"Braşov is one of Romania's most visited cities-- and for good reason. Piaţa Sfatului, the central square, is the finest in the country, lined with baroque facades and pleasant outdoor cafes. Within easy reach by bus and train are the ski resorts of Sinaia and Poiana Braşov, the castles of Bran and Râșnov, and the trails that lead into the dramatic Bucegi Mountains.

Republicii street and the view of the mountains
Republicii street and the view of the mountains

A charming medieval town flanked by verdant hills on both sides, Braşov started out as a German mercantile colony named Kronstadt. Located at the border of three principalities it became a major medieval trading centre. The Saxons built ornate churches and townhouses, protected by a massive wall that still remains. The Romanians lived in Şchei, just outside the walls to the south-west." (Lonely Planet Eastern Europe)

Braşov's main attractions

The Council Square (Piața Sfatului)

The Saxons built massive stone walls and seven bastions around the city that are still visible today, as well as ornate churches, elaborately trimmed buildings and one of the finest central squares in the country, said to be the spot to which the legendary Pied Piper led the children of Hamlin. Located at the heart of old medieval Brașov and lined with beautiful red-roofed merchant houses, the Council Square, known to the Saxon population as the Marktplatz, is a nice place to rest and soak in the beautiful scenery.

The Old Town Hall (Casa Sfatului)

The administration for Braşov was here for more than 500 years, the building dating back to XIIIth century. On top of the building sits the Trumpeter's Tower, used during the Middle Ages as a watchtower for warning the citadel inhabitants of approaching danger. Today, the old city hall houses the Brasov History Museum.

The Black Church (Biserica Neagră)

Braşov's main landmark, just south of the Piaţa Sfatului (Council Square), is the Black Church, the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul and still used by German Lutherans today. Built between 1383 and 1480 (delayed by an Ottoman razing), its name comes from its appearance after a fire in 1689.

  • Summer hours (Jun, 15 - Sep, 15): 10:00-17:00 Mon-Sat, mass 10:00 Sun, organ recitals 18:00 Tue, Thu & Sat in Jul & Aug and 18:00 Tue in Jun & Sep.
  • Winter hours (Sep, 16 - Jun, 14): 10:00-15:30 Mon-Sat, mass 10:00 Sun.

St. Nicholas Church (Biserica Sf. Nicolae)

The church dates back to the XIVth century. First built in wood in 1392, replaced with a stone structure in 1495 and considerably expanded in the 18th century, the church is a true architectural masterpiece. With a mix of Byzantine, baroque and gothic styles, it features a slender tower and four corner towers.

The Rope Street (Strada Sforii)

The narrowest street in Romania, considered the narrowest street in Eastern Europe. It is 80 meters long and its width is between 111 cm and 135 cm (3.64 to 4.42 ft). First mentioned in official documents in the 17th century, it was built to facilitate the access of firefighters to the city center. It was newly renovated in 2003.

Brașov's Defensive Fortifications

Ever since Saxon settlers arrived in the early 12th century, invading Mongols, Turks and others gave them a tough time, repeatedly destroying the old settlements of Bartholoma and Corona. Thereafter, the Saxons set themselves to building fortifications around their town.

Most work was done between 1400 and 1650, when outer and inner walls were erected, together with massive defense towers and gates. Part of the defensive wall, once 40 feet high, seven feet thick and two miles long, can still be seen today, though most was taken down in the 19th century to make room for the city's expansion.

Of the original seven bastions, only a few have survived, including the newly renovated Graft Bastion, located in the middle of the citadel's northwest wing. On the west side of the wall, walk along picturesque După Ziduri Street ("după ziduri" means "behind the walls") to catch a glimpse of the 15th century White and Black Towers. The Blacksmiths' Bastion, one of the original seven built and guarded by the city's guilds, is located at the southern end of După Ziduri Street. Follow the city wall southeast to the fairy-tale Catherine's Gate. Built in 1559 and once the main entrance to medieval Kronstadt, it is the only original city gate to have survived the test of time. Nearby is the classicist Șchei Gate, built in 1827. The Weavers' Bastion can be admired on George Coșbuc Street.

Tâmpa Mountain (Muntele Tâmpa)

Brașov is often referred to as the city at the foot of Mount Tâmpa. Above the Weavers' Bastion, along the southeastern side of the fortress walls, is a very romantic alley (Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu), shaded by old trees and dotted with many benches. From here, you can hike to the top of Tâmpa Mountain, where the original defensive fortress was built. When Vlad Țepeș attacked Brașov in 1458-60, the citadel was destroyed and 40 merchants were impaled on top of the mountain. Walking to the top takes about an hour; follow the red triangles from the cable car station or the yellow triangles from Brediceanu Alley. You also could elect to take the Tampa cable car to the peak (3,000 feet) for the best views of the old town.

Also see Lonely Planet's Top 48 Things to do in Brașov.

Nearby castles

We arrange cheap, quick and easy transportation to nearby castles and ski resorts.

Peleș Palace, Sinaia

Located in the Prahova Valley at the foot of Bucegi Mountains, 44 km from Braşov, Peleş Castle was a former summer residence of the Hohenzollern Royal House. It is now one of most important museums in Romania, a final resting place for several Romanian monarchs including King Carol I, who died here in 1914. Started in 1873 under Viennese architect Wilhem Doderer, it was inaugurated in October 7, 1883. Styled in German Renaissance, with elements of Gothic, German Baroque, and French Rococo style, surrounded by terraces decorated with statues, the castle contains more than 160 rooms.

King Ferdinand, who succeeded Carol I, commissioned the smaller, art nouveau-style Pelişor Castle nearby. Pelişor's 70 rooms feature a unique collection of turn-of-the century Viennese furniture and Tiffany and Lalique glassware.

  • Winter hours (Sep 15, 2011 - May 14, 2012): Mon-Tue closed; 11:00-17:00 Wed; 9:00-17:00 Thu-Sun.
  • Summer hours (May 14, 2012 - Sep 17, 2012): Mon closed; 11:00-17:00 Tue; 9:00-17:00 Wed-Sun (Pelişor Castle: Mon, Tue, Wed closed; 12:00-19:00 Thu and 11:00-19:00 Fri-Sun).
  • For more information refer to Peles' official website

Bran Castle / "Dracula's Castle"

Located between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains on the Transylvania Alps, 20 km from Braşov, the castle is famous as Dracula's Castle although Vlad Ţepeş lived in the castle only for a short time and only as a guest. Construction started in 1378, it was essential in protecting the Hungarian king from the Ottomans and Tartars' invasion.

Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Although Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Ţepeş, ruler of Walachia.

  • Summer hours (May, 1 - Sep, 30): 12:00-18:00 Mon; 9:00-18:00 Tue-Sun; last entrance at 18:00.
  • Winter hours (Oct, 1 - Apr, 30): 12:00-16:00 Mon; 9:00-16:00 Tue-Sun; last entrance at 16:00.
  • Christmas & New Year's hours: 09:00-4:00 Dec 24/31, 2011; 09:00-16:00 Dec 25/26, 2011 & Jan 1/2, 2012.
  • For more information refer to Bran's official website

Râşnov Fortress

It is located at about 15 km from the city of Braşov, on the road that links Wallachia and Transylvania. The fortress was built around the year 1215 by the Teutonic Knights as protection against invading Tartars and was later enlarged by the local Saxon population. Strategically located on the commercial route linking the provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, Rasnov differs from other Saxon fortresses in that it was designed as a place of refuge over extended periods of time. As such, it had at least 30 houses, a school, a chapel and other buildings more commonly associated with a village.

It is freshly renovated and thus is the best preserved fortress in Romania. It also offers a breathtaking view as it is located on a big hill.

  • Hours: 9:00-19:00 daily.

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