Visiting Bran Castle, AKA Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania
Did you know that Count Dracula’s Castle (Bran Castle) is in Transylvania in Romania? It’s in a town called Bran. I didn’t know, that’s for sure. Not until I was traveling around Romania and once I heard, we had to check it out. You’ve heard the stories, read the books, and watched the movies. You probably thought that Transylvania was a made-up place. Well, nope, it exists! And it’s found in Eastern Europe, in Romania.
So how do you go about visiting Dracula’s Castle? Where is it? How do you get there? Is it expensive? Thankfully, I’ve got you covered. My blog post about Transylvania in Romania, its history and of course visiting Count Dracula’s castle should help you plan your trip. So let’s check it out:
Table of contents
- So Dracula Was Real!?
- Where is Transylvania?
- How to get to Bran Castle (Castle Dracula)?
- Castle Dracula Ticket price
- Taking a tour to Castle Dracula
- Bran Castle Opening Hours
- Bran Castle; Is it Worth it?
- Other Things to see in Brasov
- Best Time to visit Brasov, Bran and ‘Castle Dracula’?
- Visiting Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania; My Personal Experience
So Dracula Was Real!?
In a word. No. In 1897 Irishman Bram Stoker wrote the fictional account of a Transylvanian nobleman called ‘Count Dracula’. He used a description of Bran Castle, 20km outside of Brasov in Romania, as The Count’s home.
Often people draw, incorrectly, parralels with Vlad the Impaler (a former quie blood-thirsty Romanian ruler) but this has since been proven ill-founded. There are local myths about souls leaving people in the nights and spreading evil, an amalgamation of these local Romanian myths, and the imagination of Bram Stoker gave birth to the concept of Dracula.
The concept of ‘Vampire’s however, has been around for millennia. But the more nuanced concept of classy, a nobleman by day, blood-suckers by night has been popularised by authors like Bram Stoker.
Where is Transylvania?
Whilst Dracula wasn’t real, Transylvania very much IS real. And it is in fact the largest, most well-known region in all of Romania. Transylvania makes up the bulk of central Romania.
Brasov is one of the capitals of the regions of Transylvania, and within that then is Bran, home to Dracula’s Castle, or Bran Castle as it’s known locally, less than 30kms from Brasov.
How to get to Bran Castle (Castle Dracula)?
Most people who visit Bran Castle do so from Brasov, just 20 minutes away.
Although it is also possible as a day trip from Bucharest. But that’s almost 200km (3 or 4-hour drive), so I’d recommend basing yourself in Brasov first and visiting from there.
Besides, Brasov is a gorgeous little town with lots of other stuff to see and do too. You can see where Bran Castle and Transylvania are here:
There is no train from Bucharest or Brasov to Bran. Getting to Bran Castle involves one of three ways:
- BUS: Brasov to Bran by bus: Bus terminal No. 2 in Brasov runs buses to bran every 30 minutes (about $2 each way). It takes about 45 minutes.
- TAXI: $100 from Bucharest. 3 hours. $30 from Bran. 30 mintes.
- TOUR: You can take day tours fro both Brasov and Bucharest to visit Dracula’s castle (more info on that below)
Bran is tiny, and Bran Castle is on the hill in the town, so once you get out from the bus, you simply walk up the hill and voila, you’re there.
Castle Dracula Ticket price
It costs 45Lei (9€/$11) to enter Bran Castle. The official website is here.
Taking a tour to Castle Dracula
You can just pay your ticket and wander around Castle Dracula yourself. Or you can take a guided tour ($30 or so, and it includes a skip-the-line ticket – RECOMMEND IN HIGH SEASON 100%)
If you’re already in Brasov though, it’s probably just as easy to hop on the bus (or take a taxi) to Bran and do it independently.
Bran Castle Opening Hours
Bran Castle is open 365 days a year. 9am to 6pm (4pm from October to March aka Low Season).
Bran Castle; Is it Worth it?
For a start, it’s DRACULA’S CASTLE! So, yeah it’s worth it. The actual castle itself, there are plenty of others very similar across Romania. All beautiful, all ancient. But only Bran Castle can lay claim to being home to the mythical Count Dracula.
There is also a ‘torture room’ on display. You need an extra $4 ticket to enter. It goes into depth about medieval torture techniques, complete with diagrams. Ouch.
One thing to not, especially if you couldn’t care less about Vampires or movies, is that Pele Castle, listed below as other things to see in Brasov, is probably more beautiful than Bran Castle. But it doesn’t have the famous Count now does it!
Other Things to see in Brasov
Brasov may be famous due to it being the major tourist hub next to Castle Dracula. But there are plenty of things to do in Brasov aside from that too.
Rasnov is only a 12km drive from Brasov, and the little brother likes to mimic bigger brother, hence their Brasov-style huge Rasnov sign. Rasnov does, however, beat its neighbor in one respect, its huge fortress.
The fortress only costs $3 to get in, and you’re free to wander around it. It’s pretty huge so it’ll take at least an hour to explore. Built back in the 13th century, much of its original stonework is still in place which is pretty sweet. You can dabble in a bit of archery within the fortress walls too.
Prejmer (and other Fortified churches):
The whole region is littered with fortified churches, which were functional religious centers in their day. But during war times everyone would centre in the fortified church and no one would get hurt. T
hese things are impenetrable. There are more than 5 UNESCO world heritage churches dotted around, the pick of the bunch though is Prejmer, just 15km from Brasov.
This is, without doubt, the coolest home I’ve ever seen. The most opulent, decadent, opulent house you can ever come across. Gold-covered roofs, Arabic rooms, Turkish rooms, secret doors and corridors, gardens littered with statues, bedrooms for his mistresses, libraries with hidden staircases, carvings on everything.
It’s difficult to articulate the sheer grandiose nature of the place. If you’re in Transylvania, come and check it out. Unreal. $5 to enter.
Best Time to visit Brasov, Bran and ‘Castle Dracula’?
European Summer is ‘high season’. The weather is gorgeous, and Romania looks in full bloom. However, if it’s ancient, mythical sights you want, you can’t go wrong visiting Bran Castle, or any castle in Romania for that matter, in winter. Snow-covered castles just seem to look better! Just dress appropriately
Visiting Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania; My Personal Experience
I was on an overland trip to every country in Europe. Romania is a BRILLIANT country to travel around. There is so much to see and do BUT a lot of the attractions are quite out of the way and public transport doesn’t always cut it.
Luckily, I had 2 friends fly in from England to visit me so we rented a car for 4 or 5 days and road tripped it from Bucharest to Transylvania in Romania.
No trip in Eastern Europe goes without any hitches so after about 4 hours we were pulled over by the police for an apparent illegal maneuver. Whatever. To cut a long story short, a fat, mustached policeman dropped his ‘fine’ from 400 Euro to 10 after some tough negotiating. That’s the fourth time I’ve bribed police in 8 days here in Romania. Quite the record.
Anyways, our road trip was going well. 4 guys, one Vauxhall Astra, a few police bribes, and endless conversation about women and football. We even managed to squeeze in 4 Unesco world heritage sites.
We used Brasov as a base to explore Transylvania and while we tried to squeeze in as much as possible, the 3 undoubted highlights were Rasnov Fortress, Pele’s Castle, and Prejmer Church.
Visiting Dracula’s castle was another dream come true for me too. The town around Bran Castle is all built for the Count’s reputation. Vampire costumes, fake blood, haunted houses – tacky, true but pretty cool too. I guess walking around the castle, reading the history and grabbing a bite to eat probably takes an hour, two max so you can do this in a morning for sure.
If you’re backpacking in Romania, car rental is the way to go. It’s about $40 a day but if there are 3 or 4 of you, it’s not too expensive and you can really explore the beautiful Romanian countryside. Happy travels!
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