Hotel Castel Dracula

Hotel in Bârgău Valley

One of the high points of any vampire-themed trip to Transylvania is kitsch Hotel Castel Dracula. Its blood-curdling decorations, and location on a promontory roughly where Bram Stoker’s Count would have lived, draw as many day-trippers as overnight guests. Snap a selfie with the bust of Bram Stoker outside, peep inside to shiver at taxidermied hawks and wolves (and some racy artwork depicting Dracula) and – if you don’t have a heart condition – visit ‘Dracula’s tomb’ (3 lei).

The restaurant of suitably carnivorous Romanian food is decent, and there are picturesque walks right from the door (trail maps are on a billboard outside the hotel). A cluster of souvenir stalls on the road towards the hotel sell Dracula T-shirts, mugs and horror masks, and rather less spooky jams and nougats.

Rooms at the Hotel Castel Dracula are suitably Gothic in style: ox-blood curtains, crisp white sheets and hardwood furnishings. They include heavy writing desks, ideal for penning postcards to folks back home to assure them you're safe from the Count’s grasp (especially since reception-area wi-fi doesn't extend to rooms). The sizeable breakfast spread is best enjoyed on the restaurant terrace, overlooking magnificent valley views.

A couple of daily buses between Bistriţa and Vatra Dornei pass by here, but Hotel Castel Dracula is best visited by car.