You can book now with the guides your local Romanian Friend recommends - see how it works
Bran Castle - also known by its touristic name 'Dracula Castle' or 'Vlad Dracula Castle' - is a Romanian 13th century historic attraction located in Transylvania and surrounded by mystery, attracting thousands of tourists every year. It gained most of its international popularity due to Bram Stoker’s 1897 (!) novel Dracula and Hollywood movie with the same name from 1992. The character was loosely inspired on Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century ruler of Wallachia with a tumultuous life famous for his cruelty towards enemies (hence the 'Impaler').
To debunk the Dracula story (or better said - the touristic version of it) and learn about the castle's true and fascinating history, you should see it for yourself. It is, after all, the top attraction in Romania. But be warned - Bran Castle had 800,000 visitors in 2016. That's a LOT of tourists for a country which saw only 2,7 mil tourists in 2016. So expect the usual crowds, bustle and tourist kitsch. Even so, we included Bran Castle on our list of best places to see in Transylvania - check out the entire list!
That's why your Romanian Friend found the best guides that we recommend you should consider if you want to visit Bran Castle. Bogdan and Dan will be more than happy to tell you the real story about 'Dracula Castle' in Transylvania - ugh!
We don't like this touristy association because we're proud locals and want to give you the real deal. You will also soon find that 'Dracula' is used a lot in Romanian tourism: 'The Real Dracula Tour', 'The Land of Dracula Tour', 'Dracula's Real Castle' (which is also partly true - read about Poienari Fortress). But wait - there's also Dracula's tomb, house, prison, church, etc. and all sorts of 'special events' which have nothing to do with the real culture of Romania. And with €€€ price tags...
See why we want to help?
Anyway, back to Bran Castle - the castle was gradually built and further developed in the form it is today between 1211-1377 and served as both border pass and defence fortress to protect the natural mountain entrance into Transylvania from the South, the other Romanian region known as Wallachia (Țara Românească). It was designed to prevent and defent from the expansion of the Ottoman Empire (currently Turkey). Between 1920 and 1948 the castle belonged to the Romanian Royal Family and was afterwards nationalized during the communist period and turned into state property. After the fall of the communism, it was re-opened for the public and designed as feudal art and history museum and in 2009 it was returned to the Romanian Royal Family.
The Dracula myth has transformed Bran Castle - sometimes wrongly dubbed Vlad the Impaler Castle - into a world-renowned destination - it was classified by Forbes as the second most expensive property in the world, being evaluated at USD 140mil.
During Halloween, the castle hosts several thematic parties and in 2016, for the first time in 70 years, the castle has allowed winners of an AirBnB competition to have a vampire-inspired sleep-over at the castle, in specially designed coffins.
Another attraction offered by the caretakers of the castle is a number of 10410 bottles of 2007 Dealu Mare Merlot wine, entitled „Chateau Bran”, with prices starting at EUR 10 per bottle, together with 1377 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, entitled „Reserve de l’Archiduc”, with prices starting at EUR 36 per bottle. Both of the assortments are sold only at Bran Castle.
Finally, a new attraction you shouldn't miss is a recently restored royal tea house on the castle's grounds.
The official website provides accurate and useful info on visits and getting there.