery

Take an early trip out to the Snagov monastery, rumored to be the burial place of Vlad Tepes. Legend says that after Vlad's death, the rival aristocratic families prevented him from being buried in the Christian tradition, so the monks of Snagov stole the body to give it a proper burial in secret.

After that, it's time to depart Bucharest and head home or on to your next adventure.

Map

Map of  Discovering Transylvania & Maramures - 11 Days
Map of Discovering Transylvania & Maramures - 11 Days