You might have heard that Transylvania is THE destination to travel to in 2016 according to Lonely Planet and that’s for a lot of good reasons, I think. Although this part of the world has started to gain awareness in the past couple of years, it is still widely unknown. And I’m not just talking about Romania but also our neighboring countries in the Balkans. So, I figured why don’t I take the time to introduce Transylvania to travelers and start answering some basic questions about this region.

Where is Transylvania? 

Transylvania is not actually a country but a historic region in the central part of Romania. Kinda of like “Provence” in France. In latin, the name literally means, “beyond the forest” and that’s because this region is bordered by the forests of the Carpathian Mountains on almost all sides. (Transylvania is in orange below)

Picture of Transylvania: By Andrein - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6533581

Picture of Transylvania: By Andrein - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6533581

Where is Romania?

Romania is a country situated in South Eastern Europe and is part of the European Union since 2007. With a population of almost 20 million, Romania is the 7th most populous country in Europe.

By NuclearVacuum - File:Location European nation states.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8105250

By NuclearVacuum - File:Location European nation states.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8105250

What to do in Transylvania?

where is transylvania

There are a lot of opportunities for spending your holiday in Transylvania. If you’re into adventure and outdoor sports, Transylvania is really a great option because it offers a lot of opportunities for awesome outdoor experiences in a relatively small area. Of course, you can always join Martin Adventures for one of our epic, guided, small group tours:

If you want to mix culture and history with some outdoor activities, you can always take a cycling trip to the fortified churches in Transylvania. This area has attracted some attention mostly thanks to Charles Prince of Wales’ actions in Viscri. The following website can give you some ideas on what to do while in the region: www.discovertarnavamare.org

If you’re more into city breaks, history and culture you could visit some the landmark cities in Transylvania. Brasov, Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Sighisoara, Cluj Napoca or Medias are just some of the options.

How to get to Transylvania?

Flying is the best option of arriving in Romania. The main airport is the Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. From there on, you’ll need to catch a train or rent a car to get to Transylvania. There are also a couple of airlines that fly directly to cities from Transylvania, especially to Sibiu, Cluj or Targu Mures.

Where can I get more information?

I recommend www.romaniatourism.com for general info about Romania and, of course, Transylvania. Also the Lonely Planet fact file on Romania is quite good: www.lonelyplanet.com/romania

*Bonus Questions. Yes, this is where I tell you about Dracula...

dracula transylvania

What's the deal with Transylvania and vampires?

Most people actually associate Transylvania with Dracula. I know, it’s one of those things that are funny because they’re true. In 1897, Bram Stoker an English novelist, wrote his most popular book named “Dracula”. It's then where he first introduced the character of Count Dracula that was, you get it, from Transylvania.

Who is Dracula?

Count Dracula is actually based on the historic figure of the Vlad III aka Vlad the Impaler aka Vlad Dracul (Dracul means devil  in romanian). He’s most famous for being rather cruel and for impaling his enemies and, why not, other people who didn’t agree with him. It was the Middle Age so, yeah, this kind of cruel stuff was quite common.

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These are some of the things that I found relevant to include in a general article about Transylvania. What are some other information that you would like to read about Romania and Transylvania?