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5 Most Impressive Transylvania Castles and Fortresses

Article updated on March 2022:

Each of these Transylvania castles has its own stories and mysteries and now it is time to discover the true story behind the most important fortresses from Transylvania, Romania.

Land of medieval fortresses and count Dracula stories, Transylvania is a place with a unique beauty and fascinating stories.

If you are planning a trip to Romania you definitely have to pay a visit to these castles that are spread on Transylvania, which is the central province of this beautiful Balcanic country.

From more than 50 castles and fortresses that are spread across the Romanian territory, we carefully picked for you the ones that are best preserved and hide interesting stories.

You can visit them during a tour across the country together with other emblematic sights like monasteries, mountains, fortresses, and remote villages where the culture and traditions are still alive.

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Transylvania castles

But before telling you which are the must-see castles that you have to see while in Romania, let me give you some useful information about the country and the best time to go.

Where is Transylvania located

Incorrectly spelled as Transulvania, Translyvannia, Transylva or Transylvanoa, the stunning province of Transylvania lies hidden inside the mountains in the Balkans area.

I am sure that most of you associate Transylvania with Dracula, but there are not many other things you know about this place nor where Transylvania is located.

Let’s start with the beginning and tell you where the province is located on the world map.

Well, Transylvania on map is located in Romania, it is the central province of this country, nestled in the middle of the Carpathian Mountain range.

Transfagarasan Road Transylvania Romania

Transfagarasan Road Transylvania Romania

Transylvania is where time has stopped, traditions and culture are still alive, the food is delicious and here you can find the most welcoming and hospitable people on Earth.

Transylvania is located in the Balkan area, in the central part of Romania, neighboring Hungary to the west, Ukraine to the North and the Carpathian Mountains to the east and south.

You can choose to fly to Bucharest and then travel to the central part of the country you can fly to Cluj Napoca which is the largest city from Transylvania, a vibrant city also known as the Silicon Valley of the Balkans.

However, you will most probably land at Bucharest airport and from there you have two options to visit these Transylvania castles:

  • book a domestic flight from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca and from there rent a car to explore the region
  • rent a car directly from Bucharest airport and from there rent a car and start your tour across the country

Get the best price for your car rental today

Best time to go to Transylvania

Romania and of course, Transylvania have 4 seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn.

Winter generally lasts from December till February and it generally comes with low temperatures (quite often below 0 degrees Celsius), snow and ice, and sometimes freezing rain.

The days are quite short and cold and everything is covered in snow, so this is not a very good time to explore the country.

Transylvania

Transylvania

Summer on the other hand comes with long and sunny days, high temperatures, very little rain, and amazing sceneries.

June, July, and August are the best time to visit Transylvania, but you have to expect higher prices and lots of crowds everywhere.

It’s the summer holiday, most people take their holiday and not just tourists but also locals roaming around so expect to crowds and long queues, especially to the most iconic places like these castles.

Transylvania hills in Romania

Transylvania hills in Romania

In my opinion, spring and autumn are great for sightseeing and I strongly advise you to plan your holiday to in late May or September and October to enjoy good weather and fewer crowds.

Shoulder season comes with moderate prices, lots of sunny days, and fewer tourists so you can enjoy more the attractions of this region.

You can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the country, observe local life and taste the delicious food freshly cooked from local ingredients.

What to expect from the Transylvania castles

One thing I can tell you for sure: you will never get bored of this country and its impressive attractions.

Each of these castles is unique and have their own stories behind and none of these attractions resembles others you have already seen.

Dracula's Castle Bran Transylvania

Dracula’s Castle Bran Transylvania

Actually, the Transylvania attractions can be split into three main categories: fortresses, castles, and fortified churches.

This article talks about the most beautiful and well-preserved castles from Transylvania so let’s discover together why you should visit these attractions on your Romanian tour.

Table of contents:

  1. Bran Castle
  2. Peles Castle
  3. Corvin Castle
  4. Banfy Castle
  5. Teleki Castle

Ruins forgot by time or nice refurbished citadels, all are waiting to be discovered and to tell you their stories.

These castles in Transylvania have their own stories, stories which are important pieces in Romanian past and history.

If the walls of these Transylvania castles could speak they would tell us many unwritten stories and many secrets would come to light.

Citadels, queens, and kings are something that fascinates me and makes me want to know more about the past. So, each time I have the chance, I visit these places full of history.

During my trip to Romania, I visited several castles. I will try, in a few lines, to tell you some words about the most beautiful fortresses from Romania which I recommend you not to miss when you visit Transylvania.

Then this question popped up in my head:

Are there Castles in Transylvania?

Of course, there are, and not one but many beautiful castles of Transylvania from the 13th to 16th century some even older than that.

Every red dot you see on the map below is an important Castle in Transylvania.

Please note that not every castle is marked on the below map, as they are so many spread around Transylvania.

Transylvania Castles map castle in Transylvania

Transylvania Castle map castle in Transylvania

 

1. Bran Castle

Known as the home of count Dracula, the main character of Bram Stoker’s story, Bran is one of the most visited Transylvania castles in Romania.

This Transylvanian castle is a true work of art and it was built in the 14th century as a fortress to control and defend the trade exchange done via Rucar- Bran Pass.

History and facts

Over time, the citadel suffered many destructions and reconstructions.

The most important being the transformation made at the beginning of the XIX century during Queen Mary when the citadel know another period of glory.

Also known as Rasnov citadel the fortress is located very close to Brasov, so it is ideal for a day trip from Bucharest and is a top-rated Transylvania castle.

5 best Transylvania Castle castle in Transylvania

Bran Castle aesthetic castle

This castle corresponds perfectly with Bram Stoker description of Dracula fortress.

More than that, Vlad Tepes the Vallah ruler identified by many as count Dracula also known as Vlad the Impaler, was imprisoned in this fortress.

Because of all these things, this place is also known as Dracula’s Castle.

Nowadays the citadel is an architectural masterpiece very well preserved, with a past full of events and facts which changed Romanian history.

The citadel where the royal family once lived is very well preserved and inside of it, you can still find furniture dating Queen Mary’s period.

In 1973, the ministry of tourism of Romania created a unique tour called Dracula: Legend and Truth, which had it’s main theme around the life of Vlad the Impaler.

It was very propagandist and was intended to draw a clear line between count Dracula the fictional vampire and the historical character of Vlad the Impaler.

Vlad Tepes Dracula Sighisoara

Vlad Tepes Dracula Sighisoara castles in transylvania

The communist regime has decided that Dracula should not be included in Romania’s tourism offers, they were tolerant but did not encourage tourism around it.

This was the official position until the day the communist regime collapsed in December 1989.

Right near the castle, there is the House of Terror as a memory of Dracula’s habits.

Getting to Dracula’s castle from Bucharest

You can reach this castle by car, by bus, by train or on an organized tour.

We recommend you rent a car and drive along the country to visit all these 5 magical fortresses from the area.

Each of them is unique and played a role in Romanian history and culture.

Get the best price for your car rental today

How much time you need

A full day would be needed, especially if you want to visit also the House of Terror.

The surrounding area is breathtaking so you might consider staying a few extra days to relax and enjoy the view!

Where to sleep

Conacul Torzburg Bran is a beautiful mansion located just 500 metres from the castle.

The rooms are clean and well maintained and some of them offer a wonderful view of the castle.

The services are really great, the hosts do their best to answer your questions and requirements.
 

2. Peles Castle Transylvania Castle

Built at the beginning of 19th century at King Mihai I initiative, the castle is a Neo-Renaissance masterpiece.

It is located in Sinaia, right on the road which links old Wallachia with Transylvania, being one of the most beautiful Romanian castles that most tourist decide to see when they visit Romania.

Both the inside and outside of the building are very well maintained and very beautiful, don’t forget that this castle was built in a Neo-Renaissance style.

Walking around the palace you get the feeling that you travel back in time.

Everything is very carefully arranged as you expect to meet the queen from one minute to another.

5 best Transylvania Castle castles in Transylvania

Peles Castle – Transylvania Castles, castle aesthetic

History

Peles Castle, the second on my list, is home to over 4.000 Oriental and European pieces dating from the 15th century to 19th century.

Everything is nicely arranged and preserved, a must-see place when visiting Romania.

It is also very easy to reach being located right on your way from Bucharest to Brasov in the mountain resort called Sinaia. Definitely, you should pay it a visit if you have the opportunity.

Getting to Peles castle from Bucharest

You have a direct train from Bucharest to Sinaia and from Sinaia train station you can take a walk up to the castle.

There are also buses which operated from Bucharest or if you want to explore more of the area you can rent a car directly from the airport!

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation

We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.

Where to stay

Ioana Hotel Sinaia is a beautiful 5 stars hotel located in a quiet place, right over Sinaia resort.

It offers wonderful views over the resort and the surroundings, a spa center, and very modern rooms. Peles Castle is located within 20 minutes walking from the hotel.
 

3. Corvin Castle

Corvin fortress is one of the top medieval attractions from Transylvania built in Gothic style in the 14th century.

This Transylvania castle was home of Prince Ioan of Hunedoara one of the most successful leaders in Ottoman combats.

This unique construction has a unique beauty and because of its remarkable landscape, it is the host of many events like opera or film festivals.

Many publications wrote about this citadel that is the most beautiful castle in Romania and Central and Eastern Europe built in Gothic architecture.

5 best Transylvania castles

Corvin Castle –  Castles in Transylvania

This citadel looks just like the ones you see in storybooks with its high walls, surrounded by a water channel which during war periods was full of water, and a bridge that can be lifted whenever needed.

The fortress is built in such a manner that from wherever you look from the inside, you have a very wide view over the surrounding area. This assured an increased protection factor.

Location

Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, is located in Deva city, a beautiful and cozy town in Transylvania very easy to reach by car.

Nearby the fortress there are many other popular attractions, like Densus Church, Dinosaurs Geopark from Hateg, and Retezat National Park.

Getting from Bucharest to Corvin Castle

You can reach Corvin Castle by train, bus, and car.

Trains and buses are very time-consuming; it took you around 8 or 9 hours and there is no direct line.

The most convenient way to reach this castle is in a rented car. In about 5.30 hours you reach this magnificent place.

Where to sleep

Conacul Archia Deva is located right near the beautiful town of Deva, in the countryside.  Corvin Castle is located 25 minutes by car.

The rooms are spacious and clean, while the breakfast is varied and full of traditional courses.

Some of the many leisure activities available include horse riding and hiking.
 

4. Banffy Castle

Banffy Castle from Bontida is located very close to Cluj Napoca and is one of the best castles in Transylvania.

Unfortunately, this Transylvania castle is not preserved! There are just some ruins which reminded me about the glory days of the place!

History

During the communist area, this place was intentionally destroyed. Still, the ruins of Banffy are very impressive and imposing!

It is a very popular place among photographers because of its unique beauty.

5 best Transylvania Castle

Banffy Castle Transylvania Castles

This citadel was also called the Versailles of Transylvania because of the magnificent gardens which surround the building.

The landscape is indeed beautiful and worth paying a visit!

You will get really nice photos of this place, especially if you choose to visit it at sunset!

Nowadays, the fortress is the host of a music festival, called Electric Castle which took each summer in July.

With the money obtained from the festival, the event organizers try to preserve and recondition this masterpiece.

Getting from Bucharest to Banfi Castle

The castle is located pretty close to Cluj Napoca. So, take a flight from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca and then rent a car from Cluj Napoca airport.

In less than 3 hours you’re there. There are also train and buses, but it took you almost 11 hours to travel from Bucharest to Bontida.

If you choose to explore the country and rent a car from Bucharest, then you should know that you’ll need around 6.30 hours to reach the castle from Bucharest.

Where to sleep

You can spend your night in Cluj Napoca and book a few days to explore this wonderful city. Doubletree By Hilton Hotel Cluj is conveniently located right in the city centre, close to all major attractions.

The rooms, the breakfast, and the services are great. You can relax at the hotel’s spa or do some exercises in the indoor pool.
 

5. Teleki Castle

Teleki Castle is the most iconic citadel in Mures area.

This building reminds us about the period when aristocratic residences were the village centerpiece and everything revolved around those mansions.

They had money, they had power and all these things could be seen in their imposing buildings.

This work of art was owned by the aristocrat family Teleki, one of the most well-known families from Transylvania and was built at the end of the 18th century.

5 best Transylvania Castle

Teleki Castle

 

An interesting fact is that during World War II this fortress was transformed into a medical care center.

The location is very close to Targu Mures city, very easy to reach by car.

Getting to Teleki Castle from Bucharest

The easiest way to reach this castle is by car. In less than 5.30 hours you reach Teleki Castle from Bucharest.

Trains and buses are very cheap but you need a lot of time to reach your destination ( more than 10 hours).

Where to sleep

Plaza V Executive Hotel is located 15 kilometres away from the castle.

It is one of the best resorts from the area, offering modern rooms and tasty breakfast and is located right in the centre of Targu Mures city, another great place to visit while in Romania.

Transylvania is a fairy tale land with many natural wonders and man-made beauties.

You cannot visit Romania without visiting at least one of these iconic castles of Transylvania.

Each Transylvania castle has its own charm and beauty! These castles are the mirror of a grandiose past and of a place full of history!

Conclusion

All these 5 castles come with something unique and a beautiful story behind them.

Once you will get to Transylvania you will discover a world surrounded by mystery, a land of legends and counts, packed with many amazing attractions.

You will be fascinated not only by its attractions but also by the people that live here who are famous for their hospitality and extremely delicious food.

The best thing to explore this amazing country is to rent a car and discover on your own the hidden villages, the medieval fortresses that lie hidden inside the Carpathian Mountains.

FAQ

Are there any castles in Transylvania?

Transylvania is one of the most beautiful regions from the Balkans, and home to an impressive number of castles, medieval fortresses, and fortified churches.

This is the place where you can find not just the famous Dracula castle, but also the oldest and most incredible castles from the whole Europe.

Is there a real Dracula’s castle?

Well, yes it is there a Dracula castle in Transylvania. Even if Dracula is just a fictional character from Bram Stoker’s novel, in Transylvania you can find a castle that resembles perfectly the one described by the novelist.

Here I am talking about the Bran Castle, also known as Dracula Castle that lies perched on a cliff just outside the beautiful city of Brasov.

How many castles are there in Transylvania?

There are more than 50 castles spread all across Transylvania that can be found in different degrees of conservation.

Unfortunately, some of them have been completely destroyed during the communist era, while others had been abandoned.

In the last years, the real owners of these castles received them back and for some of them, the long and expensive reconstruction process began.

Can I stay in Dracula’s castle?

Dracula’s castle is open for the public only during the day, but there is an exception: Halloween night.

During this night, the castle hosts guest during nighttime, so hurry up and prebook your room as this is one of the most popular attractions from the area for Halloween night.

Where is Transylvania Dracula’s castle?

The Dracula’s castle, also known as Bran Castle is located on a beautiful mountain area near Brasov Romania, about 2.5 hours drive from Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.

You can get here by train, by car or with a guided tour and the tour of the castle lasts for about 2 hours.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation

We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.

 

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