The very first thing that came up to my mind when visiting Transylvania was of course the mysterious Castle of Dracula. It was something that I couldn’t miss out on since I have read plenty of stories about it and it has intrigued my interest.
Bran Castle as they say it, is located at the very top of a huge rock near the Carpathian Mountains and has a very spectacular architectural style. The snow we encountered during January, added some more drama and enhanced its mystery.
The Bran Castle became popular after the popular novel “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. Though Dracula is a purely fictional creation , Stoker named his character after a real person who happened to have a taste for blood – Vlad the Impaler.
The two “Draculas” have nothing in common beside the name so don’t let them confuse you! Dracula has never been a real person as you might have heard, it is just the fictional character you have read about in the known book. And that’s how the myth started, that a vampire lives in the mysterious castle of Transylvania. Then people made even more stories, movies and even kid’s cartoons related to this timeless creature.
From Cluj-Napoca to Brasov
It’s not a secret that it has been a little of bit of an adventure getting there! We took a blablacar from Cluj-Napoca to Brasov for 5 hours and had to stay overnight there. The driver- a 30 something talented man who could text,smoke, drive at the same time while talking to the 20 something y.o wannabe singer Paula we picked up along the way. Let’s not get further into it – we were all safe and sound!
From Brasov to Bran
It’s approximately 30km to get to Bran once you arrive in Brasov. Bran is the little village where the Bran Castle is located at. You can either rent a car or there is a shuttle bus which is very easy to find and costs only 7 lei (1,5 euro). The bus takes only forty minutes and leaves from Bus Terminal 2 every thirty minutes or so.
The Bran Castle
Despite being a very casual Friday on the first week of January, we were pretty surprised by the number of people who visited the castle. It was definitely not a touristy period so I can’t imagine what is going on during the warmer seasons. The Castle has some really narrow passages that could barely fit a person and at some points you might feel like you’re going in circles.
The building itself is not the fanciest but it has a really long history that dates back to the 12th century. Throughout the years, usually family members of the Romanian Royalty lived there and other important “rich” people. If you are interested more into the historical timeline, check this out!
For an extra ticket (10Lei-2,5eu), you can visit the special exhibition with twelve weapons of torture. You should buy the additional ticket upon entrance, otherwise you won’t be able to purchase it on point. It’s relatively a small chamber that extends to more rooms and honestly I believe it was the most interesting part of the castle. Every torture “device” has a perfect description in English and you’d be glad that they are long gone!
Bran is where the Castle of Dracula is located. Just to mention in advance, it is very touristic! The shops and restaurants are all dedicated to the hundreds of tourists that visit the castle so be aware of the tourist traps. I wouldn’t advise eating at any place in the surrounding area especially the street vendors that are in fact re-heating their food. Pack your food or grab lunch in Brasov!
Tip: The small market right before the Bran Castle sells hundreds of souvenirs in very decent prices. So If you are looking to get a unique gift back home, you should definitely be able to find something.
Fun Fact: Every once a year on Halloween’s Day, people can stay at the Bran Castle for one night. If you are visiting around that time, check it out!
TIPS & USEFUL INFO
- Stay in Brasov If you are planning to visit the Bran Castle. It’s only a forty minute ride and there are tons of other things to see in Brasov.
- Use the bus in Bus Terminal 2 which leaves every thirty minutes from Brasov
- Pack your own food
- Arrive early to avoid the crowd & take your student card for extra discount!
Adults: 35 RON/€7.50
Seniors (65+): 25 RON/€5.35
Students: 20 RON/€4.30
Pupils: 7 RON/€1.50
High Season (April 1 – September 30)
Monday: 12.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Tue–Sun: 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Last Admission: 6.00 p.m.
Low Season (October 1 – March 31)
Monday: 12.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Tue–Sun: 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Last Admission: 4.00 p.m.