Transylvanian Hobbit Hotel Is Built Out of Clay and Sand

©. Sebastian_Photography /

The charming cob castle, Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor (Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies) is made of dirt and clay.

In a village 24 miles from the Romanian city of Sibiu is a decidedly quirky “fairytale castle” called Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor, which translates to Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies. Of course! But rather than the many-turreted Disney fairytale citadel we might have in mind (we’re talking to you, Neuschwanstein Castle), Castelul de Lut is much less Cinderella, way more Bilbo Baggins.

The brainchild of Romanian couple Razvan and Gabriela Vasile, the two sold their home near Bucharest to claim their spot in the Valley of Fairies – a picturesque setting 24 miles (40 kilometers) from the medieval city of Sibiu. The castle is nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, not far from the wildly winding Transfagarasan highway.

The Vasiles worked with eco-architect Ileana Mavrodin to design the 10-room spread – which was built using clay, straw and sand. "The exterior plastering is of lime and sand and the towers are of river stone, built with lime and sand," says Razvan Vasile. "Everything is made with natural materials, and the windows and doors are different, each room having its own separate entrance." The castle was built by craftsmen and workers of Maramures, an equally picture-perfect region in Northern Transylvania that is known for its beautifully crafted old wooden churches.