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All About Visiting The Best Castle In Romania: Corvin Castle

Posted by Emily Henkel on 6/9/23 2:04 PM

ILP Romania

Romania has a whole list of gorgeous castles to visit ... but Corvin Castle might just be my absolute favorite. 

Are you headed to Romania? I couldn't be more envious. I spent a week vacationing there when I was an ILP volunteer and kinda wished I had spent a whole semester in Romania because I loved it oh so much. Romania's full of the most charming vacation spots and honestly the most heartfelt service — take it from someone who had so many friends volunteer in the Romania Orphanage Program! 

READ NEXT: What is it like to volunteer in the Romania Orphanage Program?

While ILP volunteers are spending part of their time volunteering, every weekend and several scheduled vacation days means there is plenty of time to take a break from your service and explore the country you're living in. For those in Romania, a trip to Corvin Castle is an absolute must.

This place is all the things I love about Romania — packed with history, totally off the radar of other spots in Europe, and a place to take a zillion pictures. Here's all the info you need to plan your own trip here: 

ILP Adventure in Romania

About Corvin Castle 

There are a lot of castles to see in Romania (we even have a list of the most picturesque ones ... don't worry, Corvin's Castle is definitely on the list!) but the history really makes this spot special. This medieval icon is supposedly where "Vlad the Impaler", was held prisoner in 1461 by military leader John Hunyadi. Hunyadi was the military leader of the region and was also the primary builder of this massive castle.

If you're really looking for the details, construction initially began thanks to a Roman nobleman, Voicu Corvin, in the 14th century, but Hunyadi drastically expanded the castle in the 15th century. Can you see why it's sometimes called Corvin Castle and Hunyadi Castle? 

The building was used as a military fortress and prison, once belonging to the Austrians (and the Hungarians) before officially belonging to Romania after WW1. The main headline of the castle's history is that supposedly Vlad the Impaler was kept prisoner there. That fact is disputed by a few sources, but it's a big pull for visitors who want to add a little Dracula to their Transylvanian visit. (There is a lot to the life and impact of Vlad, but he is the infamous ruler who supposedly served as Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula.)

ILP Adventure in Romania

What To Expect 

This castle is big — it's one of the largest in all of Europe, so plan on plenty of time to explore the castle and the surrounding grounds. This former fortress is now open to the public, and tourists are welcome to trek through spiral staircases to vaulted ceilings, glass boxes full of costumes from hundreds of years ago, and walkways that open up to massive courtyards. Here are a couple of highlights to keep an eye out for on your visit: 

The Moat Bridge

After you pay for your entry ticket, you'll walk across an absolutely massive bridge that crosses over the moat to get inside the actual castle (it's a great photo op ... and one you can't really miss). The moat isn't filled with water, but it's easy to imagine, especially since there's a little stream at the bottom that helps you fill in the blanks of what this would have looked like when the moat was full. 

ILP Adventure in Romania

Volunteer in an orphanage in Europe with ILP

Volunteer in an orphanage in Europe with ILP

The Courtyards

You'll first have time to admire the massive courtyards, complete with stone stairways decorated with stone archways. In the spring and summer, these windows and balconies are filled with flowers. 

ILP Adventure in Romania

ILP Romania

Inside The Castle 

There are a few points to note as you wander around the gigantic space. The Knight's Hall is probably the most famous building inside, complete with a vaulted ceiling adorned with bright hanging banners. It's also filled with furniture from the time period so it really does feel like you're stepping back into time. This huge hall was used for grand feasts, which isn't hard to imagine when you see the space. 

For A Bit Of History 

There are several rooms you'll want to check out. The castle once had a bear pit, where criminals and prisoners were thrown in to test their luck against a bear in a fight (it didn't end up well for the prisoners). There's also a room filled with medieval torture instruments and some information about how those instruments were used.

You can also visit the prison cells, and take a look at the famous Arabic inscription on the castle walls. The legend goes that a group of Turkish prisoners were instructed to dig a well, with the promise of freedom after the project was finished. However, once the well was done, Iancu de Hunedoara's wife sentenced the prisoners to death instead. The Arabic inscription is a little hard to read due to erosion, but some have translated it as "you may have water, but you have no soul". 

For A Great View 

To catch the best views, the Great Tower has you covered (you can see the sprawling countryside outside the windows here). 

ILP Adventure in Romania

Details and Info 

Costs: It's a 36 lei entrance fee (7 if you have your student). Other rooms also have a small fee, like the 5 lei ticket to see the medieval torture room, used on a wide spread of prisoners. 

There are signs in English and Romanian in many rooms to help give you some of the castle's extensive history. 

You'll find a few souvenir shops outside the castle, as well as some food stands if you need a snack before traveling back. 

Hours: Hours change for different seasons, but generally it's open 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM (closing at 5:00 PM on Tuesdays/Thursdays, and opening at 12:00 PM on Mondays). Hours may be reduced during winter months, with some portions of the castle closed or restricted ... but the castle covered in snow is a dreamy scene, so don't let that stop you from visiting. 

Plan on spending 2ish hours here. There really isn't much else to see in the surrounding city, but the trek out to the castle is 100% worth it. 

Address: Strada Castelului 1-3, Hunedoara 331141, Romania


Easy Ways To Get Here 

This castle is located in Hunedoara, in the western part of Romania. It takes about 12 hours total to get here by bus from Iasi, although that does include one transfer in Deva. You can get to Hunedoara by bus or train from a lot of different locations, including Budapest, so when planning your trip itinerary, just keep that in mind and play around with different options before purchasing tickets.

Consider making a day trip from Sibiu, since that is another favorite destination for our volunteers! Here's our guide Sibiu, one of the best to visit in Romania. Here are the directions: Take the 2.5-hour train from Sibiu to Deva. (There's only one train for the way there, so don't miss it! Once you arrive in Deva, take a mini-bus to Hunedoara — you'll walk out of the train station and go into the parking lot and walk as far left as you can go to find the mini-buses (they'll say “Hunedoara” on it). They come about every 15 minutes. It's 12 lei per person for the 25-ish minute ride (get off at the last stop). The castle is about a 20-minute walk away (past groups recommend following the signs and using Google Maps to help guide your way). There are two trains from Deva to Sibiu, so be mindful of the schedule and don't miss the last train. 

Another option? Head here from the delightful city of Timisoara, another hidden gem in Romania. You can hire a taxi to take you for the day (around a 2-hour drive) or take a train (which is faster than a bus). The train ride is 3 hours to Deva — you can check tickets here — where you can follow the mini-bus directions above, or have a taxi take you the rest of the way to the castle, around a 30-minute ride. 

ILP Romania

Looking to spend time in Europe? 

Instead of just traveling and visiting Europe, how about something better? Come make a difference and serve while living there for a semester abroad with International Language Programs (ILP).

We're sending groups of college-aged volunteers for a semester of helpig in the orphanage program in Romania (on a part-time schedule), with vacation days and weekends off. You're set up with a group of friends from the US and Canada to travel, teach, and adventure with. Come learn more! 

Discover Romania


Topics: Europe

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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