Discover the mysteries of one of Romania’s top attractions, a 14th-century fortification nicknamed Dracula’s Castle.
Bran Castle is best known for its association with the famous Dracula novel and its real-life inspiration, Vlad Tepes, who was also known as Vlad the Impaler. The castle’s whitewashed turrets resemble those described by Bram Stoker in his legendary vampire novel. Explore the castle’s winding interior passageways and chambers and admire its collection of 14th-century art and artifacts.
The castle was built in 1382 to defend Bran Pass against the Ottomans. Although Vlad Tepes, history’s real-life Dracula, never actually lived in the castle, he was briefly held captive here by the Hungarians in the 15th century. Note the castle’s dramatic profile, standing 200 feet (60 meters) tall and backed by imposing mountains. It’s easy to imagine why this structure is believed to have been the model for the castle described in Stoker’s iconic novel.
Check out the quirky Romanian market along the pathway leading to the castle, where you can purchase all kinds of Dracula-related souvenirs and knickknacks. Buy a ticket to access the five floors of the castle and its grounds. Wander around the castle at your own pace or join one of the English-language guided tours.
In the early 20th century, the castle became a summer residence of Queen Marie, granddaughter of England’s Queen Victoria. You can see most of the furnishings imported from Western Europe by Queen Marie on display today. Walk around the castle’s 60 rooms, many of which are connected by interesting underground passages. See historic furniture, weapons and artwork dating between the 14th and 19th centuries.
Enjoy wonderful panoramic views from the castle’s windows, balconies and battlements. Find the small chapel on the southern side of the castle, built in 1940 to honor the queen’s death. On the north side of the chapel wall is a memorial tomb containing the queen’s heart.
Bran Castle is located in the town of Bran, less than 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Braşov. Regular bus services connect Bran and Braşov. The castle is open daily, with opening hours varying by the season. An admission fee is required. Don’t miss this iconic Romanian attraction.