Our Most Unique Trip: Transylvania, Romania

Transylvania, surrounded by the mighty Carpathian mountains of Central Romania, is one of Europe’s best kept secrets… Missy and I spent a week driving through this beautiful region and it was one of the most unusual and enjoyable travel adventures we’d ever had together.

From the moment we crossed the border from Hungary, it was “goodbye Starbuck’s and McDonald’s” and we spent the next 7 days exploring ancient castles, virgin forests, medieval towns and rural villages that haven’t changed much since the 18th century.

The name Transylvania conjures up images of vampires, werewolves and haunted castles – and there is a very good reason for that…

Dracula's Castle at Bran

Dracula\’s Castle at Bran

Vlad Dracul, the 15th century prince upon whom Bram Stoker’s Dracula was loosely based, is a National Hero in Transylvania. He and his son successfully defended Transylvania from the marauding Turks, using the most bloodthirsty methods imaginable… He impaled the the bodies of his enemies on giant spikes and lined the roads leading into Transylvania with thousands of them. The invading Turkish armies were forced to march through miles of impaled corpses of their fallen comrades – not good for moral! There are statues of Vlad all over Transylvania – he’s like the Romanian George Washington. 🙂

There are ruins of castles everywhere in Transylvania – dark and brooding, with very unusual architecture. Stork nests built in the bell-towers of Peasant Fortified Saxon churches seem to be straight out of medieval times… And the houses have windows that look like eyes…

The towns are quaint and charming, even if a bit run down. From thatched roof houses on the outskirts of town, to the giant gothic cathedrals in the central squares, it’s truly like walking back into time. We enjoyed the delicious food, lousy wine, inexpensive shopping, and adorable villages… (continued after photo gallery)

Our whole trip had a very unique, almost “Grimm’s fairy tale” feel to it. Every day was a fascinating adventure, and every evening was a beautiful, romantic experience – walking hand in hand down ancient cobblestone streets, looking for that perfect café at sunset…

Transylvania is much less developed than the rest of Europe, so a trip to this part of the world is more suited for seasoned travelers, but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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