10 places to chase Dracula around Europe
By Emily Zemler
October 09, 2018, 10:28:55 AM EDT
Vlad the Impaler (also known as Vlad Tepes) ruled the Wallachian empire in the 15th century and was well-known for his violent tendencies. The king, also known as Vlad Dracula, became the inspiration behind Irish author Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, forever connecting to the historical figure with his blood-sucking fictional counterpart. Today, Dracula enthusiasts can find evidence of Dracula throughout Europe, particularly in Romania.
1. Bran Castle
WHERE: Bran, Romania
Bran Castle sits on a hill in the heart of Transylvania, surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. It’s unclear whether Vlad the Impaler ever actually visited the fortress, which was completed in 1388, however, the castle was supposedly used by Stoker as inspiration for Castle Dracula in his novel. These days the character is fully embraced in Bran, which sells Dracula-themed souvenirs and offers historical tours of the Castle. The annual Halloween party, as expected, is especially rambunctious.
WHERE: Budapest, Hungary
According to legend, Dracula was held captive by Hungarian ruler King Matthias in the 15thcentury and locked in a chamber in the labyrinth beneath Budapest’s Buda Castle. Brave travelers can venture inside the dark rooms of the labyrinth at the Labirintus, a tourist attraction that allows access to several underground passageways and rooms. It can be hokey in parts, especially when fog and ominous music fills the air, but the labyrinth’s caves actually have a vast and interesting history (that may or may not include one blood-sucking vampire).
3. The Dracula Experience
WHERE: Whitby, England
The British seaside town of Whitby, in Yorkshire, was once Stoker’s vacation home. The writer visited the town in 1890 and was supposedly inspired by the Whitby Abbey and its surrounding sights. Today, visitors can relive the past at The Dracula Experience, which recreates several scenes from Stoker’s book. For an extra scare, join one of the monthly paranormal investigation nights.
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