Situated in the heart of the Carpathian mountains, in the middle of Romania, Brasov is a splendid medieval city and a top destination for travelers from all around the world. So what exactly attracts people here? What are the best things to do in Brasov?
Visit the old city center
Brasov wasn’t always a big city. Many centuries ago, its limits were the old walls, which are still standing and can be seen even today, on the South Eastern and North Western part. A walk through the idyllic streets in the historical city center shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours. Of course, there are a few must-see places worth visiting.
The most majestic one is the Black Church. You can’t miss it; it’s the most impressive building in Brasov, situated in one corner of the main square (Piata Sfatului). Originally a Roman-Catholic church, it was erected in the 14th century and was known and the Church of St. Mary. After the Protestant Reformation in the 15th century, the Catholic services were replaced by Lutheran ones. On April 21st 1689, a huge fire which destroyed most of Brasov also damaged the church, blackening its walls, hence its name, Black Church.
It is the biggest Gothic church east of Vienna and inside, you will find one of the biggest collection of Oriental rugs in the world. Just keep in mind that you’re not allowed to take pictures inside. Why? We have absolutely no idea.
Besides the Black Church, there are a lot of places to visit in the old city center: the Weaver’s Bastion, a hidden gem located at the foothills of mount Tampa. Inside, you’ll get familiarized with Brasov’s guilds and how each of them had to take care of a tower. Also inside this museum, you can admire a scale model of how Brasov used to look like in the 17th century.
Make sure you don’t miss one of the narrowest street in Europe, the Rope Street, used centuries ago by firefighters who carried the much needed buckets of water.
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For a fantastic view of Brasov, exit the city walls and climb to the White Tower and the Black Tower, which are visible from the main square.
Hike to Mount Tampa
Overlooking the city, mount Tampa, with its 960 meters of altitude, can be seen from almost every corner of Brasov. You can’t miss the Hollywood-style letters written on the Western side of the mountain, just beneath the peak.
Although you can get there using the cable car, hiking to Mount Tampa is one of the most relaxing things to do in Brasov. There are several trails that can take you up, the most popular being the switchback route. It’s relatively accessible for everyone, goes through a beautiful forest and takes about 1 hour. Once up there, take in the stunning views of the old town and the surroundings. Don’t stay only at the platform near the letters, climb two more minutes to the peak and you’ll have less crowds around you and more opportunities for those Instragram shots.
Attend a bear watching tour in the wild
Did you know that Romania has the biggest brown bear population in Europe, after Russia? (which is not considered to be in Europe and is a huge country)
Properly called the Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), it lives throughout the forests in the Carpathian mountains. After the ban on bear trophy hunting a few years ago, these wild animals are thriving, which is a positive fact, considering the fact that during the last decades, many species of animals went extinct.
If you are visiting Transylvania, bear watching is an activity which is in the top of the things to do in Brasov. However, because of safety reasons, you can’t attend this experience on your own, so you must book a tour in advance and you need a guide to take you there. NeoTour Brasov / Outdoor Holidays offers multiple choices for bear watching trips, some close to Brasov, some a bit farther, around 80 kilometers away.
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During this activity, you are taken deep in the forest, away from public roads or communities, where you will stay in specially designed bear hides. You must stay very quiet, as bears are very cautious animals and if they hear an unfamiliar noise, they will run away. Some hides offer you the opportunity to see the bears at ground level, from just a few meters away. These are also preferred by wildlife photographers looking for those perfect blurred background shots.
Of course there are more things to do in Brasov than these three but we tried to keep the list as clean and concise as possible. For a more detailed list of activities, you can check this post and choose the ones that suit your needs.
Remember, to explore Brasov and the surroundings you need at least 5 to 6 days. There are numerous hiking trails in the nearby mountains, hidden villages to discover, caves, the rural areas, fortified churches and citadels, mountain bike trails. Oh, the list can go on for a few hours. Just make sure to set your base in Brasov and start exploring.