Brasov On a Budget
SightsThe most iconic landmark of Brasov is the Black Church. First built from the late 1300s to the early 1400s, the Gothic church was nearly destroyed by fire in the late 1600s due to the invasion of an Austrian army. From its blackened walls, the church gained its present name. Since restored, the church now has a beautiful collection of Turkish rugs from the 17th and 18th centuries, balconies, stained glass windows, and stone columns, as well as an impressive organ which was added in 1839.
Brasov is also home to a number of medieval fortifications which have still survived today. Some of these include Graft Bastion from the 16th century with four levels and exhibits of medieval artifacts, the White Tower near Graft Bastion which offers views of old town from the top, the Blacksmiths' Bastion which now houses Brasov's archives of more than 100,000 rare documents of antiquity, and the Black Tower near Blacksmiths' Bastion which has panoramic views of the Black Church from the top.
Other well-known attractions include Catherine's Gate, the only original gate to have survived since medieval times (iconic for its fairytale towers), as well as the triumphal arch of Schei Gate, the hilltop Brasov Fortress, the preserved tower of Weavers' Bastion, and the castle-like Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church.
NeighborhoodsThe old town of Brasov makes up the heart of the medieval city. It is centered on the Council Square (or Piata Sfatului) which is lined by traditional red-roofed merchant houses. The Council House, built in the 15th century sits at the center of the square, also with the iconic red roof and a watchtower. Once serving as the city hall, this building now houses Brasov's historical museum. Brasov's most prominent landmark-The Black Church-also resides in the square. Leading away from the Council Square towards Bdul Eroilor is another popular sector and Brasov's main thoroughfare, Strada Republicii. It is a strictly pedestrian street always bustling with people visiting shops, cafes, and restaurants. On Tampa Hill, located on the southern side of the city, there was once a citadel where the remains can be seen today. It is also the site of the Weavers tower and a cable car station that goes up to the top of Mount Tampa.
ActivitiesThe best way to experience Brasov is to explore the old village on foot, taking in the intricate details of its medieval architecture, and enjoying the bustle of shops, cafes, and restaurants on the pedestrian streets around the main square. Visitors can explore on their own or join a guided tour for some deeper insight into the history and culture of the city.
Another popular activity is to visit the summit of Mount Tampa, the site of the original defensive fortress, for spectacular views of the city and surrounding area. There are plenty of trails for hiking the mount, as well as a cable car for riding access.
In Brasov there are also plenty of museums dedicated to showcasing the art, history, and culture of the region as well as a zoo, opera, theater, and more.
Food and DiningDue to the abundance of tourists, food in Brasov will be of great quality, though also more expensive than in other parts of Romania. Most restaurants are likely to serve traditional Romanian fare which takes its influence from a number of the surrounding cultures. Some of these include meatballs from the Turks (used in a soup called perisoare), musaca or moussaka from the Greeks (an eggplant or potato-based dish usually with ground meat), and snitel or wiener schnitzel from the Austrians (a thin veal cutlet that has been breaded and fried). One of the most common meals is a kind of polenta called mamaliga eaten on its own or as a side, while pork serves as the main meat in Romanian cuisine. Other specialties include gulas (goulash), fish or lamb dishes, cheese made from cow's or sheep's milk, and pastries like clatite (crepes), papanasi (Romanian doughnuts), and cozonac (a kind of sweet bread).
TransportationWhile there are plans underway for an international airport in Brasov, the next nearest remains the airport in the capital city of Bucharest, about 160 kilometers to the south.
Brasov is, however, located in a major railway hub. From Bucharest there are trains operating daily as well as connections to Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, amongst many other regional destinations.
The city can also be reached by car via E60 which links Brasov to Bucharest in the south, as well as Cluj-Napoca, Oradea and Budapest in the west.
Taxis, buses, and bike rentals are also available within Brasov.