Visiting the amazingly gorgeous Peles Castle

I am a big fan of castles and similar structures. For most of my adult life, the Versailles Palace outside Paris has been my favorite. I will never forget walking along the streets of the town of Versailles in search of the famed structure. I came to an intersection in the road and looked in both directions to determine which way to go. As soon as I saw the Sun King’s former home, the vision swept my breath away. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful places since then, but nothing has had the same effect on me. Until Romania’s Peles Castle.

Peles Castle

The former summer palace of the Romanian royalty perches upon an idyllic hill overlooking stunning woods and mountain views. It is located in the small, enchanting Transylvanian mountain town of Sinaia. This lovely town is easily reached by the CFR train from Bucharest in about 1-1/2 hours or from Brasov in about an hour.

We opted to walk to the castle from the train station since Google Maps showed it as only being a few kilometers. It’s a fairly simple walk, although since you’re in a mountainous town, you do have some elevation gains. In other words, you’re going to be walking uphill for most of the time. It’s a good workout.

You can take a taxi or the minivan that does occasional loops around the town’s few main attractions, but the walk isn’t that bad. Either way you will have to walk uphill, though. Either transportation option drops you at the bottom of the road.

The walk up is absolutely beautiful. A creek flows in the valley to your left, and you are surrounded by woods until you finally reach the meadow where the stunning Bavarian-style castle rests.

Peles Castle

It is free to walk around the castle grounds. To tour the inside, you have 2 options (although the website lists 3 options, only 2 were available when we visited in October 2013). I would encourage anyone visiting to go ahead and pay the extra amount for the optional tour(s). While the ground floor was impressive, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the parts of the castle that are included in the optional tour.

Peles Castle

As we walked through the home that King Carol I had built, it seemed obvious to me that he absolutely adored this place. Almost every surface is ornate and unique. Some of the doors had the most fanciful decorations I’ve seen, and carvings seemed to adorn almost every pillar, column, fireplace, etc.

Peles Castle

The home was also a bit advanced for the day. It utilized radiators to heat the various rooms. Some of the radiator vents blend in remarkably well with the surroundings, while others are works of art in their own right.

The decor is a great blend of Bavarian style as well as an eager adaptation of the art nouveau that had not quite come into full popularity. The bathrooms even had bidets which were not common at all at the time.

I ended up taking 358 photos during our visit, most of which were of the interior. I’ll share some here. If you’d like to see more, check out the album on our Facebook page.





Peles Castle

The music room



This is the Turkish Room. After dinner, the men would withdraw to this room to drink, play cards, etc.


The queen loved music and had weekly concerts at the castle. This organ actually has 2 keyboards (one on each side of the wall) and about 1400 pipes.




This set of teak furniture was made in India. It is said that 3 generations of carvers worked on this furniture, and it took them 100 years to complete the set.








Tips for visiting Peles Castle

  • If you choose to walk to the castle, follow the wooden signs leading to Muzeul Peles. That’s its official name, although on maps you’ll also see it listed as Castelul Peles. Note the name is pronounced as “peh-lesh”
  • Check the site for current visiting hours as they do change according to the season.
  • Because of the various tour options, including a visit to Pelisor Castle next door, it’s best to check the site for the various pricing options.
  • Tours are offered in English as well as other languages. I can’t say the tour is overly informative, but you can’t enter the castle unless you’re on a tour, so you don’t really have an option. Our guide mostly gave information about what types of wood and furnishings were in a room, although when asked questions about other things she did seem fairly knowledgeable.
  • You can take photographs of the grounds for free; however, if you wish to take photos inside the castle, you have to pay a “tax” of 32 RON (about $9.80 USD). They are very strict about it, and security guards will be looking to see if you are wearing the badge showing you paid the tax. I felt it was worth paying the fee, but it’s obviously a personal decision. You pay the “tax” inside the castle where you begin the tour.
  • I would say to plan on 4-5 hours for the tour, the walk to the castle, getting some lunch, and walking around the town. There are some other attractions in the town, but we didn’t visit them so I can’t personally recommend any, although I was interested in visiting the Sinaia Monastery.

When you come to Romania, I hope you add a visit to Peles Castle to your itinerary. It is really worth a visit.

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  1. Awesome post…this is a place we were always planning to go to as we will be in Romania in about two weeks, but your post has just enhanced that feeling even more. Thanks for the info on walking there! I guess letting people pay to take photos (as “cash-grabby” as it sounds) is better than no photos at all. Again, awesome post and safe travels.

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    • Will you be coming to Brasov? If so, we’ll be here. Always enjoy meeting people, especially fellow bloggers.

      While I didn’t enjoy paying the “tax,” I definitely felt like I got my money worth and am glad I did.

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  2. I haven’t yet visited it, but it’s indeed an amazing Castle. Maybe I’ll get to see it in the near future 🙂

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  3. Peles is one of my favorite castles too, and I had the chance to see some around Europe, including Neuschwanstein. And by the way, I so am glad you like our country! 🙂

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  4. Wow Talon! That is spectacular – thanks so much for sharing! I love hearing about castles in parts of the world I’ve never been – and I’m really anticipating more news about Romania – looks like it’ll make it on my must travel list! Three of my favourite castles are: Leeds Castle (Kent England) that was one of Henry VIII’s!, Neuschwanstein near Fussen, Germany – built by crazy Ludwig II – simply gorgeous!, and the Bardo Museum (was 18th C. “home” but I call it a castle) in Algiers for the most intricate Turkish tile and designs imaginable. Again, merci beaucoup, and happy travels!

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    • Romania is definitely an underrepresented country in the tourism arena. I’m not quite sure why that is. It’s a fabulous place to visit.

      I look forward to seeing Neuschwanstein when we finally make it to Germany. It looks quite amazing from the photos I’ve seen.

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  5. Great photos! Everything is so intricate, I would be overwhelmed by all the beautiful details I see all at once. My favorite is that teak chair from India! I could see how that would take a long time to finish.

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    • Yes! So much intricate detail. Have you seen the photos on our FB page? There are a lot there. Absolutely an amazing place.

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  6. I was there a few years ago and it was an absolute bliss. Unfortunately, the idea of taking photos inside for a fee never turned up, we were told we cannot take any photos inside. What a shame.

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  7. Wow! It looks so pretty! Romania is a place I’ve yet to visit but is on my list. Thanks for introducing me to Peles Castle.

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  8. Visiting Peles Castle was one of the biggest surprises of my trip to Romania! It’s such a beautiful place! I was there also in autumn so the surroundings were pretty stunning too! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to visit it inside and I can see now what I’ve missed, it’s so pretty! (however they charge so much for taking pictures, crazy!) oh well, I have a reason to go back 😉 enjoy your time in Romania!

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    • Yes, their photo “tax” is pretty outrageous. Especially if you’re only doing the ground floor tour. It’s the same price no matter which tour you’re doing, so in that case the the photo tax costs more than the admission! Since we did the other option, it’s just a bit more of an ouch to fork over almost $10 when you’ve already over $20 just to walk in the door.

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  9. This looks gorgeous, and I wish I’d have had time to go when I was in Romania! I’ll have to make time for it whenever I go back there. Saying it’s more impressive than Versailles is quite the statement, too, although for me, the Garnier Palais d’Opera in Paris takes the cake for being the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. Opulent is not the word.

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    • For me this blows Garnier away as well. I think one thing I really liked about this place was that while it is opulent, it’s done in a warm way. At Versailles, the opulence feels ostentatious and uninviting. I think if I lived here, it would be very difficult for me to leave every year. Especially to return to Bucharest!

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