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Planning a trip from Brasov to Bran Castle? I’ll share everything I know about visiting Dracula’s Castle from Brasov including how to travel from Brasov to Bran by car, tour, taxi and bus (including costs and the pros and cons of the different methods).
I’d had my eye on Romania for years only partly due to mysterious rumours of vampires. So when I ended up in Germany last summer, I decided to head east through the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary towards Romania.
I learnt that it’s best to visit Dracula’s Castle from Brasov, a charming city in Transylvania flanked by the Carpathian Mountains. How could I resist?
Bran Castle is brimming with centuries-old history, myths and legends. Whether you’re travelling by public transport, taking a Romania road trip, backpacking or flashpacking, it should be high on your itinerary.
It’s good news for budget travellers: visiting Dracula’s Castle from Brasov can cost as little as 14 RON (€3)!
Read next: All the best things to do in Brasov, Romania
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Quick background of Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
A Castle has stood on this spot since 1212 but was destroyed by the Mongols. Bran Castle was built in 1377 and used to defend the area from the Ottomans.
In later years, it became a customs post on the mountainous pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. It was passed between Hungarian kings, unsuccessfully invaded by the Turks, briefly held by the Saxons, and eventually fell into decay.
After Transylvania became part of Greater Romania, Bran was renovated and became the favourite residence of Queen Marie of Romania. But when the communist era began, the royals were thrown out and the Castle was made into a museum.
Bran was only returned to its rightful heir in 2005.
But let’s face it, there’s one main thing that puts Bran on the map: it’s the fictional setting for Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula novel.
While Bram Stoker didn’t visit Bran Castle himself, it’s thought that he read about it and selected it as the setting for his eerie novel. To be honest, even this isn’t confirmed but since the Castle has a loose link to the real-life Dracula, it’s as likely a story as any.
Who was Dracula?
Vlad Tepes was the ruler of Wallachia in the 1400s, revered around Europe for his acts of brutal warfare. He earned the nickname ‘Vlad the Impaler’ due to the gruesome ways he impaled his enemies.
When Vlad Tepes was captured by the Hungarians, he was rumoured to be held prisoner in Bran Castle. However, scholars have since disproved this, saying he was actually held in Budapest. The rumour he was in Bran may have been circulated due to the foreboding look of the castle.
To summarise, Vlad Tepes AKA Vlad the Impaler never visited Bran. Nor did Bram Stoker. But since the character of Count Dracula is loosely based on Vlad Tepes who is loosely associated with the Castle, Bran has become the pop culture home of Dracula.
Maybe the eerie castle in the books was based on Bran, but the descriptions don’t really fit.
Honestly, the connection is tenuous at best. But I love a spooky story and even watched the 1931 Dracula movie on my laptop to psych myself up for visiting Dracula’s Castle!
So, with the history out of the way, how to get to Dracula’s Castle?
Getting from Brasov to Bran Castle
You have three main options when visiting Dracula’s Castle from Brasov:
- Drive (your own car or hire car)
- Take an organised day tour
- Ride the public Brasov to Bran Castle bus.
I’ll detail these three options as we go along…
Here’s how to get to Bran Castle…
#1 – Driving to Dracula’s Castle from Brasov
Drive northwest from Brasov on the DN73/E574. You’ll pass through Rasnov before reaching Bran. The Castle will be on your left.
Parking outside Dracula’s Castle costs 4 RON per hour.
Pros of driving from Brasov to Dracula’s Castle: You’re in control of your itinerary and can arrive early to beat the tour groups.
Cons of driving from Brasov to Dracula’s Castle: Hiring a car and driving overseas can be stressful especially if you’re a solo traveller.
Use Rentalcars.com to find car hires in Romania.
#2 – Brasov to Bran Castle by day tour
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, this is the quickest and most convenient option. Tours depart Brasov by airconditioned minibus and visit both Bran Castle and Rasnov Citadel in the morning.
You’ll be back by early afternoon having ticked off the sights. More time for relaxing in the main square and eating kürtőskalács… I mean, um, admiring the architecture!
You can also choose to extend the trip to visit Peles Castle (arguably Romania’s most beautiful) during the afternoon.
Pros of taking a day tour to Bran Castle from Brasov: Everything is organised for you, and you’ll learn from a friendly tour guide.
Cons of taking a day tour to Bran Castle from Brasov: It’s the more expensive option and, if you’re the type of person who likes to explore slowly, you may feel rushed.
#3 – Brasov to Bran Castle by public bus
Catching the Brasov to Bran bus isn’t difficult. All you need to do is get to Brasov’s Bus Station 2 (Autogara 2) and find the bus labelled Bran – Rasnov.
Getting to Autogara 2 from Brasov – I originally planned to catch a bus from downtown Brasov to the bus station. Bus numbers 5 and 22 travel between the city and bus station throughout the day. I ended up in a rush the morning of my visit so called an Uber for 8 RON instead.
Pros of taking the Brasov to Bran Castle bus: It’s cheap! And you can spend as long as you want exploring.
Cons of taking the Brasov to Bran Castle bus: It’s the longwinded option. To visit Bran & Rasnov will take you the best part of a day rather than a half-day.
#4 Brasov to Dracula’s Castle by taxi
Although I didn’t take this option myself, I’ve since heard you can arrange day / half-day rates with local taxi drivers who will take you from Brasov to Bran for around €20.
Uber is also available in Brasov as well as a few local taxi apps like Bratax, CleverTaxi and StarTaxi. Try entering Bran as your destination and see if they will take you all the way. If so, ask them to stick around because it may be hard to hail a ride back from sleepy Bran town.
Pros of taking a taxi to Bran Castle from Brasov: It’s cheaper than a day tour if you can get a group together.
Cons of taking a taxi to Bran Castle from Brasov: Not an affordable option for solo travellers.
Arriving at Dracula’s Castle
The bus from Brasov to Bran Castle dropped me in Bran Village, virtually outside the castle.
I mused that this small settlement would be sleepy if it weren’t for the popularity of Dracula. Nowadays, it feels busy with tourists stopping for coffee and lunch after their visit to Bran Castle.
I can’t imagine what the locals think… but at least there’s coffee at every corner!
Things to see and do at Dracula’s Castle
Now we’ve covered how to get to Bran Castle, what should you do there?
Bran Castle is an easy place to sightsee because you can follow the castle interior round in a loop, reading informative boards about the history of the castle and coming out where you started.
I enjoyed seeing preserved bedrooms of the royals and looking out over the Romanian countryside from pretty courtyards.
I’d say the full circuit of Bran Castle takes about 1.5 hours. I know the tour groups spend 1 hour here. I don’t doubt you can see it in this time but if you’re a slow traveller like me who takes a million photos, you may find them a bit rushed.
After touring the Castle, you can wander the peaceful grounds and snap photos of the imposing castle from the outside.
Useful info for visiting Bran Castle from Brasov
Entrance is 45 RON per person or 25/30/10 for students/seniors/children.
Opening hours are Monday 12-6pm, Tues-Sun, 9am-6pm (apart from in the winter season).
Last entry is 6pm in summer and 4pm in winter (October to March).
Get there early at the weekend, especially during summer months when it gets ridiculously busy. I caught the 8am bus to arrive for the opening time of 9am. I still waited in a queue!
Bus tip: Check the bus timetable when you arrive and time your visit around when you want to leave. Otherwise, you may have to wait 30 minutes for the next bus.
Facts about Bran Castle
- The Castle’s highest point measures 762 metres
- There are over 60 rooms inside
- There are a few secret passages that were used in the castle’s heyday, one of which you can walk through during your visit.
Dracula – or the lack of!
I really enjoyed my visit from Brasov to Dracula’s Castle but if you’re hoping to see any Dracula quirks, you might be disappointed. Romania doesn’t massively capitalise on this type of tourism.
There was one information board in the Castle mentioning Vlad Tepes but honestly, you’ll learn more by reading my Dracula info above ^
The information at Bran Castle is geared towards the ancient royals who resided here. No vampires today, sorry!
Getting back to Brasov from Bran Castle by bus
The bus from Brasov to Bran returns every 30 minutes in the week and hourly on weekends.
Simply reboard the bus in the same place it dropped you and ride it back to Autogara 2 on the outskirts of Brasov.
From here, jump aboard a local bus to the city centre, call an Uber or walk for 35 minutes.
Visiting Rasnov Citadel
After visiting Dracula’s Castle from Brasov, there’s another countryside fortress you can easily visit on your way back.
Rasnov Citadel is halfway between Brasov and Bran. You’ll pass it on the way there but I’d recommend seeing Dracula’s Castle first before the crowds arrive, then stopping at Rasnov on the way home.
From Rasnov town, walk towards the towering Citadel. If you don’t fancy the steep climb to the top, hop aboard the cable car. Here you can explore the citadel, learn about the history and spy unrivalled views over Romania.
Entry details: Entry is 12 RON (student price 6 RON).
Important note – Rasnov Citadel is closed for renovation during 2021.
Brasov to Rasnov by bus: Take the bus mentioned above from Autogara 2 and get off in Rasnov (the stop before Bran Castle).
Bran to Rasnov by bus: If you’re on the way back from visiting Dracula’s Castle, find the Bran Castle to Brasov bus. Get off when you reach the town of Rasnov. It should be obvious when you arrive because a load of people will get off the bus. Alternatively, have Google Maps open on your phone.
Rasnov to Brasov by bus: board the bus destined for Brasov (from the stop you got off when coming from Bran). Ride it back to Autogara 2 station in Brasov.
For everything to do, see & eat back in Brasov, read my Brasov guide & itinerary.
Arguably Romania’s most beautiful castle is Peles, a 1.5-hour drive from Brasov. If you’re keen to see this majestic castle surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, take a castles day tour (Bran, Rasnov and Peles) from Brasov.
The ‘real’ Dracula’s Castle
The castle where Vlad Tepes really lived is still standing in Romania. Most tourists don’t know about the ‘real Dracula’s Castle’ (well, if you take seriously the link between Count Dracula and real-life Vlad Tepes).
Poenari Castle lies near the famous Transfagarasan Road and can be visited on a day trip from Brasov.
It’s not as well preserved or impressive as Bran Castle but historians and vampire fans may want to have it on their radar.
Thanks for reading my Brasov to Bran Castle guide
I hope you have a better idea of how to get to Dracula’s Castle about what to do there. Although it’s not really linked to Dracula, you wouldn’t want to miss it.
Check out my other Romania blogs:
- The ultimate Romania road trip itinerary
- A complete Timisoara travel guide
- 2 days in Brasov: a complete itinerary
- Bucharest hidden gems
- Romania travel tips
See you next time for more adventures,
Ps. Travelling to Brasov Dracula’s Castle? Pin this for later!
TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING ROMANIA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and Kayak and search by month to see the cheapest dates.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
Confused about visas? I use iVisa to check visa requirements and apply for visas online.
For trains, use CRF Calatori to search times and book tickets. For buses, book at Autogari.
To catch buses in and out of Romania (from Bucharest and Timisoara), I use FlixBus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!