Travel: Fly-drive to Transylvania and beyond

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Note- Although homosexuality is legal in Romania, public displays of gay relationships are frowned upon and in some instances can be illegal. Homosexuality is however tolerated in areas popular with Western tourists.

When you think of fly-drive holidays, the US probably springs to mind. A fly-drive holiday to Romania, including the region of Transylvania, offers something a little different and in many ways more magical than anything Mickey Mouse can offer.

Romania is largely undiscovered territory for British tourists, but this ancient country is steeped in tradition, lore and cultural heritage just waiting to be explored.

UK tour operator Sunvil Discovery has launched its new web-based fly-drive programme to Romania making self-driven discovery easier than ever.

Noel Josephides, Sunvil Discovery’s managing director, says, “Romania is refreshingly different, welcoming and picturesque. It is quintessential fly-drive territory and a land that time forgot – untouched Saxon villages nestled in lush valleys, horse-drawn carts, fortified medieval towns, wooden churches and historical palaces.”

Sunvil offers a choice of tailor-made single and multi-centre itineraries. Using a single centre, you can choose a holiday in one of the country’s two most beautiful regions, Transylvania and Moldavia, staying in carefully selected character accommodation.

The most enigmatic region in Romania is Transylvania, land of eerie castles, werewolves and vampire lore. In between chasing vampire tales, you can experience some of Romania’s best hiking country in the spectacular Carpathian Mountains, which has the highest concentration of wild bears and wolves in Europe, if not actually vampires and werewolves.

Transylvania is culturally rich and boasts the charming medieval towns of Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu, each with picturesque squares, twisting, cobbled streets and thriving music and café scenes.

Sibiu has been nominated European Capital of Culture for 2007. Seven nights accommodation with breakfast at the Hotel Imparatul Romanitor in Sibiu costs from £727 per person, based on two sharing, including car hire and return flights from Heathrow. A three-hour bear-tracking excursion from Brasov costs £149 per person.

Steeped in mystical folklore, Moldavia has many peaceful villages and lush green valleys. It is most famous for its medieval monasteries, which are colourfully painted inside and out. Prices for a seven-night itinerary in the region start at £770 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Heathrow, transfers and seven nights accommodation with breakfast and car hire.

A sample multi-centre fly-drive holiday to Romania includes Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara and Bucharest for £892 per person, based on two sharing. This includes seven nights accommodation with breakfast, return flights from Heathrow, transfers, car hire, a visit to the Sinaia Royal Summer Palace in Bucharest and a guided bear-tracking trip.

Sunvil also can arrange “green tourism” visits and home-stays for those who are interested, including in the Saxon village where Prince Charles has bought a house