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The most beautiful part of us in contact with the world, traveling, seeing things in a different way as we did before, meeting people and living all kinds of experiences – is getting inspired. But it is indeed that inspiration filled with beauty, gratitude, understanding, warmth and hope; hope that we all need in order to change and grow. As beautiful things and experiences come often from the most unexpected places, we had the chance to live an AHA moment which means a point in time, event, or experience when one has a sudden insight or realisation. Arriving to Bethlen Estates, listening to the story behind, meeting the owner, understanding their hopes, dreams, beliefs, trials and efforts, gave us hope; realising, ones again, that we have the people, places, the history and power to make everything around us beautiful, eventually. Bethlen Estates were a dream. But that kind of dream that hides ruin, loss, past and sacrifice behind its sparkle, warmth and beauty.

Bethlen Estates

The story of Bethlen Estates, the beautiful properties found in the Transylvanian Criș, goes back in time. Since the Middle Ages the Bethlen counts played an important part in Transylvanian history as politicians, diplomats or scientists, building fortified castles, churches and schools. They were forced to leave Transylvania after The World War II, but the family has remained attached in time to the ancestral lands.

As an already known story, the inheritors and actual members of the old family managed to recover today some of the properties and lands and started to build, create and dream. We found in Criș nowadays a different world: The Caretaker’s House, a 300 years old restored building, transformed into a luxurious pastel house, with four bedrooms, amazing details and furniture, original wooden beams, traditional stoves, hand-made beds, an elegant library, a luminous dinning room, an unique kitchen and the most beautiful and classic terrace outside. Then The Depner House, the one having the sense of nostalgia: a traditional Saxon heritage house, beautifully restored.

Bethlen Estates

What to do

We lived here some of our most beautiful days since traveling in our own country, as we had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Gladys Bethlen, an amazing lady caring along with her son, Nikolaus Bethlen, the story and the name of their undying family. The inspirational woman is dreaming and imagining new places, lands and hopes to be restored in the future.

So we visited all the beautiful properties around, lands on which they are building, creating and restoring. Then we spent our mornings and afternoons on the amazing terrace, a classic comfortable open space, with a long wooden table, nice chairs and a soft wind being the only noise in the village. You can also have wine tasting in the old original cellars of Count János Bethlen’s Manor House, with local wines and homemade brandies made of pears and apples collected from their orchards. We found here the torch-lit cellars as magical. And in the village you need to have a picnic in a beautiful meadow, by horse cart or bird watching, under the guidance of an ornithologist.

Where to go

In need of letting the silent place behind for an adventure day, there are horseback riding over hills and old villages, cycling tours​ in the surrounding forests (for example in Breite, a protected oak forest with centuries-old trees and unique species of birds and butterflies), hiking, slow-paced carriage rides. We also recommend visiting Biertan village, close to the estates, a beautiful medieval Saxon village with an amazing fortified church.

What to eat

Food at Bethlen Estates aligns to the standards of the whole experience. We had delicious and fine dishes, an amazing soup as appetizer, a light salad and nice dishes for both meat lovers and vegetarians; in the end with a nice homemade tart that completed the culinary experience. The menu is fixed but they will reach all standards and needs.

Our story here was one of our favorites. We had been profoundly impressed and moved by their will and power to hope and to create, as hope and dreams are nothing without reality. The Bethlen family is changing right in this moment the premium traditional travel in Romania, from all points of view: style, attitude, investment, services, quality, class. More than this, they are changing our hopes and beliefs. If they are so willing to transform some parts of lands and stories, we are able and have the duty to pay it forward. Bethlen Estates were for us the ultimate Romanian travel experience. Not only for reaching the international standards in travel, but more because of their effort, involvement, passion and beauty. We just need to restore, not to build it from the ground: life, places and hopes.

Bethlen Estates
Bethlen Estates
Bethlen Estates
Bethlen Estates

What SHE Likes

  • the beautiful family members
  • the decoration and details of the house
  • the open elegant terrace

What HE Likes

  • the design of the fireplaces
  • the sign of the Bethlen family
  • the process of restoring the properties in Criș


  • The most significant figure of the Bethlen family was Bethlen Gábor, Prince of Transylvania and Count Bethlen István, Prime Minister of Hungary between the two World Wars;
  • Bethlen family was forced to leave Transylvania after The World War II, but the grandson of Count Bethlen Bálint, Count Bethlen Miklós, has remained attached to the family’s ancestral lands;
  • Criș village, one of the ancestral seats of the counts Bethlen, has important heritage sites; The old Castle, first documented in 1305, is one of the most famous Renaissance buildings in Transylvania;
  • Over centuries, Saxons represented most of the population in the village, until the end of The Second World War; In 1941, the village had 1459 inhabitants and more than 50% declared themselves as Germans;
  • After the revolution of 1989 most of them left to Germany and the village lost a significant part of the population, as did most German towns and villages in Transylvania.


Bethlen Estates, Criș Village 176, Mureș County

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