Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania UNESCO World heritage

Every free day is a reason for exploration. This time we thought to explore within country boundaries. As it was too cold to head out to the seaside, a countryside alternative in Transylvania seemed more reasonable. So we decided to go and visit the German - Transylvanian villages with old fortified churches which are part of UNESCO World Heritage: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/596

We made a quick small plan and set a totally unrealistic target to find accommodation in Viscri one week prior to Easter. Everything was fully booked. Totally unrealistic, the worst. That's how we ended up in Cloasterf and loved every minute of this beautiful "misfortune".

Cloasterf is a tiny German village (or Saxon village, we call it "sat sasesc" in Romanian), with a fortified church, 2 km away from the main road, in a secluded, green and peaceful area. Cloasterf is also on the Transylvania Bike Trails route (http://tbtrace.ro/) so if you are a bike addict, the village is a good starting point for some beautiful biking trails. In Cloasterf we stayed at Dominic Boutique Little Barn. Our little house, once the summer kitchen, has been transformed in a fairy tale house, decorated with antique pieces. We even had the original stove and in the evenings we would start the fire and the entire room would become warm and smell like wood.

Dominique Boutique - Little Barn aka home for 3 nights
Shots from Dominique Boutique - main house

So what did we do in these 3 days? From Cloasterf we visited: Saschiz, Mesendorf, Crit, Bunesti, Viscri, Sighisoara (sometimes by bike, sometimes by car). But let's start from the beginning.

Day 1 - arriving in Cloasterf, spending a couple of "wow moments" in our little house and then hopped on the bike.

Destination? Saschiz. On Day 1 we did a small bike trail : Cloasterf - Saschiz - partially Mesendorf as it was getting dark and we took a shortcut though the forest to return to Cloasterf.

Something funny happened on the way to Saschiz. As we were approaching the village, we saw a herd of cows on the side of the road, couple of meters away, directing their attention towards us. As we were approaching them, the cows started running towards us. I started to be afraid. I was terrified that all these cows would chase us. As we stopped they stopped as well and started moving as we started moving. We were not sure what the cows will do so we decided to just give it a go and pedal like there's no tomorrow. As we were speeding up the cows started to speed up as well and I was feeling my heart beating hard and my head ready to explode. Panic moment ended when the cows stopped near the fence. Apparently they were excited to see us as they thought we were bringing food. This is what happens when you spend your childhood among concrete in the city.

On our way to Saschiz and on our way back I bitched a lot about biking: oh it's too hard, it's too cold, too warm, I am hungry, wait for me, I can't do it anymore! but look at this view. If there's anything that restores peace in your brain, this must be it. I actually think some of the neurons came back from the dead after these peaceful days in the nature.

The landscape between Saschiz and Cloasterf through the woods

Day 2 - sunny day. My "trail master" aka boyfriend decided for the following approach: drive the car to Crit - start biking from Crit to Mesendorf and then back to Crit.

Day 2 / Stop #1. We arrived to Crit and before embarking on a new adventure to Mesendorf, I wanted to see how the fortified church in Crit looks like. Too bad it was closed. I was only able to see the surrounding areas and a cat.

A sneak peak inside the fortified church in Crit. Unfortunately I was closed when I arrived so no pics from the inside but here's a cat!

As we were leaving Crit behind, we started the bike trail on a beautiful county road with green fields on our left and our right. Our happy happy joy joy mood was soon stopped when 5-6 dogs starting running towards us and surrounded us. There was nobody in sight, just a herd of sheep quite far away from our location. I started screaming hoping that someone would come or at least call the dogs. We stayed still for a couple of moments until a girl came and started calling the dogs. The dogs seemed not to listen to her so she actually came close to us so that we can leave the little circle we built with our bikes. As we were stepping away from danger another tiny little lone biker got in the same trouble so we waited for him as well and, as we left the dogs and the sheep behind we started pedaling together for a couple of minutes: of course the boys ahead and me behind, the third wheel of biking.

I am really happy we decided to go past the dogs incident and continue as the road through the forest was absolutely dreamy. Well, as dreamy as this was, I have to say that the woods scare me to death. I had this since I was a little girl. I know you have to embrace trees and nature and all that, but I am constantly thinking that there is someone on my back, following me. As my pedaling skills were kind of rusty, you can imagine I was always falling behind and always imagining there's a man with an ax or a bear on to get me. Leaving my big far imagination aside this is how the trail from Crit to Mesendorf through the woods looked like:

Day 2, stop #2. Mesendorf village.

The fortified church in Mesendorf and some old houses on the main road. The church dates back to the 14th century

What is beautiful to Mesendorf and all the other German villages is the sense of space and openness you get from the way the villages and their roads have been built. And the architecture. The old German houses and a beautiful testimony of hard working villagers. Unfortunately some of the houses now have been abandoned and left to ruins. You get to see an interesting contrast around these places: green hills, beautiful landscapes, beautiful reconditioned houses and then, next to all these, ruined houses or badly reconditioned ones.

Day 2, stop #3. From Mesendorf we took the easy way out and returned to Crit by road. My boyfriend saw my long face after 3 h of pedaling through the woods and decided it was best for the both of us to go to Viscri by car. Stop #3 Viscri.

Viscri is a bit overrated as Price Charles bought a house or more here and everyone is hyped on it and the prices are super high. It is still a beautiful village with reconditioned houses, and a beautiful old fortified church. If we were to leave aside the road from Bunesti to Viscri which is so bad, all in all Viscri brings a positive karma (and you need a positive karma after a 30 mins bumpy ride). In Viscri we had a delicious lunch at Viscri 73 house. We've been here before and this time we ordered, lamb soup, sarmale and lichiu (which is a traditional desert).

Traditional houses in Viscri
Inside, outside, on top of the fortified church in Viscri, dating around 13th century
Viscri 73 where we had the delicious lunch

Day 3 was actually Easter.

The weather was not the best for cycling for me at least (a passionate biker would have enjoyed a good ride even if it was partially raining). I have to say, although I don't enjoy biking that much, I really loved the trails created by Transylvania Bike Trails. There were marked, easy to follow and were not too steep. The road through the forest was really well marked and what's beautiful is that the trail passes through each of the fortified churches from all of these villages I mentioned.

Day 3, stop #3, was by car and we went to Biertan

Day 3, stop #2, we heard that Copsa Mare was pretty close to after a good meal we hopped on the car and went to see Copsa Mare

Copsa Mare and the fortified church in the village

Day 3, stop #3. Sighisoara. As it started raining we decided to stop by Sighisoara as well. Although not the best representation of Sighisoara, it is one of the best examples of fortified cities in the country. The city center is absolutely beautiful although the city is not in the best shape possible.

Glimpses of Sighisoara

Day 3, stop #4. A one last walk through Mesendorf. Mesendorf was definitely our favorite village.

One of the beautifully reconditioned houses in Mesendorf
Leaving the country side behind

Closing up: we had 3 days and we visited 5 villages and 1 city: Cloasterf, Saschiz, Crit, Mesendorf, Viscri and Sighisoara

We enjoyed every minute out in the nature, with so much green and fresh air and an old house we called home.

Our roadmap

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