If you’re passionate about history and enjoy visiting historical attractions, then Romania is a great choice for you. This lesser-known country in Eastern Europe has stunning landscapes, beautiful, diverse nature, well-preserved medieval castles, and cities with friendly people who are happy to show you a good time.
Romania is famous for being home to Dracula’s Castle (in fact, Bran Castle), but there are many other castles just as interesting and with lots of stories to tell. Behind their magnificent stone walls, you’ll discover political intrigue, romance, and battle stories.
So, are you ready to step back in time and immerse yourself in these captivating narratives? We introduce you to eight of Romania’s most impressive castles that are so worth the visit:
Table of Contents
Bran Castle, home of Dracula
Bran Castle has one of the most intriguing histories. It was built as a guarding fortress in the 14th century, but in the 19th century, Romania’s Queen Maria restored and transformed it into her luxurious residence. The castle’s design perfectly blends authentic medieval features and opulent design.
But the castle is famous for its association with Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, which was inspired by a real Romanian figure: Vlad the Impaler. The medieval ruler was famous for his cruelty and the punishments he applied to his enemies and criminals: impaling them.
The castle is now a museum and is Romania’s top tourist attraction. Ticket prices start from $11 for adults. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll get discounted tickets, but you may want to buy them online to avoid long queues at the castle entrance.
Visiting Bran Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Brasov as it’s only 35 minutes away by car or bus. Plus, the Horror House Bran is an interesting nearby attraction if you want to experience something different but on the same theme.
Peleș Castle, the first European castle powered by electricity
Bran Castle is not the only Romanian castle treasured by a Romanian royalty. Peles Castle was built in the XIXth century as the summer residence for Romania’s royal family. King Carol, who ordered its construction, had a taste in European architecture and fine decorations, so multiple styles were combined for this incredible castle.
It displays fabulous Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows, and Cordoba leather-covered walls. Ceiling paintings and decorative frescoes add to the royalty vibe around the castle.
What’s more impressive is that Peles was the first castle in Europe to have electricity installed. There’s even a small elevator designed for the royal family to move from one floor to another so that the visiting time might take two to three hours. A ticket for walking through the ground floor is $10, but for the first and second floors, the fee will be $32.
You can get to Peles Castle by car or train from the capital Bucharest. The castle is located in the beautiful mountain resort of Sinaia, so make sure you’re prepared for the chilly weather.
Cantacuzino Castle of the wealthiest Romanian
Cantacuzino Castle in Bușteni was the residence of an aristocratic Romanian family, Cantacuzino. The construction was financed by Prince Grigore Cantacuzino, who was the wealthiest Romanian at the beginning of the 1900s. The castle was restored in the early 2010s and has been open to the public since then.
The popular Wednesday Netflix series was filmed on the castle grounds, which recently boosted its popularity.
The interior will amaze you! Its lavish designs with Roman mosaics and mural paintings, topped with Italian burnished pottery, will give you a sense of what it was like to be the richest man in the country.
What else makes Cantacuzino one of Romania’s most impressive castles? The castle’s terrace has a breathtaking view of the Carpathian Mountains; you can admire it while enjoying a meal at the castle’s restaurant.
Cantacuzino is located in Bușteni, which is very close to Sinaia. So if you want to extend your historical tour from Peles Castle, you can get there by car or train. The standard ticket to visit the castle costs $10 for adults and $7 for kids.
Deva Fortress, the citadel on top of a volcanic hill
The Fortress of Deva is an essential element in Romania’s history. It was first mentioned in documents dating from the 13th century, and the castle witnessed many historical events and battles. A knowledgeable guide can tell you a lot of stories about this one!
Built on top of a hill to offer strategic 360 views of the entire area and make its assault more difficult, you can imagine how amazing the views from the fortress are!
The citadel takes about two to three hours to visit completely. You can reach the place by climbing steep uphill stairs, which can become tiring, so pace yourself. Luckily, a cable car will take you up to the fortress. The ticket price is $5, and there are discounts for kids and students.
Deva Fortress is located in the city of Deva, which is around five hours by car or train from Bucharest, Romania’s capital.
Corvin Castle, one of the Seven Wonders of Romania
Corvin, one of Romania’s top castles, is one of the largest European castles and has 42 rooms. Built in the 15th century, the castle features a double wall, a moat, and several towers that were used as prisons and bastions. Just like you read about in stories or see in movies!
Corvin Castle is considered the most impressive castle in Eastern Europe, built in a Renaissance-Gothic style. It served as the residence and military garrison for John Hunayde, a medieval ruler of Transylvania. The inside features painted roofs, myriad colored windows, and stone-carved balconies.
And given its age and role, the castle is known to have the most interesting legends and stories.
The best way to get to the castle is by car. Tickets cost $9 for adults, with discounts for kids.
Enisala Fortress, a medieval point of observation
The Enisala medieval fortress is the only one still standing in the Dobrogea region located in Tulcea County. The building was built by Byzantine rulers back in the 13th century and used to monitor the flow of ships sailing on the Black Sea. The fortress also had a military role, but it was also an important cultural center.
The site is a hidden gem on top of a hill from where you can see the Razim and Babadag lakes and the Danube Delta in the distance. The visit takes less than an hour, and the ticket is around $2. The road to Enisala fortress is easily accessible by car, but you can also hike if you’re adventurous enough.
Sighișoara Citadel, a time capsule
Sighisoara Citadel is not only one of the most impressive castles in Romania but also one of the last medieval citadels in Europe where people still live. The location has been included in the list of UNESCO heritage sites because it’s so well-preserved despite being more than 500 years old. The houses in the citadel are colorful, well-kept, and impressive with their medieval architecture and details. You can see some of the most remarkable buildings around Citadel Square, where you can also relax and enjoy a traditional Transylvanian dish at one of the restaurants.
But what are some interesting sights around the citadel? First, the house where Vlad the Impaler was born is now the location of a museum and restaurant. Then, go on a tour around the fortified walls to see the nine defense towers. The Clock Tower is the largest and can be visited. Finally, there’s the Church on the Hill, where the citadel’s people would take refuge along with their most prized possessions.
The citadel has no entry fee, and it’s easily accessible by car or train from Brasov or the closest major city of Cluj-Napoca.
Sturdza Castle, known for its rich art collection
Sturdza Castle, located in Iasi in Eastern Romania, is a historical monument that comprises three elements: the Church of the Holy Princes, the Sturdza Palace, and The Miclăușeni Monastery Park. Most buildings were built around the 17th century and remodeled by Lord Ioan Sturdza, who belonged to a powerful political dynasty. A lot of political intrigue, mystery, and romance happened here!
The palace was intended to mimic the feudal castles of the West, which is why the building has impressive late Gothic architectural designs.
The luxurious towers designed with rosettes and crenellations are not the only impressive things about the castle. Sturdza had many valuable collections of books, paintings, jewelry, medieval costumes, and other important art collections. Unfortunately, they were all burnt by Russian soldiers after World War II, but the castle is still known as a cultural pinpoint in Romania’s history.
Starting with the 1950s, the castle was used as a military garrison, warehouse, and orphanage. This affected the building’s condition, but after extensive restorations in the early 2000s, the castle became an important tourist attraction in the region.
The Sturdza family’s motto was “Beauty shines everywhere,” which is fitting and shows how beautiful things are immortal, similar to the Sturdza castle today.
The entrance fee is less than $5, and you can also buy your ticket online. You can also find accommodation around the castle to enjoy the beautiful sights anytime.
Sturdza Castle is about one hour’s distance from the city of Iasi by car. From Bucharest, it would take you about six hours to get to Iasi by car, but the city also has an airport in case you only want to travel to Iasi or the area around. The city organizes many unique cultural events, so you might want to stay longer.
And there you have them, eight of Romania’s most impressive castles. We could have included at least 10 other castles, fortresses, and citadels in this list. But for now, we just wanted to give you a taste of what Romania can offer so you can start planning your visit.
If this list of Romanian castles already ignited your interest in traveling in Romania, you can find numerous resources on how to plan your trip, where to go, and what to see on the Romanian Friend page.
Eastern Europe is an exciting travel destination, so when planning a trip to this part of the world, don’t miss also visiting Bulgaria, Owl Over The World’s home country.