Mention the word "Transilvania" (Romanian spelling-Americans use "Transylvania"), and most folks will think of Count Dracula, the semi- fictional vampire immortalized by the Irish author Bram Stoker at the end of the 19th century. While this aristocratic figure might be loved by horror aficionados and unemployed dentists the world over, nowadays Transilvania is popular among 'wheelers from all parts of Europe because it is the home of the Transilvania Adventure Trophy, an off-road adventure rarely equalled in Europe.
Transilvania, in northern Romania, is a unique, mountainous, and wooded area in which numberless bears and wolves are living and even the lynx still can be seen. Born out of the same series that produces the more-famous Croatia Trophy, the Transilvania Trophy is a less-hard-core, more casual competition than its more famous relative. It's open to both stock and modified 4x4s, and to ATVs and motorcycles as well. The host organization, Off-Road Adventure Romania, is also a social club which during the Christmas holidays provides humanitarian aid to poor people living in the most remote areas of the country.
As the pictures indicate, the atmosphere, while competitive, is more laid-back and family-friendly (it's open for spectators) than many other European 4x4 events, with some kind of 'wheeling discipline to interest just about any enthusiast. For more information, check out www.transilvania-trophy.com.