If you’re looking for somewhere a little different to spend Christmas this year, then Transylvania might be the destination for you.
Although this region of Romania perhaps best known for its association with vampires, it also has rich festive traditions and incredible Christmas markets.
And that weekly package from British agency Responsible Travel offers the chance to spend the week in a fairytale estate restored to preserve its original 1800s character.
From December 23, it includes a range of optional activities from carriage rides to snowshoeing, craft workshops and even skiing in the nearby resort of Poiana Brasov.
Also on the route is a black tie Christmas dinner, so you won’t have to deal with the stress of cooking the annual feast yourself.
Stay in the Transylvania vacation home of King Charles III
Perhaps the most unique part of the trip is the opportunity to stay in the small valley hamlet of Zalán in the private retreat of King Charles III.
The village was first documented in the 16th century as belonging to one of the king’s Transylvanian ancestors. Home to a former judge who oversaw the hamlet, the property is surrounded by forests and vast flower meadows.
Plants, insects, birds, fungi and even bears – which can sometimes be seen crossing the back garden – contribute to the rich biodiversity of the area.
This secluded property is 6km from the nearest village down a gravel track, making it the perfect location for a nature break – particularly if you are interested in painting or photography.
A three-day stay can be booked as an option to the Christmas trip and all proceeds will go to the Prince of Wales Foundation in Romania.
Why spend Christmas in Transylvania?
This region of Romania is well known for its unique medieval villages, excellent wine and winter activities like sleigh rides and skiing – perfect for the Christmas holidays.
Winter is also one of the most beautiful seasons, as the snow covers the hills and transforms the landscape into something that wouldn’t look out of place on a Christmas card.
Each village has a multitude of different faiths that have left their mark on the cultural heritage of the region. This guarantees a wide variety of Winter traditions, from Christmas Eve carols to theatrical performances and special New Year celebrations.
As the name suggests, Responsible Travel’s goal is to support local communities and have no negative impact on nature. This means that everything from food to materials used in the restoration of buildings is sourced locally.