Romania Self Drive 1 - Transylvania - History and Mystery

Mediaeval castles & towns in the Carpathians

Summary

Our favourite places in Transylvania; a fly drive through Romania's most famous region.

START / FINISH - Cluj / Sibiu / Targa Mures

Activity code: ROFD01

Duration: 8-10 Days

This superb self-drive holiday will take you on a journey around the ancient heart of Romania - Transylvania. As well as visiting the world-famous towns and castles we also recommend going a little "off the beaten track" in this fascinating land, particularly the northern countryside. Transylvania is a stunningly beautiful region, full of history and dramatic scenery with plenty of opportunities to experience the rural way of life in Romania.

The beauty of this circular route is that you can start and finish at any of Transylvania's airports (Cluj, Sibiu, Targa Mures) without needing to adjust the places you visit; even Bucharest works with minimal modification. It is easy to extend the duration with extra nights in any location or to branch out and explore the lesser-visited region of Maramures.

Rediscover the World's recommended fly-drives will take you right into the heart of this fascinating country. We will share our knowledge and the experience of our local partners to offer you not just important cultural sights, dramatic scenery and historic locations but the opportunity to spend quality time in the villages, often staying in rural communities as guests of local families, where local culture is at its strongest. The guest houses and hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in this fascinating country.

This popular self-drive route is a tried & trusted itinerary which will allow you plenty of time to enjoy the countryside as you travel to and from Transylvania. During your holiday you will traverse the spectacular Carpathian Mountains and take in the mysterious history-filled towns of Transylvania - an experience which will afford genuine cultural encounters, leaving you with enduring memories of this truly unique and enchanting country.

Important Information

Your fly drive can be as active or leisurely-paced as you please. Staying one night at each stop allows the maximum amount of sightseeing; two or more nights will allow you to do more side trips, whilst staying in one place will give you the opportunity to relax and explore the local area.

If you would like to visit these wonderful places without driving then we can supply a private driver for the duration or, alternatively, pre-book train tickets for you between the main locations. We can also pre-book guided sightseeing, lunches, extra activities and visits on your itinerary as required.

Flights are available to book with us through a range of airlines from various UK airports to Romania. If we book your flights this means that your holiday will also be fully ATOL protected.

Prices shown are a guideline "from" (in UK Pounds) and are based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. Single supplements may need to be applied to the twin/double price and discounts for children (under 12yrs) and/or a 3rd adult sharing a room are available upon request. Quoted prices for individual enquiries will depend upon your chosen accommodation, room availability and dates of travel. We always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Discounts will apply if there are 3 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.

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Based upon 2 persons travelling.

Prices from £500 per person

What's included in your Fly Drive Holiday ?

  • 8 days fully-inclusive car rental.
  • Private airport transfers.
  • 8 nights accommodation on B&B.
  • Dinner on 3 nights (HB).
  • Fully detailed itinerary with driving routes & sightseeing suggestions.
  • All local taxes.
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather & much more.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind.
  • 24hr local representative services.

Highlights

Itinerary

Fly into Cluj Napoca International Airport; private transfer directly to your hotel in the centre of Cluj. Balance of day to explore historic Cluj on foot - the main centre of the old city is ideal for a walking tour including some important monuments and buildings, such as the Catholic Cathedral of St. Michael built in Gothic style, the Municipal Theatre and the Christian Orthodox Cathedral built in the Neo Byzantine style. Cluj is a big student city so has many interesting bars and restaurants catering for a more cosmopolitan taste than other cities.

After breakfast we suggest a route to the east through rolling countryside to Targa Mures for a short visit of the city, including the City hall, Cathedral and the impressive Cultural Palace. Lunch could be taken here to sample some great Hungarian cuisine or in one of the villages on your journey south through the hills to Sighisoara.

Sighisoara is the most beautiful mediaeval city in Romania, famed also for its atmosphere, its mysterious corners and narrow streets. The Sighisoara Festival of Medieval Arts and Crafts is held on the last weekend of July, a festival featuring troubadour music, costume parades, street entertainers, handicraft displays, open-air concerts and mediaeval ceremonies.

NB. accommodation availability during this period can be difficult and/or expensive.

A full day to enjoy a visit of the historical centre of this fascinating old town, surrounded by towers and walls, among which stands the famous watch tower with its ancient clock. We recommend a walk up the wooden, covered stairway that leads to the old school and the "Church on the hill", with an excellent panoramic view of not just the old town but the lower city and surrounding countryside.

In the afternoon you may like to take a short drive westwards to visit the fortified church (included in UNESCO heritage list) at Biertan. This is an example characteristic of the fortress-church style and is one of the 300 fortified churches built between the 14th and 16th centuries in Romania.

In the morning set off for a pleasant drive to Brasov, another of the beautiful mediaeval cities in Transylvania. On the way we suggest visiting the beautiful villages of Viscri, Rupea and Saschiz with their fortresses, now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On his first visit to Transylvania, Britain's Prince Charles was immediately struck by the precious legacy of this area and said he was "totally overwhelmed by its unique beauty and its extraordinarily rich heritage"; in 2006 he bought and restored an 18th Century Saxon house in Viscri.

We recommend a walking tour of the historic centre of Brasov, its highlights include the Black Church, the Council Square, the old quarter, Europe's narrowest street (Rope Street) and the Katerina Gate that separated the Romanians from the Saxons in the Austro-Hungarian period. It is also possible to get the funicular railway to the top of the nearby hill for stunning views, some fresh air and a lovely walk. Onward drive at the end of the day to Zarnesti or Bran.

We suggest taking this part of your itinerary in a quiet location offering you such a wide range of sightseeing choices, countryside activities and opportunities for relaxation in this fabulous corner of Transylvania. Within easy reach of Zarnesti (or Bran) are the following: Bran Castle, Libearty Bear Sanctuary, Rasnov Fortress, Prejmer & Harman fortified churches, Rasnov fortified citadel (founded by the Teutonic knights and now re-opended with a funicular from the base of the hill).

You may also wish to take a scenic drive to Azuga and Sinaia to visit stunning Peles Castle or engage in some outdoor activities such as Hiking, mountain biking, the adventure park, bear watching & much more. We also recommend lunch in Azuga at the Rhein cellars with [optional] wine tasting.

After another fantastic home-cooked breakfast continue to Sibiu (the European Capital of Culture in 2007). On arrival you will have time to embark on an easy walking tour of the city centre which would include the Big Square with the Brukenthal Museum (Romania's premier museum), the Stairs Passage, the Small Square, the Ancient Romanian School, the Iron Bridge (aka "Liars Bridge") and the Huet Square with the Evangelic Church. There is a huge variety of choice for eating and drinking in Sibiu.

 

In the morning you could use the new highway which will give you time to visit Hunedoara and to see the greatest Gothic-style castle in Romania, Corvinesti Castle. Heading north you should definitely make time to stop and visit Alba Iulia with its beautifully restored citadel, one of the most impressive in Europe (Alba Iulia was known in ancient times as Apulum, the largest military and economic centre during the Roman occupation).

In the afternoon, if you have time, you may wish to consider a stop to visit one of Romania's newest attractions - the Turda Salt Mine. A vast series of chambers with huge spaces underground housing activities such as mini-golf, a ferris wheel and a boating lake but marvelling at the sheer size of the place and breathing the clean, healthy air may be the most important souvenir you take away.

Private transfer to Cluj airport for flight home or drop off car at airport.

** As this route is a circuit it is straighforward to amend the itinerary if you were to arrive into Targa mures or Sibiu airports instead of Cluj Napoca.

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Flexible Tailor-Made Holidays

  • We believe passionately that no two holidays should be the same.
  • With our flexible tailor-made holiday options you can travel at your own pace.
  • Rediscover a city, a resort or an island in a weekend or longer.
  • Take a small group tour or embark upon a more adventurous trip.

Travel Knowledge

  • We have all travelled extensively and will be happy to share our experiences.
  • Personally-chosen hotels, riads, guest houses & apartments in places we know and love.
  • Individual sightseeing recommendations and route planning.
  • Add excursions, activities and food & wine experiences (one of our passions).

Why book a Fly Drive ?

  • Accommodation choices are small, independent or family-run properties which add significantly to your travel experience.
  • Stress-free arrival & departure transfer service.
  • Detailed driving directions, parking info, suggested routes & sightseeing ideas.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind & financial security.