Get to know one of the most romantic cities and important tourist centres in Romania
If you intend to spend a few days relaxing in Romania, don't miss Brasov! You can't help but fall in love with this city's enticing western atmosphere.
Brasov is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, and no matter what time of year you visit, you will always discover new places. Twelve years ago, I visited Brasov to see my brother, who was studying there. I had visited this lovely city before but needed more time to explore it. Since then, I have returned each time with enthusiasm and the desire to explore every alley of the old city centre, where the aroma of delicious food beckons even when you are full.
This gem city is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains in the central-eastern part of Romania, with a population of 283,901 and an area of 167.32 square kilometres. Brasov is a significant industrial, cultural, and commercial hub and a traditional university centre. It is interesting to know that the tourism industry has stayed at 5.3% of GDP since 2018 and is the eighth-largest contributor to the Romanian government's budget. Tourism and hospitality industries stimulate economic growth in the city as mountain tourism is a component of Romania's tourist heritage, which is currently interpreted differently by tourists due to its unique allure derived from natural, cultural, and social characteristics. It contributes significantly to the improvement of socioeconomic conditions through the creation of jobs, the generation of revenues, the expansion of businesses, the opportunities for innovation, and the development of new start-ups. Over 80% of the population is employed in the hotel industry (39.45%) or travel agencies (43.12%), with 61% employed in local travel agencies. Thankfully, Brasov has avoided making the same mistakes as Bucharest and Cluj, and Brasov's expansion areas have grown significantly more sustainably. The buildable land in the metropolitan area is suitable for various purposes, including industrial and logistical zones, new hotels, service and office spaces, and retail. During his most recent visit, Shane Dixon, deputy director of mission at the U.S. Embassy, praised Brasov for its efforts to become the green capital of Romania and stated that the city serves as an example of how a community can act sustainably. In addition, he admired how Romanians, and residents of Brasov in particular, responded to the needs of Ukrainian refugees following the Russian invasion. And because it was a business meeting, the mayor introduced the website investbrasov.org, where American investors can learn about the country's potential. In the global geopolitical context, he emphasised Brasov's willingness to work with investors and develop new strategies, opportunities, and challenges, as it is one of the country's most important tourist hubs due to its many historical and artistic monuments. It is interesting to know from a political perspective that the pandemic of COVID-19 and the conflict in Ukraine have shown structural weaknesses in the economy. The Romanian economy rebounded at 5.9 percent in 2021 and outperformed expectations in the first half of 2022, expanding at 5.8 percent despite a significant increase in inflation and heightened unpredictability resulting from the Ukraine conflict. In 2021, the fiscal deficit remained higher at 7.1% and could approach 7% in 2022 as fiscal constraints persist. In addition, Brasov has a severe employee shortage in the hospitality industry. The two years of the pandemic have left a greater impact on this industry, according to representatives of the Brasov County Agency for Employment.
The city offers a combination of breathtaking mountain scenery near Poiana Brasov and mediaeval history with German influences in the old town, still brimming with charm, where you will find many objects and old houses, particularly of a religious nature. You have to take it in stride to visit Brasov from a tourist's perspective, and you will be amazed by what you discover.
Why visit this city? Here are a few reasons to include it in your plans.
THINGS TO KNOW DURING A TRIP THROUGH THE WONDERFUL CITY OF BRASOV
We invite you to discover the top tourist attractions in Brasov! Brasov County is the most significant and frequently visited region for mountain tourism and has a variety of attractions, which places it second in Romania in terms of tourist flow, after the capital Bucharest, and is a significant economic contributor to the county. This southeast corner of Transylvania, which is easily accessible and has good infrastructure, should not be left off any tourist's itinerary. They say that Brasov is to be the most beautiful city in Romania, and it is not just a matter of marketing. In recent years, Brasov has attracted more tourists than the Romanian coast, and those who visit return frequently. It is a truly enchanted location of which you cannot get enough.
Once in the heart of Brasov, the city's legends seem less fantastical and more grounded in reality. Few cities in the country are as well-equipped to welcome tourists, and even fewer offer superior cafes. Brasov has the most developed restaurant scene outside of Bucharest, with friendlier people and a more laid-back environment than the capital. Due to the sector's potential, many individuals are becoming entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. Others view tourism as a simple investment and administer the pension, tourist villa, motel, hotel, or hostel remotely through the lens of their staff.
Brasov is full of legends and fairy tales, but it also has a unique, calming beauty that gives visitors the impression that they have stepped into another world, no matter the season. For example, a few days in Brasov during the winter turn into a fairy tale. The city becomes quieter and friendlier when night falls, and the snow highlights the building facades and Brasov's mysterious architecture. Among the tourist attractions are Sfatului Market (with the Christmas tree and Christmas market in winter, next to the iconic Council House); Republicii Street, full of buildings with a unique appearance; The Black Church, a symbol of Brasov and one of the most representative examples of Gothic architecture in Romania; Sforii Street, the third narrowest street in Europe (111 – 135 cm wide); Bastion of the Weavers, with its distinctive architecture and exceptional acoustics in south-eastern Europe; the Schei Gate, built in 1827; the magnificent Catherine's Gate, built in the 16th century to provide access to the mediaeval fortress; The Black Tower, from which you can take great pictures of Brasov; The White Tower, built between 1484 and 1494; The citadel, which once served as a critical point of defence for Brasov but was later converted into a prison. Let's discuss the most popular attractions in the city.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN BRASOV
The most famous and frequently visited tourist attraction in Brasov is Sfatului Square, which dates back to the Middle Ages when Saxon and Hungarian merchants often held fairs there. Sfatului Square, regarded as the city's heart, offers a breathtaking panorama, surrounded by well-preserved mediaeval buildings, artesian fountains, and benches that invite you to pause, admire and take photographs. Almost every weekend, Sfatului Square hosts cultural and artistic events, outdoor concerts, and antique fairs, among other activities. The Council House (former town hall), now a local history museum, is one of the market's most popular attractions.
Of course, you cannot leave Sfatului Square without trying the delicious Italian ice cream from the famous gelateria Emma La Dolce.
Sforii Street is the narrowest street in all of Europe and can be reached simultaneously from both sides if you hold out your arms. It is one of the most popular spots for photography enthusiasts and a meeting place for lovers in Brasov. Coming out of one of its ends, you will see the picturesque Mount Tampa and the Schei market, where there are many restaurants and places to indulge in bean soup in bread and some delicious papanasi. The street is 80 metres long and varies in width between 111 and 135 centimetres.
ALLEY AFTER THE WALLS, THE WHITE TOWER, AND THE BLACK TOWER
Alley After the Walls is an enchanting location that conceals a rich history of special events. This famous alley dates back to the 16th century and is an integral part of the fortifications surrounding the city of Brasov and a lovely promenade. The Black Tower and the White Tower, both constructed in the 15th century, guard its walls. The alley offers one of the city's most breathtaking views, particularly of Brasov's historic old centre. We will be able to reach the Graft Bastion, one of Brasov's most important tourist attractions, by descending the stone steps of the alley. The Graft bastion spans the water that drains through the canal surrounding the fort.
Photo by Anabela Coman
No Brasov holiday is complete without a stroll on Tampa, the small mountain just outside the city. Two hours of easy travel will bring you to the top of Tampa, where you can admire Brasov's view. If you do not enjoy mountain hiking, you can take a cable car to reach the top. However, there is a small fee for this.
Solomon's Stones, located in the southwestern part of the Schei district, is another area of tourist interest in Brasov that does not require payment. According to a legend associated with these imposing and somewhat terrifying rocks, King Solomon, fleeing from his pursuers, is said to have jumped with his horse across the valley that separates the two stones. Solomon escaped the abyss alive, but his enemies perished when they fell into it.
If you visit Brasov, the Black Church in the city's centre will likely be on your list of places to see. This historic landmark is the most significant Gothic church in the nation and one of the largest mediaeval churches in this region of Europe. The church's name comes after a fire that partially destroyed it in 1689, leaving its facades black from smoke. The restoration took nearly a century, and only one wooden board from the original structure survived. It has the largest bell in the country and the most extensive collection of Anatolian carpets in all of Europe, which is quite interesting.
If you want to extend your vacation in the area, I recommend dedicating a day or more to exploring the city's surroundings because you have a lot to see. You can find different options depending on how much you are eager to travel by car and what attractions you are interested in.
POIANA BRASOV is Romania's most opulent and largest mountain resort, a recreation area of national significance. A large number of Romanian tourists, especially during the winter, and the increase in the number of constructions to accommodate as many tourists as possible draw attention to a factor that plays an essential role for Romanian citizens. On a national scale, Brasov has become a key destination for tourism and sports planning. After the successful organisation of the youth Olympiad, the focus will be on the 2022 Winter Olympics. Nine ski slopes of varying difficulty, sports fields, a lake, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants exist. Most accommodations are luxury hotels, guesthouses, villas, or cottages. In the north of the resort, there are also two-, three-, and four-star hotels with a swimming pool, conference rooms, and a horse-riding centre.
Poiana Brasov's ski area is currently 70 hectares, with 20 kilometres of ski slopes. Brasov City Hall plans to expand the ski area by 30 hectares, resulting in an additional 10 kilometres of ski slopes, making it the largest in the country for winter sports. The network of slopes will connect the upper portion of the Postavarul massif to the Raşnov neighbourhood of Cheisoara. To make access easy to Postavaru Massiv, the council will install a 10-seat gondola with a capacity of 2,400 passengers per hour, departing from the Cheişoara-Raşnov station and arriving in the middle section of Wolf Slope. In the vicinity of the Cheişoara station, two 600-space parking lots will be available. In summer, there are many activities to enjoy, beginning with mountain trails surrounded by wild nature and unique landscapes, an ideal option for hiking enthusiasts, both beginners and experts, with the possibility of unique experiences such as paragliding, ATV rides, tasty cuisine and accommodation in places with a fantastic view; all of these details and facilities embrace an unforgettable vacation.
BRAN CASTLE, a former fortress, is built on a rock in a strategically key location. It is located at the entrance of the Rucar Bran passage, on the main road from Brasov to Campulung, surrounded by the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains. Bran is less than 30 km from Brasov and 200 km from Bucharest. Bran Castle is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and receives millions of visitors from around the globe. The castle offers the possibility of Halloween parties, and for a fee, you can take a tour of the castle at night. Obviously, in the back of your mind, you associate Bran Castle with Count Dracula, the other face of Vlad the Impaler's legend. The vampire sucked the blood of virgins and killed them for pleasure. And there is no way for your mind to react differently: the castle seems to dominate the entire area above, as its location is on a rocky outcrop. When you look at it, you anticipate seeing Count Dracula wearing a red cape and selecting his next victim.
Bran Castle is among Europe's most famous tourist attractions with affordable accommodation options. Still, the tourist attraction has more expensive accommodations than other places much more visited than the castle in Romania. The permanent exhibition "History of horrors from Transylvania" and the Tunnel of Time will take you through the history of almost a millennium, where both kids and adults will learn about all the myths, superstitions, and paranormal activities in Transylvania fascinating and not to be missed! After completing your tour, you can dine at the Casa de Ceai Restaurant, a prestigious establishment built with respect for the environment and the people, perfectly harmonious with Bran Castle's design.
History and literature combine to create one of the most famous legends in the world. And this is occurring here, in Romania! It would be a shame if you and your family did not visit this unique location at least once! After all, it is the birthplace of the most famous vampire in the world!
Like the Bran Castle, the Rașnov Fortress appears hanging on the top of the mountain. It watches over everything in its vicinity, just as it did in the past to prevent enemy attacks. You can leave your car in a parking lot at the base of the mountain to reach the fortress. Then, you can either take a stroll or a tourist-friendly train to the fortress. Inside, you will encounter a mediaeval atmosphere and objects you may have never seen before. It will be an extraordinary event and opportunity to learn many interesting things about how our ancestors lived in the 13th-14th centuries, how they fought, and how they defended themselves.
Numerous souvenirs, jewellery made from semiprecious stones, art objects, and books about the region's history and traditions are available. In the inner courtyard, there is a small square where visitors can plant a rose as a gift to the Rasnov Fortress. In exchange, the name will be engraved on a plaque next to the flower he planted. Rasnov's location on the commercial road connecting Transylvania and Romania facilitated its early economic development. The settlement has been a commercial transit hub since 1427, when King Sigismund of Luxembourg granted the right to a weekly market. It has retained its importance in Brasov, the largest commercial hub in southern Transylvania with southeast Europe.
If you are wondering what else you could do in the area, especially at the beginning of the summer, don't miss the Ecvestru Festival and the Rasnov Days, organised by the Rasnov City Hall and the Brasov County Council. There are horse parades, carriage and horse demonstrations, dressage, dances, and folk songs. Taking the route Bran Castle - Râșnov Fortress, you must also reach Moieciu.
Moieciu de Sus, Moieciu de Jos, Cheia, Măgura, Peştera, and Drumul Carului are six well-known tourist villages. Moieciu is to be among the most beautiful districts in the county. Moieciu de Jos is only 8 kilometres away from Bran Castle. It offers stunning mountain vistas and the opportunity to drive through the Rucăr-Bran Corridor by car or on foot. You can stay in one of the area's guesthouses, and by doing so, you'll get a good sense of the locals' spirit: they are always friendly, have a smile on their faces, and are willing to help you or at least serve you tuica, a traditional homemade alcoholic beverage.
Moieciu de Sus is located ten kilometres from Bran Castle. Moieciu de Sus is the only place you can be surrounded by nature. This location provides access to the entire Bucegi mountain range. The view will render you mute. This location is ideal for tourists seeking the peace of the mountains and escaping the city's noise.
COME AND SEE THEM
Therefore, we encourage you to visit Brasov. The experience will be suitable for all types of tourists, from seeking excitement tourists to those who appreciate nature, tranquilly, and fresh air.
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