What to see in and around Brasov
Brasov is the main tourist city of Transylvania, Romania. It’s surrounded by many of Romania’s top sites including;
- Council Square (Brasov Central Square)
- Black Church (Biserica Neagra)
- Saint Nicholas Church
- Rasnov Citadel and Dino Parc
- Rope Street (narrowest street in Europe)
- Brasov New Town Hall
- Day trip to the Transfagarasan road
- Day trip to Pele’s Castle
- Day trip to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
As Brasov is a tourist hotspot there are many hotels. These hotels can be cheap especially if you travel off season.
Council Square (Brasov Central Square)
Council Square is located in the center of downtown Brasov. You’ll find lots of very colorful and Instagrammable houses as well as churches in the square. The showpiece of the square is the Brasov town hall which is unique looking as it used to be a watchtower. The 2 churches located on the central square are the Black Church and the Amazing Grace Church. There are lots of the restaurants and bars around the square and the pedestrianized Republic Street which leads up to it.
Brasov is a walled city and you see many historic gates as you pass in and out of the center.
Black Church (Biserica Neagra)
The 65 meter tall Black Church is located close to Council Square. It is the most significant Gothic building in Romania. There is a rumor about a young German boy being buried in the foundations of the church. Whilst this church was being built in the 14th century he was winding up the builders by saying the walls weren’t straight. One of the annoyed builders then pushed him off killing him before hiding his corpse in the construction of the church. There is a museum located inside the church.
Saint Nicholas Church
If you didn’t or couldn’t go to Suceava in the north to see the painted monasteries there is one in Brasov. It’s not painted on the outside but there are frescoes inside. It’s a 15 minute walk from the Black Church.
Rasnov Citadel and Dino Parc
A short ride from Brasov you’ll find the village of Rasnov. Located on a hill above the village is Rasnov fortified church. The citidel was built to defend the nearby towns. In the end it was used as a hiding place for villagers from passing armies because if the villagers had stayed in the village they would have been killed.
When I visited the citadel there were hundreds of people dressed up re-acting the old war days, I felt like I was in the Martin Lawrence movie Black Knight.
Located close to the Citadel is Dino Parc. Dino Parc is perfect for those traveling with kids as you’ll find dinosaur statues and a kids play area.
Rope Street (Strada Sforii)
Whilst exploring Brasov you’ll come across lots of narrow streets (above). In fact Brasov is home to the narrowest street in Europe. This street is called Rope Street or Strada Sforii in Romanian. Brasov would be the perfect location for a chase scene in a Bond movie. One action movie that was filmed in Brasov is the Dolph Lungren and Cuba Gooding Junior movie One in the Chamber.
Brasov New Town Hall
In the new town of Brasov you’ll find administrative and university buildings as well as museums. These are very Instagrammable buildings especially the New Town Hall (above). There is a park closeby called Nicolae Titulescu which is good for kids.
Day trip to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
You can easily organize a day trip to Bran Castle in Brasov or take the bus there independently. Bran Castle is a medieval castle and fortress that dates back to the 13th century. It’s possible to visit the interior of the castle for a small fee (above). I believe the view of the castle is better from a distance although it’s interesting to go inside. Outside the castle there are lots of souvenir and overpriced snack stores. An interesting souvenir you can buy is red wine labeled as Dracula juice!
Although marketed as Dracula’s Castle, this is not the real one. The Real Dracula’s Castle, Poenari Castle can be found west of the Transfagarasan Road.
Day trip to the Transfagarasan Road
Like the Palace of the Parliament, the Transfagarasan road was built under Ceausescu rule. In the 60’s, Ceausescu wanted quick access to the mountains due to the threat of a Soviet invasion. The road was built by soldiers of the Romanian army and completed in 1974. Nowadays it’s a scenic route through Romania that tourists like to take. There are many interesting landmarks on the route including winding roads, Balea Lake, tunnels, Poenari Castle (The real Dracula’s castle) and the Vidraru Dam.
The Romanian equivalent to the Tour de France cycling often passes through the Transfagarasan road. The road was also featured in a Top Gear special where Jeremy Clarkson claimed it was the worlds best road trip.
Day trip to Pele’s Castle
Peles Castle was built at the start of the 20th century and is located a short walk from the ski resort town of Sinaia. You can get to Peles Castle on the train / bus from Brasov or by taxi / car. If you went by car on the Transfagarasan road afterwards you can loop around to Sinaia before returning to Brasov.
To visit the Transfagarasan road and Peles Castle I used an unofficial taxi driver I met at Brasov train station. It was a bit of a risk but cheap at €40 for the whole trip. The driver told me how to take the minibus to Chisinau, Moldova which was my next destination.
Brasov to Chisinau by Minibus
If you ask around at Brasov train station about a minibus to Chisinau someone will be able to help you find the right person. It should be easy to find out where they leave from and what time. I recommend checking and booking your space a day in advance. For crossing the border into Moldova you shouldn’t need a visa but remember it’s not part of the EU or Schengen community.