12 Transylvanian Castles You Can’t Miss

Corvin Castle in Transylvania beneath fluffy clouds.

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When you imagine medieval European castles, Romania probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. With so many stunningly preserved castles throughout the entirety of Western Europe, it’s easy to overlook the magnificent Transylvanian castles – but you shouldn’t! 

Though the region is most famous for the infamous Dracula’s Castle of Transylvania, aka Bran Castle, there are so many more breathtaking castles in Transylvania to explore. Not to mention the region’s UNESCO-listed villages with Fortified Churches! 

Do yourself a favor and spend some time exploring this stunning region of Romania to check out some of Transylvania’s best castles.

In order to conjure an air of mystery and suspense, I’ve ranked these (according to my own personal preference!) from least to most impressive.

Interested in more than just castles? Be sure to check out the UNESCO-listed Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania!

Where Is Transylvania?

Transylvania is a region that is located in central Romania. The region is known for its scenic beauty, as well as its association with vampires and other supernatural creatures. Transylvania has a long history, dating back to the Roman Empire. Today, the region is a popular tourist destination, due to its unique culture and landscape.

The region is bounded by the Carpathian Mountains, and its name literally means “beyond the woods.” Transylvania has a long history and has been home to many different cultures over the years. Today, it is known for its scenic beauty, its traditional architecture, its unique folklore, and of course, the stunning Transylvanian castles.

How To Get To Transylvania & Transylvanian Castles

Chances are, you’ll arrive in Transylvania from either Budapest or Bucharest, the two most populous cities nearby. From either of these cities, there are a number of different options to get to Transylvania.

The Transylvanian plateau is quite large, so you should decide first where you want to base yourself within the region before deciding how you will get there. The best way to do this is narrow down the things you wish to see most and pick a base that is the most central. Brasov, Sibiu, or Cluj-Napoca are all popular options.

Transportation within Transylvania isn’t great, I’ll admit. And unless you are accustomed to aggressive and erratic drivers, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to rent a car (I’ve lived here for two years and I still will only drive 10 minutes away from my house).

Check out our guides on the best ways to get to Transylvania – they both break it down by Transylvanian cities, so you’ll have plenty of options.

Getting to Transylvania from Bucharest

Getting to Transylvania from Budapest

We also have a very detailed guide on the specifics of taking the train from Budapest to Sibiu.

Best Time To Visit the Castles of Transylvania

In general, visiting the Transylvanian castles is a great activity for late spring or early fall, since the weather is at its best and you won’t have to contend with as many crowds. However, depending on your interests, you may want to adjust your schedule a bit depending on the particular castle.

Bran Castle, for example, is a great option for mid-to-late fall, as there are some seriously spooky Halloween events that take place at the castle and in the surrounding area near Bran.

The Transylvanian castles that have the best gardens, such as Karolyi Castle and Criș Bethlen Castle, are definitely great options for late spring and early summer, so you’ll get the full experience, complete with the floral aromas wafting through the air.

Cantacuzino Castle is a personal favorite for the winter for me. The village of Bușteni is sheer magic when covered in a blanket of snow.

Really, it all depends on what else you want to do while you’re in Transylvania!

Stunning Castles of Transylvania

12. Kornis Castle

Ruins of Kornis Castle overgrown with vegetation and crumbling, one of the former greatest Transylvanian castles.

Nearby to Bánffy Castle and the village of Bistrița is Kornis Castle – well, the ruins of Kornis Castle, affectionately known as the Castle with Unicorns. It was once known and loved for its fairytale-like unicorn statues that flanked the entrance to the castle. However, today, you won’t find much. The unicorn statues have since been removed after a failed attempt by someone to steal them.

Kornis Castle’s history is one of despondence. Unfortunately, the structure was subject to extensive damages during the World Wars, particularly during World War II. Following that, the Communists arrived, and burned Kornis Castle’s incredible library collection.

Ruins, particularly castle ruins, are always exciting for me, so the fact that there was no actual castle to explore didn’t really faze me. If you’re into ancient relics and ruins, history, and want to see first-hand the effects of war and communism, go check out Kornis Castle in Transylvania.

Hours: Not Applicable

Admission: Not Applicable

Closest City: Cluj-Napoca

Google Maps: Kornis Castle

11. Sükösd-Bethlen Castle

Sukosd-Bethlen Castle in Racos, Romania, one of the oldest Transylvanian Castles.

Sükösd-Bethlen Castle is located in the town of Racoș, in the Brașov County of Transylvania. It was built in the 13th century and originally served as a stronghold. The castle was later expanded by the renowned Bethlen family in the 16th century. Today, it is in a state of semi-ruins and is not open to the public.

The castle has a rectangular layout with four towers at each corner. The main entrance is located on the south side and leads into a courtyard. The castle also has a chapel, which is located on the second floor. However, the castle is in a bit of a precarious state. Parts of it are in ruins and, for safety reasons, it is not open to the public. 

If you’d like to tour the inner courtyard, however, you can make arrangements beforehand to be let in by the keeper who lives just down the street.

Other things worth visiting in the area include the (inactive) Racoș Volcano and Racoș Lake. Rupea Fortress is also nearby – while it’s not a castle, it’s still a pretty impressive structure, particularly when you’re approaching it by car! If you’re staying in Brasov, make a day trip out of it and go see the surrounding sights in Racoș! 

Hours: Not Applicable

Admission: Not Applicable

Closest City: Brașov

Google Maps: Sükösd-Bethlen Castle

10. Lázár Castle

Inner courtyard of Lazar Castle seen from above, one of the most beautiful Transylvanian castles.

Lázár Castle is a castle located in Lazarea in Harghita County. The Lázár family has owned the castle for many generations. They have been able to maintain it in good condition and preserve its history. In 2014, they decided to open it up to the public. Visitors can now explore the different areas of the castle, including the garden, the chapel, and the museum. 

The castle has a long history that is reflected in its architecture. It was first built as a simple dwelling in the 14th century. However, over time it was expanded and transformed into the imposing structure that it is today. This evolution is evident in the different styles of architecture that can be seen throughout the castle.

The castle is not exactly a popular tourist destination in Romania, however, it’s a beautiful example of architecture and offers interesting insight into the region’s fascinating history.

Insider Tip: Today, the castle is not open, since the ownership of the property is currently under dispute.  Because of this, there is no admission or opening hours for tourists.

Hours: Not Applicable

Admission: Not Applicable

Closest City: Cluj-Napoca

Google Maps: Lázár Castle

9. Teleki Castle

Semi-ruinous Teleki Castle in Transylvania.

If you head to Gornești village in Mureș County, you’ll come across Teleki Castle. One of the most beautiful and lavish castles in Transylvania, Teleki Castle was first built by Laszlo Teleki at the end of the 18th century. 

Similar to many other castles in the region, it underwent extensive damage during WWII and in the subsequent Communism era. Some of its scars still remain today, however, the Baroque building is nevertheless quite beautiful.

The family is actively renovating Teleki Castle still to this day, and hopes to open it regularly to the public in the near future. Today, the castle is open only sporadically to the public. You can check the calendar to see if it’s open while you’re in town!

Hours: Not Applicable

Admission: Not Applicable

Closest City: Târgu Mureș

Google Maps: Teleki Castle

8. Criș Bethlen Castle

Cris-Bethlen Castle in Cris, Transylvania, Romania.

In the tiny village of Criș in Alba County lies Criș Bethlen Castle, one of Transylvania’s lesser known castles. The castle dates back as early as 1305, when it was documented to be the home of the original Bethlen owners. The Bethlen family still owns it today. They do extensive work on the castle and the surrounding village of Criș in order to preserve the area and restore it to its former glory.

Many who have seen the castle will say that it is the most beautiful Renaissance castle in all of Romania. It is beautiful, to say the least, and a visit here is definitely worth it if you appreciate the majestic beauty of medieval castles without the kitschy tourist traps and crowds that come with other Transylvanian castles.

The best time to visit Criș Bethlen Castle is in the late spring or early summer, when the gardens are in full bloom and you can amble about the castle grounds.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily

Admission: 10 RON ($2.50 USD)

Closest City: Sighișoara

Google Maps: Criș Bethlen Castle

7. Károlyi Castle

Karolyi Castle with green gardens in front and a paved walkway.

Károlyi Castle is the closest of the Transylvanian Castles to Satu Mare. It was built in the 13th century by the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, and later served as a residence for the Károlyi family. The castle has been restored and is now open to the public as a museum.

The Károlyi Castle is a popular tourist destination in Romania for those who have heard of it, known for its history and architecture. The castle has a number of features that add to its picturesque beauty, including its circular towers and its position atop a hill. Visitors can explore the castle’s grounds, which include a chapel and a courtyard. The castle also houses a museum with exhibits on the history of the Károlyi family and the castle itself.

The Károlyi Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting Romania. It is a beautiful example of medieval architecture, and its history is quite interesting as well. If you are interested in learning more about the castle or the Károlyi family, be sure to visit the museum while you’re there.

Insider Tip: The castle is frequently booked for private events, and there’s really not any way to know in advance. That being said, if you are not able to explore the castle interior, you’ll still be able to wander around the park, which is just as lovely!

Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday; Closed Mondays

Admission: 10 RON ($2.50 USD)

Closest City: Satu Mare

Google Maps: Károlyi Castle

6. Jidvei Castle

Jidvei Castle in Romania, aka Bethlen Haller Castle in Transylvania.

Jidvei Castle, also known as Bethlen-Haller Castle, is among the lesser-known castles of Transylvania, but a sight to behold nonetheless. Reminiscent of something out of a Disney fairytale, it is conveniently located en route between Medias and Alba-Iulia in Cetatea de Balta. 

Initially constructed in the late 16th century in Renaissance style, it has undergone several renovations that added many Baroque features. This amalgam of architectural styles makes it one of the most unique Transylvanian castles on our list! 

If you’re into spooky lore, you’ll definitely want to head to the Reformed Church that is adjacent to Jidvei Castle. According to local legend, the ghost of Count Haller haunts the castle. The Count’s driver had been having relations with his wife, the Countess, and killed the Count in a fit of jealous rage. 

The castle is now open to the public as a museum and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and corridors, and learn about its history from the exhibits on display.

This is one of the few Transylvanian castles that you can actually spend the night in. There are a number of guest rooms and suites from which you can choose. The castle can also be reserved for different types of private events, either inside or outside in the immaculate gardens. 

If you’re a vinophile, you’ve got to visit during one of Jidvei winery’s annual events.

Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday; Closed Mondays

Admission: 25 RON ($5 USD)

Closest City: Medias / Alba Iulia

Google Maps: Jidvei Castle

5. Bánffy Castle

Banffy Castle in Transylvania with its reflection in a pond.

Bánffy Castle is a short drive from Cluj-Napoca, in the village of Bonţida, made famous by the internationally acclaimed Electric Castle music festival. It’s a must-see on your tour of Transylvanian castles.

A Gothic style castle that was built in the 14th century, the castle has been remodeled several times over the centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was given a (much-needed) Baroque makeover.

The castle complex consists of three main buildings: the Palace, the Big House, and the Hunting Lodge. The Palace is the oldest part of the castle and contains the most interesting rooms, including the Throne Room, the Banqueting Hall, and the Hunting Room. The Big House was built in the 16th century and contains a large hall that was used for balls and other events. The Hunting Lodge was built in the 17th century and served as a residence for the castle’s owners.

The castle grounds are also home to a beautiful park, which was originally designed in the 17th century. The park is open to the public and is a great place to take a stroll or have a picnic. With its picturesque park and gardens, this Transylvanian castle has earned itself the nickname of ‘Versailles of Transylvania.

The castle has a long and rich history, having been the seat of the Bánffy family for centuries. The family played an important role in Transylvanian politics and culture, and the castle was often visited by notable figures such as King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and Vlad Țepeș, the infamous ruler of Wallachia.

The castle is home to a museum that houses a collection of artifacts from the castle’s history, as well as a library with a large collection of books and manuscripts. It also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and art exhibitions.

The castle is open to visitors, though most of its fame comes from Electric Castle, a music festival that has been in existence since 2013. 

Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily

Admission: 2 RON ($0.50 USD)

Closest City: Cluj-Napoca

Google Maps: Bánffy Castle

4. Cantacuzino Castle

Cantacuzino Castle in the Transylvanian village of Busteni.

In the stunningly beautiful mountain village of Bușteni lies Cantacuzino Castle. Nestled among the mountains in Prahova Valley, this small, rather unassuming castle is worth a visit during your time in Transylvania. 

It’s much newer in comparison to some of the other castles of Transylvania, with the Cantacuzino family only having built it in the early 1900s. That being said, it doesn’t have quite the extensive history as some of the region’s other castles, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it on your Transylvanian castle tour! 

Despite its small size, the castle boasts beautiful gardens on sprawling grounds amid the Carpathian Mountains. 

The village of Bușteni has a long history, dating back to the Middle Ages. The first written mention of the village dates back to the year 1247. In the centuries that followed, the village was often fought over by different armies and changed hands several times.

Bușteni itself is highly worthy of a visit, particularly during the winter months, when ski and snowboard enthusiasts descend upon the village. If you want to check out the castle’s gardens, however, you should visit during spring or summer. You’ll still be able to enjoy the plethora of outdoor activities in the mountains, such as hiking or mountain climbing.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Sunday through Friday; 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Saturday

Admission: 55 RON ($11.50 USD)

Closest City: Brașov

Google Maps: Cantacuzino Castle

3. Bran Castle

Dracula's Castle in Transylvania (Bran Castle) in the forest.

Bran Castle of Transylvania is a national monument and the most famous landmark in Romania. Though this is the heavy favorite with tourists from the world over, it only ranks number 3 on our list of Transylvanian castles.

The castle is also known as “Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania”, as it is commonly associated with the legend of Count Dracula and Transylvania vampires, thanks to Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula

Though Vlad Dracul, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Vlad Dracula, never actually lived in the castle, historical records show he was imprisoned here for two months during his life.

Bran Castle was built in the 13th century and has been home to many different families over the years and served many different purposes. It was first used as a military fortress between Wallachia and Transylvania, and later became a royal residence. 

Today, the castle is open to the public and is now one of Romania’s most popular tourist destinations. 

The eerily picturesque location of Bran Castle, on a hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and Transylvanian forests. 

Visitors to Bran Castle can explore its many rooms and corridors, which, although not as ornate as some of Western Europe’s castles, are still interesting to get lost in and feel the lasting history. 

Bran Castle is a must-see for anyone interested in the legend of Dracula, or in Romanian history and culture. It’s an easy day trip from Brasov, making it almost one of the most accessible castles in Transylvania.

There are a number of yearly events at Bran Castle, with the tour de force being the annual Halloween party that takes place over the course of a few days during Halloween time. 

Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday; 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM Monday

Admission: 45 RON ($9 USD)

Closest City: Brașov

Google Maps: Bran Castle

2. Peleș Castle

Peles Castle seen from below in the mountains of Transylvania and Wallachia border.

If you want to get technical, Peleș Castle is actually in the region of Wallachia, not Transylvania. However, given its close proximity to the region’s border coupled with its stunning beauty, we couldn’t not include it on this list of castles in Transylvania! 

If you’re looking for a breathtaking castle to explore in Romania, look no further than Peleș Castle. This beautiful Neo-Renaissance castle was built in the late 19th century and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. 

Peleș Castle is located in the town of Sinaia, about 80 kilometers north of Bucharest and 40 kilometers south of Brașov. 

The castle was built between 1873 and 1914 by King Carol I of Romania. It was the first European castle to be entirely electrified, and it also has one of the largest collections of art in Romania. 

Visitors can tour the inside of the castle, which includes more than 170 rooms decorated with lavish furniture and tapestries.

Checking out this stunning castle is one of the top things to do in all of Romania.

Hours: 9:15 AM to 5:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday; Closed Monday and Tuesday

Admission: 30 RON ($6 USD)

Closest City: Brașov

Google Maps: Peleș Castle

1. Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle with lush greenery surrounding it and fluffy white clouds in the sky - Transylvania.

As with many of the castles of Transylvania, Corvin Castle goes by a number of different names. Hunedoara Castle, Hunyadi Castle, and Castelul Corvin all refer to this magnificent structure in Hunedoara. This is by far my favorite of the Transylvanian castles, and it’s pretty easy to see why when visiting if, like me, you appreciate truly beautiful structures. 

When you first catch sight of Corvin Castle, you’ll be awestruck by its size. The castle spans over three acres and has walls that are up to 25 feet thick in some places. 

As you explore the castle, you’ll find a number of impressive features, including an armory, a torture room, and a secret passage that leads to the nearby river. In fact, Corvin Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe, so you might be surprised that Hunedoara is seemingly in the middle of nowhere in southwest Transylvania. 

If you’re interested in the history of Corvin Castle, there are a number of tours that are available. These tours will take you through the castle’s many rooms and tell you about the people who once called this place home. After exploring the castle, be sure to walk around the grounds and take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Most visitors to Corvin Castle love to take photos from the drawbridge that traverses the Zlasti River, which forms its ‘moat’. 

The intricate stonework is mostly well-preserved, though in some spots it’s in need of repair. The imposing turrets with their red-spired roofs are a sight to behold, and one of the castle’s most distinctive features.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday; 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM Monday

Admission: 30 RON ($6.20 USD)

Closest City: Hunedoara or Dev

Google Maps: Corvin Castle

Map of Transylvanian Castles

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