Things to do in Transylvania
Visit the colourful medieval city of Sighisoara - the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler - and take the time to wander around the old town and climb the Clock Tower for panoramic views of the hilly landscapes. In the Saxon city of Brasov, visit the gothic Black Church and walk along one of the narrowest streets in Europe and put your driving skills to the test on the demanding Transfagarasan Road.
Bran Castle Tour
Dare to take a nocturnal tour (held once a year) of Bran Castle - home of Bram Stoker's Dracula - and learn about the long history of this medieval fortress. From a defence stronghold to a royal residence, this castle has seen plenty. Hike the narrow limestone ridges in the Piatra Craiului Mountains, take in the wild scenery from the summit and explore the traditional villages nestled at its base.
Monasteries Of Bucovina
Disconnect from modern life and rediscover your spirituality while visiting the monasteries of Bucovina. Marvel at these wonderful works of Byzantine art that use the most sensationally vibrant colours to depict biblical scenes. Admire the beautiful blue Voronet Monastery and the emerald-green hues of Sucevita Monastery. Enjoy the welcoming hospitality of locals, savour the delicious dishes of the mountainous region and discover native artisans and their crafts.
Riding Safaris in Transylvania
Riding in Romania? Probably not what instantly springs to mind when thinking of holidays, but may we present the - hopefully compelling - case for why you should consider it?
First, and probably most importantly of all, is the fact that Transylvania, where these riding safaris take place, is possibly the best place in Europe for riding. That's quite some call, but there are barely any roads, let alone fences or hedges in the region, and the locals take a more relaxed attitude to trespass, so you basically have the freedom of the countryside to roam.
That the countryside in question happens to consist of staggeringly beautiful mountain ranges and rolling hill country swathed in woodland, pastures and wildflower meadows tends to help, too.
The riding safaris are also an excellent way to experience the rural Transylvanian way of life, the like of which has long since disappeared in the UK. The circular six-night trips involve staying overnight in a number of charming village guesthouses far from the tourist trail, and with your bags taken on each day to the next village so you don't have to ride with them. Each night you meet the locals and find out more about their lifestyle and the region's fascinating (and complicated) culture and history.
The horses themselves include locally bred Huzuls - a famously robust Carpathian breed; Lipizzaner-Ardennes cross Semigreus; Lipizzaners, and Arabs, all ranging from 14.2 hands to 16.2 hands in height. The horses are keen and spirited, and adaptable to the occasional rough and steep going.