Top Five Castles of Transylvania You Should See

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Transylvania is Romania’s most popular destination. Its charming castles are a big part of the almost mythical image it spreads. From well-known landmarks like Bran to smaller sites that once belonged to the local aristocracy, the castles of Transylvania tell a fascinating story.

Continue reading our short guide to five great castles of Transylvania to plan your vacation in Transylvania.

Read also The Best Affordable Hotels in Transylvania

1. Corvin Castle

The 14th-century Corvin Castle is for good reason listed by all travel guides as a must-see of the region. Once the residence of the medieval Prince Ioan of Hunedoara, this Gothic-style castle is today one of the most visited attractions in Transylvania.  The castle was the background of many movies, including the Hollywood productions The Nun and Ghost Rider.

Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle

Nearby attractions include the medieval fortress from Deva, Densus Church, and Retezat National Park as well as the Dinosaurs’ Geopark from Hateg.

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2. Bran Castle

The Saxons of Transylvania, who built this fortress in the 14th century, had no idea how famous their work would become some 500 years later. Today, Bran Castle is Romania’s most visited attraction, mainly due to its false, yet overly promoted, connection to the Dracula myth.

Essentially a medieval fortress built to defend and control commerce across the Carpathians, this site lived its most glorious days only after WW1. In 1920,  Queen Maria received it as a gift for her support to the cause of Romania’s Great Unification and turned it into a beloved residence.  Confiscated by the communists in 1947, the castle functioned ever since as a museum, although many of its original collections were never returned.

Bran Castle

Bran Castle

Nearby attractions include the medieval fortress from Rasnov, Brasov, and Piatra Craiului National Park.

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3. Banffy Castle

A castle that has a real chance to recover its past glory, Banffy Castle is now the scene of the popular Electric Castle festival. Once known as the Versailles of Transylvania, the castle dates from the 16th century. It was fortified with towers and ramparts in the 17th century and remained in the possession of the Banffy family until the communists nationalized it.

Famous for its vast gardens, the most beautiful from Transylvania until 1944, the castle and its park were destroyed during WW2. Its degradation further increased under the communist regime. The amplest restoration works of the castle began only a few years ago, carried by the Foundation Transilvania Trust.

Banffy Castle

Banffy Castle

Photo source: Foundation Transilvania Trust

4. Teleki Castle

The area of Mures is well-known for its many aristocratic residences. There are so many that you’d need an entire vacation to see all of them. For shorter visits, be sure to include Teleki Castle.

With a history that extends over centuries, the Teleki family was one of the most notable in the history of Transylvania. One of its members, Laszlo Teleki, built this castle at the end of the 18th century, while his descendants created one of the region’s most famous gardens.

Damaged during WW2 and turned into a medical care center by the communists, the castle with 365 windows – one for each day of the year – found, nonetheless, its way back to its rightful owners.

Castles of Transylvania

Teleki Castle

Photo source: Andrei Kokelburg 

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5. Kornis Castle

We’re back in Cluj County, in Manastirea this time, to visit the ruins of Kornis Castle. This was once one of the gorgeous Renaissance-style monuments from Transylvania. The castle dates from the end of the 16th century and was, for hundreds of years, the residence of the aristocratic Kornis family.

Sadly, the monument, once known as the ‘castle with unicorns’ after the two statues that guard the entrance, was severely damaged in the 20th century. Only the tower gate from 1720 and the ruins from the main part of the castle are still standing today.

Castles of Transylvania

Kornis Castle

Photo source: Daria Virbanescu 

These are just five of the many castles of Transylvania you can see while exploring the region. But remember that you’ll find many more along the way. Keep your eyes open for signs pointing to historical monuments. Many of them are not listed in any travel guides.


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