The map of Transylvania hides one of the most spectacular regions in Romania. On the list of Transylvanian attractions, cities like Brașov, Sibiu, Sighișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, even Timișoara catch the eye. Not far from Brașov, on the way there from Bucharest, the capital, is Sinaia and its beautiful Peleș Castle. Below you will find out about the many ways to get to Transylvania.
When you get to Transylvania by North-West, you can stop in Cluj-Napoca, a vivid destination and one of the country’s leading university centers. The architecture is exquisite and the local vibe and cuisine a must try. Don’t miss the local Botanical Garden! Further North is the Maramureș region, nature’s paradise for small villages, wooden churches, caves, friendly people, and idyllic pathways. There are must-see villages like Vadu Izei, Ieud, Botiza, Săpânța, the one with the famous merry cemetery.
It is generally easy to travel to this region, as its cities and even some remote villages are well served. The train is not very expensive, and there are several price categories. You can also travel by bus or “maxi-taxi” (minibusses). Also, buses lead to all these places; otherwise, for the non-conformist type, hitchhiking works pretty well on the roads of Transylvania as long as you give a little something.
How to get to Transylvania – The Closest Airport
All major cities in Transylvania, except for Brașov, have international airports (Timișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu). There are regular flights, low-cost included, from Germany and Western Europe, in general, to every one of these places. But if you want to have a broader range of flights in from all over the world, then landing in Bucharest at the Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP) and adding Brașov to your travel plan could be the better option.
The packages “Plane + car rental” or “personal car” allow for a more gradual accommodation to Eastern Europe. Unlike Romania, the crossing of Hungary, for example, would be monotonous. Not the case here: the scenery in Romania is spectacular. But you can also reach Transylvania by train, from Budapest, or even Vienna, or Belgrade, or Sofia via Bucharest. It ultimately depends on what kind of tourist you are, whether with children or not, and what type of adventure you are seeking.
En route to Transylvania. Where to start, where to end
One smart way to get to Transylvania would be from Bucharest, the city with the biggest airport in the country. The capital has a very special charm, very different neighborhoods just good for strolling. There are antique shops in Lipscani district, Ceaușescu’s House of People (the Parliament) or even the posh quarter of former communist top officials.
After 2 or 3 days in Bucharest, you can take a train to Brașov (or a 3-hour drive), which is a beautiful medieval town with Saxon architecture. Your first contact with Transylvania: totally worth it! Plus, the train sneaks through the mountains of the southern Carpathian chain, and it’s breathtaking.
Once in Brașov, it would be impossible not to know where you are. The name of the city is written in large letters on one of the top hills that surround this city. It feels a little bit like a medieval Hollywood. There is also a bus to the Bran Castle from there. That is the famous fortress known around the world as Dracula’s Castle. This strange house, now a museum, is hoisted on a big rock, surrounded by forests. It is also useful to know that during the winter Brașov is the most visited ski resort in the country.
Visit Transylvanian Cities on Your Road Trip
Next, Sibiu, a 2-hour drive from Brașov or 3 by train, is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, with a very cultural atmosphere and an important German influence. The Brukenthal museum is definitely worth a stop. From Sibiu, you can take the train to Sighișoara, a small medieval gem and the birthplace of Vlad Țepeș (“Count Dracula”). It is also Prince Charles’ favorite place in Transylvania. From Sighișoara, you can make a jump to Cluj-Napoca, and then to the absolutely necessary Maramureș, which, judging by most common opinions, is the most beautiful region of the country. Its inhabitants are very warm, the landscapes scattered with magical forests and a couple of centuries old wooden churches.
Getting to the West of Transylvania, there is Timișoara, a lovely city mixing various influences, Hungarian and German mostly. From there, within reach, you can even go to the “Iron Gates” to the south and have an impressive overview of the mountains overlooking the Danube and the Serbian shore. This could actually be the “monumental” end of your Transylvanian trip. It’s also wiser to pick a flight back from Timișoara to some of the most important West-European destinations or connecting airports.