Surrounded by the magnificent peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and filled with gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, Brasov is one of the most visited places in Romania. It is also a perfect gateway to the rest of Transylvania. Read on to find out about our 3 perfect days in Brasov.
We took the train into Brasov from Bucharest. And grabbed an Uber from the train station into the Old Town. Yes, oddly they have Uber and it is inexpensive.
Council Square and Black Church
The Saxons built massive stone walls and seven bastions around the city that are still visible today. There are numerous ornate churches, elaborately trimmed buildings and one of the finest central squares in the country. This Council Square sits in the middle of the Old Town welcoming thousands of tourists every day.
The main pedestrian walkway is off of the square. It is on the street called Republicii, which is where our 200 year old Airbnb apartment was.
The square is also where the stunning and infamous 14th century Black Church is located. Sometimes the church will host classical concerts which is a great way to experience it. The tickets are sold at the entry of the church.
There are so many pedestrian streets to wander in Brasov. Most are pedestrian only and have lovely cafe’s, shops and restaurants. We visited the vegan Rawdia for many meals. The sweets cafe Delicious Raw will make you drool just by looking in. It has unbelievable raw vegan deserts and seating on a cobblestone street. A great way to spend some time people watching.
Strategically located on a hill overlooking the town and the plains to the north, the Citadel was part of Brasov’s outer fortification system. Built with wood in 1524, it was replaced with a stone structure in the 16th century. Only to be abandoned in the 17th century due to technological innovations which made cannons stronger than the building.
Today, it is abandoned yet again. Awaiting additional funds for renovations to take place. The guards did let us in at sunset to take a peak. It is a marvelous place to visit especially at dusk to take advantage of the vistas and the sunset.
Brasov is often referred to as the city at the foot of Mount Tampa. On top of the Mountain the “Hollywoodesque” sign of Brasov stands proudly. There is a lovely path (Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu) shaded by large trees which runs at the base of the mountain. A popular cafe is along this alley and they cater to any diet including the vegan one. It is close to the base of the cable cars. From here, one can hike to the top where the original defensive fortress was built.
Walking to the top takes about an hour. Just follow the ‘red triangle’ marked trail that begins at the cable car (lower) boarding point or the yellow triangle marked trail which continues from Brediceanu Alley. The trails are well marked.
Those in a hurry or not in the mood for a little hiking, can take the cable car to the peak of the mountain (3,200 feet high).
Brasov is a wonderful destination on it’s own. Yet around Brasov are 3 castle towns that should be on any itinerary to make it a perfect one.
We rented a car (they have a pickup in Old Town) and headed off to visit Bran Castle, Peles Castle and the fortress of Rasnov. A day is all we needed to hit all of these destinations.
The Teutonic Knights were a catholic religious order formed in Palestine during the late twelfth century by German crusaders. They were entrusted with a piece of land in southern Transylvania and were charged with defending it. To protect this land, in 1211 they built a fortress now known as Bran Castle.
Bram Stoker’s character, Dracula, is a Transylvanian Count with a castle located high above a valley perched on a rock with a flowing river below it. Although the author never visited Romania, the only castle that fits that description is Bran Castle. Making it “Dracula’s” castle. Romania was steadfast in opposing Dracula tourism. They finally gave in making Bran and it’s castle a popular tourist destination.
Although I have never been a fan of Stoker’s writing, the castle is beautiful and is worth the time. Our 3 days in Brasov would not have been complete or perfect without visiting this infamous castle.
Lying at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the picturesque town of Sinaia, Peles Castle is a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture. It is considered by many to be one of the most stunning castles in Europe.
Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.
As soon as our tour was over a very powerful thunderstorm began. Most people waited in the castle for the storm to pause. Yet the rain seemed to be gaining momentum. We decided to make a run for it. Using our reusable grocery bags (which I always carry) over our heads like capes we ran, giggling and sliding as fast as we could down the cobblestone paths. Finally making it to our vehicle relatively dry. Quite a memorable ending to our lovely tour in Peles Castle.
Another way to get to Peles Castle is to take the train down to Sinaia. It is a stop on the way to or from Bucharest. It truly is one of the most beautiful castles that we have ever visited. Our 3 days in Brasov would not have be complete or perfect without this castle on the itinerary.
Rasnov Fortress is located 20 km south of Brasov on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, 200 meters above the town of Rasnov. It was also built by the Teutonic Knights as protection against invading Tartars and was later enlarged by the local Saxon population. This fortress differs from others as it was designed as a place of refuge for extended periods of time.
Recently, the old fortress has been restored to its former glory. Today you can visit the impressive remains and it’s museum. The views of the mountains from the citadel are stunning. There is a frequent bus that runs from the Brasov bus depot to Rasnov.
Brasov is a perfect place to spend 3 days or more. There is so much to see and do. My regret is the number of days that we spent in Bucharest. Those should have been moved to other cities in Transylvania and Northern Romania which are spectacular.
Have you visited the Brasov region? Drop us a line of what you loved about it and what we missed.