The travel blog Journey Wonders has published a story about Transylvania. Cluj is mentioned as a very nice destination.careful with the vampires” is the most common phrase that you will hear when you announce your plans to travel to Transylvania.
And believe it or not, there is a lot of people outside of Romania who think that Transylvania is an imaginary land not unlike Narnia or Middle-Earth.
I mean, with landscapes as magical as this one, I can understand why people might think this is place from the lands of fantasy and lore, right?”, says author Raphael Alexander Zoren.
”The two weeks I spent traveling in Transylvania taught me a lot about the power of fear as the scars of the terrors during communist times are still felt in the local population of this wonderful region of Romania.
“We were afraid of what our neighbours might say about us in order to favour their position. We were afraid that next months’ rations wouldn’t be enough to feed our children. We were afraid of our own leaders, of our own government” my local guide of Sibiu told me.
“But we fought. We fought hard. We overcame our fears and brought a brighter future to our children, to our city, to ourselves” he quickly added.
Everything is possible as long as you fight hard for it and it is important to always have hope that tomorrow is going to be better. These past two weeks have been hard for me and for the rest of the world as I fear that humanity is slowly dying out.
I read the news and I no longer feel connected to what’s happening in the outside world and sometimes I just feel like hiking to the top of a mountain to live like an hermit in my own world of wonders.
Transylvania has suffered many terrors and today it is home to many treasures. More importantly, Transylvania will make you treasure the best skill that you already have: the power of conquering your deepest fears”, says Raphael Alexander Zoren.
”The region of Transylvania is quite big and diverse although the most popular attractions can be found in the cities of Brasov, Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu.
If you’re coming from Bucharest, Brasov is the best starting point and even though a car is the only way to see THE best sight of Transylvania (the picturesque Trasfagarasan road), you can still explore most of Transylvania using public transportation.
Just remember to bring a lot of drinks and snacks for those long train journeys!
From Bucharest, you can take a train to Brasov (3 hours, 7 Euros), the most popular city of Transylvania thanks to its proximity to Bran Castle AKA Dracula’s Castle (no real relation to either Bram Stoker nor to Vald Tepes) which is not worth the hype at all.
Optionally, you can take a day trip to the ski resort town of Sinai to visit the Neo-Renaissance Peles Castle. From Sinai itself you can also make a small detour to see the Bucegi mountains up close at the town of Busteni.
Brasov itself is a really nice city on its own and a hike to the Hollywood-esque “Brasov” sign is definitely a must! When visiting Brasov, be sure to stay at the Centrum Hostel Brasov in order to be right in the middle of all the action.
After Brasov, the next stop in your Transylvanian itinerary is the city of Cluj Napoca (7 hours by Train from Brasov, 12 Euros), which offers a very interesting mix of modern and medieval architecture.
From Cluj you can take a short day trip to Salina Turda in order to explore this unique wonder of nature, public minivans run very frequently both ways and the entrance fee to the mines is about 5 euros.
Try to visit the Turda salt mines during the weekends to see first-hand how Romanian families bring their children to the unique theme park located inside the mine itself! I bet you never imaged to find an underground Ferris Wheel!
Besides the historical old town and the vibrant student night-life, another interesting spot to visit in Cluj is the Hoia Baciu haunted forest, a very creepy place where UFO’s have been sighted in recent times. Spooky, uh?
When it comes to accommodation in Cluj Napoca, my best recommendation is the Spot Cosy Hostel, a very unique boutique property that sure lives up to its name!
Once you’re done with Cluj-Napoca, your next stop is Sibiu (3 hours by Bus, 10 Euros), the most charming and well-preserved of all Transylvanian Towns.
The old town of Sibiu is filled with the architectural style of the Saxons and has a lot of interesting sights and viewpoints from which you can get spectacular views of the city.
Sibiu has many museums and its most interesting cultural attraction is in my opinion the ASTRA open air museum where you can enjoy a small taste of Romanian’s rural life.
During my visit to Sibiu, I was part of the My Sibiu Project and the organisers hosted me at the Josephine Studio, located just a stone’s throw away from the old town.
Next time you’re in Sibiu, be sure to contact them for suggestions about activities and events.
Have you ever explored the Treasures of Transylvania? Would you like to? Still afraid of vampires? What do you think about haunted forests? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!”, says Journey Wonders.