Looking for ideas on things to do in Brasov, Romania? Here’s our top suggestions, whether you are travelling with kids or without.
Nestled in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, Brasov is a charming medieval city that is steeped in history and culture. Known for its cobblestone streets, gothic architecture, and picturesque landscapes, Brasov is a city that’s well-worth a visit.
From exploring ancient fortifications and the historical center to admiring the view of the city from the top of Tampa Mountain, Brasov has something for everyone.
Whether you are visiting for a day or staying for a week, here are the best things to do in Brasov.
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Brasov, properly written as Braşov and pronounced Bra-shOV, was first founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211.
It was then settled by the Saxons in the 12th century and became one of Transylvania’s seven walled citadels.
As Brasov was located at the crossroads of trade routes from the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, it became a pretty wealthy and influential city!
Today, the old town of Brasov is very well preserved and has a lot of interesting historical landmarks to explore.
Where is Brasov?
Brasov is located in the central part of Romania, about 166 kilometres northwest of the capital city, Bucharest.
It’s surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains in the historical Transylvania region and is one of Romania’s most visited cities.
How to Spend a Day in Brasov
If you only have a few hours in Brasov, take a walking tour and learn about the history and sights of Brasov.
The main square, Piaţa Sfatului, was once the heart of medieval Brasov. Lined with cafes, it’s a great spot to take a break and people watch, or let young kids chase the pigeons!
Nearby, the Black Church, which was charred in a fire in the 1600’s, is Romania’s largest Gothic church and has an impressive bell tower.
A short distance away is Strada Sforii, which at 1.2 metres wide, is one of Europe’s narrowest streets.
But if you have a bit more time, it’s well worth spending a few days in Brasov. There are so many interesting places to visit in Brasov that you could easily spend a few days in the city.
Brasov is also a good spot to base yourself if you are looking to explore the area or visit other places in Transylvania.
Best Things to Do in Brasov
Brasov is known for its historic city centre, which is home to many impressive landmarks and medieval fortifications.
While many of these attractions will be more interesting for the adults in the family, there are still plenty of opportunities for kids to have a great time exploring the city.
Highlights for my guys included squeezing down the narrow Strada Sforii, hanging out at Piata Sfatului, walking under Catherine’s Gate and taking the cable car to the top of Tampa Mountain. But really, there wasn’t anything they didn’t enjoy doing in Brasov!
Here are some of our top suggestions for the best things to do and see in Brasov.
1. Visit Piaţa Sfatului
The Council Square, or Piata Sfatului, is the main square of Brasov and is considered one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
The square is surrounded by beautiful gothic buildings and has a charming, bustling atmosphere that is perfect for people-watching and soaking up the local culture.
In the centre of the square, you’ll find the Council House and Trumpeter’s Tower, where traditionally costumed musicians appear each day at noon. There’s also a large, unique fountain in the centre of the square.
The square is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to stop for a drink or a bite to eat. During the summer months, the square is home to open-air concerts and festivals, while in winter it transforms into a magical Christmas market.
And it’s a great spot to visit with young kids, as there’s plenty of pigeons to chase throughout the square.
2. See the Black Church
Rising over Brasov’s Old Town, the Black Church is the largest Gothic church in Romania and one of the most popular Brasov attractions.
It received its name after a fire partially destroyed the church in 1689. All that remained were the stone walls, which survived but were blackened in the blaze.
The Black Church is also known for having the largest church bell in Romania, weighing in at seven tons!
The church also has an impressive 4000-pipe organ, which is one of the largest functional organs in Southeast Europe. Concerts are held several times a week in the summer months.
3. Walk along Strada Sforii
One of the narrowest streets in Europe, Strada Sforii is only 1.2 metres wide.
Also known as Rope Street, it was built in the 15th century and originally intended to be an access route for firefighters.
The street is about 80 metres long and you can walk the length of the street, or just take a few steps for a photo in this unique landmark.
4. See the White and Black Towers
The Old Town of Brasov was fortified in the 15th century with walls more than 3km long, but unfortunately, they haven’t survived as well as in other medieval towns.
There are still some sections of the fortification remaining, including the White and Black Towers.
The two towers were originally the same colour, but during the fire in 1689, the walls of the Black Tower were charred, hence the towers’ name.
It’s a slight hike up to either of the towers (it’s not stroller friendly, but it is doable with small kids) and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the Old Town.
Although we went during the day, it’s also a good spot to visit at sunset.
5. Visit the Schei District
During Saxon times, Romanians were not allowed to own property inside the walled city but instead, inhabited the Schei district just outside of the fortified city. Many of the following attractions are located in the Schei district.
6. See St Nicholas Church
Built in 1495, St.Nicholas Orthodox Church is located in the Schei district and was an important church for the Romanians.
Originally a Gothic style church, it was restored in the 18th century in the Baroque style. If you have the chance, go inside to see the well-preserved frescoes from the 18th century.
7. Visit the First Romanian School Museum
Beside St. Nicholas Cathedral is the First Romanian School.
Romanian language classes were first held here in the 16th century, and as the only Romanian school in the region, students came from all over to attend the school.
Today the school is a museum, containing recreated schoolrooms and even the first Romanian printing press!
8. See Catherine’s Gate
Also called eCatherina’s Gate, this is one of the oldest gates in Brasov.
The gate is under a beautiful, fairy-tale tower that was originally part of a bigger structure which was demolished in the 1800’s.
During the Saxon rule, Catherine’s Gate was the only way Romanians were able to enter the fortified city, and even at that, they were only allowed at certain times while still paying a toll.
Today, it’s a great spot to take a photo and you can walk through the gate without paying a toll!
9. Take a Walking tour
Walking tours are a great way to orient yourself in a city, learn about the history and sights and even get a bit of local perspective instead of what you could read in a guidebook.
The free walking tour in Brasov meets at the fountain in the main square (Piaţa Sfatului) every day at 3pm.
On the tour, you’ll wander through the historic center of Brasov and learn about the stories and legends of the town.
The tour is about 2 hours long, and while it’s free, tips are welcome at the end of the tour.
10. Climb Mount Tampa
Rising high above Brasov is Tampa Mountain. It boasts its’ own Hollywood-style sign, which you can see from most areas of the city.
Take a ride on the cable car to the top of the mountain where there’s a viewing platform and some stunning views of the city. It was one of my kids’ favourite activities in Brasov.
You can walk along the top of the mountain to several lookout spots facing away from the Old Town, but be aware there are no fences or railings, so be careful with kids!
Hiking to the top of Mount Tampa is also possible but be aware of wildlife!
We were warned about lynx and brown bears, but then we also saw people hiking around the mountain with their dogs.
Most of the trails begin at the edge of the Old Town and will take at least an hour to reach the top.
Places to Visit Near Brasov
While Brasov itself has plenty of historical landmarks and interesting sights to see, there are plenty of incredible places to visit in the surrounding area. From the towering peaks of the Carpathian Mountains to the fascinating towns of Transylvania, the region around Brasov is home to a diverse range of attractions that are well worth exploring.
11. Head to Poiana Brasov
Only 15 km from Brasov, visiting Poiana Brasov is a great way to get away from the city for a bit.
In the summer, hiking is popular with many hectares of trails and forest to explore.
In the winter, the ski resort is popular with locals and other Europeans, also offering snowboarding, tubing, luging and a skating rink.
12. Visit Libearty Bear Sanctuary
Located in Zarnesţi, the Libearty Bear Sanctuary is the biggest brown bear sanctuary in Europe and is currently home to 100 bears.
After being rescued from captivity, these bears are now free to roam over 69 hectares of oak forest. You can learn more about the sanctuary here.
It’s similar to the Bear Sanctuary that we visited in Kosovo, however at children under 5 are not permitted in the Libearty Bear Sanctuary.
13. Visit Bran Castle
Bran Castle, also known as “Dracula’s Castle”, is one of the most popular day trips from Brasov.
Buses run frequently from Brasov, with a stop at Raşnov Castle first. You wander the grounds of Bran Castle or pay an entrance fee to explore the inside of the castle.
There’s also a guided tour available from Brasov to Bran Castle.
14. See Raşnov Fortress
A trip to Raşnov Fortress is often paired with Bran Castle and is an easy day trip from Brasov. Although not as well known as Bran Castle, it’s just as interesting and it’s free to visit!
You can take the bus from Brasov, or book a guided tour that visits Rasnov Fortress, Bran Castle and Peles Castle.
15. Day Trip to Sighisoara
Sighişoara is 115km northwest of Brasov and another popular spot to visit when exploring Transylvania.
If driving, you can visit Sighisoara on a day trip but we’d recommend staying more than a few hours. There are so many things to do in Sighisoara and we loved our time there.
16. Visit Sibiu
The town of Sibiu is 145km to the west and about a 2-hour drive. While it is possible to visit on a day trip, it’s a fantastic city and there’s so much to do in Sibiu that we’d recommend spending at least a few days there.
Where to Stay in Brasov
There are many interesting and inexpensive places to stay in Brasov.
We stayed at a great apartment just a few blocks from the main square, but unfortunately it isn’t available anymore.
We’d suggest looking for accommodations in the Old Town, as it makes it easy to explore all that Brasov has to offer.
How To Get to Brasov
To reach Brasov by air, the nearest airport is the Bucharest Otopeni airport (OTP), located just outside of Bucharest.
If you’re travelling by car, the drive from Bucharest to Brasov is 140km, which takes about 3 hours and is fairly straightforward along A1 and E60.
Alternatively, buses leave from the airport and take about 3 hours to get to Brasov and the train takes anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 hours. Both options are fairly inexpensive.
Moving on From Brasov
Maxitaxis leave every half hour for Bucharest (2.5hr). They also go to Sibiu (2.5hr) and Sighisoara (2hr).
Trains run daily to Bucharest (2.5-5hr), Sighisoara (2.5-3.5hr) and Sibiu (2.5-4hr).
Buses run frequently to Raşnov, Bran, Zarneşti and Poiana Braşov.
If you have a car, roads are well marked and google maps are accurate, although google underestimates the time needed to drive on Romanian roads!
What to Know Before You Visit Brasov
Emergency: Dial 112
Hospital: (Spitalul Judetean Brasov) Calea Bucuresti 25-27, Telephone 0268.135.080
Tourist Information Centre: Str. Prundului 1. Located near the Catherine’s Gate, they provide maps, information and free wifi.
Telephone: Country code +40, City code 0268, and then the phone number
Currency is the lei, often posted in exchange offices as RON. Although Romania is a member of the EU, the euro does not circulate (yet).
ATMs, Credit Cards and Debit Cards are widely accepted (you will need a 4 digit PIN)
FAQ’s About Brasov
While you could see many of the main sights in a day, two days is the ideal amount of time to visit Brasov and fully appreciate all that the city has to offer.
July, August and September are the most popular months to visit Brasov, as this is when the weather is warmest.
But really, anytime is a good time to visit. In October, temperatures are cooler but not too cold and it’s gorgeous to see the leaves change colour.
In December, there is a great Christmas Market in the square and in the winter, there are plenty of opportunities to ski nearby.
Brasov is best known for its medieval centre as well as nearby Bran Castle. It is also known as the gateway to Transylvania and makes a great base to explore the region.
Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Brasov
Brasov was the first place that we visited during our two weeks in Romania, but it was one of our favourite spots in the country.
And that’s saying a lot, as we visited some fantastic areas, saw some unique sites, like the Merry Cemetery, and had some amazing adventures, like driving the Transfagarasan Road, one of the World’s Top Roads. There are so many great reasons to explore Romania, but exploring medieval towns like Brasov was one of the highlights.