Braşov is close to the famous Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. I took a day trip there, arriving by bus.
It’s not like I didn’t have fair warning that it would be pretty stupid. I knew Dracula hadn’t actually lived there (but people really good at marketing had), and there’s even a hilarious “No Reservations” episode where Anthony Bourdain is incredibly livid at having to spend time in the tourist trap that is Bran.
Still, I went, because others were going and it seemed weird to purposefully NOT go. But let me tell you, future Romania travelers — it is silly and a waste of money. No one with whom I went enjoyed it. Visitors are shepherded through tiny rooms, getting in the way of Italian families with cameras and people like me trying desperately to be interested in the sign explaining how Princess so-and-so used this room for brushing her hair. I managed to score some hilariously tacky vampire postcards, but that’s about it.
Vampire – The Bel-Airs [surf rock always makes me feel better]
Râşnov fortress was a bit better — there’s even a pretty awesome tractor-powered tram ride to the top of the mountain that made me feel as if I was in some twisted version of a Disney World ride. Of course, they, too, had a giant “Rasnov” sign next to the castle that kind of ruined the authenticity.