Legends and Folklore about Vampires in Europe

Vampire legends have long been a part of popular folklore throughout Europe, captivating and haunting the imaginations of people for centuries. From the bloodthirsty Count Dracula to lesser-known creatures like the Dhampir and the Nosferatu, these supernatural beings have become an important part of popular culture around the world.

In this post, we will explore some of the most fascinating vampire legends from Europe – delving into their origins, characteristics, and cultural significance. Whether you’re a fan of horror stories or simply interested in exploring the rich tapestry of European folklore, join us as we take a deep dive into the world of vampire legends.

Legends about Vampires in Europe

The Strigoi

The Strigoi is a fascinating legend that has been passed down through generations in Romania. According to the myth, Strigoi are undead vampires that have the ability to shape-shift into different forms, including animals such as wolves, bats, or even mist. They are believed to be exceptionally strong and fast, and can easily overpower their human victims.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Strigoi legend is their supposed ability to control animals. It’s said that they can communicate with animals and use them for their own purposes – whether it’s spying on humans or attacking them directly. Additionally, Strigoi are believed to have the power to cause sickness in humans simply by looking at them or touching them.

There are many different beliefs around how one becomes a Strigoi. Some versions of the legend say that anyone who dies with unfinished business or unresolved anger may become a Strigoi after death. Others believe that if a person is born with an extra nipple or hair on their palms, they are destined to become a Strigoi.

The Upir

The Upir is a fascinating vampire legend that has its origins in Russia and Ukraine. It shares many similarities with the Strigoi myth, but also has some unique characteristics of its own.

Like the Strigoi, the Upir is believed to be an undead vampire that can shape-shift into different forms – including animals such as wolves or bats. They are said to have superhuman strength and speed, which they use to overpower their victims.

However, one of the most distinctive traits of the Upir is their ability to drain a person’s life force. According to legend, they can do this simply by staring at their victim or by touching them with their hands.

The idea of life force draining is not unique to the Upir myth – it appears in other vampire legends as well. However, in the case of the Upir, it’s often described as a slow process that causes the victim to become weak and ill over time.

Interestingly, some versions of the Upir legend suggest that they were not always evil creatures. Instead, they were once human beings who made a deal with dark forces in order to gain power and immortality.

The Nosferatu

The legend of the Nosferatu is one of the most well-known vampire myths in popular culture, thanks in part to Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”.

According to legend, the Nosferatu are undead creatures that can only come out at night. They are said to have pale skin and long fangs that they use to suck blood from their victims. Unlike some other vampire legends, the Nosferatu are not known for shape-shifting or controlling animals – instead, they rely on their stealth and speed to hunt down their prey.

In many versions of the legend, people who are bitten by a Nosferatu will become sick and eventually die – similar to how diseases were often spread through bites from rats or other vermin in medieval times. This connection between vampires and disease has been explored in many different works of fiction over the years, adding an extra layer of complexity to the legend.

Despite being popularized by Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”, which takes place largely in Transylvania, the Nosferatu is actually a German legend. The word “nosferatu” itself comes from Romanian folklore, but it was popularized as a term for vampires by German authors in the 19th century.

europe vampire legends

The Vrykolakas

The Vrykolakas is a fascinating vampire legend that originates from Greece, and shares many similarities with other vampire myths found throughout Europe.

According to legend, the Vrykolakas are undead beings that rise from their graves at night to prey on the living. They are said to have superhuman strength and speed, which they use to overpower their victims. Like many other vampires, they also have an insatiable thirst for blood – which they need in order to survive.

In some versions of the legend, people who were not properly buried or who died under unusual circumstances would be more likely to become Vrykolakas. This added a layer of fear and superstition around death and burial practices in Greek culture.

Another unique aspect of the Vrykolakas legend is its connection to lunar cycles. According to some versions of the myth, the Vrykolakas can only come out during certain phases of the moon – particularly during full moons. This idea has been explored in many works of fiction over the years, adding an extra layer of complexity to the legend.

The Moroi

According to Romanian legend, the Moroi are undead spirits that can take on human form or transform into animals such as bats or wolves. They are said to have hypnotic powers that allow them control over humans. In some versions of the myth, they can also control the weather and other natural elements.

Like many other vampire legends, the Moroi is associated with blood-sucking. However, in some versions of the myth, they do not actually drink blood – instead, they feed on human energy or life force.

The Dhampir

This legend comes from Serbia, Bulgaria, and other parts of Eastern Europe. The Dhampir is said to be the offspring of a vampire father and a human mother, possessing both human traits as well as those of their vampiric parentage.

Dhampirs are said to possess special powers that allow them to detect and hunt vampires, creating a unique role for these half-human, half-vampire creatures. In fact, despite their unusual parentage, Dhampirs are often portrayed as heroic figures in popular culture – using their unique abilities to fight against evil forces such as vampires or other supernatural beings.

The Chupacabra

The Chupacabra is a fascinating creature that has been reported in many countries around the world, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, and others around the Mediterranean Sea region.

According to legend, the Chupacabra is a hairless dog-like creature with spikes along its back. It is said to attack and kill livestock – particularly goats – by draining their blood. Its name literally translates to “goat-sucker” in Spanish, which gives an indication of its preferred prey.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Chupacabra myth is its association with modern technology. Many sightings of the creature have been reported in recent decades – often accompanied by blurry photographs or shaky videos taken on cell phones or other devices. This has led some people to speculate that the Chupacabra may be some sort of mutated animal that has evolved as a result of human activity.

Despite numerous alleged sightings over the years, there is little concrete evidence to support the existence of the Chupacabra.


Vampire legends have played a significant role in European folklore and continue to captivate and terrify people around the world. These supernatural beings have taken many forms throughout history, from the seductive and aristocratic vampires of literature to the monstrous creatures of horror movies. But regardless of their appearance or characteristics, one thing remains constant – vampires represent our deepest fears and desires, reflecting back to us our own mortality and the ever-present allure of immortality.

As long as humans continue to seek answers about life, death, and the unknown, vampire legends will undoubtedly remain a fascinating and enduring part of our cultural consciousness.

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