Brasov lies in the Transylvania region of Romania and is known for its medieval walls and colorful historic center. Its also the perfect base for those wanting to visit Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's castle.
Don't immediately head out, though, as there are plenty of things to do in Brasov. The following list of attractions and activities gives you enough to do for two days or so.
- Things to do in Brasov
- Have a drink on the Piata Sfatului and enjoy some people watching
- Visit the Black Church
- Wander through Brasov's historic city center
- Walk up to the Black and the White Tower
- Pass through Ecaterina's Gate
- Walk along the medieval walls
- Admire the views from Cetatuia Fortress
- Check out the Neolog Synagogue
- Visit the Arts Museum
- Learn a lesson at the First Romanian School
- Get active at Parc Aventura
- Hike to or ride the cable car up to Tampa Mountain
- Day trips from Brasov
- Plan your trip to Brasov
- Don't forget travel insurance
Things to do in Brasov
Have a drink on the Piata Sfatului and enjoy some people watching
The Piata Sfatului or Council Square is the main square located in the heart of the historic center of Brasov. It has a distinctly medieval feel to it thanks to the Council House, built in 1420, that sits right in the middle of the square and presides majestically over it. This important building is now home to the Brasov County Museum of History.
In addition to being the home of the former Council House – where important decisions were once made, the Council Square has been hosting markets since 1364. That's almost 700 years! It has long been used as an economic, social, and political hub. Today, it’s political significance is less notable, but it is still very much the social epicenter of the town.
From the center of the Council Square, you can see open-air restaurants and terraces in all directions. Whether you visit the square during the day or night, there is always a buzz of energy. One of the most pleasant things to do in Brasov is simply to sit with a drink and watch the local people go by.
The entirety of the Council Square is pedestrianized, making it more peaceful than other parts of the town and allowing you to enjoy your drink or meal without the revs and fumes of cars racing right past you. If nothing else, it is a delightfully scenic square that makes for a few good photos.
Visit the Black Church
If you’re big on history or architecture, or you’re just interested in checking out some of Romania’s most iconic monuments, don’t miss the Black Church (Biserica Neagra in Romanian). It is constructed in a Gothic style, which gives it a slightly creepy exterior, which will either make you desperate to explore inside or keen to run away, depending on what kind of person you are.
Construction of the church commenced in the 1380s by the town’s German community, but due to a number of attacks from the Ottomans and Tartars, it wasn’t completed until 1477. The church is 90 meters long and from the lowest to the highest point it measures 65 meters. It is an enormous edifice and is one of the largest medieval churches in Eastern Europe.
The church was partially destroyed in a fire that ravaged much of historical Brasov, back in 1689. The church has gone through several restoration projects ever since. Today, it is one of the most popular things to see in Brasov.
While the external parts of the church reflect its turbulent history and are impressive to behold, don’t forget to dedicate some time to its interior. Here you’ll find the largest collection of oriental carpets outside of Istanbul and the incredible mechanical organ. If you visit Brasov at the right time, you could witness one of the spectacular organ shows that are put on at the church.
Wander through Brasov's historic city center
Sometimes, the best way to get to grips with a city is simply to get lost in it. Brasov’s historic center isn’t enormous so you wouldn’t get irretrievably lost, but you will certainly stumble across lanes and alleys that will take your breath away with their understated beauty. Pristine Saxon architecture flanks the streets and can be admired while you stroll.
If you need a bit of direction to your wanderings, Lunga Street is always a favorite with visitors. Here you will find remarkably well-preserved buildings that date back to the Middle Ages. Walking the length of this street is like taking a trip back in time – to an era we know very little about.
Alternatively, head over to Strada Sforii or Rope Street for one one of Brasov's more quirky sights. Strada Sforii is one of the narrowest streets in the country at just 111cm at its narrowest.
As with the Council Square, much of the historic Brasov city center is pedestrianized, so bask in this tranquility as you stroll. When you get tired of walking around, there are dozens of local cafes where you can sit and enjoy a coffee before carrying on your exploration.
Remember to look up every now and then while you’re walking or sitting. You might be pleasantly surprised by some small yet beautiful architectural detail.
If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best things to do in Brasov as it is completely free and can while away an entire day if you let it.
Walk up to the Black and the White Tower
Constructed in the late 15th century, the Black and White Towers look over the Old Town of Brasov and are picturesque in and of themselves. However, the real vistas come when you climb them. If you don’t have time to climb both of them, head to the White Tower. Although the towers were constructed at the same time, they are not identical and the White Tower is much larger than its black counterpart.
The White Tower, as you might imagine, is white. The Black Tower, however, was never black but obtained its name after a fire blackened its walls. Nowadays, the Black Tower looks out of place in its modernity. It has been recently restored to include a glass roof. While this makes viewing easier, it has lost some of its medieval charm. The White Tower, on the other hand, has maintained this spectacularly.
Either tower you visit will offer you stunning views of the town and if you have time to visit both of the towers you should. Be prepared to climb lots of steps when you get there to reach the viewing platforms. The White Tower is especially strenuous if you reach it by walking up the Bastionul Graft.
Admission to the towers is just 7 LEI (USD $1.60) so it makes for a cheap activity from which you will take a lot.
Pass through Ecaterina's Gate
Ecaterina’s or Catherine’s Gate is the oldest and most beautiful gate in Brasov and is the last remaining entrance of the three that once connected this fortified city to its surrounding suburbs. The first thing that will undoubtedly strike you about the gate is the fact that it looks like it has come directly from the pages of a fairytale book.
The gate was originally part of a much larger and grander structure, but this was torn down in the early 1800s. Just above the arch of the gate is the Brasov coat of arms and on top of the gate are 4 small turrets in each corner and one large one in the middle.
Back in the day, walking through the gate into the town meant that you were under the rule of the town. You had to follow the town’s law and its elite members had the power to hand down a death sentence to whoever they chose. These executions would then take place in the Piata Sfatului.
You would never guess that the gate and square once had a dark history from looking at them today, but public executions were disturbingly common back in the Medieval ages.
It is free to walk under the gate and it will give you a feel for what the town of Brasov used to be. You can easily combine it into your wandering so you don’t need to allocate too much of your holiday time to it.
Walk along the medieval walls
The city of Brasov was established in 1211, so it has a lot of history behind it. One great way to explore its history is to stroll along the medieval walls that enclose the city. The best place to start your tour of the walls is on the northern side of the city. Follow the walls and absorb the beauty of medieval Brasov. Eventually, this section of the wall will lead you to Ecaterina’s Gate (mentioned above).
If your thirst for medieval walls is yet to be quenched, over on the south side the walls run along the foot of the dramatic Tampa Mountain. There are walkways lining the top of the walls so you can actually walk on them at certain points. Where there aren’t any boardwalks, just stroll alongside the wall.
As you walk along the walls, you will encounter various towers and bastions. Turnul Artelor, Turnul Vanatorilor, and Bastionul Postavarilor are the two towers and one bastion that are open to the public. They are free to enter so it is worth poking your head inside and taking a look around before carrying on your way.
When the weather is nice, strolling along the medieval walls is a great way to discover Brasov without touching your travel funds. Who doesn’t love a free activity!
Admire the views from Cetatuia Fortress
Sitting on top of a hill near the city’s Central Park is the Cetatuia Fortress. This Brasov Fortress, often referred to as a citadel as well, was part of the city’s original defense fortifications. If you want a spot of history mixed with some outstanding views, this is the best place in the city to get your fix.
The history of the Fortress is turbulent. It was originally built in 1553 but was then destroyed in 1618 by a fire. It was rebuilt in 1625, renovated in 1630, and eventually abandoned when it was no longer able to offer effective protection. It was later turned into a prison and is now a restaurant. That’s a lot of change for one building to go through, but it is what makes it so fascinating.
Once there, you will have the opportunity to tour the medieval weapons and other artifacts that remain there. Don’t forget to toss a penny into the well and make a wish. And, of course, give yourself plenty of time to admire the views of Brasov’s Old Town from the edge of the Fortress.
If you have time, try and go towards sunset. This will mean you can see Brasov in daylight and then witness it illuminated by lights once the sun has gone down. Both views are spectacular.
Good to know: There is currently a legal battle ensuing over ownership of the Fortress. The Fortress has been closed for a while now and will most likely remain closed until the lawsuit is concluded. However, it is still possible to look around the outside of the Fortress and check out the views – you just can’t (legally) go inside right now.
Check out the Neolog Synagogue
Compared to the rest of Europe, Brasov has been relatively safe for the Jewish community – particularly during the Second World War when other cities were shipping Jewish people off to death camps. However, that doesn’t mean the Jews had an easy time here.
The Neolog Synagogue is a charming building in 1901 on Black Street in the city center. It was built in a distinctly Spanish style, that make it stand out from its Medieval surroundings. Inside, the decor is modest but attractive and there is a Holocaust Memorial outside the front, which was erected in 2014.
While it is pleasant to explore the Synagogue, it is impossible to do so without considering the trauma that occurred both here and to the Jewish community of Brasov as a whole. This is one of the most popular attractions within the city of Brasov, as people from all over come to pay their respects to this persecuted community.
Visit the Arts Museum
Very few people know much about Romanian art. French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and German art is widely acclaimed and even art amateurs can pick out a Picasso or Monet on sight. Romanian art, however, has not had the same kind of popularity and even the most educated art critic would struggle to give you many examples of Romanian artists.
But, this does not mean that Romania is without any artistic talent. If you want to learn about the artists that have shaped the Romanian art scene, this is the best place to do it. In fact, the Art Museum of Brasov is one of the best galleries in the country.
Here, you will find works from some of the biggest names across the nation, such as Gheorghe Vânătoru and Theodor Pallady. As you explore the two floors of the museum, you will bear witness to the evolution of Romanian art through the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to the collection of paintings, the museum also houses several vases and statues.
Just to manage your expectations, this is not the best museum in the world. But, if you have time to kill and you like art, there are worse places you could spend a few hours.
Learn a lesson at the First Romanian School
The First Romanian School (Prima școală românească in Romanian) was first erected in 1495. It was rebuilt at the end of the 1500s and was at the time to the first and only school in Transylvania. It is believed that over 1700 people were educated in this school before it went out of use in 1850.
The way the school would work was every village in the region would pay, collectively, for one student to attend the school. This was seen as an investment as that student would then come back and share what they had learned with the rest of the village. This was the first place in the country that taught lessons in Romanian.
Nowadays, the School acts as a museum and is home to all kinds of firsts, such as the first Romanian Bible, and the first known letter written in Romanian using a Latin script. Visit the museum and learn how the school functioned back in its glory day. The Museum houses a classroom and all kinds of artifacts you can examine.
One of the prized features of the Museum is the printing press, which sits pride of place despite only being used to print 39 books. The sheer amount of physical labor required to publish a single book prevented any mass production from this press.
Get active at Parc Aventura
Just a little way out of the city of Brasov is the largest theme park in Eastern Europe: Parc Aventura. If you’re a thrill-seeker or just a big kid at heart you’re going to love swinging from the treetops at this park. Plus, for just 60 Lei (US $14) per person for three hours of access, it makes for a cheap day out.
When you arrive at the park, you are given two carabiners and a safety demonstration before you are sent on your way into the trees. The routes consist of ziplines, bridges, climbing nets, and other challenges strung up between the trees. It is perfectly safe but you will definitely get an adrenaline boost as you climb from obstacle to obstacle.
Altogether, the routes run for almost 3km and they reach a maximum height of 20 meters. The routes are color-coded in accordance with their difficulty rating. Yellow and green are the easiest routes and there are three of each. The next level is blue (there are two of these), then red (two), and then the single black route, which is only suitable for visitors over the age of 16.
Once you’ve tired yourself out on the routes, there is a food truck and a bar on-site, ready to re-energize you with a snack and a drink.
Take note that in the summer the park is open every day, but from December until February it is only open on weekends from 10 a.m. until sunset. Entry is for three hours and you can do as much or as little as you like during that time.
Hike to or ride the cable car up to Tampa Mountain
The final thing worth mentioning of the many Brasov tourist attractions is Tampa Mountain. There are two ways to get to the top of Tampa Mountain: hiking or taking the famous cable car. If you have the time you should give both options a try as each offers a completely different, but equally sensational experience.
The beginning of the hiking trail is just a five-minute walk or so from the center of Brasov. From there it is a mild incline for about an hour all the way to the top. Every now and again as you weave in and out of the forest, you will be rewarded with an uninhibited view of the red roofs of Brasov below.
As you climb, you will pass the Hollywood-esque Brasov sign that presides over the city. Climb just a little further and you will reach the top of the trail and the best lookout point, which offers sweeping vistas of the city. If you’re an active traveler, this is a fun hike that gives you the chance to get up close and personal with Brasov’s natural beauty.
If you would rather take the cable car to the top of the mountain, this costs 16 Lei (US $4.50) for a return ticket. However, you might want to hike one way and get the cable car the other way. The choice is yours.
Day trips from Brasov
There are quite a few day trips you can make from Brasov, either by yourself or on an organized tour. I've gathered some day trips here that come recommended by other travelers to give you some inspiration:
Full-day tour of castles and surrounding area
On this tour, you'll visit Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress, and Peles Castle where you'll get skip-the-line access. In between visits, you'll drive through the beautiful Transylvanian Alps and the southern Carpathian Mountains. Bottled water is included as our umbrellas and ponchos should they be necessary.
Small-group day trip to the 7 Ladders Canyon
On this tour you get to explore the beautiful 7 Ladders Canyon. There's the choice to only do the easy part leading up to the canyon or you can go in and climb the ladders the canyon is known for. Either way, you'll have an amazing day in Romanian nature.
Small-group brown bear watching tour
On this tour, your guide will take you into the forest to a hideaway where you'll very likely will be able to spot brown bear, wild boar, lynx, and deer while you learn about the region's wildlife and nature.
And that's it for my list of things to do in Brasov! I hope you found it useful.
Plan your trip to Brasov
I travel a lot and I have created a list of favorite sites that I always use when booking trips. These are reliable websites with good prices and a wide range of options. You can find them below.
Where to stay in Brasov
- Booking.com is where I book most of my hotels because it offers a wide range of filtering options. Its Genius program also entitles you to special discounts after you’ve made a few bookings with them.
- Airbnb is my preferred site for booking apartments. In a similar way to Booking, it has several filtering options and I find the reviews helpful for choosing the right place.
Booking your flight to Romania
- Kayak offers a comparison of flight prices across many different airlines. It has a useful price alert feature and very flexible search options
- Momondo also searches the smaller airlines but I find its search function a little less flexible.
Taking the train to Brasov
I've usually use Omio to buy my train tickets. It does charge a small fee but I find it very user friendly and the app is great too. – and in English.
Renting a car in Brasov
Rentalcars.com has hundreds of rental car companies to compare in order to find the best deal based on your personal search criteria.
Taxi2Airport is a useful tool for booking airport transfers. They operate worldwide with strict quality criteria and also have a handy online booking tool and messaging platform.
Tours, tickets, and activities in Brasov
GetYourGuide is easy-to-use and offers everything from multi-day trips to skip-the-line tickets.
Don't forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan your trip to Brasov, something can always happen. A reservation gets canceled, you get sick, or you drop and break your new camera. In those unlucky cases, travel insurance has got you covered.
I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on but if you travel just a few times a year, you can get insured for each trip separately as well.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out World Nomads. They cover a wide range of activities for people from 140 countries.
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