You’re invited to join our annual Vlad Dracula Expedition, a seven-day dinner party and Halloween celebration through Romania which includes our private dinner on Halloween night in the room where real-life Vlad Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) was born (inside the medieval walled town of Sighisoara), and it also includes the ultimate costume party at Bran Castle (“Dracula’s Castle”) celebrating Romania’s Day of the Dead.
2024 Expedition Dates: October 28 through November 3
Group Size: small group – 15 participants (it fills fast)
Scroll down past the itinerary for prices, inclusions, and the hosts’ biographies.
We’ve made the reservations—you just need to pack a costume and your inner child (or demon) for this howling party across Romania. Our seven-day (small group) expedition includes attending the Halloween festival on Day of the Dead, at Bran Castle (known as Dracula’s Castle, built circa 1377), which was owned by Vlad’s grandfather (Mircea the Old). And on Halloween night our group will have a private dinner in the chamber where real-life Dracula, Vlad Drăculea (known as Vlad the Impaler), was born, in 1431. We’ll be spending Halloween night at an inn of similar vintage, just a few doors down from the house where Vlad was born, inside the (UNESCO) medieval walled city of Sighișoara. We were the first people (and are the only) to ever host a Halloween dinner party in the room where Dracula was born, and each year we barely make it through cocktails before we are regaling each other with spine-tingling ghost stories and scary experiences from our lives.
Our Transylvanian guide (with whom I explored Romania extensively) and I have designed a journey that will take us to the best local haunts: medieval castles with gruesome history, torture chambers, moody cemeteries, all contrasted with one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Romania which will be glowing in autumn colours.
And Christopher Campbell, professional photographer (Chatelaine, Food Network, HarperCollins), will be guiding you during our escapades to capture photos of a lifetime, whether you’re using a mobile device, point & shoot, or a DSLR with multiple lenses. Plus he’ll be providing you (throughout the expedition and when you get back home) with digital images of your adventures.
*New to 2024, video: We’ll be joined this year by the producer and videographer of a 19-times Emmy Award winning news correspondent who will not only provide you with video of your trip but will help those who wish to shoot video like a pro, even if you’re just using a phone.
Keep scrolling for itinerary, prices, inclusions, and hosts’ bios.
Day 1: October 28th – Meet in the lobby of our hotel, in the old town of Bucharest in the late afternoon. Next door to our hotel are the ruins of the Princely Palace, the castle that Dracula built in celebration of his own greatness or evilness. In the evening we’ll explore the historic pedways of the old town which was first settled in 70 BC and by the 1400s was the wealthiest city in Eastern Europe. Then we’ll dine at The Beer Chariot, a dazzling 19th century restaurant which is always packed with locals and boasts an extensive menu of tasty Romanian dishes. – Dinner, Overnight at Europa Royale Bucharest Hotel ****
Day 2: October 29th – After a hot buffet breakfast in the hotel’s award winning restaurant, we’ll travel along the grand boulevard outside the Palace of Parliament, the heaviest building in the world (according to Guinness World Records) and the second largest administrative building in the world (following the Pentagon), and it’s also a legacy of a more recent “Dracula,” the communist dictator Ceaușescu (executed in 1989). Then we’ll break out the treat bags for our scenic drive to Targoviste and Curtea de Arges.
The townsfolk of Targoviste were blamed by Vlad for their involvement in the assassination of his brother by the Turks. Vlad killed nobles and enslaved the townsfolk to build his clifftop castle at Poenari. Poenari is where Vlad Dracula’s wife plunged to her death to avoid capture by the invading army of Turks. We’ll be going there tomorrow. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight in Curtea de Arges****
Day 3: October 30th – Dracula’s Fortress (where Vlad’s first wife plunged to her death off a cliff to avoid capture) and then to the mind-blowing Transfăgărășan – The ruins of Poenari Castle (Dracula’s Fortress) are perched high on a rugged crag above the Arges river gorge. There are 1,480 stairs to Dracula’s “vulture nest.” One of our previous participants worked it out to being 100 storeys. Now, if you really think you can’t make the climb–there’s a lovely lodge and restaurant down the road from the first step. Please note, that due to bears in the area, sometimes we can only view the ruins from the bottom. A bear proof fence has been installed around the area, though. Following Poenari, we’ll cross the Carpathian Mountains on the Transfăgărășan Highway.
We then plunge further west into Transylvania to Corvin Castle where Vlad Dracula was fugitive, or some argue prisoner. This is one of the largest castles in Europe and has been host to many paranormal investigative television shows from around the world. You’ll see why, or maybe some of you will feel it. – Breakfast, lunch, dinner – Overnight in Hunedoara ****
Day 4: October 31st – Halloween – tonight we have a private dinner party in the room where Vlad Dracula was born in 1431! After exploring Corvin Castle and the grisly torture chambers at its gates, we’ll take a picturesque drive to Sighisoara, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
(A small sample of food on our expedition. We can cater to omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, vampires and carnivores.)
We’ll be spending Halloween night inside this preserved walled town, in a medieval hotel, a few doors down the street from the house where Vlad Dracula was born in 1431, which is where we’ll be dining. After scaring each other with spine-tingling stories around the dinner table, we’ll also pay a nighttime visit to the Saxon cemetery which also has a section along its winding downhill path for soldiers who died in World War I. – Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Palinca tasting. Overnight in hotel which is over 500 years old!
Day 5: November 1st – After breakfast we’ll revisit Sighisoara’s hauntingly alluring cemetery in the daylight and will climb the town’s clocktower to see its inner workings and for a breathtaking view. Then off to Rasnov: where we’ll explore the 13th century, mountaintop fortress built by Teutonic Knights, before heading to our picturesque rural mountain inn in Moieciu (where we’ll be spending the next two nights), not far from Dracula’s Castle. -Breakfast, lunch, dinner – overnight at our Transylvanian mountain inn, which although rural still has ensuite baths, wifi, and boasts delicious traditional food.
Day Six: Day of the Dead! November 2nd: Costume party at Bran Castle!
After a hearty rural breakfast, we’ll drive to Brasov where we’ll conquer the medieval ramparts, watchtowers, and Saxon churches (if they don’t conquer us). But best of all, this walled city boasts one of the narrowest streets in Europe. You’ll have some free time in Brasov to wander or shop, as well.
Then it’s back to Moeciu for dinner and to put on our costumes for the festivities at Dracula’s Castle! Tonight is the ultimate costume party – at Dracula’s castle, Transylvania. Adults of all ages come from around the world for this festival. Every year they decorate the castle differently. You’ll get to photograph some fantastic costumes. Whoever wants to stay to dance into the night is welcome to do so. If anyone would rather return to the inn, they’ll be driven back to Moieciu. – All meals, overnight at mountain inn
Day 7: November 3rd – today we travel to Vlad the Impaler’s grave on an island – and then back to Bucharest
This morning we’ll sleep in before heading away from Transylvania back to Wallachia, stopping for the climax of Vlad’s life – his death – and his unusual burial wishes.
Farewell: We’ll then drop you off (near 6:00 PM) at the airport, or in Bucharest, or at an Otopeni airport hotel, or the train station in Bucharest, for the next leg of your journey. – Breakfast, lunch, return to Bucharest
PRICES AND INCLUSIONS (FOLLOWED BY HOST BIOS): This trip includes tons, so please do scroll down to inclusions – it is $2000 USD per person in a double/shared room for two (either twin beds available or queen/double for couples). If you want a single room and don’t want to share, the single room supplement (to have your own burp and fart space) is $250 USD for the entire trip, which is nothing more than the extra cost to have that single room. A deposit (which comes off your total) of $300 USD reserves your spot. Anyone from around the world is welcome, and you can check the currency conversion from USD to yours in a quick google search. Please contact us with questions or to join the expedition at: firstname.lastname@example.org (and cc email@example.com). We respond quickly (if you don’t hear back within 24 hours, check your spam bin). You can also message us at our Writers’ Expeditions Facebook Page.
- All accommodation (the delightful inns are small and unique – three and four star, with private bath, and wifi)
- All meals (don’t blame us if you gain weight – the food in Romania is fabulous, and you’re the one ordering what you want from the menus)
- Photography and videography sessions for those who wish
- Professional digital images of your journey
- video of your adventure
- Writing tips for any who wish (however, please note this is a roving dinner party and photography adventure, not a writing workshop)
- All transfers and transportation on tours
- English-speaking, Transylvanian guide
- Our own driver and private vehicle
- All entrance fees to castles and museums
Kirsten describes your hosts:
Christopher Campbell: once again I’ve invited one of my favourite photographers (and one of the best travel companions you’ll ever meet) to lead our photographic adventures and share a lifetime of tips, tricks & technique. You have probably seen his images displayed on TV’s Food Network cooking shows or in publications as varied as Chatelaine, Spa Magazine, or HarperCollins cookbooks–and most definitely in ads–he’s the one you can blame for making you crave Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, that dew dripping glass of Gordon’s gin, Florida oranges, late night fast food at Wendy’s or McDonald’s (blame him for that), or test driving a Mercedes—that’s Christopher Campbell’s fault too. This is Chris’s seventh year hosting our Dracula Expedition. He’s also been our photography host twice in Jordan and in Vietnam.
Rigel Noble-Koza: videographer, producer, editor, and photographer:
Rigel works as a video producer, editor, and all-around camera and tech expert for 19x Emmy Award Winning reporter John Stossel who you probably remember as a correspondent and anchor on ABC’s 20/20.
Rigel will be making a video of your adventure and helping you to capture your own as well.
He regularly produces short documentary style videos that get millions of views on social media.
His work has helped expose unconstitutional overreach, cronies and corruption (like a government seizing an old man’s home, selling it, and keeping the profits over just $8 in unpaid taxes. Yes, really. $8. That’s not a typo).
Rigel has worked on video interviews with big names across all sides of different issues like: whistleblower Edward Snowden (and the man who wanted Snowden executed: Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo), former NBA star Enes Kanter, the controversial Jordan B Peterson, Republican Senator Rand Paul, and previous Democratic presidential hopefuls Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.
Before his career in journalism, Rigel graduated at the top of his class at Full Sail University.
Kirsten Koza: I’m your host and expedition designer and am a professional adventure travel writer, author, humourist and journalist. I ruthlessly pretest the Writers’ Expeditions trips to find the best local guides, tour operators, and unique adventures, so you can have a great experience. I’ve had more than seventy-five stories published in books, magazines, and newspapers around the world, on topics as varied as going inside the largest Syrian refugee camp, bullfighting, cannibalism, tornado chasing, mountain biking, dildos, dictators, Putin, gluten, mutants, and politics. I’ve even made the front page of Kyrgyzstan’s national newspaper. I’m the author of Lost in Moscow: A Brat in the USSR and edited the Traveler’s Tales anthology Wake Up and Smell the Shit: Hilarious Travel Disasters, Monstrous Toilets, and a Demon Dildo.
And we leave you with some photos of Halloween costumes, food and fun from past expeditions and a three-minute documentary made by a participant from a previous expedition. Turn up your speakers for it! The Dracula Expedition Video!