A Little Taste of Transylvania


I’m making my way through the cheaper countries of Europe right now, finding good values all over compared to their neighbors to the west. Next stop, Romania. 

I spent most of my time in Transylvania, which I’ll discuss without mentioning any mythical creatures of the night. This is the area where most travelers gravitate to if they’ve got some time, which they rightfully should. It’s a gorgeous area with well-preserved buildings from the medieval times through Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and more, with a strong Saxon/German influence.

The photo at the very top and the one to the right are from where I arrived on an overnight train headed east: Sighisoara. How can you even say that name without smiling? Yeah, it’s a tourist trap town, but a deserving one. Plus once half the tour buses pull out at the end of the day, it’s a lovely place to hang out and absorb the feeling of living in history.

It costs about $3 to tour the citadel, a couple dollars more for a taxi to the center from the train station, and there are hostels with beds for $10-$12. There’s also a campground outside of town with lots of facilities.

The next shot is from Sibiu, which is not as photogenic or hilly, but feels more like a real city than an open-air museum. There’s a long pedestrian-only street filled with bars, shops, and restaurants and it’s a lively scene at night. This was a European Capital of Culture a few years back. You can sit down and get a half-liter beer for a dollar and you can get 3 covrigs (simits in Turkey) for another dollar, so what’s not to like?


It’s not all about the buildings though. With high mountains in many directions, the scenery alone is often worth stopping for. This is the view from a monastery I visited. If you’ve gotta be a monk, seeing this every day would make it a bit easier. (You can spend the night there for about $16 double.)

I always ask myself when traveling to different places, could I live here? I didn’t really feel a yes anywhere in Romania until I got to Brasov. It’s near multiple ski slopes, it’s an easy train ride to the capital, and has another one of those long pedestrian streets full of fun places to eat and drink. And it’s got mountains right next to it. That’s a pic from a nice spring day above.

More later on prices, a real article later in Perceptive Travel, but for now some images to ponder from Romania. As with Slovakia, this is definitely a destination worth visiting, budget reasons or not. But if you are on a budget, this place is a great value.

  1. Jakori

    Transylvania looks like a great place to visit. You did a great job explaining the country and the sites to see. I love your pictures. Great post

  2. Linda

    Gorgeous photos—I had no idea Romania looked anything like this. I look forward to hearing more about it later. Sounds like a good value.

  3. Dave

    I enjoyed Brasov when I was there as well, which was about 20 years ago now. And while I don’t remember the flowers in the foreground, the clock tower definitely looks familiar.
    We were there in summer so the ski hills were closed, but we did venture up there just to look around. I remember the sign on the ticket booth for the chair lift wherein the cost for locals was like one fifteenth of the cost for tourists. Buggers.
    And I bought a souvenir while I was there since it was just too cheap to pass up. A hand carved wooden chess and checker board for $2. It did add some bulk to my backpack, but I was only traveling for a few more weeks, so I made it work.

  4. Miruna

    Transylvania is amazing, all of it! I live in Romania, I was born and raised here, but I’m also a world traveler and I can say that the charm of Transylvania can’t be found anywhere else. Of course, each destination has its own beauty but there’s just something about Transylvania that can’t be explained, you have to see it with your own eyes in order to capture its essence. Happy travels!

  5. Codrut

    Hey..the building on the right side of the photo – first floor on the left side of the building last window is my office hihihi…nice to see on this site. Come back again!! Come in and say Hi!! we’ll get a drink.

  6. Sam Cel Roman

    Wait a minute, wait a minute! A 500 liter beer for a dollar? LOLLLLL Americans hello why are you so retarded when it comes to the metric system? Just say “16 ounce” beer so your readers can understand or “half a liter” if you want to try to impress people.

    Also why say “covrig” (with S on the end) as though it’s some mystical food? It’s a pretzel, same as you’d get anywhere in the USA.

    • tim

      Agreed on the beer – fixed it to say half-liter as I meant to say 500ml, which is almost 16 ounces. But sorry, a covrig/simit tastes nothing like a pretzel. Different taste, different texture, and not even the same shape.

  7. stephen

    I just know the place because of Dracula…but it seems like this place is really magnificent. I will indeed visit it in the near future.

  8. Mary

    Those monks look like they have it made!

  9. Armands

    Romanian mountains are so beautiful.

  10. Raymond

    I would LOVE to get to Transylvania one day. These pics make it look absolutely stunning!

  11. Alice

    Actually sighisoara has two other campgounds inside the city – one of them is right in the old town but it’s noisier and I forgot its name but the other one is just great: 5 mins from the old town, it has all the facilities and even a pool! The price is like $5/night for a tent and it includes access to toilets and showers, hot water 24/7 and access to the outside pool: http://www.aquariscamp.net/ And you should definitely visit during the medieval festival, even if the prices go a little high – it’s one of the best medieval festivals in europe, with concerts and live representations all day and night, with young people playing their guitars on the hill, next to the click tower, in the center of the citadel and lots and lots of fun activities.

  12. Manuel Gonzalez

    My dream is that i went Transylvania to visit future

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