If you always wanted to visit a vampire castle or simply love Dracula Romania tales, then Bran Castle should be your go-to destination when travelling Romania. No matter if you are into Bram Stoker’s Dracula or want to learn more about the very real Vlad “The Impaler” Dracul, Bran Castle is a great starting point.
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Who Was Vlad Tepes?
In 1428 Vlad Tepes was born in Sighisoara, one of the prettiest towns in Romania. He was the second of the two legitimate sons of Vlad Dracul, the ruler of Wallachia from 1436 onwards. He didn’t grow up in Wallachia, though, being held hostage together with his brother Radu by the Ottomans.
He was trained and proved himself in various battles. During this fight with the Transylvanian Saxons, he raided their villages and impaled his prisoners in Wallachia. This is where his nickame, Vlad the Impaler originated. When the Ottoman’s wanted to get a slice of the pie and demanded payment of tribute, Vlad had the messengers impaled as well and attacked the Ottoman Empire. During his lifetime, Vlad ruled Wallachia three times.
What Is the Legend of Dracula?
In the end, Vlad was murdered but stories about his cruel ways to stay in power and scare his enemies circulated all over Europe, even before his death. In Germany, they became bestsellers. This made him the most well known medieval Romanian ruler. But he was never referred to as a vampire until Bram Stoker heard a few tales and narratives about Romania and Vlad and created the connection.
In fact, Bram Stoker never visited Romania and no actual mentions of his knowledge of Vlad have ever been found in his notes. He drew most of his book’s material from an article about Romanian folklore and superstition as well as one medieval history book on Wallachia and Moldavia. Vlad Tepes didn’t live at Bran Castle either. The actual Vlad the Impaler castle is in fact Poenari Castle and its ruins still reign above the Argeș River valley.
Address: DN17, Piatra Fântânele, Romania
Phone: +40 263 264 010
This video is part of Art & Craft Romania’s campaign to introduce Romanian destinations and traditions to travelers.
Why You Should Visit Bran Castle
Despite the lack of significant connections to Bram Stoker and Vlad Tepes, Bran Castle is well worth a visit. It’s a very compact fortress, towering high on its little hill and quite the beauty with its half timbered courtyard and picturesque towers. You can explore the grounds as well as the Bran Castle inside, where you will be taken around the rooms, up and down winding stairs and onto the roofs.
The castle is a museum as well and as it is often supposed to have served as an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle, it guides its visitors through Vlad’s history. So in case you want to learn more about the “real life Dracula”, this is a good way to start. Admire the few paintings of him and learn about the cruel depictions of his torture methods within real medieval walls. That being said, he isn’t seen as a monster by Romanians. In fact, he is regarded as a kind of hero to Romania, protecting it with all means.
Opening times high season (April 1 – September 30): Monday 12-6PM, Tue-Sun 9AM-6PM
Opening times low season (October 1 – March 31): Monday 12-4PM, Tue-Sun 9AM-4PM
Can You Stay at a Vampire Castle?
You cannot stay overnight at Bran Castle though there are events throughout the years with banquets and once you could actually sleep in a coffin. That being said, nearby hotel Castel Dracula does provide live shows about Dracula in its decorated basement and a quick visit through pitch black tunnels to a coffin. It’s a touristy Dracula spectacle and quite fun. (Except for the guy who takes advantage of his job of touch unsuspecting tourists from the dark. Women he gropes instead.)
Here, you can stay overnight and enjoy the view over the Transylvanian woods around. It’s a magnificent scene and driving the winding roads, you can easily picture the scary ride Jonathan Harker must have experienced in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Romanian Vampire Castle Souvenirs
You can take a piece of the famous Dracula Romania with you in the form of souvenirs. A book is a good way to start but it doesn’t necessarily have to be of Bram Stoker’s creation. There have been multiple on the background story of Vlad the Impaler.
For the loved ones who stayed at home, you could bring them back a Transylvania Dracula Castle in a snow globe or a plushie Dracula to cuddle with. (No biting!) How about a fun coffin for your sunglasses? The good thing is, you don’t have to carry your souvenirs with you when you travel around Romanian castles. Instead, you can buy them right at the airport or online from Art & Craft Romania.
How to Get from Bucharest to Bran Castle
Getting to the “Vlad the Impaler Castle” from Bucharest is really easy if you have a car and totally achievable in a day. The car ride takes around three hours and along the way, you can easily stop in Sinaia and at Peles Castle. Take the DN1/E60 all the way up to Azuga, where you turn left on the DN73A. Again, turn left at Rasnov and onto DN73/E574 towards Brasov. You will see Bran Castle after ten more kilometers.
For trains from Bucharest North Gara A to Brasov, you need to schedule in about three and a half hours. Take the regional Intercity line (CFR), which costs about 40 lei (10€/$12). Check the hourly schedules online. To get from Brasov to Bran Castle, take a local bus from terminal 2 (line Brasov and Bran – Moeciu). Buses leave every 30 minutes during the week and hourly on weekends and take 45 minutes. They cost around 7 lei (1.5€/$2) one way. Alternatively, you can hail a taxi to take you up to Bran Castle.
Is Visiting Bran Castle Romania Worth it?
I’d say if you are keen on visiting Romanian castles and fortresses, Bran Castle should be high on your list. It is quite the impressive little castle and you can easily combine your visit with Peles Castle and Sinaia village. Even if it isn’t actually the Dracula Castle Romania you have dreamed about, it is still a cool place to see.
Tell me: Are you curious to visit the famous Dracula Castle in Romania?