Five Saxon Villages from Transylvania You Should Visit

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

If you’d like to discover the Saxon villages from Transylvania, try our Rural Transylvania Tour

The centuries-old legacy of the German communities is a major attraction of Transylvania, Romania’s central region that has become for many an almost fairytale destination. If you’re looking to discover more about this rich cultural heritage, it’s best to start with the old Saxon villages from Transylvania, founded in the Medieval Ages by brave German colonists who settled here to defend the borders in exchange for rights and liberties.

Malancrav

Malancrav Village

This way you’ll get to discover traditional Saxon houses, visit the fortified churches and, in a nutshell, explore a world of traditions, kept alive by a very determined group of local people and organizations.

1. Viscri

Location: Viscri, Brasov County

The most famous village on our list, Viscri is the best start for your rural journey. It’s so beautiful that even the bumpy road will be worth it. In fact, the slower you drive, the more time you have to admire the rolling hills that surround the village that Prince Charles visits almost every year. His interest, presence, and support have been fundamental, alongside the work of the Foundation Mihai Eminescu Trust, to save the cultural patrimony of Viscri.

Viscri

Viscri Village

Besides the 12th century fortified church, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can admire the typical Saxon houses of the village, some of the best-preserved in Transylvania, and visit the local artisans. If you plan your walk around sunset, it’s even better, as this is the time when a funny mix of ducks, goats, and cows find their way back home.

2. Malancrav

Location: Malancrav, Sibiu County

More isolated, but a definite must, Malancrav or Malemkref is today the village with the largest German ethnic population in the region. Coincidence or not, it’s also one of the most beautiful places in Transylvania.

Take at least one full day to explore the village as you have plenty to do, from spending time with local artisans and observing local life to visiting the Apafi Mansion and the nearby fortified church where you’ll see the largest Gothic pre-Reformation fresco in Transylvania.

malancrav-fortified-church

The fortified church, Malancrav Village

3. Copsa Mare

Location: Copsa Mare, Sibiu County

Less known, but only 2 km from Biertan and its great fortified church, Copsa Mare is a small village that dates from the 13th century. The remoteness of the village has helped conserve most of its traditional structure, with wide streets and solid houses, you can admire today.

Don’t forget to visit the large 14th century fortified church, equipped hundreds of years ago with firing holes and defense towers. For a complete experience, stay for the night in one of the guest houses of the Bassetti family who has done wonders to save their authenticity.

copsa mare

Copsa Mare Village

4. Crit

Location: Crit, Brasov County

Just a few kilometers by bike from Viscri, Crit will greet you with its old facades, dusty road, colorful windows, and an entire world of rural authenticity.

First mentioned in 1322, the village seems from another time even today. The main street of the village, declared a historical monument, will take you to the 19th-century church, built on the location of a medieval fortification that no longer exists. The enclosure walls and the original towers are only partly conserved, but well enough to let your imagination recreate the atmosphere of a medieval village when the church was ultimately the last refuge in face of enemy attacks.

Villages in Transylvania

House in Crit Village

5. Cisnadioara

Location: Cisnadioara, Sibiu County

At first, you’d not think Cisnadioara is a village. Its paved streets and car traffic would have you believe you’re in the suburbs. In a way, this is true as it’s located only a few kilometers from Sibiu. Still, Cisnadioara remains one of the most beautiful modern versions of the Saxon villages from Transylvania.

The main attraction is the 13th-century Romanesque basilica that dominates the village from the highest hill. Surrounded by defensive walls, the monument has splendid stone-carved portals and conveys such an overwhelming feeling of peace that you’ll find it hard to leave. In Cisnadioara, you can also visit the 18th century Evangelical Church and the Ethnographic Museum.

Villages in Transylvania

Cisnadioara Evangelical Church

These are just five of the Saxon villages from Transylvania you should definitely visit. The list is much longer, but traveling from one to another you’ll reach even more off the beaten track communities, with their own fortified churches, typical Saxon houses, and traditions that hopefully will survive in the years to come.

If you’d like to discover the Saxon villages from Transylvania, try our Rural Transylvania Tour

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