Known as the “Land of Dracula”, Romania is famous for its vampire stories and the terror Vlad Dracul once brought upon the land. But that’s just a tiny drop, a corner, of what the country really has to offer.
From the breathtaking Transylvania scenery to the ever-preserved Romania medieval towns, this is the best place to be if you want to get a taste of medieval tours that takes you back to the times and tales of knights, princes, and black magic.
So here is a short run of the famous landmarks in Romania and the best places to visit in Transylvania that will have you question if you’re really in the 21st century or the 13th century.
A town that looks like it came straight out of a knight’s tale, Sighişoara in Romania is a fortified 12th-century medieval town with a history and is considered as a relic of the Saxon culture in Transylvania. It’s also known to be the best of Transylvania attractions.
Other than the people dressed in modern clothes, everything else about this town speaks of its olden days with cobblestone streets, vintage-style houses, and the ever-famous Clock Tower that peaks above the town’s roofs.
The town has a set of nine mighty towers that were built to protect Sighisoara from enemy invasion. These towers stand to this day and can be visited in a single day by just walking around. No rides are needed. The town also has many medieval churches that are a must-visit if you are looking for things to do in Transylvania.
The town’s steep stairways, secluded squares, towers, turrets, and enchantingly preserved citadel, are like stepping back in time to the medieval era.
No trip to Romania is complete without a visit to the famous Bran Castle or more commonly known as the Dracula castle. Sitting atop a hill, Bran Castle is the exact replica of Dracula’s Castle in Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula‘. The funny thing is that Stoker had no idea this castle even existed when he penned his story.
Aside from its reputation of vampire terror, this eerie castle is one of the best castles in Transylvania and one of the must-visit places in Romania. Bran Castle was built between 1377 and 1388 atop a mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia.
Its indoor decor retains its gothic medieval style with underground passages, ancient weapons, and armor dating between the 14th and 19th centuries. During Halloween, special parties are held here to bring back the feel of Dracula and his vampires.
The Black Church
The Black Church in Brasov is an impressive gothic medieval church and one of the most important and biggest Lutheran places of worship in this part of Europe. Built-in the 14th century, this massive church holds the choir altar that dates from the 19th century. It also has the oldest altars in Transylvania that date back to the 15th century.
But the Black Church’s most popular sight is the organ built in 1839 with 4000 pipes and is considered as one of the biggest organs in Europe. Visiting this church is one of the top things to do in Brasov if you are looking for something that is steeped in medieval history and a bit of religion.
The Biertan Fortified Church
Surrounded by charming streets, woods, and vineyards, Biertan is one of the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania. Biertan’s 15th-century fortified church is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village and is claimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls that were connected by towers and gates, encircles the complex and made the church impossible to conquer during medieval times.
Taking a stroll through the arched walkways around the wall is worth every step as it gives you the feeling of a knight on a patrol to defend the village. The church is also known for its 19 point lock that is considered as a work of a genius.
The church also offers a great view of the village below that would make you question if you truly have gone back in time.
Mocanita steam train
One of the most underrated activities to do in Romania, the Mocanita steam train is the best way to go around the country if you want to take in the beauty of the Romanian scenery via a medieval travel mode. This train is actually used to load logs in the wagons and bring them to the Viseu de Sus village.
The train travels 40km inside the forest, up the Carpathian Mountains, and around the beautiful Romania villages. You’ll see the villagers go about their daily lives in horse carts, fields, and roads. This isn’t a setup, it’s the actual life of the villagers in Romania. There are also special planned photo stops on the line for you to click the most gorgeous pictures.
You can board the train at the Maramures Station in Vișeu de Sus village.
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