Brasov is a rather small but vibrant city in the center of Romania. Its location at the gate to Transylvania, close to the mountains, makes it a perfect place to stay and explore the region. But, Brasov has a lot of tourist attractions of its own, a medieval city center and the remains of a defense system, beautiful churches, and interesting architecture. You can spot the German heritage, taste the Hungarian influences and mix everything together in a unique blend.
Brasov has a pretty compact and very walkable old city center. It’s easy to discover all the main attractions in Brasov listed below in only 2 relaxing days. If you have more time, Brasov is a great base to explore some beautiful places in the surrounding area. I’ll give you some day trip ideas a little later.
The Best Brasov Attractions
The Council Square (Piata Sfatului), the heart of Brasov
At the heart of Brasov, stands the ample Council Square (Piata Sfatului in Romanian). The Council House built in 1420 with its Trupeters’ Tower dominates the pedestrian plaza. The buildings around the plaza have nice terraces where you can sit for a coffee or a full meal and enjoy the atmosphere and the view of the Tampa.
This is also where the Christmas market, as well as other craft markets, are held every season. All the main attractions of Brasov are close by so you should also find accommodation close to the main square.
The Black Church (Biserica Neagra), the symbol of Brasov
The Black Church is the most recognizable landmark in Brasov. Its original name was St. Mary’s Church but it became widely known as the Black Church after a massive fire in 1689. Today, the Gothic building is a Lutheran church, with one of the largest bells in Europe and a unique 3993 tubes still functioning organ.
The ticket to visit the Black Church costs 12 lei (about 2,5€ ) and you can check the opening hours here.
Image by Zoltan Suga
The Orthodox Cathedral-A hidden Brasov attraction
Tucked away behind a beautiful facade in the Council Square, the Orthodox Cathedral is easy to miss between the colorful terraces. That would be a shame because it’s quite a beautiful small church.
You have to enter the courtyard through the corridor under the parishioner’s house to find the church hidden from the main street. Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to locate the facade with its small tower.
The church is free to visit every day from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
St. Nicholas Church and the First Romanian School
This beautiful church is a short uphill walk away from the Old Town Center, outside Catherine’s Gate. The orthodox church and the first school to teach in the Romanian language in the same complex became a very important cultural center for all Romanians in the area. Moreover, its influence grew once they started printing the first books in Romanian here as well.
Most tourists don’t know about this place, but in my opinion, it is a must-see attraction of Brasov. You can also visit the First Romanian School, now a museum, and important testimony of that period.
The museum is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. An adult ticket costs 10 lei, which is about 2€.
Mount Tampa-One of the main attractions in Brasov
Mt. Tampa is a part of Postavaru Massiv that rises just outside Brasov Old City. The sign Brasov stands high on Tampa, visible from virtually everywhere in the central area.
You can hike one of the various trails up the Observatory on Mt. Tampa or choose the easy way and take the cable car. Or, you can combine the two, take the cable car up and return on foot, a walk through a natural reserve. However, keep in mind that you may encounter wildlife in the area, especially wild bears.
The cable-car runs Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. A single ticket is 10 lei (about 2€) and a return ticket is 18 lei (roughly 3.5€).
The Rope Street (Strada Sforii)
One of the most popular attractions in Brasov is Strada Sforii (The Rope Street), one of the narrowest streets in Europe. The street was originally intended as a passageway for the firefighters. At its narrowest point, it is only 111cm wide, so you can touch both side-walls with your hands.
Catherine’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei)
Catherine’s Gate is one of the most beautiful attractions in Brasov and it has a very interesting story. It was built in 1559 and the tower that we see now is the only surviving part of a gate from Medieval times in Brasov.
During that time, Romanians were not allowed to live or own property inside the walled town. Their community lived in Schei, an area uphill from the remaining tower. Catherine’s Gate, much larger at the time, was the only way inside the fortified town for Romanians to come and sell their goods to the residents. They were only allowed at certain times and they had to pay a fee at Catherine’s Gate.
Most of the old gate was demolished in the 19th century and Poarta Schei was built next to the remaining tower. Its architecture is also worth mentioning, as it looks like a fairytale building.
Weaver’s Bastion (Bastionul Tesatorilor)
At the foot of Mt. Tampa stands the Weaver’s Bastion. It is a well-preserved building, part of the medieval Brasov defensive structures. The Bastion has watchtowers and 4 meters thick walls.
You can visit the Weaver’s Bastion from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. A ticket is 7 lei (almost 1.5€) and you will love the inside wooden galleries.
The pedestrian Republic Street – a popular area in Brasov
During the summer, the pedestrian area on Republic Street and the adjoining streets is filled with lots of terraces into a party atmosphere. However, this area is a pleasant one for a walk in any season. You can find little treasures, beautiful buildings, small shops, and good restaurants everywhere in the area.
The Black Tower and The White Tower
The two towers were part of the 15th-century defense system of Brasov. Today, they are great viewpoints to see the city from above and also museums, organizing temporary exhibits.
The White Tower was the tallest building in Brasov at the time, 5 stories high. The watchers could see the enemies trying to enter the fortified city from afar. The tower is shaped like a horseshoe and has ramparts and pit openings to attack the enemies.
The Black Tower on the same hill isn’t really black, but the name stuck with it since it was struck by lightning in 1559.
The White Tower is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The access ticket is 7 lei (almost 1.5€) and there’s an extra fee for taking photos.
Street Art in Brasov
The street art scene in Brasov has been constantly growing these last few years. You’ll discover some pieces in the most unexpected places around Old Brasov center.
Other Brasov Attractions – Food in Brasov
This part would probably deserve a whole blog post. You can taste very good Romanian, but also Hungarian food in Brasov. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Brasov:
Bella Muzica is one of my favorite restaurants in Brasov, famous for its Hungarian but also Mexican (!) dishes. Reservations are recommended for dinner in normal times. The soups here are amazing and the desserts aren’t bad either.
La Ceaun-this is where you need to go when you’re in the mood for some hearty, traditional Romanian food. Good soups, decent pies, and must-try “sarmale”.
Pilvax is a family restaurant centered on Hungarian food and also wine. The best place to try some goulash in Brasov.
Next Door – an old house with contemporary food in the picturesque Enescu square, a few steps away from the Council Square.
Where to stay in Brasov
There are plenty of good places to stay in the central area of Brasov. These are my favorites, based on location, services, design, and atmosphere.
Bella Muzica – it doesn’t get more central than this. The hotel is on one side of the Council Square and a couple of minutes away from the Black Church. Plus, it has the advantage of a great restaurant I mentioned earlier.
Rossmarkt Haus has only a few rooms in a beautifully restored house, a few steps away from the Black Church. It also has a very pleasant terrace.
Schuster Boarding House in another historic house is now a mix of traditional and modern, just under Mt. Tampa. The building has a terrace with amazing views of the old city center.
Day trips from Brasov
If you have a couple of extra days, Brasov is the perfect base to explore the area. You can ski in Poiana Brasov a few kilometers away, or explore the traditional villages around Brasov like Cristian or Harman. Another idea is to take a day trip to Rasnov Citadel or to Bran Castle a.k.a Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania. Moreover, you can visit the bear sanctuary in Zarnesti, visit the Dino Park and the cave in Rasnov, or go a little further to see the fairy-tale Peles Castle in Sinaia or Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni.
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