The 2nd most visited city in Romania after the capital Bucharest, this list of the top things to do in Brasov will show you exactly why this destination is a must-visit on your travels in this country too.
Dating as far back as the Medieval era, Brasov was always the first stop for weary travellers after the gruelling crossing of the Carpathian Mountains.
Nowadays, you can more easily take a 2.5hr train from Bucharest and arrive ready and refreshed to enjoy the dozens of fantastic things to do in this Transylvanian city.
From epic hiking to famous castles, traditional villages and craft beers, there’s a ton of offer in and around Brasov, which makes it the perfect trip HQ in the mountainous region of northern Romania.
A car would definitely help for trips out of the city, but there’s also more than enough to do if you’re travelling independently using public transport or guided tours like I was.
So strap in and prepare to be inspired for a Transylvanian trip with this list of the 17 best things to do in Brasov…
- Hiking in Romania: 15 Best Spots
- 20 Epic Places to Visit in Romania
- Top 15 Things to Do in Bucharest
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
#1 Book a Walking Tour in Brașov
As you’ll know if you read this blog a lot, whenever I arrive in a new city, I love to start my time there with a great walking tour to help orientate myself… and my time in Brasov was no different.
Built by Teutonic knights in 1211, Brasov has been one of the richest towns in the region, especially as it was the first stop for all traders coming in from the south of the Carpathian mountains.
While the centre of this city may be small, it is so packed with historical landmarks that I really recommend taking a tour with a local guide to make sure you see the best of it.
Boasting the biggest gothic church in Eastern Europe, most of what remains within the city walls has been here since the 14th century and this top guided tour is the perfect way to explore it.
Don’t miss the Piata Sfatului, otherwise known as the Council Square, which is at the heart of this Medieval enclave, the 13th century Town Hall Clock Tower or St Catherine’s Gate, which is the only remaining original medieval entrance point to the city.
You can also walk Europe’s narrowest streets here, which is called Strada Sforii and should not be missed!
#2 Go to an Organ Concert at the Black Church
I’m sure you already have the Black Church on your list of things to see in Brașov, but if, for some reason, you haven’t, let me remind you to get it on there!
This church, which also sits in the old part of the city, is the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe and organises indoor weekly live concerts, where the unique Buchholz Organ can be heard.
The biggest functional organ in Eastern Europe, this instrument dates all the way back to 1839 and the sound, as you can imagine, is quite unique!
The church’s concerts mostly focus on classical music during their 8 month long season, but occasionally also stray to some more contemporary pieces, with modern instruments joining along.
The complete concert schedule is available on the church’s website here.
Interestingly, the Black Church is not actually black in colour, but was given the name after a fire in the 17th century darkened much of its appearance with smoke damage.
#3 Visit the Museum of Memories of Communism
And another top thing to do in Brasov’s city centre is to visit the Memories of Communism Museum.
Right next to the central park, in the heart of Brașov, just ask locals for the “communist museum” if you get lost.
An ever-growing collection of items and stories from the 50s to the 80s here paint a small but insightful picture of this difficult historic period in Romanian history, and taking a couple of hours to visit this worthwhile exhibition space will certainly be eye-opening.
#4 Get Lost in the Schei Neighbourhood
Once you’ve explored the historical city of Brasov, it’s time to head up towards the mountain that lies beyond the citadel walls, because checking out the Schei Neighbourhood is definitely one of the top things to do here.
Pass through the old city gates and into the Romanian neighbourhood beyond, where the difference between the two parts of Brasov is easily noticeable.
Originally the city of Brasov was under Saxon rule and was built as in an organised grid, with straight angles, wide main streets, 3-4 story houses, elegant statues and a general feeling of order.
In opposition to this Saxon enclave, the Romanian communities settled right outside its walls (as they were not allowed to do so within the city walls) and once you set foot beyond the inner citadel, the streets have a much more rural feel to them.
Narrow roads with small houses dominate here, and big gardens that almost climb into the mountain make wandering the Schei district a fascinating maze that is well worth getting lost in.
Any exploration of this area should include a visit to the St Nicholas Orthodox Church and culminate in a famous community gathering spot known as Pietrele lui Solomon, or Solomon’s Rock.
For decades this has been a place people come to get fresh spring water, roast vegetables in autumn or enjoy a family barbeque on a summery Sunday… so why not join them?!
#5 Take an E-Bike Tour to Poiana Brașov
Renting an eBike is the perfect way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time in Brasov, and an eBike tour will give you the added pleasure of having a guide to explain what you’re seeing as you whizz past too.
Once I was finished with the historical centre of this city (the Saxon part within the old citadel walls) and had wandered though the Romanian neighbourhood of Schei, it was time to ride to Poiana Brașov – the start of a forest road.
This is where your eBike will really come into its own as you enjoy a delightful 45 minute cycling through beautiful scenery on the edge of the mountains.
I was travelling solo in Brasov of course, but can totally imagine how this cycle trip would be the perfect way for an entire family to enjoy an easy nature-based activity close to the city.
For any difference in fitness levels or skills, eBikes ensure everyone can enjoy this part of Brasov together.
#6 Get the Best Brasov Views
Brașov is nested in a cauldron-like valley with mountains surrounding it in almost all directions.
You’ll realise this as soon as you arrive, but the best time to really take advantage of the city’s setting is at night.
For epic aerial, after-dark views of the city from an elevated spot, try heading to either (or both) of these 2 places.
Worth noting, you can also hike them during the day if you want some good city shots and feel more comfortable.
As a solo female traveller, I’d definitely opt for hiking in daylight!
1. Tampa Mountain
This is the landmark mountain of Brașov where the huge Hollywood-style sign can be seen from anywhere in the city.
Night views from Tâmpa are quite the adventure, as there is a 1 hour hike to the top.
The terrain is not that difficult, but comfortable footwear is advised as there can be some loose rocks underfoot.
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy the idea of walking in the woods at night or alone, there’s also a handy cable car option that will get you to the top in style!
This is a popular spot with locals for romantic dates or watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve and is easily reachable by road.
If you don’t have a car, take the #20 bus from Brasov’s city centre and get dropped just a couple hundred meters from the fantastic view spot.
#7 Escape the Crowds with the ‘Outside the Walls’ Walk
While Brasov is gorgeous, there’s no getting away from the fact that it gets full of tourists, especially in the summer months.
So, if you feel like the crowds are a bit much, can I suggest an off-the-beaten-track alternative thing to do?
Simply cross the main boulevard next to the Council Square, turn into the nearby alleyway, walk for 2 minutes and head out of the old city walls.
You’ll immediately find yourself in the woods, next to a creek, with a temperature drop of a couple of degrees. This is the Outside the Wall Walk.
As well as providing a lovely stroll in nature, this park is also where the 2 old watchtowers of the city still stand.
The White Tower and Black Tower were built around the end of the 15th century and make a great place to grab some photos of Brasov’s main square.
Both feature wooden staircases you can climb, which give great views of the city, and the Black Tower (so-called after lightning damaged it) has now been safely renovated and includes a glass roof.
#8 Eat Kurtos Kalacs
So often travelling is about sampling local food as much as it is ticking great attractions off your list and trying the little traditional, sweet cake known as kurtos kalacs is a must when you are in Brasov… I was in love from the first bite!
With written recipes dating back to the 17th century, these days you can find small street carts and huts that make them fresh all over the city and wider area.
Worryingly tempting, as there was one almost at every corner, and I ended up giving in and eating a lot more than I should – thank goodness Brașov offers so many outdoor, calorie-consuming activities to counterbalance its cuisine!
A hike a day keeps the kilos away, I believe is their saying in these parts!
#9 Hike the 7 Ladders Canyon
And talking of hikes, just a short ride from Brașov, the amazing 7 Ladders Canyon is a must do thing in Brasov.
Simply hop on the #17B bus from the centre of the city and you’ll be dropped off right at the gate that makes the start of this trail.
A lovely stroll through the woods until you get to the actual 7 ladders, these icons are easy to spot given they are literally built right into stone!
Climbing them will allow you to come out on top of the canyon, but you’ll have to work for it!
You’ll need both hands for this feat and however chilled your day has been so far, this short scale will require all your focus, as the ladders are built at 90 degrees and usually a bit slippery given the tiny waterfalls all around.
But the adrenaline doesn’t stop there!
While the ladders will take you up to the top of the canyon, a hair-raising zipline can bring you down… or you can opt for a nice tame walk on an alternate route. Your pick!
#10 Tour the Transylvanian Castles
I’m not really one to chase popular legends, but there’s no question that one of the best things to do from Brasov is to head to some of the nearby Transylvanian castles.
And first up, it’s Bran Castle.
Just 30km from Brasov, this castle was home to the infamous Dracula, so even though it’s often packed with tourists, you really can’t not go.
An architectural marvel, sitting on top of a narrow rock with the spectacular Bucegi mountains as a backdrop, you can get to Bran Castle by local bus and buy tickets at the entrance.
Alternatively, you can also take a castle tour (here’s my top pick) to get there that also includes these great Transylvanian attractions…
- Peleș Castle, located in the town of Sinia, is also a must-see near Brasov. Home to the Royal Family of Romania for centuries, it remained part of the Monarchy’s empire right up until King Michael renounced the throne in 1947.
- Râșnov Fortress dates back to the 14th century and is one of the best-preserved mountain fortresses in the country. It’s far less popular than Bran Castle, but even more spectacular in my opinion, making it another top thing to do from Brasov.
#11 Day Trip to the Saxon Villages
And another top tour to take from Brasov is to the beautifully preserved Saxon villages of Transylvania.
A must see on your Brasov itinerary, these traditional villages are just a convenient hour away by car.
Found in a cluster covering around 20 sqkm, the most famous of the bunch is called Viscri and is the home of the famous Blue House, owned by none other than the King of England. Apparently, he’s hugely responsible for putting this area on the map in recent times (thanks Charles!)
There are very well-maintained cycling roads connecting the villages and more than a few old barn houses that have been converted into farm-to-table restaurants.
The area is totally worth a day trip from Brasov so you can enjoy and take it all in slowly.
#12 Hike Up Postavaru
And coming in at number 12, there’s no question that heading up Postăvaru Mountain is another must-do thing in Brașov.
The biggest ski and mountain bike resort in Romania there’s tons of options to get up here, ranging from full-on workouts using your own 2 feet, to an easy cable car ride.
The workout version involves hiking all the way up to the mountain summit from Brașov.
As explained in point #5 of this article, the forest road from the city takes you to Poiana Brașov. From there you take the Red Road all the way to the summit, which is about a 4 hour hike if you factor in plenty of photo breaks and a decent pace.
Alternatively, the easy way to reach this Brasov attraction is by taking the #20 bus to Poiana Brașov and then the cable car all the way to the top. This takes less than an hour and, once you’re up there, you can wander around as much as you want at your own pace.
Whichever option you take, just make sure you stop at Postavaru Chalet, their biscuit salami (another traditional Brasov treat) is legendary and should not be missed for the carnivores among you!
#13 Visit the Libearty Bear Sanctuary
When it comes to wildlife attractions in Brasov, there is one I highly recommend.
Located not far from the city, the municipality of Zărnești has donated 100 acres of land to help create the biggest bear sanctuary in Europe.
A place where these magnificent animals get a chance to roam free on their own patch of land, some have even been rehabilitated here and then sent back into the wild.
Rescue bears from as far away as Russian carnivals and American circuses can also be found here and, in total, more than 120 animals call this sanctuary home.
If you’d like to visit and support this important conservation work, then it pays to know the sanctuary have 2 English speaking tours a day, with all proceeds going to maintaining the sanctuary.
Here’s a great guided tour that includes a visit to the bear sanctuary, including a hotel pick up in Brasov and transport there.
#14 See Brown Bears in the Wild
Alternatively, you can also travel to Brasov and see some bears in the wild too!
Romania has the biggest population of these creatures in Europe and there are many observatories around Brașov that you can visit to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
However, unlike the sanctuary, this is not a do-it-yourself experience.
Both for your safety, and that of the bears, there are a couple of licensed agencies that transport small groups of no more than 10 people from the city out to the best bear-spotting places. Check out this well-reviewed option for more info.
You might find all the rules of a bear-watching trip a bit tedious, but the experience is well worth it, trust me.
After all, it’s not every day that you get to see these magnificent animals roam free while still being safe!
Chances are you’ll also see some of the region’s other animals while you’re waiting for the bears too – wild boar, deer and even lynx are not uncommon spots.
#15 Marvel at Amfiteatrul Transilvania
Not since the Alps have I seen a scenery quite like this!
High up on a hill, not far away from Bran Castle, 200 year old barns and houses have been restored into an ecological resort that is fully independent and will make you feel hundreds of miles away from city life.
You do need a car to get to Amfiteatrul Transilvania from Brasov, but it certainly is worth the hassle for the incredible views.
To the right you have the wild Piatra Craiului Massif and to the left the spectacular Bucegi Mountains, so you can immediately understand why the area is commonly referred to as the Carpathian Gate.
And once you’ve taken in all the beauty with your eyes, it’s then time to also feed your stomach too with an honest, country meal featuring ingredients straight from their own farm and recipes straight from the oldest cookbooks in the area.
#16 Eat at Bistro del Arte
And talking of eating, another thing you can’t miss when you come to Brasov is a meal at Bistro del Arte.
Widely regarded as the best Romanian traditional restaurant in the country (not just Brașov!), this is a must-stop for any foodie.
Open for more than 20 years and still owned by the head chef, this daring female-owned eatery repeatedly ranks superbly thanks to its continuous unearthing of old recipes and ancient ways of cooking.
Bringing back many ingredients long forgotten in Romanian cuisine, the female head chef here is widely regarded as one of the best in her generation as she combines foods and flavours that initially make people lift an eyebrow in disbelief!
So if it’s Romanian traditional food adapted to the 21st century you’re after, then this is the place you need to eat!
Conveniently located in a beautiful historical building in Brasov’s Old City and you must call ahead and reserve a spot as tables are limited and get booked up fast!
#17 Sample Romanian Craft Beer
And no fantastic local food suggestion would be complete with a good drink suggestion to wash it down with!
The Romanian craft beer scene has exploded in the last decade so, keen to see what all that fuss was about, I found a great little ruin-bar in Brasov called AftarStube.
Found on a small street in the city centre, it boasts over 50 craft beers from all over the country.
With no way near enough time to try them all, I can, however, highly recommend one called Czell, which has been brewed in Brașov since 1893.
AftarStube really is a must-visit in Brasov if you are a beer enthusiast.
Brasov Mini Travel Guide
When to Visit Brasov?
I’d certainly advise visiting Brasov during the summer months when the warm weather will be the best for sightseeing and day tripping.
Crowds will be the thickest at this time, but the long daylight hours will give you plenty of time to explore.
That is unless you want to enjoy some winter action here, in which case, the snow season starts from December!
How to Travel to Brasov?
If you’re coming from a far away, then you’ll probably be arriving into Romania through Bucharest’s international airport.
As always, I use Skyscanner to get the best rates on flights into and across Europe.
You can then travel on to Brasov using locals trains or by hiring a car and driving.
Check out some great deals on car hire in Romania here.
Alternatively, if you’re arriving into Romania from a nearby country, as I was, then travelling by train or bus to Brasov is very easy and cost-effective.
I highly recommend using Trainline for booking all rail and coach travel across Europe, as they bring many services together in one handy place and give you all the information you need in English, as well as the opportunity to pay for tickets and passes in multiple currencies – hoorah!
Otherwise, Flixbus are my go-to in Europe for extremely affordable coach travel.
How Long to Spend There?
I think 2-3 days is the perfect amount of time to take in this city, including some of the great day trips I mention in this article.
The best way to get around central Brasov is using your own 2 feet in my opinion – it’s both safe, easy and quick to do so!
Don’t forget cable cars are offered for journeys to the top of some of the nearby surrounding mountains and guided tours are the perfect way to explore the surrounding attractions, like the Transylvanian Castles.
Where to Stay in Brasov?
There’s tons of great accommodation available in Brasov from hostels and guesthouses to hotels and apartments.
For those looking for something with a little more privacy and comfort, check out these top picks.
Best Travel Insurance for Romania
I wouldn’t dream of travelling to a country like Romania without proper coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads which I’ve used during my time in the country and across the world.
World Nomads are actually one of the few companies that will insure you for a huge range of outdoor activities as standard – essential for a country with as many active opportunities as Romania!
Alternatively, if you’re a digital nomad or remote worker looking for travel insurance, then look no further than Safetywing’s great Nomad Insurance policies.
These guys will cover you at some seriously great prices!
Top 4 Packing Items for Brasov
#1 Good Camera
You will be pretty much snapping non-stop during your time in Brasov and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous city justice.
I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes
There will be a lot of walking in Brasov, it’s as simple as that!
Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers.
Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine!
#3 Good Water Bottle
All that sightseeing is thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because Romanian tap water is drinkable… and free!
#4 Good Backpack
And to carry your water bottle, camera and kurtos kalacs, you’re going to need a decent backpack that will help you balance the weight as you walk.
In my opinion, you can’t go past the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack, which is also perfect for helping you avoid pickpockets too.
Travel Money in Brasov
When it comes to paying for things in Romania, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Euros account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in this country… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
SAVE THIS ARTICLE TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it, my list of the 17 best things to do in Brasov.
A must-visit destination in Romania, I hope I’ve convinced you to head to this part of the country.
Have any questions about travelling in or around Brasov?
Then drop them into the comments box below and I’ll get back to you…