15 Things To Do in Brasov Like a Local
While most of the destinations are closed for tourist now, we put together our guide of things to do in Brasov and around Brasov. Hopefully, when the pandemic will be over, this list will help you.
Brasov, Romania (or Kronstadt on its old Saxon name) was established in the 13th century by the Teutonic knights on an ancient Dacian land.
It then quickly improved into being one of the most important cultural hubs of the country during the Middle Ages, thanks to the Saxon settlers.
Today, Brasov has an urban population of about 300 thousand, still being a very important cultural hub, some even say it’s the heart of Transylvania.
Its romantic relaxed atmosphere, narrow cobblestone streets, Saxon architecture, centuries old buildings and squares, heritage sites and the still standing medieval fortifications around old town make it one of the most idyllic places to visit in Eastern Europe.
It is no surprise that Brasov is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
Walking in the old historic centre among the fortified walls makes you feel like you’re walking in an open-air museum that illustrates how charming European towns used to look like during the Middle Ages. But this is not a museum. This is the walled city itself, as if time has stopped here centuries ago.
1. Visit the Dracula-themed Bran castle, then get over it.
When we say Transylvania, what pops up in most people’s minds are vampires living in centuries old fortified castles, mysterious forests where wolves are howling at night, and of course Count Dracula.
While myths are always interesting and fun, let them be what they are: myths.
The character of Count Dracula first appeared in Bram Stoker’s famous novel, most likely based on a real 15th century prince, Vlad Tepes.
He was a ruthless and bloodthirsty ruler, taking pleasure in impaling his enemies, earning him the name of Vlad the Impaler.
But he was not an immortal vampire, he never drank the blood of his enemies to keep himself alive, and there’s no evidence he ever even lived in Transylvania.
Regardless of these historic facts, you can still enjoy the beautiful and spooky Dracula-themed Bran Castle in Brasov, sitting on a top of a hill, looking like a fantasy movie location. Open every day between 9am and 4pm, the entrance fee is about 10 euros.
And after you had your fun, move on. Romania and Transylvania are so much more than the Dracula myth. Give it a chance.
2. Taste authentic local food, one of the best thing to do in Brasov.
Experiencing a new culture is not complete without trying the local cuisine. The Romanian cuisine was influenced by many other cultures such as Turkish, Hungarian, German, and some other Eastern and Central European cultures.
The main ingredients used in the traditional dishes are pork, potato, paprika, pepper, onion, cottage cheese, white bread.
Romanians love to eat sour soups, sausages, maize as a side dish, goulash, stews, and although the main meat is pork, they also don’t dislike beef, chicken, fish, and lamb on Easter celebration.
La Ceaun restaurant offers these kinds of traditional dishes, and it is located right in the center of the city.
3. Check out the Transylvanian Hollywood sign.
Yes, you read that right. Brasov has put up a sign on the hills of Tampa that resembles the original Hollywood sign, only this version says ‘Brasov’.
Other than being a funny sight and looking excellent in photos, standing on the Tampa hills gives you a stunning panoramic view of the city.
The Brasov sign can be reached by a cable car that leaves from Casa Padurarului, a restaurant sitting at the foot of the hill.
4. Walk in the medieval historic center.
The historic old town still lives in the past, looking charming and romantic as ever. Look out for beautiful landmarks such as the Council Square (Piața Sfatului), the clock tower, and the Council house.
The beautiful Nicolae Titulescu park is only a 10 minutes walk away from the square. In case you want some company, the city offers free walking tours for independent travellers and small groups every single day from 3 pm.
It’s called Walkabout Free Walking Tours, and the meeting point is at the fountain located at the Council Square. The tour lasts about one and a half hours in which the tour guides show you the old town and talk about the city’s history and residents.
5. Look out for the many fortified buildings.
The Saxon settlers of Brasov had built a massive fortification system during the Middle Ages, that still has some visually stunning preserved parts.
The original defence system was built between the 15th and 17th century and included city walls that were more than 3km long, 2m thick and 12m high, 27 watchtowers and 8 bastions.
Here are the ones that still stand and can be visited today:
- Citadel of the Guard
- Draper bastion
- Graft bastion
- Tanners bastion
- Weavers’ bastion
- Blacksmiths’ bastion
- Feldioara fortress
- Bllack tower
- White tower
- Catherine’s gate
6. Take a photo with Catherine’s gate in the background.
The aforementioned Catherine’s Gate is the last remaining gate from the original fortification system. It was built in the 16th century and it got its name from the St Catherine’s Monastery that it once stood next to.
It was one of the only 5 entrances to the city that existed back then, and the only one that the Romanians, living outside of the city walls, were allowed to use to enter the then Saxon city during the Middle Ages.
The gate looks very idyllic, almost like a charming little tower from some children’s cartoon, perfect for a beautiful Instagram travel photo.
7. Explore Schei district.
Between the 13th and 17th century no Romanians were allowed to own property inside the fortified city, where only Saxons lived. So they all settled outside of the walls, south of the gates, in a district called Schei.
Whenever they wanted to enter the city to sell their products or buy something from the markets, they were only allowed through one gate, Catherine’s Gate and had to pay a toll.
Schei district today is a picturesque suburban valley with cobblestone streets, gardens and red-tile houses that still look and feel medieval, the deeper you walk into the district.
The atmosphere here feels more peaceful, more rural, and since only Romanians lived here, the buildings differ from those of the Saxon old town. This was the home of hard working simple people.
Tourists sights here are Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, the First Romanian school, and Schei Gate (built in 1827 right next to Catherine’s gate, as that was no longer enough for the heightened traffic).
8. Visit the Black Church.
Brasov’s Black Church, located in the old town, is the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe. It was built between the 14th and 15th century and got its name after it caught fire in 1689.
The interior has the largest mechanical organ in the country, a collection of Oriental rugs, paintings and sculptures of Biblical figures, coats of arms.
The exterior is sinister looking (after all, it’s large and Gothic) and has scrape marks on it, believed to be from soldiers sharpening their swords.
The church is open between 10am and 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday, between noon and 4pm on Sunday, closed on Monday. Entrance fee is very low (not even 2 euros for adults, and about 60 cents for children).
Other churches you might want to visit are:
Beth Israel Synagogue (Gothic Revival style, built in 1901)
St Bartolomeu Lutheran Fortified Church (One of the oldest buildings in the city, from the 13th century)
Harman Evangelical Fortified Church (UNESCO World Heritage Sight, 13th century)
9. Squeeze yourself through Strada Sforii, the 4th narrowest street in Europe.
Strada Sforii (Sforii street) is among the narrowest streets in Europe, so naturally, it is a popular tourist attraction. Its existence was first mentioned in the 17th century, as was initially built as a passage for the firemen.
It is 80m long and not wider than 135cm (at some parts only 111cm). It literally is a narrow cobblestone street, with high walls on both sides, so it looks uniquely medieval.
If you ask us, it looks like one of those dark corridor movie scenes where noblemen escape the city in the middle of the night, wearing those medieval hooded capes as a disguise.
10. Visit the dreamy Râșnov fortress, one of the best places around Brasov.
Sitting high on the top of a rocky hill, surrounded by forests on all sides, with fortified walls, this castle resembles Highgarden from the popular TV series Game of Thrones.
It was built around the 14th century, as a defence system for the surrounding Saxon villages, and it also provided shelter for refugees in times of crisis.
This citadel complex contains 30 houses, a school, a small shrine, a museum, mazes inside the building, 9 watchtowers, 2 bastions, a drawbridge, and yet another Hollywood-esque sign (this one saying ‘Rasnov’).
It used to function almost as a small self-contained village.
Rasnov fortress has been through rough times such as Ottoman invasions, fire, a long siege, earthquake, civil revolution, and managed to survive them all (although it has recently been restored to retain its former glory).
It is located 17 km near Brasov. Open every day between 9am and 7pm, the entrance fee is less than 3 euros.
11. Be a spectator at Cerbul de Aur (Golden Stag Music Contest).
Even though this popular song contest was first held in 1968, it was cancelled for different periods of times due to circumstances like communism (1971 – 1992) or lack of funds (2010 – 2017).
But it’s back again since 2018, in the hope of being an annual song contest. It is held in the center of the old town, in front of the city hall at the Council Square (Piata Sfatului), during summer.
It has many international competitors, kind of like the Eurovision, only much much smaller, but still a fun event.
12. See bears in the Libearty Bear sanctuary.
Libearty Bear sanctuary is a safe haven for bears who were not always treated the nicest by people in the country.
It was established over 20 years ago when Cristina Lapis saw many bears throughout the country kept in cages as amusements, and she wanted to end this cruelty.
Today there are more than 70 bears living in the sanctuary, most of them were saved from zoos, circuses or the hands of people even torturing them.
Here they live peacefully in their natural habitat, among trees and water pools. It’s safe to visit as tour guides accompany you, looking at the bears from a safe distance behind fences.
Located 26km near Brasov. Visiting times are very limited. Closed on Mondays, and all the other days open only from 10am until 11.15am, during feeding time. Entrance fee is around 15 euros.
13. Get your adventurous spirit ready.
Brasov offers not one, but four amazing amusement and adventure lands.
Parc Aventura is an outdoor adventure park in a forest where you have to climb the trails on the trees, while being secured by ropes.
There are 16 routes with different levels of difficulty, different fun designs, which all require some level of physical strength and a strong focus.
It’s completely safe, you can’t fall down or seriously harm yourself. Open every weekend (Friday – Sunday) between 10 am and 4.30 pm. Entrance fee is 14 euros for 3 hours.
Aquatic paradise is a leisure and spa center, with indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, saunas, jacuzzi, fitness room, silence room, a restaurant, even a football field and a sand-covered volleyball field. Opening hours:
2pm – 9pm on Monday, 11am – 9pm on Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 9pm on Saturday, Sunday. Day tickets cost 13 euros, less if you are only staying for a couple of hours.
Trei Brazi Fun Park has two tubing trails, on which you can slide down sitting in little rubber seats. During winter this is similar to snow bobbing and during summer it’s similar to flowing down on water slides.
Open every day between 10am and 6.30pm. Prices differ according to how many times you want to slide down, one time costs approximately 1.50 euro.
Superland is an amusement park for kids, so this is only suitable for families. It is full of all sorts of games and arcades, such as bowling alley, minigolf, bumper cars, cinema, laser escape, creative room, jungle land, coin zone, VR experience, dino valley, pirate island and many other fun rooms.
It is heaven for kids. Prices can be found on the website for each individual room. Open every day between 10am and 8pm.
Brasov has 3 main museums worth visiting.
The Museum of Ethnography showcases folk costumes, black and white photographs showing people wearing these clothes, craftsman tools, decorative textiles, jewellery, household tools.
It has a souvenir shop where you can buy embroidered clothing and other tools decorated with traditional Romanian motifs.
It is closed on Monday, open on all other days between 10am and 6pm, entrance fee is 1 euro.
The Museum of Urban Civilization presents a picture of Brasov from the 1600s until today, with visually stunning salons showing what people’s houses and rooms looked like in different eras.
It is closed on Monday, open on all other days between 9am and 5pm, the entrance fee is 1.50 euro.
The Museum of Art has a collection of famous 20th-century Romanian paintings, European crystals and porcelains, Oriental vases and small statues. It’s closed on Monday, open on all other days between 10am and 6pm, the entrance fee is 1 euro.
15. Take day trips in the wonderful nature near Brasov.
As the case is with every other Romanian city or town, Brasov is surrounded by amazing nature (more precisely the Carpathian mountains). If you’re staying for longer and already saw the places mentioned on this list, we recommend taking some day trips.
7 Ladders Canyon is a unique mountainous canyon, located 13 km near Brasov in the Southern Carpathian mountains. It is composed of limestone and containing 7 waterfalls, of which the tallest is 35m.
There is a metal stairs trail built through the canyon, which makes climbing up the mountain possible.
Solomon’s rocks, near the aforementioned Schei district, is a very popular place among locals, who often have picnics and barbeques here, or just hang out drinking beer and having fun, as it has grill places and wooden tables built for specifically these kinds of occasions.
Poiana Brașov ski resort is one of the best ski resorts in the country, beautiful as other European resorts, and much more affordable.