Riding Holidays in Transylvania-equestrian tourism in the land of Dracula

The “real” Dracula


The Dracula of Bram Stoker’s novel was in fact based on a real person, Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, who lived in the 15th century. Born in Sighisoara, Vlad was the Prince of Wallachia, a province that is now in southern Romania, and earned his gruesome nickname due to his penchant for impaling his enemies. Feared by all, he was instrumental in holding back the Turks from invading Europe. His castle remains in ruins high on the southern flank of the Carpathian Mountains at Poienari. [Note: This castle, as well as the ruins of Vlad’s palace at Targoviste and his grave at Snagov, can be visited on a special sightseeing trip.]

In contrast, Stoker set his fictional “Castle Dracula” in the Borgo Pass—a real place visited on the centre’s trail rides. A modern hotel has been constructed there where guests spend the night during the tour. People often confuse the historic Bran Castle, near Brasov, with Dracula’s castle; however, neither Bram Stoker’s Dracula, nor the historic Vlad ever set foot there.