Europe Trip – Romania – Land of Vlad Tepes aka Dracula


In Romania, we mainly spent time in the central Transylvania region, conjuring a vivid landscape of fortified Saxon churches, castles, and superstitions.

We first tried to visit Peles Castle in Sinaia, but because of road works and inaccessibility, we had to give that a pass. Instead, we went straight to Brasov, where Austro-Hungarian gingerbread roofs, baroque buildings, medieval spires and Soviet flat tops mingle in an attractive way. The central Piata Sfatului square and the Black Church (largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul) are nice and relaxing places to wander around. The Hollywood-esque Brasov sign on top of Mt Tampa is impressive and funny at the same time.

Nearby Bran, guarded by two snowcapped mountain chains, is home to Bran Castle, linked to Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler aka Count Dracul, a spectacular but little castle on a rocky bluff.

Visiting Sighisoara is like stepping into a kids’ fairy tale: narrow cobblestoned streets with lustrously colored 16-the century houses, a Unesco protected citadel (one of the best preserved ones in Europe), a Clock Tower dating from 1280 with stunning peacock-colored roof, and a Church on the highest point reached by an amazing covered stairway with 172 steps.  On top of that, it was the birthplace of Vlad Tepes! Exploring the town and citadel was a true delight for us as well as the kids. On top of that, Kyle got a new haircut, costing a whopping 2 euro!

Biertan is a typical Saxon village, with low houses in the German style, and is overlooked by the towering 15th century fortified church. Wandering around the church courtyard, overlooking the houses, farms, meadows and low hills, catapults you back in time hundreds of years as it feels like a place that time forgot.

Further West, Romania’s cultural gem has a great downtown area. However, Sibiu is also home to a little (super cheap) zoo that contains some remarkable animals and the unforgettable Astra Museum of Traditional Folk Civilisation, a sprawling open-air museum with a dazzling 120 traditional dwellings, mills, presses and churches brought in from around the country.

To end our journey through Romania, we stopped in Hunedoara, one of Romania’s most communist looking cities. Its skeletal steel mills and forgotten industry surrounds one of Eastern Europe’s loveliest medieval endeavors: Corvin Castle. This creepy Gothic castle, with a drawbridge over a rushing river, stands as a symbol of Hungarian rule.

We were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the Romanians, the quality of the roads and the overall more modern feel of the country than Bulgaria. With lots of mountains, it is a country to visit again when the kids are older and are able to do hikes.

Next destination: Hungary!


1 Response to “Europe Trip – Romania – Land of Vlad Tepes aka Dracula”

  1. 1 Laurent T
    June 3, 2014 at 21:48

    Good report folks. Romania has been on my wish list for a while. Surely a place to visit when we return to Europe. Have a nice wander around Bulgaria.

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