Bloodcurdling tales of vampires and haunted castles are popular now in movies and books, but not in the country where they supposedly come from -- Romania. Romania holidays are mostly spent as Halloween adventures, with lots of tourists on the prowl for the legendary Dracula in the region of Transylvania. But apart from the “scary” affairs, the country surprises travellers with its exceptional beauty evident in its grotesque monuments, majestic castles, and medieval towns.
Most visitors venture to Transylvania in search of Dracula. But although the famous region exudes a mysterious air about it, Dracula stories are almost instantly forgotten once the lively Saxon towns come into view. The stunning mountain scenery and alpine peaks contrast with the usual dark images of werewolves and haunted forests often associated with Transylvania. The Bucegi Mountains’ Prahova Valley is a skier’s paradise with its steep slopes and spectacular Sphinx and Babele figures found in the Bucegi Plateau. Various outdoor activities such as rock climbing at Piatra Craiului National Park and exploring the underground rivers of the Apuseni are available here too.
The medieval house of Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler, is also a famous attraction in the region. Vlad III was a former Wallachian ruler known for his bloodthirsty and cruel ways, and was the inspiration of novelist Bram Stoker for his novel Dracula. In the ancient three-story house are numerous pictures of the former ruler. On the third floor is the Casa Dracula restaurant, which offers tourists extra rare blood sausage and steaks.
Centuries-old castles and fortresses add to the medieval charm of Romania, and are all worth exploring for their rich history. The Corvinesti Castle is an important Gothic monument which once served as a stronghold and home of the prince. It features towers with extraordinary names such as “Do not fear,” and houses a Council Hall decked with paintings of Roman princes’ coats of arms. The castle’s 30-metre deep fountain is a must-see. It was believed to have been dug by Turkish prisoners who were promised freedom after the fountain is finished. But supposedly 15 years after, when the fountain was completed, they were still stuck in prison, which, according to stories, explain the nearby wall inscription: “You may have water, but you have hardly any soul.”