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Brasov is often referred to as the ‘gateway to Transylvania’. It’s one of the most visited cities in Romania and is located around 166km (103 miles) from the capital Bucharest. There are lots of amazing things to do in Brasov from exploring the old town to castle day trips and more.
I first visited the city in 2018 and returned in 2023 to film for a documentary about dark tourism at nearby Bran “Dracula” Castle. Although early April, there was still a lot of Snow and the place looked like a winter wonderland.
With its relaxing atmosphere, incredible architecture and picturesque location, it’s no surprise that Brasov is a popular tourist destination. The cobbled streets of the old town are packed with sidewalk cafes and colourful architecture.
The Best Things to do in Brasov
Below you’ll find a large selection of places to visit in Brasov from churches and museums to castles, hiking routes and excellent restaurants. These Brasov attractions are well worth a visit and this is one of my favourite places in Romania.
1. Take a City Walking Tour
One of the best things to do in Brasov to get a feel for the place is to take a city walking tour. Explore the city’s top landmarks from the Black Church to Wevers’ Bastion, tiny Rope Street and the gorgeous cobbled street of the old town.
This two-hour tour is the perfect way to start your Brasov sightseeing trip and includes an English-speaking guide (German or Hungarian-speaking guides are also available on request). Click here to book today.
2. Explore Piata Sfatului (Council Square)
One of the most popular things to do in Brasov is to explore Piata Sfatului. It’s at the heart of the city’s medieval centre and has a dark and disturbing past. Public trials and executions used to take place here, with the latest execution taking place in 1989.
However, today, Piața Sfatului is the perfect place for families and travellers. The square is filled with cafes and markets and is the perfect place to grab something to eat and relax. If you visit Brasov in December, Piata Sfatulu will be full of Christmas markets and a beautiful Christmas tree located in the centre of the square.
3. Wander at Biserica Neagra (The Black Church)
Biserica Neagra sits just off Piata Sfatulu and is the largest gothic church in Eastern Europe. It’s often nicknamed ‘the black church’ due to its walls being darkened by a fire in 1689.
Biserica Neagra is a true gothic masterpiece, and its architecture is simply incredible. It’s one of the most famous churches in Romania and stands out above the red rooftops of the houses.
The interior of the church is also pretty impressive, as it has one of the largest functional organs in Southeast Europe, and one of the largest bells.
4. Visit Bastionul Tesatorilor (Weavers’ Bastion)
Bastionul Tesatorilor (or Weavers’ Bastion) is located on the south side of the old town. It’s the most complete remnant of Brasov’s old fortifications, with the earliest architecture being from the 1400s.
The Bastion was used to defend Brasov from attackers, with two guard towers, and wall openings for cannons. The wall openings were also used to throw oil at attackers.
Today, there is a museum located at Weavers’ Bastion where you can learn all about the Weavers’ Guild, Ottoman weapons, and a scale model that shows what the city would have looked like in the 1600s.
5. Walk along Strada Republicii
Taking a walk along Strada Republicii is one of the best things to do in Brasov.
Strada Republicii is the city’s lively main street and is completely pedestrianised. With beautiful, old coloured buildings it’s easy to see why this area of Brașov is so popular.
During the summer, there are also outside dining areas and bars located down the middle. This makes it a great place to dine in the sunshine, whilst enjoying the beauty of this area.
6. See Catherines Gate
Catherines Gate is the last standing original medieval gate in Brasov. It was built in 1559 as an entrance to the city and was once the only way to get in and out of Brasov.
The gate has four turrets, which were an indication to visitors that the keepers of the city weren’t afraid to execute people who broke their laws.
Catherines Gate is one of the main places to see in Brasov. Although there isn’t much to do here apart from marvel at the architecture, it’s a must-visit whilst in the city.
7. Explore the Old Town (One of the Best Things to do in Brasov)
One of the top things to do in Brasov is to take a stroll through the old town. It’s incredibly well-preserved and many of the buildings here are architectural masterpieces.
Some of the city’s most popular sights are located here including Piata Sfatului, Biserica Neagra and Strada Sforii. This is my favourite place to explore the narrow, cobbled streets and sit with a glass of wine at one of the many streetside cafes and restaurants.
The old town is the historical and cultural centre of Brasov and is also home to many of the city’s best restaurants and cafes.
If you want to learn more about the old town, take a walking tour. Take a Candlelight Tour of the Old Town.
8. Hike up to Mount Tampa (Or Take the Cable Car)
Mount Tampa is one of the most popular Brasov tourist attractions. It offers panoramic views of the city below and is a beautiful area.
When it comes to getting to the top of Mount Tampa, you have two options; hiking up or getting a cable car.
If you fancy a good walk, the most famous hiking route up is called “the Knight’s Road’. It dates back to the days of the citadel making it the oldest route to the top.
Aside from the views, Mount Tampa is also home to a variety of wildlife including brown bears, grey wolves, Eurasian lynxes and golden eagles. There is also a Hollywood-like ‘BRASOV’ sign at the top!
Check out this guide on how to visit Mount Tampa!
9. Walk along Strada Sforii
Strada Sforii (also known as Rope Street) is one of the narrowest streets in Europe.
The street is 111cm at its thinnest point, so be prepared for a squeeze as you walk down it.
Strada Sforii stretches for over 80m and was originally designed as a passageway for firefighters through the old town.
Although it was never designed for everyday use, this street is a popular Brasov tourist attraction.
10. Visit the White & Black Towers
Brasov was well known for its fortifications, and two of these are the White and Black Towers.
The White Tower was built in the 1400s and served as the highest point of fortification in the city. The Black Tower was built at a similar time and gets its name because its walls were blackened by the fire in 1689.
Talk a walk out of the city and into the forest, where you will come across these two towers.
Both of the towers have wooden staircases inside for you to climb, and offer incredible views of the city. The views make this one of the best things to do in Brasov.
11. Explore Prima Scoala Romaneasca – Romania’s First School
Visiting Prima Scoala Romaneasca is one of the more unusual things to do in Brasov. Located in the Church of St. Nicholas, you will find the first-ever Romanian school. The classes took place in 1583, and the school was used up until 1941.
Today it’s a museum with over 4,000 books, 30,000 historic documents and the first Romanian Bible. The oldest document here though is a manuscript that dates back to the 11th century. Now that is pretty impressive!
The most popular day trips from Brasov
There are so many great places to visit in Brasov, but if you find yourself with a few extra days there are plenty of sights to see outside the city centre. Check out this guide for 7 days in Transylvania if you want to explore the region further.
12. Visit Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
The gothic Bran Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania, and is also known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’. I’ve visited the castle twice now, both in 2018 and 2023 in summer and winter. I have to say it looked particularly atmospheric in the snow.
The architecture and ‘spookiness’ of this castle truly make it unique. It has a lot to offer with exhibits about Queen Maria who was the previous royal resident, Romanian vampire lore, Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker.
13. Visit Nearby Rasnov
The town of Rasnov is located in Transylvania, within the Carpathian Mountains. With a beautiful backdrop, it’s not surprising that the town is a popular tourist destination. However, its most famous attraction is Rasnov Fortress.
The fortress is found 650ft above the town on a rocky outcrop, and its purpose was to protect Râșnov from invaders. Other attractions in Rasnov include the old Saxon houses and the old Evangelical Church.
Râșnov is located about 25 minutes from Brasov, and the best way to get there is by bus from Autogara 2 (the same bus as for Bran castle so you can do them both in a day).
14. Liberty Bear Sanctuary
Liberty Bear Sanctuary is another great day trip from Brașov, especially if you love animals.
In the 1990s, it was common to see bears sitting in small cages outside of restaurants. They were used to attract customers, but luckily today that isn’t the case.
A woman named Christina Lapis wanted to stop this cruel and illegal exploitation of these bears and give them a new life.
Today, her dream is a reality. The Liberty Bear Sanctuary covers an area of over 69 hectares and allows over 100 bears to roam free and live out the rest of their lives in peace.
The sanctuary is located about 40 minutes outside Brasov and you can either hire a taxi or take the bus to Râșnov and get a taxi from there.
15. Take a Day Trip to Seven Ladders Canyon
This fantastic half-day tour to the magnificent Seven Ladders Canyon will see you visiting one of the most impressive natural sighs near Brasov. Hike and climb the seven ladders for stunning views of waterfalls and mountain scenery. Click here to book today.
Best Places to Stay in Brasov
There are plenty of great accommodation options in Brasov. Here are some options for each budget:
Budget accommodation: After filming I stayed at the Secret Boutique Hostel which was a super-modern place in the heart of the old town a minute’s walk from Council Square. The beds are capsule style giving more privacy, there is a common area and modern security locks. Click here to book. Click here to book.
Mid-range accommodation: During filming, I stayed at the Hotel Kolping (my expenses were being covered) and this excellent hotel a few hundred metres from the old town offers some of the best views in the city and an excellent breakfast. Click here to book.
Luxury accommodation: Villa Katharina is a gorgeous old hotel in the heart of the old town. Rooms are elegantly decorated in period style with hardwood floors and furnishings but come with all mod-cons including an en-suite bathroom and WiFI throughout. Click here to find out more.
Getting to Brasov
The best way to get to the city is by train as it’s a major Romanian railway hub. Around 18 days leave daily from the capital of Bucharest, as well as frequent trains from other cities. It’s also possible to get the train from Budapest, Hungary and Vienna if you are travelling from outside of Romania.
There are two main bus stations in Brasov making the city accessible by bus from other cities in Romania. International bus journeys are also common from other cities in Europe including Austria, Belgium, France and Germany.
You can also take a tour from Bucharest to Brasov like this excellent two-day tour. Click here to find out more.
Getting around Brasov
When it comes to getting around Brasov there are plenty of options. The old town is easily walkable on foot and all the major landmarks are located here.
Using the bus and trolleybus routes are the most popular option, and tickets are incredibly cheap. There is also the option of getting on a hop-on-hop-off city bus tour that will take you to all of Brasov’s most popular tourist attractions.
Taxis are another great way to get around and are relatively cheap. By law, all taxis must have the price/km displayed in a visible place and a green license plaque on the rear doors. It’s important never to get into a taxi that doesn’t have these shown.
Cycling is also a popular way to get around the city. There are plenty of bicycle tours available but you can hire a bike and make your own route if you want to.
The best food dishes to try in Brasov
Here are some of the best food dishes to try in Brasov:
Jumări – Jumări are Romanian-style pork cracklings. They are made by frying pieces of pork belly or pork rinds, and then seasoned with salt or paprika.
Bulz – Bulz is cooked polenta that is then shaped into balls and filled with a creamy stuffing. The most common filling is butter and soft sheep’s cheese (baânza de burduf) but bacon and ham are also often incorporated within. Afterwards, the polenta balls are either grilled, pan-fried or baked.
Sarma – Sarma consists of a filling, and is then surrounded by leaves or leafy vegetables. There are several variations of the dish, but typically the filling consists of minced meat, rice, various herbs, seasonings and sometimes tomato sauce.
The Weather in Brasov
Brasov’s summers are comfortable, but their winters are freezing with plenty of snow.
The warmest month to visit Brasov is in July, when the average high temperature is 23°C. The coldest month to visit is in January, with an average low temperature of -7°C.
The summer season in Brașov lasts from May to September, with the cold season lasting from November to March.
When I visited in April 2023 I wasn’t expecting blizzards and a foot of snow on the ground (especially after coming from Greece), however the weather was exceptionally wintery quite late in the year which is apparently unusual.
The Best Time to visit Brasov
The most popular time of year to visit Brasov is between May to September. This is when temperatures are at their highest, although June is known to have high levels of precipitation and August is known for its humidity.
May is a great month to visit especially, as the weather is pleasant and the hiking trails start to re-open. During this time of the year, the popular tourist attractions won’t be as busy, and accommodation prices may be cheaper.
I’ve visited Brasov in both winter and summer and both seasons offered something unique. I did more hiking n the summer, but the city looked beautiful under a blanket of snow in winter (well, technically April is spring, but the weather thought otherwise).
Is Brasov Safe to Visit?
Brașov is a very safe city to visit for travellers, with a low crime rate and no political instability or major conflicts.
However, like any city minor incidents do take place in the tourist areas of the city. These include pickpocketing and scams.
One of the main things to take notice of whilst in Brasov is the condition of the pavement. In some areas, they are often torn up and in terrible condition so watch your step!
Is Brasov Worth Visiting?
There are so many incredible things to do in Brasov, with each one offering something unique. Although not as popular as many of the other European cities, Brasov is an enchanting and charming city.
Whether you’d prefer to take a stroll around the old town, visit the oldest school in Romania or hike up Mount Tampa – you won’t run out of things to do here. With its intricate architecture, relaxing atmosphere and historical value, this is a city that needs to be on your European bucket list.
If you’re looking for more of this incredible country, check out this excellent Romania travel guide.
Places to Visit in Brasov FAQs
Brasov is definitely worth visiting for its charming old town surrounded by mountains. There are lots of wonderful day trips too such as to Bran Castle and the Bear Sanctuary.
A long weekend (two to three days) is a good amount of time to spend in Brasov. If yu want to take day trips into the nearby Carpathian Mountains then a week is better.
Brasov is famous for its gorgeous old town, the first school in Romania and nearby Bran “Dracula” Castle.
There are daily buses from the Autogara 2 bus station in Brasov to Dracula’s castle. You can also take a taxi or book a tour. You can read more in this guide on getting from Brasov to Bran.
With so many excellent things to see and do around Brasov this is certainly one of my favourite cities in Romania and should be high on the list of any traveller. From the picturesque old town to the Black Church, Weaver’s Bastion and Mount Tampa there’s plenty to keep you occupied on a trip to this Transylvanian city.
You might also like my other articles about Romania
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲