If you’re travelling in this area in Romania, staying in Brasov and taking a day-trip by bus to the nearby town of Bran is well worth it. Bran is most famous for Bran Castle otherwise known as Castle Dracula… yup, Vlad Ţepeş aka Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula set up residence here for a while. The best description for the castle I’ve heard was from a fellow traveller in the area “Such a big legend for such a small castle!” but it’s well worth a visit.
I admit that I was expecting something a bit more spooky and run down or something. Imagining it in my mind there was always the sound of nearby wolves howling, wind rustling dry leaves in the trees and thunder storms overhead. What I found was something very different! The castle had been renovated between 1920 -1930 to make it a modern summer home for the royal family so feels quite warm and friendly… not what I expected but I enjoyed the visit and learned quite a bit about a piece of Romania’s history.
After the unexpectedly modern and airy décor of the castle, coming back outside was a bit of a culture shock. There was tons of fun vampire trinkets and souvenirs that I wish I could have given a home to. (I used to have a large collection of ‘tacky vampire stuff’ so after a quick mental switch I was very much in my element as I wandered from stall to stall wishing I had some way to carry the mounds of vampire goodies I wanted to buy.) Mixed in with the kitsch was also some beautiful local crafts, jewellery and other goodies. My advice, if you can’t buy anything because you’re travelling or on a budget, leave your money at the hostel and take only a bit for the entry fee and perhaps a snack. I was far too tempted to shop and almost caved a few times. Although I’m proud to say I only bought 1 item, a beaded bracelet… hey, if it’s not in my backpack it doesn’t count as extra weight. ;)
A Few Photos of Bran Castle in Romania
Sorry for the terrible photo of Bran Castle, I tried but between my little camera, the backlighting and my limited photography abilities… this is the best shot out of the series. Luckily there’s lots of great photo’s of Bran castle online if you want a better look.
Entering Bran Castle
This really is a beautiful castle! Here’s a shot I took of the stairs as I recovered from the climb up the stone covered path to the top of the hill.
Inside Bran Castle
Comfortable, warm and friendly, not what I’d expected but it was a happy surprise! Hmm, ok, yes.. this could definitely be my dream summer home. :)
This is the only spooky thing I saw in the castle, the hidden staircase leading up to the upper floors was very narrow, dark and atmospheric.
Knight in Full Suit of Armour
Aha! I found my knight in shining armour :p
View From the Castle Top
Worth it even if only for the view of the southern Carpathian Mountains, beautiful isn’t it!
Landscape Near the Castle
The area surrounding the castle is beautifully lush and green, a nice spot to relax and think about this areas history.