It’s been MONTHS since our Transylvanian vacation but I figured it is better late than never so here is a write up and pictures from our trip. This is a longer travel post than I usually do because a lot of my friends asked me about this trip (it is not a very common travel destination after all) so I decided to share what we did in more details.
I want to start by saying (well, writing) that while we did have a good time and Transylvania is beautiful, this place is definitely off the beaten path. So if you are planning a European vacation or even an Eastern European vacation my personal opinion is to go to other place – Croatia is absolutely beautiful, Montengro is lovely, Poland (a bit off the beaten path as well) is well worth a visit and Czech Republic – especially Prague – that must be on everyone’s To Visit list if you ask me. So if you have been to lots of other places and are looking for adventure, unusual castles, colorful houses and are not afraid of some dilapidated areas, abandoned buildings and sharing a road with horses and buggies then Transylvania is a place for you!
When Victor suggested we go to Romania I turned down this idea right away – we went to 5 eastern european countries the year before and I thought I had my fill of Eastern Europe. But then I did some reason (and Hotel Transylvania 2 was being released) – Transylvania actually looked pretty cool and unlike anything we’ve seen before. So before long our research was done, our itinerary finalized, tickets, hotels and car booked and suite cases packed (granted – that last task took place the day of the flight!) and we were ready to go!
We arrived in Bucharest – and stayed in the Old Town, which was pretty cool. The area we stayed was all pedestrian – cobble stone streets, lots of restaurants, cool churches and buildings. Some of them were in a pretty bad shape but overall it was an interesting (in a good way) experience.
There are plenty of interesting places to visit in Transylvania but given that we had just a bit under two weeks we needed to limited out itinerary so we decided on Saxon Triangle – which consists of Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu. Our first stop was Brasov which I fell in love with when I first saw it. We stayed right in the main square with windows overlooking the main church which was awesome! I was surprised at how colorful the city was – it reminded me of La Boca in Buenos Aires and Guanajuato in Mexico – and it was a fun place to bring your camera to.
Unfortunately that’s where things went downhill from me because I got sick… Being sick stinks, being sick while traveling abroad – stinks so much more! I remember leaving a restaurant without getting a dessert (which was a first for me!), searching for a pharmacy and hoping and praying that a pharmacist would speak english and be able to give me something that would make me feel better. This cold lasted more or less the whole trip – a few days into it I lost my voice completely and could only whisper. I was able to have a few good hours each day (the time when my medicine kicked in) to walk around and experience each city and towards the end of the trip I was able to do that more and more.
So back to Brasov – it is a quaint little town with cobble stone streets and old town where no cars are allowed. There are plenty of beautiful small streets to get lost in, old churches and chapels, and tiled roofs – a photographer’s paradise! And the food was really good – we had some of the best meals in Romania there!
After Brasov we were on our way to Sighiosoara – another old Saxon town – sharing the highway with people on horses and carriages.
We did take a detour to visit Peles castle and it was so worth it! We were contemplating between going there or to Bran – also known as the Dracula’s castle. We decided on the Peles castle (although we did end up going to see Bran as well) and if I had to choose between these two I would pick Peles. It is a relatively new castle (only around a hundred years old) and it is absolutely beautiful. The setting for it is stunning, it has beautifully decorated rooms with modern conveniences (Romanian Royalty knew how to live!) and it was unlike anything we’ve seen before. I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the castle – we did it and learnt a ton!
Then stop was a beautiful Saxon town of Sighisoara which I think was my favorite of the whole trip. The Old Town part of it (where we stayed) is tiny but so beautiful. Cobble stone streets, very colorful building, old churches and towers. And for those of you who are history enthusiasts – a house where Vlad the Impaler was born!
After spending a few relaxing days in beautiful Sighisoara we were on our way to the last Saxon town on our trip – Sibiu. On the way there we took a detour through Romanian Country side which is pristine and beautiful and I think it looks the same way it did a hundred years ago!
Sibiu is the largest of the three Saxon towns we’ve visited and definitely felt like a big(ish) city. As always we stayed right in the heart of old town, overlooking main square. We did most of the same – exploring, eating and taking pictures:)
While doing our research on Romania Victor found that there is a beautiful scenic drive through the mountains – Transfagarasan, which according to some is one of the top 10 drives in the world.. and of course we had to take it. We saw pictures of it beforehand it and did look stunning. But would not you know it – when we were there it was SO FOGGY! it was so foggy that I was seriously worried about our safety and praying and hoping that we would see our girls away. We had to drive ‘indian style’ – i.e. honking at each turn (and there were so many hairpin turns!) to let other drives know that you were coming. We literally could not see more than 15-20 feet out! So not only it was scary but because of the fog we could not see much of the stunning scenery.
But being a smart man that he is, Victor suggested that we take a detour to the other side of the mountain and what did we see there – sun peaking through the clouds!
We made our way to Brasov for one more night and then headed off to Bucharest to finish our Romanian holiday.
On the way we did stop at Bran – a.k.a. Dracula Castle, which despite its name was very charming!
After we got back home I told Victor that while I loved spending time with him (after all, who would not!) and had a good time, Romania was definitely not my favorite travel destination. I think being sick and not feeling 100% for most of the trip had something to do with it. But looking through the pictures of the trip I did realize that this place IS beautiful, it is unusual and unlike anything we’ve seen before. So if you are in the mood for that – Romania should be on your travel list!