The village of Snagov is a short jog north of Bucharest and may be a worthwhile trip for any Dracula enthusiasts. The most notable feature is the lake, in the center of which is located an island. On this island is a 16th century monastery . . . and in the monastery—you guessed it—is the tomb of Vlad the Impaler. What setting could be more perfect for the grave of one of history’s spookiest personalities?
As one of Romania's Dracula sites among others in Transylvania, it should be on all vampire hunters' lists when they visit this country of mystical creatures and blood-sucking counts. Like Bran Castle, Snagov may have a tenuous connection to the real Dracula, but that doesn't mean that it should be dismissed by true fans of either Bram Stoker's story or the vampire genre.
The Legend of Snagov:
In one version of the story, Vlad the Impaler was murdered in a nearby forest, and the monks of the monastery took it upon themselves to inter the villain. Perhaps the monks felt indebted to Vlad for the additions he insisted be added to their abode—most bizarrely, a prison and a torture chamber. Whatever the reasons, the monks dressed the body richly and put it to rest in front of the church alter.
The Mystery of Snagov Monastery:
Less romantically, there are some arguments against the body in the tomb being that of the real Vlad.
While Vlad did request to be buried at the monastery, some say that it was another nobleman who was placed in this tomb.
Getting to Snagov:
You can reach Snagov by bus. The buses run every couple of hours to Snagov and stop in the village. Make sure you wear your walking shoes, because you’ll have to hike a kilometer or so to get to the lake.
There you can rent a rowboat to take you to the island, but you’ll have to row yourself. If you want to enter the monastery, you’ll have to be wearing the proper attire, which usually means no shorts for anyone and headscarves required for women.
Getting to the Island:
In the past, getting to the island required taking a rowboat, and because the people running the rowboat service and those who allow you access to the monastery were aware of the cash-making potential of their legendary Impaler, a trip to the monastery could be costly. A $3 rowboat rental could cost you three times as much on an off-hour, and entrance fees to the monastery probably have been known to vary traveler to traveler.
However, in recent years, a bridge has been built to link the shores of the lake with the island, making taking a rowboat less of a necessity, though the latter way might feel more romantic.
Booking a tour to Snagov may facilitate ease of access to the monastery, and with a knowledgeable guide, you'll also get the benefit of being able to ask all your burning questions about Vlad the Impaler and the legends of the monastery.
Lake Snagov has grown in popularity with resort-goers, which means there's more to see and do at Snagov and the neighboring villages.
For example, water sports, viewing historic sights, and enjoying natural scenery are among the activities at Lake Snagov.