Peles Castle – One Of Romania’s Majestic Splendours (History & Travel Tips)

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If you are looking to witness a fairytale come to life and immerse yourself in the aesthetic culture of neo-renaissance Europe, Peles Castle is the place for you! The complex, surrounded by the majestic Carpathian Mountains, is a sight to behold. 

Whether you are just stopping by or staying in the area, visiting this site is definitely worthwhile. This castle in Romania, standing amidst the greenest mountains, is one of Romania’s most treasured heritage sites. It has even been featured in several films and television series! Here’s everything you need to know about it:

The castle was highlighted in the movie The Brothers Bloom (2009), along with the Netflix original movie A Christmas Prince and its sequels.

Peles Castle with winter frost on its grounds.
Peles Castle with winter frost on its grounds. Marius-Ionut, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

Initial Construction (1873)

King Carol I of Romania bought land close to the Piatra Arsa River, where the palace is now situated,3 because of its magnificent mountainous scenery. He named it the Royal Estate of Sinaia and commissioned the construction of a summer getaway and royal hunting preserve at the location. Initial construction works began in August of 1873. It came to be the first castle to be entirely powered by locally generated electricity. 

German architect Johannes Schultz and Carol Benesch (a niche Silesian architect) were employed to draw up the plan for the castle. Their draft included guards’ chambers, a hunting lodge known as the “Foișor Hunting Lodge”, a royal guard office, stables, and a power generation plant.

The image of Carol I of Romania.
Carol I of Romania. Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Future Modifications (1893 onwards)

Between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, the castle was modified by Czech architect Karel Liman. He was the one who designed the main central tower and the Sipot building, where he himself lived during construction.

The overall cost of these additions to the castle was estimated to be around 16,000,000 LEI (approx. $3,796,332 USD) in gold, with a labor force of 300 to 400 men. The construction had slight postponements around 1877, due to war against the Ottoman Empire, but recovered quickly. 

Old photo of Peles Castle in 1959 .
Peles Castle in 1959. FOTO:FORTEPAN / Szabó Ferencné, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inauguration and later years

The castle was inaugurated with a ball on October 7th, 1883. The Foisor Villa was inhabited by Queen Elizabeth, King Carol the First, King Ferdinand, as well as Queen Marie. King Carol the Second was born in 1893 at the palace and lived there periodically during his tenure. 

A fully completed Peles Castle in 1961.
A fully completed Peles Castle in 1961. FOTO:FORTEPAN / Pálfi Balázs, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1947, the Communist regime took over Romania, forcefully abdicating the last King, Michael I, and seizing all the monarchy’s property including Peles Castle. The site was converted into a tourist attraction for a while and also hosted various cultural figures of Romania. 

Current Times

In 1953, Peles Castle was declared a museum. Later, in the final years of the communist era (1975-1990), the entire estate was declared to be a State Protocol Interest Area and closed off for the public by communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu

After the civil unrest and subsequent revolution in December 1989, the castle was declared as a heritage site and opened for visitors. The castle was reinstituted to Michael I in 2006 and, following negotiations, leased to the Romanian government in 2007.

A beautifully framed photograph of Peles Castle and its surroundings in their current condition.
A beautifully framed photograph of Peles Castle and its surroundings in their current condition.

Currently, most of the castle is open for tourists. The Foișor Castle (originally the hunting lodge) is presently the residence of the Romanian president. The Economat and Guard’s Chambers buildings have been converted into hotels and restaurants for tourists. Some other buildings of the complex are currently tourist villas while some are still State Protocol Buildings. The palace is visited by up to half a million tourists every year.

The tower of Peles Castle with the fountain.
The tower of Peles Castle. Romania – Peleș Castle flickr photo by stefanjurca shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Interesting Peles Castle Facts

  • The castle was highlighted in the movie The Brothers Bloom (2009), along with the Netflix original movie A Christmas Prince and its sequels.
  • Peles Caste’s floor plan covers almost 3200 sq. meters (just over three-quarters acre). It has more than 170 rooms.
  • The main central tower of the castle is 217 feet tall.
  • Noteworthy people that have visited the palace include Richard Nixon, Yasser Arafat, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Gerald Ford.
  • During the reign of King Carol II, there was a fire in the hunting lodge after which the building had to be reconstructed.
  • The castle is home to an exquisite painting collection of nearly 2,000 pieces.
  • Italian writer Angelo de Gubernatis was welcomed by the royal family to the castle in 1898.
  • Peles Castle has a splendid collection of arms and war pieces, with more than 4000 items.
  • The splendid furniture placed in the castle’s music room was a gift sent by the Maharajah of Kapurthala.
  • The marble fountain found in the Moor Hall is actually a replica of a fountain in Cairo, Egypt.
  • In the Royal Library, there is a secret passageway that was used by the king to access various rooms of the castle in order to seek refuge. This passageway is hidden behind one of the bookshelves.
  • Some of the timber in the palace was infested with a fungus known as Serpula lacrymans in the 1980s.

Visiting Peles Castle – Tips and Tricks

Peles Castle is a wonderful fairytale adventure, along with being a great view to Romanian history. The castle and grounds are definitely worth a visit, although it might be a bit of a trek to get out there. The best adventures are worth the time investment though, so we definitely encourage you to visit when you have a chance! Here are some facts and insights to help you plan your expedition.

The panoramic view of Peles Castle surrounded by tourists.
The panoramic view of Peles Castle surrounded by tourists. Peleș Castle flickr photo by ZeWaren shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

How to get to Peles Castle?

The cheapest and most recommended way to reach Peles Castle from Bucharest is via train. You can get a train for as cheap as 13 LEI ($3 USD) while the most it can cost you is 50 LEI ($12 USD). Following the 90-minute train ride, it would take you a 23-minute walk to reach Peles Castle. 

The fastest way to get to Peles Castle would be to take a taxi. The overall journey from Bucharest to Peles Castle would take you around 1 hour and 45 minutes and would cost you between 335 and 420 LEI ($80-$100 USD).

Another, although slower, way to get to the castle is via bus, at a cost of 13 LEI – 46 LEI ($3-$11 USD). The journey would take around 3 hours and 20 minutes with stops at Campina and Sinaia on the way. From the station at Sinaia, it should take you a 20-minute walk to the castle.

Alternatively, you can also rent a car and drive yourself to the site. The rental fees may vary depending on the vehicle you rent, but the fuel cost should be around 60-90 LEI ($14-$21 USD). This is a good option if you wish to tour at your own pace and make stops for resting and sightseeing as you please. 

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

Peles Castle has an admission fee of 40 LEI ($10 USD) for adults, 20 LEI ($5 USD) for senior citizens, and 10 LEI ($3 USD) for children and students. This fee covers a basic tour of the ground floor. To opt for a tour of the ground floor as well as the first floor, the fee is 80 LEI ($19 USD) for adults, 40 LEI ($10 USD) for senior citizens, and 20 LEI ($5 USD) for children and students. Additional charges of 35 LEI ($9 USD) are required for photography permission inside the palace. 

The castle is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:15 am to 5:15 pm, with the exception of Wednesday on which it is open from 10:15 am to 5:15 pm. On Tuesdays, only basic tours of the ground floor are available. 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm is for a cleaning break every day.  

You can only enter the palace if you join a guided tour. Most days, the earliest tour starts at 9:15 am while the last tour of the day begins at 4:15 pm.

The sculptures of various notable personalities in Peles Castle’s gardens .
The sculptures of various notable personalities in Peles Castle’s gardens. Dani E Pérez, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

The tour itself should take about an hour, but be mindful of the fact that the ticket and entrance line may take you an extra 20 minutes or so.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Carry cash for payment as a credit card facility is not available.
  • Take your student ID if you wish to avail the student discount.
  • Visit the castle within an hour of opening time if you wish to avoid large crowds.
  • Make sure you try a covrigi, the region’s scrumptious baked specialty!
  • You can buy the most charming Romanian souvenirs from stalls set up next to the castle!
  • Freshly grilled corn from the area is a must-try!
  • Take a hike up the glorious, green Bucegi mountains in the region. The view from the cable car facility will take your breath away!
  • You can find comfortable accommodation close to the castle, so don’t shy away from spending a night or two in the mountains and traveling around the sites at your own pace.
  • Around the building, you can find beautifully crafted sculptures of the former residents of the castle, including King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth.
  • If you wish to take photographs inside the castle, you should purchase a license for it from the holding room prior to beginning your tour of the place.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Peles Castle Areas

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Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira is an architect and designer on paper, but a writer at heart. She’s got a Bachelors in Architecture and a passion for traveling, both of which combine in her writings about timeworn castles and fortresses that have withstood the tests of time and stand proud to this day.

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