After my failed attempt to visit Bran Castle yesterday, I managed to successfully visit it today with my new Australian friend.
We went to the right bus stop this time. Remember that if you’re ever in Brasov and you want to visit Bran then remember that it’s Autogart 2, not Autogart 1.
The bus stop is a thirty-ish minute walk away from Kismet Dao hostel, and it was freezing, but it was still doable. The bus journey itself is really scenic and it’s a great way to see more of the Transylvanian countryside if you’re only in Romania for a few days. The bus costs around 5-7 lei, which is around £1.40.
Bran Village is beautiful with its mountains and vampire tourism. It was a freezing November day, but I think I think the cold weather adds to the Transylvania experience. I really cannot imagine Transylvania in the summer. I don’t think it would be the same.
Bran castle is nice, but it’s just not quite what you expect it to be. I was expecting something huge and imposing, but I found it a little underwhelming.
There was also construction works going on around one of the outside walls of the castle which kind of ruined the illusion. It was still really pretty from certain angles, but the construction works brought it quite clearly into the 21st century. It is a perfectly nice and grand castle, but it’s not quite as impressive as you think it’s going to be.
However, the views from Bran Castle are stunning and perfect for taking some great pictures. Bran Castle might not quite live up to the hype, but if you’re in the area it’s still worth visiting. Entrance is only around 35 lei (I believe) which is pretty cheap for such a major attraction, and the town alone is worth the short bus ride.
Despite the fact that Bran castles main modern claim to fame is Dracula, in reality, the castle really doesn’t have much to do with him at all. He was briefly imprisoned there, but it’s a huge leap to say he lived there.
Dracula spent most of his time in other castles, and he spent some time in Brasov because he had a mistress there. You need to remember that, despite Bram Stroker’s stories, Vlad the Impaler was the ruler of Wallachia, not Transylvania.
To be honest, I’m not sure who actually had lived in the castle or if the furniture which decorated most of the rooms really had anything to do with the castle, but there were still some pretty cool displays.
Despite Bran Castle’s tenuous links to Vlad the Impaler, the village certainly capitalizes on the legend and there are loads of Vampire themed souvenirs. I bought a Dracula snow globe for 12 lei and felt no shame.
After wondering around Bran market for a while, we caught the bus to the nearby town of Rasnov. Rasnov is watched over by a very old Citadel.
You can normally get a cable car up the mountain to get a better look at the Citadel, but it looked like it was closed for the winter. The whole town looked like it was closed for the winter, to be honest.
It was pretty, though.
The bus wasn’t coming for ages and some random Romanian man offered us a lift to Brasov for 4 Lei. It was freezing and it seemed like a good idea at the time so we did it.
He dropped us off on the outskirts of town and refused to take us further, but the bus from there wasn’t that long and at least we saved some time. I probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been on my own, but there weren’t any major problems.
I’m not sure why, but pretty much no one in Brasov seems to pay for the buses. To be honest I’m not even sure how you pay for the buses as you can’t seem to buy a ticket from the driver but there are no clear ticket machines around. I got several ‘free’ bus rides whilst in Brasov, and it was pretty nice.
This was the good part of the day. It was all downhill from there.