While planning our trip to Romania I did quite a bit of research about Dracula. Everywhere knows about him therefore you can find notes like ‘Dracula was born here’, or ‘the place of Dracula’s biggest poo’.
You can start the trip in Sighisoara, where Vlad was born. However it’s quite a small place, and we aren’t obsessed with the story that much – despite the research – so we skipped it and went to Corvin castle instead (Castelul Corvinilor in Hunedoara)…. Where Dracula, according to the legend, was a prisoner for quite a few years. It’s quite a nice prison.
It’s free to go around the outside of it and take some photos, but entry to the castle costs 35 lei/person (8 euros). Parking is around a 5 minute walk from the castle and is charged at 4 lei for a normal size car. It is possible that the next season prices will increase even further as in 2014 entry to Corvin castle was only 2 euros/person, which was probably a more suitable price given the fact that there’s almost nothing inside. Anyway the choice is yours.
Other than a lot of souvenirs there’s also small hot-dog place and pizza next to the parking. The town itself doesn’t have anything other to offer than the castle – unless you know something that we didn’t. The road to the town is being rebuilt at the time of writing (07/17) so it adds extra 30 minutes, if you’re lucky.
Our next stop was ‘the real Dracula castle’ in Poenari.. Now it’s nothing more than ruins but it wasn’t far from this in Dracula’s time, he was the one who decided to rebuild it and use it. The end result was pretty bad for him, since this is the place where his wife decided to commit suicide – jumping into the river from the castle walls. Nowadays tourists only go there for the ‘spectacular view’. To get there you have to climb 1460-1480 stairs, depending on who was counting them – although they can be forgiven for missing a few. Since the ruins are along the Transagarasan road you might as well just drive for an equally as impressive view from the road below.
The most commercial place on this list, and one of the most commercial in Europe. You can read everywhere that Dracula most likely was never there, however that doesn’t stop thousands of tourists going there. If you want to look for vampires, you can find them in every food place around – the prices in restaurants around are 50% higher than prices around Poenari, people around will try to suck out every cent you have. We especially ‘loved’ Trattoria Al Gallo where the waiter was literally offended that we don’t speak Romanian and told me to ‘read the menu’ when i asked for a glass of apple juice (the information about the flavours of juices wasn’t in the English menu, i checked.)
It doesn’t matter where in the village you are planning to stay – basically every place there has the view on the castle. It’s just hard not to.
Bran castle offers you a lot of tourist everywhere, queues to buy tickets and even more queues inside. But there’s also a free view if you will look hard enough. I tried to google ‘the best Bran panorama places’ to know where all of these famous photos were taken but with no result, sadly.
All you need to do is to find the hill with the cross from the photo above. And climb it, of course. It’s not the easiest climb in the world but Adam enjoyed it that much that he did it twice (I forgot my SD card from my camera….). There is a small path that leads up there. The whole thing takes up to 10 minutes, as long as you do it when it’s light. If you have any doubts if it’s a good idea or not then just look up and you will see quite a few people with massive cameras on the top of the hill. Some of them in quite bright clothes, that’s how we spotted it in the first place 🙂
And this is the photo result of our little climb:
If you’re planning to stay there for longer than few minutes, remember to use mosquito spray – we spent a few days recovering!
The other free view on the castle is… through the bars. You can see quite a lot of people stopping to take photos from there
The last castle on our list was Peles. Sadly when we drove to the town the road to the castle was closed due to some Europefest. We couldn’t find the way so we just skipped it and went straight to Bucharest. One day though…one day.
Have you been to see the castle in Romania? What did you think of them? Let us know below!