Brasov to Bran “Dracula” Castle
Here we will explore how you can visit Dracula Castle in Romania and how to get from Brasov to Bran Castle.
Just like erstwhile protagonist Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s infamous novel Dracula, I made my way through the Carpathian Mountains towards the small village of Bran in Romania. The views from the Bucharest to Brasov train were nothing short of spectacular; rising hillsides of dark green fir trees punctuated by gothic church spires and small villages. On the horizon jagged snow-capped mountains dotted the skyline.
Romania is one of the wildest and most remote parts of Europe where bears and wolves still prowl the ancient forests and villagers till the fields with horse and plough. It wasn’t hard to see why Bram Stoker set his bestselling horror novel here and it seems that little has changed in the 120 years since it was written.
Brasov is a charming small city in Transylvania surrounded by the Carpathians. Its gorgeous old town with its cobbled streets, gothic church and brightly coloured houses and cafes makes a great place to spend a few days. It also serves as the best place from which to visit Dracula’s castle at Bran.
After arriving at Brasov station I enquired about taking a bus to Bran and Dracula Castle. The buses leave from Autogara 2 which is a few km from the train station and Autogara 1 where I now stood. As it started to rain I decided to take a taxi instead of messing around with the busses and negotiated the trip for 120 lei ($30) for the 40 minute journey. The taxi driver recommended a guesthouse/pension which seemed reasonable at 75 lei for the night ($18) and dropped me there.
The guesthouse, or Pensiunea, was a charming wooden style cabin at the foot of the mountains and only a 5 minute walk to the centre of the village and Dracula’s Castle. If you are looking for accommodation there are plenty of options along the main street from guesthouses to hotels.
The village of Bran itself has little to offer save for the castle, a few restaurants and hundreds of stalls selling kitsch Dracula souvenirs (of which I bought more than my fare share). The village is pleasant enough and set in beautiful mountain and forest scenery but I would advise coming as a day trip from Brasov rather than spending a night there as there is not a lot to see or do once you have seen the castle.
The Legend of Dracula
The story of Count Dracula was written in 1897 and is a classic gothic horror tale which gave rise to the vampire mythos. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a fictional Transylvanian Prince (or Voivod) who was loosely based on the real life Vlad Dracul (also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad the Impaler). Although Vlad Dracul never lived at Bran Castle, Stoker drew inspiration from a description of the castle which seemed to fit his idea perfectly.
Bran Castle is built on a steep cliff overlooking the Moeciu valley on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia in central Romania. The earliest incarnation of Bran castle can be dated back to 1211 when the Teutonic Knights build a fortress in the village. Later, in 1377 Hungarian King Louis the Great granted the people of Brasov a castle and ordered the Saxon population to commence building, which was eventually finished in 1388.
You can read more about the history of Bran Castle on the official website.
How to get to Bran “Dracula” Castle:
The Castle is located in the small village of Bran in Transylvania which lies in the centre of Romania. The easiest way to reach Bran is form the nearby city of Brasov 30km away.
Trains from Bucharest to Brasov take 3.5 hours and cost 40 lei ($10)
Bran makes a good stop if you are traveling from London to Beijing along the Silk Road.
Bus: You can take a bus from Autogara (Terminal) 2 in Brasov and this takes approximately 45 minutes.
Taxi: A taxi from Brasov to Bran should cost around 80 lei ($20) and take around 40 minutes.
Castle Opening Hours:
Low Season (October to March)
Monday 12:00 – 16:00Monday 12:00 – 18:00
High Season (April to September)
Tues to Sun: 09:00 – 16:00 Tues to Sun 09:00 – 18:00
Entrance to Bran Castle:
Adult: 40 lei
Student: 25 lei
Child: 10 lei
See the official Bran Castle website for more information.
Looking for more things to do in Romania? Check out Sighisoura, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and a beautiful town nestled into the Transylvanian countryside.