Brasov

Travel Guide Europe Romania Transylvania Brasov

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Introduction

Piaţa Sfatului at night

Piaţa Sfatului at night

© Aeolos

Brasov is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, located in the souther central part of the country. The Southern Karpat Mountains act as a backdrop to the city, which is part of Transylvania. It has a well preserved city centre, which you can enjoy by taking the cable car up Tampa Hill. While in the city itself, the Black and St. Nicolas Churches deserve a visit, as does the Orthodox Church. But just walking in the city centre and tasting the atmosphere of this walled city is just as nice.

In the Middle Ages Transylvania had Hungarian rulers, who brought in Saxon settlers. They developed the walled town known in German as Kronstadt and in Hungarian as Brassó. Later development was further out so this old centre was largely preserved. It has good tourist facilities and is well worth an extended stay: perhaps because it lacks an airport, it's not as well known to westerners as similar old towns such as Sibiu and Cluj Napoca. Shop, restaurant and hotel staff often speak English and German.

For the visitor therefore, the core of Brașov is the old town (largely pedestrianised) and adjoining Șchei district. The modern city is to the east and north, with a "centrul nou" or civic centre, and low-rise blocks sprawling to the bus and railway stations and beyond. To avoid ambiguity, directions here refer to the old town centre.

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Sights and Activities

In the Middle Ages, Transylvania's Hungarian rulers brought in Saxon settlers, to defend and develop the area. They built up the walled city of Kronstadt, which today forms the Old Town of Brașov. Most of the city sights are here, in the pedestrianised zone centred on Council Square (Piața Sfatului) and along the spine of Republicii street. Main sights include the Piața Sfatului, the Black Church, and the former Council House. Around the walled city, you can see the Șchei and Catherine Gates, Weavers' Bastion, Black Tower, and White Tower.

  • The central square and streets around it show well-preserved, Medieval architecture;
  • The Romanian School House - Romania's oldest surviving school house, exhibiting books dating back to the 11th century;
  • The Black and White watch towers, on the hill overlooking the west of the City;
  • The Black Church (just south of main square) - Summer Tu-Sa 10:00-19:00, Su 12:00-19:00; in winter closes 16:00. Built as a Roman Catholic church in the 15th century in late Gothic style with three naves. It became Lutheran under the influence of Johannes Honter, the Luther of Romania. It was scorched by the Great Fire of 1689, hence the name "Black Church", and later restored in Baroque style. Its main features are the six-tonne bell, the 4000-pipe organ built in 1839 by Carl August Buchholz which is still played during weekly concerts, and a rich collection of Anatolian carpets, donated in the Middle Ages by city merchants. 10 lei adult, 3 lei age 7-18.
  • City Walls stretch along the west and south of the old town;
  • The Weavers Tower to the southwest includes an exhibition of arms and armour;
  • It is possible to see wild bears scavenging in the eastern suburbs of the city in the evening;
  • There is also a free walking tour that starts in the central square every day at 6:00pm.

Several day trips are possible from Brasov:

  • Bran where the incredibly commercialised 'Dracula's Castle' stands (can be combined with Râșnov);
  • Râșnov Castle a impressive ruined hilltop castle;
  • Sinaia and the amazing 19th century Peles Castle;
  • Sighisoara;
  • Several walled Saxon Churches.

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Weather

Mountain conditions mean that the nights are often chilly and weather can change rapidly. It is cold and rather snowy in winter, but mild, sometimes with hot days, in summer.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bucharest Otopeni airport (OTP) is about 160 kilometres south, and has good connections across Europe. There are direct buses to Braşov from the airport, and trains from Gara de Nord, every hour or two, taking 3 hours.

Sibiu airport (SBZ) to the west is similar distance but has fewer flights and less onward transport.

Braşov's own airport is a long-running tale of woe. The runway has been completed, but there's no funding to build a passenger terminal, and no flights.

By Train

Getting to Braşov is very easy, because it is a major Romanian railway hub. From the capital city Bucharest there are 18 trains daily and there are also frequent trains from other cities, as well as daily connections to Budapest, Hungary (via Oradea) and a EuroNight (fast night train) connection to Budapest via Arad. Another international overnight train arrives daily from Vienna. Also due to its affordability and comfort, train is the best way of reaching Braşov. Even though all Romanian trains are increasingly comfortable, try to take the InterCity (IC) trains, of which there are three per day. These are very modern and comfortable, as they are an initiative of the state railways to reinvigorate Romania's transport sector. Rapid trains are also comfortable and almost as fast as the InterCity trains. Accelerat trains are a fast alternative, lacking the kind of comfort an InterCity or Rapid train would provide. (In December 2011, Rapid and Accelerat categories were merged to InterRegio).

The cheapest way is the local train, labeled as Regio (abbreviated R before their route number, previously called Personal). There are three of these per day, and they take nearly twice the time to get there, since they stop at every minor station, but nevertheless they're a good way to know better about the local people. Train tickets for the Regio trains are very cheap, while for the InterCity are the most expensive. Trains also arrive in Braşov from Iaşi, Suceava, Baia Mare, Satu Mare or Constanţa.

By Car

Aside from the train, car is one of the most popular ways of reaching Braşov, due to its fairly good road connections. Road E60 will be the main road to use in and out or Braşov, because this European Road links Braşov to Bucharest in the south, as well as Cluj-Napoca, Oradea and Budapest, Hungary in the west. Road E68 will take you to Sibiu and further onwards to Arad and Timişoara. Road E574 takes you into the north, to the Moldavia region and the Painted Monasteries and Iaşi. The nearest airport to Braşov is Otopeni near Bucharest, which is 166 km away and accessible directly by the E60 road.

Parking can be difficult in Braşov, specially because coins are scarce after the new lei has been introduced. Do as the braşovians, park where you find a free spot. The police don't seem to bother much with such a small crime.

Winter tires are now mandatory in Romania when driving on snowy and icy roads. If you're coming in the winter season make sure that your car is completely equipped with tires bearing the M+S designation. Fines for non-compliance can go from €570 up to €920.

By Bus

There are quite a few intercity bus operators CDI (departures in front of the railway station), but these aren't as comfortable and reliable as the train. Buses to Bran and Râșnov leave from the Autogara 2 next to the Stadion Tineretului every 30 minutes (from the city centre by Bus 16, from the train station by bus 23). Longdistance buses like Flixbus stop in Autogara Bartolomeu next to the Stadion Municipal a bit west of the Autogara 2 (from the city centre by Bus 16, from the train station by bus 23).

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are clearly marked but make sure they turn the meter on.

By Public Transport

Buses in Braşov are run by RATBv (Regia Autonomă de Transport Braşov). They mostly run weekdays 05:30 to midnight, weekends 06:30 to 23:00; there's no night service. A standard return trip is 4 lei, and a one day pass (with ID) is 10 lei. The exception is bus 20, which climbs away up the mountain to Poiana Braşov: that's 5 lei single and isn't covered by the pass.

Buy tickets before boarding from the kiosks at the main bus stops. They're signposted Bilete si abonamente transport public and RAT. Many other bus stops have ticket machines, otherwise look for any nearby newsagent kiosk or super/mini market - they'll often display a sign "bilete". Validate your ticket on boarding.

Bus stops all have real-time digital displays of what's coming. For visitors, the most relevant bus lines are those looping the old town centre:

  • Bus 4 from railway station to Livada Poştei, north edge of the old centre.
  • Bus 50 from the valley SW of town through Piaţa Unirii in Schei, round old centre via Livada Poştei then out again SW.
  • Bus 51 from railway station to Piaţa Sfatului in old centre then Schei and Tocile, then loops back again.
  • Bus 52 from SE burbs along Saturn Bvd to old centre, loop and return.

Some other useful lines are:

  • Buses 5, 15 & 28 run the length of Strada Lungă to Livada Poştei.
  • Bus 23 or 23B from the railway station & Autogara 1 via Stadionul Tineretului (for Autogara 2) and Stadionul Municipal to the western suburb of Bartolomeu.
  • Bus 16 from Stadionul Municipal to city centre.
  • Bus 12 from Stadionul Tineretului (near Autogara 2) to Livada Poştei.
  • Bus 5 from the Primărie bus stop (New City Hall - 4-minute walk from the Livada Poştei bus station through the Park) to Stadionul Municipal via Strada Lungă and Bartolomeu.
  • Bus 20 from Livada Poştei to Poiana Braşov - at the kiosk, say where you're going for the appropriate ticket.

By Foot

The old town, and westward extension of Schei, are compact and walkable - indeed they're mostly pedestrian precinct. The new town and burbs stretch a long way. Bike rental is available in the central square Piaţa Sfatului, 4 lei per hour.

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Eat

The main square and streets radiating out from it include a large number of cafes and restaurants.

Fornetti is a Hungarian pastry chain with many outlets, eg at the railway station and downtown. They sell small pastry pieces stuffed with cheese or jam. Prices are fair and the quality is very high.
Ando's, Bvd 15 Noiembrie 6 (On main road 200 m E of old centre), ☏ +40 268 410 588. Daily, 24 hr. Fast food place with menus and sandwiches (chicken and fish) at low prices.
Panini - Also on 15 Noiembrie (nr. 40) is a 24/7 fast food restaurant, with great sandwiches for incredibly low prices.
La Republique, Strada Republicii 33 (in old centre), ☏ +40 744 351 668. Su-Th 09:00-23:00; F Sa 09:00-00:00. French-themed pub serving a wide range of sweet and savoury crepes. Part of a chain. Inexpensive. (updated Apr 2018)
Roata Norocului, Strada Crișan 6 (500 m N of old centre at foot of road to ski resort), ☏ +40 744 548 684. Daily 10:00-23:30. Good quality Romanian fare. Good service.
Bistro de l'Arte, Piața George Enescu 11 (in old centre), ☏ +40 720 535 566. M-Sa 09:00-01:00; Su 12:00-01:00. French style restaurant but also burgers & breakfasts. Madame is idiosyncratic about who she admits.

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Drink

For Sale Pub, Bvd 15 Noiembre 24 (100 m east of old town). Daily 13:00-23:30. Friendly long-established pub.
Old Firm Pub (formerly Gott Pub), Strada Hirscher 12 (On corner of Poarta Șchei). Daily 08:00-01:00. Scottish themed pub. Nice atmosphere, rugs covering everything. It has darts and a big plasma TV screen for football games. Wide selection of beers and they also serve breakfast.
Deane's Irish Pub & Grill, Strada Republicii 19. Daily 10:00-03:00. You can get Guinness, a host of Irish coffees and an Ulster Fry.

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Sleep

  • Beke Guesthouse, 32 Str. Cerbului (in old centre, off Porta Schei), ☎ +40 268 511 977. Very central. Shared toilet but clean. From €10.
  • Ioana Guesthouse, 1 Str. Dealu Melcilor (off Str Titulescu, 1 km E of old centre), ☎ +40 744 831 863. Friendly & spacious.
  • Hotel Aro Sport, 3 Str. Sfântul Ioan, ☎ +40 268 142 840. Just round the corner from Aro Palace Hotel, but an unrelated business, this is a clean modern budget choice. Rooms are small and minimally furnished but include a sink.
  • Hotel Postavarul, 2 Politehnicii, ☎ +40 268 455 700. The Postavarul is a separate wing of the Coroana (see "Mid-range") and bookings are made through that hotel. All of the immaculate rooms have washbasins, but some share a shower and toilet. Good location and service.
  • Kismet Dao Hostel, 2B Str Democratii (just off main square of Schei district), ☎ +40 268 514 296. Complimentary beer or soft drink, cereal breakfast, coffee and tea all day long, unlimited Internet & Wi-Fi access, bed sheets & towels, big lockers and tour information make this a great value. This hostel has a great staff and is blast to stay at. The staff regularly hosts barbeques in their new awesome yard. Dorm €10-12, private room €30.
  • La Despani Guesthouse, 128 Mihau Viteazu (2.5 km N of old centre), ☎ +40 721 373 747. Bright, clean, comfortable guesthouse located between bus station (Autogara 2) and old centre. A family-run hostel with informative, friendly, helpful owners. Free Internet. From €30/room.
  • Mara Hostel, 11 Piața Sfatului / 5A Str Johan Got, ☎ +40 769 648 148, e-mail: hostelmara@yahoo.com. Small hostel set in the middle of the old town, 200 m from the central square. Airy dormitories, wifi and friendly, helpful staff. Sheets provided, no lockers but room keys. €10/night.
  • Rolling Stone Hostel, 2A Piatra Mare (just off main square of in Schei district), ☎ +40 268 513 965. Family-run place, offering both dorms and privates. Cheapest bed is €10 with all that you need included (kitchen access, clean sheets, towels, laundry, Internet Wi-Fi). Tours available for all surrounding sights.
  • JugendStube Hostel, 13 Michael Weiss (in old centre, 2 blocks S of Bvd Eroilor), ☎ +40 771 098 322. Breakfast included, clean sheets, Internet Wi-Fi. €12 / night.
  • Hotel Ambient, 27 Iuliu Maniu (500 m NE of old centre), ☎ +40 268 470 856. 3-star hotel near the Old Town, offers very friendly service. All rooms have showers, minibar, international telephone, as well as some which have very nice balconies. If you want to splurge, there are some high-range apartments with all the amenities including jacuzzis.
  • Hotel Brasov, 38 Strada 13 Decembrie (1 km S of railway station, 2 km NE of old centre), ☎ +40 268 426 633. 3-star hotel, friendly & spacious. From €40.
  • Hotel Capitol, 19 Bvd Eroilor, ☎ +40 268 418 920. Slabby modern block, 3-star, situated in the old centre overlooking park. Has 184 double rooms that are modern and comfortably furnished (TV, phone, fridge.) Hotel has a restaurant, conference room, reception suite, room service, safe for personal belongings services, currency exchange, and courier service.
  • Hotel Coroana, 62 Republicii, ☎ +40 268 477 448. In the old centre, the oldest hotel in town, built in an impressive baroque style. Facilities: extensive reception area, "Brasserie" restaurant, breakfast lounge, conference hall, currency exchange office. 155 beds in 2 suite, 2 singles and 69 doubles furnished in classical style having telephone, TV - set, fridge, radio. Beware, there is another "Hotel Coroana-Brasovului" on str. Dr Saftu, 1 km SW of here.
  • Hotel Helis, 29 Memorandului (1 km north of old centre), ☎ +40 268 410 223. 3-star. Its immediate neighbourhood is not so enticing, but the Helis is a pleasant place to pitch up with nice wooden furniture, clean while decor and crisp white linen to match. Breakfast is included in the price, and the staff speak a variety of languages. The tasteful, spacious rooms come with TV, and the bathrooms are in good condition.
  • Casa Samurai, 12a, str. Petru Maior (1.5 km NE of old centre. Near civic centre but in complicated one-way alley: cars approach via str. Gheorghe Lazar), ☎ +40 268 547 162, +40 752 863 034 (mobile). Japanese design, quiet and clean, free WiFi. One can have breakfast with ones own food in a big common room or on a terrace. The very friendly landlord is from Japan, speaks Romanian, Japanese and English. The hotel offers free transfer from the railway station and a cheap transfer from the airport. Parking in front of the house. From €25.
  • Sylvania, 27 Caprioarei (2 km north of old centre), ☎ +40 368 730 720. Small b&b. Some of the rooms are ok, but avoid those in the basement. Management may only speak Romanian but seem used to refunding dissatisfied clients.
  • Hotel Excelsior, 39 Matei Basarab (On hillside 1 km E of old centre), ☎ +40 268 470 090. Quiet 2-star place.
  • Hotel Trifan, 1A bis Grivitei (3 km N of centre on Hwy 13 towards Sighisoara), ☎ +40 268 418 893. 3-star Trifan is more of a motel than a hotel, useful to stop over after a long drive. Rooms have shared bathrooms, pay more if you want your own shower.
  • Aro Palace, 27 Bvd Eroilor, ☎ +40 268 478 800. Premier hotel in the centre of the Old Town, with 15 suites, 262 double rooms and 30 singles. Most rooms offer minibar, satellite TV, telephone, radio and room service. Facilities include a Romanian, Italian and international restaurant, nightclub, bar, garden restaurant, breakfast lounge, conference hall, tourist information office, parking area, hairdressing salon and a casino.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes exist in most cities and towns. The number of internet cafes seems to be declining in bigger cities recently because of cheap availability of computers and the rising living standard here. Wifi is widely available in University areas, airports, public squares, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Pay-as-you-go Wifi is also available in many venues. If uncertain, look for plazas near the Town Hall, large parks or other important buildings. Most (if not all) McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks in Romania have Wifi access and so do most 3-star (and higher) hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Romania's country code is +40. To dial to other countries from Romania, dial 00 and then the international number usually without the first 0.
Public phones work well and are available in all areas. You must purchase a phonecard from a kiosk to use them. When dialing within Romania, dial 0 + three digit area code + six digit telephone.

There are five networks - four GSM/3G (Orange Romania, Vodafone, Cosmote and DigiMobil) and one CDMA (Zapp). Orange and Vodafone have almost full national coverage (98-99% of the surface of the country), while the newly-merged Cosmote+Zapp are expanding quickly. Tariffs are average for the European Union (€0.08-0.30/min, €0.04 per SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available but is, like in most of the EU, rather expensive. Pre-paid cards or recharge codes can be bought in almost every shop, either rural or urban.

On prepaid SIMs you can activate extra options ("extraopţiune") starting from €5 (+ 24% VAT) in total = RON27-32, with a validity period of 30 days, containing thousands (200 -3,000) of minutes and SMSs within the same network and up to 100 minutes outside the network, including most European Union fixed land-line networks and two or three mobile networks.

Post

Posta Romana is the national postal service of Romania. Postal services are generally very affordable, reliable and reasonably fast. Post boxes are red and can be found near the post offices, along the street or in main train stations. Post offices can be found in even the smallest towns and the opening hours are generally Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00am to 12:00, closed on Sunday. You can buy stamps here or at kiosks. Prices for international mail start at around €0.55 and takes at least 3-5 days to countries within Europe. It's slightly cheaper and faster for domestic mail to be send. Intercontinental post is slightly more expensive but takes much longer. For slightly more expensive but faster and more reliable services you can also try international courier companies like TNT, DHL, FedEx or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 45.64235
  • Longitude: 25.58841

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This is version 37. Last edited at 13:33 on Jul 3, 20 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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