Come Fang Out with Vlad
Some say that the people of Transylvania have extra-sensory perception thanks to sitting on one of the Earth’s strongest magnetic fields. It’s easy to get caught up in the tale while riding the rails along ancient forests and over Carpathian mountain passes.
Tales of the supernatural had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries when Bram Stoker picked up the thread and spun it into a golden tale of ghoulishness. To research his immortal tale, Stoker immersed himself in the history, lore and legends of Transylvania – although never actually traveled there.
Thanks to his rich descriptions, you can visit many of the real locations, including the town of Sighisoara where Vlad was born. From Bucharest, the journey takes roughly five hours, giving you ample time to re-read the legend. You can also see Vlad’s final resting place just north of Bucharest. The Snagov Monastery, located on an island, can only be reached by boat and includes fortress walls and the requisite dungeon.
Back in Bucharest, Vlad built the Old Princely Court in the 15th century. According to local lore, it’s where he kept his prisoners in dungeons under the city. If it were the 21st century they would really be missing out on the Bucharest up above. Known as “Little Paris” for its wide boulevards, Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life, today’s capital a bustling metropolis.
We’d be remiss to not mention the slightly touristy but still intriguing Bran Castle. Halloween brings the legend to life here, with cups of blood-red punch and creepy-costumed travelers.