Transylvania is probably best known for being the home of Bran Castle, aka Dracula’s Castle. But there are so many other castles in Transylvania out there to visit! Transylvania is also home to a number of fortresses and the famed fortified churches – be sure to stay tuned for guides to visit these as well!
The best time to visit Transylvania is between the months of May and October – so you’ve got plenty of time to go! Not to mention, plenty of other things to do in Transylvania to have a fun-filled holiday. In the meantime, here are 12 of the most incredible Transylvanian Castles to visit on your trip to this beautiful region of Romania!
Incredible transylvanian castles to visit
1. Bánffy castle
Bánffy Castle is right outside of Cluj-Napoca, located in the village of Bonţida. Over the course of its history, the building has served as a hospital, a driving school, a co-op farm, and again a hospital for children.
Many considered Bánffy Castle to be the ‘Versailles of Transylvania’, famous for its sprawling gardens and adjacent park.
During WWII, the building and its grounds suffered damaging blows at the hands of the Germans and then again by Communist authorities. The Transilvania Trust foundation began restoration efforts in 2001, taking the castle on its way to its former glory.
Since 2013, Bánffy Castle has been home to the internationally acclaimed Electric Castle music festival.
2. Bethlen-haller castle
The Bethlen-Haller Castle, also known as the Jidvei Castle, is located on the fringes of Cetatea de Balta, about 15km from Medias and 60km from Alba Iulia.
This Transylvanian castle was first built in the late 1500s in the Renaissance style and then renovated in later years with the addition of Baroque elements, resulting in an eclectic mix of architectural styles.
There is a Reformed Church next to the Castle that has been standing since the mid 1200s!
Legend has it that the spirit of Count Haller, whose driver killed him over the Countess Haller, still haunts the castle.
At the Bethlen-Haller Castle, you can stay in one of the 14 guest rooms or 4 luxury suites. You are able to book the castle for meetings and other events indoors or outside in the banquet garden. Also available are Jidvei wine tastings and other wine-centric events.
3. Bran castle
The most incredible and famous of all castles in Transylvania is undoubtedly Bran Castle. The castle seems to jut up out of the forested Carpathian Mountains as if on a movie set. The sight is beyond spectacular and more than a little eerie, made more so by the fact that Bran Castle is shrouded in legends and rumors of Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Vlad the Impaler never lived in the castle, though he was imprisoned there for two months. There are stories that he lived in the castle and some that state he never set foot in the castle – however, the tour at Bran Castle will avow that his imprisonment is a confirmed fact.
The village of Bran is, at the same time, quaint and kitsch-y. It’s very much geared toward tourists wanting to have their own Dracula experience, but that’s half the fun. It’s an easy day trip from Brașov, though there are plenty of places to stay if you want to spend a few days.
If you happen to be in Transylvania in late October, Bran Castle hosts some epic Halloween parties!
4. Cantacuzino castle
Cantacuzino Castle is a spectacular treat in the quaint mountain village of Bușteni, in the beautiful Prahova Valley. The castle was built at the behest of the Cantacuzino family in the early 20th century, making it one of the newest Transylvanian castles on our list. It’s nestled amid sprawling gardens on an immaculate estate with a picture-perfect Carpathian Mountain backdrop.
There isn’t a ton of interesting history here, however the views and the serenity alone are worth the visit.
Spend a few days in Bușteni and enjoy the myriad of outdoor activities to partake in, such as skiing or mountain climbing.
5. Corvin castle
A castle with many names! Corvin Castle, aka Hunedoara Castle or Hunyadi Castle, is one of the most beautiful Transylvanian castles on our list. Among the largest in Europe, Corvin Castle is situated in Hunedoara in the southwest of Transylvania.
The Zlasti River surrounds Corvin Castle like a moat, requiring access via drawbridge – it doesn’t get any more picturesque! The pointed red spires and surrounding lush greenery make Corvin Castle one of the most breathtaking castles in Transylvania.
This epic gothic structure is a must-see when visiting the region. Like most of the other tourist-oriented castles we’ve included, there are a bunch of kitschy souvenir stalls and snack stands on the perimeter of the parking lot and leading up to the castle. Try a langos or Kürtőskalács, or some other traditional Romanian food!
You can reach Corvin Castle from Sibiu, Alba Iulia, or Cluj-Napoca fairly easily as a day trip.
6. Cris-bethlen castle
The Cris-Bethlen Castle is one of the most underrated and unknown (to foreigners) Transylvanian castles. It was built in the early 1300s and is still owned by its original family, the Bethlens.
The castle is quite beautiful, and peaceful to visit without the same crowds you’d see at Bran or Corvin Castle. Visiting in the spring is the best, when you can see the gardens in bloom and fragrant floral aromas wafting through the air.
Visiting Cris-Bethlen Castle is easiest by taking a day trip from Sighisoara.
7. Károlyi castle
Károlyi Castle is a charming castle with Disney vibes in the northwest of Transylvania, near to the border with Hungaria in Carei. This is another hidden gem that’s not often on the tourist radar.
The castle was home to the Károlyi family toward the late 1500s. It withstood a number of sieges by Turks, Austrians, and Germans.
Today, the small castle houses a museum and souvenir shop. The best part of visiting Károlyi Castle is the expansive park on the castle grounds. Enjoy a chat with friends, people-watch, or sip some tea with a good book. Make sure you visit this one on a nice day!
8. Kornis castle
In the village of Manastirea in Cluj County, you can find the ruins of the Castle with Unicorns, Kornis Castle. Known for its iconic unicorn statues that guard the entrance, Kornis Castle suffered irreparable damages during WWII. Communists burned the castle’s extensive library, which contained over 9,000 volumes (including some exceptionally rare gems).
Unfortunately, if you visit Kornis Castle today, you won’t see the famed unicorns. They were removed after someone attempted (and failed) to steal them. Still, exploring the grounds around the castle ruins is like traveling through time, and well-worth the trip. It’d make the perfect photoshoot location.
Kornis Castle is about an hour drive from Cluj-Napoca, near to Bistrița. Bánffy Castle and Kornis Castle could easily be combined into a day trip!
9. Lázár castle
Lázár Castle is in Harghita County in Lazarea. The castle is a beautiful example of different architectural styles including Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque.
Lázár Castle is definitely one of the most underrated Transylvanian castles. The monument doesn’t attract many visitors, since the property is under dispute by the Lázár family. Subsequently, there are no tours or visiting hours available. You can still photograph the castle’s exterior should you plan a visit!
10. Sükösd-bethlen castle
In the Transylvanian village of Racoș, nestled between Brașov and Sighișoara, is what remains of the Sükösd-Bethlen Castle. Due to the varying states of degradation, the castle interior is not open to the public. The inner courtyard and garden can be visited upon request and advanced notice. Like the others on this list, you can still admire the outside and take some epic photos.
While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Rupea Fortress, the inactive Racoș Volcano, Racoș Lake and Racoș basalt columns. As you can see, the village is an absolute dream for outdoor enthusiasts.
The easiest way to get to Racoș is by car, but there are buses coming from both Brașov and Sighișoara as well.
11. Teleki castle
The last of the Transylvanian castles on our list, Teleki Castle takes us to the region of Mureș in the village of Gornești. The area is known for its many silver-spoon residences, but Teleki ranks among the best of them. Laszlo Teleki commissioned the castle to be built toward the end of the 1700s in a U-shape with a quintessential interior courtyard.
WWII caused the castle a lot of damage and subsequently transformed into a medical care center.
Teleki Castle fun fact: The castle has 365 windows, one for each day of the year.
Expect more renovations coming in the future, as the Teleki family has committed to putting Gornești, along with the castle, on the tourist radar.
Though Peleș Castle isn’t technically within the bounds of Transylvania, it’s so close that we couldn’t omit it from this compilation! Particularly because it’s a top contender as the ‘most beautiful castle in Romania‘.
Peleș Castle is in the mountains between Wallachia and Transylvania, making it easy to combine it with a day trip to Bran Castle.