Step Inside Bran Castle…And Meet Count Dracula!

We are very happy to present a special article from friends of the Fairytale Traveler, Cheryl and Lisa of What Boundaries travel blog. When we discovered they were on location at Bran Castle in Transylvania, we couldn’t help but invite them to share their great story with us!

Bran Castle

Cheryl and Lisa at Bran Castle, Transylvania

Deep within Transylvania lies the forbidding old fortress of Bran Castle, notably the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Bran Castle – also called Dracula’s Castle – overlooks the surrounding countryside with a sinister sneer. Come with us as we go inside the castle and look deep into the dark places. Let’s explore the secret stairways and the hidden passages where you’ll feel the cold breath of those who came before…if you dare!

Bran Castle

Bran Castle has a history going back to 1211 when the Teutons erected a fort on the present location. The Turkish name for Bran is “gate” and this gateway has served as a protection to the people against invading armies since that time. The castle sits high on a steep, rocky cliff and closely resembles the description from Stoker’s Dracula. 

On the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm [with] silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.” -Bram Stoker, Dracula

Die hard Bram Stoker fan? Check out this year’s Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin Ireland, home of Bram Stoker!

Bran Castle

Bran Castle and Dracula are historically connected, but not quite as closely as we would hope. Bram Stoker used a combination of folk sources, historical facts, and personal friends to design a complex character we know of as Count Dracula. The evil, bloodthirsty vampire of lore came from stories in the small Romanian villages near Bran, where there is a belief in the existence of ghostlike evil spirit the people call “strigoi”. These troubled souls of the dead roam the earth as vampires. However, the real Dracula – Vlad the Impaler – never lived in the castle, but actually came through Bran and Brasov in 1459 to ruthlessly burn the suburbs and kill hundreds of Saxons from the Transylvania area.

Bran Castle

Bram Stoker had access to the book History of Moldavia and Wallachia by Johann Christian Engel. This is likely where he saw Vlad the Impaler first described as an evil and bloody tyrant. Stoker also may have seen famous Saxon engravings of Vlad the Impaler at the Royal Library in London. In the British Museum collections, these engravings show Vlad as a monster, a vampire who drinks man’s blood, and an astoundingly cruel conqueror. It’s no wonder Count Dracula has the ability to raise goosebumps even over 100 years after his creation!

Bran Castle

Bran Castle

Bran Castle

A step back in time at Bran Castle is a must for all Stoker fans and those who love the secret shadowy places found in ancient castles. It can be crowded at times, so be sure to make the effort to find those special places in the dark recesses of Dracula’s Castle…because you never know what you may find!

Bran Castle Dracula Castle


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About What Boundaries

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Cheryl and Lisa have been providing Travel Inspiration and Health Advice to their readers since 2007 through "What Boundaries Travel" and "The Travel Pharmacist". Currently house-sitting their way around the world, Cheryl and Lisa enjoy sharing stories from the road!

16 Comments on this post

  1. Forwarded this article on to my husband who’s a HUGE Dracula fanatic! I’m not quite as fascinated, but that castle looks awesome!

    Katrina / Reply
  2. […] favorite read of mine. Bram Stoker based his character of Count Dracula off Vlad Dracula III and Bran Castle in Transylvania. In comparison of the two I would say Vlad Dracula III may as well have been a vampire. […]

  3. This looks amazing. Would be fun to spend the night. I have heard the scenery in that area is breath taking!

    Jack Albritton / Reply
  4. Wow, I love castles, and this looks like the ultimate castle experience!!! Cool photos! I am not sure if I am brave enough to be there after dark though….. 🙂

    Maria from Nerd Nomads / Reply
  5. I have been to a castle or two but none as lovely as Bran! It is beautiful 😀

    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer / Reply
  6. I loooooved Bran Castle when I visited back in 2012! Awesome spot, and of course it’s kind of creepy as well!

  7. Bran is a very impressive castle indeed. Dracula’s (aka Vlad the Impaler) castle was actually at Poenari. But Poenari Castle is today just a humble ruin perched high on a steep rock, very hard to reach and as such not on the tourist route.

  8. Very cool! I love looking into places with literary connections like this!

    Ace CB / Reply
  9. That looks EXACTLY like the kind of place you would expect to find a vampire. It’s hard to picture living there and not somehow winding up in the middle of a horror story.

    Europe really has the US beat for these kinds of foreboding old places, doesn’t it? I mean, we can have crumbling victorian houses that just look like they have to be haunted, but they’re never quite as impressive.

    Jess / Reply
  10. What a gorgeous castle…a little scary, but beautiful nonetheless 🙂

    Pearl - Pretty Mayhem / Reply
  11. Oooh, spooky — especially that staircase. I loved reading Dracula when I was in high school and it’d be so cool to visit the castle that helped inspire the setting. I think I’d be slightly creeped out walking around if I happened to get separated from the crowd.

  12. Amazing 🙂 I so want to visit Romania and definitely Bran Castle! I love the idea of these fairytales 🙂

    Sammi Wanderlustin' / Reply
  13. I’ve visited Memento Park, and it’s hard to believe these were all around the city. It certainly sounds something like George Orwell’s 1984, doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe what it must’ve been like in those times?

    Sammi Wanderlustin' / Reply
  14. […] Bran Castle in Romania is known all over the world as ‘Dracula’s’ castle but in reality, there is no evidence that Bram Stoker knew it existed when he wrote his famous tale. There are some connections with Vlad The Impaler, who the character of Dracula is thought to be based on, but these are very slim. Nevertheless, it still remains a very popular attraction and is now a museum that is open for members of the public to walk around and explore. It is designated as a National Monument and Landmark. […]

  15. […] I know “Dracula” the vampire did not live in Bran Castlee, but it’s pretty damn cool that Bram Stoker was inspired by the man who did, Vlad Dracul. […]

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