For far too long I have had it in my heart to visit Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania. Perhaps it was just one of those childhood dreams that I thought would never come to fruition or perhaps there are many more readers who would similarly love to visit the castle as well, but whatever the case, it finally happened in March 2014.
I based myself in Brasov for four days to allow for plenty of time to explore Transylvania and include day trip to Peles castle and Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle). Depending on whether you wish to explore the region on your own accord by renting a car or whether you wish to hire a driver / join a tour guide once you are there, will result in how much time you will need to spend in Transylvania.
I decided to book a personal driver for the day who picked myself and my friend Laura up from our hotel at 10am and took us to Peles Castle, followed by Bran Castle. Within just a few hours we had allowed ourselves plenty of time to see and discover both castles, as well as stopping at the Rasnov Fortress on the drive home to Brasov..
When we arrived in Bran we discovered this town was essentially depending on tourism from the castle and had very little to offer aside from the castle. We even heard from our driver that the food at restaurants in the town was far from memorable, but tried our luck at a nearby café and opted for a hot chocolate – which was the most excruciating hot chocolate I have ever tried to force myself through. So there’s a lesson learned – pack some snacks and do not rely on food from the restaurants here – you will be disappointed!
We handed over our 25 leis each to enter the castle (roughly $8) and wandered up the steep tree lined pathway to reach the entrance to the castle. Once there, we made our way inside, handed over our tickets, and climbed the stairs to the first viewing room. It is certainly clear the castle has been modified to reflect a more modern era – with sofa chairs and the stench of a fresh lick of paint very present. But it was also nice to see a castle so well maintained, which is perhaps a product of the castle being repurchased by the royal family and the castle now being in private ownership.
The best views were found overlooking the courtyard and there are a range of placards with the history (and myths) of the castle and Vlad the Impaler on the walls of the viewing rooms.
All in all it was a great day exploring Dracula’s Castle and a very ‘Transylvanian’ experience to enjoy. I would certainly recommend this day trip to anyone visiting Romania – and can honestly say I am glad I journeyed all this way to see it in the flesh!