A weekend in Brasov really allows you to appreciate the beauty of the Transylvania region of Romania. Surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, it was worth spending 48 hours in Brasov as opposed to a day trip from Bucharest, something we had originally considered. Having spent four days in Bucharest, we wanted to experience something different. Brasov seemed like a good idea, and we were not disappointed.
Weekend in Brasov Romania Guide to the best:
Getting to Brasov from Bucharest: We took a Bucharest to Brasov train from the Bucuresti Nord station. Two and half hours later, we were in Brasov, the distance covered being 88 miles. The cost was about €7 each converted, so it was a good deal. The trains run often and you can purchase your ticket at the window. The seats were pretty comfortable and it was the same kind of train that had taken us to Sinaia when we visited Peles Castle.
Most people only ever go to Brasov as part of a day trip to visit the famous Bran Castle, which is better known as Count Dracula’s Castle. I know that Brasov is getting more popular with digital nomads, thanks to the lower cost of living and wicked fast internet. For us, it was the beauty and slow pace that attracted us to the city of just over a quarter million inhabitants.
Where to stay in Brasov:
After considering both a hotel and private lodging, we ended up staying at an AirBnB that was absolutely perfect and one we highly recommend. It was easy to check in, and the place had an excellent location in the center, very clean and spacious. At $31 per night, it was a good deal. A mere 2 minute walk brought us to the building (the center is pedestrian only and this place was one of the first buildings as you entered a side street). It had everything we needed, including a very helpful guide book.
An option for a hotel in Brasov that we considered is the Bella Muzica hotel which is also located in the center. For those people for whom only hotels will do, it’s a great choice. We did sneak a look while we were there.
What to do on a Brasov Weekend Visit:
Undoubtedly the most popular attraction in the region. The castle is about a half hour from Brasov. Vlad the Impaler, whose last name was actually Dracul, and was the Prince of Wallachia three times during his lifetime, is thought to have resided there. By all accounts, Vlad was an asshole (my choice of words :-) ) who raided the Saxon villages, had the people captured, and brought them back to Wallachia to be impaled.
Even though the Bran castle has nothing to do with the whole Bram Stoker Dracula story, Brasov tourism is thriving on the mistaken attribution. Good for them! We skipped going to Bran Castle because Peles Castle is the bomb and we were very happy with that. There are frequent buses from Brasov to Bran Castle and you can find the bus times in English here.
Fun things to do in Brasov include:
Free Walking Tour Brasov:
We did the free Walkabout tour of Brasov and it was a great way to discover tidbits about the city. This tour is offered daily and the meeting point is at the main square, Piata Sfatului which was less than a three minute walk from our flat. The tour was pretty good even though l think they could have capped it at about two hours.
You definitely need to have comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking. We were more than happy to tip at the end because he was a good and knowledgeable kid. Over the next three hours, we walked around the pretty city and checked out some wonderful spots. At the end of the tour, he had us all hold hands in a circle and sing some Romanian song. It was hilarious and a lot of fun, especially with the locals looking on and cracking up! Some highlights of the tour included:
Black Church (Biserica Neagrã):
Gorgeous Gothic architecture on this functional Lutheran church. It was built by Transylvania Saxons of German origin and was completed during the 15th century. Our guide told us of some legends, including one about a German child being murdered and buried within the walls by one of the Bulgarian builders. It became known as the Black Church after a fire destroyed it during an invasion by the Habsburgs.
Rope Street: (Strada Sforii)
Allegedly the narrowest street in the world, or so he started, but l am highly doubtful :-). Originally built to allow the fire brigade to get from one side of the town center to the other without going through the masses, it is quite narrow, but l think the one we saw in the Old Town of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) was even narrower. Now it’s recognized as the 3rd narrowest in Europe. There is a tiny museum right across from it too that has really cool photographs and where we stopped for a bit during the tour.
This main square is simply gorgeous and we enjoyed people watching, sipping drinks at one of the outdoor cafes and dining at some of the numerous restaurants and cafes that lined the streets. It was a good mix of locals and tourists. Brasov seems chill to me with an attitude that conveys this message “It’s cool if you like us, but you can piss off if you don’t” and l can’t tell you how refreshing that is.
Brasov doesn’t try to impress you, which not only made me like it more, but knowing that literally had me laughing the whole weekend. It’s hard to explain, but suffice it to say that if you think the world revolves around you, think people need to bend over to accommodate you, are looking for “back home”, you belong squarely in the piss off group! :-) :-).
Catherine’s Gate Brasov:
Food in Brasov: (what we ate)
You know for us, everything begins and ends with food. We had very good meals in Brasov and I was also surprised that there were so many choices. There was a Caribbean restaurant close to us that looked great food wise from what we could see. We stuck with traditional Roman food though mostly. We also indulged in a lot of coffee and hot chocolate drinks.
We really enjoyed 48 hours in Brasov and l can definitely see the attraction for expats to consider it. I also think Brasov makes for a greet weekend getaway, and if you love skiing, hiking and other outdoorsy stuff, it’s an ideal place to go.
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Have you been or considered visiting Romania? If not, do you think you would prefer the big city of Bucharest like l do, or would you prefer a bit chiller place like Brasov? Do you agree that a weekend in Brasov Romania sounds about right?