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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

Bran Castle, the most visited castle in Romania

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Bran Castle is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Romania and I think there are few Romanians who have not visited it at least once. Being Romanian, Bran Castle was always on the list of sights to see on our childhood middle school day trips, and I was always excited to step on its doorstep. The situation hasn't changed much even in my adult life, visiting this place twice already.


Bran Castle has also become famous internationally, being the most visited castle by tourists. This international fame is due to the writer Bram Stocker, who mentions the castle as the residence of the main character in his fictional novel, Count Dracula. Later, the character Dracula was likened to Vlad the Impaler, more like a confusion of his father's name, Vlad Dracul, but also related to the cruelty of the leader of the Romanian Country, who became famous for the way he took revenge on his enemies. However, as we well know, Vlad the Impaler did not live at Bran Castle, the only connection considered viable by historians is that he was held captive for two months in this location by Matei Corvin.


The first mention of Bran Castle dates back to 1377, when the building permit was granted. The purpose of the building was to function as a military fortress, intended to protect Transylvania from the Ottomans, and its construction lasted 11 years. It is believed that in the same place where the Bran Castle is, there was another construction made by the Teutonic Knights, but no rel evidence has been found to support this.


In 1920, Queen Marie of Romania became the owner of the castle, after the mayor of Brasov gave it to her as a gift. The royal family turned it into a summer residence and after some renovations, a secret passage was discovered between the floors of the castle. In 1948, the castle was confiscated by the communist regime, and in 2006, it was returned to its rightful owner, the heir of Princess Ileana, daughter of Queen Marie and King Ferdinand.


Archduke Dominic of Habsburg, the inheritor of the royal family and the current owner, tried to sell the castle, putting it up for sale for 60 million euros. No buyers were found, so the archduke reoriented himself, offering the castle only for rent for private parties, when there is demand and it is estimated that a weekend with a medieval atmosphere at the castle would cost around 300,000 euros.


VISITING BRAN CASTLE


The castle is open for visits every day, the opening hours may vary, depending on the day and season. In order not to create confusion in case of changes, it is best to check on the official website. The ticket for an adult costs 55 lei (11 euros).


In addition to visiting the interior of the castle, where you can explore the armoury, bedrooms, dining room and other rooms, you can also visit the museum with furniture from various eras and art collections.


the interior of bran castle

During the visit, you can admire the Gothic architecture of the castle, as well as the beautiful panorama of its surroundings. You can also explore the castle courtyard and the surrounding garden, which offers a picturesque atmosphere.

one of the bedrooms of bran castle, known as dracul 's castle

For a complete visit, richer in information, you can use an audio guide. In addition to the castle, you can delight the little ones with a visit to the Time Tunnel and/or the medieval torture exhibition. For both, you pay extra, the entrance being 20 lei and 10 lei, respectively.


BEST VIEW OVER BRAN CASTLE, THE MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACE


If you weren't satisfied with the view from below to the castle and with the one from the castle on the surroundings either, then I have good news. There is a view point both on Bran Castle and on the areas that surround it. You just have to be willing to climb about 5 minutes from the main road to the top of a hill.


dracula's castle transylvania romania, the most instagrammable place

As a final destination, you must reach one of the two crosses on the hills near the castle. The one with the most beautiful view is right opposite the castle, on the right side of it. You have to cross the river and you will see a meadow and a monument. The path goes up next to that monument and is unmarked.

the best view to bran castle

Certainly, it is one of the most beautiful places from where you can admire the Bran Castle, so I recommend it without hesitation.

bran castle or dracula's castle the best and the most instagrammable place

HOW TO GET TO BRAN CASTLE


Bran Castle is located 190 km from Bucharest and 30 km from Brasov. The easiest way to get there is by car, either your own or a rented one. It can also be reached by public transport. From Bucharest, there is the option of taking the train to Brasov, then a bus from the Municipal Stadium to Bran. There is also the option of organized excursions, for more details and reservations, click here.


WHAT ELSE CAN YOU VISIT IN BRAN AREA?


Bran and the areas surrounding this village are some of the most touristic places in our country. Regardless of the season in which you arrive in these lands, I am convinced that you will find activities that will suit you and that you will like.


Things to do and places to visit in Bran:


- Walk to Bran Monastery;


Bran Monastery is located in one of the most picturesque places in the area, a little outside the village. It is a quiet area, where a hermitage was built quite recently, in 2006. It was built in memory of the heroic soldiers who fell on the front in the first world war. Later the building was transformed into a monastery.


- Visiting Bran National Museum;


Bran National Museum is one of the most interesting museums in Bran and, at the same time, one of the most overlooked places. After visiting the Bran Castle, you must also visit this museum, especially since the entrance fee is very low. Here you can admire collectible furniture that belonged to the royal family.


- Hiking on the marked hiking trails that start in Bran. You have the following routes as options:


-Bran- Sheepfold from Gaura- Omu Cabin. The route is marked with a red cross, has a difference in level of 1700 meters and takes 6-7 hours. It starts from the center of Bran and following Poarta River upstream, until the end of the street, where the marking follows the forest road. It is a summer route, it is not recommended to do it in winter.


- Bran- Scara Peak - Omu Cabin. The route is marked with a yellow triangle and takes around 7-8 hours. It has the same starting point as the previous route, only that this route follows the forest road to the end, then goes up to the Tiganesti ridge.


- Bran- Tiganesti Ridge- Omu Cabin. The route is marked with a red line, and the journey takes around 7 hours. The starting point is along River Poarta, up to Oprisului Bridge, where the route goes up to the left.


- Ride with the ATV;


If hiking is not your thing, or you want to enjoy a walk in nature without physical effort, you can consider an ATV ride. In Bran there are several companies that you can rent from and that guide you on the routes to follow, so that you don't disturb too much with the noise produced by these vehicles.


- Relaxing at the terrace of a restaurant;


Whether sitting for a coffee or a drink on the terrace or inside a restaurant is the main activity of the day, or whether you choose to relax after a long day of exploring and visiting, I consider it to be a way of relaxation that delights and pleases any type of tourist. Recently, I found out about an interesting restaurant, located 5 minutes' drive from Bran. It is called D.O.R and it is one of the most beautiful and interesting locations of this kind in Romania. To dine there, a reservation made at least 24 hours in advance is required.


- Activities organised by travel agencies;


In addition to the activities that I have presented above, you can book activities in some tourist agencies. They are ideal if you want to socialize and meet new people and make friends. You can choose from activities such as: cycling, hiking, climbing. One such agency, based in Bran, is Gonomad.


Near Bran, on Cheile Rasnoavei, there is the possibility of bungee jumping, for which a reservation is required in advance.


-Exploring the surroundings;


If you are looking for castles such as Bran Castle, relatively close are: Rasnov Fortress, Cantacuzino Castle and Peles Castle. For those who prefer nature, there are short hikes to waterfalls, caves or cabins. In the area is Valea Cetății Cave, the Waterfalls on the 7 Ladders Canyon, the Bat Cave and the Urlatoarea Waterfall.


WHERE TO STAY IN BRAN


Among the accommodation units available in Bran, the ones that caught my attention and have good ratings on Booking are:


- Pensiunea Montan din Bran, sat Simon SPA indoor- a guesthouse with indoor pool, barbecue area, internet and parking included in the price.


- Club Vila Bran -accommodation location with two swimming pools, parking and internet included in the price.


If you are looking for campsites, you can consider Heaven Camping Resort Bran. It has places for both caravans and tents.


CONCLUSION:


Bran Castle is one of the oldest castles in Romania, a place that breathes history and is worth discovering, if you haven't already. For me, it remains a fascinating and special place. I have to admit, I don't consider it the most beautiful castle in Romania, but I consider it one of the most important from a historical point of view. Also, I don't like the way the castle is presented and the street venders of items related to Dracula, seems to me to spoil the historical charm of the place. If you can get past these aspects, you will certainly be delighted by a visit to Bran.




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