Up for a more whimsical adventure?
Then, head on to the trails of Dracula in Transylvania or presently situated in central Romania. This historical region is dubbed as the ‘Land beyond the Forest’, which is relatively associated with its spooky reputation. Based on the ever popular horror novel of Bram Stoker entitled Dracula, the story revolves around Dracula’s attempt to migrate from Transylvania to England to spread the curse and find new blood. And to story goes on. But for now, let’s delve deeper into the ever fascinating Transylvania and uncover what lies beyond its creepy charm.
Are you ready? Here we go…
The ancient region of Transylvania is now strategically located in the central part of Romania, where breathtaking sceneries and rich mineral resources thrive in abundance. Actually, visiting to the place is like travelling back in time with a touch of spooky thrill and spectacular sights. Aside from the creepy count, you’ll witness lush landscapes of hardwood forests and wildflower fields, as well as captivating views of towering castles, medieval palaces and unique sites.
1. Bran Castle
Undeniably one of the most prominent sites in Transylvania, Bran Castle is often tagged as ‘Dracula’s Crib’. The castle is enthrallingly nestled atop a sky-high rock surrounded with forest lures, giving more frightening vibes among the tourists. However, the uncanny exteriors are pretty much contrasting with the beautiful interiors. Expect for an alluring intramural inside filled with art and furniture pieces from Queen Maria. There are lots of timbered rooms that are linked by underground passages. And because of its significance and prominence, the castle/ museum is considered as a national monument in the country.
2. Corvin Castle
A spellbinding castle in Romania, Corvin Castle is not just a country charm but also a worldwide attraction― it is one of the largest living castles in Europe. Formed during the 14th century by John Hunyadi, the castle became a prominent abode, as well as a strategic point during the ancient times. At the present generation, you’ll never miss to get a glimpse of this beauty as the castle is designed with lofty towers topped with pointed and colored turrets. The drawbridge and the intricate wood carvings add more magical sensation to the fortress. And the great thing, you can stroll freely without any guided tours. So, let your thoughts run wild at your own pace.
3. Merry Cemetery
A quite peculiar cemetery in the village of Sapanta, the Merry Cemetery somehow exudes favorable, artistic vibes in a rather unpleasant location. The colorfully designed crosses and creative epitaphs of the departed continue to attract tourists in the most unconventional way. Stan Ioan Pătraș, the original sculpture of the Merry Cemetery, single-handedly created and carved the designs of more than 800 epitaphs until his death in 1977. His most creative apprentice named Dumitru Pop continued his legacy. The bright pictures annotated with humors, sometimes dark and witty, feature the true life of person before he died. These epitaphs are straight from the heart and are not sugar-coated. One infamously funny limerick reads as “Ioan Toaderu loved horses. One more thing he loved very much. To sit at a table in a bar. Next to someone else’s wife.”
4. Salina Turda
Aside from primeval fortresses, this special spot in Romania adds a distinctive touch to every traveller’s spooky trip. The Salina Turda is a striking salt mine that features breathtaking underground scenery embellished with mesmerizing salt deposits. The main attractions of this worldwide attraction include the losif mine, Crivac room, Gizela mine, Rudolf mine, Terezia mine. Over the years, more and more tourists visit the salt mine to witness the historical value of Salina Turda.
5. Lake Sfânta Ana
The one and only crater lake beautifully carved in Romania, Lake Sfânta Ana is the best destination to witness a panoramic landscape of pure, blue waters and green wilderness. It is best to visit the place during autumn, where vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow stick out in unison. But if you get the chance to travel the country during winter, then expect for a more exhausting yet fulfilling trip as you need to descend to the blue-turned-white basin by foot, a pair of skis or a sledge.
6. Peles Castle
Though situated in the Prahova County and not in Transylvania, this striking structure is too much to miss. For more than four decades, Peleș Castle has been giving incredible sights and indescribable nods to all its spectators. This stunning fortress is a neo-Renaissance masterwork commissioned by King Carol and his wife Queen Elizabeth. These two notable individuals were very different from each other. Hence, you’ll be surprised with the unique contrast within the castle― from extensive collection of weaponry from the king to array of fresco paintings and pieces from the queen. The differences of the couple brought a beautiful identity to the now renowned Peleș Castle of Romania. Today, the place has become a sought-after attraction that provides a mandatory 40-minute guided tour to fully enjoy the scenery.
7. Hotel Castel Dracula
Not for the faint-hearted, this real life Dracula’s nest is set to excite tough travelers needing some eerie accommodation. Hotel Castel Dracula is definitely one for the books if you want to complete your vampire-themed visit to Transylvania. Take a snap with the popular hotel sign and if you want an extreme photography session, smile next to Dracula’s tomb. From spine-chilling decorations to blood-curdling rooms, this hotel makes your trip a bit crazier and creepier.
So, are there no vampires?
Well, there aren’t real vampires but Dracula is real (sorf of!)
Dracula is heavily linked with the notorious Vlad Dracula of Romania and his true to life figurative thirst for blood and more blood. This medieval prince is known for impaling his enemies through the torso. But even if he is famed by his murderous moniker, he is considered a hero in the country. His bloodsucking reputation, nevertheless, continues to lavishly bite the European market with the Transylvanian prestige.
For more haunted places in Europe read our blog post ‘8 Haunted Places in Europe’