Where is Brasov?
Brasov is a beautiful ancient city in central Romania. Want to spend an unforgettable vacation surrounded by ancient castles, but can't choose whether to go to Bucharest or Brasov, capital of Romania? Why choose when you can visit both cities at the same time, starting with "Little Paris" of Romania? Yes, yes, this is the case when you can sit on two chairs without any damage!
A very convenient way to get to one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania is to take a train ticket Bucharest to Brasov. If you get bored of the almost three-hour journey, stop in Sinaia, whose border security is tirelessly guarded by the pointed towers of the fairytale Castelul Peles. Once you get off the platform in Brasov, don't waste a minute - take a taxi and get your camera: the journey begins!
Piata Sfatului is one of the best places to see in Brasov. Start your journey with Plaza Advice. This is a great place to get to know the atmosphere of Brasov by sitting on one of the stalls decorated with intricate ornaments. Here, in the heart of "Romanian Salzburg", time seems to stop: the same facades of houses are peacefully mended around, and you can hear the chimes from the Town Hall Tower as they did centuries ago.
In the daytime on the square, you can't push through. Summer squares are crowded with refreshments; street performers desperately try to attract the attention of by-passers, who in turn do not hurry to break away from the serene pleasure of ice cream.
Speaking of food. If being in the Czech Republic, you fell in love with a Tridelnik, Romania has saved you a new portion of gastronomic ecstasy! The Council Square in Brasov is an ideal place to try a traditional Transylvanian delicacy. The Romanian kurtoskalacs is astounding in its size - it's just huge! Forget all remorse, choose one of the dozens of pastry shops at the weekly fair and take one.
The hospitality that permeates every pebble in the square does not give a hint of its dark past. In the Middle Ages, public trials were held here, and prisoners were even executed. Years of communism regime turned the Council Square into the only place of refuge for the local people, who were taken to extremes.
Today, you will not see anything like it in this part of the Old Town: children laughing and trying to catch pigeons looking for privacy, and guests of the town catching with their lenses pictures of everyday life full of care, but at the same time carefree.
A few steps from the heart of the Old Town is the Black Church Brasov. Opened to the public in 1542, the church - the largest in all of Romania - was first named after St. Mary. About a hundred years later the building was caught in a big fire, which charred the outside of the previously light brick walls. Fortunately, the interior of one of the best Gothic churches in Eastern Europe was not damaged. The incredible beauty of the collection of ancient Turkish rugs still attracts the attention of hundreds of parishioners and tourists.
The East and West features of the Church of St. Mary's architectural details reflect the geographical and historical elements that Brasov boasted in the Middle Ages. There are still many buildings in the city that have been influenced by the culture of Saxons, Ottomans and Hungarians so that the annoying question "Bucharest to Brasov?" is solved by itself: in this part of Romania, everything is mixed up a little bit.
Having cast a cursory glance over the secret capital of Transylvania, it is impossible to miss the inscription "Brasov", which by the Hollywood example majestically rises above the city from the slope of Mount Tympa. By the way, from the last letter, "V" one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from a bird's eye view. But don't stop there - you can climb even higher!
Being one of the cult symbols of Transylvania, the mountain gives everyone who climbed to its top a sense of their strength and freedom. It is here, at 900 meters above sea level, that you can enjoy the best panoramic view of Brasov: narrow streets, tiny red roofs of the houses of the Old Town and more modern buildings closer to the horizon line - everything is in the palm of your hand.
There are two ways to get to the top of Mountain Tympa: climbing slowly by cable car or choosing one of several hiking trails. Walking will take much longer (about an hour), but it's worth it! Romania is famous all over the world for its thick broad-leaved forests - why not walk on one of these in person?
Expectations of buying a train ticket Bucharest to Brasov will be justified only if you spend a few hours visiting one of the most historically valuable areas of the city Scheii Brasovului.
The period from XIII to XVII century was not the best one for Romanians. At that time, the Saxons, who filled the Transylvania lands, forbade the ethnic population to enter the walled territory of Brasov. These restrictions led to the formation of many communities outside the city. That is why, to understand the Romanian culture, one has to walk at least once through the winding streets of the Shei quarter, which is more like an urban area.
The hours of stay in that part of Brasov behind the Sac Gate will be even more memorable if you visit the Church of St. Nicholas. It is, by the way, a stone's throw from one of the best Brasov hotels in the city, Piata Unirii. Rushing into the sky with its extraordinarily sharpened tower tops, ascetic exterior and moderate décor inside deserve your close attention.
Right on the church grounds is the First Romanian School. It was the place where in the early 16th century the first printed book in Romanian was published. Today, this building is home to a museum, whose premises are full of thousands of priceless books. Among them, you can even see the Bible translated into Romanian.
Staying here is like a history lesson, where you can see the small similarities and tangible differences between historically Romanian lands and the Old Town, which is preserved in the spirit of Sacred tradition.
Once you've gotten to know the city, don't hesitate to challenge yourself and find one of the narrowest streets in Europe - Strada Sforia. Being one of the unique locations in the town, this atypical attraction is located right near the gates to the above mentioned Shea district.
Jokingly called "rope street", it is more like an alley or passage between houses. No wonder, as its maximum and the minimum width is only 53 and 44 inches respectively!
It is hard to overestimate the benefits of Strada Sforia over the past few centuries: firefighters used it to get to the scene as quickly as possible, bypassing other streets filled with locals.
In addition to Mount Tympa, the top of which undoubtedly offers the best view, the city of Brasov has several other "lookout points" created by nature. The most famous of them is the Black Tower, which appeared on the map in the XV century.
Speaking of the name, it is impossible to draw the same analogy as with the previously mentioned church of St. Mary - no big fires happened here. All kinds of armed confrontations were typical for this area.
Rising on the top of the hill, the tower seems to be an ideal place for seclusion, as there are not many tourists, even in the hottest season. From here you can see the Black Church Brasov, the Council Square and even the streets surrounding the Old Town. In other words, when you climb the Black Tower, you will get to know some of the most famous city sights at once and even be able to see them closer.
The tower seems to grow out of an old citadel drowned in the green, which in the early days defended Brasov from the onslaught of enemy soldiers at the city gates. Another monument of Romanian defensive architecture, the White Tower (Turnul Alb), is a short drive away.
Cetatuia de pe Straja
Known among the inhabitants as Citadel Hill, the Cetatuia de pe Straja fortress is perhaps one of the few defence structures initially designed to meet the needs of the city's inhabitants. Only after a while did it become one of the most critical observation platforms of the whole region.
The fortress was destroyed and rebuilt not once after the devastating fire, turned into a haven for border guards, and then into prison. Although it cannot boast great popularity among the guests of Romania, Cetatuia de pe Straja gradually emerges from the shadow of the more iconic sights of Brasov preserving the medieval charm and spirit of the belligerent peoples within its walls.
When you arrive here, you will be amazed by the incredibly colourful panorama that opens up from almost anywhere on the hill, where the imposing fortress has been huddling for centuries. If you want to have some rest and snack, you can visit a cosy restaurant of medieval cuisine in the vicinity of Cetatuia de pe Straja.
Leaving the train Bucharest-Brasov, do not hurry immediately to run for a walk on the most iconic places to see in Brasov. Sit down on a bench at the station and make a shortlist of "Poiana Brasov attractions", including snow-covered ski slopes, peaceful pine forests and cosy cafes with a vast selection of hot drinks.
Offering several leisure options for guests, the resort of Poiana Brasov is located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. If you are a keen skier or a snowboarder, you can try your hand at one of the seven specially equipped slopes.
In winter, when the barbed pines are covered with fluffy snow, and it is as quiet as nowhere else around, the village is like a corner in some fairytale kingdom. There's plenty to do in the summer, too. If you climb to the top of the highest ski slope and have a good look around, almost on the horizon, you can see the city of Brasov in all its glory.
Having rested enough after a tiresome train ride and having completed all the items on the list of "Poiana Brasov attractions", you can safely go to the Old Town, which is only 30 minutes away. After six stops on a comfortable bus to the park Livada Postei, you will feel the breath of civilization again.
If the sights in Poiana Brasov are over and your strength is not, jump on the train and go to the foot of the Vart hill.
Almost immediately at the exit of the city, in Brasov county, there is an extraordinary beauty medieval citadel, the history of which is deeply rooted in the XIII century. The Rasnov Fortress is considered to be one of the most iconic sights in the whole of Romania, inspiring each of its guests to feel a sense of belonging to knightly circles. Awe-inspiring and eye-catching defensive structure are surrounded by vast forests, home to dozens of species of different wild animals.
Built at the end of the 13th century by representatives of the Teutonic Order, the fortress protected numerous Transylvanian villages from attack by invaders, whose final goal was to invade the city of Brasov.
If you are fascinated by the Middle Ages, there is some entertainment for you in the vicinity of the citadel. For example, you can walk to the top of the Vart hill, surrounded by breathtaking scenery up. If you want to get to the castle faster, choose the climb by cable car, which also offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the unique Romanian nature. Already on top, you can try your hand at archery or ride a horse. Modern entertainment also takes place here: paintball, rope jumping or an unforgettable helicopter ride - you can choose from anything!
The last item on the Romanian to-go list can dot all the "i" if you're still wondering where to go: Brasov or Bucharest. 30 kilometres from the "Pearl of Transylvania", on the border with Great Wallachia, is the Bran Fortress, also known as Dracula Castle.
Hundreds of tourists come here every year to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of mystery that soaks up every brick here. The vampires in this castle have never been heard of: the building owes its popularity exclusively to Bram Stoker's book Dracula. The prototype of its protagonist was Valahia Vlad III Basarab, who lived and ruled in an entirely different castle, the Cetatea Poenari, which is now destroyed.
Built at the dawn of the 13th century, Bran Castle was originally a defence fortress protecting Transylvania from bloodthirsty invaders. In 1920, a reasonably small area was converted into the residence of Queen Mary, who at that time headed a state called the Kingdom of Romania. Today it is one of the most famous museums in the country, which is included in every second list of mandatory places in Eastern Europe.