Transylvania Beyond Dracula

Beyond myths and legends, Dracula and blood sucking vampires, Transylvania is without doubt one of Europe’s best hidden secrets. We invite you to embark on a journey into a fairytale world filled with medieval cities and castles, friendly people and unspoiled nature, where wolves and bears still rule over the forests of the Carpathian Mountains.

Day One

We will depart from Sibiu in the afternoon and drive about one and a half hours to Sighişoara. The small medieval city was founded by German colonists in the 13th century and placed strategically on the top of a hill to protect it from the invading enemy troops. Most of the fortifications were kept intact and armed towers still guard the city. The Clock Tower, the former Benedictine monastery, the Lutheran Church from the upper part of the city, the narrow streets, but also the supposed birthplace of Count Dracula, give the town its enchanting medieval atmosphere. We will visit the museum inside of the Clock Tower, which hosts a medieval clock mechanism that is based on small wooden statues, representing Roman gods, who move every night.

In the evening we will reach today’s goal, Viscri. Dinner and accommodation are going to be very special: in a 16th century house, almost unchanged,  were we will enjoy home made traditional dishes cooked with home grown ingredients.

Day Two

We will start the day with a special breakfast consisting of home made sausages, bread, cheese and different types of marmalade, as well as fresh milk and vegetables. After this treat, we will begin our village tour. Viscri has become well known due to the involvement of several charitable foundations in the preservation of the local culture and historical heritage of the area. One of these foundations, “the Mihai Eminescu Trust” is under the patronage of HRH Prince Charles. The highlight of the village is for sure the fortified church, dating back to the 12th century, which was later fortified with big walls and towers to protect the villagers from the enemies. Nowadays, the old towers have been turned into an interesting museum of the village. Not only the church, but also the village itself  are under UNESCO patronage. Almost all of the houses were built in the 15th and 16th century, so bible quotations, proverbs and family coats of arms can be seen on the façades. All restoration works were carried out with local labour and materials. We invite you to take a walk through the most beautiful village ensemble in Transylvania, to visit the fortified church and take a journey into an almost forgotten world.

Leaving Viscri behind, we will drive just over one hour to reach Prejmer. This used to be one of the most important strategic points, as it was close to the medieval border with Wallachia or the Turkish Empire. The fortified church of Prejmer was initially built by the famous Teutonic Knights, who were invited to settle down in Transylvania, only to be chased away a couple of years later. The early Gothic church, filled with Romanesque elements still reminds people of these German Knights. The strong walls and towers were built to protect the population during war time and over 200 storage rooms were built on these walls, making Prejmer a one-of-a-kind monument. Nowadays, it has been restored and it is under UNESCO patronage.

In the afternoon we will reach today’s main target location, the region’s biggest city, Braşov. Built by German colonists in the 13th century, it became one of Europe’s richest cities, due to the vast economic activities. We will take a walking tour through the city centre and visit the Black Church, one of Europe’s largest Gothic buildings, the old town square, with its guild houses and old shops and take a hike to the Tâmpa Peak, for a great panorama of the whole city. We will also have the opportunity to enjoy the great variety of restaurants and pubs the city has to offer. Accommodation for one night is planned in the center of the city.

Day Three

In the morning we will depart from Braşov and drive for just a half hour to Râşnov, at the foot of the “Piatra Craiului” Mountains. Here we will visit one of the most interesting wildlife preservation projects: Almost one hundred brown bears have been brought from old Zoos and illegal animal parks and have found a much better life here. On an almost 100 hectare premises, they live in similar conditions as they do in the wild. We will get there just in time to see how these majestic animals eat their breakfast and we will take a tour of this unique reserve.

Departing from Râşnov, we will drive just for a couple of kilometres to Bran. The famous castle was built by the Teutonic Knights and became of great value both for economical and military reasons. Due to its position and architecture, it received an important role in Bram Stoker s best seller “Dracula”, as the residence of the great vampire. How much of that is true and how much is a legend, you can only find out if you visit the castle.

In the afternoon we will drove towards Sibiu, close to the Făgăraş Mountains, Romania’s highest. In Sâmbăta de Sus we will get the chance to visit one of the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries in Transylvania. Built by Constantin Brâncoveanu (a Romanian ruler and martyr) in the 17th century, this monastic ensemble is one of the masterpieces of the national architectural style. Here we will get the chance to find out more about the Orthodox confession and its traditions. In the evening we will return to Sibiu.