Explore the best of Romania’s stunning mountain landscapes, and soak up the unique culture of Transylvania on this inspiring self-guided walking holiday. Visit the Carpathian Mountains, with their breathtaking alpine scenery, charming mountain villages and hospitable people. Piatra Craiului, meaning royal stone, is a dramatic limestone ridge rising sharply from the forests and plains below, offering one of the most beautiful ridge walks in Europe. Its glacial valleys offer a wealth of natural beauty, history and adventure. For a glimpse into medieval Transylvania and its towns with narrow, winding streets, you take a stroll around the stunning city of Brașov. Continue your journey to Sighişoara – the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, the 15th-century ruler of Wallachia and alleged inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.
- Brașov the former capital city of medieval Transylvania
- Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle
- Idyllic villages, shepherds’ huts and breathtaking views of the Piatra Craiului Mountains
- The taste of the freshly made cheese, prepared according to an ancient recipe and the home-made food in your guesthouse
- Sibiu, the European Capital of Culture in 2007
- The village of Mălâncrav and its magnificent church, built in the 14th century
- Biertan fortified church
- Sighişoara, the birthplace of Vlad Dracula
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Day 1: Brașov
Arrive in and explore Brașov in your own time. If you fly to Bucharest, Brașov is accessible via a two hour train ride or a private transfer. Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels, Brașov exudes a distinct medieval ambience. Visit the medieval fortress, Black Church and stroll through the beautiful streets of the old town. Optional visit of Rhein Azuga Cellar 1892, former Supplier of Romania’s Royal Court. Here you can discover the story of an exceptional sparkling wine that holds the secrets of the traditional method and will impress you with quality and freshness (wine tasting not included, €8 pp). Overnight in a boutique hotel, located in the veryof the of Brașov, in the pedestrian area of the Council Square, with views of the Black Church and Mount Tampa.
- Accommodation: 3-star hotel Safrano Palace or similar
Day 2: Brașov – Mount Tampa – Bran | 7km
After breakfast, start your hike in the Tampa mountain (960m) overlooking Brașov. The view from the summit is spectacular, offering a panoramic view of the city. The route is easy; you can take the cable car to the top and go down on foot (round trip about two hours). Transfer to Bran (40mins, 30km), where you can visit Bran Castle a.k.a. Dracula’s Castle (entrance fee not included, €10 pp). You will spend the night in a 3-star hotel located downtown, less than a 5mins walk from Bran Castle.
- Walking for the day: 7km, 2h, ↑260m ↓270m
- Accommodation: 3-star hotel Casa Din Bran Inn or similar
Day 3: Bran – Moieciu de Sus | 18km
After breakfast, walk to the shepherds’ village of Simon, known for its special smoked cheese. The sheep are milked twice into wooden buckets, ready to be coagulated with lamb rennet and cut into curds with rustic wooden tools. After forming balls of curd, the shepherds slice them into pieces and knead them back together. Wheels of finished cheese, ranging in size from softballs to beach balls, hang in canvas cloths outside. They are ready to eat after three or four days but can be aged weeks longer on wooden planks. The path is of easy to medium difficulty, through forest and meadows, with great views of both the mountains and the Bran area with its mountain villages. Continue to Moieciu de Sus, where you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel, set in the foothills of Bucegi Mountains.
- Walking for the day: 18km, 5.5h, ↑720m ↓530m
- Accommodation: 3-star hotel Vlahia Inn or similar
Day 4: Moieciu de Sus – Măgura | 21 km
Today’s trek takes you deep into the Piatra Craiului mountain with its jagged ridges, spectacular views, the variety of trails and sights, and the silence that reigns in this stone fortress of the Carpathians. Visit Fundata – the highest village in Romania (1304 m). It is said that the cheese made in fir bark was invented in Fundata and that here is where you can find the best smoked cheese in Romania. Travel back in time while passing the village of Sirnea, where less than 300 people live in old homes wrapped with shingles, over which reigns a divine silence. At the end of the day reach Măgura village, located at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, right in the middle of Piatra Craiului national park. Spend the next two nights in a charming guesthouse in Măgura with the beautiful landscape right at your fingertips.
- Walking for the day: 21km, 6.5h, ↑610m ↓560m
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Pensiunea Pepino or similar
Day 5: Circular walk Măgura | 7 – 10km
Do your first warm-up walk in Piatra Craiului National Park. It is a gentle and nice route, crossing the beautiful mountain village of Pestera. On your way, you can explore the famous Pestera Lilecilor (Bats Cave). The access to the cave is through a small passageway, after which you will reach a small grotto continuing with a 15m long corridor. The cave reaches 162m in length and consists of several rooms which have richly coloured ceilings and where one can encounter calcareous formations (which are known as ‘tears of the earth’). Your next walk brings you high up the Piatra Craiului massif, where you can enjoy its narrow ridge, shaped like a spine of a gigantic dragon.
- Walking for the day (walk 1): 10km, 3h, ↑430m ↓440m
- Walking for the day (walk 2): 7km, 2.5h, ↑310m ↓310m
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Pensiunea Pepino or similar
Day 6: Măgura – Zărnești | 15km
Today you will walk thorough Piatra Craiului National Park. Start the trek from the guesthouse by crossing the impressive Zărnești Gorges up to Curmatura hut (where you can have lunch) and then continue to your guesthouse in Zărnești.
Day 7: Zărnești to Sibiu/Hermannstadt | 13km
Transfer along the Transylvanian Alps to Sibiu (approx. 2.5h). Walk to ASTRA National Museum Complex, spread over a 10km area located in the Dumbrava Forest, just 4km from the centre of Sibiu. The area of the museum complex is divided into six units with 340 buildings from different regions and periods, including old country houses, furnished and arched as the best of the authentic periodic tradition. Brought in their entirety from various areas of Transylvania, household equipment, windmills, water stations, a huge wine press, fruit and oil, a collection of wooden farm carts and various authentic items collections from different eras. During the summer months, a fair of authentic art and Gypsy festival is held in the park. Overnight in Sibiu.
Day 8: Richiş – Biertan | 11km
Transfer to Richiş (Reichesdorf), where residents of twelve nationalities live in this 700-inhabitant village – German, French, Dutch, Italian, Swiss, Lithuanian and American citizens live alongside the Romanian and the Saxon population. Visit the village of Ațel (Hetzeldorf) and its Gothic basilica. Ațel is one of the oldest Saxon villages in the area, dating back to the 1200s. Your next stop will be Biertan – located in a long valley surrounded by hills and vineyards. The village was founded in 1283 and is dominated by Saint Mary’s citadel and church. This hilltop medieval construction, surrounded by three fortified walls, has been named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO Foundation.
- Walking for the day: 14km, 4.5h, ↑220m ↓270m
- Accommodation: 4-star Complex Medieval Unglerus or similar
Day 9: Biertan – Mălâncrav | 16km
Walk to Copsa Mare (Großkopisch), Nous Sasesc and then to Mălâncrav – a remote village where time almost stood still. Villagers here still greet each other with ‘Grüß Gott’ – German for ‘God bless’. Malancrav one of the finest villages in Transylvania, where traditions, Saxon architecture, ethnic diversity and local flavours combine to create a unique experience. The history of the village, also known as Malmkrog in German and Malemkref in the local Saxon dialect, is at least 700 years old. Its fortified church and the Apafi Mansion are testimonies of its centuries-old stories and events. The village has one of the most important fortified churches in Transylvania. Built in the 14th century on the place of an older Romanesque basilica, the church is impressive even by today’s standards with its three naves and tall bell fry. Still, what makes the church truly rare are the interior frescoes that cover 20m with 53 scenes from the Old and New Testament.
- Walking for the day: 15km, 5.5h, ↑500m ↓450m
- Accommodation: Guesthouse Mălâncrav 280 or similar
Day 10: Criș – Sighişoara | 16km
Short transfer to Criș (Kreisch). The village, one of the ancestral seats of the counts Bethlen, has a number of important heritage sites. The old castle, first documented in 1305, is one of the most famous Renaissance buildings in Transylvania and sits on a hill about 200m away from the Caretaker’s house. Walk to Sighişoara – the town is infamous for being the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, the 15th-century ruler of Wallachia and alleged inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Look inside Dracula’s home and see the city’s burgher houses, historic towers and lavish churches. Climb to the top of the city’s Clock Tower and admire beautiful views over the Old Town and Tarnava Mare Valley. Examine the tower’s ornate two-plate clock, decorated with 80cm figurines representing Peace, Law and Justice, as well as Pagan gods related to each of the seven weekdays. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Sighişoara.
- Walking for the day: 15km, 5h, ↑250m ↓310m
- Accommodation: 4-star Hotel Korona or similar
Day 11: Departure
After breakfast your tour comes to an end. Optional private transfer to Cluj, Sibiu or Bucharest airport and individual stay extensions available upon request.
What to expect
3/4-star hotels or family-run guesthouses, as indicated in the itinerary. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
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Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast on all mornings and 3 evening meals are included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your accommodation the night before.
Difficulty & terrain
This tour would suit moderately experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires an average level of fitness. The longest day is 22km (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from middle May until early October. The weather is best in June – September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.
- Holiday information pack including route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
- Accommodation for 10 nights in hand-picked 3 and 4-star hotels or family-run guesthouses as listed in the itinerary
- 10 breakfasts
- 3 evening meals
- Transfer Brasov – Bran
- Transfer Zarnesti – Sibiu
- Transfer Sibiu – Righis
- Transfer Malincrav – Cris
- Daily luggage transport to the next hotel
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, 7 dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras & supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
- Private airport transfers