Surrounded, and partially divided, by the high peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, the fabled, mountainous region of Transylvania in central Romania has become synonymous with Bram Stoker's Dracula, but on this wonderful seven-night guided holiday we leave fiction behind to uncover a beautiful country with a rich and fascinating history.
The region presents a splendid mix of medieval castles, high peaks, incredible wildlife, and of course - welcoming and warm locals. Steeped in tradition, it's easy to see where the inspiration for the tales came from. Starting in Sinaia, our walks begin at the foot of the Bucegi range just a couple of minutes from the fairytale castle of Peles. From here the walks take us across high mountain plateaus and through beautiful wildflower-covered pastures, where you can see rare birds and butterflies. Our paths lead on through ancient forests and rocky canyons - home to black chamois, lynx, brown bears and even wolves - to medieval villages.
We visit the famous Bran Castle, a Gothic fortress that was the setting for Roman Polanski's 'Dance of the Vampires' as well as a place of refuge for Queen Mary of Romania. Then in towns like Brasov and Pestera, we explore medieval squares and winding alleyways, whilst marvelling at Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, including the famous clock tower and the house with the deer antlers, where the real Vlad Dracula was born.
Your accommodation for the week offers a blend of high quality hotels and spectacular views; from the 5 star chalet-style Villa Oblique in Sinaia and the elegant 4 star Casa Din Bran Inn Center, to the 4 star Nobillis Carpathian Residence, the 3 star Safrano Palace located in the heart of Brasov and the more rustic Transylvanian Inn.To complete the package, we've also included all meals.
Read more about this holiday in our blog.
Walks are on forest tracks, mountain paths and quiet country lanes, there are some short steep accents and descents. Many of the walks at 1000+ metres, and some cold weather clothes would be useful. Walking boots are essential, waking poles recommended.
We pick you up from Bucharest airport and transfer you (1hr 45min) to Sinaia in the Bucegi range of the Carpathian Mountains.
You stay at Villa Oblique (breakfast and evening meal at a local restaurant en route to the hotel)
In the morning we visit the fairytale castle of Peles, summer residence of King Carol. Then we take the cable car up onto the Bucegi plateau (2,100m) and walk first to the Piatra Arsa Chalet and further on to Babele Chalet. Close to it are two natural rock formations, the Bucegi Sphinx (named so because of its resemblance to the Great Sphinx of Giza) and Babele (meaning 'the old women'.)
You stay at Villa Oblique (breakfast and evening meal at a local restaurant)
Scenic drive to the start of today's walk to Bran with stunning views of the Piatra Craiului Massif. In the afternoon we visit Dracula's castle, the setting for Roman Polanski's 'Dance of the Vampires', and a refuge for Queen Mary. The night is spent in Bran with dinner included at the hotel.
You stay at the Casa Din Bran - Inn Center (breakfast and evening meal)
A short transfer to the start of today's walk over meadows and pastures to the mountain village of Pestera. On the way look out for orchids, gentians, campanulas and endemic flowers like the 'Carpathian Iris'. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding maintains and picturesque landscapes. You will spend the next two nights in Pestera with dinner included at the hotel.
You stay at the Nobillis Carpathian (breakfast and evening meal)
Today's circular walk takes in some of the best views of the region's mountains and valleys with opportunities to spot rare birds and butterflies.
You stay at the Nobillis Carpathian (breakfast and evening meal)
This morning we walk through the beautiful Prapastiile Zarnestilor gorge which has been used as a filming location for the movie Cold Mountain and is home to creeper, alpine swift and also the elusive three-toed woodpecker. We then make the climb up to the rustic Curmatura mountain hut where we will enjoy lunch (included) and a well-earned rest before descending again into Zarnesti and a transfer to your hotel in Predelut. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.
You stay at the Transylvanian Inn (breakfast and evening meal)
Visit Rasnov Fortress before starting a walk along the Sticlariei Valley as it descends to the medieval town of Brasov, where we visit the town square, surrounded by Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque Patrician buildings as well as the Gothic 'Black Church' with its world-famous Buchholz organ and a rare collection of oriental carpets brought back from trading missions to the Ottoman Empire. Stay in the centrally located Safrano Palace with dinner included at a local restaurant.
You stay at the Safrano Palace (breakfast and evening meal at a local restaurant)
Group transfer to Bucharest airport.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:Just 500 yards from Peles Castle on the hill above the town of Sinaia is the 5 star guesthouse Villa Oblique. Opened in 2014, the Oblique is a modern, chalet-style building that offers free access to the onsite spa, featuring a sauna, a steam bath and a hot tub. Rooms at Oblique are individually decorated to a high standard and come with superb mountain views; many also have a balcony.
Conveniently located within a 5 minute walk from the history, the myth and intrigue of Bran Castle, this elegant hotel has 15 elegantly styled and comfortable rooms.
High on a hillside with unrestricted views of the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains is the Nobillis - Carpathian Residence. Recently built, this cosy 4 star hotel offers a garden, a terrace, a Finnish sauna and a Turkish bath, and the hotel's restaurant serves Swiss cuisine that can be enjoyed in the large dining room. All rooms feature a large balcony with spectacular views and are elegantly furnished with solid dark wood furniture.
NEARBY:Perched on a hillside with panoramic views over Bran Castle (just 2km away), Rasnov citadel and the Bucegi Mountains, is the charming family-run Transylvanian Inn. The hotel offers comfort and tranquility along a quiet lane away from the popular town of Bran and the views from the terrace are second to none. Guests can dine on the terrace as the sun sets behind the mountains, enjoying traditional Romanian dishes made from fresh, local produce with superior local wines. Rooms are modern and comfortable, with earthy tones in line with the surrounding nature.
Located in the heart of medieval Brasov overlooking beautiful Council Square in the cobbled old town. Surrounded by colourful Baroque buildings and lively cafes, the hotel is central to Brasov's main attractions.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
It was definitely the right way to walk in Romania with Silviu who was good fun, serious, reliable and totally professional. The hotels were good. The transport was good.
Romania is a beautiful country. Our guide Silvius was excellent. He is extremely knowledgeable, personable and considerate. He went out of his way to ensure we all had an amazing holiday. Hotels were well chosen and the food delicious. We were blessed with very good weather on all but one day so had ample opportunity to soak up the amazing views.
Great Walking in some wonderful and surprising countryside. Walks are tough but everyone managed OK. Hotels were all very comfortable. Guide was friendly, helpful, relaxed and knowledgeable.
Our guide, Sylviu, couldn’t have been more knowledgeable, entertaining or considerate. The Carpathian Mountains are just stunning and local folk very friendly. We even had an impromptu lunch with locals who called us in as we passed by and entertained us.
We are a bit older and for the most difficult walk, Sylviu gave us an easier route and made sure we were safe. We can’t thank him enough.
But it wasn’t just about walking - Peres Castle was stunningly opulent, Bran (Dracula’s) Castle fascinating, built in a uniquely powerful position and Radnor Fortress again gave us a different perspective on Transylvania’s history. We learnt a lot about Transylvania during our time there
Dear Mrs. Thompson
Thank you for leaving such a nice review. I'm glad that Sylviu was able to provide an alternative route for you. He will be thrilled to hear your kind words and that you loved your experience in Romania.
We do hope that we will be able to welcome you on another Headwater guided or self guided Holiday in the not too distant future.
Excellent guide, great companions, fascinating country and places, interesting walks and wildlife. One of the best I have ever done in the past 15 years.
Varied and interesting
Amazing views, well worth the climbs and always good to share these times with many and varied fellow travellers!
A variety of walks and sight seeing made our first visit to Romania enjoyable and interesting. We found the countryside beautiful and our various hosts welcoming. We had a very good experience and would like to visit again. I would recommend talking through the fitness requirements with Headwater when choosing this trip. We were all except for one, over 65, and although we were fit the walk was tougher than we expected and if the weather had been unkind we would have found it much harder. Strongly recommend taking sticks.
Very interesting place to see. Beautiful landscapes mountains, forests, villages you saw it all!
An excellent holiday exploring Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains, with plenty of variety - and we really enjoyed the historical/sightseeing elements. There was a good mix of scenery/landscapes when walking (the area is extremely attractive), however we did feel that there were some very strenuous sections to some of the walks which were definitely harder than the level 2 that the trip was graded at. The hotels were excellent and very comfortable, often with stunning views and all in excellent locations. Food throughout the trip was plentiful and tasty, we particularly liked our lunches in local villages. Despina, our guide, was professional, knowledgeable, helpful and fun and made sure we had an extremely enjoyable holiday. We would definitely recommend this holiday.
A fascinating introduction to Transylvania with a mix of serious hikes, gentle strolls and sightseeing. We had a seriously unpleasant windy/cold introductory long hike followed by perfect (but apparently unusual) weather for the rest of the week. The tour two weeks earlier had apparently experienced hot (30+) weather and crowds.
Lovely hotels, great tour guide.
A very good balance between walking and sightseeing without too much travelling by coach.
Beautiful scenery and flowers. Walking at times 2 1/2 boot not 2. Food variable -evening meals in Sighisoara poor. A restaurant rather than another hotel would have been better. Sightseeing very enjoyable and interesting.
The holiday provided a very good balance between the walking element that one normally expects from Headwater and the opportunity to view the many historic castles, fortified churches, and villages. However some of the larger attractions, e.g. Bran were a lot busier than anticipated. The meals were good, and in particular the lunches were both generous and interesting as some were provided by the welcoming local villagers in the remoter locations visited! Despina our guide went out of her way to organise additional activities, e.g. a morning visit to the monastery in Sinaia, and was generally knowledgeable and helpful throughout.
Excellent from start to finish-from initial enquiry to booking through Operations to on the actual on the ground Guiding.
Romania is a beautiful country with really nice welcoming people.
Our Guide Dispina was excellent couldn't have been better also our driver was always on time at the right place and very helpful and considerate.
Can recommend Headwater and this holiday without reservation.
Only slight issue is for any elderly,frail travellers the hotels don't have lifts ( except Belvedere) nor Portering( except Fronius) which can be a problem for rooms above ground floor.It didn't affect us as we are pretty fit but could be a problem for others.Also Hotel Belvedere is out of town and very upmarket and smaller friendlier hotel or guesthouse would be better.
This is a varied itinerary consisting of walks and sightseeing in a small area of Romania. It's described as intermediate level and there were some steep sections but the walks were not overly long - longest about 7 hours including lunch at a mountain hut. The scenery is beautiful and the villages, castles and towns visited very interesting - Romania has a complex history. The wildflower meadows were an absolute delight, identifying some species quite challenging! The hotels we stayed at were good, Fronius Residence is a beautiful building. We did have 2 rooms in other hotels with dodgy shower drains which we reported. Eating establishments were all pretty good, traditional food which was more than acceptable. All coped well with people in our party who required gluten-free food or were vegetarian. Our guide, Despina, was exceptional. I cannot praise her enough - her English was excellent and she was intelligent, informative, helpful, receptive and also fun. She could explain to us the history, politics and culture of the country. She also coped very well with any difficulties that arose, going out of her way to visit a pharmacy for treatment for a damaged foot. Her sonic dog repeller was magic - there are a lot of dogs in the rural areas!
Personally I would have liked a little more walking and a little less lunching in the day times, though the lunches in open barns in Saxon villages were charming. There was certainly one day when we walked from Cris to Malancraz for lunch when I would have liked a further walk in the afternoon to another village.
All in all a very pleasant holiday with good company - interesting people and we all made the effort to gel together as a group. I have not been on a group holiday like this before - we normally travel independently, but I found it an agreeable experience which I would repeat in the future.
A lot of walking and a lot of Sarmale (cabbage rolls) if you don't like both then maybe not for you!
Very enjoyable - mixture sight-seeing & walking. Guide was lovely and went out of her way to make sure we were safe & comfortable. Hotel Nobillis was awsome
Great combination of scenic walking, gourmet food and historical interest
This was a real 5 star holiday. The scenery and walking were fabulous and it was great to end every day at wonderful hotels in superb locations. The local rep was brilliant and her local knowledge of the area was superb. Can't fault the holiday in any way.
Great holiday taking in some stunning walks and 'bucket list' site seeing. We were lucky with our group and guide, great fun, and fortunate to have a week of sunshine. All the hotels were welcoming with good food and comfortable rooms.
Beautiful scenery of rolling hills in vast valleys with wildflower meadows, exceeded expectations. Be prepared for a lot of climbing up & down hills. Extremely cold our first day as 2000m high & still some snow lying, so warm clothing needed! First day was long descent & we have recommended to guide that might be an idea to alter this walk slightly. Renate our guide was excellent & went out of her way to help us. Hopsitality, accommodation & food was superb, especially at the Hotel Nobillis.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night guided walking holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of , and hotels
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
Services of an experienced walking guide
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
Entrance to listed sights and cable car rides
How to book:
We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.
Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 6 people (in total) are required for each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Bucharest airport to Sinaia and back to Bucharest airport from Brasov.
If you choose to book your own flights please check with us first that your chosen departure date is definitely operating as our guided holidays are subject to minimum group sizes.