On 31 October 2012, my dream came true. I got to spend Halloween at Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania. For any other Halloween lovers out there, this is one activity I highly recommend checking off your bucket list. Although the logistics of the trip weren’t perfect, it’s still one of my favorite memories.
For the sake of simplicity, or so we thought, my friends and I decided to take the trip through our base travel office. While the office did a great job of organizing the locations and hotels, the long bus ride from Italy to Romania was not ideal. What was supposed to be a 14 hour bus ride turned into 22 hours due to unfortunate circumstances. Due to excessively long stops at border control to semi-trucks wrecking on the narrow, two lane roads throughout Romania, there were quite a few obstacles that held up our journey to and from Vampire Country.
Once we did arrive, we spent our first evening in the city of Sibiu. We stopped for a traditional Romanian meal at La Dobrun. Romania is not the most veggie friendly country, so I essentially ordered a plate of fried cheese. It was good, as fried cheese usually is, but not quite the meal I was hoping for. The rest of the meat eaters at the table seemed to enjoy their traditional meals, while I sipped on a Romanian beer and appreciated the rustic design of the restaurant interior around me.
After our meal, we checked into our hotel rooms and had the evening to ourselves to explore this ancient city. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating and we had to wander about in the rain and mist, which, combined with the lack of sleep on the bus, ended our evening earlier than planned. But not before we took a few photos of the gorgeous squares in the street light!
The next day we continued on our journey to the tiny town of Bran. This is where you will find Dracula’s Castle! The castle sits on top of a hill at the highest point of the town, with its towers peeking out amongst the colorful leaves of the tree tops. We checked into the hotel to start preparing for the evening’s Halloween festivities. I decided to go as a skeleton, and my talented, artistic friend was kind enough to paint my face. She did such an awesome job, that this remains my favorite costume to this date!
As evening fell, we made our way through the town and up the hill to Bran Castle. Once inside, many of the rooms were open so that partygoers could explore the numerous torture devices used during Vlad the Impaler’s (aka Dracula) reign. In the center courtyard of the castle, open to the night sky, you could find music, dancing, and free drinks to partake in while marveling at the variety and creativity of the guests costumes.
While the party was fun, it had more of a family friendly atmosphere. I do believe I even saw a few children amongst the crowd. Nothing wrong with that, but as a group of mid-20 year olds, we were looking for something a little more...spirited. Right at the bottom of the hill from the castle was a small bar-turned-discotheque. Once we made our way inside the crowded, one-room building, we were inundated by loud, electronic dance music. This was more our scene. We had an amazing time dancing, drinking and making friends with the locals.
After our epic Halloween evening, we went back to the hotel to crash and prepare for some sightseeing the next day. In the morning, we explored the town of Bran a bit more, where they had an open air market. I bought a locally crafted ceramic bowl with a beautiful design painted inside. We all climbed aboard the tour bus and made our way to our final stop, Sighisoara. This cute, cobblestoned town is known as the birthplace of Dracula. We had several hours to eat lunch, explore the streets and shops, and climb the hill to the church at the top of town. The town itself is already on higher ground and offers a beautiful vantage point of the outer lying area. This town is not a spot to miss when traveling to Romania.
After our afternoon, we hit the long road back to Italy. Again, we met several unfortunate circumstances, including more semi-truck accidents, which essentially halted our progress all together. It took much longer to return than expected, and we arrived with just enough time to run home and shower before showing up for work at 7 that morning! Although it did make for quite a long work day, I was ecstatic to cross off this bucket list item and I would do it all over again!
If this is on your bucket list, make sure you get in contact with us! With our lessons learned, we can plan the perfect Transylvanian Halloween Trip for you!