The Bran area of Romania enjoys stunning landscapes, a rich history and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Through the heart of the region, a spectacular mountain pass links the old Saxon town of Brasov (Kronstadt) in Transylvania to the province of Wallachia.
Furthermore, the famous Bran Castle can be found here. In legend home to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this impressive medieval fortress is a former residence of Romania’s ‘English’ queen, Queen Marie (granddaughter of Queen Victoria), and centuries ago visited by the medieval prince, Vlad the Impaler (on whom it is thought Dracula was based). Historically, the building was a customs point controlling the major trade route between northern and southeastern Europe, the scenic ‘Bran Pass’.
The Bran Pass is flanked on the west by the rugged crest of Piatra Craiului and on the east by the great peaks of Bucegi, both more than 2000 m (6000 ft) in height. These form part of the Transylvanian Alps, one of the imposing alpine mountain ranges in Europe, which in addition to magnificent peaks, features a great network of streams, rivers and deep gorges. The local climate is continental-temperate; similar to the mountain passes of the Pyrenees or Italian Alps and the natural shelter of the pass favors accumulation of the area’s substantial winter snowfall, perfect for winter sports.
The arterial road ‘E574’ goes through the pass and leads to Brasov (35km, 350,000 inhabitants) in the north and in a southerly direction passes through the Carpathian highlands to Campulung (a small, picturesque town), Pitesti (200,000 inhabitants) and finally reaching Bucharest after 200 km. The Bran area is further served by a regional road (the future motorway sector) to the Prahova Valley 25 km away, also a major Romanian centre for mountain tourism.