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Cradled in a valley near the town of Sinaia lies Peleș Castle, the crown jewel of Romania. Originally designed as a royal palace for Romania’s King Carol I and his wife, Queen Elisabeth of Wied, it’s relatively young for a European castle.  Construction on Peles Castle didn’t begin until 1873.  It then spanned a period of 40 years and wasn’t completed until 1914, shortly before King Carol’s death. It’s no surprise why Carol was so enchanted by this area 150 years ago, with its outstanding views of the Bucegi Mountains, its heavily forested slopes, and its wild green meadows.

Cradled in a valley in the Carpathian Mountains lies Peles Castle, the architectural and historical crown jewel of Romania. Click To Tweet

Photo Highlights of Peles Castle

Peles Castle in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania

Peles Castle is tucked away in the Carpathian forest along an old trade route between the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.

 

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Image of Peles in Romania for sale on Fine Art America

The tallest spire rises 66 metres (217 ft) into the air.

Peles Castle in an autumn storm

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Neo-Renaisssance exterior of Peles in Romania

The neo-Renaissance construction by German architect, Johannes Schultz, reflects a strong Italian and German influence.

Florentine fountain at Peles Castle, Romania

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Fun Fact: The 2017 US film, A Christmas Prince, was filmed at Peles Castle.

Guided Tour of Peles Castle

Peles Castle is significant not only for its picturesque setting and exterior architecture.  Inside, the 160+ rooms of are filled with gorgeous furniture and art.  Since 1953, the palace has been a museum intent on protecting one of the largest art collections in Eastern Europe.  It includes impressive displays of armor, stunning painted glass from Switzerland, historic leather furniture from Italy, and examples of neo-Renaissance design from Germany.  It is said that by today’s standards, the construction of Peles Castle alone would cost $120 million.

While it’s free to wander around the castle exterior, the only way to view the interior is by guided tour.  It’s absolutely worth every penny though, and we highly recommend it!

Travel Tip: Regular entry for one adult is about $5, but you'll have to pay another $8 to be allowed to take photos of the interior.  If you're couples traveling together, consider just having one of you take photos to save money.

The Grand Hall of Peles Castle

Grand Hall with spiral wooden staircases, Peles, Romania

Just inside the entryway, stairs lead to the Grand Hall – a multi-story room with an elaborate spiral staircase carved from dark wood.

Stained glass ceiling at Peles Castle, Romania

The ceiling of the Grand Hall is the ultimate skylight, allowing light to flood through brightly hued glass panes.

The Armory

Armory with weapons at Peles Castle, Romania

Over 4,000 weapons representing 400 years of history are on display in the armory.

The Library

Dark wooden library at Peles

Like many of the 160+ rooms in the palace, the library has a hidden door to a secret passageway.

The Music Room

Swiss vitralios at Peles Castle, Romania

Swiss vitralios – glass windows decorated with colorful painted scenes – are some of the most prized possessions in the castle.

Florentine Hall of Peles Castle

Carved wooden doors

Carved wooden doors with an elaborate mosaic motif resemble Spain’s El Escorial.  The doors are set within an ornate bronze frame.

Italian Murano glass chandelier

Warm light from Italian Murano glass chandeliers reflects off the ornate leather and gold ceilings.

The castle’s opulence is a bit ironic considering that Queen Elisabeth herself felt that Romania would be better represented as a republic. Though she didn’t openly share her feelings at the time, writings from her diary were later publicized that revealed her feelings about their royal status.

I must sympathize with the Social Democrats, especially in view of the inaction and corruption of the nobles. These “little people”, after all, want only what nature confers: equality. The Republican form of government is the only rational one. I can never understand the foolish people, the fact that they continue to tolerate us. Elisabeth of Wied

The Queen is immortalized with a statue in the castle gardens.

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The advent of World War II hastened the end of the monarchy.  In 1947, Romania’s last king was forced to abdicate by the incoming Communist regime, signaling the end of an era.

Lucky for us, Peles Castle survives today as a beautiful reminder of this bygone era in Romania’s history.

Interested in other castles in Romania?  Check these out!

  • Pelişor Castle is barely more than a stone’s throw away.  It was one of the homes of Queen Marie of Romania and is where her heart was finally laid to rest in 2015. 
  • Bran Castle, commonly – but mistakenly – referred to as the home of “Dracula”
  • Corvin Castle, another of the most stunning castles in Europe
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Know Before You Go
  • Peles Castle is closed the entire month of November every year for annual maintenance.  It’s also closed on Monday year round and is closed on Tuesdays from September through May.  Check their official site for current opening times before your visit.
  • Prices aren’t transparent at the ticket booth, so note that there are two choices for guided tours. The first and cheapest costs 20 lei (about $5) for an adult ticket; this covers only the 45 minute ground-floor tour.  The second option costs 50 lei and is a 75-minute tour that includes the basic tour plus Floor 1.
  • Tickets for pensioners, students, and Euro-card holders are heavily discounted so make sure to bring your card as proof.
  • An audio guide costs 10 lei extra.
  • 32 lei ($8) per person to be allowed to take photos in the castle??  Price gouging!  That’s almost twice the cost of a basic entry ticket.  We still paid for one of us to take photos; the interior is that gorgeous.
  • You’ll be required to wear disposable booties over your shoes during the guided tour, so make sure you wear comfortable non-slip shoes.
Map of Romania Road Trip 1

The blue pins mark our travel for day five; the blue line roughly follows the first half of our entire 11-day travel path and attractions we visited.

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