Visiting Transylvania’s castles is probably the biggest item on most visitors to Romania’s bucket list. The ease of visiting famous castles such as Bran and Rasnov from Brasov was one of the reasons I decided to base myself in the city. As soon as I arrived at my hostel, one of the first things I did was plan out how I’d get to see Transylvania’s most famous castles.
Luckily, it was all very straightforward and on my second day in Brasov, I managed to make it to visit Bran (Dracula’s) Castle as well as the Rasnov Fortress. I had also hoped to visit Pele’s Castle, but alas, it was closed!
Here’s a guide for how you can visit Bran and Rasnov from Brasov, and see some of Romania’s top attractions!
Getting from Brasov to Rasnov and Bran
Getting from Brasov to Rasnov and Bran is not difficult. The best way to do so depends largely on your budget. The cheapest way is to get public transport, while doing a tour is more expensive but much more convenient.
Here’s a break down of the options.
Visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov on a Tour
I personally chose to go on a tour. The cost was 120 lei, which is less than 30 euro (about $40AUD). The tour included a pickup from Kismet Dao Hostel in Brasov, and transport to the Libearty Bear Sanctuary, Bran Castle, and Rasnov Fortress. Our driver also took us past the ski resorts as we said we were interested to see them.
It may not have been the cheapest way to visit the castles, but I was very happy with my choice. After making my way from Bucharest to Brasov, I wanted a break from navigating public transport, and at $40 AUD, the price was pretty unbeatable.
I was joined on the tour by two other travellers who were staying at another hostel. Both of them were in Romania as part of amazing worldwide tours, and I loved hearing about where they’d been and where they were going.
Given the popularity of visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov, there is no shortage of tours available. You can do as I did, and just ask your accommodation to help you arrange a tour. Or, you can check out some of the tours available on Viator or Brasov Day Tours (a little more expensive, but less luck of the draw with who you get as a guide).
Visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov by Uber/Taxi
This could be a good option if there are a few of you interested in visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov. The cost of a taxi or Uber from Brasov to Bran is about 70 – 80 lei (15 – 20 euro) each way, so it is cheaper than a tour if split between 3 or 4 people.
You may want to pre-arrange with your taxi driver to get a lift back from Bran via Rasnov to Brasov. In low season, it can be a bit difficult to get an Uber back from Bran. However, there are taxis located in the city – apps like Clever Taxi are helpful for getting a ride from Bran.
I also prefer apps because a lot of taxi drivers refuse to use the meter and try to overcharge you. If you do get a taxi and they will not turn on the meter, be sure to agree on the price beforehand, and clarify whether it is lei or Euro (it should always be lei, but suddenly switching the price to Euro is a common scam).
Visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov by Public Transport
The cheapest way to get from Bran and Rasnov from Brasov is by public transport. As mentioned above, I chose to go on a tour, however many people from my hostel instead went by bus and told me it was very straightforward.
One of the major reasons I decided against public transport is because I really wanted to see the Libearty Bear Sanctuary, which is not accessible directly by public transport. So, keep that in mind.
Brasov to Bran Castle by Bus
The bus to Bran from Brasov leaves from Brasov Bus Terminal No. 2. It leaves about every 45 minutes, and the journey takes about 50 minutes. The route number is 73 – check with the driver before you get on
Bran Castle to Rasnov by Bus
Helpfully, route 73 goes via the town of Rasnov, so it is easy to stop off at. You can either go on the way
Rasnov to Brasov by Bus
As mentioned, Rasnov is a stop on the Brasov -> Bran bus line, so it’s simple to pick it up again and land back at the main square in Brasov.
Visiting Dracula’s (Bran) Castle from Brasov
One of the reasons I was inspired to visit Romania in the first place was after reading about Dracula’s Castle for my Halloween post. Although there is way, way more to Romania than Dracula, Bran Castle is still a huge drawcard to the country and one of Romania’s most popular travel attractions.
Why is Bran Castle Known as Dracula’s Castle?
One thing I learnt about Bran Castle long before I arrived in Romania was that the links between it and Dracula are pretty darn tenuous.
Basically, there is no evidence that the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, even knew that Bran Castle existed. However, in his books, Bram Stoker wrote that Dracula lived in a tall castle upon a mountain, overlooking a river in Transylvania. Bran Castle is the only castle in Transylvania that fits that description – hence it’s been declared “Dracula’s Castle”.
Although the real-life links between Dracula and Bran Castle are pretty tenuous, it certainly looks like a blood-sucking vampire could live inside! Bran Castle is a very cool looking castle, with unique architectural features.
One fun thing about visiting Bran Castle is seeing it depicted in pop culture. I definitely think the castle in the kid’s animated movie Hotel Transylvania is based on it!
Should You Do the Inside Tour of Bran Castle?
I didn’t. Most of the things that I read about whether to tour the inside of Bran Castle stated that it was fairly lacklustre, so I decided to skip over it. The ticket price is 40 lei (about 10 euro) plus 10 lei if you want an audioguide, which I thought was a little on the steep side as I wasn’t super interested in what was inside.
One of the other people on our tour did decide to go
That said, if you’re not on a budget and you’re interested in doing the inside our of Bran Castle and seeing if you can spot Dracula, I say go for it!
Where to Get the Best Photos of Bran Castle
When I arrived at Bran Castle, I was quite disappointed with the photos. Firstly, it was pretty grey and overcast day, which meant all my photos were pretty flat. Plus, arriving on a tour meant we arrived in the middle of the day – never the best time for nice photos!
The grounds around the castle were also pretty overgrown, and the castle itself is quite blocked in by a large wall and busy road. Therefore it’s hard to get many great shots from inside the castle grounds.
I was, however, able to get a much better shot thanks to the perseverance of another Aussie on the tour. Together, we decided to try to find a better angle – and luckily, we succeeded!
If you walk around to the opposite side of the entrance and over the castle wall, you’ll see there is an open area with a large hill. From that open area, you get a pretty nice view; however, if you climb up the hill, you get an even better vantage point.
It’s quite steep, so I recommend bringing good shoes (I did not do this, and nearly slipped down the hill). There’s a fairly well trodden path to the vantage point, which is easy to find as it is marked by a large cross. The hike is a bit challenging, but take it slowly and you can easily get there.
From this spot, you can get a nice shot of the Castle and its surrounds. It would be even nicer on a clearer day, or during the golden hour!
Visiting the Fortress of Rasnov from Brasov
Bran Castle and the Rasnov Fortress are very close to each other, so it makes sense to visit Rasnov from Brasov if you are planning to visit Dracula’s Castle.
The first thing you notice about Rasnov is its largely Hollywood-esque sign. If you’ve spent much time in Brasov, you’ll probably instantly recognise it, since Brasov has one too.
Look up a little bit from the sign, and you’ll see the Rasnov Fortress proudly sitting atop the hill. The fortress looks very impressive, and also has a fascinating back story.
Basically, the Rasnov Fortress was built in 1331 by the Teutonic Knights (I just love anything built by Knights) to act as a defensive structure against the rampaging Tartars. When the town of Rasnov was under threat, the locals would bail up inside the Fortress, so there are
Getting to the Top of the Rasnov Fortress
There are two options for climbing up the 650 foot hill to reach the Rasnov Fortress.
Walk to the Top of the Rasnov Fortress
It is not a long walk to the top of the hill, and most people should easily be able to walk it. Our guide told us it was a hard walk, however we then saw families with children casually strolling up to the top.
Certainly if you have mobility issues or just don’t feel like making the climb (no judgement here), there is no need to walk to the top, but it’s definitely do-able. If you climb to the top and then don’t enter the actual fortress, it is also totally free to visit, which is pretty cool.
Take the Train to the Top of the Rasnov Fortress
“Train” is not exactly the right descriptor. You can jump aboard a kind of shuttle that is pulled by a tractor – quite the experience. It only costs 5 lei, as well, so I think it’s a pretty good deal and a bit of fun.
The train makes two stops – the first one is at the DinoPark, a kind of weird looking 3D Dinosaur Park that’s aimed at children. To be honest, I kind of wanted to see what an Eastern Europe dinosaur park looked like – but since I was in polite company I skipped over it.
The next stop is at the Fortress. At the top there are a few market stalls, and also a little information centre, however it seemed closed. In addition, there was an archery field set up, but sadly we just missed it!
Your 5 lei ticket also cover the return journey.
Should You Go Inside the Rasnov Fortress?
Like Bran Castle, going inside the fortress is optional. It costs 12 lei full-price (6 lei for students), so it is pretty affordable. It’s pretty interesting inside, with the houses and other buildings that give a bit of an idea about what life would have been like when trying to escape from the dastardly Tartars!
That said, it’s not very well signposted inside so if you’re a history buff like me, it’s a little disappointing. Unfortunately due to the cold, my phone had also gone kaput, so I couldn’t even do some googling. All in all, it was pretty interesting for 12 lei but I wouldn’t feel bad about skipping it if it doesn’t excite you.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov
I knew I couldn’t possibly leave Romania without visiting Bran Castle, and with Rasnov from Brasov being such an easy stop off, I’m glad I added that in too. Of course, the bears were also an amazing experience – so much so I’ve got a whole other article planned for them!
One of the best things about visiting Bran and Rasnov from Brasov is that there are different options for all different budgets. While I have no regrets about going on a tour, it’s also super easy to get public transport and keep your costs down.