Situated in the verdant foothills of the Bucegi Mountains, Bran is a small village with a big reputation: it is known throughout the world as the home of ‘Dracula’s Castle’, or Bran Castle, as the locals call it. Legends suggest that Bran Castle was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s momentous novel ‘Dracula’, and the allure of this mythical place tempts visitors from around the world to travel to Bran.
Bran is located in southern Transylvania in the country of Brasov, and this charming little village is filled with pretty hillside houses and tree-lined streets. The settlement of Bran dates back to around the 14th-century when the construction of a stone castle started on a hilltop overlooking the village.
Most people choose a day trip to Bran, travelling from larger cities such as Brasov or the capital, Bucharest, but if you do decide to stay longer there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, plus both international and local restaurants. The tranquillity of this hillside village is only sometimes interrupted at the height of summer when sightseers descend on Bran to uncover the secrets of its famous castle for themselves.
If you visit Bran, the chances are you’re there for one thing only: a chance to visit the legendary ‘Dracula’s Castle’! Like something straight out of a fairytale, Bran Castle is the best-loved and well-known castle in the whole of Romania. Some of the biggest Dracula enthusiasts travel to Romania just to step foot in this famous castle. Of course, there is much debate surrounding the extent to which this castle actually has any real connection to the story of Dracula. Believers maintain that not only does the castle’s location fit Stoker’s description of Dracula’s lair, but the area was also the home of Vlad the Impaler, the historic figure said to inspire the legend of Count Dracula.
Whatever you think of Bran Castle’s vampiric connections, it’s difficult to escape its charms. Overlooking the village from a rocky outcrop, this atmospheric castle wows visitors with its imposing 14th-century stone walls and turrets. The views from the balconies of its inner courtyard are worth the visit alone, although the interior of the castle is equally impressive. Like a living museum, each room tells the story of its former inhabitants, namely the Romanian royal family, with plenty of original objects and decorations.
Although the link between the castle and Dracula may have been exaggerated a little, there is still a mythical air about this medieval castle, so visiting Bran Castle is sure to be a highlight of any tour of Romania.
Once you’ve explored the landmark castle, a three-minute walk will take you to Bran Village Museum, a worthwhile stop on a tour of Bran. This outdoor museum highlights rural life in Romania throughout the ages, with historic architecture and a series of informative exhibitions.
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