Looking for a winter fairy tale destination in Europe?
Then let me tell you about a cozy and bohemian town that will captivate you right away – Brașov, Transylvania!
Its magic lies in a charming blend of mountain resort vibe and old colorful Saxon houses; and when you add snow, it becomes a true winter wonderland.
Even if it’s one of the main Romanian destinations for weekend getaways, mountain holidays and ski city breaks, I found that most tourists know little about the beautiful Brașov.
Transylvania has been on top 10 destinations to visit in Europe for a few years now, with Dracula’s Castle as main attraction, so it’s better known, but this region can offer the traveler much more.
Therefore, some time ago, I began a series of visual tours of this fairy tale land in Romania because there are lots of fortified churches, villages and old medieval towns that might spark your interest in visiting the most picturesque part of my country.
I began with a story about the rebirth of Viscri, a remote village nested in the heart of Transylvania, that invites you to experience the simple countryside life in a very colorful setting.
And now it’s time for a visual city guide of Brașov, one of the well preserved medieval towns in Romania, and your “door” to Transylvania.
Top reasons to visit Brașov, Transylvania
The atmosphere of the old medieval town is enchanting! The green heels all around create a wonderful mountain scenery while the cobbled streets invite you to explore more.
Old architecture, with colorful Saxon houses, some cute, tiny and simple, others bearing lovely caryatids and splendid archi details. It’s also home to the most impressive Gothic building in Romania.
Lovely surroundings: Bran, Rașnov, Peleș, to name just a few.
It’s a winter fairy tale destination!
What to see & do in Brașov, Transylvania
1. The Council Square / Piata Sfatului is the most delightful area of the old city center, with the Black Church over-topping the open square, competing only with the museum’s tower.
The pastel-toned houses surrounding the square look just like candies and when it’s snowing, this place becomes magic! The nearby green hills, usually covered in dense fog during morning hours, complete this old town charm, and invite you to wander its many bohemian corners.
a) Council House / Casa Sfatului – it’s the lovely tower in the middle of the square, home to a nice history museum
b) Cziegler House
c) Biserica Neagra / the Black Church is simply stunning!
Built in the 15th century, it stands as the main Gothic monument in Romania. Its imposing stature is far from being random. Back then, religious establishments were meant to be a statement, often telling of the power Church held in the state, and it also used to serve as a border of the Roman Catholic Church (now Lutheran).
The name is not random either, considering the church has suffered heavy damages during the great fire of the Habsburgs, in the late 1600’s. Even after the reconstructions, the signs of the fire are still visible on its outer walls.
Nowadays, the Black Church can be visited all year round, and organ concerts are held frequently (3 per week – during summer).
2. Piata George Enescu (square) – a bohemian corner of the old city center with corridors, narrow cobbled streets, and charming facades, definitely worth exploring on a quiet morning walk.
3. The Narrowest Street in Romania & other lovely streets
– Str. Sforii – the narrowest street in Romania and the 2nd narrowest street in Europe
– Str. Republicii – the main street leading to the Council Square / Piata Sfatului, where you can find lovely architectural gems
– Str. Hirscher is also a beautiful corner to explore, and it’s also close to the Council Square / Piata Sfatului
4. Historical places beyond the main square
– Brașov Citadel (Straja) – a must see, if you enjoy a bit of hiking, old medieval fortresses and a romantic atmosphere.
– Bastionul Postăvarilor Brașov
– Bastionul Fierarilor Brașov
– 1st Romanian school
– Catherine’s Gate / Poarta Ecaterina
5. Tampa Point of View – it takes a bit of walking in the woods to get there, but it offers a splendid panorama over the city.
6. Architectural gems
– Brașov Synagogue
Where to stay in Brașov
La Maisonnette is probably the best place to stay in Brașov.
Even if I’ve visited Brașov plenty of times, I didn’t know about this accommodation until randomly booking it online for my most recent trip, taken a few weeks ago.
When opening the windows, I realized this place has the best room view in Brașov! You can see all the main attractions at a glance: the Black Church, the Council Square / Piata Sfatului, the Council House (tower), Tâmpa Hill, and all the pretty colorful houses.
The room is far larger than any other hotel room I’ve stayed in Europe, the interior styling is simple, yet bearing lovely details, all while preserving the medieval charm of the house. The room was kept clean and very warm – an important detail, considering the temperatures drop to -20°C (most years).
This room view is stunning, isn’t it?
Where to eat & drink in Brașov
When it comes to a good meal served in a bohemian atmosphere, Brasov has some pretty interesting places. To name my favorite ones:
Bistro de l’ Arte – it serves great dishes in a dim light and romantic atmosphere, making it my to go place each time I’m in Brasov, even if I’m there only for a few hours. It’s something about this place that’s so inviting, cozy and serene that I find hard to resist.
Taverna Sârbului – the Serbian tavern is a delight, especially if you like meat dishes, but I also visit it whenever I feel like having a roasted pepper spread called “zacuscă sârbească” – it’s a delicious vegetarian treat.
Dr. Jekelius is probably the most creative coffee place & bar in Brasov, with an ingenious interior styling that mimics an old apothecary. Vintage pharmaceutical bottles are carefully placed in wooden cabinets that adorn the walls, and each of its details create a story you want to be apart of, even just for a few hours (in the photos below).
What to see and do near Brașov
Visit Dracula’s Castle in Bran – 27 km outside Brasov (30 min. by car)
Visit Prejmer Fortified Church – 19 km outside Brasov (22 min. by car)
Visit Peleș Castle in Sinaia (stop on your road to Bucharest)
Visit Cantacuzino Palace in Busteni (stop on your road to Bucharest)
Visit Rasnov Citadel – 18 km outside Brasov (23 min. by car)
Each of these attractions is uniquely beautiful, so I would recommend you visiting them all.
If so, consider renting a car to reach them easily. Visiting Dracula’s Castle in Bran, Râșnov and Peleș takes at least 3 hours per castle, Prejmer takes 30 minutes and Cantacuzino – 30 minutes, if you’re not visiting the art expo.
Poiana Brașov, the tiny ski resort is nearby. It looks great during summers, when you can have lunch on the terrace, breathing in the fresh mountain air. Please keep in mind it’s bit crowded during winter and summer weekends.
Travel Experiences in Brașov, Transylvania and nearby
See Brașov from above – Tâmpa Hill offers a marvelous panoramic view of the city
Visit Liberty Bear Sanctuary near Zărnești (best during the summer)
Hike to Brașov Citadel – it’s requires a bit of effort to go uphill for 30-40 minutes, but the greenery and the quietness of this road are worth the trip
Paragliding – If you’re into fun sports, go paragliding in Bunloc, near Săcele, very close to Brasov. Best to experience on weekends and warm seasons (all except winter), and only on a clear day, with a trained instructor. Even if I’m afraid of heights, I went paragliding in Bunloc a few years ago, and it was one amazing experience.
Foods to try in or around Brașov
1) Brașovence – stuffed pancakes with cheese, veggies or meat – all baked in the oven. I’ve recently tasted some similar ones from the Russian cuisine and they’re delicious, but I recommend you go for the cheese and raisins one.
2) Kurtos Kalacs – the most frequent street food in Brașov
3) The hard smoked cheese near Bran – it’s sometimes prepared in a wooden box and love it more than any other cheese in the world. But don’t take the word of a cheese fanatic, try it yourself.
Plan your trip to Brasov, Transylvania
How to get there
Fly to Bucharest and then rent a car or take the train. The best way to go is by renting a car, but keep in mind that traffic reaches full stop during weekends all year round.
The weather in Brasov is pretty moody, with foggy mornings dissolving into sunny afternoons. And if you like taking photos, that fog is a blessing in disguise.
It’s also a bit chilly all year round, so pack a sweater or a jacket, even if you visit Brașov during the summer.
Safety – Brașov is a safe place for tourists.
How many days do you need to visit Brașov
2 days are enough to visit Brasov, but 3-4 days extra will be better, so you can also visit nearby attractions like Bran, Râșnov, Peleș, and Zărnești.
Visual Tour of Brașov, Transylvania
Budget for a trip to Brasov, Transylvania
*except airfare & car rental
|Type of Cost||Euro/Person/Day|
|Accommodation/night in double room||33.5|
|Food and Drinks||16.5|
|City Attractions & Museums*||11.61|
|Travel Budget Total (Person/Day/ €)||50|
|Travel Budget for Brașov- for 2 days / weekend trip**||69.61|
*City Attractions Budget includes: Black Church fee, History Museum fee, Museum of Urban Civilization Brașov fee, and 2 rides with Tâmpa Cable Car (although hiking is better and it saves you 7 Euros).
**The budget is only for a weekend – 2 days in Brașov and it doesn’t include airfare, car rental or visiting fees for the other trips around the city mentioned in the article.
Hope you enjoyed this city guide of Brașov, Romania, and you’ll put Transylvania on your bucket list!
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