7 Castles in Transylvania That Will Blow your Mind
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Last Updated on July 27, 2021
Romanian castles are like nothing else you can find anywhere in Europe. Medieval, often gothic, dramatic stone beasts that rise up tall amongst the craggy rocks and snow-capped mountains of Transylvania. Castles in Romania are the stuff of legend and myth.
When you think Transylvanian castles, you inevitably think of Dracula. And, while the myth and the reality are quite different, the beauty and majesty of Romanian castles is still without question. So, here are seven magnificent medieval castles in Transylvania that you absolutely must visit if you’re looking to have your mind blown when you visit Romania, from the most famous to the lesser-known gems of Transylvania.
7 Castles in Transylvania that Will Blow your Mind
There’s no other castle to start this list off with than Bran Castle – easily the most famous and beloved castle in Romania. And why is that? Well, for locals and for tourists there are two different reasons. Locals typically love Bran Castle because it was a favourite building of Queen Marie, a member of the British royal family who married one of the last kings of Romania and spent much of her time in Bran Castle – and locals adored Queen Marie.
For tourists, it’s the thrilling myths surrounding Count Dracula that draw people to Bran Castle. The real story of Dracula is pretty simple: Vlad Dracula was a medieval king of Wallachia, born in Transylvania, and he had a love for impaling people on large spikes. Propaganda was spread about his lust for blood which eventually inspired the vampire myths made popular by Bram Stoker’s book. While Dracula actually never visited Bran Castle, it was the castle’s aesthetics which inspired the castle described in the novel.
The Castle itself has grown and evolved since the 13th Century, and now a small and delightful town sits at its base. Resting atop a rock as it does, Bran Castle looks as though it was born from the earth itself. Its dramatic and gothic beauty is truly mesmerising.
More commonly known as Rasnov Fortress, Rasnov Castle is only a short drive from Bran Castle. Like Bran Castle, it sits high atop a hill, but what makes Rasnov Castle even more impressive is that it is so much larger – in its time, it was a small town – and its views of the surrounding landscape are much more vast because of how high it is, and because the surrounding landscape is a wide valley surrounded by mountains.
Rasnov Castle has existed since the 13th Century, and has remained more-or-less untouched since then. When you visit, you’ll find what are essentially wonderfully maintained medieval ruins. Some of the untouched stone houses even has souvenir shops inside, selling local handmade crafts and snacks. You’ll even find cats roaming about the fortress grounds.
The view from Rasnov Castle is easily its biggest selling point. On a cloudy day, the view has a really gothic quality to it, and on a clear day you can see for miles and miles, past the endless forests and to the distant mountains. Rasnov is one of the best castles in Transylvania!
Built in the town of Sinaia, on a route which connects Wallachia – where the capital of Bucharest sits – and Transylvania, Peles Castle is actually a fairly new structure. It was built in the late 19th Century in a neo-renaissance style and is arguably the most beautiful castle in Romania, thanks to how well maintained it is and its architectural style giving it a truly fairy tale quality.
Peles Castle looks undeniably like something out of a Disney film. With sloping green hills falling away from it, tree-covered mountains in the background, and the castle itself being comprised of steep towers, wood panelling, high windows, and bright white walls, it is a magical sight to behold! Check out this awesome tour goes to Peles and Bran Castle from Bucharest.
Corvin Castle, far more than Bran or Peles, is the most purely gothic castle in all of Romania. Built in the 14th Century, and renovated and built upon over time, Corvin Castle is another beloved tourist attraction in Transylvania. Take one look at Corvin Castle and you’ll find yourself staring at the most complete representation of a medieval gothic castle in all of Europe. From its perfect crenelations, to its red tiled towers, to the long bridge you must walk to enter under its battlements, everything about Corvin Castle is delightfully and brutally medieval. It’s a sight to behold and an absolute treasure to explore. This has to be one of the castles in Transylvania you have to check out!
Named after the family who built and owned it, Banffy Castle resembles more of an English palace than a medieval Romanian castle. In fact, comparing this and Peles Castle with Corvin and Rasnov castles really demonstrates the breadth of style and beauty in Romanian castles!
Over the centuries, Banffy Castle has been built upon, with towers and ramparts being added over time. Now, it is owned by the state and being renovated slowly by the Foundation Transylvania Trust. But it is still a hypnotically beautiful place to visit, surrounded by flat and calming gardens and ponds.
Another castle named for the aristocratic family who built it, Teleki Castle somewhat brings to mind a French palace in the same way that Bannfy Castle resembles an English palace. Teleki Castle is also a fairly new building, constructed in the 18th Century rather than as far back as the 12th Century, which is the case for Bran and Rasnov castles. Teleki Castle is a piece of indulgence for its aristocratic family, and a charming piece of architecture to visit and explore.
While most of the castles mentioned have managed to survive in spite of the passing centuries and the turbulent political eras that have come and gone, Kornis Castle was not quite so fortunate. The castle as it stands today is a ruin of what it once was. But that ruin is still a beautiful thing, and a real piece of important renaissance history for Transylvania.
When you arrive, notice the two statues that greet you before the large gate: a pair of unicorns, beautifully crafted centuries ago and remaining poised to greet every visitor to Kornis Castle. Beyond that, you have some dynamic ruins that today share their spot with the natural landscape in a truly gothic and picturesque fashion.
Tell me below which castles in Transylvania you would love to visit down below!
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