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Introducing Braşov

Legend has it the Pied Piper reemerged from Hamelin in Braşov, and indeed there's something whimsically enchanting about it, with its fairy-tale turrets and cobbled streets. Dramatically overlooked by Mt Tâmpa, with trees sporting a russet-gold coat (and cocky Hollywood-style sign), this is a remarkably relaxed city.

Wander its maze of streets, stopping for caffeine injections at bohemian cafes between losing yourself in a beguiling coalescence of Austro-Hungarian gingerbread roofs, baroque gods, medieval spires and Soviet flat-tops. The city's centrepiece square is Piaţa Sfatului, a people-watcher's mecca. There are myriad things to see here, great restaurants and oodles of accommodation.

Many use Braşov as a base for skiing in nearby Poiana Braşov, trekking in the Piatra Craiului National Park, castle-watching at Bran and hairy drives on the Transfăgărăşan Road.