Brasov is one of the most popular places to visit in Romania and it is famous for a reason. The city is just the prettiest, with a charming, well-preserved medieval old town that is packed with attractions. Checking all the best things to do in Brasov will keep you busy for a few solid hours and most likely you will not be disappointed.
I had a chance to visit Brasov twice and loved it! I wouldn’t mind returning there for another visit, that’s how much I enjoyed it.
After my recent trip to Brasov, I put together a list of the best Brasov attractions that you can’t miss when visiting the city. Below you will find all you need to know to plan your stay in Brasov and enjoy the city to the fullest.
Table of contents
- 1 Why visit Brasov
- 2 Best time for visiting Brasov
- 3 How to get to Brasov
- 4 How to get around Brasov
- 5 How much time do you need for visiting Brasov
- 6 Where to stay in Brasov
- 7 Things to do in Brasov
- 7.1 Enjoy Council Square
- 7.2 See medieval city walls
- 7.3 Find one of the narrowest streets in Europe
- 7.4 Visit Beth Israel Synagogue
- 7.5 See medieval city gate
- 7.6 Visit the magnificent Black Church
- 7.7 Wander around the Old Town
- 7.8 Enjoy the local cafe scene
- 7.9 Find the best view in Brasov
- 7.10 Discover the Schei district
- 7.11 Go to Tampa mountain
- 7.12 Visit Brasov fortress
- 7.13 Find street art
- 7.14 See interesting modernist architecture
- 7.15 Go for day trips from Brasov
- 8 Final thoughts on visiting Brasov
- 9 Travel Resources
Why visit Brasov
Even if Brasov is one of the largest cities in Romania, the medieval Old Town nestled between the surrounding hills and mountains feels like time has stopped there.
The history of the town dates back to the 12th century when the Saxon settlers inhabited the area. They quickly developed the walled town named Kronstadt (in German) and Brassó (in Hungarian). In the Middle Ages, Brasov was one of the most important trade centers in the region and shortly after became the main hub of the Lutheran religion as well as the cultural and scientific center of the area.
Today you can find numerous remnants from those golden times of Brasov (however the city was largely destroyed in the 17th-century fire and rebuilt afterward).
When wandering the narrow, winding lanes of Brasov Old Town, it really feels like you traveled back in time as the place has this undeniable charm of the old times. With all the beauty around it really is easy to fall in love with the town.
Brasov can be also a good base to see some nearby amazing places and explore more of the famous Transylvania region.
Best time for visiting Brasov
I’ve been to Brasov twice, in mid-August and mid-October, and to be honest, I’m not sure I would recommend visiting Brasov in the summertime, especially on the weekends. The city was overcrowded which made sightseeing a bit of a challenge (unless I left to see the city around 7-8 in the morning).
In the autumn the weather was still nice but the number of people around was significantly lower. I would recommend visiting Brasov either in the late spring or in early autumn.
How to get to Brasov
Getting to Brasov is really easy as the city is well connected by trains and buses with Bucharest (the capital of Romania) as well as numerous other destinations all over the country. The closest international airport is in Bucharest too, some 180 km away from Brasov.
I wrote a detailed guide on how to get from Bucharest to Brasov, you can find it here.
If you don’t have much time in your Romania itinerary yet still would love to visit Brasov, you can come here as one of the day trips from Bucharest (and see a few other interesting cities along the way). In that case, the organized tour should be your best option.
Here are the recommended tours:
- From Bucharest: Dracula Castle, Peles & Brasov Full-Day Trip
- From Bucharest: Peles Castle, Dracula (Bran) Castle and Brasov Full Day Tour with Transfer
- Dracula Castle, Peles Castle and Brasov Small Group Tour from Bucharest
How to get around Brasov
If you arrive in Brasov by bus or train, you still need to get to the Old Town.
The train station is located over 3 km away from the medieval part of the city but there is a direct city bus, no 4, connecting the two places. It stops right in front of the train station. The tickets are sold in the ticket machines or in kiosks, you need to validate the ticket when you enter the bus.
Once you are in the Old Town, you can easily get everywhere on foot as all the top things to do in Brasov and the main attractions are located close to each other, within a walking distance.
How much time do you need for visiting Brasov
Even if Brasov Old Town is packed with attractions, you can see everything in a few hours since the distances between the places are short and most of the things to do in Brasov are outdoors anyway. One day in Brasov should be enough to see everything and relax in one of the many cafes all over the city.
But it’s worth staying in Brasov for a few days to have some extra time to go for day trips as the area around the city has some amazing attractions too.
Where to stay in Brasov
Since Brasov is a popular tourist destination, there are numerous accommodation options to choose from. I recommend staying within the Old Town or somewhere close by, to enjoy the city to the fullest.
Here are the recommended places to stay in Brasov:
- Nani Nani Boutique (9.7/10 on Booking)
- Antler Boutique Hotel (9.1/10 on Booking)
- CASA CHITIC (9.3/10 on Booking)
- and many more!
Things to do in Brasov
And now, let’s talk about the best things to do in Brasov that you can’t miss during your trip there.
Enjoy Council Square
The main square in Brasov, Piața Sfatului (Council Square), is the heart of the Old Town. The place was the center of the city already in medieval times, the weekly markets were held here already in 1364 (although officially it obtained the right to hold markets here only in 1520).
Right in the middle, you will find the impressive building of the former Council House originally from the early 15th century (but rebuilt after the fire), today home to the Brașov County Museum of History. The square is surrounded by townhouses, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, each and every one of them beautiful in its own way. There is also an eye-catching facade of the 19th-century Orthodox church but the church itself is located in the courtyard.
In the summertime Council Square is busy with people all day long, enjoying numerous cafes and restaurants surrounding the square, wandering around and admiring the beautiful architecture, and attending one of the events taking place here. This is also where you should start your Brasov sightseeing to get a feel of the city, both now and back in medieval times.
See medieval city walls
Back in medieval times, Brasov developed as a walled city (known as Kronstadt in German and Brassó in Hungarian). Today you can still find remnants of these walls around Brasov Old Town.
One part is along the Cheu river, near the Black and White towers but you can find more impressive city walls on the other side of the Old Town, near the cable car station. That’s where you can see three remaining bastions: Weavers’, Spinners’, and Drapers’. It is possible to visit the first one, inside you will find a small museum with a collection of old weapons and a clay model of the 17th-century Brasov.
The area along this part of the city walls is really pleasant, with numerous benches and walking paths, perfect for wandering around and enjoying the place.
Find one of the narrowest streets in Europe
Strada Sforii, located within the walled part of the Old Town in Brasov, is considered one of the narrowest streets in Europe (some say it is the narrowest but there are streets in France, Germany, and England that are even narrower although not that picturesque). And it indeed is so narrow it’s impossible to stand there with the arms outstretched.
Strada Sforii is between 111 and 135 centimeters in width and only 80 meters long. It was first mentioned in the 17th century and at first, it served as the corridor for firemen.
The narrow lane is one of the top attractions in Brasov and one of the favorite photo spots in the city, with the arches and distinctive lights above and the pastel colors of surrounding buildings. It’s easy to miss the street, it goes sideways from Strada Poarta Schei but the sign on the side of the building points to the correct place.
Visit Beth Israel Synagogue
Located a bit further up on Strada Poarta Schei is Beth Israel Synagogue, the center of the Jewish community in Brasov. It was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and at that time it was even more expensive that the incredible synagogue in Szeged, Hungary. During World War 2, the synagogue was damaged but never fully destroyed and was used as a gym.
Even if the post-war Jewish community in Brasov was really small, they still kept their traditions and in 1949 the synagogue was renovated and its works reestablished. Recently the place was renovated again and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Brasov.
You can visit the synagogue inside but it’s open only from Monday to Friday, on the weekends you can still admire the building from the outside.
See medieval city gate
The only one of the medieval city gates that remained until today is St Catherine’s Gate, dating back to 1559. It was built for defensive purposes but also as a tollgate and replaced the gate that was destroyed by a flood a few years earlier. The structure is really stunning, looks a bit like a fairy tale, and is a great testimony to the long history of Brasov and its greatness in medieval times.
Since the gate is rather narrow, enough to barely fit a horse and a cart, in the early 19th century it was replaced by the nearby Șchei Gate.
The area around St Catherine’s Gate is a pleasant green space where you can relax a bit in the shadow before continuing your Brasov sightseeing.
Visit the magnificent Black Church
Biserica Neagră (the Black Church) is the most distinctive building in the city and the symbol of Brasov. And it is so popular for a reason, since this is a real masterpiece of medieval engineering and architecture. The church was completed in the 15th century and is considered the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul. The medieval town in Brasov developed around the impressive structure.
The name, “Black Church” comes from the big fire in the late 17th century that left the building covered in dark soot, and even if today it looks much cleaner, the name stuck.
For a small fee, you can also visit the church inside and it’s definitely worth it as the interior is equally impressive. Even if numerous original parts were destroyed in the fire, many remained today.
Wander around the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Brasov is simply wandering around the Old Town and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the place. Many of the streets are pedestrian, lined with restaurants and cafes that are inviting to sit down and do some people-watching.
Explore the area without the map, just follow your intuition and you will most likely find some hidden passages or architectural gems. Brasov Old Town really is the prettiest and it’s so easy to fall in love with it.
Enjoy the local cafe scene
Brasov is one of the best places in the region when it comes to cafes. There are so many of them around and the majority of places serve specialty coffee and drinks of high quality. I visited a few of them during my trip to Brasov, both in the Old Town and outside, and never left disappointed.
As always I used European Coffee Trip as my guide to the cafe scene in Brasov.
Find the best view in Brasov
The best places to admire the stunning panorama of Brasov Old Town are two towers – White and Black – located just outside the city walls. They both offer a wonderful panorama of the medieval town with red rooftops and an impressive Black Church dominating the area.
While they are located literally a few steps away from each other, the Black Tower offers a slightly better view. Both towers are free of charge to visit so you can go there even a few times during your time in Brasov, to look at the city in a different light (that’s what I did as I literally couldn’t get enough of the view).
The way to the towers is a bit hidden (i.e. you need to go through a courtyard opposite Council Square or find a back street near the church) but once you get there you will be rewarded with an amazing view.
Discover the Schei district
Just outside the Old Town walls, you will find the Schei district. In medieval times that’s where the citizens who were not Saxons were allowed to live (the walled part of the city was available only to the Saxons). Over centuries the area grew and became an important part of Brasov too.
That’s also where you will find the first school in Romania, founded in the 14th century (although the current building that today hosts a museum dates back to 1761).
Next to the school, you can visit a stunning St. Nicholas Church, the first Orthodox church in Romania, built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a beautiful mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture, with some amazing frescoes inside. Wander around the church premises to also admire the colorful murals on the cemetery walls as well as visit the cemetery itself.
The Schei district is an interesting part of Brasov that can give you a glimpse into the old whereabouts of the city so it’s worth wandering around a bit and discovering it too.
Go to Tampa mountain
Most likely the first thing you notice after arriving in Brasov is the Hollywood-style sign on the mountain towering above the Old Town. That’s Tampa mountain, with an altitude of 955 meters above sea level it is one of the most characteristic landmarks in Brasov.
You can hike up to the mountain (it should take around 1 hour) or you can take the cable car that will take you in a few minutes. From the top, you can admire a breathtaking panorama of Old Town Brasov and beyond as well as you can hike around and find the ruins of the old citadel.
Keep in mind that the queues to the cable car can get really long in the seasons (I gave up, twice, during my recent trip to Brasov) so it’s better to take the cable car to Tampa mountain just after opening or simply hike up to the top if the queue is too long.
Visit Brasov fortress
Brasov fortress, located a bit away from the Old Town, has played an important role in defending the city in the old times. At first, it was only a wooden watchtower but over the years the place expanded to a full-size fortress with four watchtowers.
Unfortunately, these days the inside of the fortress is closed to visitors but you can still visit the area to see its impressive structure from the outside and see yet another panorama of Brasov.
On the way to the fortress, you can see a bit of the city outside the Old Town and former city walls – you might be surprised by the beautiful architecture there too.
Find street art
Brasov might not be big on the street art scene but it has its (few) moments.
The best mural you can find in the city is actually located in the old town, at Piața Sfântul Ioan. There is also a smaller mural near the White Tower, next to the city walls and a hidden, a bit decayed piece in the park above White and Black Towers.
See interesting modernist architecture
Romania is pretty big on the brutalist and modernist architecture scene and you can find some fine examples of these styles in Brasov too.
One of the most interesting buildings is Casa de Mode MODAROM with its round shape, built in 1972 at the edge of the Old Town. You can find even more quirky and eye-catching buildings in more modern parts of the city, close to the train station or around Piața Consiliul Europei.
Go for day trips from Brasov
Brasov itself is a wonderful city to visit, but it is also a great base to explore the surrounding area and this part of Romania definitely offers a lot.
Only a short ride away from the city you can visit the (in)famous Bran Castle, one of the top attractions in Romania, known for its connections with Dracula (I was a bit disappointed with the place but you can judge yourself). Before arriving at Bran you should stop in Rasnov with its incredible fortress towering about a pleasant town.
Another perfect day trip from Brasov is Sinaia, worth visiting for breathtaking Peles Castle (it is a real gem both outside and inside, known from numerous movies) and a few other attractions.
If you like hiking or skiing in the winter season you will find plenty of opportunities to do so around Brasov too.
Here are some of the recommended tours from Brasov:
- Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Tour from Brasov with Optional Peles Castle Visit
- Castles Tours from Brasov
- Small-Group Tour Sighisoara, Rupea Fortress and Viscri Day Trip from Brasov
- Small-Group Day trip Transfagarasan road and Poienari Fortress from Brasov
- Small-Group Day Trip to the Epic 7 Ladders Canyon from Brasov
Final thoughts on visiting Brasov
As you can see, the city really offers a lot and it’s no wonder so many people visit Brasov every year. This really is one of the highlights of Romania and besides the numerous attractions, it also helps you to learn more about this complicated region and its history. Don’t miss Brasov when visiting Romania, I bet you will enjoy the city as much as I did.
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