Brasov Closer Birds eye Romania

12 Terrific Things to Do in Brasov Romania

Brasov, Romania is the gateway into Transylvania. After coming from Bucharest, the pace of life noticeably slows. The air cools.

There’s a relaxed, romantic feel as you wander through Brasov’s narrow cobblestone streets. The 13th-century city transports you back in time with an unassuming tangible authenticity.

Brasov is not pretending to be a medieval city. It actually is. 

Things to Do in Brasov, Romania
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12 Terrific Things to Do in Brasov Romania

Brasov is one of Romania’s most visited cities and for good reason. It’s situated in a Transylvanian sweet spot, making it an ideal base for at least part of your Transylvania itinerary.

However, with plenty of things to do in Brasov Romania, it’s best to begin here.

1. Start in the Piata Sfatului, Council Square.

This is the heart of Brasov’s medieval historic center.

The arc-shaped “square” and its ornate rainbow of building facades will have you wondering where to look first. The clock tower from the 13th-century Town Hall chimes, momentarily drowning out the murmur of chatter and clinking glasses from the nearby cafes.

The air feels pleasantly warm. The Piata Sfatului is the perfect place to grab a bench seat and people-watch.

Brasov Closer Birds eye
During the day, Brasov’s Piata Sfatului buzzes with activity.

The square gives no hints about its dark past as a place of public trials and executions during the Middle Ages.

In the years of Communist rule, the Council Square was used as a parking lot to discourage city-dwellers from congregating and socializing.

In the Piata Sfatului today, you’re as apt to see local children chasing pigeons as you are visitors capturing Brasov’s scenes of daily life with their cameras.

Brasov Town Hall
Visit in the early morning hours, too. You’ll have the Piata Sfatului all to yourself.

2. Tour the Biserica Neagra, Black Church.

The Black Church sits just off the main square in Brasov. It’s the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe. As you can see, the Black Church is not black in color.

It earned the name after a fire in 1689 burned the church and the walls darkened from smoke.

Brasov Black Church

The church’s interior is not as striking as other Cathedrals in Europe, but the gothic architecture combined with the collection of Anatolian Carpets adorning the walls reflects the geography and history of medieval Brasov positioned at a cultural crossroads.

These influences from the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Saxons distinctly blend east and west.

3. Hike to or ride the cable car up to Tampa Mountain.

From your first moments in Brasov, you’re likely to notice the Hollywood-like “BRASOV” sign perched high above the city on Tampa Mountain.

Take the cable car or follow one of two hiking paths to the top. If you hike, plan on an hour’s walk-up. When you get there, walk the short path to the big white letters bearing the city’s name. 

Pro Tip – Make sure you have the right hiking essentials before you begin any hiking adventure! 

The walk is not difficult, but there are enough rocks underfoot along the way to warrant wearing comfortable shoes. At the end, next to the “V” in Brasov is a viewing platform for a gorgeous birds-eye view of  Brasov.

Brasov Birds Eye
From this view, you can see the Piata Sfatului, the Black Church, and the White Tower at the same time.

4. Stroll along Brasov’s historic streets.

Cobblestone streets flank away from Brasov’s Piata Sfatului forming a dedicated pedestrian zone.

The streets are lined with lively cafes, busy shops, and sweet-smelling carts selling delicious kurtoskalacs (see below).

Spend time admiring the city’s medieval architecture. If you’re strolling in the morning, it’s the best time for photos, before the crowds arrive.

If you’d like a guide, every night between April and September at 6 p.m. a free walking tour by Walkabout sets off from the fountain in the main square. (Check their website for tours between October and March.) Look for the person holding or wearing something orange.

The tour lasts for 2 1/2-3 hours and walks through the historical Saxon center and out past the old fortified walls into the Schei District. The guide was personable and told stories and jokes to captivate us as she explained the history of Brasov.

I highly recommend this tour for new arrivals who want to get their bearings and learn some fascinating history.

If you arrive in Brasov in the afternoon, after a stop in Sinaia to see Peles Castle as I did, the 6 p.m. tour is perfectly timed.

ProTip: If the timing doesn’t work for you or if the tour is canceled for that day, opt for a guided Brasov tour instead.

Brasov street with cafe
The cafes haven’t opened the umbrellas. Brasov’s cobblestone streets are quiet.

However, you plan to stroll beautiful Brasov, remember to look up and notice the artistic details hiding in plain sight. When you’re ready, sit at an outdoor cafe and soak up the ambiance surrounding you.

Brasov Architecture Detail
I’d passed this building several times and never noticed this whimsical detail on the balcony. It wasn’t until I was sitting at a cafe, halfway through my meal, when I spied her. It was as if I could suddenly hear the musical notes coming from her horn.

5. Take a Day Trip from Brasov

Brasov is an excellent base to explore Transylvania’s castles, villages, and mountains. Because of its central location, Brasov day trips make great use of your time and help you to see places that aren’t that easily accessed without a rental car.

Here are some of the most popular Brasov day trips.

  • This castle tour visits Bran Castle, Peles Castle, and Rasnov Fortress. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to take in the Transylvanian Alps and the surrounding countryside.
  • Explore the area’s Fortified Churches. Spend a half day visiting 2 UNESCO Heritage sites to learn about Romania’s medieval and Saxon history.
  • Interested in wildlife? Romania’s Carpathian Mountains have a healthy bear population. On this bear watching tour, you’ll have the chance to observe brown bears in their natural habitat from a specially built bear watching structure. An experienced forest ranger will also teach you about the area’s natural environment.

Planning to base yourself in Bucharest instead of Brasov or elsewhere in Transylvania?

These experiences are great ways to explore Transylvania from Bucharest.

  • Visit 3 Transylvania highlights (including Brasov) on this day trip. This full-day tour lets you experience this beautiful Romanian region with an expert guide.
  • Go for this 2-day Transylvania tour to experience more of the region. In addition to popular castles, you’ll spend the night in Brasov and visit a monestary on Snagov Lake and have free time to explore.
Brasov Black Church Courtyard
The courtyard alongside the Black Church. The gravel underfoot and the gothic church transport you to a different time.

Traveling to Brasov soon?

I enjoyed my comfortable stay at Kronhaus. You can also
check current prices in Brasov or book now.


6. Visit both the Black and White Towers.

Brasov Black Tower
The Black Tower looking unabashedly modern.

On the opposite side of Brasov’s mountaintop sign, you’ll find a walkway behind the city’s old wall fortifications.

Here you’ll discover both the White Tower and the Black Tower. In terms of architecture, the White Tower, built in 1494, retains more of its historic charm.

The Black Tower (also not black..but called that after a bolt of lightning struck it.) was recently renovated to include a glass roof. Both towers have wooden staircases to climb for city views.

Brasov view
Brasov as seen from outside the Black Tower. This view also gives a great look at Tampa Mountain and the cable car taking sightseers to the top.

7. Search for one of the narrowest streets in Europe.

Strada Sforii or String Street is 53 inches at its widest point and just 44 inches at its most narrow point.

Brasov Romania

Once you find Strada Sforii, you might wonder how it passes as a street when it looks more like a passageway! Historically, firemen used it to quickly get between Brasov’s tightly packed houses.

8. Admire Catherine’s Gate and Brasov’s fortified medieval walls.

Catherine’s Gate is the last standing original medieval gate. It was constructed in 1559 and prominently displays the Brasov coat of arms. The Saxons adorned gates such as this with 4 small turret towers in each corner.

Brasov Catherine's Gate
You’ll think you’re walking right into the pages of your favorite fairytale…

Visitors who passed through the gate understood the turrets to mean they were under the rule of the Town Council who had the authority to hand down a death sentence.

As with the citadel of Sighisoara nearby, parts of Brasov’s fortified walls also remain and date back nearly 600 years! Follow the pathways around the outer edges of the city for a closer look.

9. Go beyond the Saxon gates to explore the Schei District.

Between the 13th-17th centuries, the ruling Saxons did not allow Romanians to live within Brasov’s fortified walls.

Similar to the Lower Town in Sibiu, settlements formed just outside the city center and evolved into their own communities.

To understand more about Romania’s culture, walk through the neighborhood streets in the Schei District. It’s a history lesson in and of itself when you compare what you see to Brasov’s historic Saxon center.

Brasov St Nicholas
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Visit the beautiful Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church just off Piata Unirii. Wonder over the mysterious time capsule stored in the slender tower spire which was discovered, opened by the priests, and returned to its place in the spire.

Within the church grounds, you can also visit the first Romanian school. In the 1500s, the first books in the Romanian language were printed here and, today, a museum contains thousands of valuable books, including the oldest Bible in Romanian.

10. Feast on a Kurtos Kalacs.

Have you eaten a trdelnik in Prague? The Romanian relative of the sweet cylinder cake roasted on a spit and sold from street carts is called Kurtoskalacs. You must have (at least) 1 while you’re in Brasov.

Brasov Kurtoskalacs
Don’t hesitate. Walk directly to the Kurtoskalacs cart.

I bet you’re wondering what’s the big deal if other countries in the region like the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia have the same sweet treat. The Romanian Kurtoskalacs stands out for its size. It’s tremendous!

Brush away any guilt over such an indulgence. When in Romania, do as the Romanians do. 😉

11. Take a day excursion to Rasnov Fortress.

Located just a short distance from Brasov’s historic center, you’ll find the 14th-century Rasnov Fortress.

The Saxons built upon an already existing structure 650 feet up above the town of Rasnov. The fortress was perfectly positioned to protect against invasions from nomadic European and Asian tribes.

Brasov Rasnov Outside
Doesn’t Rasnov’s stunning fortress look like some of Ireland or the U.K.’s best medieval sites? The key difference? Hardly anyone knows about Rasnov compared to the others!

The fortress was recently restored and is the best-preserved historic landmark of its kind in Romania.

For the 2.5-3 lei admission price (less than 1 dollar!), you’ll see the fortifications, an old school, stone houses hundreds of years old, and sweeping views of the countryside.

If you prefer, go to Rasnov with a guide while also exploring other castles like Bran in the Romanian countryside.

On the summer day I visited, there were only a handful of visitors! Yet another sign you need to visit Romania before everyone else realizes they should, too!

Brasov Rasnov Inside
Within the fortress walls, wander along the streets and into the small houses.

12. Extend your visit and head into the Carpathian Mountains.

Brasov is surrounded by rural countryside, complete with tiny villages speckled among the rolling hills, tall mountain peaks, and green forests.

The landscape is unspoiled and perfect for multi-day hiking adventures. Should you come upon any people, they’ll likely appear to be from a different time as they cut fields of grass by hand with a scythe and employ centuries-old farming practices.

You’re guaranteed to have gorgeous views, pristine nature, and unmatched tranquility. Even spending 1 day in the Carpathian Mountains is a great opportunity to appreciate the untouched landscapes just beyond Brasov.

Hiking in Romania
Carpathian Mountain views shared by my friend… Photo Credit: IG @Patrizia_ire

How to Get to Brasov:

You can easily reach Brasov by train from Bucharest and other points in Transylvania.

The roughly 2 1/2 hour ride from Bucharest can be easily broken up with a stop in Sinaia to see the fairytale Peles Castle. Upon arrival at Brasov’s train station, taxis wait to bring you within the fortified walls and to Brasov’s historic center. If you need more information about Romania’s train system, visit Seat61.

Where to Stay in Brasov:

You’ll want to stay as close to the Piata Sfatului as possible. From there, you can easily access all the things to do in Brasov. I stayed in a guest house called Kronhaus.

Kronhaus is perfectly located just off the main pedestrian district and just a 5-minute walk to the Piata Sfatului. The house has a home-like openness where guests chat with one another and are free to take snacks and beverages from the bar area.

It’s perfect if you’re looking for a more independent, homey stay versus a hotel with a 24-hour staffed front desk and amenities.
Check current prices in Brasov or book now.

Are you planning travel to Brasov Romania? Have you already visited? What did I miss?

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49 thoughts on “12 Terrific Things to Do in Brasov Romania”

  1. This is a great, great post!
    May we have your permission to feature it in our Website?
    (with proper attribution of course).
    Kind regards
    RomaniaTourism

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thank you so much for reading, Mr. Alb. 🙂 I’m glad you liked it and would be happy for you to feature the post on the Romanian Tourism Website with proper attribution.
      Kind Regards,
      Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

  2. Great post! I’m so happy when I see foreign travelers presenting so nicely my home country. Brasov is definitely a great choice when it comes to visiting Romania and I love the way you summarized pretty much all the fun and must-do activities in the city. 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Bella! I really loved my time in Romania. Can’t wait to return to see more. 🙂

  3. Brasov is one of the cities I love. True, I am from Romania, but I visited it many times now – and each time found it lovely! I never miss a cable car ride 😉 Nor a visit through the old pebbles streets. The Rope street is always nice to revisit as well – and Piata Sfatului and the Black Church!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Agreed, Loredana! Brasov is so lovely with great charm and things to do. Thanks for your local tip about the cable car! 🙂

  4. I will never forgot my first sight of Piata Sfatului Square. It was so atmospheric with the colours and the historic buildings. My stay there was too brief, but I found it a wonderful spot to visit. In fact, Romania fascinated me and I’d love to explore there more.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I couldn’t agree more, Carol. I can’t wait to go back and visit more of Romania.

  5. Wow what an incredible place. I can’t believe I haven’t visited this part of the Europe yet… I will ad this post to my to-go-to-list…I like the little whimsical detail on the balcony and you description of discovering it!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      You’d love it, Christopher! Romania has so many great towns and sights…plus the beer is very cheap! Wink Wink!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Definitely go sooner rather than later, Evan! Get to Romania before everyone else “discovers” it. 🙂

  6. We loved visiting Brasov last summer. I agree to all of your tips – though I will say that if you drive from Bucharest to Brasov, you can drive the famous Transfagarasan Highway (one of the most spectacular drives in the world!).

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Great tip, Drew! Thanks for adding to this reference on Brasov. I took the train because I don’t like driving on solo travel trips. Had I been with my husband or a friend, I’d have totally gone this route. 🙂

  7. Wow, there’s so much to do! The views from Tampa Mountain are so awesome and I love that there’s a free walking tour! I’ve been seeing so much on Romania lately; I can’t wait to see it for myself one day.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      It’s time for Romania to get more attention from travelers. Add it to your sooner rather than later list, Vicky. You’ll love it!

  8. Brasov sounds so charming. I have never been to Romania but I have had a fascination with it since I was a little girl. I hope to go sometime in the next few year.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Allison. Romania is fantastic. The medieval towns like Brasov and Sibiu are so charming. Definitely keep it on your travel list. 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Evelina. I can totally relate! Romania is a true gem. 🙂

  9. Just got back from Romania. I fell in love with the whole country, but especially Brasov. Can’t wait to go back!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I’m so glad you loved Romania, Jack! I can’t wait to return, as well!

  10. Love your post, going in September, can’t wait, do you know what is open on a Monday? Seen a lot of places closes on a Monday,
    Bev

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading Bev. Brasov will be great in September. There are a few popular Brasov things to do closed on Mondays like The Black Church and the Tampa Cable car (although it’s still possible to hike to the top). Museums are closed, too. But, Rasnov fortress is open daily, as is Bran Castle. It could also be good to do a Free Walking Tour in Brasov on a Monday. The tours are great for learning about the town and its history. They typically don’t bring you inside of all the places so the Monday closures don’t really affect the tour too much. Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  11. I spent a week in Brasov and the mountains nearby back in the 1990s. It was a little more ‘rustic’ then, and a pretty miserable place then, with packs of dogs roaming the streets and high levels of poverty. They have joined the EU since then, so life has improved (and the weather). I did take a cab from the square to Dracula’s castle, which took quite some time, but only cost a fiver at the time. The Carpathian Stag was a great place to eat in Brasov, though the extensive wine cellars had apparently been drunk dry by Nicolae Ceausescu and his cronies.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading and sharing your experience of Brasov, Andrew. Things have drastically changed, as my visit was nothing like what you described. In fact, Brasov had a lively restaurant and outdoor cafe scene, along with all the other sights and history to explore. It’s become a great base for a Transylvania trip and very tourist friendly destination in Romania.

  12. Kűrtös kalács is not at all romanian, it is a famous hungarian delicatesse. Even the name is hungarian, it means horn scone. The szeklers make the best of it.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Reka. Yes, I know it’s not a Romanian food, but it’s still delicious and available in Brasov. Thanks for the tip on where to find some good ones.

  13. Can you tell me is Tampa cable car in Brasow wheelchair accessible? I couldn find this info anywhere.Thanks in advance.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Boba. I can’t say 100% for sure, but I’m pretty sure the cable car isn’t wheelchair accessible.

  14. Ștefania Ionescu

    I’m from Brașov. I like how you described our city, but I have to say you that kurtos kolacs is not a romanian sweet, it’s hungarian.
    Anyways, well done with this post!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Stefania! I’ll have to make sure it’s clearer in the article. I meant to say I was happy to see those sweet treats again Brasov after having eaten then in Prague and Budapest. 🙂

  15. I am from Brasov as well and Kurtos Kalacs its a delicatessen made mostly in the Transylvania region mainly prepared by Hungarian-Romanian people. I don’t understand why people are saying its from Hungry; if you go in Hungry the people that make these Kurtos Kalacs are people that left Romania mostly after revolution. Yes, the name is Hungarian because most of the older generation refuses to speak Romanian even though they lived their entire life in Romania.

  16. Thanks for such an informative post. Just wondering whether you have a view on how much time might I would need to cover most of the things to see in Brasov? I have 2 to 3 days to spend there in the second week of September.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Vince. You could easily see and do most of what’s in Brasov in 2 days. If you planned to use it as a base to go to the Rasnov fortress, hiking in the mountains, or to Bran Castle, I’d add a 3rd day for that day trip. Enjoy beautiful Romania!

  17. Florica Valentin Ioan

    Great article, I love when someone enjoys that much our beloved city.
    I am now thinking of Airbnb one apartament in Brasov, and I love the way you wrote about Brasov. May I use part of your description ? (with a link to the website also) ?

    Regards,
    Valentin

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Florica. As long as you link back to the website, it’s fine to share the article on Airbnb. Thank you. )

  18. Great article! Extending your stay would be the smartest choice to do in Brasov 🙂 There are so many areas to discover on foot or on a bike or why not, with extra help from a car. My top favorite would be the bear watching tours. You’ll get the chance of seeing these animals in their natural habitat, in the wild, not in a reservation, ZOO, or sanctuary. This is as real as it gets! 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Robert. Brasov does make a great base. I would consider driving next time if I wasn’t solo. I prefer trains when I travel solo. 🙂 Definitely agree on seeing the bears in their natural habitats.

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