The charming Transylvanian town of Brasov is less than 3 hours north of Bucharest by car and is just one of several stunning towns in the area. Its hidden courtyards, idyllic cobbled streets and onion domes all combine to create a fairytale setting. If you are on a bus tour, or short on time, it is possible to see all the main sights of the town in 24 hours in Brasov. This walking tour of Brasov will save you time and money as you can prioritise the sights you most want to visit. Then, spend as much or little time as you like in each location.
Note, if you visit in peak season, you may wish to prioritise the cable car as each car only carries 20 people. So without further ado, join us for a captivating self guided walking tour of Brasov and discover a Transylvanian gem.
Walking tour of Brasov – Morning itinerary
Head to the funicular at opening time to minimise queues. The cable car sweeps you up the 940 metres of Mt Tâmpa in just 2.5 minutes and allows for stunning views over the town. As the car ascends, the patchwork of red and ochre tiled roofs becomes visible. The 15th Century Council House and the Black Church stand out of this medieval masterpiece and will help you to get your bearings later.
Once you reach the top, exit the building and turn left. Follow the slope for around 5 minutes to a viewpoint underneath the towering letters of the Brasov sign. From here you have an uninterrupted view of the town and plains beyond. You can clearly see the hotchpot of colourful houses and labyrinthian cobbled streets that host a jumble of buildings. Radiating away from the centre are a ring of less attractive concrete apartment blocks, an omnipresent reminder of the communist era. Once you have feasted on the view, hop back onto the funicular or descend one of the myriad paths that criss-cross the hillside.
Cost: Tickets to the cable car cost 20 lei for a return trip (about £5. Prices correct in April 2022). Discounts apply for students, children and the elderly.
The Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu walkway
From the base of the funicular, a pleasant walkway follows a section of city wall and provides a glimpse into local life. The path meanders around the foot of the hillside and you can enjoy the antics of kids on the BMW course or admire skateboarders and roller skaters as they whizz past. The walkway pops out on Bulevardul Eroilor where you turn left towards the 1989 revolution memorial.
Cross of memorial for victims of the 1989 revolution
The memorial for the 1989 revolution is a simple wooden cross in the middle of two convening roads. Beautiful decorative carvings adorn the cross that pays homage to the violent uprisings that swept across Romania in the winter of 1989.
Memorial for the Heroes of the Revolution
Across the road in Eroilor Park, there is a further poignant reminder of those who lost their lives. A row of white marble graves with simple inscriptions and small photos of the fallen lays to the rear of the park. Opposite, a simple slab lists 69 local victims of the Revolution and is a sobering reminder of the violent fall of Communism in Romania.
The fall of communism
Although you may feel that Brasov’s medieval centre resembles something out of a fairytale book with its medieval walls, watchtowers and Gothic and Baroque architecture, these streets have witnessed much violence.
In November 1987, workers marched through the streets protesting at a mandatory reduction in wages in the local factories and shortages of basic supplies. Ceaușescu, the merciless dictator at the time, had accumulated staggering amounts of foreign debt to pay for uneconomical industrial investments and luxuries befitting a megalomaniac dictator. Intent on paying off the debt quickly, he increased exports of basic food supplies and consumer goods which led to shortages throughout Romania. Whilst the government gorged to excess and basked in luxury, the population survived on rations. It was virtually a full time job finding supplies with long lines for basic commodities on a daily basis.
On the morning of November 15, workers at a truck manufacturing plant marched towards Communist headquarters to protest against reduced salaries and the loss of 15,000 jobs in the city. The protest rapidly escalated into an outright rebellion against communism and Ceaușescu. Over 20,000 workers and townspeople ransacked party headquarters and City Hall, creating a bonfire of propaganda in Piata Sfatului. By dusk, security forces surrounded the centre and dispersed the revolt by force.
This rebellion, although quashed, sowed the seeds of discontent that culminated in the uprisings that would bring down the regime just two years later.
Walking tour of Brasov – time for lunch!
To continue your tour, follow Strada Repubblicii into the heart of the old town. There are plenty of options for lunch on this colourful street or you may wish to continue to Piata Sfatului.
Indeed, no walking tour of Brasov would be complete without a stop on Piata Sfatului. It brims with tourists and locals enjoying the plethora of restaurants, snack vans and bars that line the square. Visitors can sit back and relax under covered outdoor seating areas. From the comfort of your heated shelter, you can admire pretty, pastel coloured buildings, people watch or enjoy a cold beer. It is such an enchanting scene, it is hard to imagine the horror of those revolutionary scenes of the 1980s.
Our food and drink picks
On the south side of the square is a quaint Greek restaurant that serves great value Greek food.
For drinks, the Kundera bar is a few minutes walk from the square and serves Czech beer on tap in cellar style rooms with big screens and an in house DJ. On Strada Republicci, Deane’s is a lively Irish Bar whilst the Bite Pub is friendly and cosy. However, you will need to pay close attention to find it as it is hidden in a little alleyway. See the map below for details of how to find these venues.
Walking tour of Brasox – afternoon
After you have indulged in lunch and explore the Square, it is time to continue to one of the major sights of Brasov on your walking tour.
Walking tour of Brasov – afternoon
It is impossible to miss the imposing charred mass of the Black Church rising above one corner of the square. It has a beautiful clock tower with an ornate clock face and both the roof and spire tower above the surrounding houses. The church takes it name from the devastating fire of 1689 which blackened the huge gothic exterior.
It is Romania’s largest Gothic church and the largest in South Eastern Europe. Built between 1385 and 1477 little remained following the fire however. It has since been painstakingly rebuilt and now stretches a magnificent 90 meters in length.
Inside, draped across the church’s spartan interior are a large collection of colorful fraying oriental rugs. Another notable feature is the grand Organ with its 3993 pipes and 4 keyboards, the biggest mechanical organ in Romania. Otherwise there is beauty in its simplicity with natural lighting cascading into the altar.
Costs: Tickets cost 15 lei per person (around £3).
The White and Black Towers
Two towers keep watch over the city from the Warthe Hill. To get to them, follow the route on the map from the Black Church. This leads you to Strada Dupa Ziduri which is a pleasant stroll along a babbling brook with the city walls on the right and a steep hillside on the left. Climb up to the two towers from the walls for fantastic views of the town.
The White tower dates back to 1494 and is unusual by virtue of its shape. The rear is a semicircle whilst the straight side (which looks like a cartoon character from a distance) faces the city. It rises 5 stories to a maximum height of 20 meters and got its name from the white paint that coats its walls.
The Black tower, which is more grey than black, is a taller and narrower construction topped by a modern glass roof. This tower also gained its name from the 1649 fire which tarnished the exterior, although it takes a vivid imagination to see it as anything other than white.
Biserica “Buna Vestire
Once you have tired of the views, descend back to Strada Dupa Ziduri and head towards Biblioteca Județeană. On the far side of the Nicolae Titulescu park you should glimpse the silver domes of the Church of the Anunciation.
The church is at the foot of the “Cetăţuia” hill in the shadow of the Citadel. Its domes gleam in the sunlight as sun reflects from every mirrored surface. If you take the road up the right side of the church and turn right, the road comes to an intersection where you turn left. From there a wooded path leads up through the trees to the citadel for the last stop of the day.
The citadel was closed when we visited but is nevertheless worth a visit as it commands great views over Mt Tâmpa opposite. The Citadel has been used as a prison as well as a military fortress and looks particularly impressive at night. From below, it basks in a golden glow from the spotlights beneath the walls.
So this brings you to the end of this walking tour and you most definitely have earned a drink or too. It will not take long to retrace your steps to the old town or you can indulge in one of the bars on the ring road.
Finally, here is some important information you will need to plan a trip to Brasov.
Getting to Brasov
There are no direct flights from the UK to Brasov so you will need to fly to one of the other Romanian airports and travel overland. The nearest airport to Braşov is Sibiu which is 118.4 km away but there are several other airports that could serve as your gateway to the town.
- Fly to Sibiu with Wizz Air from London Luton or Ryanair from Liverpool
- Flights to Bacau (140.6 km from Brasov) from London Luton with Wizz Air.
- Fly to Cluj-Napoca (194.1 km from Brasov) with Ryanair from London Stansted or with Wizz Air from London Luton.
- Note, we flew to Cluj-Napoca in 2016 from Doncaster. If you use the Kiwi.com flight search feature below, you can input from ‘anywhere’ and to ‘Romania’ to bring up all possible departure airports
- Finally, you can fly to Bucharest (125 km from Brasov) with British Airways from London Heathrow or from Edinburgh or London Stansted with Ryanair.
Check out flight options on Kiwi.com.
Getting to Brasov from the airport
If you leave early it is possible to visit Brasov on a day trip from Bucharest. However to allow a full day to explore, we recommend an overnight stay close to the centre. The easiest mode of public transport is train but you can also look at different bus companies.
Where to stay in Brasov
There are a wealth of accommodation options in Brasov including a central hostel, great value pensiones and luxury accommocation. The Kronwell Brasov hotel is definitely in the luxury camp with a decadent spa but is a few miles from the centre. It is next door to the railway station so hugely convenient for public transport however and rooms cost around £100 a night.
Alternatively the Safrano Palace is a beautiful property on the main square of Brasov. You simply cannot get more central and rooms cost around £50. Another option in the centre is the Oldern House which is an aparthotel with modern funky rooms from £40. Both would make a great base.
Other places to visit
If you have a little more time, you could combine your trip to Brasov with a tour of the surrounding area. The nearby Carpathian mountains offer many hiking trails, skiing in winter and access to the mythical world of Spiroi, fairies, nympths, bears and more. You could also opt for a multi-city trip and start in Bucharest. Check out our walking tour of Bucharest here.
Have you ever been to Brasov? If so, what did you think? We would love to hear your top tips in the comments below.
Your walking tour of Brasov map
This map highlights all the locations mentioned in this post along with some directions to cover the early afternoon part of the tour. Enjoy!