Discover Romania's Transylvanian region by exploring the medieval cities of Brașov, Sighișoara, and Sibiu, enjoying their cobbled streets, colorful facades, and old walled fortresses. Hike through the dense forests of Poiana Brașov and visit the open-air ASTRA museum in Sibiu, home to Europe's largest ethnographic exhibit. Enjoy typical Saxon villages and cuisine in the countryside, and learn all about Bucharest's turbulent communist past.

Highlights

  • Tour Bucharest, discovering its communist past and energetic future
  • Visit medieval Transylvanian cities like Brașov, Sighișoara, and Sibiu
  • Hike through the hills and forests outside of Brașov
  • Explore Europe's largest ethnographic exhibit at the ASTRA museum
  • Discover typical Saxon villages and taste traditional cuisine

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bucharest - Explore Bucharest
Day 2 Transfer to Transylvania - Explore the City of Brașov Brașov
Day 3 Hike to Poiana Brașov and ride a cable car Brașov
Day 4 Transfer to Sighișoara and explore Sighișoara
Day 5 Drive to Sibiu via Cisnădie and Rășinari Sibiu
Day 6 Explore Sibiu and visit Europe's largest ethnographic exhibit Sibiu
Day 7 Return to Bucharest - Depart Romania  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest - Explore

Typical Architecture in Bucharest
Typical Architecture in Bucharest

Welcome to Bucharest, the dynamic capital city of Romania!

After settling into your accommodation, take some time to explore this interesting and complex city. Make the most of your first day by exploring the newly-preserved Old Town and enjoying a walk through the city's oldest park, Cișmigiu Park. If you're interested in a museum, check out the city's National Museum of Art along one of Bucharest's most architecturally-rich streets, Calea Victoriei.

Other suggested activities include:

  • Take a tour of the Palace of Parliament. It's the largest building in Europe measured by usable space and the heaviest in the world. Also known as the "House of People" in Communist times, this surreal building is symbolic of the love/hate relationship between the city and its dwellers.
  • Enjoy a coffee break in one of the many specialty coffee cafes all over the city, placing Bucharest on the hipster coffee map. Some great options include Artichoke, M60, Bandit, Sonder, Bob's, and more.
  • Take a guided tour of Bucharest, which is best understood through the eyes of its locals, especially those who lived through its recent, turbulent history. Take an alternative tour of the city to learn more about how the effects of Communism still linger, and how a younger generation is breathing new life into its streets.

In the evening, you'll meet with your local guide for a welcome dinner at one of the city's traditional restaurants. You won't be in the city center surrounded by other tourists; rather, you'll dine in a truly authentic restaurant loved by the locals.

Day 2: Transfer to Transylvania - Explore the City of Brașov

Old Town Brașov
Old Town Brașov

After breakfast in Bucharest, your guide will transfer you to the city of Brașov in the beautiful region of Transylvania. Here you will begin your tour through one of the country's most beloved and historic areas. After settling into your hotel, take some time to explore this historic city, known as Kronstadt in the German language.

Founded on an ancient Dacian settlement by Teutonic knights in 1211, the city was originally established to guard the southern border of the Kingdom of Hungary. Thanks to the German Saxon population that followed, Brașov blossomed into a medieval citadel known for its trade. Its location economically linked Western Europe with the Ottoman Empire to the east. 

Wandering the streets is an excellent way to enjoy Brașov. To help guide your exploration, some suggested activities include:

  • Take a peek inside the Biserica Neagră (Black Church), the largest Gothic church in Romania.
  • Visit the two towers Turnul Negru (Black Tower) and Turnul Alb (White Tower) for scenic vistas of the Old Town.
  • Stroll through the 16th-century stone gate, Poarta Ecaterinei.
  • Walk down Strada Sforii (Sforii Street), one of the narrowest streets in Europe.
  • Ride the cable car to the top of Tâmpa Hill for a spectacular view of the city from behind the Hollywood-like Brașov sign. Alternatively, you can climb up a small hill to Cetățuia de pe Strajă (The Fortress on the Sentinel) for an eye-catching and different view of the city.
  • Take an alternative guided tour that will help you explore some of the best places for craft beer and authentic local cuisine.

After exploring the city, you'll enjoy a traditional meal in the historic center. Due to its Germanic Saxon roots, the city has a delicious mix of both German and Romanian cuisine.

Day 3: Hike to Poiana Brașov and ride a cable car

Hiking Trail Near Poiana Brașov
Hiking Trail Near Poiana Brașov

After breakfast, you'll stretch your legs in the countryside surrounding Brașov. You'll enjoy a beautiful hike up to Poiana Brașov, a popular ski resort in the winter and one of the most renowned outdoor retreats in Romania.

The hike starts within the forest outside of the city. You'll enjoy paths lined with tall pine trees, passing streams and viewpoints that look down into the valleys and meadows below. Enjoy the tranquility of the Romanian countryside, stopping to take in the sounds and smells of nature.

Eventually, you'll arrive in Poiana Brasov where you can wander through the small, alpine town. Stop into a cafe or have lunch near the lake. From here, you'll find additional trails that take you higher, up to over 6,000 feet (1,900 m) in elevation. If you're feeling tired, you can opt to ride the cable car instead, which offers incredible views of the entire region.

In the evening, you'll descend back to Brașov for a hosted dinner in the Old Town.

Day 4: Transfer to Sighișoara and explore

View of the Fortress in Sighisoara
View of the Fortress in Sighișoara

Sighișoara was developed by the Transylvanian Saxon population (mostly of German descent) in the 12th century. The King of Hungary wanted a walled citadel to defend its border. Today the town's main attraction is its historic and preserved Old Town, sitting atop a hill overlooking the river valley below. 

Sighișoara has many claims to fame, including as the hometown of Vlad the Impaler, more commonly known as Dracula. He was the son of Vlad Dracul, who was the ruler of the historical region of Wallachia in the 15th century. Vlad got his reputation after years of impaling, imprisoning, and torturing his enemies. Today, you can visit the original home of Dracula in Sighișoara.

After settling into your accommodation, take time to wander the historic, cobbled streets of the citadel. You can't miss the famous Clock Tower, which houses an interesting museum and views over the city from the top. Several other towers secured the citadel's walls, including the Butchers' Tower, the Tinsmiths' Tower, and the Turnul Cizmarilor. You can climb the steps inside the Covered Stairway for views of the valley and town, then head down to the Petőfi Sándor monument, dedicated to the short life of the famous Hungarian poet and revolutionist who died here during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at one of the town's cozy and traditional restaurants.

Day 5: Drive to Sibiu via Cisnădie and Rășinari

The Big Square in Sibiu
The Big Square in Sibiu

In the morning, you'll leave Sighișoara and make your way to the city of Sibiu, one of Transylvania's larger settlements. Along the way, you'll stop in a couple of villages to enjoy the rural culture of the region's countryside. The first stop will be in Cisnădie, which although it has the feel of a small town, developed into a city during the Communist era. It's an excellent place to grab lunch and explore some of the local dishes. 

Your next stop is Rășinari a typical Saxon village set just southwest of Sibiu. Not long ago, an electric tram used to connect the two populations, but a lack of workers forced the service to stop. You'll find old tracks and even abandoned cars between along the way. Rășinari is mostly known as a town on the way to Păltiniș, a popular ski area. But the village is worth a stop to admire its architecture and homely dirt streets, as well as the colorful cemetery of its main church. While you're there, you can't miss trying Romania's finest cheese, telemea of Sibiu. 

As you continue toward the city, you'll pass by a dense forest called Dumbrava. Here you'll find walking trails that eventually connect to parks and reach the Sibiu's city center.

After arriving in Sibiu, settle into your accommodation and enjoy a dinner of local and regional cuisine.

Day 6: Explore Sibiu and visit Europe's largest ethnographic exhibit

Typical Folk Interior at the ASTRA Museum
Typical Folk Interior at the ASTRA Museum

Enchanting you with its medieval fortress walls, Sibiu is a beautiful example of Transylvanian culture and architecture. Start your morning with a walk through the historic streets and a visit to the Bruckenthal Museum, set within the citadel near the Big Square. Afterward, relax in the square with a specialty coffee at one of the terraced cafes.

Make your way out of the city center and visit The ASTRA National Museum Complex (Museum Of Traditional Folk Civilization), which was established in 1963 and is the largest open-air ethnography exhibit in Europe. The ASTRA Museum is based on the "living museum" concept, aiming to salvage, conserve, and showcase traditional folk culture. 

In the afternoon, you can opt for a hiking or cycling excursion near Sibiu. The city is framed by the Făgăraș Mountains, so there are plenty of opportunities to hike up into the hills or cycle along its flat roads twisting through the valley.

Upon returning to Sibiu, settling into a traditional restaurant to enjoy typical Saxon or Transylvanian cuisine.

Day 7: Return to Bucharest - Depart Romania

Streets of Bucharest at Night
Streets of Bucharest at Night

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before your return to Bucharest. You'll transfer to the Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP) or the city's main train station.