Cradled in a valley near the town of Sinaia lies Peleș Castle, the ultimate architectural 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 Peleş 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.
Significant not only for its architecture, the 160+ rooms of Peleş now protect one of the largest art collections in Eastern Europe, impressive displays of armor, and examples of neo-Renaissance design from Germany and Italy.
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 would later be 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 advent of World War II would hasten the end of the monarchy soon enough. In 1947, Romania’s last king was forced to abdicate by the incoming Communist regime, signaling the end of an era. Lucky for us, Peleş Castle survives today as a beautiful reminder of this bygone era in Romania’s history.
- Peleş 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.
- Prices aren’t transparent at the ticket booth, so note that if you buy a single adult ticket for 20 lei (about $5), this covers only the 45 minute ground-floor tour.
- An audio tour is 10 lei extra, and the 75-minute tour that includes Floor 1 costs 50 lei.
- 32 lei ($8) per person to be allowed to take photos in the castle?? Come on, price gougers! That’s almost twice the cost of a basic entry ticket.
- Pelişor Castle is barely more than a stone’s throw away. One of Queen Marie of Romania‘s homes, it’s where her heart was finally laid to rest in 2015.
- Official website for Peleş Castle
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.