Transylvanian Castles Tour – A Review of Travel Maker Tours
In early-November, I was fortunate enough to go on a sponsored Transylvanian Castles Tour, more specifically the Two Castles in One Day tour offered by Travel Maker Tours. This 12hr tour started and ended in Bucharest and sought to provide visitors with a solid 1-day trip to see some of the highlights of Transylvania and Sinaia. They do offer longer tours, but this one fit in perfectly with our schedule.
About Travel Maker Tours
Travel Maker Tours is a Romanian tour company that has been operating for over 10 years. They offer small group and private tours that bring visitors to all areas of Romania. They are a small, but highly-regarded company who has managed to receive a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor – no small feat. Our tour guide was the amazing Stefania and although I don’t quite remember our driver’s name – he was brilliant!
Our first stop on our tour was Pelisor Castle, a smaller neighbor of the ever-so-popular Peles Castle. As our tour was in November, Peles was closed for cleaning so Stefania organized a tour of Pelisor castle instead. I did not take pictures inside the castle, as it is a private residence and the owners required an additional photo/video tariff. It was, however, quite impressive. The rooms had a very eclectic design, often combining both modern and traditional styles. My favorites were the gilded room and the many rooms that contained intricate wood carvings. Our tour lasted about 45min and was jam-packed with useful information about the castle, the inhabitants, and the fascinating interior design.
As I previously mentioned, Peles Castle is closed for cleaning the entire month of November. We knew this going in, but were very happy to see that we would still be permitted to walk around the premises at our leisure. We had about 40min to walk the grounds and I found them quite impressive! 40min is plenty of time for the average person – I personally could have used another 30min, but it was simply not possible with our aggressive itinerary. Although Peles is located in Sinia, it is still included in most Transylvanian Castles tours and rightfully so – it is stunning!
As soon as I found out that I was moving to Bulgaria, I immediately started thinking about places in-and-around Bulgaria that I wanted to visit. Dracula’s castle? Hell yeah! Now, I’m fully aware that Bran Castle has very few ties to Vlad the Impaler, but due to its popularity in the vampire-loving world, I just had to see it. Our tour included our entrance fee to see the castle, and then we had free time to explore the castle, the grounds, and grab a late lunch. I was very glad our tour didn’t include an ‘official guide’ to Bran Castle as it was very cramped in spots and terribly busy. We received a thorough history on the drive up and I was completely satisfied with the itinerary. This is definitely a must-see on your Transylvanian Castles tour.
Our final stop on this long long day was a visit to Brasov, where Stefania took us on a walking tour of the city. Again, the tour was chock-full of history and interesting tidbits of information. It was raining a fair bit at that point, so we all agreed that a short walking tour was preferable – they even provided nice umbrellas – kudos! The city was lovely and I would definitely like to go back and spend a bit more time there. We had about 30min to roam about ourselves before hopping back on to the minibus to start the long trek back to Bucharest.
I really enjoyed visiting the various Transylvanian Castles with Travel Maker Tours. They were clear about what we should expect from the tour, what they expected from us as attendees (timeliness, etc.) and provided a very-well planned 12-hour tour – including plenty of restroom/snack breaks. I would absolutely recommend touring with them – and I hope to take one of their longer tours next Spring.
Disclaimer: I did get to go on this tour in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.