When you think of Romania, you are instantly drawn to the thought of Dracula, in his menacing castle hidden in the forests of Transylvania. But, there is a lot more to Romania than just scary bedtime stories.
Romania has many smaller towns and cities that are incredibly unique and special in their own ways. One of these glorious cities is Brasov. Brasov has charm, beauty, amazing architecture, and some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the entire country.
The Council Square
Your very first stop should be the Piata Sfatului or the Council Square. This arch-shaped “square” was the sight of many public trials and executions. The architecture gives you a sense of the Middle Ages the buildings represent.
The Council Square is the ideal place to sit back and relax with a glass of fine or a cup of coffee, taking in the city and its people. The 13th-century Town Hall bells charm to make sure you don’t forget the time.
The Black Church
The Black Church is the biggest Gothic-style church in Eastern Europe and is just off the main square in Brasov. It isn’t black in color but was blackened in 1689 after a fire broke out inside of it.
The interior of the church isn’t as striking and elaborate as other churches, but the Gothic style continues on the inside, as well as the walls being adorned with Anatolian carpets. The walls show the history of the Ottomans, the Saxons, and the Hungarians.
One of the very first things you will notice when you enter the city is the Tampa Mountain, with “Brasov” on the side of it in the Hollywood sign style. There is a cable car and two hiking trails to take to get to the top.
The trails aren’t too difficult, but you will need a backpack with water and maybe a picnic for when you reach the top. Once you are at the top though, take a walk to the Brasov sign and you will find a viewing perch on the V that gives you a spectacular view of the city and its surrounds.
Every night a6 pmpm, between April and September, there is a free walking tour that takes you around the city and shows you all the historical sites and monuments, as well as detailed explanations.
This walk is probably the best thing for first-time visitors to do on their first night in Brasov. The last thing you want to do is get lost or miss out on something amazing, and these tours are designed to help you find your bearings.
One of the smaller things to do, as it is more like a novelty, is to discover all the tiny and narrow streets in the city. Brasov is known for having some of the narrowest streets in Europe.
Brasov itself is incredibly old and there is nowhere that shows this fact more than with Catherine’s Gate. Built in 1559, the gate stands proud and tall with the Brasov Coat of arms. Four turrets were added by the Saxons when they took over the city.
The turrets showed visitors that the city was under the rule of the Town Council, who could implement the death penalty. There are also parts of the ancient walls still standing, as well as many walking paths that take you around the city.
Back when the Saxons had control of the city, they didn’t allow any Romanians to live within the fortified walls. This forced the Romanians to build their own settlements around the city. The Schei District is the most well-known one outside of Brasov.
Visiting the Schei District will give you the best insight into Romanian culture and the people. One of the most popular buildings to visit is the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, which you can find near the Piata Unirii.
Romania has a delicious dessert that is very popular in Eastern Europe. Kurtos Kalacs is a sweet, cylindrical cake that is roasted over a spit and is enjoyed In Prague, all the way to to Brasov.
Now, we know kurtos kalacs seems like a common dessert that you can enjoy in many other countries, but what makes the Romanian version so special? It’s the size, trust us, they are the biggest ones you will find and just as delicious as their smaller counterparts.
If you take a short journey outside of Brasov, you will find the spectacular Rasnov Fortress. The Saxons built onto an existing structure, making this fortress the guardian of the small settlements and cities, protecting them against nomadic invaders.
The fortress was recently restored and now is the most well-preserved site of its kind in Romania. And for less than $1, you can explore this immaculate keep, its ancient fortifications, an old school, and enjoy the pristine views of the countryside.
The Carpathian Mountains
If you are an adventurer, someone who doesn’t want to spend their days in a cafe or a museum, but out in the mountains or trekking the luscious fields, Brasov is still for you. Enter, the Carpathian Mountains.
Exploring these ancient mountains and their surrounds will feel like traveling back in time. You will come across ancient buildings, and people who seem to be stuck in time. The old ways are still used here, and it is an incredibly unique way to see the country and its history.
One of the oldest local traditions in Brasov is the Parada Junilor, the Parade of Young Men. if are in the city on the first Sunday after the Orthodox Easter, you can experience this unique, and often incredibly fun festival.
This festival combines Christian and pagan beliefs, and it is to celebrate the beginning of Spring. Groups of men take to horseback and ride around the city, from Scheii Brasovului to the Old Town.
Found just 20km from Brasov, is the Bears Sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of the largest and most important in Europe. The 70 hectares of land is home to 70 previously abused and neglected bears. Most definitely worth a visit.
Piatra Craiului National Park
If you don’t have a full itinerary, taking a one or two day hike through the Piatra Craiului National Park is an absolute must. Take in the untouched surroundings that border Brasov and its neighboring towns.
If you take a 30-minute bus ride away from Brasov, you will find the infamous and beautiful Bran Castle. If this name doesn’t ring any bells, we’ll inform you quickly, it was the home of Vlad the Impaler, the man who inspired Dracula.
You can take a tour of the castle and explore its grounds. You will quickly see why Bram Stoker used this castle, and its famous resident, as his inspiration for Dracula, the eeriness is matched only by its beauty.
Private Tour from Brasov to Sinaia and Bucharest
If you are wanting to explore some more of Romania, you can take a private tour to Sinaia and Bucharest. Sinaia is the Summer home of the Romanian royal family, and you have to travel through the glorious Prahova Valley.
The tour stops in Bucharest, where there will be a full city tour, exploring the history, architecture, and culture of this ancient city. Once the tour is finished, you will be brought back to Brasov. Great way to spend a day.
Private Tour to Viscri and Sighisoara
Romania is jam-packed with old towns and cities that date back hundreds of years. Many of them have influences from some of the biggest empires and peoples, like the Ottomans and the Saxons.
Taking a private tour of the ancient towns of Viscri and Sighisoara. These towns are the perfect places to explore the history of the area and to get in touch with the people of Romania and see how they live. These towns blend the old and new perfectly and beautifully.
Chauffeur Service from Brasov
If you are someone who doesn’t want to stick to an itinerary, and you want to take your time exploring somewhere different throughout the day, a private chauffeur service is most definitely the way to go.
You can rent a car and have someone drive you around to wherever you want to go, allowing you to stay at some places for as long as you want, or skip places you don’t have much interest in, the best way to have a bespoke holiday.
Dracula Private Day Trip
If you are unsure of where to start your exploration of Brasov and its surrounds, taking a day trip around Brasov, and some of its infamous castles and fortresses are the best place to start. Especially when Dracula is involved.
The highlight of this day trip is definitely visiting Bran Castle. Bran Castle was the home of Vlad the Impaler, the man who inspired Dracula. At the end of the tour, you have the choice of taking a trip to Brasov or Dambovicioara Caves.
Half-Day Sights and Bites Tour
If you are looking for a way to spend some of the days not only exploring the city of Brasov but enjoying some local cuisine as well, the Half-Day Sights and Bites tour is definitely for you. Explore the city, its ancient structures, and enjoy a delicious, traditional meal to end the day off.
The tour will take you around all the ancient churches, monasteries, school and turrets. All influenced by the many different cultures and people that have been stationed in Brasov over the centuries. The 3-course Romanian meal at the end will, without doubt, be one of the best things you have ever eaten.
Brasov is an incredibly unique and beautiful cities in all of Romania. Bucharest may be the popular choice for visitors, but Brasov not only has the history, but it has the people, the food, and once again, Dracula.