This complete self-drive tour covers the highlights of Romania's Transylvania region and features attractions made famous by Bram Stoker's, Dracula. You will visit historic fortresses and medieval castles, linked to Vlad III Dracul, "the Impaler," himself, as well as explore medieval Saxon towns and cities. Discover the myth and legend of Count Dracula on this nine-day itinerary.

Highlights

  • Climb the steps to the Poenari Citadel for views over the Argeș River valley
  • Spend the night along the iconic Transfăgărășan mountain road
  • Explore well-preserved medieval Saxon architecture in Brașov
  • Visit Bran Castle, the legendary home of Dracula 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bucharest; Drive to Măgura Măgura
Day 2 Drive to Târgoviște and Poenari Citadel Poenari
Day 3 Drive to Sibiu Sibiu
Day 4 Day trip to Alba Iulia and Corvin's Castle Sibiu
Day 5 Drive to Sighișoara Sighișoara
Day 6 Drive to Brașov, Explore Bran Castle and Râșnov Fortress Brașov
Day 7 Explore Brașov Bucharest
Day 8 Drive to Bucharest; Explore Snagov Monastery Bucharest
Day 9 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest - Drive to Măgura

Peles Castle, Sinaia, Prahova County, Romania
Peleș Castle was once the summer home to Romanian monarchs

Welcome to Romania! Upon your arrival in Bucharest, you will pick up your rental car and start your journey north into the Transylvania region and toward Brașov. Depending on your arrival time you may wish to consider a stop to see the 19th-century Peleș Castle, a Neo-Renaissance architectural jewel in the Carpathian Mountains, before checking into your guesthouse in a small village in Măgura.

Driving duration: 3.5 hours
Driving distance: 124 miles (200 km)

Day 2: Drive to Târgoviște and Poenari Citadel

Poenari Castle, ROmania
Vlad III Dracul's principal fortress, Poenari Citadel

This morning you will venture a few hours south to Târgoviște, the medieval capital of the historical region of Wallachia. Here you will explore the Princely Court, a compound that has undergone continual renovations over the years and one where Vlad III Dracul ("the Impaler") took up residence in the mid 15th century. Wander the ancient grounds finding your way to the Chindia Tower, a feature added during Vlad's residence.

From here, you will head to Poenari Citadel, one of Vlad the Impaler's principal fortresses perched atop a precipice. Climb its 1,480 concrete steps to the ruined fortress and marvel at the sweeping views over the Argeș River valley and the iconic Transfăgărășan—a paved mountain road. When its time, check in to your guesthouse at the foot of the Transfăgărășan.

Driving duration: 5-6 hours
Driving distance: 177 miles (284 km)

Day 3: Drive to Sibiu

Large Square (Piata Mare) with the City Hall and Brukenthal palace in Transylvania
Piata Mare square with the City Hall and Brukenthal Palace

Today you'll head further into the heart of Transylvania, arriving in time for lunch in Sibiu. Check into your hotel before setting out to explore the well-preserved Germanic architecture of the historic core—influences leftover from the 12th-century Saxons who settled the city. Head to the Council Tower to get your bearings, discover the art collection housed in a former baroque palace at the Muzeul Național Brukenthal, and visit the impressive Holy Trinity Cathedral, before checking out the sprawling ASTRA National Museum Complex, an open-air museum just outside the city.

Driving duration: 3.5 hours
Driving distance: 117 miles (188 km)

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Day 4: Day trip to Alba Iulia and Corvin's Castle

Hunedoara, Romania, Corvin's Castle
Discover Vlad III Dracul's ties to Corvin's Castle

Drive west to the star-shaped Alba Carolina Citadel fortress in Alba Iulia and discover its importance in Romanian history as well as its significance to today's people. From here, you will continue to the Corvin Castle (sometimes referred to as the Hunyadi or Hunedoara Castle) further west in Hunedoara. One of the largest castles in Europe said to have housed Vlad the Impaler in its prisons by Hungary's military leader at the time, John Hunyadi.

Driving duration (Sibiu to Corvin's Castle):  2.5 hours
Driving distance: 99 miles (160 km)

Day 5: Drive to Sighișoara

Sighișoara, ROmania
Wander the historic streets of Sighișoara

Drive a couple of hours to the UNESCO-protected Sighișoara, one of Europe's beautifully preserved medieval cities. Step back in time as you roam its narrow cobblestone streets, finding your way to the medieval Tailor's Tower, one of the watchtowers the fortified town is famous for, taking in the historic sights along the way. 

Driving duration: 2 hours
Driving distance: 64 miles (103 km)

Day 6: Drive to Brașov, Explore Bran Castle and Râșnov Fortress

Bran Castle
Bran Castle

Start your morning with a drive to explore the iconic Bran Castle, another castle linked to Vlad the Impaler and is often referred to as Dracula’s Castle to foreign tourists. Wander this impressive example of 14th-century Gothic architecture, before turning around to head back to Brașov. En route, stop to check out the medieval Râșnov Fortress, a historic and important monument in Romania, built to defend the nearby Transylvanian villages. Enjoy your evening in Brașov, stroll through the cobbled old town, passing by the many colorful baroque buildings.

Driving duration (Sighișoara to Bran): 2.5 hours
Driving distance: 86 miles (139 km)

Day 7: Explore Brașov

Brașov, Romania
Find your way to Brașov's Black Church

Take the day to explore this medieval Saxon city fully. Offering plenty of attractions worthy of your time, start with a hike or ride the cable car to the top of Tâmpa Hill for panoramic vistas over the city. Brașov was founded in the 12th century when Romanian monarchs invited the Saxons to Transylvania to guard the seven major mountain passes. Because of this, the city has a rich Saxon, Hungarian, and Romanian heritage with lots of notable historic sights. See the White and Black Towers, the Black Church and the Council House, St. Nicholas Church, and the first Romanian school. 

Day 8: Drive to Bucharest - DiscoverSnagov Monastery

Romania - Snagov Monastery
Wander the Snagov Monastery grounds 

This morning, you'll return to Bucharest, stopping along the way at the Snagov Monastery, thought to be Vlad the Impaler's burial place. Located on a small island in Lacul Snagov (lake), according to one legend, after Vlad's death, rival aristocratic families prevented him from having a Christian burial, the monks at Snagov, however, stole the prince’s body and gave it a proper burial in secrecy.

After your fill of exploring the monastery, continue south to Bucharest. Spend your last night in the capital, shopping for last-minute souvenirs before finding a restaurant to enjoy a celebratory dinner.

Driving duration: 3 hours
Driving distance: 114 miles (183 km)

Day 9: Depart

Palatul Parlamentului government, Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest's iconic Palatul Parlamentului government building

Spend your last morning exploring the city before transferring to your connection home. Safe travels! 

Map

Map of Self-Drive Tour of Transylvania - 9 Days
Map of Self-Drive Tour of Transylvania - 9 Days