Transylvania ranks first in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions worth visiting next year. Mountain thrills and edgy art in Vlad’s former home, this is how Lonely Planet travel guide invites tourists to come to Transylvania.
“Put the crucifix away and discard that bulb of garlic – you won’t be needing them in today’s Transylvania, which blows away stereotypes faster than the flapping wings of a bat out of hell.
Drive a stake into the heart of those Transylvanian stereotypes. Yes, this region of Romania has all the moody castles and fog-draped mountains you can wave a crucifix at. But visit Transylvania today and you’re just as likely to sashay through a wickedly inventive art gallery, spy on bears, or ski the Carpathian Mountains.
Yes, horses and carts still rumble through the wooded countryside, but they’ll soon share the roads with Uber cabs ferrying visitors to chic Airbnb lodgings. Look past the ‘Count Drakula’ T-shirts and you’ll notice an ever-increasing number of art galleries, good value ski resorts and epic nature tours,” reads the quick description of the famous Romanian region.
The travel guide mentions the wildlife of the Transylvanian mountains, the 6,000-strong bear population and the Libearty sanctuary, the bison repopulation initiatives in the Carpathians, but also cities like Cluj-Napoca “dubbed an art city of the future by Phaidon”, Brasov, “which attracts as many nightlife lovers as vampire hunters” or the delightfully colourful Sighisoara.
“Best of all, in Transylvania there’s no need to hole up in a remote ski resort. Poiana Bra?ov is only half an hour from Bra?ov city, and P?ltini?, one of Romania’s highest resorts at 1440m, is less than an hour from Sibiu. Cutting-edge art and a taste for the piste haven’t eclipsed the rural Romania of your imagination. Fortified churches sprout across Transylvania, with some of the best in Biertan and Viscri. When a breeze rattles the pastel-coloured wooden shutters and scarlet-clad Roma villagers march through the fields, this region casts a powerful spell,” also reads the review.
Sibiu’s ‘Liars’ Bridge’ is also mentioned, as well as Targu Mures’ Culture Palace, “one of the region’s most bewilderingly beautiful sights”.
At the regional flavours chapter, Lonely Planet enumerates sarmale (cabbage leaf roll of seasoned meat), mamaliga (cornmeal porridge), Hungarian ethnics’ goulash, papanasi (curd-stuffed donuts) and the famous tuica (the local firewater).