8 days
Duration
Bucharest, Transylvania, Wallachia
Regions
Cultural Tour, Dracula Tour, Private Tour
Tour Type

LEGENDS AND FICTION, HISTORY AND REALITY. THE TOUR ON VLAD THE IMPALER FOOT STEPS

Embark on an 8-day voyage into the heart of Romania, tracing the myth and reality of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, more widely known as Dracula. “Dracula’s Trail” is designed not just as a travel itinerary but as a journey into the storied past of Transylvania and Wallachia, blending historical intrigue with cultural immersion. From the halls of Bucharest’s grand Parliament Palace to the mysterious ruins of Poenari Citadel and the legendary Bran Castle, each day unveils new facets of the Dracula legend and Romania’s rich history. Discover medieval citadels, encounter unique traditions, and indulge in the local culinary delights. This tour combines visits to iconic sites with hidden gems, such as the eerie Hoia Baciu Forest and intimate encounters with Romania’s diverse cultural tapestry, including a special visit to a Gypsy home. Expertly guided from start to finish, “Dracula’s Trail” invites you to unravel the layers of myth and history in a land steeped in legend and beauty. Join us for an unparalleled exploration of Romania, where every corner tells a story, and the legacy of Dracula looms as both a shadow and a spectacle.

The tour can be personalised according to your time and points of interest.

Itinerary: Arrival in Bucharest – Bucharest City Tour including the Parliament Palace and Ceausescu’s former residence; visit to an 80s communist apartment; exploration of Old Town and Old Princely Court – Royal Court of Targoviste – Poenari Citadel – Cozia Monastery – Sibiu Walking Tour – Corvin Castle – Turda Salt Mine – Hoia Baciu Forest – Walking tour of Cluj-Napoca – organic smoked bacon tasting with lunch – Bistrita and the Jonathan Harker story –  dinner at Golden Crown Restaurant – Visit Targu Mures Citadel – exclusive Gypsy home visit –  walking tour of Sighisoara – dinner in Dracula’s Restaurant – Saschiz Fortified Church – Bran Castle – walking tour of Brasov – Peles Castle – Snagov Monastery – departure from Bucharest

DEPARTURE/RETURNThe tour begins and ends in Bucharest, with airport transfers included. Flexible arrangements can be made for starting or ending the tour in different cities as per your travel plans, ensuring a seamless travel experience tailored to your needs.
TRANSPORTATIONTransportation will be provided in a modern, fully insured car or minivan, equipped with air conditioning and comfortable seating to ensure a pleasant journey between tour sites.
TOURIST GUIDEA certified English-speaking guide will accompany you throughout the tour, providing expert commentary on the historical and cultural sites. The guide’s deep knowledge of Romanian history and folklore will enhance your understanding and appreciation of each location visited.
2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one on the Tentative List

Historic Center of Sighisoara – Marvel at one of the most outstanding examples of small fortified cities in the border region between the Latin-oriented culture of central Europe and the Byzantine-Orthodox culture of southeastern Europe.

Saschiz Fortified Church (Villages with Fortified Church in Transylvania) – An important site reflecting the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania and the defensive architecture of the villages.

Historic Centre of Sibiu and its Ensemble of Squares (Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Sites) – Recognized for its significant cultural and trading power during the medieval periods.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS AND UNIQUE CULTURAL CONNECTIONS

• Royal Court of Targoviste: Explore the seat of Vlad the Impaler’s power and climb the iconic Chindia Tower for panoramic views.
• Poenari Citadel: Venture to the real Dracula’s castle, perched high on a mountain peak for a taste of the legendary.
• Dracula Tourist Complex: A comprehensive experience with museum exhibitions and castle replicas that bring the 15th century to life.
• Cozia Monastery: Admire the ancient frescoes and learn about the monastery’s historical significance in Romanian ecclesiastical history.
• Corvin Castle: Explore one of Europe’s largest castles and delve into the tales of nobility and intrigue.
• Turda Salt Mine: Descend into an underground world that blends history with modern leisure facilities.
• Bistrita and Jonathan Harker Story: Walk in the footsteps of Bram Stoker’s characters in the town mentioned in “Dracula”.
• Exclusive Gypsy Home Visit: Engage directly with the Romani culture in an authentic and respectful exchange.
• Sighisoara Medieval Town: Birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, offering beautifully preserved streets and vibrant history.
• Bran Castle and Snagov Monastery: Iconic Dracula-related sites that blend myth and history, providing a deep dive into the legend.

DEPARTURE/RETURNThe tour begins and ends in Bucharest, with airport transfers included. Flexible arrangements can be made for starting or ending the tour in different cities as per your travel plans, ensuring a seamless travel experience tailored to your needs.
TRANSPORTATIONTransportation will be provided in a modern, fully insured car or minivan, equipped with air conditioning and comfortable seating to ensure a pleasant journey between tour sites.
TOURIST GUIDEA certified English-speaking guide will accompany you throughout the tour, providing expert commentary on the historical and cultural sites. The guide’s deep knowledge of Romanian history and folklore will enhance your understanding and appreciation of each location visited.
INCLUDED
7 nights at centrally located hotelsBreakfast every day
Natural, authentic and local culinary experiencesExclusive organic smoked bacon tasting with lunch
Two thematic dinnersJonathan Harker Story
Private airport transfers on arrival and departureEntrance fees to museums and sites included as per itinerary
Fuel, parking fees and local taxes includedSnagov Lake & Island Tour
Bucharest City TourGuided tours at all sites
Certified English-Speaker tourist guide specialized in Romanian culture and historyExclusive visit and interaction with a Gypsy family in their own home
Detailed map of RomaniaBottled water in the vehicle
Friendly talks with the guide about Vlad the Impaler – Dracula; Ceausescu and His Times and the Gypsies and Their Journey
NOT INCLUDED
Airplane tickets and health insuranceSouvenirs
Alcoholic beveragesHotel extras (telephone, mini bar, etc)
Meals, other than those included in the itineraryGratuities of any kind
Photo/video fees at sites and museums

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Day 1: Bucharest Arrival

Welcome to Romania! Upon your arrival at Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest, you will be greeted by the warm smile of your professional driver, ready to ensure a smooth start to your adventure on Dracula’s Trail. As you step out of the bustling airport, a comfortable, private vehicle awaits to whisk you away to your centrally located hotel in the heart of Bucharest.
Upon arrival at your hotel, check in and take some time to relax and refresh from your journey. The evening is yours to enjoy at leisure, providing the perfect opportunity to start exploring the nearby attractions or simply unwind in the comfort of your hotel room.
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Day 2: Bucharest City Tour with Parliament Palace and Ceausescu Residence & 80s communist apartment – Royal Court

Today begins with a delightful breakfast at your hotel before you meet your certified English-speaking guide, ready to unveil the layers of Bucharest’s rich and complex history. Your journey through Romania’s capital starts at the imposing Palace of Parliament, one of the largest and heaviest administrative buildings in the world. As you tour this colossal structure, marvel at the lavish interiors that showcase an excess of marble, crystal, and gold leaf, reflecting the grandiose vision of Nicolae Ceaușescu during the communist era.
Next, the tour takes a more intimate turn with a visit to Ceaușescu’s former residence, revealing the private life of Romania’s most notorious leader. This beautifully preserved villa offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Ceaușescu and his family, providing a stark contrast to the lives of ordinary citizens during his regime.
Continuing the theme of life under communism, you will step into a meticulously recreated 1980s Romanian apartment. This immersive experience transports you back in time with its authentic décor, furniture, working appliances, and household accessories from the era. Savor local drinks and homemade snacks while watching historical and archive footage that brings the daily realities of the period to life, offering a profound understanding of the socio-political climate.
Conclude your day in the historic heart of Bucharest, exploring the Old Town and the Old Princely Court, which is believed to be the site where Vlad the Impaler, the historical inspiration for Dracula, once ruled. Wander through the cobblestone streets, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and exploring the blend of architecture and cultures that make Bucharest unique.
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Day 3: Targoviste Royal Court – Poenari Citadel – Olt River Gorges – Cozia Monastery – Sibiu Walking Tour

Today unfolds with a deep dive into Romania’s historical legacy, starting at the Royal Court of Targoviste, a pivotal site in the life of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. Here, explore the remnants of the court where Vlad ruled and enforced his iron-fisted policies. The complex includes several preserved structures and a tower that offers a panoramic view of the former princely compound and the town beyond.
After soaking in the history of Targoviste, your journey continues to the Dracula Tourist Complex, an engaging attraction designed to immerse you in the era of Vlad the Impaler. Experience the authenticity of the 15th century through meticulously crafted decorations and architecture featuring stone and painted brick by local artisans. Inside the museum, discover a rich collection of objects that depict life during Vlad’s reign. The Throne Room, a highlight of the tour, features life-sized figures of Vlad and his nobles, set against the backdrop of elaborate medieval decor. The complex also offers educational projections, including one tailored for children, which detail significant aspects of the ruler’s life. From the ramparts, use a telescope to gaze out at the majestic Poenari Citadel and the surrounding mountainous landscape, or engage with the interactive displays including a ball-firing cannon guarded by life-sized soldier figures.
Next on your itinerary is a visit to the formidable Poenari Citadel, perched high on a mountaintop and accessible by a vigorous climb. This real fortress of Vlad the Impaler offers breathtaking views and a haunting glimpse into the defensive strategies of the past.
The day concludes with a serene drive towards Sibiu, culminating in a relaxing walking tour of this enchanting medieval town. Sibiu, known for its Germanic architecture, was once one of the most important fortified cities in Transylvania. Wander through its large and small squares, admire the Brukenthal Palace, and cross the famous Liars’ Bridge as your guide shares tales of the city’s rich history and cultural significance.
This day’s journey through time not only reveals the stark contrasts between the legends and realities of Vlad the Impaler’s rule but also showcases the artistic and cultural heritage that Romania preserves and celebrates today.

***Summer Variation: The Transfagarasan Highway Adventure
During the summer months (July to November), your journey to Sibiu takes an adventurous turn with a drive on the spectacular Transfagarasan Highway. Hailed as “the best road in the world” by Top Gear, this route offers an unforgettable experience with its stunning mountain vistas and serpentine paths. As you ascend to Balea Lake, situated at 2,034 meters, the breathtaking landscapes of Romania unfold before you.
A stop at the Poenari Citadel, the real stronghold of Vlad the Impaler, adds a historical dimension to your journey. Perched high on a cliff, the citadel’s ruins offer not only a glimpse into the past but also panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

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Day 4: Corvin Castle – Turda Salt Mine – Hoia Baciu Forest

Your exploration continues as you journey to the imposing Corvin Castle, a quintessential Gothic-Renaissance bastion that ranks among Eastern Europe’s largest castles. This morning, you’ll be greeted by the castle’s dramatic towers and drawbridges that seem to emerge from the pages of a fairy tale. Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, harbors a history filled with intrigue and legend, including connections to Vlad the Impaler. Wander its grand halls and murky dungeons, each echoing tales of medieval bravery and betrayal.
Next, the tour heads to the Turda Salt Mine, an extraordinary underground wonder that dates back to antiquity. The mine has been transformed into an otherworldly attraction, featuring a museum, an amphitheater, and even a Ferris wheel deep below the earth’s surface. Glide down into the depths on a boat ride across the subterranean lake or enjoy the eerie echoes of the salt caverns, which create a surreal acoustic experience.
As the afternoon wanes, prepare for a shift in ambiance as you enter the mysterious Hoia Baciu Forest, just outside the city of Cluj-Napoca. Known as the “Bermuda Triangle” of Romania, this forest is famed for paranormal activity and unexplained events. A guided walk through Hoia Baciu offers a chance to delve into stories of ghost sightings, unexplained apparitions, and feelings of unease. Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or a lover of natural beauty, the forest’s strangely twisted trees and verdant paths provide a unique and memorable experience.
Each of these destinations today presents a distinct facet of Romania’s rich tapestry, from medieval grandeur and historical depth to enigmatic natural phenomena, making for an unforgettable fourth day on your journey.
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Day 5: Cluj-Napoca Walking Tour – Organic Smoked Bacon Tasting with Home-made Lunch – Bistrita and the Jonathan Harker Story – Golden Crown Restaurant Dinner

The day begins with a leisurely stroll through the vibrant streets of Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania’s largest city, renowned for its artistic vibe and baroque architecture. Your guide will lead you through the city’s historic center, highlighting landmarks such as the St. Michael’s Church, an impressive example of Gothic architecture, and the statue of Matthias Corvinus, one of Hungary’s most famous kings who was born here. You’ll also explore the bustling squares and quaint side streets, each lined with cafes and shops that pulse with the city’s youthful energy.
Mid-morning, the tour takes a delicious turn with a visit to a local village renowned for its organic smoked bacon. Here, you’ll partake in a tasting session that showcases the rich flavors of traditionally cured meats, followed by a home-made lunch prepared by local hosts. This meal provides not only a taste of authentic Romanian cuisine but also a glimpse into the rural lifestyle that has sustained these communities for generations.
Following lunch, the journey continues to Bistrita, the town famously mentioned in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” as the place where Jonathan Harker spent the night before venturing into the heart of Transylvania. You’ll trace Harker’s steps with a guided tour that reveals the historical and literary layers of this charming town. The highlight here is a visit to the Golden Crown Restaurant, located in a building that dates back to Harker’s fictional stay. Here, you’ll enjoy a themed dinner that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also immerses you in the Victorian era, complete with period decor and dishes inspired by the novel.
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Day 6: Targu Mures Citadel – Exclusive Gypsy Home Visit – Sighisoara Walking Tour – Dinner in Dracula’s Restaurant

The day unfolds with a visit to Targu Mures, a city renowned for its eclectic mix of cultures and historical influences. Begin your exploration at the Targu Mures Citadel, a fortress that has stood the test of time, witnessing numerous battles and sieges. The citadel’s robust walls and towers offer a vivid glimpse into the region’s turbulent past. Roam through the grounds, absorb the architectural details, and imagine life during medieval times as you overlook the city from the citadel’s vantage points.
Next, your journey takes a deeply cultural turn with an exclusive visit to a local Gypsy home. This immersive experience offers you a rare insight into the vibrant and often misunderstood Romani culture. Engage with the family, learn about their traditions, crafts, and way of life. This interaction not only enriches your understanding but also fosters a sense of connection and appreciation for their enduring heritage.
Later, travel to Sighisoara, one of Europe’s most beautiful and well-preserved medieval towns. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Sighisoara is also known as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Your walking tour here includes the iconic Clock Tower, the Church on the Hill, and Vlad’s birth house, now a captivating restaurant. Stroll through the cobblestone streets, adorned with colorful 16th-century buildings, and feel transported back to a time of guilds and early merchants.
Conclude your enriching day with dinner at Dracula’s Restaurant in Sighisoara. Set in the very house where Vlad the Impaler was born, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience that blends historical ambiance with culinary delights. Enjoy dishes that are both traditionally Romanian and thematically connected to the Dracula legend, all served in a setting that evokes the mystique and romance of the medieval era.
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Day 7: Sighisoara – Saxon Village of Saschiz with the Fortified Church – Bran Castle – Brasov Walking Tour

Awaken to the medieval charm of Sighisoara, taking in one last stroll through its enchanting streets before departing for the day’s adventures. Your first destination is the picturesque Saxon village of Saschiz. Renowned for its fortified church, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Saschiz exemplifies the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania and the community’s efforts to preserve their heritage through sustainable tourism. Explore the robust fortifications and the iconic clock tower, which mirrors the larger one in Sighisoara, offering insights into the region’s defensive strategies against invaders in the Middle Ages.
Leaving Saschiz, the journey continues towards one of Romania’s most iconic landmarks, Bran Castle. Often associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this imposing structure sits atop a rock formation, overlooking the pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. Tour the castle’s many rooms and secret passages, each filled with tales of myths and history. Learn about the castle’s true ties to Vlad the Impaler and how it came to be linked with the Dracula legend, while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
In the afternoon, arrive in Brasov, one of Transylvania’s most significant historical cities. Begin your exploration with a guided walking tour of the Old Town, where the Gothic spires of the Black Church rise above the rooftops. Stroll through Council Square, heart of the medieval city, and wander down Rope Street, one of the narrowest streets in Europe. Admire the blend of baroque, renaissance, and gothic architecture that defines this charming city, while your guide shares stories of Brasov’s rich history, from its days as a major medieval trading center to its role in the Saxon settlers’ defense against invasions.
This day offers a perfect mix of historical intrigue and architectural beauty, capturing the essence of Transylvania’s medieval past and its ongoing legacy. As the evening falls, enjoy the vibrant café culture of Brasov or relax in your hotel after a day full of enriching experiences.
An optional dinner in a nearby village can be arranged if you wish to experience the local cuisine and drinks.
***An optional dinner in a nearby village can be arranged.
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Day 8: Peles Castle – Snagov Monastery – Bucharest Departure

As the dawn breaks on your final day, prepare for a grand conclusion to your “Dracula’s Trail” tour. After breakfast, set off for the enchanting Peles Castle, nestled in the mountain resort of Sinaia. This castle, a former summer residence of Romanian royalty, is a masterpiece of German New-Renaissance architecture. As you tour the lavish halls and secret passages, marvel at the richly decorated interiors, which feature an impressive collection of European art, crystal chandeliers, and carved woodwork. The castle not only showcases the height of 19th-century craftsmanship but also tells the story of Romania’s cultural and royal history.
Next, your journey takes you to Snagov Monastery, situated on a small island in the middle of Snagov Lake. This serene location is reputed to be the burial site of Vlad the Impaler. Accessible by a small bridge or by boat, the monastery offers a peaceful retreat with its well-preserved frescoes and quiet, spiritual atmosphere. Here, delve into the legend of Dracula one last time as you explore the monastery grounds and learn about its connection to the historical figure who inspired fear and fascination across generations.
Your exploration culminates as you return to Bucharest for your departure. Reflect on the rich tapestry of experiences, from medieval fortresses to royal splendors and legendary sites, as you are transported to the airport. With a heart full of memories and a camera full of stunning photographs, say farewell to Romania, a land where history, legend, and natural beauty converge in a truly unique travel experience.
NOTE: The tour is further customizable.

Follow Vlad the Third - Dracula Tour Map

Traditional Romanian welcome dinner with Folklore Show

In the evening, you can opt to serve a traditional dinner at a local restaurant with an idyllic view, situated on the lakeshore in Bucharest’s most famous park, the Herastrau or Michael I Park. Here, you will enjoy a three-course meal dinner with wine included, and you will get a chance to discover the traditional Romanian folklore costumes while enjoying the dances of the local performers. The entire show displays authentic Romanian traditions and customs, from the sewn details on the white outfits of the dancers to the delighting music played by the local artists.

Two day Black Sea & Danube Delta Extension with Danube Delta Private Cruise accompanied by certified skipper

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Extra Day 1: Bucharest – Constanta Walking Tour – Histria Fortress – Tulcea

Begin your extension tour of the Black Sea and Danube Delta with an early morning departure to the Black Sea Coast, to Constanta – the largest seaport on the Black Sea, established in the 4th century BC as a Greek colony. The drive from Bucharest will take approximately three hours, crossing the Danube into the region of Dobrogea and driving along the famous Danube-Black Sea Canal. The city tour of Constanta will take you to the Secession style Casino and the Genoese Lighthouse. In the National Museum of Archaeology, we will see the fabulous Glykon Serpent and the wonderfully restored Roman Mosaic – one of the largest in this part of Europe. In the afternoon drive to Mamaia – Romania’s largest sea resort, established by King Carol I of Romania in the second half of the 19th century and then continue north to the ruins of the ancient town of Histria. In the early evening we will arrive to Tulcea located right at the entrance in the Danube Delta. Hotel check in. Dinner on your own.
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Extra Day 2: Danube Delta Private Cruise with Lunch – Bucharest Airport

After the early breakfast, you will explore, in your private boat the youngest territory in the world, the Danube Delta started to form just 10,000 years ago and is still in the process of formation. On your exclusively cruise you will have the chance to admire the Danube scenic beauty and wildlife – it is known as the birdwatchers paradise, so simply relax while browsing through the narrow channels. A fauna specialist tour guide and skipper, who knows all the channels, will lead your tour. A great opportunity for you to watch birds and to admire nature. The Delta cuisine is certain to provide an interesting lunch experience, the lunch will be served on the ship.
After the tour we will drive back to Henri Coanda International Airport for your afternoon return flight.
Sighisoara Staircase by Holiday to Romania
Corvin Castle by Holiday to Romania
Turda Salt Mine by Holiday to Romania
Roman Catholic Cathedral Alba Iulia by Holiday to Romania
House with Antler Sighisoara by Holiday to Romania
Bran Castle by Holiday to Romania
John of Hunedoara by Holiday to Romania
Vlad the Impaler - Dracula
Ceausescu Residence by Holiday to Romania
Saschiz Fortified Church by Holiday to Romania
Sighisoara Lower Town by Holiday to Romania
the Black Church by Holiday to Romania
Sibiu Evangelical Church by Holiday to Romania
Dracula Restaurant Turda by Holiday to Romania
Sibiu Sleeping Eyes and Evangelical Church by Holiday to Romania
Saschiz Saxon Village by Holiday to Romania
The Clock Tower Sighisoara by Holiday to Romania

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 5 reviews
Prince H.
July 9, 2017

I booked through here because I wanted to see as much and learn as much about Dracula/Vlad the Impaler! I really enjoyed the tour and tour guide was very good and knowledgeable! I would book a tour through them again!

Ben Douglas
August 25, 2017

My wife was hesitant on this tour due to the name. We have traveled to several countries and have seen some great country and history but this tour really delivers on beauty of the Transylvania countryside and History. Our guide, Dan, not only looked after us but was very knowledgeable of all the areas we visited. The Castles and fortresses were magnificent. I know people have different tastes in what they like to see but in all of our travels this rates as the best vacation travel package we have ever taken. The memories will stay with us the rest of our lives. Dan became like a family member on this tour and and it was emotional and sad to have to say goodbye to him at the end. I highly recommend this tour to those who want to see the beauty of Romania’s Transylvania area and discover the legends behind Dracula.

Kathleen & Leah K.
August 22, 2019

My sister & I knew not what to expect, & were not only pleased, but thrilled by the informational scope & interest of the tour. Our tour was a long one, encompassing Bran Castle, Targoviste Royal Court, & Snagov Monastery. Though it was around 11 hours altogether, the sites were full of historical interest & beautiful art & architecture, & our guide, Dan, was phenomenal. He was full of energy & information, & he filled us in on many interesting tidbits. History, anecdotes, facts, & cultural practices were all topics of discussion, & he was so knowledgable that we were unable to stump him with our questions! If touring in Romania, this is the service to use!

Elizabeth C.
March 13, 2024

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Dracula’s Trail tour created by Holiday to Romania. It was a perfect blend of history (both of Dracula and his inspiration Vlad the Impaler), beautiful mountain scenery, breathtaking sights like the Turda salt mines and culture. We would highly recommend a guided visit as so much would be missed otherwise.

Scott C.
March 20, 2024

This tour was an amazing blend of history from decades to centuries ago. We explored several sights related to Dracula and his inspiration, Vlad the Impaler. We saw breathtaking views, beautiful churches and amazing castles. I would highly recommend touring Romania with a guide and using Holiday to Romania as much would be missed otherwise.

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