Transylvania?s forested valleys and Gothic castles are forever embedded in the popular imagination. Known as the birthplace of Dracula, this region of Romania is famous worldwide for its castles and mystique. And there?s no better place to celebrate Halloween 2019!
How did Halloween come about?
Contrary to popular belief Halloween did not originate in the US. Originating from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
Pope Gregory III in the eighth century designated November 1st as the date to honor all saints. The previous night was known as All Hallows Eve which later became Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into day’s activities we have come to know and love. Trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, and donning costumes have now become ingrained in the celebration.
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Is there really a Transylvania?
There is no place in Europe that manages to be as famous and yet mostly unknown quite like Transylvania. Today, people know of it as a spooky fictional place full of Gothic horror of vampires and death, not realizing that Transylvania is a region of stirring landscapes, vibrant Roma communities, and medieval fantasies.
Deep in the countryside, rural Transylvania’s tapestry of cultures, hikes through Piatra Craiului National Park and cobbled lanes of Bra?ov and Sighi?oar await. Here, standstill traffic means horses and carts waiting patiently for herds of goats to scatter.
As a central region in the eastern European country of Romania, it?s possible to not only visit Transylvania but also to fall in love with it.
How do you get to Transylvania?
Transylvania?s major cities enjoy easy access to the rest of Europe by air, rail. and the bus.
In northern Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca has the region?s main airport, with routes to London, Paris, Istanbul and more. Sibiu and T?rgu Mure? each have an airport serving a smaller range of European destinations.
For southern Transylvania, international trains reach Bra?ov from Budapest, Vienna, Prague and more, as do direct Eurolines buses from several European countries.
Is there really a Dracula Castle?
Short answer No it doesn’t. Long answer – yes it does!
Bran Castle or Dracula’s Castle as it is commonly known outside Romania is situated near Bran and in the vicinity of Bra?ov. It is repeatedly referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. In fact, there is no evidence that the author knew anything about Bran Castle. Stoker’s description of Dracula’s crumbling fictional castle bears no resemblance to Bran Castle.
Due to the number of tourists coming to see the castle over the decades, the castle now has a museum dedicated to displaying art & furniture collected by Queen Marie (she was the last Queen of Romania as the wife of King Ferdinand I and was also known as Marie of Edinburgh)
Additionally, at the bottom of the hill, there is a small open-air museum exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures like cottages, barns and water-driven machinery from the Bran region.
Can you stay in Bran Castle?
Unfortunately for the die-hard fans of The Count, that is not possible. The good news is you can visit it all year round. Open 7 days a week and 365 days a year, you can visit as an organized group or alone. There are public events you can attend or even host your own private event.
Now the tourist season is from April 1st till September 30th for obvious reasons. The weather is good and it is the holiday season across Europe. From Tuesday to Sunday it is open 9 am to 6 pm but on Mondays, they open late from 12 pm onwards.
The off-season is from October 1st and ends on March 31st! So good news, Halloween night won’t be that crowded or touristy! On Mondays, it is open only for 4 hours from midday to 4 pm while the rest of the week it is from 9 am to 4 pm with the last admission at 4 pm.
Still, want to stay in a Castle? Here are my top 5 recommendations for Castle Hotel Destinations
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Celebrate Halloween in Bran Castle
You can purchase tickets directly from the castle’s website for it’s Halloween 2019 party. For adults, it is 70 LEI or US$ 17, children it is half that price for a night tour. There is a combo package of a night tour + Halloween Party for 180 LEI or US$ 43 per person. The minimum age is 18 and over.
It?s essential to pack your best Halloween costume for Europe?s biggest All Hallows? Eve celebration as you may feel undressed! It’s quite a unique sight watching this Transylvania castle fill up with characters from Vlad the Impaler to Garlic adorned villagers!
The Halloween party inside Bran Castle is a fitting end to the trip to a destination already filled with folklore!
Other things to do in Transylvania
If you miss out on the tickets for the Halloween 2019 party, there are other things to in this beautiful corner of the world
Visit 3 Castles on a day trip
This tour makes visiting three of Transylvania?s most popular castles?Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress, and Peles Palace – in one day from Brasov as easy as possible. You?re picked up from your accommodation, taken to each castle for guided visits, and have options for upgrades. Opt for skip the line priority, private tours, and all-inclusive entrance fees.
You can purchase your tickets here.
A Brown Bear Watching Experience
Just as the title suggests, you will head into the wild and see Carpathian brown bears up close on this 3-hour tour from Bra?ov. The experience begins at sunset in the city, where your guide takes you into the Carpathian Mountains to be joined by a ranger. Then trek into the forest and wait quietly to spot the bears that inhabit the region. You might also see deer, wild boar, lynx, and other native wildlife.
Book your place as tickets are limited due to the small size of each group.
Embark on a Medieval Quest of Sibiu City
Go on a quest around Sibiu’s famous towers using your smartphone by solving clues that will unlock stories. Each clue leads you from place to place by giving you exact directions. Solving the clue unlocks the secret story of that location.
Along the way, you?ll find fascinating stories of the towers that strongly influenced the evolution of the city. You will follow a less crowded path around the old citadel and explore hidden passages while discovering amazing life stories of the ancient locals.
The total length is about 3.5 km and it will take approximately 2 hours to complete. As there?s no time limit, you can finish it at your own pace.
Buy your tickets here.
Are you ready to visit Transylvania?
Don?t miss the chance to celebrate Halloween in Transylvania! You won’t regret it!
P.S. ? As someone who spent close to 20 years working in insurance, I strongly recommend buying travel insurance if you are going on holiday. It costs a fraction of your holiday but covers the potential risk of the entire holiday. You can read my post on why you need travel insurance.
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With Christmas is around the corner, check out 11 Best Travel Accessories for Men on Amazon for 2019 list
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