So You Want To Go To Transylvania? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Nadia El Ferdaoussi is an expert on the most Insta-perfect destinations around the world.

Travel blogger Nadia El Ferdaoussi (@Nadia_DailySelf) is an expert on the most Insta-perfect destinations around the world…

“How do you get those amazing travel photos?”, it’s the number one question I’m asked when I return from a trip. While they’re Insta-worthy, there’s always room for improvement. With the rise of blogging, photography has become a very hot topic and our own photos more widely viewed than any time before.

While I could up my game on a photography course at home in Ireland, there’s no better way than being out on location, learning on the go. So I browsed the TDactive Holidays website, (they run group tours all around the world) and came across their collaboration with the Dublin Photography School. Together, they’ve created specialised photography trips in India, Montenegro, Morocco and Romania. I booked onto the four night Transylvania course-come-holiday, sold by the promise of a visit to Dracula’s castle and a feed full of epic photos.

We’re greeted at Bucharest airport by the tour guide who’ll accompany us for the duration, and take the two hour drive to Transylvania. Arriving after midnight and taking the last part of the journey uphill on foot walking past an old graveyard, it’s already starting to feel a little bit spooky.

The accommodation is a no frills three star hotel in Brașov, which will be our base for the next few days. We wake up to views of rolling green hills and the cobbled old town and set off on foot for our first lesson. Stewart and Steven double up as photography tutors come comedy duo and have everyone laughing and at ease within minutes. The pair don’t use big DSLR set ups, both choosing to travel with a more compact mirrorless camera instead. For us amateurs, this seems a lot less intimidating, something else that confirms I’ve chosen the right trip.

After mastering the rule of thirds (you know that grid that pops up on your iPhone camera?) and getting the shutter speed settings just right, we head into the medieval town of Brașov for a walking tour, some time to snap pics and lunch. Each daily itinerary is full, yet there’s lots of free time too and I never feel rushed. The gothic style black church is even more spectacular when we head up the foothills of the Tampa mountains via cable car for a quick lesson in landscape photography (and a taste of the local beer). I learn that a good view doesn’t necessarily mean a good photo. It’s a lightbulb moment as I consider my past frustration in trying to capture vast scenery or gorgeous beaches on my travels.

During the four days we travel through autumn to winter up to the snow in the Făgăraș mountains, visit Bran castle, an old Saxon village, eat and drink our way around the local establishments and watch as our newfound photography technique becomes lit. Returning back to Dublin, I tick Transylvania off the bucket list, ready to put my new skills to good use.

Best for:

TDactive trips are great for solo travellers, but couples and small groups will enjoy them just as much.

Where to eat and drink in Brașov:

Casa Hirscher for cocktails and pasta, Bibliothèque Pub for cosy drinks with an eclectic soundtrack and Restaurant Sergiana for a meat feast.

How much?

4 nights in Transylvania, Sept ’18, €749 inc. flights, B&B, transfers, excursions and tuition

This article first appeared in the January issue of STELLAR Magazine, our February issue is on shelves now.

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