Sitting high on top of a 200-foot (61-meter) cliff in the middle of Transylvania, Bran Castle is surrounded by an aura of mystery tied to both the myth of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula and the infamous Vlad Tepes—also known as Vlad the Impaler—who is said to have made Bran Castle his home. One of the world’s most famous castles, Bran Castle today is a museum dedicated to Queen Marie of Romania.
Even if you are not enticed by Bran Castle’s darker history, visiting the so-called Dracula’s Castle makes a lovely day trip from either Bucharest or Brasov. Views from the castle, which overlooks the medieval city of Bran, are epic, and learning about the castle’s rich history is easy, as most of the displays are translated into English. Expect dozens of tunnels, a secret staircase, and nearly 60 rooms, several with museum-like displays around different themes. Don’t miss the room dedicated to Dracula. To experience more of the looming stone edifice, stroll around its base to see it from every angle. See more of Transylvania by booking a one-day tour that combines a visit to Bran Castle with sites like Peles Castle, Poenari Castle, Rasnov Fortress, or Brasov’s Black Church.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bran Castle is a must-see for adventurous travelers and Goth history buffs.
- Allow two to three hours for your visit.
- Expect long entry lines; book tickets in advance to reduce wait times.
- Many parts of the castle have low ceilings, so watch your head.
- Bran Castle is not wheelchair accessible, but admission is free for the disabled.
How to Get There
Bran Castle is easily accessible from Bucharest and Brasov. Take the train from Bucharest to Brasov, about a 3.5-hour ride, and then transfer to a bus or taxi for the remaining 30-mile (48-kilometer) journey to Bran Castle. Buses run between Brasov and the castle every 30 minutes during the week and once an hour on the weekends.
When to Get There
Bran Castle is open year-round (April 1 to September 30: Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm; Monday from noon to 6pm; October 1 to March 31: Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm; Monday from noon to 4pm). The castle is best visited during summer, when the weather is pleasant and the castle remains open a few extra hours. That said, winter’s gray skies and chilly temperatures offer an appropriately gloomy ambience. Try to visit on a weekday and arrive first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. Alternatively, arrive later in the afternoon and stay to watch the sun setting in the distance.
Bran Castle for Dracula Fans
Bran Castle is rumored to have been the home of the infamous ruler of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes, the vicious ruler who is said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. In addition to Bran Castle, Dracula fans will enjoy visiting Targoviste, once the capital of Wallachia and where Vlad held court. An hour from there is the Poenari Castle, one of Vlad’s main fortresses. And on the way back to Bucharest is the Snagov Monastery, where Vlad is said to be buried. Visit all four sights together by booking a Dracula tour from Bucharest.