A week spent in the Transylvanian villages
7 authentic experiences
Traveling seems so far away from us now, as it may never have been. We miss the hustle and bustle of the days before departing, the adrenaline of spontaneously planned weekends, the chaos of the luggage made on the last minute, the emotion of discovering a new world every time, the joy, the surprise, the richness of the trip. We feel stragers in the world. We have moved away, especially physically, dreaming of the moment of living our lives without today’s worries, traveling free.
Romania, however, offered throughout this period, a world in world and a less disturbing and sad present, through all the oases, houses and experiences for travelers. The journey in our country did not stop for good, on the contrary, it continued more beautifully, in some parts it flourished, being discovered deeper and more real than ever. We can say that in these months we found Romania, differently than before or we fell in love with it, in case we didn’t know too much about what it has to offer in return. We stayed at home, but this time it meant rediscovery, appreciation, traditional travel, places and premium experiences. We have certainly become tourists, travelers in our own country.
If you have not dared to travel so far or have not experienced the emotions of travelers who have found the lands that have always been waiting for us, we recommend and urge you, from the bottom of our hearts, to do so. A tour of the country, as guests of the old Saxon houses in Transylvania and of the host villagers, fulfilled in a life with a slow pace, can bring you back the joy of the moment.
A seven-day tour of the country that offers such different emotions and images in its own interior can begin and end anywhere, but below are some special recommendations and a unique route of the old Saxon villages, which will leave you with a certain nostalgic taste and at the same time full of hope.
The journey begins in Meșendorf, about which the first written evidence of existence appeared in 1322. At Meșendorf Gasthaus you discover the perfect green courtyard: an open natural space, surrounded by Transylvanian guesthouses, the oldest dating from the 1700s. Meșendorf is rich in traditions and offers many opportunities to explore the life lived in ancient customs, under the laws and rhythms of the nature: horse-drawn carriage rides, visits at the sheepfold, truffle hunting, a wonderful fortified church.
We travel slowly, towards the beautiful fortress of Sighișoara and towards Apold village, where the Fortified Evangelical Church built in the 13th century is on the list of the historical monuments of Romania. Trappold House here is the example of the typical Transylvanian guesthouse, brought today in a modern world, with more needs. Trappold welcomes guests and travelers to a green courtyard full of flowers, wood, toys and laughter. Here you will find two parts of the property, an old one, with traditional rooms, details and specific decorations and the new one, adapted to modern tastes. We love the wooden beams in the large barn, used today as a restaurant and resting place.
In beautiful Criș, one of the ancestral places of the counts Bethlen, an old noble family, there is a different world: Bethlen Estates. The Caretaker’s House, a restored 300-years-old building, has been transformed into a house with four elegant bedrooms, original wooden beams, traditional stoves, a wonderful library, a bright living room and a unique kitchen. The Depner House is the one with the feeling of nostalgia: traditional, of Saxon heritage, beautifully restored. Mornings and afternoons on the wonderful terrace, tasting the local wines and brandy in the original cellars of the house of Count János Bethlen, among lighted torches.
On the way of discovering the richness of the Saxon villages, you reach further wonderful Mălâncrav in Sibiu County, documented from 1305, with a larger Saxon population than other villages in Transylvania. Here the Apafi Manor elegantly opens the story to other worlds, discreetly closed between the high doors and windows of the house, unfolding among the hundreds of books in the library. The mansion went through many stages and epochs, belonging in turn to the noble families Apafi, Bethlen and Haller, becoming a ruin during the communist period. In 2000 the building was recovered, saved and restored by Mihai Eminescu Trust, governed by Prince Charles, becoming a wonderful guesthouse.
The trip to the villages of Transylvania reaches Richiș, stopping at another building taken over and restored by the same foundation, Richiș 119. A beautiful house that in the past belonged to Tinnen Marz Hof, the village butcher, among the wealthiest people in the area. The same beautiful library, spacious rooms and a welcoming kitchen, where guests serve the famous dishes of the area and enjoy the here and now. The objects of the house are original and all the rooms are arranged exactly as they were in the old Saxon houses.
We stop also in beautiful Alma Vii, between Sibiu and Mediaș, a village where the imposing fortified church is restored by Mihai Eminescu Trust and the United States of America Embassy. We arrive at Alma-Via Guesthouse, a beautiful traditional house of Saxon origin. The gate that always hides another world, this time opens our eyes directly to an old barn, now a restaurant. The old beams combine surprisingly beautifully with large, modern windows, through which the light and colors of each season enters charmingly. Each of the five rooms tells a story with different details, taking us back in time to 1871.
The last day of the journey through Transylvania takes us to Veseud, in the Hârtibaciului Plateau, where the guesthouse discovered at number 11 simply brings happiness. Enter a large gate, after which you discover one of the most beautiful yards, of a raw green. The gate is actually the entrance to a space and a world you can’t imagine – Veseud 11: the houses surrounding the courtyard, typical for the beautiful old Saxon style and finally the traditional barn. Walk on the green grass, stay in the summer sun, enjoy a glass of wine or coffee on the terrace, talk by the fireplace, explore the garden full of vegetables and animals.
We leave this piece of country with our hope recovered. The hope that there is still commitment, passion and work for the authentic part of a country. People, sometimes more important than places, the precious gesture of saving houses, history and memories, fortified churches, the simple order of things, peace, time, a deeper travel.
Transylvania is or can be for passionate travelers the complete experience of what Romania can offer today in terms of traditional premium travel; the passion, the efforts, the perfection of the details, the professionalism and the whole experience that the simple Saxon villages offer.
The journey can be closer to us today, however. Maybe it’s time to discover the Romanian lands, the beauty of multiculturalism, the past with its lessons, new people, safe, valuable, authentic places and experiences. Traveling in Romania is actually returning home. And fortunately, the journey goes on.