Ever wondered where is Transylvania? As we are firmly convinced that most people have heard the stories. Most people aren’t really convinced that this land is actually real, and we get it. It’s pretty hard to believe that a place that seems to be made up of legends could actually exist in the real world today.
Hence, the article here is meant to bring up some light upon the question about Transylvania being real, a little history, geography, and…the legend of Dracula. So it will be an exciting trip, and we should dive into it.
Where is Transylvania located?
Transylvania is Romania’s largest and most famous region. Although Transylvania got its fame from vampire stories and legends, the region is rich in history, cultural diversity, breathtaking landscapes, and untouched forests.
Furthermore, Transylvania is located in the center of Romania, surrounded and delimited by natural borders: the Carpathian mountains on the east and south all the way to Apuseni Mountains in the North-West.
The Transylvanian Plateau is between 300 to 500 meters high and it is drained by tributaries of the Danube river, such as Mures, Olt, or Somes rivers. Furthermore, Transylvania is surrounded almost entirely by branches of the Carpathian Mountains, which serve as natural borders.
Also, the Western border of Transylvania used to be the line between Romania and Hungary, settled in 1920. Transylvania region is divided by counties, and back in the 1920s, there were 23 counties. However today, there are only 16 counties representing the Transylvania region. And these are:
Cities of Transylvania
Transylvania hosts some of the most beautiful cities in Romania. Since Transylvania is located between hills and mountains, most of the cities are surrounded by incredible nature. So here is a list of the best cities in Transilvania:
With a small population of 28,103 inhabitants according to the 2011 census, Sighisoara is one of the most famous cities/medieval citadels. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, and proud owner of the biggest inhabited medieval citadel in southeastern Europe. Read more about the beautiful town of Sighisoara by clicking here.
With a population of 324,576, Cluj-Napoca is the second most populous city in Romania, and the seat of Cluj county, and an IT trademark city. Also, you can find more about Cluj by reading this article.
The city between the mountains has a population of 253,200 inhabitants. Brasov is one of the most important tourist destinations in Transylvania. Interested in a tour here? Check what we have here.
With a population of 147,245 inhabitants, is the most important cultural spot in Romania. Sibiu is also a landmark for the Saxon heritage present in all Transylvania region. Have a look at our Sibiu tour here.
A step back into history
The region has been a part of many important historical events. A place region of a dispute between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Romania back in the days, as well as a dispute between Hungary and Romania today.
The region first belonged to the Dacian Kingdom between 2nd Century BC and 2nd century CE, following the Roman-Dacia, Hunnic Empire, Kingdom of the Gepids, First Bulgarian Empire, and finally to the Kingdom of Hungary formed in 1000.
In 1690 the Habsburg Monarchy has gained possession over Transylvania, through the Hungarian crown. It was further passed on between Habsburg imperialists, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Hungarian Kingdom until it was finally ceased to Romania at the end of WWI.
Where in Romania is Dracula’s Castle?
Alright, now that we have established the location of Transylvania and the fact that it is a real place, let’s get into the most wanted subject related to Transylvania. Dracula and Dracula’s castle. Also known as Bran Castle, the edifice is located in the commune bearing the same name, Bran, in Brasov County.
History of Dracula’s Castle
Dracula’s Castle, as it’s known outside of Transilvania, is a national monument and landmark in Romania. It used to serve as a border between Transylvania and Wallachia. The castle was built in 1212 by the Teutonic Order in the form of a wooden edifice which was destroyed in 1242 by the Mongols.
Consequently, the first document attesting to the stone castle was published in 1377 by Louis I of Hungary. Between 1438-1442 it was used as a fortress again the Ottoman Empire, in quite a successful manner. In the aftermath, Dracula’s Castle served as a royal residence for a significant period of time. Find out more about Bran Castle by reading this article.
Vlad the Impaler and Dracula’s Castle
Although many notable names have had their mark placed on Dracula’s Castle, it seems that Dracula himself (Vlad the Impaler that is) did not. And that is sort of funny since the castle is believed (by legends, of course) to have been the nest of the wide-world known vampire.
The slight confusion is believed to have started when Bram Stocker used the characteristics of the ruler of Wallachia, Vlad the Impaler to created his famous character Dracula. And the fact that the author was mentioning a castle between the mountains (Dracula’s Castle) that allegedly served as the vampire’s home.
In reality, however, the castle mentioned by Bram Stoker in his novel shown no similarity whatsoever with Bran Castle that we see today. Read more about Dracula’s (Bran) Castle here.
Tours to Dracula’s Castle
- Two Castles in One Day Tour from Bucharest
- Transylvania Break 2 days trip from Bucharest
- Medieval Transylvania 3 days trip from Bucharest
- Magic Transylvania 4 days trip from Bucharest
Although there are so many legends about Dracula, there is always some truth there. Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula was a feared Romanian voivode. We have a special Tour that takes all the way to where he has actually lived and ruled for the longest time. So that you can have a… taste of the legend.
Check out The Real Dracula Tour by clicking here.
How to get to Transylvania
We have mentioned this in our previous article regarding Transylvania. Visiting Transylvania is extremely comfortable because the region is in the center of Romania, so super easy to access and pretty affordable too. How to get to Transylvania, you ask? That would be your choice, whether you want to go by air, train, bus, or car. And if we have awakened your interest, check out this article to learn everything there is to know about Transylvania.
Get to Transylvania by air
There are three main airports in the region. And luckily you can fly to any of these from anywhere in Europe. Here is how you can get to Transylvania by air:
- Otopeni International Airport: although the capital isn’t in Transylvania, flying to Bucharest from anywhere may be much easier and convenient. All the major airlines fly to and from Bucharest. And you can just carry on with your Transylvania trip from here.
- Avram Iancu International Airport Cluj-Napoca: start your trip from Cluj-Napoca, or Hunedoara and this would be a perfect choice. Airlines such as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, or AirFrance fly here.
- Sibiu International Airport: Also located right in the heart of Transylvania, it will ease your next trip. Airlines such as Lufthansa, WizzAir, Blue Air, or Tarom fly here.
- Transilvania International Airport of Targu-Mures: great start if you want to visit all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Airlines that fly to and from here: WizzAir, WizzAir UK, Tarom.
Get to Transylvania by train or bus
There are a few to get to Transylvania by train or bus if you come from certain cities in Europe. If not, you might have to change a few trained or busses. Below you can find a list of the biggest railway stations in Transylvania. As a note, you should know that most main bus stops are usually nearby railway stations as well.
- Bucharest North Railway Station: is the biggest one in Romania. You will find trains to take you to every major Transylvanian city.
- Timisoara North Railway Station: a great choice if you are coming from Vienna, Budapest, or Belgrade
- Oradea Railway Station: a great choice if you are coming from Vienna or Budapest
- Sinaia Railway Station: not a main railway station, but an emblematic one. The Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul stops in Sinaia, and you can visit Peles Castle.
Bucharest to Transylvania distance
… or the distance from one realm to the other. The ride is approximately 270 kilometers, and the views, stunning. You can travel by car, by bus all the way to Brasov, Sighisoara, Targu-Mures and Cluj-Napoca. Or by train all the way to Sighisoara.
And of course, if you don’t feel like spending too much time on the road you can easily get from Bucharest to Transylvania by air, with an internal flight. And as always, we have amazing tours for you, if you want to enjoy Transylvania the way it was meant to be.
Check out our Magic Transylvania Tour and book your next trip by clicking here.
Tours to Transylvania
We believe Transylvania will forever remain a favorite. Of ours, yes, but of so many others too. This is one of the main reasons why we have so many tours to Transylvania.
Pick the one you think you would enjoy the most. Although we must say, they are all pretty awesome:
Magic Transylvania Tour:
Breath the magic in and out with this 4 day trip around Transylvania.
Learn more about the tour, dates, prices and itinerary by clicking here.
Medieval Transylvania Tour
Transport yourself to another age for 3 days. And imagine having lived here hundreds of years ago.
Learn more about the tour, dates, prices and itinerary by clicking here.
Transylvanian Medieval Castles and Fortified Churches Tour
A tour like a history lesson. A tour that takes you to all the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Transylvania. Learn more about the tour, dates, prices, and itinerary by clicking here.
We do hope that you are now convinced that Transylvania is a real place, and you now know exactly where is Transylvania. We are here to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to let us know if there is anything else you would like to know about Transylvania.
Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +40 735 525 710.