Curious about visiting the land of Dracula around Halloween time? Check out the top reasons why you should visit Transylvania in autumn!
Transylvania is a region in the central part of Romania. Although it’s an area steeped in folklore and history (and heavily associated with Count Dracula), it’s also one of the most beautiful regions in Europe. And perhaps never more so than during autumn.
Transylvania is the perfect place to visit in autumn. The weather is nice and cool, there are many festivals and activities to participate in, and there are some amazing places to explore, from lush landscapes to incredible historic sites.
In this article we’ll give you plenty of reasons why you should visit Transylvania in autumn and how best to enjoy yourself in the shadow of the imposing Carpathian mountains!
Note: if you’re planning to visit Romania and Transylvania from outside of Europe after 2023, it’s likely that you will need to apply for ETIAS before your trip.
Take a Road Trip on the Transfagarsan Highway
The Transfagarasan is a scenic mountain road in central Romania. The road covers over 90 kilometers, runs between some of the highest peaks in the country, and connects Sibiu with the towns of Brasov and Pitesti.
Considered by many to be one of the most scenic roads in Europe, it climbs up to an altitude of over 2000 meters with stunning views over the Transylvanian countryside. The best time for a drive on this highway starts when autumn sets in and the leaves start changing!
Hike the Carpathian Mountains
While driving on the Transfagarasan Highway, make the most of the stunning mountains surrounding you and stop off to take advantage of the many hiking trails in the area. There are lots of opportunities to get up and close with the Carthpathians, especially in the expansive Retezat National Park.
If hiking isn’t really your thing, visit Sovata and take a ride on the Mocanita. This narrow-gauge steam train ride takes you on an hour-and-a-half journey along a 14km track through gorgeous forested landscapes.
Cluj-Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania after Bucharest and the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region. Known as the cultural capital of Romania, it offers stunning architecture, countless museums and galleries, and a vibrant nightlife.
It’s also home to a number of peaceful parks which really come alive in the autumn. One of these is the Botanical Garden, which covers an area of 14 hectares and has more than 10,000 species of plants from all over the world.
If you’re planning to visit Transylvania, you can easily fly into Cluj-Napoca and make it your base for the trip. Otherwise, it’s also easy to get there from Bucharest by train.
Visit Bran Castle and Brasov city
The most famous castle in Romania, Bran Castle is marketed as ‘Dracula’s Castle’ but historians remain dubious of its actual connections to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram’s Stoker’s iconic vampire.
Nevertheless, the castle is worth visiting simply for its stunning architecture, and also features an open-air museum displaying traditional Romanian peasant structures. You can visit the building either on your own or on a castle tour.
The castle is located 25 kilometers southwest of the city of Brasov, which is worth a visit in itself for its incredible Gothic architecture, including the famous ‘Black Church’. Brasov also holds an annual Oktoberfest event to rival that of Munich!!
Another historic town located close to Brasov, Sighisoara is one of the best-preserved fortified towns in Europe. Dating back to the 12th century, its walled Old Town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Romania, the town is full of ancient houses, towers, and churches to explore. The fortified churches of Prejmer and Harman, located nearby, are also well worth a visit.
Pamper Yourself at the Balvanyos Spa
Balvanyos is a small spa town located in the middle of forested mountains near the stunningly beautiful Lake Ana. Balvanyos Resort is a popular destination for spa holidays, as the area has hydrothermal and volcanic features.
The spa is open all year round and attracts both tourists from within Romania and people from further afield who want to experience the healing properties of its waters. But it’s especially beautiful in the autumn surrounded by the changing leaves!
Indulge at the Many Harvest Festivals
One of the best reasons to visit Transylvania is to sample its exceptional local cuisine, and autumn presents the ideal opportunity due to the large number of harvest, wine, and food festivals in the region.
These include the Flavors and Sounds of Transylvania event, which takes place near the town of Sibu, and the unique Potato Week celebration in Avrig, the official home of the potato in Romania!