Bistrita is the town located near the area where the "Dracula" author, Bram Stoker, located his fictitious Dracula's castle.
His character, Jonathan Harker dined at the Golden Crown here. Bram Stokerwas born in Dublin - see http://www.online-literature.com/stoker/. This is the Literature Network site.
1. Weekend slowdown.
On weekends in Bistrita and other towns, things do close down, so don't plan for museums or sites after lunch and especially on Sundays. Find an overview of the town at http://www.museum.ici.ro/transilvania/bistrita-nasaud/english/istoria%20oras.
A walk around was all we wanted.
2. Hotel Castel Dracula
It was time for kitsch, so we stayed here. The good news is that the kitsch is restrained, and localized. The rest of the accommodation is a fine hotel, although in need of some repair.
Hotel Castel Dracula, near Bistrita, Romania
Hotel Castel Dracula is to the east, past Bistrita, and supposedly at the place where the fictitious castle in the novel, Dracula, was supposed to be located.
The hotel has a secret passageway and room, that you have to search for yourself and then - gasp - it is there. The Coffin. And cape for dressing up.
Dan Widing locates The Coffin, Hotel Castel Dracula, Romania
Other than that, it is a full-service, comfortable hotel: good food, books for sale in the lobby, much research on the Stoker's Dracula-Vlad comparison.
Wish for a foggy morning so that driving is risky. The horsecarts are a hazard despite reflectors.
Then you will have to stay a few hours longer, and curl up with a good book.
4. Hiking Center
The hotel has been discovered by serious hikers. It is near a wilderness park, with Big Animals (real wolves and bears), and the trails look great.
There is also a pool table and pub up the tower. For enviro-tourists, despite the touristy name Castel Dracula, stay here as your base for side hikes. Any big facility needs upkeep, and they are working on it.
We had no difficulty with cold nights.
Usually we stayed at any family pensione, or a "cabana" in outlying areas. A cabana is like a villa, small hotel-hostel-pensiones for travelers, at well-spaced intervals in mountain or recreation areas. All clean, safe, warm, with thin compact mattresses, but plenty of felted blankets in the duvets. The felted blankets, think heavy, tight wool blankets, soaked and dried several times to tighten it up and make the felt, very thick - not like hats. We sometimes put the additional duvet underneath.