The Bewitching Time Warp of Transylvania, Romania

Planning a Trip to Transylvania

Getting There
The small airport in Târgu Mureș is Transylvania’s most central but is closed for renovation until July. For travelers from the U.S., it’s often more convenient to fly into Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest, where there’s a better selection of international flights, connecting through cities such as London, Madrid, and Rome. From either Cluj-Napoca or Bucharest, the drive to the villages can take at least three hours.

Getting Around
A rental car is essential for exploring the villages and countryside. The Mihai Eminescu Trust’s guesthouses are scattered throughout the Saxon part of Transylvania, south of Sighișoara, while Count Kálnoky’s two properties are in Székely Land, just to the east. It’s possible—make that preferable—to visit both regions, since they’re less than two hours apart. The gorgeous medieval cities of Brașov and Sighișoara are worthy stops en route.

Where to Stay and Eat
Each of MET’s guesthouses (book at has a caretaker-cook who can prepare hearty meals right in your kitchen—a major plus, since most villages have no restaurants. At Count Kálnoky’s properties (, rates are all-inclusive; even if you’re not usually a fan of communal meals—with goulash!—you’ll probably be won over by the group dinners at Miklósvár (in a wine cellar built from river stones) and Zalánpatak (outdoors in summertime).

What to Do
When you book your lodgings, you’ll receive info on the key sights and activities in your particular area. Among the musts are the fortified churches at Mălâncrav, Alma Vii, and Viscri; you can also arrange visits with local blacksmiths, weavers, and charcoalmakers. Whatever you do, set aside a few hours each day for some aimless driving or walking, so you can chat with a farmer about his haystack technique or watch two bearded herdsmen milk hundreds of uncooperative goats. Since peak season for tourism is midsummer, the ideal time to visit is June or September, when you might have an entire village to yourself. C.B.

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