So you’ve decided to come to Transylvania! You have decided on the best time to visit Transylvania. All that remains is working out how you are getting to Transylvania!
Of course, how you arrive will be dependent on where you are coming from, but if you find yourself slightly unsure, then keep on reading as I’ll run through some of your best options.
The first thing to do is consider where you will be departing from. Will you already be in Europe? If you’re coming from within Europe, getting to Transylvania by train or plane is most likely your best option.
Coming from anywhere outside of Europe, definitely take a plane – unless, of course, you get a great flight deal to Budapest, in which case it may be an appealing option to take a train instead. I took the train from Budapest to Sibiu, which took about 11 hours but was doable!
1. Catch a flight
Can you fly to Transylvania? Yes! What airport do you fly into for Transylvania? You’ve got plenty of options depending on where in Transylvania you are going!
There are a number of major airports located within the boundaries of Transylvania. These include Cluj-Napoca (CLJ), Sibiu (SBZ), Transilvania International (TGM), Brasov (BRV), Timișoara (TSR), Satu Mare (SUJ), Oradea (OMR), and Arad (ARW). As you can tell by this list, Transylvania covers a lot of area!
The most popular and best-connected of these are Cluj, Timișoara, and Sibiu.
Which airport you decide to fly into should be determined by your itinerary. Trains within Romania are not fast, and it’s probably worth a little extra money to fly closer to your destination.
If you must, you can fly into Bucharest (OTP) and take a train into Transylvania from Romania’s capital city.
2. Hop on board a train
If you don’t mind longer rides, a train is a great option to arrive in Transylvania. All of the major Transylvanian cities have train stations that are reasonably connected. Be forewarned, however, that the trains operating in Romania run much slower to their Western European counterparts.
Trains are best suited for those coming to Transylvania from within Europe. Or, as I mentioned earlier, if you are coming from outside Europe and find a great flight deal to Budapest, the train ride from Budapest to Sibiu or elsewhere in Transylvania is completely doable!
This option applies if you are already within Europe with your own vehicle or if you are coming from elsewhere in Romania with a rental car. It is difficult and expensive to rent a car in Europe that you can cross international borders with.
It is also a fantastic option if you wanted the freedom to explore some of the incredible Transylvanian Castles in your own time.
Google Maps is my favorite GPS navigation system to use while driving around Europe. Be sure you have data on your phone, the signal gets lost in the Transylvanian mountains at times! Keep a map in your glovebox just in case!
Be sure you have your IDP (International Drivers Permit) with you – this is a requirement to rent a car in Romania and through most of Europe.
Driving in Romania can be tricky due to the lack of infrastructure and highways in the country. The lack of roads causes a lot of traffic, stress, and road rage – Romania had the highest driving fatality rate in Europe in 2020.
4. Catch a bus
This is probably the least attractive option, but it is an option! Use Flixbus for traveling to Transylvania from other European nations that might not have well-developed rail systems. If you’re coming from some non-EU countries in the Balkans, this might be your best bet.
One thing worth noting is that, if you are traveling with a pet, animals are not allowed on buses. This includes Flixbus as well as most regional buses. While the bus prices might have more attractive prices, they are not the pet-friendly option to take.
Final Thoughts – Getting to Transylvania
No matter how you opt to get to Transylvania, you will be astounded at how many things there are to do here – whether Sibiu, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, or Timisoara – Transylvania will keep you on your toes!