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Medieval Castles and Villages of Transylvania

Medieval Castles and Villages of Transylvania

Overview

Explore some of Romania’s most stunning mountain landscapes and soak up the unique culture of Transylvania on this inspiring self guided walk. Discover a beautiful country with a rich and fascinating history. The tour starts in Rasinari and will take you to Sighişoara – the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, the 15th-century ruler of Wallachia and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.

Highlights

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Rasinari

Your journey will start with a private transfer from Sibiu or Cluj Napoca airport to Rasinari (optional). The colourful town of Rasinari is just 12 kilometres south of Sibiu, and well worth the visit. Its streets are lined with colourfully painted Saxon-style houses, and the town is home to two outstanding churches.

Your accommodation for the next three nights will be Badiu’s Guest House. This beautiful rustic house features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a shared lounge and a garden. The creative and passionate chef Mrs Badiu will delight you with the highest quality authentic cuisine. Most of the ingredients are carefully grown and picked fresh from the house’s gardens or sourced from local farms.

Day 2: Cisnădioara Circular walk | 20.5 km

After breakfast, you will hike from Rasinari to Prislop village and then to Cisnădioara and its fortified church, one of the seven citadels founded by the Saxons of Transylvania centuries ago. It’s a rare example of Romanesque architecture in the region, especially its splendid western portal, that survived more than 800 years without major changes. Shortly after leaving the village, you will reach the “Half-Stone” with fossils from the Limestone Age. Continue to the Rose Garden, at about 1100 meters above sea level and to the Magura Peak at a height of 1300 meters.

  • Walking for the day: 20.5 km, 6.5 hours, ↑930 m ↓930 m
  • Accommodation: Badiu’s Guest House or similar

Day 3: Păltiniș – Rasinari | 17 km

Morning transfer to Păltiniș, the highest mountain resort in Romania (1400 m), the starting point for an approximately 6-hour hike in the Cindrel Mountains. Our route leads us from Păltiniș, trough Oncesti and Tomnaticu to Rasinari. Do not forget to bring your camera to capture the overwhelming panoramic views over the Transylvanian Alps.

Day 4: Rasinari – Sibiu | 5.6 km

Short transfer to ASTRA National Museum Complex, spread over a 10 km area located in the Dumbrava Forest, just 4 km from the city 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 are held in the park. Overnight in Sibiu.

Day 5: Richiş – Biertan | 11 km

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 1200’s. 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.

Day 6: Biertan – Mălâncrav | 16 km

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 flavors 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 20 meters with 53 scenes from the Old and New Testament.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 5-6 hours, ↑230 m ↓220 m
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse Mălâncrav 280 or similar

Day 7: Criș – Sighişoara | 16 km

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 200 m 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 the 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 3-inch-tall (80-centimetre) 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: 16 km, 5 hours, ↑400 m ↓120 m
  • Accommodation: 4-star Hotel Korona or similar

Day 8: 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

Accommodation

2, 3 and 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.

Click to view default hotels

Badiu’s Guest House, Best Western Silva Hotel, Golden Tulip Ana Tower, Complex Medieval Unglerus, Guesthouse Mălâncrav 280Hotel Korona

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.

Meals

Breakfast on all mornings and 4 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 a moderately experienced walker (no high mountain experience required) and requires an average level of fitness. The longest day is 16 km. The walks have a relaxed pace with enough time to take in the views and surroundings (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 April until November. 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival airports for this holiday are Sibiu and Cluj. You can also fly into Bucharest and then by train to Sibiu.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation for 7 nights in hand-picked hotels or family-run guest-houses as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 4 evening meals
  • Holiday information pack including regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • Daily luggage transport to the next hotel
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfares and land transfers
  • Entrance tickets
  • Lunch meals and 3 dinners
  • 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

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