Brasov is a breathtakingly beautiful city. It’s one of the biggest tourism centers for the country of Romania, in fact it may be the most visited town out of the whole country. The last time I visited, I was surprised at how much there was to do and see. I’ll tell you what to consider visiting, what to skip, how to get around, and where to be careful.
First of all, there is a castle nearby called, “Castle Bran”. The big tourist draw here is that allegedly, Count Vlad (who is the historical figure that inspired Dracula) stayed at this castle. It is not his castle, contrary to what all of the tourist information may lead you to believe. It was recently featured on, “The Amazing Race” and is actually quite worth a visit, though not for the reasons that you may think.
The castle itself is quite beautiful; it looks far more like something out of a Disney cartoon than anything from a horror movie. Tours run regularly of the interior, and I highly recommend that you take one. The surrounding countryside is breathtaking, and there are multiple hiking trails in the area that are a dream come true for avid outdoorsman. Skip the village at the base of the castle; it’s all tacky t-shirts and one seriously crummy haunted house. In order to get the Castle Bran, you’ll need to catch a bus in downtown Brasov. It’s really important that you have a Romanian phrase book to make sure that you get the right bus, and it’s even more important that you know what time the bus will be at the castle to pick you up, otherwise you’re stuck in the Romanian countryside!
The actual city of Brasov is very exciting. If you don’t care to see Castle Bran, there’s plenty to do right there in town. Enough for a couple of days of sightseeing or one at the very least. The city is still bordered by walls and watchtowers from hundreds of years ago. These are beautiful and also well worth a tour. The views from these watchtowers are truly breathtaking. The center of Brasov has cobblestone streets, beautiful old archways, and plenty of shops and restaurants. One thing you won’t want to miss will be the Black Church. It’s a beautiful historical cathedral that was once gutted by fire and is now restored.
Getting around and exploring on foot is no problem at all, and is actually the best way to see the city. Do avoid the internet cafes here though, they are filled with smoke and there’s almost always some kind of unsavory activity going on in them. Whether that’s gambling or something of a more uncomfortable nature, just stay out of them.
As is the case with most of Eastern Europe, be very careful about watching your personal belongings. Pick-pockets are everywhere in these areas of the country in particular, because of all the tourist activities. I would also highly advise against going anywhere with anyone you don’t know, even in groups.