Transylvania, Romania is best known for a menacing castle that was home to a fierce warrior and ruler named Vlad the Impaler. Vlad the Impaler ruled Transylvania in the mid-1400s. Locals view him as an avenging hero who drove away Saxon invaders. Descendants of the defeated Saxons have characterized Vlad the Impaler as a brutal killer who delighted in torturing his enemies.
Vlad’s legend has grown so sordid and bloody over the centuries that Bran Castle—his former home base—is now referred to as Dracula’s Castle because writer Bram Stoker was so captivated by Vlad’s supposed bloody deeds that he decided to make Bran Castle the residence of the immortal, bloodthirsty Count Dracula. Visitors can tour Bran Castle and learn about the real and fictional history of one of the world’s most notorious castles.
Aside from being the alleged home of Count Dracula, Transylvania is home to numerous spooky, moody forests that are steeped in superstition and local lore. The Hoia Baciu Forest—which is located just outside of the gothic city of Cluj-Napoca—features a tall canopy of trees that cast long shadows on the forest floor. Locals claim that countless shepherds, children, and other townsfolk have disappeared among the trees of Hoia Baciu without a trace. Even if you don’t stumble upon a portal to another dimension while exploring Hoia Baciu, there is a good chance that you will see a fluttering bat, a shy wolf lurking in the distance, or a cascade of fiery leaves falling to the ground if you visit during the height of fall.
If you need to recharge after roaming Dracula’s Castle and a spooky forest where countless people are rumored to have mysteriously vanished, a visit to the Covasna Spa Resort is an excellent way to relax, reset, and view some stunning fall scenery. The Covasna Spa Resort features toasty thermal pools with high concentrations of curative minerals. The spa also features mofettes—which are pockets of naturally occurring carbon dioxide that are rumored to have healing properties. If you spend enough time in the mofettes huffing fumes, you just might have a vision of what happened to all of those people who supposedly disappeared in the Hoia Baciu Forest.
Transylvania’s towering mountains, dense forests, and cozy spa towns will help you embrace the very essence of fall. Spooky castles and eerie lore aside, witnessing Transylvania’s forests turn red, gold, and orange is the fall trip of a lifetime.