Romania

Visit Viscri, Romania – the Idyllic Saxon UNESCO Village

Last Updated on 16/06/2024 by kami

There are so many amazing places to visit in Romania, and some of the most unique and impressive ones are the famous fortified churches in Transylvania. Seven of them were granted the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of those churches, my personal favorite, is in Viscri, a charming, idyllic village located off the main road between Brasov and Sighisoara. While the fortified church is what attracts tourists to Viscri, the place offers more attractions, which you will learn about in this article.

viscri romania

As soon as I saw pictures of Viscri, Romania, I knew I wanted to visit the place. It looks like something from a fairy tale, with neat rows of pastel-painted houses and a medieval fortified church that resembles a castle.

When planning a road trip to Romania with friends, Viscri got a solid spot in our itinerary. As soon as we arrived at the village, we were enchanted by its beauty. It was so much better than I expected.

viscri romania

I can’t recommend visiting Viscri enough. It’s one of the most beautiful Transylvanian villages you will ever see, well-preserved to its original beauty. In this article, you can read all about things to do in Viscri so you can plan your trip there and enjoy this Romanian gem.

Where is Viscri, Romania

Viscri (also known as Deutsch-Weißkirch in German) is a small Saxon village founded in the 12th century. It is located in the heart of Transylvania, between Sighisoara (45 km away) and Brasov (80 km away).

viscri romania

How to get to Viscri

Unfortunately, there is no public transport to reach Viscri, so the car is your best option. To get here, you need to take a little detour off the main road between Bunesti and Rupea. It’s a countryside road, so you can expect some idyllic views over the Transylvanian landscape along the way.

Alternatively, if you are staying in Brasov, you can go on a day tour that includes Viscri (usually together with Sighisoara and Rupea). Here are the recommended options:

viscri romania

What to see in Viscri

The main reason to visit Viscri is to see the amazing medieval fortified church, one of seven structures of that kind that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Viscri church is located at the edge of the village and is, in fact, considered the oldest church in Transylvania. Despite its long history, dating back to the early 13th century, the building and its premises are very well preserved, and visiting the site is a pleasure.

viscri romania

The first Roman church was built in this place already in the 12th century by the Szekelys – the ethnic group that still inhabits the region. Once the Saxons arrived in the area, the church was rebuilt and developed into a Gothic three-nave basilica with a tower.

Just like other similar structures in the region, the Viscri church also has become the main defensive point of the village, with fortified walls surrounding the church. The site was being improved until the 17th century.

Besides the church itself within the walls, there were also numerous rooms for locals to hide as well as their goods during attacks that often occurred over turbulent centuries in the region.

viscri romania

Today, Viscri church is one of the best and most beautiful examples of medieval fortified churches in Romania. It actually looks more like a castle than a religious site, with its massive white walls and red rooftops.

Once you step inside the impressive walls, you will be surprised at how small and kind of claustrophobic the place is. At the same time, it’s so well taken care of that the premises look idyllic and not like a place that used to serve defense purposes.

viscri romania

The main point is, of course, the church, with the modest interior that actually hides some valuable gems – when you look around, you will easily spot them all over the place. In the back of the room, you will find a staircase leading to the tower, which is a highlight of Viscri church.

However, getting there can be a bit of a challenge as the way up is very narrow and steep; in the upper parts, some of the wooden steps didn’t feel very stable, so climbing all the way up is not for those with a weak heart.

viscri romania

Fortunately, the views from the top are worth all the nerves and effort, as you will be rewarded with a stunning panorama of Viscri and its idyllic surroundings. From this perspective, the structure of the fortified church looks even more impressive as you can see all the details and the craft that were put into creating this crucial place for the local community.

The way up to the tower is also an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at how the church was built all those centuries ago and how every available space was used to store necessary goods. This whole construction and the thought behind it was a masterpiece at the time when it was created.

viscri romania

viscri romania

viscri romania

Once you have visited the church and the tower, don’t leave the premises just yet, as there are more attractions here. Inside the walls, you can visit a small museum that displays artifacts that have been used in everyday life in the region for centuries.

The place, like the whole fortified church, is very well kept, with descriptions of items and a bit of the backstory. It is a great insight into the past of Transylvania and how life used to look here.

viscri romania

viscri romania

While the fortified church is the highlight of Viscri, it’s worth spending a bit more time here and taking a stroll through the village. The place is a perfect example of neat and orderly Saxon villages in Transylvania, with colorful rows of houses built in the style typical for this region.

Today, due to turbulent history and emigration, it’s a sleepy place, only a shadow of the bustling village it used to be (at least tourism gives it a slight boost). Rusty agriculture machines lie around, locals are not in a hurry, taking the time to chat with each other, and storks have built massive nests here to look at the area from above.

It all looks like time has stopped there; the village has a kind of fairytale look and feel, which is another reason why you should include it in your Romania itinerary.

viscri romania

viscri romania

viscri romania

Among the colorful houses in Viscri, there is one that is kind of special. You will find it shortly after the turn from the main road, the blue house with a visible coat of arms next to the entrance.

Back in 2006, the current King Charles of Great Britain (then known as the Prince of Wales) bought this very house in Viscri as his way to support the local heritage and culture. When asked about his ties to Romania, he claims his ancestor is the infamous Vlad Tepes, known also as Dracula.

In 2015, Prince Charles started his own Romania Foundation, which helps renovate Viscri, among other things. He occasionally visits the village, too, and was even there a few days before my visit.

When King Charles is not staying in his Romanian home, the place is open to the public, and everyone can visit it (for a small fee) or even spend the night there. This can be a great and unusual experience during your Romania trip!

viscri romania

viscri romania

viscri romania

Where to go next

From Viscri, it’s only a short drive to Rupea, with its impressive fortress (that looks amazing from the outside and is rather underwhelming inside).

You can then continue your trip either towards Brașov or Sighișoara, with numerous stops along the way. There are more UNESCO-listed fortified churches in the area, such as Saschiz and Prejmer, as well as churches like Harman that are not on UNESCO but are still incredible.

The whole Transylvania region, with its landscape and charming villages, is just the prettiest, so no matter where you go, you are in for a treat.

transylvania romania

transylvania romania

transylvania romania

transylvania romania

Further reading

I published many articles about Romania that you might find useful when planning your trip there. Here are some of them:

If you are looking for articles about a specific destination – check out the map with all the articles I’ve published (and their locations). You can also join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask your questions there.


Travel Resources

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viscri romania


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