11 Essential Things to Do in Brașov

Brașov

Romania’s city of Brașov is kind of a perfect reflection for the country’s Transylvanian region. The city has all the elements that make Transylvania such a captivating place, available to you in a single city. It is yet another city of the Siebenburgen, whose development into a medieval city is owed to the Saxon Germans who settled there.

Aside from its heritage and historical areas, it is also almost surrounded by the vast Carpathian Mountains and the dense forests that cover them. Despite both of these, it is also very much a big, modern city that tourists will find easy to navigate and comfortably meeting their needs. I spent several days exploring Brașov and here are 11 essential things to do when visiting this endearing city.

 

1. Piața Sfatului (Council Square)

A sensible to start your exploring of Brașov is the old town’s main square, Piața Sfatului. Historically a market square, today it is just a pleasant square that happens to be surrounded by some gorgeous old buildings. It is also features some eye-catching patterns in the paving stones. The square makes for a useful meeting point and many of the walking tours of the city start here.

Council Square, Brașov

2. The Black Church

If Brașov has one landmark attraction, then it has to be the gargantuan Biserica Neagră, or the Black Church. This huge Gothic Cathedral owes its origins to its Lutheran German settlers and to date is one of the largest Lutheran places of worship in the world. Its name comes from an incident where the church was greatly damaged by fire  from invading forces in the Great Turkish War, 1689. Thankfully for tourists, it was soon repaired and looms over the old town to this day.

Black Church, Brașov

3. People Watch in Strada Republicii

If wandering and window shopping are your kind of thing, then a stroll down Strada Republicii is strongly recommended. This stretching pedestrian street pierces the heart of the old town and runs up to Piața Sfatului. Aside from the various boutique stores, there are very small alleys that shoot off to bars, cafes, restaurants and hostels. Many of these cafes and restaurants have outdoor seating areas in the main street, making it a good place to take a break and people watch.

Strada Republicii, Brașov

4. Explore the Side Streets

Like any old town of a decent size, you find the real charm of the place by deviating from the main areas and exploring the side streets. Turn off Strada Republicii at any point and you’ll find many quaint buildings to uncover. One side street of particular note is Strada Sforii, the Rope Street, so called because of its extreme narrowness. It is said to be the narrowest street in Europe and when you walk through you’re likely inclined to believe it.

Streets, Brașov

Rope Street, Brașov

5. Brașov Citadel

While the modern city is quite sprawling, the older parts of town all sit narrowly between several series of hills. For medieval purposes this meant fortification, but for our purposes it means plenty of viewpoints! One such viewpoint that is easily accessed is the Brașov Citadel. While a little out of the old town, the hilltop doesn’t take too long to walk up and offers good views out over Brașov’s old town as it gets wedged between steeper and steeper hills. The citadel itself has some fierce fortifications but not much more beyond that, the interior now hosting a restaurant.

Citadel, Brașov

Citadel View, Brașov

6. White Tower, Black Tower

Speaking of fortifications; dotted around the perimeter of the old you can still find some stoic old towers from when such things were necessary. Found in the Belvedere Park to the northwest of the old town are Turnul Alb and Turnul Negru, ie. White Tower and Black Tower. Surrounded by surprisingly dense forest considering how close they are to the city, these towers are both in good condition, with more panoramic views over Brașov’s rooftops. Note, while the White Tower is indeed white, the Black Tower is not at all black.

White Tower, Brașov

Tower View, Brașov

7. Bastionul Graft

Just down hill from White Tower is the Graft Bastion, a small fortified building attached to the city walls. Its name comes from the small Graft canal that runs under it and along the outside of the walls. It in fact once connected with the White Tower by a long and steep bridge. Inside the bastion is a museum, however it was closed through the duration of my visit.

Graft Bastion, Brașov

8. Schei District

While Brașov’s Old Town feels appropriately old, it has nothing on the Schei District. Located beyond the old city walls and in a valley at the start of the mountains, the Schei neighbourhood used to house ethnic Romanians and Bulgarians who were forbidden to live within the fortifications by the Saxons. Visiting Schei, you immediately feel like you have left Brașov behind and found yourself in a small mountain village. The streets of Schei are a little narrower and windy; the houses are smaller and more rustic; and the pace of everything feels just a little slower. It is here in Schei that you will find the First Romanian School at St Nicholas’ Church, a church with a beautiful interior.

Schei District

 

9. Catherine’s Gate

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at, but Catherine’s Gate is the oldest remaining gate of the city. Today, it looks like a very modern reconstruction, so modern in fact that it almost looks a little fake. This is probably due to the tower being restored in the mid-19th century, but the gate actually dates from 1559. In fact, this is the only gate that those living in the Schei District were allowed to enter through to visit inside the city walls.

Catherine's Gate, Brașov

 

10. Bastions and Walls

While towers like the White Tower and Catherine’s Gate are interesting spots, their scattered nature doesn’t help you properly appreciate the full extent of the city’s fortification.  Thankfully, a large section of the city’s defences is mostly intact on the Old Town’s southeastern side, below Mt Tampa. Along here, you will find a series of impressive bastions starting with the Weavers’ Bastion along to the Drapers’ Bastion connected by the city walls. Walking along here at the edge of the forest is very gentle and has more decent views of the city.

Weavers' Bastion, Brașov

 

11. Tampa Panoramic Viewpoint

If stunning views of the city of Brașov is what you’re after, then you’ll want to head for Mt Tampa. Mt Tampa is super easy to identify, it’s the one with the Hollywood-style “BRASOV” sign atop it. While you can take walking tracks that lead up to the top, who can pass up a cable car ride? The cable car, which costs 16 RON return (3.6€), takes you up to the top, but you’ll need to walk over to the panoramic viewpoint at the sign for the sweeping views out over the city. For those that like hiking, there are several trails that lead from the top of Mt Tampa out into extensive woods that blanket the nearby Carpathian Mountains.

Cable Car, Brașov

Mt Tampa View, Brașov

 


Have you visited Brasov or hope to one day? What sights have I missed? Feel free to share in the comments.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission, but at no extra cost to you.

 

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.


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11 Things to do in Brașov, Romania via @travelsewhere

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33 Comment

  1. Lisa says:

    Looks like a peaceful place to explore. Love the history and old buildings to explore. Did you find the people welcoming? Thanks for sharing

    1. David says:

      Yeh, I love exploring these historic places too. Very peaceful up at the viewpoints. The Romanian people I met were friendly, often with a fun sense of humour and they don’t seem to take note of tourists much which I like.

  2. There is just so much history here, and so many different things to see and experience – love the views! it really does look like a lovely place you can stroll around, appreciate what is around you, stop and have a coffee to people watch and take it all in! Fabulous!

    1. David says:

      Yes, Brasov offers quite a lot of variety. There are even ski fields not far away. Great city for both panoramic views and people watching

  3. I didn’t know that the Saxons forbid Romanians and Bulgarians to live within the fortifications of Brașov. The Schei neighbourhood was most probably a very poor area at that time. #FeetDoTravel

    1. David says:

      Yes, I found that really interesting also. I almost used the word “ghetto” because it almost seemed appropriate. Oddly enough, the Saxons had been invited in to settle, so they obviously got privileged treatment.

  4. The places with history and culture fascinate us. The black church looks remarkable and we would love to explore the side streets and the Schei District. And not to miss the views from Tampa Panoramic Viewpoint just amazing!

    1. David says:

      Me too, it’s what draws me to many places. There really are plenty of great things to do in Brasov. Hope you get to explore them all one day.

  5. I love the winding alleyways and streets in European old towns. They are so atmospheric and you just don’t know what is waiting for you around each corner. You always do a great job of capturing this in your photos. Another fascinating look in a little-known part of Europe.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Alexei, glad you enjoy the photos. I think wandering through the alleys of old towns is a quintessentially European experience. There are certainly worse places to do it than Brasov.

  6. Garth says:

    I love your insights into places off the usual tourist trails, this is what I love about travel blogs like yours. Your photos are great as usual, love the shots showing how the city surrounded by forest, really unusual, reminds me of Queensland and that narrow alleyway is quite something too, I remember one that like in Stockholm. Thanks for sharing your trip!

    1. David says:

      Thanks for reading Garth. I really do like trying to find places that don’t receive as much tourist love. Interesting remark about the similarities with Queensland, I think I get what you mean.

  7. Barry says:

    David another great post that brings back memories of my last road trip around Europe. Will have to check this place out one day. Have just shared on Pinterest.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Barry, glad I could bring back some memories. Brasov is worth the trip.

  8. We really know very little about Romania, but have been enjoying reading about it on your posts! It’s always fun learning about new places, but we’re struck by how appealing the cities seem. Thanks for the education!

    1. David says:

      Happy to help put it on your radar! Totally agree, learning about new places is part of the fun of travel. Romania has a lot to offer tourists.

  9. Alex says:

    Wow – what a beautiful part of the world & you’ve taken some great photo’s! We’re off to Romania in the spring of 2017 so I shall refer back to your post. Thanks! #The WeeklyPostcard

    1. David says:

      Thanks for stopping by Alex. I hope you have a great time in Romania next year and that my posts from my visit help you in someway.

  10. Anisa says:

    Wow, what a beautiful city and I had never heard of it! I love the narrow alleys and the black church. I would love to do one of those walking tours and really explore. Thanks for linking up with #theweeklypostcard.

    1. David says:

      Thanks for reading Anisa. It’s ok not to have heard of it before I think, Romania still hasn’t quite gotten the spotlight it deserves. I think that will change in the next few years. It is definitely a great city for roaming the streets.

  11. Lolo says:

    I’ve never heard of this little town before! Thanks for sharing! We would LOVE to do a big Balkan road trip and hit up many places one day! I’ve saved this for later! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. David says:

      No problem Lolo! I love the Balkans and would thoroughly recommend doing a road trip through. There’s just so much to see there, including Romania.

  12. I know very little about Romania but it looks like an absolutely lovely country from what I see on travel blogs such as yours! Would definitely love to visit someday. Brasov looks wonderful and not too touristy – something I really appreciate! Did you have any communication difficulties?

    1. David says:

      Yep, it’s definitely lovely Michelle. I would say there there isn’t anywhere in Romania that is overly touristy which is refreshing. During my time there, most people I met spoke decent English but there were a few cases where it was hand gestures which you learn to live with 🙂

  13. We visited Brasov for about 30 minutes on a day trip to Transylvania. I really wish we’d had more time. Thanks for sharing your experience and letting us live vicariously through you!

    #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. David says:

      Hi Jennifer, it’s a pity you only had such a short time there but I hope it left you wanting more. Perhaps another time, but I’m glad you’re happy to explore Brasov through this post.

  14. Ruth says:

    So much to see in this town! I have read it is a must on Romania. Can’t wait to stop by one day (oh, travel dreams!).

    1. David says:

      Oh it definitely is Ruth. One of the country’s best destinations. One day!

  15. Anda says:

    I love Brasov. I was born and raised in Romania and when I lived there I used to go skiing at Poiana Brasov.

    1. David says:

      Oh cool, I hope I did it justice then. While I didn’t get to Poiana Brasov, its another place I’d like to see on a return trip. Thanks for reading Anda.

  16. Michelle says:

    I have not visited Romania but I hear that it is a wonderful place to take photos. It is near the top of my list of places to visit so I appreciate the tips on what to see and do when I finally get there. Thank you for sharing this helpful information and lovely photos.

    1. David says:

      Definitely a great place to take photos and I’m glad to hear it’s near the top of your list. Hope some of this helps Michelle. Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Mike says:

    Hi, I was opportunity to seen this beautiful city. I worked here a few months. In the Schei you most visited Solomon’s rocks, with an amazing Waterfall and a lot of water source very cold and pure (you can take the bus 50 nearby of Black Church or also can walk on the Street, 20 -25 minutes and can you see Schei with old houses and very small streets)

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