“Braşov is one of Romania's most visited cities-- and for good reason. Piaţa Sfatului, the central square, is the finest in the country, lined with baroque facades and pleasant outdoor cafes. Within easy reach by bus and train are the ski resorts of Sinaia and Poiana Braşov, the castles of Bran and Râșnov, and the trails that lead into the dramatic Bucegi Mountains.” (Lonely Planet Eastern Europe)
Located almost in the center of the country, Brașov is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, the ski resorts of Poiana Braşov (12 km west) and Predeal (27 km south) and major tourist attractions like Dracula’s Castle in Bran (29 km southwest), the Royal Palaces in Sinaia (46 km south) and Romania’s best preserved medieval fortress in Râșnov (15 km southwest) among others.
Bran Castle, aka the famous Dracula’s Castle, is located in the charming village of Bran, 29 kilometers southwest of Brașov.
Built in the 13th century to protect the border between Transylvania and Wallachia and given as a gift to Queen Mary of Romania (one of Queen Victoria's many granddaughters) after the Great Union of 1918, the castle is known for none of the above; however the legend according to which Dracula was a prisoner here in the 15th century makes it Romania’s top visited tourist attraction.
Located at the top of a hill, with its very own 'Hollywood-style' sign and an amazing view over the surroundings, Râșnov Fortress offers a wonderful glimpse into the Transylvanian Middle Ages; a charming little square, ruins of houses, towers and bastions and a well with an intriguing legend make it worthy of a check off on a traveler’s list!
Peleș Palace, the former summer residence of the Romanian Royal family is simply stunning! Located in Sinaia, a picturesque ski resort, only 46 kilometers south of Brașov, the palace was one of the most modern in Europe in the late 19th century! You can choose between 3 types of guided tours and get to know what it would have been like to be born a blue blood!
If you have the time, definitely check out Pelișor Palace (just off the main alley going to Peleș Palace); this 20th century Art Nouveau jewel, with a very homey feeling is Queen Mary's 'baby', designed after her exquisite taste for art!
Not far away is Sinaia Monastery, with two Orthodox churches, one dating from the 17th century and the other from the 19th century. It's considered the birth certificate of Sinaia (the name comes from Mount Sinai located on the Sinai Peninsula, belonging to Egypt- where Moses read the 10 commandments), as it was the first thing to be built here. It's a great chance to see the inside of a Romanian Orthodox church, and more so, one with gold-plated furniture!
Only short bus rides away, are the Saxon fortified churches of Hărman and Prejmer. The Saxons left behind about 200 in Transylvania and about 150 have been preserved to this day!
Prejmer is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can actually walk around it through a defense corridor built inside its walls.
Visiting a Saxon village is a unique experience in Transylvania, as it offers a great insight into the cultural diversity of the region and the different traditions, legends and life styles of its co-inhabitants.
One of the last inhabited walled fortress in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the supposed birth place of Count Dracula are the 3 things that make Sighișoara a must-see. Add the cobbled stone streets, the pretty colored houses and the medieval feel and you get the perfect location for a half day trip, in the heart of Transylvania.
The landmark of the city is the Clock Tower, a 64m high tower built in the 13th century. It is today a museum of history. Other interesting sights are:
Poiana Brașov is one of the most popular Romanian ski resorts and it's just a 20 minute bus ride away. It's the perfect spot for skiing or snowboarding; but if you are not into winter sports you can always go for some hot wine and a snowball fight!
For a great view of the city, you can always go up our very own mountain, Tampa, part of the Postăvaru Massif with an elevation of approximately 960 meters. A hike takes approximately 45 minutes or up to an hour, depending on your pace.
The easiest trail starts right next to the cable car (which is also an alternative for the ones not so in love with the outdoors or simply hung over).
Most of the mountain (1.5 km²) is a declared nature reserve, due to the rare animal species (bears, birds, butterflies - 35% of Romanian butterfly species) and plant species which can be found there.
The view from the summit is spectacular, offering a panoramic view of the city; on a clear day, the entire Burzenland (southeastern part of Transylvania) is visible.
For those who are truly passionate about the real life of Dracula, better known as Vlad the Impaler, Poenari is the real deal! Climb to the top of the 1480 steps and besides a gorgeous view, you get to say you have stepped on the grounds of the real Dracula’s castle.
“Bison Valley” natural reserve in Vama Buzăului, located 45 km east of Brașov, is Romania’s youngest buffalo reserve (since November 2008) and currently has only eleven bisons, a deer and two kids. In Romania, the bison has been extinct for about two or three hundred years, and now we are trying to re-inhabit our lands with this creature.
The buffaloes born here will be released into the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains. Meanwhile, the administrators are looking for a godfather/godmother for each one of them, willing to buy them food for a 12-months period.