On our little road trip through Transylvania (Romania), we were impressed by the medieval towns and castles. However, Bran Castle was on top of our list as it is Dracula’s castle. Visiting one castle doesn’t really cover a whole day though. Therefore, we also visited the beautiful hilltop fortress in Rasnov. Peles Castle is about a 1.5h drive away from Bran. If you start early enough, you can absolutely do Bran, Rasnov, and Peles in one day.
Rasnov, Bran, and Peles in one day – But which place first?
It all comes down to where you start from.
Start in Bucharest: If you are coming from Bucharest, you will first get to see Peles Castle, because you are passing it on the way anyways. Then you will drive through Rasnov and you can visit Bran Castle in the end.
Start in Brasov: It really doesn’t matter which one you pick first because you will have the extra drive to Bran and Peles, which also means you will pass Rasnov twice. I’d do Bran, Rasnov, and Peles in the end.
Start in Bran: Visit Peles first, just because it is the longest drive. So you can start driving early to make it to the three castles in Transylvania without rushing. Bran Castle opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm. So you can do it last and see it at night as well. This would also mean that you stay in Bran for another night, though. If that’s not the case, do Bran, Rasnov and then Peles.
First Transylvanian castle: Bran
The castle opens at 9 am and closes at 6 pm (but check for seasonal changes beforehand). Hence, there is plenty of time to explore the castle and souvenir shops in front.
We ended up taking a tour through the castle with Transylvanian Wonders. I can highly recommend it.
The tour was supposed to be an hour long, but in reality, I think we spent more time with the tour guide. Maybe it was because of me taking so many pictures everywhere…
If you just want to see Bran Castle without the background information, you can also walk through it on your own. I’d say it takes around an hour if you love to take pictures. Otherwise, you might be done even earlier, depending on the crowdedness.
When we realized that there is so much left of the day, we decided to meander through the rows of souvenirs for a little bit, and then headed over to Rasnov. There is not much more to see in Bran. So you won’t miss much.
Second castle in Transylvania: Rasnov
Rasnov is about 6 miles (10 km) away from Bran.
With a Langosi in our hands, we walked up from the parking lot to Rasnov Fortress. You can also take a bus/train for a small fee.
The castle still has its outer and inner wall. At the entrance, you can climb up the tower to overlook the outer yard.
Once you make it inside the inner fortress, you will be thrown back into medieval time. A mix of ruins and houses are waiting for your discovery. On top, you will have an amazing view of Rasnov and the many acres around. Depending on the visibility, you can see the Bucegi Mountains in its full beauty. We had a cloud-sun mix as it was raining earlier in the day, which only revealed part of the mountains.
I guess we spent between 1-2 hours at Rasnov Fortress, but we were also walking around in a slow paste. This will still leave you some time to visit Peles Castle as well.
Third castle in Transylvania: Peles
About an hour drive from Rasnov towards Bucharest, you will find the fairytale-like Peles Castle. In my point of view, it’s the prettiest of all three places. The German new-Renaissance architecture is very special and a real piece of art. The castle served as the summer residence for the royal family back in the days.
Places to stay in Bran
We decided to stay in Bran because we came all the way from Timisoara in West Romania. Our cute guesthouse is unavailable for bookings at the moment, so I did some research for you.
The guesthouse Iulia is very similar to ours in terms of the price. It is not right next to Castle Bran, but it is surrounded by beautiful nature. The rooms are bright, nicely furnished, and provide a great view. The budget-friendly rooms come with a shared bathroom, but there are also different room options.
For savvy, budget people who like to be right next to Castle Bran, I can recommend the Pension Ana Bran. It is only a few steps away from the castle and offers clean, simple, but comfortable rooms.
If you are not tight on a budget, I can recommend Conacul Bratescu. The rooms are beautiful and spacious. An excellent breakfast is included in the room rate, and it is not far from Bran Castle.