Brasov, pronounced brah-shóv, is one of Romania’s most visited cities. Its central location makes it easily accessible by train. Because Romania is an idyllic road trip country, it’s a popular stop on most tourist itineraries. Nestled at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is the perfect blend of medieval architecture, eerie history, legends, and culture encompassed in a small-town atmosphere. It was also a great place to make new friends, Paul & Ann, The Vicarious Voyagers!
We felt that Brasov is the jewel in Romania’s crown. And then we learned that it used to be called the “Crown City” in the Middle Ages, which is entirely fitting. So, to ensure you have a memorable stay, we have constructed an itinerary packed with amazing things to do in Brasov and around. Pro-tip, don’t forget to pack a magic marker! Read on to find out why and what adventures are waiting for you in Brasov.
Where to Stay in Brasov, Romania
Before we get into how to spend seven days in Brasov, let’s talk about accommodation. The city offers many options of different styles and for various budgets. Nearly every hotel is a work of art, so anything within walking distance to the Old Town is a safe bet. But make sure it’s comfortable because it will be your base for an entire week of day trips and exploring! Here are our top three recommendations, located close to all of Brasov’s iconic attractions.
In our opinion, Vila Katharina is the best hotel to stay at in Brasov, and it has received extensive media coverage for a good reason. It’s named after Katharina Siegel, Brasov’s resident and, allegedly, the mistress of Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration behind the book Count Dracula). This boutique hotel is the perfect combination of elegance, sophistication, and modern-day comfort.
This boutique hotel is housed in a 15th-century building registered as a national monument! But the most impressive part of Casa Rozelor is the selection of art objects and decorations that let your eye wander in admiration.
Casa Wagner is situated in a historic building that dates back to 1477. It embraces its Medieval look with furnishings and decoration and offers unbeatable views of the Black Church and Mount Tampa.
Best Places to Eat in Brasov
Restaurant La Ceaun
Located right on the Main Square, offers traditional Romanian cuisine. We recommend trying the bean soup served in a bread bowl or the delicious fried chicken with garlic sauce.
Bistro de’l Arte
Located in a former warehouse, uses local ingredients and aims to serve healthy international dishes in an atmospheric setting. Its co-owner and chef has earned the title of “Woman Chef of the Year”, and enjoys experimenting with her recipes. We enjoyed both Dinner and Brunch; we often return to places we love!
Dining here feels like a romantic candlelight dinner in an Italian wine cellar with live piano music. Except you can pair your dishes with local Romanian wine.
Things to Do in Brasov
Day 1 – Find Your Bearings in Brasov, Romania
The best place to start getting to know Brasov is on Piata Sfatului, The Council Square, also known as the heart of Old Town. It is over 800 years old and has many historic buildings that sustained little damage thanks to the heavy fortification.
The Square is saturated with colorful buildings that look most stunning in the summer sun. It’s hard to believe that it was the place of public executions and witches’ pillory in the Middle Ages. Before you venture out, visit the Brasov History Museum. It also acted as a council hall, courthouse and prison where criminals were tortured. Next to the fountain in the Square, you can take the Walkabout Free Tour that departs daily at 10:30 AM. If you are not a tour fan, the following are Brasov’s most popular attractions you can cover by foot on your own.
There is no better way to get the lie of the land than by climbing up Tampa mountain to the Brasov Hollywood sign. The sign itself is very impressive, but even more so are the panoramic views from the lookout point. Take the cable car if you are not in the mood for hiking.
Once you’ve made your way down, proceed to Poarta Ecaterinei (Catherine’s Gate). This gate used to be toll in Medieval times, where farmers would pay to enter the citadel and sell their produce. At first glance, the four enchanting turrets inspire fairytale memories from our childhood. Infact they symbolize that Brasov exercised the death penalty.
After passing through the gate, make your way up to Turnul Negru (Black Tower) and Turnul Alb (White Tower). It’s a bit of a stair climb, but you’ll get to capture another spectacular angle of the city and the Brasov Hollywood sign.
From there, make your way down to Piata Sfantul Ioan to marvel at some of Brasov’s best street art. This is also the place to spot the city’s summer events.
Day 2 – Explore the Dracula’s Den
Bran Castle, located only 30 minutes away, is the main reason why people visit Brasov, Romania. It helped defend Romania against the Ottoman Empire, but its popularity is owed to Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”. Apparently, Bran Castle most closely identifies with the description of Dracula’s Castle in the book. Take a tour to learn about werewolves, ghosts, and dragons as you stroll through the spooky halls. BYO garlic!
The most appropriate way to end this eerie day is by visiting the Black Church back at Council Square. Before it got restored, its walls were black from nearly burning down in 1689. Two things capture your eye upon entry. Antique Turkish tapestry that lines its tall walls perhaps acquired when Brasov, Romania was the trading intersection between Ottoman Empire and Western Europe. And the 4000-pipe organ which is considered one of the biggest in Europe. In the summer, the church holds organ concerts at 6 PM, which has been an unbroken tradition since 1953. It absolutely cannot be missed.
Day 3 – Visit the Birthplace of Dracula
On this day, you can leave the garlic at home as you’ll be meeting Dracula in his human form. Sighisoara is located about two hours northwest of Brasov. It is best known as the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (The Impaler), but it’s also one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.
Visit Casa Vlad Dracul, where Vlad Tepes was born, and proceed to his statue before spending the afternoon wandering around the colorful citadel. Designated as a World Heritage UNESCO site, this charming old town feels frozen in time.
Day 4 – Visit Europe’s Most Progressive Castle
About an hour’s drive away, Peles castle is one of the newer castles in Romania but not any less impressive. In fact, it was the world’s first castle to be fully powered by electricity. Its majestic architecture at the foot of picturesque mountains has managed to attract filmmakers. Every room has a different theme, but we enjoyed the Turkish salon and the stained glass windows the most.
On the way back, make a stop in Rasnov, Brasov’s smaller counterpart with a Hollywood sign, and visit the fortress which is over 700 years old.
Day 5 – The Serpentine Road to the Sky
Your visit to Romania won’t be complete without an ascend of the Transfagarasan Road – originally built for military purposes and dubbed as ‘the Best Driving Road in the World’ by Top Gear.
Romania’s communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu did not spare resources or lives building this road which is one of its kind and serves as a monument for the many lives lost in the process. Take your time taking in the views once you reach the top and head to the Balea lake for a meal when you are ready.
Day 6 – Unleash Your Creativity and Discover Romanian Pottery
Horezu village, four hours away from Brasov, is the heart of Romanian pottery. Each piece represents local folklore motifs and is perfectly imperfect and unique in its own way. Craftsmen use local resources such as mineral-rich soil, goose feathers and wild boar hair, and traditional techniques to prepare their masterpieces. The locals are happy to share their skills, so you can join a workshop and walk away with your own handmade souvenir.
Day 7 – Stroll Through the Narrowest Street in Eastern Europe
For your last day’s quest, dig up that magic marker we told you to bring and head to Strada Sforii (Rope Street), just five minutes walk from the Main Square. This is the narrowest street in Eastern Europe, which was used as a shortcut by the firefighters back in the day. Soak in the rainbow colors and messages written all over the walls. Take your magic marker and proclaim your love to someone you care about, or Brasov, perhaps. And if you spot our message, we hope it makes you smile!
We invite you to return to Council Square for dinner and people-watching, observing with a new perspective after everything you’ve learned.
We hope Brasov, Romania stirs your imagination as much as it did ours, and you leave this city fascinated and inspired in equal measure. Please share your recommendations in the comments below, if you’ve traveled here in the past.
Also, check out our post on our Road and Rail Trip Through Romania!