Around this time last year, I saw an article about the ultimate Halloween party at Castle Dracula in Transylvania. I bought my ticket to Romania that week.
I stumbled upon Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a child, and fondly read about Jonathan Harker’s picturesque yet perilous journey through Transylvania to Dracula’s castle. Admittedly, it was more so my nostalgia, rather than my inner party animal, that motivated me to book the tour. The tour picked us up from Bucharest and took us through three lovely and historic places: Sighișoara, Brasov, and Bran.
In Sighișoara, we stayed in the historic center, which is a UNESCO heritage site. The city was originally settled by German merchants, by invitation of the King of Hungary. It was renowned for its skilled craftsmen, who created numerous guilds. Shortly after we arrived, it started to rain. It was the prefect prelude to the private Halloween party hosted by the tour. We spent the night enjoying ghoulishly fun performances, and hearty food and spirits.
The next day, we drove to Brasov for a short tour before continuing our way to Bran, and ultimately Bran Castle, or Dracula’s Castle. Bram Stoker based Dracula on Vlad III, also know as Vlad the Impaler. Interestingly enough, this was not the castle Bram had in mind for his novel. According to our guide, during the Communist rule in Romania, the government wanted to bring in more tourism, and started advertising the castle as Dracula’s Castle. The ploy clearly worked. Every year, the party is hosted in a heated tent on the castle grounds. Our hotel was within walking distance to the castle, and after dinner, I dressed up in my Halloween best to enjoy a late night tour of the castle, and to party the night away.
I quite enjoyed the hearty Romanian food, especially the stews and cabbage rolls. I also had the best lemonade I have ever tasted. It was the perfect amount of tart and sweet, with a hint of elderflower. A tip regarding transportation, pay attention to the taxi rates, which are posted on the side of the taxi. The rates differ based on the taxi company. The trip from the Otopeni Airport to Bucharest should cost around 40 leu (~$10). To avoid potential disagreements with a taxi driver, Uber is an excellent alternative. In terms of accommodations, I was able to find a fantastic deal for the Epoque Hotel in Bucharest, which is a five star hotel in the center of the city. As advertised, it was truly a retreat in the city.
Romania is definitely a place I would like to revisit. There was still so much I wanted to see! In particular, I would have liked to have had the time to explore the various museums in Bucharest, as well as Romania’s captivating natural wonders.