Nestled in between the forested peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is a little wonder waiting to be discovered. Boasting medieval charm, its cobbled streets will transport you back in time. Not to be outdone, the green surroundings entice the spirit, bringing you closer to nature. A perfect blend between history and scenery, Brasov is the perfect base for exploring the Transylvanian countryside.
It’s no surprise that this little Saxon gem finds itself among our favourite places to be. And because we want to share this with you, here are our recommendations for fourty-eight hours in Brasov. Read on.
Day 1 – In Brasov
Morning – Brasov Walking Tour
First things first, get your bearings. The historical center of Brasov is strikingly beautiful, with a mix between baroque and gothic architecture. Explore the best of what Brasov has to offer on foot, and absorb the very essence of the town, with a kick of culture and history.
While not hard to get around, opting for a guided tour will introduce you to the rich history of this place. From the imposing Black Church looming over the main square to Rope Street, the narrowest street in Europe, all the way to the Black & White Towers hiding in the hills and offering you panoramic views of Brasov.
Lunch – La Ceaun
Once you’ve filled your head with historical facts, and your heart with beauty, it’s time to fill your bellies with a hearty, traditional meal. La Ceaun, right on a corner street behind the main square, is the perfect spot for a quick lunch. Sit down at the sturdy wooden table in the middle of this rustic eatery and tuck in a delicious soup. Quick, cheap, and delicious, it will give you the right fuel to continue exploring Brasov.
If you’re looking for a slightly bigger meal, you can opt for the sit-down location in the main square. Whichever you choose, it’ll be the right choice.
Quiet Brasov cobbled street (left) and the cable car up Tampa Mountain (right)
Afternoon – Tampa Mountain
No doubt that you must have noticed the big, Hollywood-like Brasov sign by now. Crowning the Tampa mountain at whose foothills Brasov resides, the sign watches over the town. A quick stroll uphill, past the Rope Street, and through the shade of the trees in Tampa Promenade, you will reach the cable car. 18 RON (roughly £3) and 5 minutes later, you will find yourself at the top of the mountain.
From here, it’s only a short walk to the Brasov sign from where you can marvel at the rows of houses in the valley below. A further hike ahead and you will reach a panoramic point offering breathtaking views over the peaks and valleys around. Sit down, breathe in an take in the fresh air.
Evening – Bear Hide
The Transylvanian forests are home to over 6,000 brown bears, the biggest population in Europe. Brasov is in the heart of it all, being the perfect start point for bear tracking. Late afternoon, grab cosy, dark clothes, comfortable walking shoes, a jacket and a camera, and meet your wildlife guide for a bear watching adventure.
Just on the outskirts of Brasov, you will ditch the car and continue on foot through the quiet woods. Here the bear hide – a sort of a wooden treehouse – awaits. Fitted with large windows, it allows you to observe the spectacle outside. The next few hours will be a waiting game as you will sit still waiting for the bears to make an appearance.
Foresters leave traces of food around to entice the bears, so there is a high probability they will show up. All you have to do is sit tight and have the camera ready. The experience can last for a few hours depending on the season, so make sure you come in ready!
Bears caught on camera during UTP Bear Hide excursions
Dinner – Bella Muzica
After what has hopefully been a successful sighting, celebrate the victory with a lovely dinner. Bella Muzica offers a fusion cuisine between traditional Romanian, Italian and… Mexican. Located under the Black Church, the wine-cellar-like ambiance, low lighting, and exposed brickwork will carry you back a couple of centuries. Pofta bună!
Day 2 – Around Brasov
Morning – The Libearty Bear Sanctuary & Bran Castle
For today, being out and about in nature will show you everything Brasov and Transylvania are all about. Early morning, and a 40-minute drive later, you will reach the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti. Here, under the guidance of a guide, you will meet the 90-something rescued bears, hear their stories and learn about the heartbreaking past of brown bears in Romania. The forested areas in which the bears now live is fenced in, so you will get a glimpse of the bears roaming around. Especially enriching if you’ve also visited the Bear Hide the previous evening.
No trip to Romania, especially Transylvania, is complete without a visit to Bran Castle. Infamously known as Dracula’s Castle, it is perched atop a stony rock, looming eerily above the village below. Take some time to explore the castle with its narrow passageways and secret stairways, take in the views from the top and explore the markets full of handmade goods. This is also an opportunity for you to grab some traditional snacks if you’re feeling peckish.
Bears playing at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary (left) and Bran Castle (right)
Afternoon – Carpathian Walk & BBQ
With green forests left, right and center, there is no shortage of hiking routes around Brasov. In the afternoon, grab your walking shoes and a comfy attire and join the wildlife guide on a quest around the unbeaten paths around Brasov. This is an opportunity to recharge and contemplate, get some exercise in and learn lots of interesting facts about the flora and fauna of the area. If you’re lucky, besides the animal tracks that pepper the forests, you might be able to spot some wildlife as well!
After a few hours in the woods, you will be treated to a delicious traditional barbeque.
Evening – Strolling around & drinks at Doctor Jekelius Pharmacy
For your final night in Brasov, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the cobbled alleyways at dusk. Soak up the bohemian atmosphere at a relaxed pace. Top it all off with drinks at the quirky Doctor Jekelius Pharmacy bar. The bar takes you back to a 1900 pharmacy, with worn-out furniture, rows of medicinal bottles on shelves, framed prescriptions, and black-and-white photographs. Get some of the cocktails served in testing tubes, or stay on the safe side with a delicious tea. Either way, toast for what has been a successful mini break.
Carpathian Walk (left) and Doctor Jekelius Pharmacy (left)
Most of our Romania experiences feature Brasov. Check them out if you don’t want to miss it on your next trip to Romania.
Written by Oana Moldovan, Untravelled Paths