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My favourite getaway

During my internship in Bucharest, I would often take a train to Brasov. It remains one of my most beloved cities. Crossing the Carpathian mountains by train was just fantastic. After three hours I'd be in Brasov. It is a city that has many sides. It is a modern city with all facilities but with a classic atmosphere. Good transport, all kinds of hotels, a cozy center, good nightlife. All kinds of restaurants, mountains on the doorstep. Waterfalls, fortresses, saxon towns, ski resorts, all so close. It is a good place to stay and from where to explore sights nearby. You don't even need several hotels in one trip.

The history of Brasov

Traces of settlements from 9.500 years BCE were found around Brasov. The area was inhabited by the Dacians long ago. Germans who came to the region, then names as Transylvanian saxons, also had much influence. They were invited to help develop towns and cultivate the land. Brasov was built but carried the name Kronstadt. The Germans traded many goods and became wealthy. The city's location, between Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire, definitely helped. As is very obvious in Brasov, the Germans had a major influence on the city's architecture. The city grew and was surrounded by gates, of which for example Poarta Schei is still visible.

Brasov's central square and around

The main square has the mayor's former office, Casa Sfatului. Around the corner is the largest gothic church of Southeastern Europe, named Biserica Negra (the Black Church). The tower has a beautiful clockwork. You can walk around it and feel the old atmosphere, as little has changed on this square. Behind the square is the narrowest street of the city, Strada Sforii. It's actually the third narrowest street in all of Europe. Initially it was made to provide access to firefighters coming from the main road.

Tampa mountain

Visible from outside the city is the sign BRASOV, high on Tampa mountain. Just walk uphill from the center and any narrow street will take you to the city wall. By then you'd have spotted the cable car and can walk in its direction. It brings you to a viewpoint 960 metres above the center. From there, you have the best view over the city and it will helps orientation. There used to be a citadel but it proved to be unsafe as the Turks dominated the city from the mountains. The citadel was later demolished, as the Turks had left. The complete history of Tampa mountain, which is quite complex, can be read here.

Restaurants, hotels and transportation

As most of the center is pedestrianized, there are many cafés and restaurants. In summer, these are well visited all day and well into the night. Many good places are available and there are new ones opening often. My favourite places are all-time classics such as Festival 39, Italian restaurant Stradivari and Casa Romaneasca on the beautiful Piata Unirii (Union Square). Good hotels are all over the cities, they come in all kinds. Apartments, hostels, luxurious hotels or anything else you can imagine. Therefore, it is best to just search online to whatever meets your needs. I had a perfect stay in the Gott Hotel, which also has an excellent location. If you'd like any more suggestions; I have been to Brasov often and have contacts in the city. Feel free to reach out! Brasov is easy to reach from any part of Romania. Construction of an airport has long been planned but it is not yet there. The nearest airports are in Bucharest, Sibiu ur Targu Mures. Excellent information about transportation to, from and in the city is on this Wikitravel page.

Around Brasov

As Brasov is near the mountains and has a long history; there is so much to do in the area. Just to name a few sights on which articles will be written later: Bran castle, Rasnov citadel, Cheile Rasnoavei (rock formations), the Zarnesti bear reserve, Poiana Brasov, Predeal, Busteni with the cable car to Babele Sfix, Peles castle, the citadel of Rupea, the mud volcanoes near Buzau and the cities of Sibiu and Sighisoara. Ask any questions you wish if you'd like more information!

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