Romania has an extremely beautiful rural life, and the charm of these 3 must-see villages in Transylvania is the only proof you need.
Rustic landscapes, fortified churches, dusty streets crossed by noisy geese and sheep sent to graze, roosters singing in the early hours of the morning, pastel-colored houses, decorated with shutters and red geraniums on windows should put the villages of Transylvania on the list of any traveler who loves tradition and nature.
It’s a part of Romania old enough to remind you of the simple and beautiful life of old times but newly discovered by many so that you can still enjoy it in peace.
The villages built by the Saxons who came to Transylvania centuries ago keep their structure and surface unchanged. Each settlement of this kind has a fortified church in the center, surrounded by towers and bastions, but also houses with high walls and gates.
The well-preserved style has put 7 of these villages on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Biertan, Saschiz, Câlnic, Viscri, Prejmer, Valea Viilor, and Dârjiu. In this article, I will tell you about 2 of them and another one proposed to be included on the same list.
3 must-see villages in Transylvania, Romania
The first on the list of the most beautiful villages in Transylvania si Biertan. However, my article doesn’t necessarily have a ranking.
The village is attested since 1283 and, as I specified in the introduction, it’s included in the UNESCO World Heritage.
Biertan is one of the first Saxon settlements in Transylvania and is a medieval complex, consisting of an imposing church and a belt of fortifications.
The church, built in late Gothic style, between 1490 and 1520, stands perched on the hill in the middle of the village, which makes it look even taller and resemble a Disney cartoon castle.
The ensemble will conquer you through the harmony of the elements that make it up. The defense corridor, the clock, the bells, the towers, and the bastions built in the 14th century are worth visiting and admiring in detail.
The interior of the church is incredibly beautiful, and the one that totally fascinated me was the ceiling that made me think of the great Gothic cathedrals in Europe.
The divorce room
By far the most controversial room of the complex is the divorce chamber, a kind of matrimonial prison. This room had a very precise purpose, and it seems the results turned out to be as expected.
Spouses on the verge of divorce had to spend here at least a few weeks together. Not in very good conditions, especially for two people who, apparently, could not get along.
The two had to share one room, one bed, one chair, and one set of cutlery. It is not known what was happening behind closed doors, but it seems only one divorce during 300 years had finality.
Things to do in Biertan:
- visit the Fortified Church; the ticket costs 10 lei/person
- walk the streets of the village
- discover the divorce chamber
- climb the hill in the village for the best panoramic view
- dine at Ungleros Restaurant
Where to stay in Biertan:
Viscri had a lightning ascent on the ladder of fame among the villages when Prince Charles decided to buy a house here after he fell in love with the beauty of the place.
In other words, Viscri is a village in Bunesti commune, Brasov county. Like Biertan, Viscri is located very close to Sighisoara. Therefore, I think it’s a very good idea to visit them both when you arrive in this part of Romania.
Like the rest of the Saxon villages inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage, in Viscri we can visit a beautiful fortified church, dating from the thirteenth century.
The church is located right in the center of the village. It’s surrounded by defensive walls, two towers, two bastions, and a museum with traditional objects, and the ticket costs 10 lei.
The interior of the church, although very old, is still quite well preserved, and the details are fabulous. I loved the golden chandelier with blue accents!
The views from the top
Once here, you can’t miss the tower of the church. You will reach the top after a difficult climb on the interior stairs, built of some wooden steps, quite unstable and steep.
From up there, you will have a complete panorama of the village, with its colorful houses and extensive meadows, crossed by sheep flocks. Therefore, the effort to climb is well worth it!
Every day, the dusty streets of Viscri are stormed by all sorts of animals, escaped from households: ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys. But we can also see goats, cows, or sheep.
It is the image you want to see when you think of the charm of rural Transylvania. The painting would not be complete without the houses lined up along the road. They are painted in blue, yellow, pink, and decorated with contrasting wooden shutters.
Things to do in Viscri:
- you must visit the church and the museum
- take a bike ride around the village
- take traditional food cooking or pottery class
- buy jams and honey, prepared by the locals
- buy some wool socks; is one of the main activities in the area
- have lunch at the Restaurant in Sura
Where to stay in Viscri:
Attested in 1257, surrounded by spectacular mountains and crossed by a river with the same name, the village of Rimetea is, without a doubt, one of the must-see villages in Transylvania and, implicitly, in Romania.
It is the only village in Romania awarded with the Europa Nostra of the European Commission for the conservation of the material cultural heritage. This is because a large number of houses in the village have been restored. However, they still keep their original style, the white exterior walls, and the green window shutters. The restoration was made possible by the Transylvania Trust Foundation.
Unlike the first two villages already mentioned, which are located closer to the center of the country, near Brasov, Rimetea is close to Alba county. About 200 traditional secular buildings complete the streets of the village, in a superb contrast with the mountain ridges in the background.
The spectacular mountain
Known as Piatra Secuiului, the rocky wall of 1129 meters altitude makes the landscape here easily compete with those in Switzerland. Although you can see the pictures, the beauty of the place can not really be understood unless you go there and see for yourself the greatness of the mountain.
There are over 15 small caves in the area that can be explored on a mountain hike; you can practice paragliding, climbing, or simply walking through the wonderful nature.
As if beauty weren’t enough, Rimetea ticks off some really special and interesting statistics:
- In the past, it was one of the main iron processing centers in Transylvania
- the oldest house in the village is a miner ‘s house, built in 1668 and renovated after 2004
- in Rimetea you will find the oldest functional water mill in the Apuseni Mountains, 300 m from the village center
- here there are some family tombs dug in the rock, unique in Romania
Things to do in Rimetea:
- I have already mentioned paragliding and hiking in nature, but I feel the need to insist on this
- visit the Ethnographic Museum
- climb to Coltesti Fortress
- walk the streets of the village
- buy souvenirs from craft stores
Where to stay in Rimetea:
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