Romania

Best Castles in Romania

Although an underrated destination, Romania is known for its untouched wilderness and gorgeous natural sights. Few people know however that in the mountains and forests of Romania, there are countless of fairytale-like castles, palaces, and fortresses that speak about the country’s rich history. Scattered all throughout the country, these attractions combine history, myth, and legend to take visitors back through time.

Either you prefer modern palaces with innovative design, well-preserved military fortresses with impressive towers or grand royal residences, Romania has it all. This is your introduction to the best castles in Romania to visit.

 

18 Famous Romanian Castles to visit

1. Banffy Castle

Castles in Romania Banffy-Castle

Located near Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania’s most hip city, Banffy Castle has become widely popular as the host of the Electric Castle music festival. However, the castle has known similar glory throughout its history. Built in the 15th-century, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times.

In the 18th-century, a Viennese architect ran a reconstruction project that transformed the castle and its grounds into a stunning sight. Unfortunately, during World War II, the castle was devastated by Nazi German troops. After serving various functions under the communist regime, now Banffy Castle is finally being restored.

Where: village of Bontida, Cluj-Napoca

When: 15th-century

Style: Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical

Open for visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am.

2. Bran Castle

Best castles in Romania Bran-Castle

Undoubtedly one of the best castles in Romania and one of the most famous castles in the world, Bran Castle is located in the heart of Transylvania, sitting atop a tall rocky hill in the Carpathian Mountains. Besides being a spectacular sight, Bran Castle is surrounded by an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue because it has been associated with the legend of Count Dracula.

Even though in reality the castle was never the residence of Vlad the Impaler, the so-called Dracula, history, and legend intertwine here. With its medieval towers and turrets, the castle has an immense appeal, managing to transport one back in time. The interiors feature dozens of rooms filled with medieval furniture and art pieces.

Where: village of Bran, near Brasov

When: 14th-century

Style: Early Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Monday from 12.00pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00am.

3. Jidvei (Bethlen-Haller) Castle

Romanian Castles Jidvei-(Bethlen-Haller)-Castle

Built in the 16th-century, the Jidvei Castle found its identity at the beginning of the 17th-century when it was renovated after the model of the French Chambord Castle by Count Stefan Bethlen.

Unfortunately, under the communist regime, the castle suffered the same fate as other important Romanian castles and was stripped of its valuable furniture and artworks.

After the fall of communism, the castle became private property. Now under renovation, the estate regained its popularity by being associated with the Jidvei wine brand and by hosting wine tasting events.

Where: Cetatea de Baltă, near Medias

When: 16th-century

Style: Renaissance

Open for visit: Only by reservations.

4. Corvin Castle (Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle)

Famous Castles in Romania Corvin-Castle

Corvin Castle is one of the best castles in Romania to visit. Built in the 15th-century, it is one of the best preserved medieval structures in Romania and a majestic example of Gothic architecture. At its origin, the castle was a powerful fortress aimed to serve as a residence for the Transylvanian ruler Iancu de Hunedoara.

Although it was later turned into a more sumptuous sight, the castle retained the defense towers, buttresses, bastions and its quaint drawbridge which adds to a fairytale look. The interiors are equally impressive, especially the marble Knights’ Hall and the beautifully decorated windows and balconies.

Where: City of Hunedoara

When: 15th-century

Style: Gothic

Open for visit: Yes. Monday from 12.00pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00am.

5. Peles Castle

Best Romanian Castles Peles-Castle

Set in a gorgeous spot in the heart of the mountains, Peles Castle is widely considered one of the most beautiful castles in Romania. Built in the New-Renaissance style, with elements from German and Italian architecture, Peles is a lavish castle featuring dozens of rooms adorned with stunning decorative art.

The castle includes valuable art collections, stunning crystal chandeliers, weapon collections, beautiful stained-glass windows, and wall frescoes by renowned painter Gustav Klimt. Peles Castle served as the summer residence for the Romanian Royal family, and it has remained intact ever since construction. The castle is now a cultural site in excellent condition.

Where: Town of Sinaia, near Brasov

When: 19th-century

Style: New-Renaissance

Open for visit: Yes. Wednesday from 11.00am, Thursday to Sunday from 9.15am.

6. Poenari Fortress/Castle

Castles in Romania Poenari-Fortress_Castle

Although a little known fact, Poenari Citadel is actually one of the real residences used by legendary Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula.

After serving for centuries as a home of Wallachian leaders, the fortress is now in ruins after being destroyed by an earthquake. Nonetheless, it is still an impressive sight due to its immense size and its picturesque strategic location on a tall cliff.

Where: Village of Arefu, near Curtea de Argeș

When: 14th-century

Style: Early Medieval

Open for visit: Permanently closed.

7. Fagaras Fortress

Best castles in Romania Fagaras-Fortress

Fagaras Citadel was built at the beginning of the 14th-century to replace an older wood fortification and serve as a strategic location from where people of Transylvania could protect themselves against invasions. The citadel was gradually fortified and ended up serving several roles.

After being the formal residence of the Transylvanian ruling prince’s family in the 16th-century, it became a military prison. When communists took power in 1946, Fagaras Citadel was once again used as a prison for dissidents. In the last decades, the fortress was reconditioned and it is now to home to the Fagaras local library and museum.

Where: Fagaras, near Brasov

When: 14th-century

Style: Medieval Fortress

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Friday from 8.00am, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am between June and September; Monday from 12.00pm, Tuesday to Friday from 8.00am and Saturday and Sunday from 9.00am between October and May.

8. Deva Fortress

Romanian Castles Deva-Fortress

Perched on a hill just outside the city of Deva, this medieval fortress was once an important location for Transylvanian medieval rulers. A residence of princes counts, and other influential figures, Deva Fortress was repeatedly destroyed in sieges, demolished, and rebuilt due to its political importance.

Although in ruins, the citadel still looks imposing as some of the historic walls remained intact. From its location up the hill, visitors can enjoy gorgeous views of the city and the surrounding areas.

Where: Deva

When: mid13th-century

Style: Early Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. No restrictions.

9. Enisala Fortress

Famous Castles in Romania Enisala-Fortress

Located in the south-eastern part of Romania, near the Black Sea and the Danube Delta, Enisala is a strategically located fortress built at a high altitude to provide a good vantage point for the medieval troops that guarded the lands against foreign invasions.

With wide views over the land and the sea, Enisala Fortress has always played an important political and commercial role. Five of the defensive towers are still intact today. The most surprising thing about Enisala is that it was built not by Romanians, but by Genovese merchants who were conducting commerce on the Black Sea.

Where: Enisala, near Tulcea

When: 14th-century

Style: Medieval Fortress

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00am.

10. Sturdza Castle

Best Romanian Castles Sturdza-Castle

There is something incredibly romantic about Sturdza Castle. The picturesque location in the heart of an ancient forest along with the gorgeous Neogothic architecture and the lavish interiors make this castle a unique sight in the north-east of Romania.

The Sturdza Castle was built to serve as a private residence for the Sturdza family, a Moldavian noble and wealthy family which included many key intellectual and political figures with an influential role in Romanian history. Today, the restored estate is part of the Miclauseni Monastery and includes a park, a church, and a beautiful lake.

Where: Miclauseni, near Roman

When: 19th-century

Style: Neogothic

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Friday only with 24h advance booking. Saturday and Sunday from 12.00am.

11. Sighișoara Fortress

Castles in Romania Sighișoara-Fortress

Sighisoara Fortress is a beautiful Saxon structure set at the heart of Sighisoara, a well-preserved medieval town in Transylvania. With its nine out of 14 towers still intact, the fortress is an incredible sight that adds a lot of authentic charm to the town.

Surrounded by medieval churches, narrow alleyways, and beautiful square, the fortress give off a fairytale vibe. Inside the citadel, visitors will find the Weapon Museum with a large collection of medieval weapons and various artifacts, including torture systems.

Where: Sighisoara

When: 12th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. No restrictions.

12. Alba Carolina Fortress

Best castles in Romania Alba-Carolina-Fortress

Alba Carolina Fortress is a beautiful recently restored fortress in Alba Iulia, the city where the unification of Romania was signed in 1918. In its beginnings, the fortress played a crucial strategic role of defense against foreign invasions.

Besides its military role, the Baroque structure has architectural value as well. Decorated with statues and other distinctive elements, it is a beautiful gem. Today, inside the citadel visitors will find several museums, ornate churches, as well as various bars, cafes, and even a hotel.

Where: Alba Iulia

When: 18th-century

Style: Baroque

Open for visit: Yes. Daily from 9.00am.

13. Rasnov Fortress

Romanian Castles Rașnov-Fortress

Built in the 13th-century, the Rasnov Fortress had the goal of serving as a refuge for the villagers who always found themselves repeatedly under siege by foreign enemies such as the Ottomans and the Tatars.

Because of its location on one of the few routes through the Carpathian Mountains, the village of Rasnov was always vulnerable to attacks, but it also played an important role in historic events.

Now the fortress is in ruins due to a fire and an earthquake, with only a few of the walls standing intact. However, the grounds of the fortress include a medieval chapel and an ancient well.

Where: Rasnov, Brasov

When: 13th-century

Style: Military Fortress

Open for visit: Yes. Daily from 9.00am.

14. Lazar Castle

Famous Castles in Romania Lazar-Castle

Lazar Castle is a fortified structure in Transylvania. Located in a historically-rich region with many other tourist attractions like medieval castles and churches, Lazar Castle is an interesting sight due to the mix of Renaissance and Baroque elements.

Unfortunately, a fire destroyed parts of the castle in the 18th-century. Although it hasn’t been restored yet, the castle is definitely worth a visit as the charm of the place is still visible. In addition, the castle is home to an art museum.

Where: village of Lazarea, near Miercurea-Ciuc

When: 15th-century

Style: Renaissance

Open for visit: Yes. No restrictions.

15. Miko Castle

Best Romanian Castles Miko-Castle

Built around the 1620s, Miko Castle is a beautiful fortified structure, located right in the city of Miercurea Ciuc. Although the original structure was burned down by the Ottoman troops in 1660, the castle was reconstructed after another fifty years during the Austrian-Hungarian occupation of Transylvania. For over a century, the castle served as a military fortress. Today Miko Castle houses an ethnographic museum.

Where: Miercurea Ciuc

When: 17th-century

Style: Renaissance

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00am.

16. Neamt Citadel

Castles in Romania Neamț-Citadel

Located in Moldavia, the eastern part of Romania, Neamt Citadel is one of the most important medieval structures in the country. Dating back to the 14th-century, it was built as a defense against Ottoman and Polish invasions.

Due to its strategic location on top of a hill in a forested area, it helped Romanians win important battles throughout history. The fortress has been beautifully restored and the magical views over the Romanian countryside are a sight to be seen in every season.

Where: Targu Neamt

When: 14th-century

Style: Medieval Fortress

Open for visit: Yes. Daily from 9.00am.

17. Pelișor Castle

Best castles in Romania Pelișor-Castle

Pelisor Castle is actually a small castle part of the same complex as Peles Castle, the summer residence of the former Romanian Royal family. While the Peles Castle is now a museum open to the public, Pelisor is still a family residence, owned by the family of deceased King Michael I, but visits are allowed. Designed by a renowned Czech architect, Pelisor is a gorgeous example of Art Nouveau with original, beautifully adorned interiors. The castle includes a chapel, along with several rooms and working cabinets decorated by Queen Marie of Romania.

Where: Sinaia, near Brasov

When: 19th-century

Style: Art Nouveau

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday from 11.00am, Wednesday to Sunday from 9.00am between May and September. Wednesday from 11.00am, Thursday to Sunday from 9.00am between October and April.

18. Cantacuzino Castle

Romanian Castles Cantacuzino-Castle Cantacuzino-Castle

Located in one of the most beautiful mountain resorts in Romania, Cantacuzino Castle is a recent construction built in the 20th-century as a residence for a wealthy Romanian aristocrat family.

The grounds of a castle include a vast parkland, waterfalls, fountains, and the interiors are equally entrancing, featuring stained-glass windows, marble halls, and art pieces.

The Cantacuzino family lost the castle to the communists for a couple of decades but managed to regain it after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. The castle was opened in 2010 to the public and since then it functions as a museum.

Where: Busteni, near Brasov

When: 20th-century

Style: Neo-Romanian

Open for visit: Yes, with a guided tour. Daily from 9.00am.

For many, Romania is truly a hidden gem. If you want to discover its rich cultural history, starting off with some gorgeous castles scattered through breathtaking landscapes will be enough to convince you of the country’s unique charm.

 

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