Have you been planning a trip to Transylvania for a long time but have never made it to this magical place? Or, on the contrary, do you regularly visit Transylvania and have already seen a lot, but still have some items on your bucket list? No matter which is your case, there are a few aspects to consider when planning a trip.
First, there is the issue of the weather. Winters are usually cold and snowy in Transylvania, so if you’re arriving by car, for example, be sure not to leave your snow chain at home, and it’s also good to know that roads are not always regularly cleared, especially in the mountains and in the more isolated villages, and if you’re not used to driving on snowy roads, you could easily get into trouble. The use of winter tires is recommended from October to April, especially in the coldest regions of Szeklerland.
It is always worth finding out about the weather conditions when booking your accommodation or at the latest before you set off, and preparing accordingly. This also applies to warm clothing, even if the 2022-2023 winter season in Romania has so far been a record warm one. January values, for example, have so far been typical of April, but the nights are chilly and a real snowy-icy winter can set in at any time.
Of course, if you are coming to Transylvania for exactly this kind of weather, for example to go skiing, don’t leave your favorite equipment at home. It can be much colder in the snowy mountains than in the city in winter, so it’s always a good idea to bring suitable clothing.
The most important thing when planning a trip to Transylvania is to tailor your itinerary to your own needs, desires and goals. The first thing worth noting is that you cannot visit everything in 5 days or a week, you have to be selective. If you focus on a smaller region, the itinerary may be more feasible and you won’t feel like you are exhausted and in a constant move from point A to point B. After all, Transylvania is a region the size of a country, with an area of more than 100,000 square kilometers, which is barely smaller than Bulgaria or Iceland! So the first rule is: reduce the potential targets.
If you choose, for example, Szeklerland, this historical Hungarian region, which more or less covers three Romanian counties, it is still too large to cover it in a few days. But if you put yourself the question: what exactly do I want to see? – you certainly will get closer to a solution. If you would like to visit castles in Transylvania, fortresses, manor houses, the former nests of old noble families, you are in a perfect place.
The most famous is the Bran castle or Dracula castle, but there are so much more to see! Some of these buildings function now as galleries, museums or other cultural sites, such as the Kemény Castle in Marosvécs/Brancovenesti, the Lázár Castle in Gyergyószárhegy/Lazarea or the Rhédey Castle in Erdőszentgyörgy/Sangiorgiu de Padure. Others function as guest houses and hotels, such as the Daniel castle in Olasztelek/Talisoara or the Mikes castle in Zabola/Zabala.
Are you interested in Saxon heritage? Choose Sighisoara and it’s surroundings (and of course it has a castle/fortress too, an UNESCO heritage site). Want to see famous Transylvanian cities? Timișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Alba Iulia can be paired together, but the smaller historical Szekler towns like Odorheiu Secuiesc should remain for another trip, because the distance between them is almost 400 km.
You don’t want to rush through your vacation destinations, don’t you? Also if you want to go deeper, to get to know the spirit of a place better, we recommend slow tourism, more in-depth sightseeing.