The home of Dracula
Coming to Romania for the first time at the time of writing this guide, then it could only mean one thing. It had to include both Bran and Brasov, located in the beautiful Transylvania region. The only downside, well, being the major tourist destinations in the country, hence quite a lot of hordes of tourists. From the beauty of the landscapes, mountains and forests; to the beauty of the villages and the many castles. A first time visitor to Romania should definitely include these places in their agenda. You cannot miss the world renown legend on the very same place it is set.
What is best, is that you can easily do both places in a day trip from Bucharest if you are staying there as a base. This will save you in fact a lot of costs, since hotels in this region are way more expensive and more limited than in the capital; and so the basic costs for everything like food, drinks, going out, etc. This is as you can imagine, the main tourist spot in Romania.
By the time of the year we went there, May, it was still great to enjoy the site with not so many tourists, since just few more days later and the site would become packed every day. Also the weather and the sun really made of it a perfect day out, even though the heavy thunderstorm at Brasov later in the afternoon almost did spoil the rest of the day.
Being such small places, especially Bran with barely the castle and a tiny village around it, the visiting is easy and straightforward, impossible to get lost, and hard to take you long time considering distances are very short.
On a few notes with regards to food, have in mind that Bran is heavily tourist orientated, all is about on how to make quick money and not actually minding for quality nor quantities. In the other hand, Brasov is simply a great city to eat and drink pretty much anywhere. Great quality, great service and quantities, and so the ambiance and care for the decoration of most of the places.
For further information about Bran check Wikipedia site. Romania’s currency is the Leu (RON). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
How to get there from Bucharest
Getting to Bran and Brasov from Bucharest is pretty easy, although time consuming. Nevertheless, a day trip is more than feasible and totally worth it. Trains depart Gara de Nord every hour and a half more or less. The best train time is the one departing at 08.30am, arriving in Brasov at 11.10am (47 RON per way). Once in Brasov train station, you need to take a local bus going to the Bus Terminal 2 Autogara Bartolomeu. The local bus is easy to spot, there is a big bus station right outside the train station, just ask anyone in the many kiosks around there and they will point you to the right stop. To verify you are in the correct one, check the destination from that bus stand.
Since there is no place to buy your tickets before boarding at that bus stop, (and if Sunday, kiosks selling tickets are closed), the bus driver will let you in and let you know where to drop off. Here cross the road and you will come to a very old and run down bus station. Ask for the bus to Bran, they come and go at around every 40 minutes.
The journey time to Bran is another 45 minutes. When you get of the bus, you will see straight away the Castle. There is no room for getting lost. When time to go back, you take the bus at the same place you got off but across the road. A good train time to return are either the 18.28pm, arriving at 21.14pm, or the 18.57pm which arrives at 21.40pm.
Once you reach the cities, there is no need for taking any public transportation at all. Bran is just a road leading to the castle; nor in Brasov, where you can walk easily through the Old Town in few minutes from edge to edge. Brasov has a cable car all the way to the top of the mountain, where you can get the best views of the city and beyond.
What to see and do in Bran
- Bran Castle 16miles away from Brasov. This place is indeed, one of the top attractions Romania has to offer; noticeable made further famous for the legend of Dracula.
What to see and do in Brasov
- Town Hall Square Piata Sfatului. The main square of the city where most of the sights are located.
- Merchants House Now the Cerbul Carpatin restaurant. It sits in the middle of the square.
- Black Church Biserica Neagra, the largest Gothic church in Romania.
- Rope Street Strada Sforii, the narrowest street in Europe.
- Saint Nicholas Church Originally built in Gothic style in the 14th century, later redecorated in Baroque style.
Being small villages, accommodation is more limited than what you can find in obviously, the capital. Still, most of the people I know, like in our case, did the base in Bucharest, and travelled here to spend the day. If your plans are others, make sure you check few hotel pages as the prices seem to differ quite a lot from one to another, otherwise here is the complete guide with all the information and hotel we stayed in Bucharest. And as usual, having a look at some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers is the best way to start. Then, if your budget is still not met, there is a good selection of properties through airb&b and the likes of course.