Saxon villages & Bran country
Be a witness and understand the multicultural heritage of Transylvania, an interesting and surprising mix of different influences. Transylvania (the land beyond the forest), is a multicultural space where for centuries coexist different nations, who are speaking different languages, with different customs and traditions, which are enhancing the beauty and charm of the area. Multiculturalism has allowed preserving until today traces of various civilizations such as the Celtic (through Cistercian monks), the Armenian (through Armenian Catholic Church). The fortified churches from Transylvania represent an historical and architecture treasure that is waiting to be discovered since the time when the Saxons decided to leave Romania. These churches were built for defending the catholic peoples from the Turkish and Tartars invasion. Some of them are 700 years old. The story of these places is fascinating with moments of glory and decay. This area was one of the most prosper from Transylvania when the Saxons live here. After Ceaușescu and communism, the Saxons left Romania and now these villages are poor, but kept a special charm.
guided or self-guided
late April to late September
number of people in a group: 6-18
250km with +3500m+ elevation
35% asphalt, 50% dirt road, 15 % natural single tracks and marked trails
Do you need a bike?
Arrival, transfer from airport (preferably Sibiu, Târgu Mureș or Cluj-Napoca) to Sighișoara town. Founded by German craftsmen and merchants known as the Saxons of Transylvania, Sighişoara is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town which played an important strategic and commercial role on the fringes of central Europe for several centuries; a UNESCO World Heritage site recognized as an outstanding example of a small fortified city. Visit the city, accommodation in a hotel and dinner here.
For the next two days we’ll follow “Saxon Greenway” Transylvanian Saxon Heritage Trail which starts from the picturesque mediaeval citadel of Sighişoara. The trail passes through a number of traditional Saxon villages, renowned for their castle-like stone churches and colorful houses with lime-washed facades and tiled roofs, nestling among narrow valleys, wooded hills and rich flower meadows. Using county and local roads, as well as old carriage lanes, the Saxon Greenway is the best way to understand and enjoy – by bicycle – the landscapes of high aesthetic and conservation value of the Sighişoara – Târnava Mare area, recently included in the European Natura 2000 ecological network. Today we’ll ride to Saschiz village. Saschiz Fortified Evangelical Church is part of the UNESCO world heritage. The fortress of Saschiz is situated on the hill near the church. On a stone fortress is carved 1343. The village is attested in the years 1308-1310 and it was populated by “secui” – Hungarian ethnic group, until the late thirteenth century, when it becomes a town inhabited mainly by Germans. Accommodation in one or more local guesthouses. 55km with 500m+
Another day for discovering Saxon villages. In our way we’ll cross Viscri – a small village, with no more than 500 inhabitants, from which only about 27 are Saxons. People say that Viscri hide the most picturesque fortified church of the Saxons from Transylvania., which is also part of UNESCO World Heritage. Viscri is also known due to the great job in restoring done by the “Mihai Eminescu Trust”, the foundation lead by The Prince of Wales. The trail continue crossing small villages and here we are in “Făgăraș country”, at the foothill of this impressive mountain. Ohaba village is a “must see” because of the old water mill which is still in use. 60km with 500m+
A day spent between two important and different areas: “Făgărașului country” and “Bârsa country” .We’ll cross and visit Șinca Nouă village with the only Orthodox monastery in the Făgăraș Country who escaped undestroyed, because it was not found. When Maria Theresa started the Catholicism campaign in Transylvania and setting up border regiments made up of locals, people from Şinca refused enrollment and have not renounced to Orthodoxy. In the last part of the day we’ll ride up on a stunning hilly ridge and follow a nice single-track down through old forests to Zărnești village. Accommodation and dinner in a local guesthouse. 50km with 500 m+
Today we have the opportunity of exploring the south side of the Bran country, crossing the border between the old principalities of Walachia and Transylvania. We’ll cross Sohodol village – a unique mountain village where traditional architecture was preserved very well and where the inhabitants are still living like 50 years ago! and descend to Bran where we visit the open-air village museum and Bran Castle better known like “Dracula” Castle. For many years the castle was home to Queen Marie, Queen Victoria of England’s granddaughter. The final point of the day is Vulcan village with extremely hospitable hosts. Accommodation in a local guesthouse. 35 km with 600 m+.