From the fairy-tale beauty of its forests and mountains to centuries-old fortresses and castles telling the stories of a tumultuous past, Romania holds a wealth of history waiting to be explored.

Throughout its history, Romania has faced several confrontations with foreign powers trying to exert control over its territory. Many empires attempted to conquer this relatively small country, starting with the Romans and continuing with the Ottomans, Hungarians, and Russians. Finally, after centuries of struggles, in 1878, Romania was recognized as an independent state throughout Europe. 

One of the most remarkable aspects of Romania’s past is its ancient citadels and ruins, which offer a glimpse into a time long forgotten, a time when kings and queens ruled the country. These fantastic constructions are today restored and open to the public. 

So let’s dive in and see what Romania has in store for you when it comes to castles.

Take a tour of the Peleș and Pelișor Castles in Sinaia

Peles and Pelisor castles in Sinaia, Romania

Well hidden in the Carpathians mountains, in the picturesque mountain resort Sinaia, Peleș Castle is one architectural jewel you will remember for a long time. The magnificent castle you see today was constructed between 1873 and 1914 by King Carol I of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen. It was supposed to be a summer residence for the royal family.

The castle is very similar to a Swiss chalet and has approximately 160 rooms and a fabulous garden. You’ll find another small castle in the same area called “Pelișor.” It was built for the royal couple, Prince Ferdinand and Queen Mary of Romania. The style of this castle is quite distinct from that of Peleș castle, as it has a more modern aesthetic. It was decorated by Queen Mary herself using a combination of styles: Art Nouveau, prevalent in the 1900s, Byzantine, Celtic, and Neo-Romanian. 

In addition to refined rooms and enchanting gardens, tourists can explore numerous temporary art exhibitions hosted here.

The stunning Peleș and Pelișor Castles lie just 150 km from Bucharest. It’s a pleasant 2-hour drive. Before planning a weekend break in this area, make sure to consult traffic apps, as the road can become congested.

Usually, the Peleș Castle is open for visits on Tuesdays, from Thursday until Sunday between 9:15 AM to 5:00 PM, and on Wednesday between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The entrance fee is $33,35 (30 EUR) for visiting the entire castle: the ground floor and the other 2 floors. 

Pelișor Castle is open from Thursday until Sunday between 9:15 AM and 5:00 PM and Wednesdays between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The entrance ticket costs $6.67 (6.07 EUR).

However, since the visiting schedule can change quite often, we recommend you check the official website before planning to visit. 

Discovering Bran Castle’s mysterious history 

Bran Castle

Probably the most famous castle in Romania, covered in mystery and legend, Bran Castle is also known to be related to Bram Stoker’s legendary Count Dracula! Built 600 years ago on the edge of a cliff, it stands tall and majestic before our eyes today and is home to well-known vampire legends.

The Castle was a strategic military fortress before being transformed into a royal residence by Queen Marie of Romania. It was one of her favorite places. 

The Castle’s eerie atmosphere and association with Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, have made it an iconic landmark of Gothic horror. 

But there is more to Bran Castle’s story than just its association with vampires. The labyrinth-like interior and fascinating blend of Gothic and medieval architecture make it an intriguing destination for history and architecture lovers. 

Bran Castle is approximately 200 km from Bucharest and only 30 km from Brașov, making it an easily reachable destination by car. 

During summer, it opens its gates for curious tourists each Monday between 12.00 PM and 6:00 PM and from Tuesday until Sunday between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. In the wintertime, you can visit it each Monday between 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM and from Tuesday until Sunday between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The entrance fee is approximately $14 (12 EUR). 

Exploring the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara

Corvin Castle, Hunedoara, Romania

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a medieval castle straight out of a fairy tale? Look no further than the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania. This stunning Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, belonged to Matia Corvin, the famous Hungarian king during the medieval age! It was built in the 14th century and has been home to many noble families. As you explore the Castle’s courtyards, Gothic architecture, and sinuous staircases, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 

Don’t miss the Castle’s impressive Knight’s Hall, with its unique red marble columns adorned with floral elements and noble crests dating back to the 15th century. Legend says that Vlad the Impaler (aka Count Dracula) was once imprisoned right under the Knights’ Hall. With its rich history and stunning beauty, the Corvin Castle is a must-see destination, so make sure to add it to your list.

Corvin Castle is situated in Hunedoara County, 270 km from Brașov and 170 from Cluj Napoca.  

It can be visited Mondays between 12.00 PM and 8:00 PM and from Tuesday until Sunday between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM. The access ticket costs $8.89 (8.10 EUR), and an additional $15.56 (14.17 EUR) for a foreign language guide.

Sturdza Castle – the neo-gothic architectural gem from Moldavia

Sturdza Castle, Romania

Sturdza Castle from Miclăușeni domain, Iași county, is an unexpected architectural masterpiece. The Castle is a Neo-gothic monument built at the beginning of the XXth century by one of Romania’s most famous and ancient noble families: the Sturdza family. You might not have heard of this Castle until now, as it is not as well known as other castles in Romania. But one thing’s for sure: you don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit it! It will simply amaze you. 

Located in a beautifully arranged park, encompassed by ancient trees and delicate rose shrubs, you will see it stand tall in all its splendor: a magnificent building with fantastic architecture. You will not get bored admiring its stone decorations, fascinating columns, tall and imposing windows, making you believe you traveled through time. Inside, you’ll marvel at the painted walls and ceilings, the central marble stairs, and the furniture made from rosewood. Studza Castle was home to one of Romania’s most important private libraries. Unfortunately, many rare and valuable books were destroyed or lost during the Second World War. 

Studza Castle is located 65 km away from Iași and 244 km from Brașov. It can be visited every Monday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, from Tuesday until Friday between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM, and during weekends between 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The entrance fee is $4.50 (4.00 EUR). Remember, though, you must make a reservation at least 24h before visiting the Castle, so make sure to call before you arrive.  

Visiting the Cantacuzino Castle 

Cantacuzino Castle, Romania

Well hidden among tall trees on a hill, the Cantacuzino Castle is located in Bușteni, a small and picturesque touristic resort 40 km from Brașov and 150 km from Bucharest. It was built in 1911 by Prince Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino. Its immense garden will amaze you with its winding pathways, fountains, statues, and waterfalls. You can even visit a cave in this large park. And, most of all, you’ll be in awe, admiring the panoramic view of the Carpathians mountains. You won’t forget this view anytime soon. 

Walking into the Castle, you’ll be surrounded by a romantic atmosphere. You’ll admire the tall hallways with wall paintings while arcades and columns line your path. The stained glass windows allow the sunlight to pour in, perfectly complementing the old but still stylish furniture. The marble staircase stands proudly, while the white-stoned fireplaces add to the ambiance. 

Everything inside this Castle will remind you of the luxurious lifestyle of the noble Romanian families who lived there a long time ago. It is one of the best-preserved castles in Romania. Here you’ll also find an art and paintings gallery that can be visited. 

As a fun fact, some scenes of Tim Burton’s Netflix series “Wednesday” were filmed here. 🙂 

You can visit it anytime from Monday to Sunday between 10.00 AM and 7:00 PM. The entrance fee is $16.69 (15.21 EUR) for the Castle, the art exhibition, and the sculpture exhibition from the gardens. 

Be amazed by the architectural beauty and authentic wines at Jidvei Castle

Jidvei Castle

Initially built around the 1600s, this ancient Castle was once a recreational residence and never played a military role. Nevertheless, its French Renaissance-style architecture reminds us of the Castles from the Loire Valley. It was built by the father of Miklos Bethlen, the Transylvania Chancellor at that time. The Bethlen family was a noble Hungarian family, and many other castles are named after them in Transylvania.

The Bethlen – Heller Castle is near the Jidvei Winery, one of the most well-known Romanian wine producers. This is why you can visit the Castle and have an optional traditional meal with wine tasting. We recommend you try the complete experience to get a real taste of the place.

You will enjoy the Castle’s beautiful gardens with charming views and luxurious rooms, meeting, and event spaces. 

The Jidvei castle location is 366 km from Bucharest, 181 km from Brașov, and only 81 km from Sibiu, making it easily accessible by car. It is a great destination to add to your itinerary if you visit Transylvania

You can visit this Castle from Tuesday until Sunday between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM if you join one of their 3 guided tours (at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3 PM). The entrance fee is $8.89 (8.11 EUR) if you visit only the Castle and an additional $8.89 (8.11 EUR) for the Jidvei wine cellar and vineyard.

Beware of ghosts at the Iulia Hașdeu haunted Castle

Hasdeu haunted castle, Romania

Located just 97 km from Bucharest, in Prahova county, Iulia Hașdeu Castle, also known as the “Spirit’s Temple,” is well-known for paranormal activity. Unfortunately, it holds a tragic story. Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu was one of Romania’s most remarkable literary and academic figures. His daughter, Iulia Hașdeu, inherited his literary talent and passion for writing and languages from a very young age. At just 16 years old, she was the first Romanian student at the Sorbonne. Unfortunately, just 2 years later, she died of tuberculosis, leaving his beloved father in grief. 

He built this Castle in her memory between 1893 and 1896. But there is more to that: the Castle was created as an attempt of her grief-stricken father to contact her through spiritism sessions and other mystic practices. It was supposed to be a magical place connecting the world of the dead with that of the living. Pretty spooky, right? Needless to say, there are many stories surrounding the Castle. It is said that sometimes, you can hear Iulia playing the piano at night, followed by applause from an old man.  

The museum’s exposition includes works and documents, family photos, manuscripts, furniture, and personal objects of Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu and Iulia, his beloved daughter.  

The Castle is open for visiting from Tuesday until Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the entrance fee is $2.66 (2.43 EUR). 

Let yourself be amazed at the Palace of Culture in Iași

Palace of Culture, Iasi

Situated in the eastern part of the country, in Iași city, the Palace of Culture is unequivocally the city’s emblem. It’s a monumental, neo-gothic, romantic building with a footprint of over 7000 sqm. It was built at the beginning of the XX century. Its construction lasted almost 20 years! It is a remarkable piece of art that will astonish you with its details and the meticulousness of how they were realized. 

There are several must-see areas inside this magnificent building. One of them is the Hall of Honor, with its stained glass windows, imperial arches, and imposing columns. Its tall ceiling and mosaic, in a chess tile pattern, the magnificent stairway, made from white Carrara marble, will make you feel like royalty while stepping inside this architectural spectacle.  

Another inestimable jewel is the incredibly luxurious Hall of Voivods. A “Voivod” was the title given to Romanian sovereigns between XII and XVI centuries. Situated on the 1st floor of the Palace, this is the most beautiful room in the entire building. Here you will see a splendid collection of paintings – portraits of Moldavian Voivods of all times. Then, the massive marble chimney will catch your eye. Above it, you’ll see this great tree filled with portraits of all these important historical figures – all of Moldavia’s rulers. 

Henri Coandă Hall is another room you must see. The Palace of Culture was, in fact, the Palace of Justice in the past. And the Henri Coandă Hall was the Jury Court. This imposing room was inspired by Westminster Hall in London.   

The Clock Tower can also be visited. It is now open to the public and offers a great panoramic view of the city. 

Apart from all these, you can visit many museums inside this Palace. Here you can see the History Museum, “Ștefan Procopiu” Science and Technical Museum, the Art Museum, and the Ethnographic Museum.  

This splendid Palace is open from Wednesday until Sunday between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. A ticket for visiting the Palace and the museums costs approximately $10 (9 EUR). To see the Clock Tower, you must join one of the 2 guided tours each day at 10:40 AM and 11:40 AM (from Wednesday to Sunday). You must also make a reservation at the ticket office on the day you wish to visit it. 

Entering a time long gone at the Banffy Castle

Banffy Castle

This old Castle is located in Bonțida, only 27 km from Cluj-Napoca. Its construction began sometime in the XVIth century and lasted until the middle of the XIXth century. It was, and still is, one of the most spectacular aristocratic Romanian castles and belongs to the Banffy Family. It was called “Transylvania’s Versailles” in the past due to its Renaissance and Baroque architecture and extraordinary gardens. 

Unfortunately, this fantastic building has gone through a lot of destruction during the World Wars. Sadly, today it is only a ruin, the garden doesn’t exist anymore, but you can see through its crumbling walls the beauty it once sheltered. Today, many cultural events and programs are hosted at Banffy Castle, such as the International Transylvanian Film Festival (TIFF Festival) or Electric Castle, a popular electronic music event. 

This Castle is open for visits every day between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM, and the entrance fee is $0.66 (0.60 EUR). 

Bonus – Get inspired at the Balchik Castle – Bulgaria

Balchik Castle

Despite this article’s comprehensive overview of Romanian castles, we couldn’t ignore this stunning location. The Castle by the sea, Balchik Castle, with its fabulous gardens, is one you don’t want to miss. This beautiful white Castle was built by Queen Mary of Romania when the region was part of Romanian territory. Queen Mary was the last queen of Romania. She was respected and very loved by the Romanian people. She had 2 favorite places in the country: the Bran Castle and the Balchik Castle. 

The Castle was built between 1926 and 1937, and it was supposed to be the summer residence of Queen Mary. She personally had chosen this inspiring spot near the sea. What stands out in this special place is the residence’s serenity. Although it gives you a sense of royalty, it is not opulent but elegant and simple. What is truly spectacular about this place is its stunning garden, which is unique in Eastern Europe. You can stroll around the superb garden for an entire day and not get bored. 

It is lovely, especially during late spring (April – May) and early autumn (September – October), when all flowers bloom. Of course, you’ll see different types of flowers depending on the season. In total, there are over 3000 plant species. There’s also this fabulous Cactus Garden of over 1000 sqm, where you’ll see giant and rare cactus species unusual for this part of the world. There are really few words that can describe the variety and beauty of this garden. You’ll lose track of time wandering around its paths, labyrinths, tall trees, and rich thickets. And the cherry on the cake is the dazzling sea view that will take your breath away. 

Queen Mary loved this place so much that she requested through her will that her heart be kept at the Balchik Castle, inside Stella Maris Chapel, after her death. It was brought there until the territory was returned to Bulgaria, transferred to Bran Castle, and became part of the National History Museum Treasury. 

The Castle is open for visits from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM during summertime and from 8:00 AM until 5 PM in wintertime. The entrance fee is $7.14 (7.16 EUR). Balchik is located 300 km from Bucharest, so it is easily accessible by car. 

In conclusion, you simply cannot go wrong with visiting castles in Romania. There are so many Instagrammable places around here, filled with so much history and legends, that you’ll have a hard time choosing which one you want to see. 

If you simply cannot decide which ones to add to your itinerary, just give us an email, and we’ll be happy to assist in creating the perfect customized bulgarian or romanian trip for you. 

In the meantime, check out our Bulgaria and Romania revealed tour, which has a bit of everything and also includes Hunyad, Peleș, and Bran Castles in its itinerary. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to discover the hidden treasures of Romania!

Book your custom tour now and embark on an unforgettable journey through this captivating country. With our expert guides and personalized itineraries, you’ll experience the very best that Romania has to offer.

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