Bran Castle, Romania

Flying to or from Budapest on a river cruise vacation? While you are in Hungary, you should consider staying a few days to explore nearby Romania as well. Though a bit far away for a day trip (even two), you might wish to consider visiting  Bran Castle tucked away on the Transylvania border near the city of Brasov.  It is now a privately held castle and a museum, open to the public :

Some interesting facts about the castle:

  • Bran Castle has little real association either with Vlad III , Bram Stoker, or the legend of Count Dracula. For some reason , it was one of several castles in Transylvania that became linked to the story. Hunyad Castle is another, and is it is far creepier in the author’s opinion.
    Hunyad Castle

    Hunyad Castle

  • The castle was built in the late 13th century-early 14th century and functioned as a fortress against the Ottoman Empire, and as a customs post due to its strategic position on a main route through the mountains between Transylvania and Wallachia.
  • It became the home for the royals of Romania after World War I and summer home to the country’s beloved Queen Marie. It is her collection of art and furniture that now form the basis of the museum.
  • Queen Marie modernized the castle piping in fresh spring water, building a hydro plant which also furnished nearby villages with electricity, and creating extensive gardens, ponds, stables, church and guest house. Her heart is resting in a marble sarcophagus in a crypt chapel opposite the castle.