Best places for photography in Transylvania

Romania is one of those off the beaten path destinations. Those who do visit Romania often focus their attention on Transylvania, and for good reason!

Transylvania is a region in Romania that may invoke images of vampires, werewolves, and creepy woods, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re there. Instead you will see colorful houses, medieval cities, extravagant castles, and yes, a little bit of vampire kitsch. It’s a mysterious land just waiting to be discovered… and photographed!

For the best photography opportunities, I recommend renting a car, braving unfamiliar roads, and seeing Transylvania for yourself.  Transylvania is best experienced at your own pace, because you might love it more than you expect! I have created a list of the best places for photography in Transylvania to better arm you for such an independent photographer’s experience…

Best places for photography in Transylvania

Sibiu

Sibiu turned out to be one of my favorite places in Romania and I originally had no plans to go there. That would have been a true shame! The unique and diverse architecture alone makes this city well worth a visit.

Best Romania photo spotsBest places for photography in Transylvania

While wandering the twisting streets of Sibiu is great fun, the beautiful city can be best appreciated from up high. After a surprising amount of research considering how accessible these places are, I discovered two viewpoints right in the old town. Both Sibiu viewpoints offer views from north, south, east, and west facing windows. The Council Tower and the tower at the Lutheran Church both offer opportunities to capture the pretty red roofed buildings below and the snow covered mountains in the distance. Both also require a bit of climbing, so be ready for a lot of stairs!

Best viewpoint in Sibiu

This is the view from the Council Tower in Sibiu. The closest tower you see there is actually the other high viewpoint in Sibiu, from the Lutheran Church.

Best Transylvania viewpoint

The pretty red roofs seen from another window in the Council Tower.

Best Romania photo spots

This is the climb to the tower, though it doesn’t look as high as it actually is! By the way, I never said the inside of old Transylvanian buildings weren’t creepy.

Best viewpoint in Sibiu

One of the windows in the Lutheran Church tower with a little visitor.

Best viewpoints in Sibiu

One of the views from the Lutheran Church tower.

Salina Turda

A visit to Salina Turda might be one of the strangest and most unique experiences you will ever have! This old salt mine also provides some great photography opportunities. Be sure to rent a little row boat at the bottom to get especially unique perspectives. You’ll need a fast camera with high ISO capabilities to shoot there because it’s so dark. You can bring a tripod too, but beware that there are a lot of people to work around.


Best places in Romania for photosSalina Turda salt mines Transylvania

You’ll definitely want to go up to the other levels and shoot the lake from above. It looks like a tiny underground amusement park from up there… well, I guess it sort of is. I mean you can ride boats at the bottom, but you’ll also find a ferris wheel, a bowling alley, and ping pong tables. Random, but awesome! Again, I think a fast camera might be more useful than a tripod here because it can be challenging to find a good place to set up a tripod.

Salina Turda salt mines Romania

Salina Turda salt mines Romania

Sighisoara

By the time I got to Sighisoara, I realized that my time left in Romania was running short. This means that I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked to there and I missed some of the better light of the day. Even so, exploring the old town was a lot of fun and offered plenty of photography subjects. The most famous features of Sighisoara are it’s colorful buildings and ancient citadel. These are all in the old town and can easily be explored in a day. If you’re into old cemeteries, there is a pretty cool one at the top of the hill. You just have to climb the stairs inside the long dark tunnel. Almost as creepy as the steps up to the Lutheran Church tower in Sibiu! If you’re into old gnarly trees, you might consider a brief visit to the Breite Ancient Oak Tree Reserve just outside of town.

Sighisoara - best places in Transylvania for photosSighisoara - best places in Transylvania for photos

Sighsoara - best places in Transylvania for photography

Sighisoara - best photo spots in RomaniaSighisoara - best places in Romania for photos

Sighisoara - best photo spots in Romania

Sighisoara - best places in Transylvania for photosSighisoara - best places for photos in Transylvania

Best places for photos in Transylvania

Brasov

Alas, I didn’t see much of Brasov under clear skies. It was in fact raining pretty hard for most of my time there. However, I still believe that some of the best shots of Brasov are from viewpoints surrounding the city. Driving there via Poiana Brasov through the mountains, I encountered several viewpoints that overlooked the city. The weather made the light flat and ugly, but at least it wasn’t raining at that point. It’s not an amazing shot, but I want you to see what the view is like from up there. The next shot is from the mountains, before I ever got to the city viewpoints. Much prettier under those conditions!

Brasov best viewpoints

Poiana Brasov best photo spots in Transylvania

There are other viewpoints of Brasov that I didn’t make it to. You can hike or take the cable car (if it’s running) up Mount Tampa which towers over Brasov. I would have liked to do this, but there was no point with the heavy rain and fog. There are also the Black Tower and White Tower, both of which are in fact white and offer views of the old town.

Bran Castle

Just a short drive from Brasov and a must for anyone visiting Transylvania, is Bran Castle, also known as “Dracula’s Castle”. A common view of the exterior can be seen from the road or the grounds, like in this photo.

Bran Castle or Dracula

I thought black and white was an appropriate choice for “Dracula’s Castle” on this dreary day.

When I tried seeking an alternative view of the castle from one of the neighboring hills, my plans were again foiled by the rain. However, the castle’s interior offers some interesting viewpoints particularly around the courtyard area. The castle decor is only okay in my opinion and not particularly amazing for photos. However if we’re talking about intrigue, there was enough to keep any history geek occupied for hours. Not to mention all the historical curiosities… like the torture chair and convict weighing scale! Yikes!

Bran Castle - best Transylvania photo spots

Convict weighing scale

Apparently if you are lighter in weight than you appear, this means you are associated with Satan and therefore guilty.

Peles Castle


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Also close to Bran and Brasov, Peles Castle boasts a much more lavish exterior and interior. A pause in the rain allowed me a brief capture of the outside. If you visit, be aware that there may be a very large advertisement draped across the front of the castle. Creative framing could hide it though!

Peles Castle - best places in Transylvania for photography

To my surprise, the interior of Peles Castle was the most impressive part. You do have to pay to bring a camera in, but it’s worth the cost. You can also pay to see just one level or both, but I was feeling broke and skipped the other level. After a while I get a bit overstimulated with grand rooms, elaborate furniture, and sparkling decor, so that was enough for me. It really is a fantastic castle though and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Peles Castle - best places in Transylvania for photographyPeles Castle - best places in Transylvania for photographyTransylvania

Transfagarasan Highway

The Transfagarasan Highway is a road probably best known for it’s appearance on Top Gear. It’s super windy and somewhat dangerous, but also gorgeous. There are some neat photos that I’ve seen capturing the road’s turns from above. There is also a pristine little lake sitting next to the road that makes for a lovely photo.

I only know this from seeing other people’s photos, because I never made it all the way there myself! In fact, I made it less than 5km from my destination at Balea Lake only to be forced to turn around when I encountered a snowplow that wouldn’t even go that far. I may expand upon this story in another post, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Just know that you can’t always get to the popular sections of the Transfagarasan Highway, because weather may be against you. Go in the summer or early fall and check obsessively with locals about the conditions up there. Fortunately, my drive almost all the way up was very pretty with the fall colors. When I approached from the south I passed by the ruins of Dracula’s actual castle. The road was practically empty aside from the occasional suicidal dog and herds of sheep. There were a good number of stopping points for photos too, which is something I can’t say about all of Romania.

Transfagarasan Highway best photo spots in Romania

Spotted far away on a wooded hilltop is the ruined Poenari Castle, which maintains an accurate historical association with “Dracula”.

Transfagarasan Highway - best photo spots in Transylvania

I stopped ON the road for this one. The nice shepherd honored me with a shot of him with his flock.

Transfagarasan Highway - best photo spots in Transylvania

Along the road

Even if you don’t make it to every one of these spots, know that Transylvania is a very photogenic region of Romania. There is so much I didn’t see that I wanted to. You will also see so much by simply driving around. I had plenty of photo opportunities along the roads, getting from one destination to the next. The trickiest part was finding places to pull over. I had to pass the best shots by, but I came away with a few that I’m happy enough with.

Romania photo spots

Ceramica Pietraru, a quirky roadside attraction and pottery shop in Horezu where I couldn’t help stopping. The owner kindly allowed me the use of his bathroom and I happily bought yet another souvenir mug.

Best places for photography in Romania

Romanian monastery

One of many roadside monasteries that I passed. I happened to stop at this one at the same time as a tour bus, so I guess it was worth visiting!

Romanian monastery

Behind the monastery. What a backyard!

Best places for photography in Romania

Have fun on your Romanian road trip! Eat the food, meet the people, and enjoy exploring the best places for photography in Transylvania.  Just watch out for those dogs! ;)

Be sure to find more photos from this trip on my Instagram.

Best places for photography in Transylvania

made for the pin

  • Ryan Biddulph - These snaps are awesome Tracie ;)

    Grandpa grew up in this region of Romania so I want to visit one day to see where he lived before moving to the States. Great history here, gorgeous views and yes, Dracula does grab my attention as well LOL. He is related to me technically, if you dive into my 1/4 Romanian heritage :)

    RyanReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - That’s awesome, Ryan! How cool it would be to see Romania for yourself, knowing that it’s where you come from. And the Dracula lore is certainly evident in some places, particularly Bran Castle and Sighisoara. Thanks for commenting!ReplyCancel

  • Luminita - Hi Tracie! What a wonderful collection of photographs! I especilly liked the ones you took at Peles Castle. Although I’ve been there several times, I’m always amazed by the luxurious interiors and the beautiful art.ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you Luminita! I appreciate your comment. The interior of Peles is just so lavish and beautiful. It’s hard not to come away with some cool shots. :)ReplyCancel

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