An old castle on top of a rocky mountain.

More than Dracula’s Castle: Things to do in Bran, Romania

Mark Stewart Destinations 4 Comments

In the heart of Transylvania, nuzzled in the foothills of the Bucegi mountains, is Bran. Less than an hour by bus from Brasov, this picturesque village is one of the most popular destinations in Romania. However, it’s not the hillside houses or the gorgeous green valley that draw in the crowds. That can be found across this wonderful country. It’s the spectacular Bran Castle that has visitors arriving by the busload. But before you plan a mere day trip to Bran, consider everything else this lovely town has to offer!

What to do in Bran Romania

Bran Castle Tour

Jutting ominously from a hilltop overlooking the town, Bran Castle is one of the best castles in Romania. Its appearance is straight out of a fantasy novel. And while commonly referred to as Dracula’s Castle, there is no connection to either Vlad the Impaler or Bram Stoker — Dracula’s author.

For a Bran Castle Tour, buy your tickets online ahead of time, this will save you from waiting in extra lines during your visit.

  • Cost: Adult 40 lei
  • Hours: Tue-Sun:9-6 / Mon 12-6

Halloween at Bran Castle

If you’re visiting in autumn, consider checking out the castle for their annual Halloween! The party itself is in a covered tent on the grounds beneath the castle, and resembles a fairly simple tent-party. However, a night tour of the castle is included with admission, and celebrating Halloween under the shadow of “Dracula’s Castle” is pretty awesome! Halloween in Romania anyone??

Details here

Jazz Festival in the Castle

Held annually, over the past 7 years in August, the three-day Jazz fest takes place in the Bran Castle courtyard. The open-air concert brings music lovers from all over the world, together in an almost mystical setting.

Check out the website for details and upcoming line-up!

The Castle of Horror

Enter if you dare! Next to the castle grounds, this popular attraction is a great option for haunted house lovers or families entertaining children. Just understand that some children have been seen leaving in tears, so if you or your little ones scare easily, consider yourself warned.

Even though Dracula had no place in Bran, the idea remains and is marketing gold. So if vampires and haunted houses is your thing, this is a great place to come and spend some time.

  • Cost: 20 Lei per person
  • Hours: 9am-8pm

Hiking in Bran Romania

Hiking in the Bucegi mountains is a popular activity for locals and adventure travellers alike. There are eight main trails in the Bran region that lead to some spectacular scenery.

Day hikes around Bran can be easily accomplished. However, many people gear up for multi-day treks through the mountains. If you are planning to venture into the hills, understand that this is bear territory. Remember to bring your bear chimes or spray and always ask the locals about safety concerns in the area before heading out.

Check out this website for some of the best trails to check out and how long each takes. There are some great hiking maps to get to/from Bran to/from Busteni, Zarnesti, Sinaia, Zanoaga and many more.

Like hiking? Here is another amazing hike you can do just outside of Cluj-Napoca in gorgeous Turda Gorge.

Bran Village Museum

This small, though informative, outdoor museum offers a sample of Romanian village life back in the day. If you’re familiar with the ASTRA Museum in Sibiu this is basically the half-hour, quick tour version.

Only 4 lei to enter, you’ll see traditional Romanian houses, and have a peek into the past. While visiting Bran, especially if you’re only here for a short time, the Village Museum is definitely worth a stop.

  • Cost: 4 lei
  • Hours: Tues to Sun 9am-4:30pm
A green valley in Bran Romania with several houses and a large castle in the background
The picturesque village of Bran, Romania
Photo: Myrabella (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Where to Eat in Bran Romania

As with many tourist spots, restaurant options range significantly. If you are only here for a few hours, grab a quick bite from one of the many vendors near the castle entrance. Just follow the smell of delicious cooked meats and smoked cheeses just off the main road.

Here are a few of the other great restaurants in Bran.

Casa Thomas

Recommended by our guesthouse owner, we ended up loving Casa Thomas so much we went twice. Its not Romanian food, but honestly, if you have been here for any amount of time, you might polenta’d out! This house-turned-restaurant serves up some of the best pizza we tried in Romania — or elsewhere for that matter. Other Italian-inspired dishes are fantastic as well, and even the house wine is quite delicious!

Bulzu’ Branului

Located just up the road heading South near the main bus parking lot, this proper Romanian restaurant is great way to try some traditional cuisine. Mamaliga, sausages, and hearty stews of all kind go perfect with a cold beer at a table on the outdoor patio. The bread bowl soups are a great way to warm up in the cooler months.


Some of the best Romanian cuisine in the area for great prices. The decor of the hotel restaurant is equally impressive. The service isn’t always top-notch, but everything we ate here was outstanding!

Trattoria Al Gallo

Another great spot offering a little bit of everything. Trattoria Al Gallo is perfect if you’re staying near the castle or are with a group of people who can’t decide what they want to eat! From unique pizzas and pastas to hearty soup, seafood and other tasty snacks, there’s something for everyone here.

Incredible Coffee

If you need a pick-me-up, there’s a guy right near the castle ticket booth, close to the Bran Village Museum who makes a very potent Turkish coffee. This thick, sludgy brew is the delicious fuel you’ll need to make the most of your visit to Bran.

Where to Stay in Bran Romania

Being the tourist spot it is, there are so many places to stay in and around Bran. From high-end hotels bed and breakfasts to hostels and campgrounds, you will definitely find something to suit your needs in Bran.

That said, due to its popularity and small size, there are very few options for shoestring budgets. Though paying a little extra for convenience is often worth it, you can easily make it a day trip from a cheaper hostel in Brasov.

Here are a few of the best places to stay in Bran.

Pensiunea M&M

A classic Romanian guesthouse located a short distance off the busy town centre yet only 15 minutes walking to Bran Castle. Wonderful hosts are friendly and accommodating, and the fully equipped kitchen is perfect for self catering.

Book now on

Pensiunea Lorena

This place has a wonderful vibe to it that fits the overall mood of Bran. Although everything is clean and modern in functionality, the brick and wood interior brings a unique touch. The huge garden area out back is an amazing place to relax during the summer months. The walk to Bran Castle is roughly 20 minutes.

Book now on

Transylvania Mountain Exclusive

While still in the mid-range in regard to price, this place is a nice way to treat yourself without breaking the bank. Huge, clean rooms with gorgeous furniture and balconies overlooking the rolling hills and mountains give this spot the feel of a luxury hotel without the hefty costs.

Book now on

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About the Author

Mark Stewart

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Mark is a multi-passionate creative with a fascination for getting the most out of the human experience. While he isn't chasing adventures around the globe as a travel journalist and photographer, he works as a freelance writer, private chef and web developer.

Comments 4

  1. I’m sold. But I was already anyway. Just not too sure about the bears. I’m really looking forward to the day when I get to continue my Romanian adventure. You know you will be my guide.

    1. Aww thanks John! Bran is such a cute place to visit, with so much potential for a longer stay than most people think! We would love to be your guides on your next Romanian Adventure!

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