When entering the city of Brasov (pronounced Bra-shov), Romania you might for a split second think you’ve arrived in Hollywood.
But lowering your eyes will instantly bring you back to the medieval Brasov with its beautifully old buildings and quaint town-like qualities. Brasov’s old center makes you feel like you have transported to another time. Not because the people dress from medieval times, but because the buildings are original with their double-doored windows and the quieter streets.
Walking around the center of Brasov in the early morning was like being in a whole new world. Different than other European cities – it has its own rhythm. The expensive clothing shops open, the terraces are dotted with couples drinking coffee and the waiters are cordially chatting while they smoke outside the restaurant entrance. Ordering a coffee and a pastry for breakfast was so pleasant compared to other cities I’ve visited. Even though Brasov is a big city, you will be treated with wholesome small-town charm and genuine smiles.
The central square, Piata Sfatului, has the tall while city hall and just around the corner you can see the back of the Black Church. What makes this church unique is that it was Roman-Catholic for more than a century and a half and then became Lutheran after the reformation. Services are still held in this church on Sundays for the small German community. As true of all the Romanian “tourist attractions” I saw, the Black Church kept its authenticity. There is a plaque inside the church on a column where bullet holes can be seen from the Romanian Revolution (1989). The Black Church is also home to hundreds of hand-woven carpets and the originals hang from the top balcony inside the church and on the walls. The carpets were given as gifts to the church from its many visitors.
I could have walked around the city for hours with no destination looking at the old houses and tight alleys. As Brasov was only a day trip, it wasn’t possible to try to get lost in cracks of the city. So up to the gondola it was. You can see that a wall and a moat surrounded the city. The water is now gone and the valley it created in the land was used. I saw one part that was turned into a children’s play area.
Looking down over the red-roofed city, you can see the Black Church, City Hall, White Tower and Black Tower. The towers being lookout posts in older times. In a ten minute walk you can reach the Hollywood – I mean Brasov sign. You can look behind it over the city and then step onto the platform for an eagle eye’s view. You can clearly see where the old city was and how water surrounded it. Brasov expanded on both sides of the old city and it started to fill the whole valley. You can also see the Carolinenthor Castle on top of the adjacent mountain. It was also surrounded by a wall and built in the 15th century. The top of the mountain was busy with other people snapping photos and enjoy the view, but there is enough room for you to get to the edge of the platform and enjoy for as long as you want without being pushed out of the way or having someone try to take photos over your shoulder.
Timing was lucky because as soon as I reached the Piata Sfatului after visiting the mountain top and sat down to enjoy a coffee, the rain came down in buckets. It was the beginning of August when I visited Brasov and the average daily temperature in Bucharest was 30 degrees.
Traveler’s Tip: Brasov is a mountain city, so make sure to bring warmer clothing for your visit and an umbrella could come in handy too. If you plan to take the gondola up the mountain to see the Brasov sign and the city view, bring runners because it is a mountain and so the terrain is rocky and uneven. It also requires some steep climbing.
After wandering around for a while longer, the day was almost over so the last stop on the way back to the hotel was going up to the Carolinenthor Castle . The first thing you should know about visiting the Castle is that the road is very steep and narrow, so if you’re a little afraid of heights you might want to close your eyes until you reach the top. The second thing you should know is the Carolinenthor Castle probably looks the same on the outside as it did when it was built in 1580, but its interior has been transformed into fancy restaurants. It appears that the Castle is now used mostly for weddings, with the massive kitchens with delicious smells filling courtyards, the tables lined with white table clothes and shiny silverware and the lantern-lined courtyard overlooking the empty valley on the other side of Brasov. It would be a beautiful place for a wedding since its quite private, beautiful and has everything needed for a wedding reception.
Stopping for one last look over the old city and looking at the Brasov sign, it was then time to head back down the mountain and on to the hotel.
Brasov is a beautiful city to visit, but make sure to go for more than a day. There is just too many things to see and the rest of the time can be spent wandering around because you will surely find something medieval.
Have you ever been to a medieval city? What was the most interesting thing you saw?
Until next time,
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31 thoughts on “Brasov – Nestled in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania”
Why do girls always need to think about weddings when they see a nice location? 😛
Actually the Castle was transformed into a venue for large events. I’m assuming that its mostly for weddings, but I could be wrong. Maybe conferences or something else.
That Castle is actually “The Citadel of Brasov”
Built on the top of a hill starting with 1395, the citadel was one of the strongest defensive citadels in Transylvania. Today you can have here a lovely Romanian cuisine dinner or just enjoy looking at the collection of medieval weapons found there. Nowadays, in the courtyard of the fortress (during the Days of the City) The Medieval Festival is held. An impressive show about the siege of the city, parades, Knight Weapons Tournament… flames, swords and lovely princesses in vintage clothing. For the rest of the year, also weddings…so you`re not wrong!
It looks amazing. I want to go…and thats coming from someone when given the chance heads for the beach or disneyworld. I think I would be overwhelmed by inspiration in a place like that.
I’ve been very inspired traveling and living in Europe. I vote for Eastern Europe definitely.
Thanks for taking us along on your daytrip to Brasov. I’ve never been to Europe or Asia, so I’ve yet to visit a medieval city. I especially like the idea of eating an early-morning pastry while chatting with the locals (Do they speak English?). The castle is beautiful, as are your shots of the city from the mountaintop. I like how old and new mix together.
Do you have more photos on Facebook of Brasov, too? I’ll have to check it out. 🙂
Yes, the do speak English. Brasov is so interesting because its medieval and Romania has many other medieval cities to visit.
There are indeed more photos on Facebook. I put up more photos on Facebook for each travel post. Enjoy the virtual tour! 🙂
I have never been to a midieval city- I’ve never left the US for more then a few hours- Mexico and Canada. I’m so envious. It’s such a beautiful city- when I’m ready to travel to Europe I’ll be going back over your blog to make plans.
Your comment means so much Alica! I could only hope that the blog is helpful for travelers (especially North Americans wanting to travel to Europe). My email address is on the “About” page if you ever have questions about where to go, what to see, etc.
Gorgeous. I so need to book a vacation!
Love your thinking Tia.
Well, it is always amazing to see our country/cities so loved! Thank you for all these beautiful words, Nicole, indeed is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, we all love it so much. So much potential, so much to discover and so much to love. We’re just in love with it and every time we get in the area we take a day to enjoy again and again this city! Many hugs to you from Romania!
Thanks so much for the comment Rose. I only hope my words and photos can do Romania justice. I wish I could have spent more time in Brasov. Hugs from Belgium and Canada.
Wow, gorgeous! I lived in Heidelberg, Germany as a child and absolutely loved it. The university alone dates back to the 1300s, and they have a beautiful old castle. We finally went back to Europe last summer for a not-nearly-long-enough tour of six countries.
My goal is to move back to Europe for a few years after my husband retires from the Air Force. I just need to get this writing thing to start paying… 😉
I’m so looking up Heidelberg now. A university built in the 1300s sounds like a must-see. 🙂 I also want the writing to start paying….
I was in Brasov around mid August, unfortunately it was so hot and overcrowded, that we decided to leave the city after barely 20 minutes – we simply got trampled in a shopping street leading towards the old centre. We cose to take a drive in the Carpathian mountains instead and visit Brasov at a less busy moment next year. And after seeing your pictures, I cant wait to go back!
Really it was that busy in mid-August? I was there in the first week of August this year and it was very quiet. Maybe I beat the vacation rush. Its definitely worth a visit and if you can make a two-day visit that’s even better.
What a beautiful town! I wish buildings in America were made like that. Thank you for expanding my world, Nicole. 🙂
I have had the exact same thought many times Piper. I’ve heard from many Europeans that Montreal, Canada has some older buildings and areas that look somewhat European.
Nicole, what a wonderful find! I was in the US Army as an MP from 86-97 and spent 7 years in Germany and while most of my travels were in western Europe, I did get a chance to go to Hungary and Budapest in 1997.
What makes your blog such a delicious discovery is that I just finished my latest paranormal romance, Twilight Over Moldavia, in which my hero (Stefan) and heroine (Caroline) go on a journey through Romania and Brasov is one of the places they go. I did as much Internet research as I could, but this blog just opens up a whole new side to the city. I especially loved discovering the “hollywood-esque” sign.
You’ve got a fan in me!
Wow Steph! Thanks so much for the comment. I have only been to a few cities in Germany and drove through the country on the way to Prague, but Germany really is beautiful. I really love Eastern Europe, there’s a whole other vibe (feeling) over there compared to Western Europe.
I LOVE the sound of your latest book. My family tree is rooted in Bessarabia (which is now part of Moldavia) Going to check out your website now!
You have an interested reader in me!
Nicole, thanks a lot for this wonderful tribute brought to my beautiful home city! Yes, I was born grown and lived my entire life in Brasov but, each time when I walk on its old streets I see new things that make me love my city even more. Photography is one of my passion so, recently I started a project in taking photos of the amazing ornaments that elevate the city’s old buildings. God!…so many…so beautiful and so much to be seen!
It`s such a nice feeling for me when people abroad are able to notice the good/nice side of this beautiful country also and I thank you for that.
I wish you a happy traveling time!
Cris – Brasov – Romania
Brasov is lovely. I soooo want to visit during the Days of the City now! Sounds like my kind of thing definitely. I would love to see your photography. I’m not the best photographer so I’m sure I didn’t do Brasov justice.
I’ve had a few romanian visitors to my blog and they are always happy to see “tourists” liking their country. I’m surprised anyone could not notice its history and beauty.
You`re welcome anytime Nicole! Would be my pleasure to share my photos with you so, when you are interested you can have a look on my photo albums on webshots. Here is the link: http://community.webshots.com/user/crissia_b. I hope you`ll find something that you like… a bit of everything for everybody. By the way, you did a great job with your images and the blog as well!
hugs – Cris
I`m from Brasov! Yes i love my town, there are so much to see,if you have a local guide you need few days to discover Brasov and area. Near Brasov are medieval cities included in UNESCO patrimony,well known Bran castle,Rasnov Fortress and more.For everybody who want to see more there are Wikipedia and a lot of clips on You Tube! Summer it`s full of tourists and also in winter and autumn is superb and spring …..anyway Brasov is one of very visited city .A, and i never visited US or Canada!!!!!!!hahaha
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