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Braşov

Gothic spires, medieval gateways, Soviet blocks and a huge Hollywood-style sign: Braşov’s skyline is instantly compelling. A number of medieval watchtowers still glower over the town. Between them sparkle baroque buildings and churches, while easygoing cafes line main square Piaţa Sfatului. Visible from here is forested Mt Tâmpa, sporting ‘Braşov’ in huge white letters.

According to local legend, the Pied Piper of Hamelin reemerged in Braşov. Indeed, this playful town has many tales as colourful as its pastel-hued streets. Locals will eagerly spin a yarn about Vlad the Impaler’s romantic dalliances, a noblewoman revived from her grave, and the time a bear waddled into the main square (at least the last one’s true).

Braşov is a good base for skiing in nearby Poiana Braşov, or trekking in Piatra Craiului National Park, 30km west. Most travellers use it as a gateway to castles in Bran and Râșnov.

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