When we were planning our trip to Bucharest, we always talked about a trip to the Bran Castle. By Googling how far it is from Bucharest centre, it says it’s 2hrs 45mins – definitely doable for a day trip. In reality, when we left the morning of, it was 3hrs 26mins. Add a bathroom break, and your original not even three hour drive has turned into four. Took us over an hour to do about 13km to get out of the city, then the rest of the drive was fairly straight forward. A couple of traffic stops along the way slowed us down, but nothing unbearable. Mountainy and through towns for most of the drive though, so if you ever do the drive, be aware of this; being stuck behind an 18 wheeler can massively slow you down…
Bran Castle is what author Bram Stoker based his famous Dracula book on. Surprisingly, he’d never been to the Bran Castle though; he based his entire description on photos he had. In theory, the Bran Castle isn’t made to be “Dracula’s Castle”, but after the description Bram Stoker had given, and all the Castles in the area of where the book takes place, this is the Castle based most on his description.
When we finally got to the castle area, there are paid parking areas. We parked at a place that was 4LEI an hour (1.26$cad / 0.86€), so very reasonable. There is a small market of people selling souvenirs, and restaurants all over. We had a cinnamon roll we’d originally discovered in Prague. It was 12LEI (2.57€), and was double the size, and half the price of the ones we’ve bought in Prague – amazing! The kids absolutely love these! The lady offered us a bag to put it in – not needed, the entire thing was done within five minutes lol
I’d read online that the wait to buy tickets can be so long, but we didn’t even wait five minutes. The cost was 40LEI (8.58€) an adult and 10LEI (2.14€) a child. It was an extra 10LEI to see the torture room – but we didn’t want to pay for that; we found out later that the kids couldn’t even go in because they are under 16, so it’s good we didn’t pay extra. There is also an extra tunnel that you could pay 20LEI extra for, even for kids, but we didn’t bother with that either. The list of prices says 7 and under is free, and another sign says 7-14 is the 10LEI; so maybe it depends on the person at the cash. All I know, is they let the twins in without paying.
The castle itself, honestly, was a little disappointing to tell you the truth. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I was expecting “more”. The inside is small and cramped. The decorations were not as medieval old looking as I thought it would be. I did enjoy the Halloween decorations though. Being there so close to their big Halloween party, they had some parts decorated.
As you walk through the castle, it brings you to spots outside overlooking the centre – this was very nice!
The grounds though, that was one of the best parts! Absolutely beautiful!! Seeing the kids trying to jump in the leaves and play and throw them around was awesome. Definitely showed the fall season!
The outside of the castle too was beautiful. In my opinion, much nicer than the inside.
Time for a picture of all five of us!!
Check out this freaky-looking picture, I just couldn’t resist taking it. Looks eerie.. Fitting for Dracula’s Castle.
We wanted to eat at the restaurant to feel like we’d get more out of the visit, but it was closed for a private event. We did find a delicious restaurant where we stuffed our face before heading off to the next castle 🙂
My son told me (without my even asking his thoughts) that “Dracula’s castle is a very cool place and you can see scary pictures and big weapons”.
I can truthfully say, I do not know much about this castle. I only found it because I was Googling what to do around Bucharest for day trips, and this kept coming up. It was an hour south of Bran Castle, and maybe one kilometre into the city off the highway, so it was a perfect stopping point on the way back to our hotel.
We found parking 500m the castle itself; you just have to walk up a small hill. We walked around the front of the castle only, and headed back to the car. Between the walk to and from, and time to take pictures, we were stopped for maybe a total of 45 minutes. I knew the castle wasn’t open, so there was no disappointment in not going inside.
While the driving was terribly long, in the end, we had a very good day. My kids have always said how badly they want to visit Transylvania after seeing the Hotel Transylvania movies, this just made them extra happy!