Vlad Dracula, known as Vlad the Impaler, was the original Dracula. While defending Wallachia (a historical region of Romania), he gained a reputation for cruelties including, though not limited to, impaling his opponents. Vlad rescued Poenari Castle, his former home, from ruin, though it now sits abandoned. Curious travelers often find their way there, and once you climb the 1,480 steps, the view is meant to be unparalleled. The villagers of nearby Arefu, legend has it, helped Vlad escape into the mountains, so as a reward he let them inhabit fertile lands. A visit to Arefu means mouthwatering Romanian food and drink in a totally unspoiled, pastoral area.
The holy grail of vampire vacations, Bran Castle is legendary in every sense of the word. It is where Bram Stoker's Dracula lived, where Francis Ford Coppola filmed his Dracula, and it has been (incorrectly) linked to Vlad Dracula. Visitors today can tour the grounds, find the hidden underground labyrinth, and stroll through the museum where furniture and artifacts of Dracula's era sit. After the tour, stop by one of Brasov's best restaurants, Bistro de l'Arte.
Delve into the mind of Dracula, and into his life in London, on the London Horror Tour's Vampire Walking Tour. You'll stop at Dracula's House, the Highgate Cemetery (pictured), and regular haunts of some of Londons most terrifying figures of the night. The walking tour leaves from the Highgate underground station, just near Banner's, which dishes up delicious brunch and lunch fare.
A visit to Forks, Wash., is to see the now notorious sites where Bella, Edward, and Jake roamed in Twilight. Visitors can stop by the Miller Tree Inn, dubbed the Cullen House, dine on mushroom ravioli at Bella Italia (just like Bella), see Bella's beat up red truck at Forks Visitor Center, and snap a photo of Dr. Cullen's parking spot at the Forks Hospital. The entire town is in on the Twilight craze, so super fans will feel right at home. Twilight Tours are also available.
Closing at the end of 2011, the Vampire Tour of San Francisco showcases the underground world of the undead. It is a historical tour of San Francisco with stops at the (delicious) Nob Hill Café, Huntington Park, Pacific Union Club, and the Fairmont Hotel, led by a "vampire" herself who claims to be 127 years old.
Romania isn't the only Eastern European country with a bloody, undead past. Cachtice Castle, in Slovakia, was the home of Elizabeth Báthory, otherwise known as The Bloody Lady of Cachtice. It's believed that she was one of the cruelest serial killers of her time and is associated with vampires for her believed practice of bathing in her victim's blood to gain eternal youth. Find a table at Restaurant Albertina at the Hotel Stefánik nearby to satisfy pre- or post-castle tour cravings.
New Orleans' history is rich and full of mysterious tales, including stories of local vampires. From the French Quarter and the Ursuline Convent, to a notably vampire-friendly tavern, The Vampire Tour makes stops all over the city to focus on creatures of the night. Halfway through the tour, the group stops at the Mississippi River Bar for a stiff drink.
Vamps at Sea is an Alaskan cruise that makes its way from Vancouver to Juneau and Glacier Bay (pictured) with a specific audience lovers of fanged, bloodsucking creatures of the night. The cruise regularly hosts guests from the vampire world, like characters from True Blood and Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew, who are both slated for next year's sailing. With 24-hour room service, you won't mind being kept up all night by spooky and potentially true tales told on board.