Explore Brasov, Romania
Explore Brașov a mountain resort city in Transylvania, Romania. Brașov has a population of 283,901 and is the 7th largest city in Romania. It is located almost in the centre of the country and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. The city provides a mix of wonderful mountain scenery in the nearby Poiana Braşov and medieval history with German influences in the old town. The city is 176 km from Bucharest.
Braşov is up there with Sinaia and the surrounding mountain resorts as the most visited city in Transylvania, Romania, and this is something that’s not in vain. Braşov boasts everything from dynamic modern city life to old world charm and fascinating scenery. Also, it’s pleasant to have some of the extras as well, including some of the best cleanliness records in the country, great transport and great food. Even though it’s a bit overpriced for Romanian standards, especially in the high season, Braşov is definitely worth it. As some people say, “Why bother coming to Romania if you’re not going to see Braşov?”
The Braşov county is one of the most visited by tourists. Other than Braşov city and its immediate attractions, the resorts of Poiana Braşov (12 km west) and Predeal (27 km south), are also well worth visiting. Other places and tourist attractions of the county: Bran, Moeciu, Râşnov, Făgăraş, Prejmer, Zărneşti, Sâmbăta (at the foot of the Făgăraş mountains).
Braşov has relatively cold and wet weather, especially at night. This region of Romania enjoys four seasons (i.e. spring and autumn as well as winter and summer). The average temperature is 7.6°C only, even though in summer temperatures may reach up to 35°C.
Due to fairly large minority populations, Hungarian and German are also spoken in addition to Romanian. Many locals also speak English.
Getting to Braşov is very easy, because it is a major Romanian railway hub. From the capital city Bucharest there are 18 trains daily and there are also frequent trains from other cities, as well as daily connections to Budapest, Hungary (via Oradea) and a EuroNight (fast night train) connection to Budapest via Arad.
Aside from the train, car is one of the most popular ways of reaching Braşov, due to its fairly good road connections.
Parking can be difficult in Braşov’s city centre due to the limited number of available spots. Paying can be made through the ticket machines you can find in the vicinity of the parking lots (only coins accepted) and also through SMS. Avoid letting your car in the parking lot without a parking ticket on the dashboard, as there are parking supervisors which may impose you a fine.
Winter tires are now mandatory in Romania when driving on roads covered with snow or ice. If you’re coming in the winter season make sure that your car is completely equipped with tires bearing the M+S designation. Fines for non-compliance can go from €570 to €920.
Taxis are a faster and more comfortable way to get around town than public transportation. Taxis are also relatively cheap. Most taxis have meters and drivers are usually friendly. There’s never a shortage of cabs within city limits at any given hour, but it is a good idea to have one called, rather than going looking for one. By law, all the taxis must have the price/km put in a visible place (usually outside, on the front doors) and the green license plaques on the rear doors. (Never get into a taxi that doesn’t have these shown. Although these taxis are very rare, they don’t have (homologated) meters and you will surely get in trouble with or be ripped off by such a taxi driver, as tourists or first timers are their targets.) Anyway, you could ask the approximate fare in advance and always make sure the driver uses the meter from the start, or agree on a fixed amount for the ride.
Cycling is very popular among locals and tourists, who come for a bicycle tour in the countryside around Brasov to visit nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for example Harman, Prejmer and Christian. Most tours by companies will take care of transport and accommodation. There’s no sign posted route to follow if you want to go by yourself, so take a good map with you. Bicycle rentals in Brasov are more expensive than elsewhere in Romania and many shops close in the weekend, which reduces usefulness for tourists.
A walking tour is always the best solution to really enjoy and feel a new city.
For an independent walking tour of the centre of Braşov see the Brasov cultural itinerary.
You can also find free guided walking tours of the city centre, this being an option for budget travellers, youth and backpackers, but not only. Usually, you have to book the tours, but in the high season there are tours organized every day, rain or sun.
There are also paid tours to be found, booking is necessary at all times.
What to do in Brasov, Romania
Visit the Republicii Street and the Piaţa Sfatului (Council Square). As a tourist in Braşov you should not miss visiting these iconic attractions of the city center. Also, you can then walk on the popular Tiberiu Brediceanu Promenade, right by the Tâmpa Mountain in the center. If you are into hiking you can climb the Tâmpa Mountain from the Promenade, on three different routes, or from the Valea Cetăţii neighborhood, or if you just want to see the town from the top you can take the cable car. Another popular hiking route is Drumul Vechi (Old Route), from the Pietrele lui Solomon area to the Poiana Braşov winter resort (check OpenStreetMap for a good map of the route). You should also not miss the Turnul Alb (White Tower) and the Turnul Negru (Black Tower), easily accessible from the După Ziduri (Behind Walls) Street and offering a great panoramic view of the Piaţa Sfatului (Council Square). (From the Turnul Negru (Black Tower) you should further hike up a little to get to the panoramic view spot on the Calea Poienii.)
Belvedere – On the Calea Poienii (Poiana Braşov Way), a great spot for another panoramic view of the city centre and further. The best way to get there is by car and you will find several small parking lots. The bus line 20 will take you close to the place, but you will have to walk a little. A not very popular way (and a little difficult because of the terrain) to also get there on foot is the Colţul Putinarilor Street: in the Schei Neighborhood, go from the Constantin Brâncoveanu Street up on the După Inişte Street where you make left on the first street then go all the way up to the place.
Play an escape game at OBSCURIA. Take on the role of spies and enter a theme room with your group of 2 to 6. There, you have 60 minutes to find clues, decipher secret codes, activate cool mechanisms, in order to complete the mission objective. Entrance fee is 40 lei/person, on avg. It’s 10 minutes walking distance from the old town. See website’s contact page for a map and directions.
Zilele Braşovului (The Feast Days of Braşov) – usually take place within the week after the Orthodox Easter Holidays. It has several fairs of craftsman, wine, food, etc. It is a feast of joy and fun. These celebrations are ended with the Parades of the Juni (Youths), a very old preserved tradition, where young men ride horses through the old center of the town up to the Pietrele lui Solomon (Solomon Rocks) area, where you can serve the traditional mici and serve draught beer. The event is on the so-called Duminica Tomii (the first Sunday after Easter).
Cerbul de Aur annual music festival, usually held in August–September. On one hand, it brings hundreds of pop artists and musicians, contestants and big-name modern and classic stars. On the other, it clutters the best spot in the city (main square) with tons of heavy iron scaffoldings, for a large part of summer and fall.
The Beer Festival (Festivalul Berii) – is smaller and more popular with the locals and tourists. Usually held in the fall. Dozens of tents from several beer companies offer their products. Also, you will be able to get a taste of mici (Romanian grilled sausages) and other traditional foods. Local and national bands and artists of all persuasions take the stage.
Oktoberfest – Braşov organizes annual a copy of the German festival Oktoberfest. Like the Beer Festival, for a weekend of September you can drink beer, eat traditional food and listen good music.
Climb around in the climbing park Aventura. Tracks range from very easy to very difficult and the entrance fee is about 30 lei for one person. You can get there with several buses: line 17 (city centre), line 35 (trainstation) and line 21. Or climb in the the biggest Romanian indoor climbing Gym Natural High. Tracks range from very easy to very difficult. Location: str. Carpatilor, inside METROM industrial zone.
Swim – There are several water parks or spa centres in town: Paradisul Acvatic (large swimming pool complex, both inside and outside, open all the year round, and includes an olimpic-sized swimming pool; very crowded during weekends), Aqua Park (also large, but closed since about 2015, located in the Noua neighborhood, on the Prunului street, by the Penny supermarket), Belaqva (premium feel spa centres, one located by the main train station, with a large gym but a smaller swimming pool and another one located in the Street Coresi shopping area, on the Zaharia Stancu street, this one with a larger semi-olympic-sized pool), the Olympic Swimming Pool (located on Bulevardul Garii, nr 21, close to the train station and the Sports Hall), Alo Palace Wellness & SPA (a more premium swimming pool of the five-star hotel Aro Palace, also offering hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, massage, cardio-fitness, fitness, spinning, aerobic, tanning solar, sauna and bar), Spa d’Or, 18, Baritiu st, ap 1 (right in the center of the city, right next to the Black Church, the most important landmark of the city). 10:00-22:00. Reccommended to the bohemian, sophisticated and hedonistic adults who crave for a different spa experience, under the sign of precision, perfection and personalization. The brands they carry are: Sundari, Vitaman (also selected by the Hilton spas) and B/attitude, famous Buddha Bar´s spa line. Also, two swimming pool centres are located outside town, see the subsection below. starting at 15 €.
Attend sports events hosted by the Corona Braşov ice hockey team (at the Olympic Ice Rink, in the Tractorul Park, by the main train station) and women’s handball team (at the Sports Hall, also near the train station), the Braşov marathons (held in April), or the Tess Rally (held in March or April) or the local hillclimbing round (currently held in October).
Bicycle rental – Braşov hasn’t a decent shop in town, where you can rent a bike. On the Piata Sfatului some guys rent city bikes, but without gears, locks or lights these are useless, especially because the centre is a pedestrian area and outside the centre no bike lanes exist. In Braşov and Poiana Braşov there is a shop, that rent mountain bikes for 12-15 Euro per day + 100 Euro deposit, which is very expensive for Romanian standards. Hiking in the area is a better alternative.
Hiking and trekking – Braşov is the place to start for most people who visit Romania with a mind for mountain adventure. You can start uphill Tampa mountain (1h) and continue to Poiana Braşov (2h) following the signs. There are many buses back to Braşov from this mountain village. Another very popular hiking spot is Canionul 7 Scări (7 Ladders Canyon). Hundreds of tourists go on this route every weekend. It will take you around 50 minutes from the Dâmbul Morii Chalet on the DN1 national road to the entrance into the small canyon, then about 30 minutes to cross it and descend from it on the bypass. Make sure you don’t miss the descent route marked with a red and white dot, just after you reach the top to the right. The route has easy to medium difficulty and the entrance costs 10 lei for adults and 5 lei for children.
Ski – According to Eastern Euro Tours on the Gold Coast, Romania is the place to ski in Eastern Europe. And the crown jewel of the Romanian ski resorts is Poiana Braşov, 12 km (8 mi) away from Braşov’s city centre. Set in the pine forests of the Carpathian arch, at around 1700 m (5000 ft) altitude, with 19 marked runs and 35 km of unmarked runs, Poiana Braşov has its slopes designated with different difficulty levels, making it easy for beginners and advanced skiers to choose. Part of Transylvania, it is 18 km (11 mi) away from Bran Castle, also named Dracula Castle. A six-day ski pass costs less than $200. The Ski Jumping Hill in Râşnov hosts a women’s Ski Jumping World Cup round every start of the year.
Orchids. The Braşov area has almost 40 species of endemic Orchids that can be seen. If you wish to see them contact the Romanian Orchid Lovers Club, based in Râşnov 20 km from Braşov.
Swim – Outside town you can go for swimming to the Laguna Albastră (Blue Lagoon), an outdoor swimming pool complex, located 65 km from the city center, one km before entering the town of Făgăraş. Includes accommodation, restaurant and several swimming pools, but is also very crowded during weekends. Another popular site where you can lay down to sun and swim is the Natura Parc in Chichiş, 22 km towards Sfântu Gheorghe. This is also outdoor and open during the hot season.
Liberty Bear Sanctuary – Created in the memory of Maya (you can read her story below), today the “Libearty” Sanctuary is home to 71 European brown bears and one Asiatic black bear, all of them have been rescued from a cruel life of abuse in captivity. Recognised by many captive bear specialists as probably the best bear sanctuary in the world, it consists of 69 hectares of lush forests, streams and pools, graciously provided by the City of Zărnești, located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains near Brașov, Romania, in Zarnesti city. http://ampbears.ro/en/bear-sanctuary
Where to shop
For fancy shopping there are a lot of opportunities, some of them located in the Centre (more precisely in the Citadel part, such as the Republicii Street) and others in several malls, e.g. Unirea Shopping Center, Eliana Mall. A very large shopping mall called Coresi Shopping Resort was opened in the Tractorul neighbourhood, on the Zaharia Stancu Street. It includes a multiplex cinema, food court, swimming pool, a supermarket and a very large parking area.
For food and regular shopping the hypermarkets (Carrefour, Kaufland, Metro, Selgros – these two require having a client’s card -, but also Penny Market, XXL Discount and Lidl) are a good solution. Most of them are concentrated on the entrance/exit from/to Bucharest.
For natural, Romanian typical and healthy (ecological) food, the markets are a great option. A highly recommended place is Astra Market (Piaţa Astra). There are two types of food sold here: imported and produced by peasants from the countryside. The latter is a bit more expensive than than the former, but it is of great quality. To get there use the bus line 6 from the Centre (Livada Poştei). It is a 13 minute ride. Since you are here, you can also visit the Orizont 3000 commercial centre. It consists of small shops with all kinds of goods of different needs and quality. Other fruits and vegetable markets are Piaţa Dacia (close to the train station), Piaţa Star (by the Star mall in the old city centre) or Piaţa Bartolomeu (in the Bartolomeu neighborhood).
You’ll also find cheap clothing items at the Brintex commercial centre, in Bartolomeu, next to the Eliana Mall. Inside you’ll also find the Superland amusement park, a good place for kids to have fun.
Braşov is very safe for tourists. Few cities anywhere in the world feel safer, and tourist police presence is also noticeable, especially in places frequented by tourists. Usually the main risk is getting pick pocketed (such as at the train station) or scammed through various “techniques”, all of which can be easily avoided. Don’t change money in the Change Bureaus for example, use Banks.
In the past few years, bears have been known to come to feed from the dumpsters of outlying areas. Needless to mention the forests at night are a not ideal places to walk alone. Don’t do anything stupid like trying to feed them or getting too close or carrying Pizza in your pocket. Also, if you’re taking a hike through the forests, make noise. Chat with your friends, swish passing branches, step on twigs etc. Most wild animals try to keep away from humans and only attack them when they’re cornered, so letting them know you’re there will keep you safe.
Exchanging money can be a demanding process. If it must be done, try to do it at a major bank, such as the BCR, BNR, BT, or Raiffeisen Bank. These banks accept major currencies (Euro, American Dollars, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds, etc.) and are very friendly. You will need to bring a passport with you when exchanging money at banks so that there is a paper trail for them.
ATMs can be found almost everywhere in Braşov, however, some scrutiny must be completed before using an ATM. First of all, try to use an ATM that is by a bank, and use it during the bank’s regular business hours. If something goes wrong, like it swallows your card, or doesn’t produce cash, you can easily go inside and get it fixed. Secondly, before entering a PIN, a message will show, usually in Romanian and English. This message will have a phone number on it, which corresponds to an ATM Support/Fraud line for the bank in question. It’s important to note this number down, just in case something happens.
US travelers may want to use a Credit Card to withdraw cash in foreign countries in general. Visa has a Plus network, and MasterCard has the Cirrus and Maestro networks, both in use around the world. These networks allow you to withdraw cash for nominal ($2) fees. Using a credit card means that if your card is stolen, a worldwide support line is available to help you dispute charges, and, under certain circumstances, get a new card to you within a business week. A debit card doesn’t have any of these features, and disputing charges can be much harder.
Râşnov, with its great fortress and abundant history is only 16 km away. It can be reached by bus from the Autogara 2 (also known as Autogara Codreanu), by train from the main station, by car towards Bran/Pitesti, or by hitchhiking.
Sighișoara, medieval fortified city listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, 117 km away from Brașov, can be reached by train
Sibiu, European Capital of Culture 2007, a medieval city with excellent views of the surrounding landscapes, center of Romania’s German minority since medieval times, 142 km away from Brașov, can be reached by train.
Official tourism websites of Brasov
For more information please visit the official government website: