Transylvania self-drive holiday in Romania

“Drive across Romania, and back in time, as you explore atmospheric villages, painted churches, medieval towns and the castle that inspired Bram Stoker.”


Bucharest| Transfagarasan Highway | Sibiu | Alba Iulia | Maramures | Painted Monasteries in Suceava | Bicaz Gorge | Transylvania | Viscri | Brasov | Bran Castle | Bear Sanctuary | Walking in Bucegi Mountains (optional) | Peles Castle

Description of Transylvania self-drive holiday in Romania

Romania is known for its amazing natural environment, beautiful historic towns and links to Bram Stokerís Dracula. On this Transylvania self drive holiday you can experience all of this, plus lesser known highlights such as Maramures, Viscri and the Bucegi Mountains.

The Transylvania self drive holiday is unique in allowing you to tailor the route to your personal interests. It is possible to combine the exciting city of Bucharest with atmospheric Transylvania and the hidden region of Maramures. Romania allows you to feel as though you have travelled back in time, and self guiding your holiday ensures you can maximise your time in the places which interest you most. Nevertheless, the whole tour will be filled with spectacular scenery, unique opportunities and fascinating history.

Transylvania is home to medieval towns that feel as though they have been lost in the mists of time. Explore steep, cobbled streets, climb to hilltop citadels and see the 14th century clock tower in Sighisoara, a picturesque medieval town. The region is most famous for the numerous dramatic castles which you can easily include in your tour, including the one that inspired Bram Stokerís Dracula.

Often overlooked by organised tours of Romania, is the bucolic region of Maramures in the northwest. Its low profile means the character and culture of the villages have been carefully preserved by the residents. As such it is an excellent place to get an insight into Romanian rural culture and crafts that have been passed down through generations. Churches in this region are made entirely of wood, including beautiful internal carvings.

Complementing Maramures' history and culture is the nearby province of Bucovina where its famous Painted Churches are particularly notable and unique to that area. Furthermore they are vibrantly decorated with intricate, colourful paintings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, which narrate stories from the Bible. Seven of the churches in the area are UNESCO sites. Other rural crafts include handwoven carpets, colourful folk dresses and painted eggs, all created using traditional skills passed down through generations.

A more cosmopolitan side of Romania can be experienced by a visit to the capital. Bucharest boasts 55 museums and galleries, winding streets, and 22 theatres. The cityís existence was first recorded by Vlad Tepes in 1459, and it is full of character and interest.

This itinerary has been tried, tested and loved, as it allows you to truly experience the fascinating country of Romania, allowing time to pause and appreciate your surroundings whilst soaking up the atmosphere.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We have chosen to include places to stay where there is much more opportunity for you to interact more fully with the locals, to practice your language and to minimise your carbon footprint somewhat. The village guesthouses that we recommend use predominantly local produce in the preparation of meals, reducing the food-miles, waste and carbon footprint associated with larger hotels.

By including the opportunity to visit the National Parks and UNESCO sites on this holiday you choose to contribute to the excellent record of conservation in recent years through the entrance fees and also by using local guides and buying local handicrafts. We ask all our customers to respect the environment. Litter, in particular, is damaging to the landscape and can injure animals so we encourage people to act responsibly.

As a company we employ responsible policies such as recycling paper, ink cartridges, glass and cardboard; we minimize the use of electricity and conducting the vast majority of our correspondence and promotion via the internet and email, minimizing the amount of paper used for our activities. We also compost waste in our company garden.

The Impacts of this Trip

Our recommended accommodation on this holiday is in family-run, small hotels. The food in the hotels is primarily sourced locally and a large number of dishes on the menus are home made. We only employ local guides as their expertise and local knowledge will enhance your experience and understanding of the historical context and the environmental impact of your visit. In Bucharest in particular you will see the evidence for and read about the impact of the Ceauasescu period; the cost of rebuilding and repairing the historic centre has been enormous and every contribution made by visitors will help. Similarly the countryside was devastated in this time as whole villages were destroyed and communities forceibly removed to the cities - because of this experience rural Romania and its traditional way of life is so precious and with our itineraries we aim to assist the local economies to thrive with the help of tourism whilst not losing the integrity of the community structures.

As well as supporting the local community and economy directly our holidays also encourage support indirectly. The latter because more interaction with local people and local tourist service providers engenders greater understanding and respect which almost always leads to larger and more careful spending by visitors.


3 Reviews of Transylvania self-drive holiday in Romania

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There is so much to comment on here. We enjoyed exploring this varied country from the Delta to the far north. Highlights have to be the painted
monasteries, the wooden churches, the fortified churches and the medieval old town centres. The mountains were just lovely and the drive over some of the
passes spectacular. The rural countryside is a joy to discover

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Self drive is just fine with most roads perfectly good if crowded and therefore slow. Beware the few maniac Romanian drivers who overtake on blind corners!
Parking can be problematical in the large towns or in the old town centres and the quality of road signs varies! The Romanian cuisine leaves a little to be
desired at times with breakfast offerings always much the same. Romanian wine, however, is very good. Try to stay at some pensions to meet local hosts.
Almost all younger Romanians speak some English and some speak it fluently, so don't hestitate to ask for advice.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I sincerely hope so. We stayed in some pensions where the local owners were very friendly and helpful and where the food was traditional. Not sure we
reduced environmental impact by driving! Conservation was supported in the Delta .

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent and we would love to return. Romania has so much to offer and learning about its history including the communist era was most enlightening. The holiday included all we could wish for in the way of scenery and experiences.

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the fantastic and varied architecture - lots of churches (fortified, wooden, baroque, gothic etc). medieval towns, castles, mountain scenery. Traditional
way of life contrasting with the modern. Impact of communism in the past.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Buy a road map to get a bigger picture of what's around. Most major places take credit cards. Get a better exchange rate if you change your money over there.
Do and see as much as you can and talk to people whenever possible - everyone is really friendly and the younger people speak good English. There's lots of
lorries on the roads so allow time and don't try to rush. Most roads are now OK but some minor roads are in poor condition.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The hotels and restaurants appeared to be locally owned and staffed thereby benefiting the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent, well-planned.

Reviewed on 29 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

My kids definitely vote for floating in the salt lakes (which were flooded old roman salt mines) just north of Sibui, Transylvania

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Huge benefit in the use of a local guide to walk around Sibui. Be aware that around Brasov (particularly Bran Castle) is very busy and full of tourists during the summer.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I hope so! The bear sanctuary at Zarnesti particularly appreciated the support of visitors in order to afford to run their sanctuary for abused local wildlife.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic! Can't wait to come back and visit more of Romania.

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