When I was given the opportunity to visit Transylvania by Covasna County, I was full of excitement but also extremely nervous. I didn’t know anything about that part of the world outside of what I had read in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and that’s not exactly a history book!
While on my flight from Copenhagen to Bucharest (thanks for the awesome flight Blue Air), I spent time reading and rereading our itinerary which was aptly titled “The Land of Mansions”. The design and history enthusiast inside of me was jumping for joy.
While driving from Bucharest to Transylvania, I was intrigued at the drastic change from industrial, large city to vast fields and windy mountain roads. As we got closer to where we’d be staying, the gorgeous Daniel Castle (yes you read that right! Daniel Castle), it felt like a blast from the past. People were on horses pulling carts full of produce behind them. There were dogs roaming the dirt roads freely. People waved as we rode past. Everyone on the road seemed at peace and content.
Transylvania ended up being one of the best trips I’ve ever taken in my life. It’s full of history and beauty.
1. Transylvania is HUGE.
Before arriving in Transylvania, I had made the assumption that it was a moderately small town. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Transylvania is MASSIVE. The Romanian region is home to over 6 million people! Since Transylvania is so big, it offers an array of different landscapes and climates.
Drive an hour in one direction and you could end up in a small village. Drive one or two hours in another direction and you could end up in Cluj Napoca, the 4th largest city in Romania.
2. Locals in Transylvania are Incredibly Welcoming.
As an African-American woman, I can be a little nervous traveling to various places around the world where dark skin is very uncommon. I find myself wondering if I’ll be treated different because of my ethnicity. I was pleasantly surprised in Transylvania to see that everyone I met was so warm and welcoming!
No one made me feel uncomfortable or asked me awkward inappropriate questions (which can sometimes be the case depending on where I’m traveling). People were incredibly courteous and curious about what I thought of their homeland. It definitely makes my list of one of the best places to TWB (Travel While Black)!
3. Tradition is a way of life in Transylvania.
What amazed me about Transylvania was that there were so many villages full of people who’ve been carrying on their family’s traditions for years. We met with a blacksmith whose family has been creating pieces for their village since the 17th century! He showed us his great-grandfather’s workshop which was full of items from that era. It was amazing seeing him hammer and shape piping hot metal as if it were the easiest thing in the world. We met with a carpenter who comes from a long line of carpenters. His work was beautiful and he was proud and honored to carry on the family name.
4. It’s a Spa Mecca.
If you’re into spa treatments or using nature to cure what ails you, Transylvania should be on your list. After staying in Daniel Castle, we spent two nights at the Balvanyos Resort. Located near the volcanic lake of St. Anne, Balvanyos is high in the mountains and surrounded by forest.
The resort has the most incredible spa services, but is also surrounded by springs and natural pools. Guests can bathe in springs that help blood circulation or visit the sulphurous cave that’s said to have curing factors for heart disease and other ailments.
I personally can’t wait to visit Transylvania again! To learn more about the castles and mansions I saw, read my article on The Travel Channel! Have you been to Transylvania before? If so, what did you love about it?