Heavily art nouveau in its decor, and about 100m uphill from Peleş Castle, the German-medieval Pelişor Palace has a hard time competing...
Foişorul Hunting Lodge
Halfway between Peleş and the centre, the Sinaia Monastery, home to about 20 monks, is well worth a look. Inside the gate, the large...
Eat inside or out at this busy central watering hole, popular with families and après-skiers. Service is a little slow, but coffees are...
Peleş Castle information
A 20-minute walk uphill of the town centre, of all the castles you'll marvel at in Transylvania this one has to be the most magical. Fairy-tale turrets rise above green meadows, and grand reception halls fashioned in Moorish, Florentine and French styles collectively overwhelm.
Endless wood-carved ceilings and gilded pieces induce cross-eyed swoons, and even if you’re bent on chasing creepy Dracula-type castles, it’s hard not to get a thrill visiting this one. The first European castle to have central heating, electricity and vacuuming(!), Peleş was intended to be the summer residence of Romania’s longest-serving monarch, King Carol I. Construction on the 3500-sq-metre edifice, built in a predominantly German-Renaissance style, began in 1875. Some 39 years, more than 400 weary craftsmen and thousands of labourers later, it was completed, just months before the king died in 1914. King Carol I’s wife Elisabeta was largely responsible for the interior decoration. During Ceauşescu’s era, the castle’s 160 rooms were used as a private retreat for leading communists and statesmen from around the globe. US presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi and PLO leader Yasser Arafat were all entertained by the Romanian dictator here.
The basic 40-minute tour takes in about 10 rooms on the ground floor, while two additional tours also take in the 1st and 2nd floors. In the first Armoury Hall (there are two) look for one of the 11 medieval knight suits with the long pointed boots. Rembrandt reproductions line the walls of the king’s office, while real Gustav Klimt works are in the last stop, a theatre/cinema behind the entry.
Guides will point out a secret door in the small library; all rooms have such a door apparently. Queen Elisabeta painted and wrote some 43 books in her life under a pseudonym; the paintings in the poetry room depict ‘fairy-tale’ scenes she wrote about in one book. Tickets are sold in a kiosk in the central courtyard. Guides speak English, French, Russian and German.