Top 5 castles and fortresses to photograph in Romania
Romania is a marvelous destination for photographers, with its landscape of rolling hills and rocky mountains. The imposing Carpathian Mountains with its picturesque valleys are a draw, as are the Danube Delta and charming medieval towns. Romania has so much to offer; in addition to the well-known photo locations, you’ll have many opportunities to explore off-the-beaten-track spots as well as to meet interesting communities of people along the way, which will add uniqueness and authenticity to your portfolio.
Amongst these photo opportunities are some of Romania’s most eye-catching castles and fortresses. Not only are they impressive subjects for your photography, but they also reflect the rich cultural heritage of the country.
There’s so many to explore, but here are our top 5 castles and fortresses to photograph in Romania:
1) Peles Castle
Built in a Neo-Renaissance style and former residence of the Romanian Royal family, Peles Castle is considered by many as Romania’s most beautiful castle and one of Europe’s finest architectural monuments. Its interior decorations are impressive – the 160 rooms are furnished with splendid pieces of furniture, crystal chandeliers, expensive rugs and remarkable works of art. There is even a mobile glass ceiling and spiral staircases carved in wood.
The exterior design is no less wonderful. The castle is situated in Sinaia, close to the better-known city of Brasov, against a backdrop of majestic mountains. Its terraces are adorned with large balconies, well-kept gardens, water fountains, marble paths and some beautiful stone sculptures.
As it is located on a small hill, the best way to capture the whole castle is to photograph it from a distance, before you start walking up the path that leads to the castle, but try some close up shots as well as the details are remarkable!
2) Corvin Castle
Set in the Western side of Transylvania region, in the city of Hunedoara, Corvin Castle is a splendid monument of Gothic architecture built in the 15th century. A visit to the castle will you take back to medieval times, to stories of knights in shining armor and to legends of ravens and life-long prisoners.
The access to the castle is made on a long wooden bridge, sustained by four massive stone pillars. While you can take plenty of great shots of the stone inner courtyard, the twisting spiral staircases or the imposing towers and bastions, we recommend you to stop just outside the entrance and preserve on your camera the postcard-view of Corvin Castle.
3) Bran Castle
Bran Castle is possibly the most famous amongst our recommended top 5 castles and fortresses to photograph in Romania.
It is known for its association with Dracula, although in fact there are no real ties to the vampire character. Bram Stoker never actually visited the castle, but it’s understandable why he used a drawing of it as the imaginary setting for his horror story given its spectacular location. It is perched on top of rocky cliffs and is surrounded by lush forests. It is located in the village with the same name, Bran, a 30-minute drive away from Brasov.
You’ll get more great shots by travelling to a nearby hill and shooting the castle from a distance, but the compositions taken from below the castle, as you start walk along the path towards it, are equally rewarding!
4) Viscri Fortified Church
With a history that goes back to the 12th century, Viscri is today one of Romania’s most famous villages. Its charming hill-top church was built by the Transylvanian Saxons, who came to Transylvania region several centuries ago and settled there. In order to defend themselves from the continuous attacks of the invaders, they would fortify the village’s churches. Nowadays, there are hundreds of such villages and seven of them are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, amongst them being Viscri.
The fortified church has several towers painted in white and it raises imposingly on a hill, in the center of Viscri, offering picturesque panoramic views. Capture the church from below, take a stroll inside the inner courtyard and enjoy the architectural details, or head out of the village, to the nearby fields and capture a view of Viscri in its entirety.
If you happen to find yourself in Viscri, take advantage of the many other photographic opportunities it offers. It is one of the best places to experience the Romanian countryside, with herds of cattle grazing, people travelling by horse-drawn carts and local trades people at work, such as the blacksmith and brickmaker demonstrating their craft in the traditional way.
Last but not least of our top 5 castles and fortresses to photograph in Romania is Biertan, another UNESCO site. Here you’ll get the most spectacular sunrise shots as the church is located in a valley, standing imposing on a hilltop, above all the colorful houses of the village. Due to its location the best photos are taken from the nearby hills, and there are plenty of them.
This is an impressive piece of architecture; the church is surrounded by a triple belt of fortification walls, having six towers and three bastions. The religious monument itself is remarkable, with three halls of imposing height, a one-of-a-kind altar and a famous sacristy with a complex system of 19 locks. You won’t struggle here for subjects to shoot!
Despite the many photographic opportunities, Romania still has the feel of being a little known paradise just waiting to be discovered. Our recommended top 5 castles and fortresses to photograph in Transylvania might just be the starting point of an unforgettable journey for you – we certainly hope so!
Plan your trip:
Romania Photo Tours organises group and private photo tours in Romania which can include these castles and many more interesting locations, landscapes and street scenes.