Located at the very heart of Romania, Brasov is perhaps the country’s most well-known destination next to Bucharest. For good reason. Brasov is a beautiful picturesque city and admiring its charms is well worth a trip on its own. That said, Brasov also serves as an excellent base to explore the breathtaking Transylvania region. So, without further ado, read on and find out what to do in Brasov, one of the prettiest places to visit in Romania, in 2 days.
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What to do in Brasov in 48 hours
Most travellers spend no more than a couple of hours or a half day in Brasov as part of a tour to the nearby castles. If travelling on a really tight schedule, that’s better than not see Brasov at all of course. However, the city is extremely charming and you’d need at least two days to fully appreciate it. That’s how long we stayed and, still, we only had time to get lost in the magic of Brasov Old Town. If we had more time, we would have explored the modern side of the city as well.
We don’t suggest a specific 2-day itinerary to follow. The city itself is very compact yet there are a lot of things to do around Brasov. So we thought best to just list all the things we could (and one we couldn’t) fit in about 48 hours so that you pick and choose what to include in your own itinerary. Here’s our very own list of the top things to do in Brasov, one of Eastern Europe’s most precious treasures
Top things to do in Brasov Romania in 2 days
1. Wander around Brasov Old Town
The historic centre of Brasov is a sight for sore eyes. The city’s past is omnipresent in the medieval and baroque elements that co-exist in complete harmony. Colourful and ornate, the buildings in Brasov Old Town seem to have sprung straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. Strolling around this enchanting setting should be every visitor’s top priority when in Brasov. Here’s a list of what to see in Brasov Old Town.
Piata Sfatului, the Council Square
Transylvanian Saxons, the German populations who inhabited the region from the 12th to the 19th century, are responsible for the architectural beauty that is Brasov. Piata Sfatului represents the heart of medieval Brasov. It is one of the most picturesque squares we have ever laid eyes on. Try to stroll around the square very early in the morning when it’s unbelievably quiet and shoot some of the best photos of your Romanian trip. A favourite meeting point for locals and travellers alike, the square is buzzing with life from noon till late at night. During the summer, Piata Sfatului also hosts various events and performances. Sipping local beer while people watching at a bar right on the square is one of the best pastimes in Brasov.
Biserica Neagra, the Black Church
The main attraction in Brasov Old Town is Biserica Neagra, the Black Church. It is considered to be the largest Gothic church on the route between Vienna and Istanbul. Its original German name was Marienkirche. However, the church took its new name after 1689, the year of Brasov’s Great Fire. The latter destroyed most of the town and blackened the church’s walls. During summer months, the Black Church hosts splendid organ concerts. Just look for the programme posted outside the church.
Strada Sforii, the Rope Street
It’s fun as well as kind of spooky to walk along one of the narrowest streets in Europe. Strada Sforii has become one of the main tourist attractions in Brasov Old Town. Who would have guessed that it was originally constructed in the 15th century as a passage to facilitate firefighters on duty?
2. Walk along Brasov’s fortifications
Throughout its long history, Brasov was often under attack so the Saxons who lived there decided to build strong defensive fortifications around the town. Not all of them survive to this day but Brasov boasts a fair share of fabulous spots where one can enjoy a travel through time.
Strada Dupa Ziduri
Strada Dupa Ziduri, a beautiful street at the western part of Brasov, is a real treat for walking lovers. As its name suggests, this street follows the route behind the walls of Brasov Old Town. Strada Dupa Ziduri runs along a pretty stream and it offers views to some of the oldest fortifications in Brasov.
The White Tower and the Black Tower are among the most famous ones. However, don’t go looking for a black tower. There isn’t one. The tower was struck by lightning and caught fire back in 1559, hence the name. You can’t miss it though thanks to its futuristic pyramid-shaped glass roof.
The wonderful cake-like construction is the only original city gate that has survived in Brasov since medieval times. It took its name from St Catherine’s monastery which used to be located there. Catherine’s Gate is a significant landmark for the city of Brasov due to the important role it played in medieval times. When Transylvanian Saxons inhabited Brasov, Romanians were banned from the city. They weren’t allowed to own property nor live within the city’s walls. They could only enter Brasov for a fee at specific times for commercial purposes. Catherine’s Gate was the only gate they were allowed to use.
3. Stroll around Schei district
So where did Romanians use to live in medieval Brasov? They settled right outside the city’s walls in the famous Schei district. The latter is a super picturesque area with small houses built along narrow cobbled streets. Schei district has the charm of a traditional village surrounded as it is by scenic mountainous landscape. It’s home to a couple of must-see attractions in Brasov as well. The Orthodox church of St. Nicholas dominates the district. It stands out in terms of both size and splendour. Right next to the church the first Romanian school is located. This was the first school in the country where students were taught in the Romanian Language.
4. Get a glimpse of Romania’s recent past
One of the main reasons we like Romania so much is the vast amount of recent history it has in store for all history buffs out there. In Brasov, the Memorial to victims of the 1989 Revolution and the Heroes’ Cemetery are there to remind everyone of the city’s communist past.
They are both easily accessible from the Old Town. A pleasant stroll along pedestrianised Strada Republicii until the latter meets Bulevardul Eroilor, the Heroes Boulevard, and you’re there.
5. Climb Mount Tampa for breathtaking views
One of the things we found utterly fascinating about Brasov is the beauty of the peaceful green mountain slopes surrounding it. Tampa Mountain with its Hollywood-style sign rises right above the very heart of Brasov Old Town. There is a viewing platform near the top which is accessible by both a cable car and a hiking path. The views to the city of Brasov must be stunning. Hey, wait, what? Must be? As in, you haven’t climbed Mount Tampa yourselves? Sadly, not. On both days we stayed in Brasov we were out exploring all day so we’d come back a bit too late for either riding the cable car or going on a 1-hour hike.
Katerina and I have developed a weird habit after all those years we’ve been travelling together. We tend to skip a must-see or two of the destinations we visit and leave them for next time. This way we do our best to make absolutely sure that there will be a next time. Therefore, true to our habit, we left the stunning views for next time. Yet, it is one of those things we honestly believe is worth checking out even though we haven’t. Just make sure to check the cable car opening times when you visit.
6. Join a free walking tour
You know we love walking tours and we try to join one every time we visit some place new. Brasov couldn’t be an exception. We joined the free afternoon tour offered by Walkabout Free Tours on our first day in Brasov and we liked it a lot. This tour provides a wealth of information about the city of Brasov and covers pretty much everything in the Old Town and the Schei district alike. Don’t miss it, especially if visiting for a short time. In 2,5 hours you get to know everything there is to know about Brasov, plus a couple of inside local tips. Our guide handed out city maps to all of us as well. For more information, check out the Walkabout Free Tours website.
7. Plan day trips from Brasov
As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, Brasov is the perfect base to explore the stunning Transylvania region. There are many things to do near Brasov and day trip ideas are endless. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started. It helps to consult a guidebook in order to plan your time and routes in the best possible way. We almost always rely on a Lonely Planet guidebook for the general planning of our trips and we did so for our Romania trip as well.
Pay a visit to Dracula Castle
Perhaps the most famous of all the castles that dot the Romanian countryside is Bran Castle, also known as Dracula Castle. Whether the stories connecting Bran Castle to Count Dracula are accurate or not, Bran Castle certainly deserves your time and attention. Not to mention that it is one of the easiest day trips from Brasov. Bran Castle is a 40′ drive from Brasov. Apart from the fact that traffic can be unbearably heavy, it is an easy and scenic drive. Alternatively, you can reach Bran Castle by bus or taxi from Brasov.
Go castle hunting in Transylvania
Bran may be the most popular but certainly not the only castle in Transylvania that is worth a visit. The region is home to many spectacular castles, like Peles Castle and Rasnov Fortress, to name but a few. Brasov’s location makes it the ideal base to plan a castle hunting road trip.
Visit enchanting Sighisoara
The medieval town of Sighisoara is beyond words pretty. No visitor could possibly get enough of its pastel-coloured buildings and narrow cobbled streets. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the citadel of Sighisoara guarantees its visitors an amazing trip back to time.
Brasov Travel Guide
How to get to Brasov
All international travellers will most probably reach Brasov from Romania’s capital, Bucharest. As soon as we landed at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda airport, we picked up our rental car and started our road trip towards Transylvania. Other than driving, the more affordable way to get from Bucharest to Brasov is by train or bus. Click here for more information on the public transport options available.
If you want to get to Brasov as comfortably and hassle-free as possible, perhaps you should consider a private airport transfer. For the latter we would recommend Hoppa.com whose services we have actually tried ourselves and found them to be really satisfying.
Last but not least, if driving is not an option and you only have time for an overnight stay in Brasov, maybe you should consider joining a group tour so as to save valuable time and energy.
Where to stay in Brasov
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Brasov, make sure it’s in the Old Town. The ambience is unique and you really want to be as close to Piata Sfatului as possible. Romania has seen an increase in prices lately but, still, it remains one of the most budget-friendly destinations we’ve ever been to. Staying in the heart of medieval Brasov is really affordable so there is no excuse for choosing accommodation outside the Old Town.
We stayed at Casa Roth Apartments for less than 45€/night and we can say it was one of the finest stays we’ve enjoyed to date. The room was spotlessly clean and our host, Daria, was the sweetest person we encountered on our entire Romania trip. The highlight of our stay though was the fact that our room was just a tiny back alley away from Piata Sfatului.
Where to eat in Brasov
Brasov was the very first stop on our Romania road trip so we couldn’t wait to try as many local delicacies as possible. This is why we had both our dinners at two of the most well-known traditional restaurants in the city. We loved the warm cellar-like interiors of both Bella Muzica and Sergiana restaurants. Foodwise, it turns out we’re not that great fans of the Romanian cuisine. However, we kept on trying some of the country’s most typical dishes throughout our entire trip. Moreover, Brasov Old Town is full of food trucks and small shops selling crepes, clatite in Romanian, and other sweet and savoury treats.
Useful Travel Tips
Currency: Romanian Leu (Lei in plural). Credits cards are accepted in the vast majority of restaurants, bars, supermarkets etc. Payments in Euro may also be accepted if agreed upon in advance. For instance, we paid for our accommodation in Euro but we had previously checked with our host that we could do so.
Languages spoken: The official language is Romanian. In Brasov, almost everyone in restaurants, bars etc could speak English.
Road Traffic: If you are driving, traffic can be a real nuisance. On our way from Bucharest to Brasov, traffic was unbelievably heavy. Keep in mind that most of Transylvania consists of one-lane roads rather than highways. This means that, especially on weekends and high season, you should consider a very early start so as to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
Best time to visit Brasov: Summer, summer, summer. We visited mid-July and even then it was quite chilly in the evening. Unless you are a snow and cold weather enthusiast, summer, late spring and early autumn are the best times to visit Brasov so as to make the most of long days and enjoy sitting outdoors in this little gem of a city.
Now that you know what to do in Brasov, what are you waiting for? Book those tickets! Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions you may have. La revedere!
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