|View of the Saint Anne lake||
This tour starts from Budapest, Hungary and covers the most important sights of Transylvania - Transylvania's 'First City', Cluj-Napoca, the Saxon's land and the amazing Szekler-Land.
Click on the map to get an overview of the daily program
To see pictures from the visited places, check out our Pictures page.
1st day: Budapest – Huedin – Cluj-Napoca (410 km)
After crossing the Hungarian-Romanian border, our fist stop is in Huedin, the most important town of the Kalotaszeg region. The Calvinist Church was originally built in the 12th century and extended during the 14th-15th centuries. The ceiling of the church is a wonderfully painted wooden masterpiece from the 17th century.
In the afternoon we arrive to Cluj-Napoca.
Transylvania’s ‘first city’, as Cluj has been called since the Middle Ages, hosts numerous buildings and monuments, dating back to the 14th-15th centuries: St. Michael’s church, Transylvania’s second biggest church built in gothic style, the house where Mátyás Hunyadi, famous king of Hungary was born as well as the Calvinist church, repaired, after the wars of the 17th century by masters brought from the shores of the Baltic sea.
During the evening, we can admire the panorama of Cluj from the citadel’s hill.
2nd day: Cluj-Napoca – Manastireni – Valeni – Rimetea – Cluj-Napoca (160 km)
This day is mostly dedicated to a special region of Transylvania, Kalotaszeg, famous for its rich folk art and popular craftsmanship. Our stops are Manastireni and Valeni, where we’ll pay a visit to the beautifully decorated gothic fortified churches.
In the afternoon we’ll visit Rimetea, the most important centre of iron mining during the Middle Ages. The village is located in a wonderful setting, in a valley ending in canyons on both ends. The centre of the village, with houses dating back to the 18th century, was built in a uniform, very characteristic style. Due to its location – between two high-rising rocks – the sun is ‘rising twice every day’. We’ll also pay a visit to the local museum presenting an exceptionally rich folk art collection.
In the afternoon we return to Cluj-Napoca.
3rd day: Cluj-Napoca – Corund – Zetea/Odorhei (210 km)
In the morning we leave towards Szekler-land, stopping on our way in Corund the most important centre for popular pottery production in Transylvania. We’ll pay visit to a local craftsman’s workshop where we’ll be acquainted – and will have the chance to try out - the traditional techniques of preparing and painting the different pottery products. We’ll also have the possibility to buy pottery and other folk art products from local craftsmen’s shops.
In the afternoon we’ll arrive to our next base – depending on the chosen type of accommodation, either at Zetea or Odorhei, at 8 km distance from each other.
4th day: Zetea/Odorhei – Gheorgheni – Békás Canyon – Killer Lake – Zetea/Odorhei (250 km)
After crossing the scenic Harghita Mountains, we’ll arrive to Gheorgheni, one of the most important Székely towns, where we’ll visit the Armenian Church. The Armenians settled in Transylvania during the 17th century and established several flourishing trade centers. During the centuries, they became Hungarians, only retaining the memories of their origins through their specific traditions.
After Gheorgheni, we will visit two of the Székely-land’s most astonishing natural features: the Killer Lake (Lacu Rosu), formed in 1838 when a collapsing mountain blocked a nearby creek (the top of the pines covered as a result by water are still visible today) and the narrow Békás Canyon, snaking through huge rocks – even the road was built employing several tunnels and neck breaking zigzags.
In the evening we return to Zetea/Odorhei.
5th day: Zetea/Odorhei – St. Anne Lake – Turia ‘Stinky Cave’ – Zetea/Odorhei (240 km)
Crossing again the Harghita Mountains, we turn south and stop at the scenic Saint Anne Lake and the Mohos muskeg; both formed in the 950 m high calderas of long-inactive volcanoes. The ‘Mohos’ hosts some rare species of flowers not found anywhere else.
During the afternoon, we’ll visit the ‘Stinky Cave’ of Turia. It draws its name from the sulfur gas emanations, used in treating different diseases.
We’ll return to our Zetea/Odorhei base.
6th day: Zetea/Odorhei – Sighisoara – Alba Iulia – Cluj-Napoca (260 km)
Our first stop is Sighisoara, included on the World Heritage list. The old town developed to its present form during the 12th-14th centuries; this medieval cityscape is exceptionally well preserved and amazes the visitor with its unique atmosphere.
Out of the most important sights, we will visit the Clock Tower, the cloister church (richly decorated with Turkish carpets from the 16th-17th centuries) and the fortified church in gothic style from the 14th century. The most famous – or, to be more exact, the most notorious – person born in Sighisoara is Walachia’s prince Vlad Tepes, who served as the model for Dracula’s character.
Next we stop in Alba Iulia, the former capital of Transylvania. The city was founded by the Romans under the name Apollum and was one of the most important cities of the Dacia province. The medieval city was built on top of the ruins of the old Roman city during the 10th -11th centuries, soon becoming the seat of the Bishop of Transylvania and later, during the 16th – 17th centuries, the seat of the princes of the Transylvanian state. In the 18th century, during the Habsburg dominance, the biggest fortifications of Transylvania were built, most of which is still visible today. Inside the medieval citadel, we will visit several significant monuments: the cathedral built during the 11th-13th centuries and the 20th century Orthodox Church.
In the evening we arrive to our last stop, Cluj-Napoca.
7th day: Cluj-Napoca – Budapest (410 km)
We’ll arrive to Budapest in the early afternoon.