I recently visited the city of Brasov in Romania. It was by far one of the highlights of my current Eastern European trip, and I’m glad I went out of my way on this itinerary to visit the place. These were my first impressions;
Brasov is beautiful. I genuinely felt like I could walk around this little town and its surrounding countryside for days just marvelling at the idyllic setting. The gothic, baroque, and renaissance architecture found throughout the old town is simply stunning. Even regular buildings had a bright and chirpy charm to the them. Overall it was just a nice place to be.
To get the best aerial views of Brasov you can climb or take the cable car up 3000 feet to the top of Mount Tampa. This is where you’ll also find the Brasov ‘Hollywood’ sign. Alternatively there are some nice views of the Black Church and surrounding buildings from the balcony at the Black Tower. These were the best spots in my opinion for classic Brasov views.
The 3 Castles
One of the main reasons why tourists flock to visit Brasov every year is to visit the 3 castles; Rasnov, Bran, and Peles. Particularly in the case of Bran, where it is said to have been the home of Vlad the Impalor (the historical figure thought to be the inspiration for the 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula), you’ll find hordes of tourists.
My advice for anyone visiting the castles – particularly Bran – is that they are definitely a worth while visit, however don’t go with unrealistic expectations. I think the legend of the Stoker’s fictional Gothic horror novel combined with the historical intrigue of Vlad the Impalor in his own right, it had a lot of people going in expecting something that the tourist attraction could never have given them. It is after all just a castle. A very nice castle with an intriguing historical past, but still just a castle. Lower your expectations and you’ll probably have a good time plus learn some things about Romanian history along the way.
Prices for entry to all 3 castles are as follows;
Adult; 25 RON (£4.91 / €5.65 ) / Student; 10 RON (£1.96 / €2.26)
Adult; 20 RON (£3.93 / €4.52) / Student; 5 RON (£0.98 / €1.13) / Euro < 26 Card; 5 RON
Adult; 10 RON (£1.96 / €2.26)
Free Walking Tour of Brasov
If you’re looking for things to do in Brasov on a budget the Free Walking Tour run by Guided Brasov is something I recommend. Our guide was really helpful, knowledgeable about the local history, and took us to some really cool sights. Highlights included the citadel walls, St Nicholas Cathedral, and Black Church.
As with all tours of this nature the guides work on a tips only basis, which is something to bear in mind before you go. Tours depart daily at 6pm between 1st April and 1st November from the Town Hall Square next to the fountain.
Kismet Dao Hostel
Photo credit; Kismet Dao Hostel
For the 3 nights I was in Brasov I stayed at Kismet Dao Hostel (Str. Neagoe Basarab 8, Brasov, 500002, Romania.) I was initially supposed to stay just 2 nights but choose (in large part due to how good the hostel was) to stay another night. Particular highlights for me included the outdoor garden area and basement common room. Both were really cool places to chill out after a hard day’s sight seeing and the vibe just made it so easy to meet other people at the hostel. I always feel that you can judge a good hostel by its common room because it’s where you meet other backpackers, and Kismet Dao has managed to get it just right. They even have an X Box!
The location of the hostel was also a just 5 to 10 minutes walk from the Town Hall Square which meant you were only a stone’s throw away from pretty much all the historical sights and places of interest. That’s not the mention how helpful the staff were, the free beer vouchers you get upon check-in, and the fact the hostel even has a dog! You know a hostel is pretty awesome when the owner brings her pet dog in every day. 🙂
Prices for a bed in big dorm rooms at Kismet Dao typically start from around 41 Ron (£8.06 / €9.27) per night. Private rooms typically go for around 135 RON (£26.52 / €30.52) per room.
– Overall Brasov has left me wanting to see more. More of the town itself, the surrounding countryside, and also more of Romania. This is definitely a country I one day need to come back to.