Dracula’s Castle is one of Romania’s most popular landmarks, and the interest in the topics of vampires, Transylvania, and old Romanian legends is one of the things that most inspires travelers to come to this historic structure. The real name of this site is Bran Castle, and it is located near the town of Brasov. While Transylvania and Romania castles remain one of the top reasons to visit the country, others are growing every year. The capital city of Bucharest is experiencing a cultural boom, and many travelers are flocking to experience this energy. The Carpathian Mountains are ideal for adventurous travelers looking for a new place to hike or bike. However, vampires, legend, and Bram Stoker’s famous novel remain one of the biggest reasons people choose to visit Romania.
Dracula’s Castle is marketed as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While some other castles are also associated with the novel, it is really Bran Castle that captures the imaginations of vampire enthusiasts. The castle is open to visitors who can tour the building with a guide and see art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. During this tour you will learn about the long history of the castle, which dates back all the way to 1377. The castle was first used as defense against the Ottoman Empire, later was a customs post, and finally in 1920 became the Royal Residence for the Kingdom of Romania.
Queen Marie lived here from 1920 to 1948, when the royal family was dethroned by a communist regime. While visitors will learn many details about Queen Marie and the era in which she lived, many visitors are more interested in vampires. If this is the case, Romania castles are still the place to begin looking for answers. It is said that the character of Dracula was loosely based on a figure from history: Vlad III of Wallachia, commonly called Vlad the Impaler. He ruled as the prince of Wallachia in 1448, between 1456 and 1462, and again in 1476. In addition to his resistance against the Ottoman Empire, he is known for the exceptionally cruel punishments he gave his enemies. While in local folklore he has sometimes been painted a hero, in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel his legacy took a significant turn.
Beyond Dracula’s castle, there are many other Romania castles that are worth exploring. This medieval land is full of charming villages and rural bed and breakfasts that will make your castle tour a memorable one. Other major castles that are worth a visit include Hunyad Castle, Iulia Hasdeu Castle, Peles Castle, Pelisor Castle, and Sighisoara Citadel. At each of these sites you will learn two things: first the history of the building, its architecture, and who lived there, but also where the castle fits into Romanian folklore. For many travelers, this can often be the more interesting side of visiting the castles.
While there are a few castles to visit, Bran Castle remains the most popular. Beyond its affiliation with Dracula, the castle itself is stunning. During a tour you will discover a secret passage that connects the first and third floor. The courtyard, the view from upstairs balcony, and simply the view of the castle itself perched on a hilltop are incredible sights. Travelers who think that there isn’t much more to Romania than communist era architecture and monuments will be in for a big surprise when they visit Bran Castle. In this castle and throughout Transylvania, you are sure to discover new and interesting information on Dracula, vampires, and local folklore.