12 things to do in Brasov Romania – off-the-bitten path

Wondering what to do in Brasov Romania? Here are the 12 best things to do in Brasov that will maximize your trip.

I arrived in Brasov Romania early in the morning on the night train from Budapest. As the train pulled into the sleepy station, I looked through the cold, drafty windows for fangs or lurking bats to emerge.

It was my first stop in Transylvania and I was more than excited about visiting the playground of Count Dracula.

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Things to do in Brasov

Brasov is one of the main cities in Transylvania, and with a population of 283,901 it’s also the 7th largest city in Romania.

For me it had the perfect size: it was easy to explore on foot and still big enough to keep us busy for a few days.

We spent two days in Brasov, but if we had used it as a base for exploring the area, I could easily have spent four or five days. Brasov itself is a lively town with a vibrant atmosphere, in fact many Romanians come here for the weekends to relax.

There are lots of things to do in Brasov and below I’ve listed 12 of the most popular sites in town.

Read next: Fun things to do in Transylvania

Brasov, Transylvania, Romania
Thomas flew down to meet me in Romania after my 1 month solo Interrail trip

Top Brasov attractions

1. Black Church

My favourite attraction in Brasov was hands down the Black Church, built somewhere between 1383 and 1477.

From the outside it looks viciously cool, and it’s also the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe.

It wasn’t always called The Black Church, well not until 1689 when it was nearly destroyed by a huge fire caused by the Austrian army. After that, its black smoky walls inspired its name.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

2. Council Square

Right next to the Black Church, you’ll find the main square which is also known as the Council Square or Piata Sfatului.

It’s the heart of old, medieval Brasov and it centers around restaurants, shopping, and other main sights.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania
See the Hollywood Brasov sign on the mountain? I’ll get to that in a second

3. Trumpeter’s tower

At Council Square sits the Council House from 1420. It used to be Brasov’s city hall, but today it houses Brasov’s Historical Museum.

The tower on top of the building is called Trumpeter’s Tower and served as a watchtower for approaching barbarians back in the day.

Brasov, Romania

4. Romanian Orthodox Cathedral

Opposite the Council House lies the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral.

This Byzantine cathedral was built in 1896 and looks very impressive from the outside. It’s worth entering the church for the frescoes and decorations.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

5. Cetatuia fortress

Once upon a time, Cetatuia fortress was a citadel, then a prison, and now a restaurant.

The citadel was built in 1553 and though it serves a different purpose today, it’s still worth visiting to see the medieval weapons, canons and take a tour of the place.

Read next: 11 amazing things to do in Bucharest

Brasov, Romania

6. Strada Sforii

Strada Sforii is said to be the narrowest street in Europe. And it is indeed narrow.

It’s 80 meters long and between 111cm and 135 cm wide so I’m not sure two people can pass through at the same time.

Brasov, Romania

7. Neolog synagogue

Just a few streets from Strada Sforii and across the street from Catherine’s Gate is the Neolog synagogue.

It’s a bit hidden between the surrounding houses, but its colours make it stand out.

Brasov, Romania

8. Catherine’s gate

Catherine’s Gate, also known as Poarta Ecaterinei, is the only remaining city gate from medieval times. It was built in 1559 and looks like a real fairy tale castle.

See those four corner turrets? Well, you might be able to spot the spires in the photo.

They symbolise that Brasov had the right to decide on capital punishment (I wonder if it involved impaling).

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

9. St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Speaking of fairy tales… Most of the main things to do in Brasov are located in the old part of town.

But if you venture a bit further to the Şcheii district (1km – 10 minutes walk), you’ll find a fairy tale church which also happens to be the oldest Orthodox church in Brasov and one of the oldest churches in Transylvania.

Phew, that was a long sentence.

Aside from the fairy tale look, Saint Nicholas Church is built in a mix of Baroque, Byzantine, and Gothic styles. It was first built in wood in 1392 and replaced with stone in 1495.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania

10. Tampa mountain cable car

One of the first things I noticed in Brasov was the towering Brasov sign on Mount Tampa. It’s visible from all over town and makes for good photos.

It’s also possible to either hike to the top, or simply take the Tampa mountain cable car.

It takes a few minutes and costs 10/16 lei for one way/return.

Brasov, Romania
Brasov, Romania
You can see the cable car to the left of the lamp-post

11. Try a kurtoskalacs

You’ve already heard me talk about chimney cakes in my food posts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.

Well, they have this deliciousness in Romania, too!

Chimney cakes are known as kurtoskalacs here and they’re a neat Romanian street food. They are a bit longer and bigger than in Hungary, so you might want to share.

Brasov, Romania

12. Join a free walking tour

In Europe you’ll find free walking tours in many main cities, and Brasov is no exception. 

At 6 pm between April and September, a free walking tour by Walkabout begins from the main square.

The tour lasts 2-3 hours and comes highly recommended. I didn’t get to do the tour myself, but fellow travelers told me that it was really great.

Brasov, Romania

Transylvania day trips from Brasov

Brasov is a great base for exploring the surrounding area, and these sites and towns are all located in Transylvania.

  • Sighișoara – UNESCO site and Vlad the Impaler’s birthplace (2 hours by train – rent a car)
  • Peles Castle – former summer residence of the Romanian Royal family (44 km)
  • Bran Castle – Dracula’s Castle (45 min with local bus – price: 7 Lei / $1.6)
  • Sinaia – mountain town close to Peles castle
  • Sibiu – a city where the houses have eyes (3 hours with minibus)
  • Libearty Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti
Sibiu, Romania
Feeling watched in Sibiu

FAQ – What to do in Brasov

Is Brasov Romania worth visiting?

Absolutely, Brasov is worth visiting. It’s a beautiful city in the heart of Transylvania, surrounded by mountains, with a well-preserved medieval old town.

What is Brasov best known for?

Brasov is best known for its Gothic-style Black Church, the lively Council Square, and its close proximity to the legendary Bran Castle.

How long should I spend in Brasov?

Two to three days in Brasov should do the trick. It gives you enough time to explore the city and take a day trip to nearby attractions like Bran Castle.

Is Bran Castle worth a visit?

Yes, Bran Castle is worth a visit. Despite the Dracula legends being a bit hyped, the castle is a fascinating piece of history with beautiful views and intriguing rooms to explore.

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  1. Your colorful pictures really makes Brasov tempting! Gosh, we couldn’t believe we haven’t ever been to Romania that is one of our neighboring countries. And the funny thing is that a cheap air ticket to Amsterdam could fit in a weekend more easily than a longer drive from Budapest to Romania. Ah such a shame anyway. 😀

    1. I know, it’s a long trip from Budapest to Transylvania. It’s worth it, though. I was really surprised about the nature and contrasts between old and new. In many of the small villages it’s like time has stood still for the past 300 years. I was quite taken by Romania and will definitely go back at some point!

  2. Very nice storyline and great pictures! In Romania, particularly in Transylvania, there are a lot of medieval cities, worth visiting. If you are considering visiting again this part of the world, I would recommend Sighisoara and its ancient citadel; also Alba Iulia has a fortress which has been recently renovated.
    I am Romanian and I also enjoy travelling through various parts of Europe. There are so many wonderful things to see on the continent. 🙂

    1. There are! 🙂 I would have loved to swing by Sighisoara, but it seemed impossible to visit on a day trip with public transportation. I’ve heard so many great things about it!

    1. I guess Alex was talking about Cluj-Napoca. Not Cluj. Might seem like nothing but “Napoca” is the Roman name, added in 1974 to emphasize the heritage of the Roman Empire. Cluj is the Hungarian name (Kolosvar)

  3. Fantastic post, Miriam.
    I am always glad when I see foreign guests coming to Brasov and leaving with a big smile on their face. Your photos are very nice. What gear did you use for this? Did you use any editing software?
    From your list of things to do in Brasov, I would put Peles castle on the top. It is simply gorgeous and I highly recommend buying the ticket for the extended tour.
    Also, thanks to the proximity of the mountains and nature, the area around Brasov is perfect for cycling and hiking enthusiasts.
    As for places in Brasov, since you mentioned St. Nicholas church, it would be good to mention ”Prima Școală Românească” or ”The FIrst Romanian School” which is just a few meters away from the church. It is a wonderful museum full with interesting exhibits, of which I can mention the first Romanian bible and the first Romanian printing press.
    Also, a hidden gem of Brasov which is overlooked by the guidebooks is the Weavers’ Bastion. I won’t say why, you need to discover it yourselves.

  4. Hi , just reading your blog . I just didn’t get which part is off the beaten , not bitten I guess , path . I’m following your blogs sometimes but here I was really disappointed, as there’re only the most touristy places in the city , like a copy paste from the other blogs / guide books . As I like readying you , I’d recommend you to do it on your own and explore more that lonely planet says …. Good luck !

    1. Hi Juraj,
      Brasov IS off the beaten path compared to touristy places like Paris, Rome and Berlin. Although my blog is about hidden gems and underrated places, I do also visit mainstream destinations, too. You’re welcome to contribute with highlights or tips if you feel like it. I love hearing from my readers.

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