The mysterious and magical Transylvania has been attracting curious travelers from across the globe year in, year out. Among the many intriguing questions about this Romanian region, there is one more practical question to be answered: what is the best time to visit Transylvania?
Before you embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of deep Transylvanian forests and centuries-old castles, let’s see what practicalities and information you have to keep in mind.
Weather in Transylvania
Transylvania is a central region of Romania, safely tucked between the slopes and peaks of the majestic Carpathian Mountains. Although the Romanian climate is temperate and mild, Transylvania tends to be cooler than the rest of the country, even in summer. The high altitude and fog-swept plateaux sheltered by tall mountain peaks stay pleasantly crisp and invigorating year-round. Take a look at the chart and see what average temperatures you can expect for every month.
There are four distinct seasons throughout the country and here’s what they bring to Transylvania.
Visiting Transylvania in Spring
Spring months in Transylvania: March through May
Average spring temperatures: highs at 69.4°F and lows at 43.4°F
Average temperatures in March: 50°F
Average temperatures in April: 61°F
Average temperatures in May: 70°F
Transylvanian springs start off with low temperatures, particularly in the mountainous regions and you can also expect precipitation. On the other hand, it’s a great month to witness everything waking up from the winter slumber – meadows and pastures, forests and humming rivers, farmers getting back on their fields. Without a doubt, April and May are the best time to visit Transylvania. These two months have incredibly pleasant temperatures, offering a perfect setting for exploration.
If you want to visit Transylvania in spring, here’s what you can do:
- Explore the cities of Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu. Cluj-Napoca is the region’s capital, education and entertainment epicenter, and incredibly rich in cultural heritage. Sibiu is just as captivating and on top of that, it’s one of the cheapest cities in Romania.
- Visit the castles wrapped in the misty veil of mystery in the early morning. Romanian castles are a sight to behold regardless of the season but early spring gives a special touch to the atmosphere.
- Explore the town of Sighisoara – the birthplace of Count Dracula (Vlad Tepes) and home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Read more: How to Hostel Like a Pro
Visiting Transylvania in Summer
Summer months in Transylvania: June through August
Average summer temperatures: highs at 86°F and lows at 60°F
Average temperatures in June: 75°F
Average temperatures in July: 79°F
Average temperatures in August: 79°F
Summer is the hottest season in Romania although it’s usually a few degrees cooler in Transylvania. Short downpours and thunderstorms are also quite common, especially in the mountains of the region but most of the time, it stays perfectly sunny. Summer in the cities can be quite stifling so it’s best to stay away from urban areas and hit the countryside. Early summer is an ideal time to explore the rural areas of Transylvania away from the heat.
If you want to visit Transylvania in summer, here’s what you can do:
- Hike Piatra Craiului National Park and escape the scorching heat of the cities.
Watch wild bears in their natural habitat. They are at their most active in summer but don’t forget to book a tour with experienced guides (Medveles, Absolute Carpathian, and Romanian Friend).
- Explore the rustic landscapes of small towns such as Micloşoara, Biertan, or Mălâncrav. Time seems to be standing still in these places steeped in history and you can also find accommodation in the guesthouses scattered around the area.
Visiting Transylvania in Fall
Fall months in Transylvania: September through November
Average fall temperatures: highs at 75°F and lows at 47°F
Average temperatures in September: 70°F
Average temperatures in October: 59°F
Average temperatures in November: 45°F
Although the sun gets shyer by mid-September, nature bestows Transylvania with an incredible palette of autumn colors that persist until late October, sometimes until November. Generally, the crowds start wearing out by October which means you’ll find lower rates and more opportunities to take one thing at a time. This authentic atmosphere offers a perfect mixture of natural splendors and quietude so, if this is what you’re into, fall could be just the right time to visit Transylvania.
If you want to visit Transylvania in fall, here’s what you can do:
- Can you think of a better place to celebrate Halloween than at the very birthplace of Dracula? Embark on a Halloween-themed tour and hunt vampires down.
- Drive down the iconic Transfăgărășan Road – one of the most picturesque roads in Europe.
- Celebrate the harvest season at some of the best festivals around and share the merry spirit with the locals.
- Climb the 7 Ladder Canyon and immerse yourself deep into Romanian nature.
Yet again, don’t miss the castles. Autumn foliage is an added bonus to the atmosphere.
VisitingTransylvania in Winter
Winter months in Transylvania: December through February
Average winter temperatures: highs at 35°F and lows at 20°F
Average temperatures in December: 36°F
Average temperatures in January: 32°F
Average temperatures in February: 37°F
Of course, winter is the coldest season in Transylvania and the whole of Romania. When we say cold, we really mean it. It gets particularly chilly in the mountain areas and the chances of snow increase month by month. The fog dominates the Transylvanian landscapes this time of year, too. In fact, you will be likely to have a snowy Christmas here. Transylvania is also abundant in ski resorts so you can make the most of the white coverage if you stay at some of them.
Read more: Top Winter Destinations with Snow
If you want to visit Transylvania in winter, here’s what you can do:
- Romania is the Iceland of Eastern Europe so why not relax in some of the best thermal springs around? Băile Felix (Felix Baths) and Calimanesti are the best in the region and they have curative properties apart from being extremely enjoyable.
- Stay at Balea Ice Hotel – the ice hotel that is rebuilt from scratch every winter.
- Warm up with traditional Romanian liquors – hornica and palinka.
High Season versus Low Season in Transylvania
Quite expectedly, warmer weather means more tourists around. In Transylvania, summers see the biggest tourist influx. At the break of June all the way to late September, you can expect to see the tourists flocking from all sides. Of course, more tourists means higher rates. Additionally, a lot of locals are also on vacation during the summer months so they add even more to the number. If your idea is to stay on a budget, you should definitely visit Transylvania in the low season.
Assuming you don’t want to bust your budget, make sure to make bookings well in advance. Depending on the place and time of your stay, the rates of accommodation will vary. Here are the accommodation rates you can expect in the biggest and the most popular cities in Transylvania.
In low season: hostels start at $13 a night, mid-range hotels start at $35 a night, luxury hotels start at $55 a night.
In high season: a private room in a hostel starts at $17, mid-range hotels start at $60, luxury hotels start at $90.
Best reviewed hotels: Hotel Platinia, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cluj – City Plaza, Golden Tulip Ana Dome, Lol et Lola Hotel.
Best reviewed hostels: The Spot Cosy Hostel, Zen Hostel by Pura Vida, Retro Youth Hostel.
In low season: hostels start at $20, mid-range hotels start at $36, luxury hotels start at $80.
In high season: hostels start at $22, mid-range hotels start at $49, luxury hotels start at $90.
In low season: hostels start at $19, mid-range hotels start at $26, luxury hotels start at $80.
In high season: hostels start at $19, mid-range hotels start at $40, luxury hotels start at $70.
In low season: hostels start at 32$, mid-range hotels start at $26, luxury hotels start at $39.
In high season: hostels start at 32$, mid-range hotels start at $35, luxury hotels start at $55.
All things considered, it’s seems like summer and spring are the best time to visit Transylvania. Even though the rates are somewhat higher, everything is still decently priced and affordable.