The whole historical region of Transylvania deserves to be seen and discovered not just for the myth of Dracula, but also for the spectacular panorama, including its gothic, Harry Potter style castles and other hidden gems. There are lots of fun things to do in Romania, and a castle tour is definitely one of them. However, it is difficult to choose from so many Transylvanian castles.
Here we offer just a top 5 Transylvanian castles menu that should be on your active travel plate. In recent years, different NGOs have shown a lot of interest in reconditioning more and more castles and other medieval manors. They are now waiting for tourists to enjoy these fairylike places. Moreover, if you’re looking for pleasant experiences in Romania with kids, some of these chateaus offer accommodation. Here’s our selection for an unforgettable castle break:
The Legendary Transylvanian Castles
The Bran Castle was built by the Teutonic Knights around 1212, then it was conquered by the Saxons toward the end of the 13th century and became an important trading hub. Vlad the Impaler used it quite often as a stopover during his bloody incursions into Transylvania in the mid 15th century, and that’s how Count Dracula’s legend came to be. The castle stands 84 miles North of Bucharest and 16 miles South-West of Brașov, and the scenery is breathtaking. Kids and adults alike would have a blast playing around and reveling in the local Romanian culture, history, and gastronomy. Bran is without a doubt the best place to start your adventure travel in Transylvania.
The Corvin Castle, also known as John Hunyadi’s Castle, is a Gothic-Renaissance edifice in Hunedoara which was built in mid 15th century on the site of an ancient fortification, on a cliff in Zlaști valley. The castle is the largest Gothic fortress in Eastern Europe, stretching over an area of 7.000 square meters. Today, the Corvin Castle is home to several important archeological and ethnographic collections, as well as decorative art and antique books from the Middle Ages. The inner walls abound with spectacular sculptures and frescoes, reminding visitors of the everyday life and living standards of John Hunyadi’s descendants. An absolute medieval sweetie and THE PLACE to spark your kids’ imagination.
The Royal Castle
Peleș Castle was built by order of King Carol I between 1873–1914 to serve as a summer residence for the Romanian royal family. Sinaia is the mountain resort hosting the castle. The king himself picked the place for the beauty of the area and fresh air. Although the official inauguration took place in 1883, its extension continued up until 1914. That was the year of King Carol I’s death and the break of WWI. Peleș Castle covers an area of about 3.200 square meters, has 170 rooms and over 30 bathrooms. Not to mention it has many valuable collections of paintings, sculptures, statues, tapestry, ceramics, furniture, armor, gold and silver artifacts, porcelain, and so on. It was the first entirely electrified castle in Europe. Plus, it was among the very few to be provided with central heating in the late 19th century. A true royal jewel in the middle of stunning scenery!
Hidden Transylvanian Castles
The Brukenthal Summer Palace is a superb Baroque edifice in the town of Avrig, Sibiu county, which stands on a terrace at about 12 feet above the valley of the river Olt. It belonged to Samuel von Brukenthal, the Habsburg governor of the Grand Principality of Transylvania in the late 18th century. The Transylvanian palace has a strong Viennese touch to it as it resembles Schönbrunn with its luxurious gardens and Gloriette. It still needs refurbishing and a lot of reconditioning work but it’s close to Sibiu, and the scenery is terrific.
Bonțida Bánffy Castle is the 15th-century residence of the Bánffy family, one of the headmost Hungarian dynasties in Transylvania. Built in the Renaissance style, the castle was once considered the Versailles of Transylvania. It went through several restorations, and architects have improved it a few times. There are still traces of the late 18th, early 19th-century dendrological park. In addition, there are traces of the hospital for the Wehrmacht troops during WWII, as well. The Germans destroyed it at the end of the war, but Bonțida Bánffy Castle has now returned to life. In recent years, Prince Charles of Wales, together with the Transylvania Trust began the restoration of the castle. It is now the venue for seasonal open-air concerts in the courtyard, conferences, workshops, and other creative and cultural activities.
Of all Transylvanian castles, we hope you enjoy our selection and choose to travel and admire these fairytale castles. On the same topic, but looking like just taken out of a Hobbit story, you can visit the Clay Castle in Valea Zânelor, which is for sure a child-friendly place. Here you will find more about Transylvania as a top destination.