A Chef, Some Garlic and a Dracula!

By Niyati Shinde on Jan 08, 2019
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).
Hobo We Admire-Annette White
Annette is a freelance writer, the owner of a Michelin recommended restaurant in Northern California and creator of the award winning travel & lifestyle blog, Bucket List Journey. She is checking the world off her bucket list, one adventure at a time and inspiring readers to push through their fears in order to pursue their passion.

She has been recognized and worked with a multitude of companies, such as Frommers, Sandals Resorts and NATJA  while exploring more than 40 countries spanning 5 continents. Her wanderlust has taken her around the world where she has swam with thousands of jellyfish in Palau, bathed elephants at a rescue in Thailand, rappelled down a 100 foot waterfall in Costa Rica, nibbled on chicken feet in Hong Kong and so much more!

Bran Castle
In July 2015, she packed some garlic and headed off to Transylvania, Romania to explore the enthralling and mysterious Bran Castle! A national monument and a landmark in Romania , the Bran Castle has an intimidating aura around it. You will find this gothic castle near the town of Brasov. The castle has been long associated with Count Dracula, although, you wont find an actual one here! Count Dracula character was actually just a creation by author Bram Stoker for his novel written in 1897. Though Stoker had never even been to Transylvania, it is said that his writings were inspired by the very real and murderous Vlad the Impaler, who was known for excessive cruelty towards his enemies. Vlad was also believed to have spent time at Bran castle as a guest during a time of exile.

But, Transylvania has been extremely successful at keeping the legend of Dracula alive. So much so that Annette was adamant about travelling four hours to and fro to visit this mystifying castle perched atop a 200-foot rock. She booked a One Day Two Castles tour with a local tour operator and headed off to the lesser publicized, yet more impressive, Peles Castle first.

Peles Castle
When Annette signed up for the tour, she was not very keen on visiting the Peles Castle. She thought it was a mere pit stop on her way to Bran Castle. Just a place to stretch her legs. But her inhibitions were shattered the minute she walked up the path to the castle. Incredibly beautiful, Peles Castles construction began in the year 1873 and it took over 39 years to complete. With more than 160 ornate woodwork filled rooms using 14 different kinds of wood, its easy to see why it took so long. Annette paid an extra 32 lei (USD 7.99) to get a photography pass. Thanks to her, we can now see the breathtaking interiors.
Peles Castle Interiors
The guided tour included a walk through an array of elegant rooms. Some rooms that Annette found striking were the Florentine Hall, the Mirror Hall and the Arabic and Smoking Room. She also ogled at the magnificent pieces of artwork put on display throughout the castle. She was so impressed with the beauty and lavishness of this place that she recommends Peles Castle to everyone who plans on visiting Transylvania.
Dracula Mugs
Next stop on the tour was the one Annette was anticipating. The Bran Castle. As expected from one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, Annette was greeted by souvenir shops at the entrance!  Dracula mugs seemed to be a popular memento theme! Although you dont find Dracula over here, the legend still draws lovers of vampire lore from all over the world. She saw interesting Dracula facts and vampire information strategically placed throughout the castle, along with relics from the royal family who previously resided there. Although she found a mystical atmosphere surrounding Bran Castle, especially with the bitterly cold, snowy weather, she found the interiors to be bland and mediocre as compared to the Peles Castle.
Bran Castle Interiors
No doubt Bran Castle is gorgeous and splendid. And it does have a spooky vibe to it. The haunting aura of the castle seeps right to your bones! A must visit if you are a follower of the legend of Count Dracula. However, Annette found Peles Castle to be better in comparison.

Her Recommendation- Even sans Dracula, Bran Castle should be on your bucket list. But, Peles Castle should absolutely be on there too. Don't forget to carry some garlic and a crucifix!

Related Articles