Dracula is an English novel published in 1897 by Bram Stoker. It is rooted in Transylvanian folklore and legend but not real history corresponding to real castles. It is widely believed that the vampire in the novel, Count Dracula, was inspired by cruel Transylvanian rulers of the past like Vlad the Impaler or the countess Elizabeth Báthory. But as a fictional book, there is no actual "Dracula" castle.
There are some castles in Transylvania that claim to meet the descriptions of Stoker's Dracula castle for tourism purposes. But unfortunately, Dracula's castle is not real. Still one can feel like one is living the novel and visit Bran Castle and other "Dracula" castles in Romania. So one can visit these Dracula castles.
The Bran Castle - The Most Popular "Dracula Castle"
The most famous and touristic "Dracula Castle" in Transylvania is Bran Castle. It is a stunningly restored and preserved castle in Transylvania's mountains and in the right lighting certainly does look straight out of a horror movie.
- Located: 16 miles or 25 km Southwest of The City of Brașov
While Bran Castle is often called "Dracula's Castle" and is referred to as the home of the character "Count Dracula". The issue is that it is unlikely that Stoker even knew of this impressive castle - besides the castle in the book is referred to as a crumbling castle, not the well-maintained castle that Bran Castle is.
Still, why let the facts get in the way of a great Dracula trip to Transylvania? Bran Castle is eye-watering and open to the public. It is a castle everyone should visit.
- Amateur Photography: Permitted With General Admission Ticket
- Adults: 45Lei (9€) ($10)
- Medieval Torture Instruments: 10Lei (2€)
- Time Tunnel: 20Lei (4€) ($5)
- Monday: 12PM - 6PM
- Tue–Sun: 9AM - 6PM
- Last Admission: 6PM
Poenari Castle - The Real Home Of Vlad The Impaler
While Poenair Castle is not as visually impressive as Bran Castle, it was the real home and stronghold of the infamous Vlad the Impaler 500 years ago. It also better fits the distribution of being a "crumpling" castle a little too well as the castle is today in ruins.
- Home: Of Vlad The Impaler
It is situated high on a mountain top and one will need to climb the 1,480 concrete stairs to get there. The local county is planning to build a tram car to help facilitate access to the ancient fortress. As one climbs up, one passed by many effigies or dummies that have been "impaled" along with reconstructions of instructions of torture.
- Access: Via 1,480 Concrete Stairs
- Admission charge: 5 lei (approx 1.25 US Dollars)
- Where: 108 miles northwest of Bucharest
- Nearest train station: Curtea de Arges (15 Miles North)
- Winter season: 9 am -- 3 pm (last admission at 2 pm)
- Summer season: 9 am -- 5 pm (last admission at 4 pm)
From the ruins of Poienari Fortress, one can gaze out over the foothills of the stunning Carpathian Mountains steeped in legend and folklore. One can learn how when the Turks attacked and took the castle in 1462, Vlad was able to escape by a secret passageway through the mountains.
Located close to Bran Castle, Râşnov Castle is another impressive Dracula-like castle. It is built on the mountain top by Teutonic Knights to protect access Tartar raids. It is a much larger castle than Bran Castle and was designed to be a place of refuge for extended periods.
To that end, it had a large complex including over 30 houses, a school, a chapel, and other buildings one would normally find in a village. The castle included nine towers, a drawbridge, and two bastions.
So impregnable was the fort, that it was only forced to surrender once in 1612 when the attacks managed to get access to the fort by a secret route that supplied water to the people inside the fort. To overcome this weakness a 470-foot deep well was dug inside the castle - a feat that took 17 years to complete.
- Well: 470-Feet Deep And Took 17 Years To Build
Today Râşnov Castle has been restored and one can visit the impressive remains of one of Transylvania's most formidable castles.
- See: A Skeleton Buried Beneath A Glass Floor
- Bus: there is a Bus Service Between Brasov and Râşnov (Every 15 minutes)
- Location: Râşnov, Transylvania – Central Romania
- Visiting: As of The Time Of Writing (May 2022) The Fort is Closed For Restoration Works
- Grounds: Visitors Can still access The Grounds, Garden, and Admire the exterior
- Tip: Visit Bran Castle Râşnov Castle On The Same Day