What to Do in Brasov, Romania
At the heart of Romania’s most famous province, Transylvania is the historic and medieval city of Brasov. While Bucharest might be Romania’s capital, Brasov is its city of history; one that’s full of fascinating attractions and has been injected with a vibrant nightlife and coffee scene.
There are a lot of fantastic things to do in Brasov, even if you choose to visit Brasov in winter. There isn’t another city in Romania like it, and the city wins over visitors every year with its kind and happy locals, its hipster bars and cafes, its fantastic food scene, and all of its gorgeous religious architecture. Here is what to see in Brasov when you visit Transylvania.
What to do in Brasov
Brasov is separated into two different things to do: seeing the historic sights and architecture and enjoying the more modern culture scene of bars, clubs, and great restaurants. Both are fantastic and full of a variety of sights and experiences that you must see when you visit Brasov.
1. Visit the Black Church
Brasov’s Black Church has a fascinating and dark history. In the 17th century, there was a great fire in Brasov, which spread across the town and even engulfed the church’s insides, permanently charring the stone black and forever officially changing its name. The Black Church is an impressive and darkly gothic building that deserves to be explored completely.
On the outside, you can admire so much dramatic and rugged detail in its architecture, while inside you’ll find a legendary painting known as the Black Madonna. This painting depicts the Virgin Mary and has been hanging in the church since before the great fire. Legend says that the dress she is wearing in the painting turned black after the fire because she was mourning the victims of the fire.
Be aware that you can’t take photos inside the church, so you won’t be able to get a photo of the Black Madonna, but it is still very much worth seeing regardless.
2. Climb to the Brasov Sign
Brasov is a unique city in a few surprising ways, and one of which is the Brasov sign, which is unashamedly inspired by the Hollywood sign. It does have a practical reason for being there, which can be traced back to Romania’s communist-era but, regardless, what we have now is a fantastic and unique sight that’s one of the best attractions in Brasov.
The Brasov sign sits on a hill within the old town limits, and can be seen from almost anywhere in Brasov old town. It can also be reached very easily, either by hiking or by taking a short and cheap cable car ride. If you’re visiting Brasov in winter, you’re definitely better off getting the cable car for safety reasons and then walking along the top of the hill until you get to the sign.
The Brasov sign also trumps the Hollywood sign because it is lit up at night and the lights that illuminate it change shape and colour, making for a very captivating and photogenic sign indeed.
3. Walk down Rope Street
Rope Street is the narrowest street in southeast Europe and one of the narrowest streets in all of Europe. At its narrowest point, two people can’t stand side by side. Fun fact: the street was installed as an emergency point of access for firemen only a few centuries ago, and the requirements for its width were that it had to be wide enough for one fireman carrying two buckets of water. Walking down it is one of the stranger things to do in Brasov, and you can also get a cool view of the Brasov sign from it.
4. Explore the Bars and Cafes
Brasov, beyond the old architecture and medieval history, is a city with a vibrant and youthful scene consisting of fantastic bars, cafes, and restaurants. One of the best things to do in Brasov is try some of the local food, and a great restaurant for that is La Ceaun, a local restaurant which serves the best Romanian meals: mici, sarmale, and papanasi are all must-try Romanian dishes.
If you’re looking for good coffee, Kafe Pub is a rustic and atmospheric cafe that has a decor of vintage objects and bookshelves. Or there’s the Pharmacy Cafe, also known as Dr Jekelius, which is a vaguely alchemy-themed cafe that serves great coffee and a decent selection of dinner options.
How to get to Brasov
Brasov appears, at first, to be a relatively isolated city in Transylvania. And while that is true, to an extent, it is very easy to get to Brasov from not only the bigger cities of Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, but also the smaller medieval towns like Sighisoara. So, here’s how to get to Brasov by train or bus.
If you’re coming from Bucharest to Brasov, the easiest way is by train. From Gara de Nord train station in Bucharest, you can hop on a train which takes less than two hours to get to Brasov and leaves multiple times a day. You can also take a bus but the trains are far quicker and don’t cost much more (travel in Romania is incredibly cheap, including taxis and Uber!)
If you’re coming to Brasov from a smaller town in Transylvania, like Sighisoara, your only public transport option is the bus. There is a bus which begins in Cluj-Napoca and passes through Sighisoara, finishing at Brasov. But from Cluj-Napoca you can also take a train. The bus is very cheap and easy, but certainly slower than the train.
If you’re looking to rent a car and you’re wondering how to get to Brasov, the best strategy is to rent a car outside of Bucharest. This is simply because drivers in the capital are frighteningly manic and quite intimidating. be sure to have travel insurance when hiring a car in Romania. I highly recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing (starts at $37 per month)!
If you head out of the city on a bus or a train, then rent a car in another town (Sinaia is a great choice), you’ll find that the rest of the country is much more pleasant to drive around. Driving to and around Brasov is completely stress-free.
Other articles you will love:
- What to Do in Bucharest, Romania
- Traditional Romanian Food: 14 Must-try Dishes!
- How to Get from Bucharest to Transylvania + the best stops!
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