“City at the foot of Mount Tampa”.
Where is Brasov?
The city of Brasov is in the Transylvania Region of Romania.
It is surrounded by the beautiful Carpathian Mountains and is teeming with gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, giving it a medieval feel.
An abundance of quaint lively cafes, restaurants and traditional shops line the cobblestone streets in the old town.
Mount Tampa forms a dramatic backdrop for the city with its “Hollywood” style sign perched on its summit.
Our journey from Budapest to Brasov was on the overnight sleeper train.
During our time in Brasov, we chose to stay at the Downtown Studio & Rooftop Terrace
A charming apartment in the Old Town district of the city.
Places of interest
There is plenty to do in Brasov. Often referred to as ‘The city at the foot of Mount Tampa’. A trip to the mountaintop is a must when in Brasov.
The two ways to reach the top of Mount Tampa are, hike to the top or take the Tampa Cable Car. We opted for the latter.
The top of the mountain is where the original defensive fortress was built.
The citadel was destroyed during Vlad the Impaler attacks and 40 merchants who refused to pay their taxes, found themselves being impaled, at the top of the mountain.
The walk to the top takes about an hour on the trail from the cable car boarding point at the bottom.
Alternatively, there is the cable car option, which takes the hard work out of getting to the top of the mountain.
It’s far quicker as well, only taking approximately 2.5 minutes from bottom to top. A single fare being 10 Lei and 17 Lei for a return ticket.
When at the top, take the trail out to the “Hollywood” Brasov sign located at the top of the mountain. From the viewing platform, there are some of the best views over the old town.
Different districts of Brasov become clearly visible, with the German part of the town displaying distinctive red painted roofs, lined along the straight streets surrounding Piata Sfatului.
While the Romanian Schei district is a rabbit warren of tiny streets, houses scattered everywhere, slowly merging into the hills. Unfortunately, the industrial area of Brasov can also be clearly seen.
The Black Church
A walk through the old center of Brasov and the signs will lead you to the Black Church. So called, as the great fire of 1689, engulfed the church, destroying the roof and the furniture inside. The smoke blackened remains resulting in it being referred to as the Black Church, a name which stuck.
Is the narrowest street in the city of Brasov and reputed to be one of the narrowest streets in Europe. Not far from Schei Gate, it was originally built to provide firemen quick and easy access between the main roads located at either end.
The White Tower
Built on the slope of Warthe Hill, the White Tower was for the defence of the Guilds of Tinsmiths and Coppersmiths.
Semicircular in shape, it has five levels of defensive galleries provided with firing holes, battlements and throwing bellows for liquids.
The Black Tower
Is a fort located on a large rock on Warthe Hill, the role of the tower was to deny the enemy soldiers an approach to the city walls, which are no further than 5 meters away.
Is the second square in the centre of old Brasov, only 8 min walk from the larger Council Square. Off the square is the first Romanian school and Saint Nicholas Church.
First Romanian School
Is located in the grounds of the 16th-century church of St. Nicholas. In 1583, it was the first school in present day Romania where the Romanian language was used. Until then Church Slavonic language had been used in education.
Saint Nicholas Church
Saint Nicholas Church, initially built in the Gothic style, later redecorated with Baroque architectural elements. Internally there are frescoes painted by the renowned muralist Mișu Popp.
The main square in the centre of old Brasov. It has a pillory, in the middle of the square. This was used as a means for public humiliation and punishment. Witches were also publicly punished here.
This stone and brick gate is built in classical style. Like a triumphal arch it has three openings. The middle larger arch is for traffic. Either side of it, there are two smaller, lower arches for pedestrians.
Just outside Brasov is Bran Castle.
From Brasov to Bran is a simple bus journey.
Commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. Often referred to as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although Stoker’s description of Dracula’s castle bears no resemblance to Bran Castle.
Disembarking the bus in Bran village, a tourist hub full of souvenir shops and eateries. We made our way following the marked signs for the castle entrance situated at Rucar – Bran passage. Just a ten minute walk.
Perched high on a steep hill this imposing fortification indeed resembles more of a fairy-tale fortess rather than a scary childhood memory of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Now a museum displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.
Visitors can take a guided tour or wander around at their own leisure.
Meander around the tight spaces and corners, visiting many rooms that house Queen Marie’s fine collection. However, do watch out for low ceilings, as Guy soon found out after a near miss with one, being 6’2”ft has its challenges.
Bran castle is nestled in a beautiful landscape that can be seen from many of the castle windows. So take a pew, strike a pose and capture that stunning photo.
At the bottom of the hill there is also a small open-air museum, exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant buildings from the Bran region.
In our opinion our day in Bran village visiting Bran Castle was delightful.
Mon:1200 -1600 hrs
Tue – Sun: 0900-1600 hrs
Tickets cost 40 Lei per person