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.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Braşov.
Romania’s largest Gothic church rises triumphantly over Braşov’s old town. Built between 1385 and 1477, this German Lutheran church was named for its charred appearance after the town’s Great Fire in 1689. Restoration of the church took a century. Today it stands 65m high at its bell tower's tallest point. Organ recitals are held in the church three times a week during July and August, usually at 6pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
ChurchSt Nicholas’ Cathedral
With forested hills rising behind its prickly Gothic spires, St Nicholas’ Cathedral is one of Braşov's most spectacular views. First built in wood in 1392, it was replaced by a Gothic stone church in 1495 and later embellished in Byzantine style. It was once enclosed by military walls; today the site has a small cemetery. Inside are murals of Romania’s last king and queen, covered by plaster to protect them from communist leaders and uncovered in 2004.
Rising 940m high and visible around Braşov, Mt Tâmpa is adorned with its very own Hollywood-style sign. Hard as it is to imagine, it was the site of a mass-impaling of 40 noblemen by Vlad Țepeș. Banish such ghoulish images from your head as you take the cable car, or hike (about an hour), to reach a small viewing platform offering stunning views over the city. There's a cafe at the top.
This wide square, lined with cafes, was once the heart of medieval Braşov. In the centre stands the 1420 Council House (Casa Sfatului), topped by the Trumpeter's Tower, in which town councillors would meet. These days at midday, traditionally costumed musicians appear at the top of the tower like figures in a Swiss clock.
WallsOld Town Fortifications
Old Braşov was once enclosed by mighty fortified walls, 12m high and more than 3km-long. Built in stages between 1400 and 1650, these walls and defence towers were built in anticipation of attacks by the Turks. The most popular viewing area is along the western section, which runs along a stream and pedestrianised Str După Ziduri, north towards B-dul Eroilor. A good access point is 200m south of the Black Church.
If you've ever wondered how hemp and goat hair were transformed into Transylvania's traditional scarlet and white village-wear, this exhibition space adjoining the Art Museum has the answers. Beyond the looms are displays on local folk customs, including videos of village dances on screen. Audiovisuals are in Romanian only, but there's a laminated handout in several languages to carry around.
Historic BuildingHirscher House
The Renaissance Hirscher House, completed in 1545, was once the largest building in Braşov. It was commissioned by Apollonia Hirscher, the widow of Braşov mayor Lucas Hirscher, so that merchants could do business without getting rained on.
A gallery to kill time in, more than a star attraction, the Art Museum has two floors of mostly Romanian paintings, including the luxuriant modernism of Gheorghe Vânătoru and Theodor Pallady's stirring portraits. Inexplicably, some of the collection's magnificent 19th-century landscapes are crowded together in the stairwell.
MuseumFirst Romanian School Museum
This venerable museum near St Nicholas' Cathedral time-travels into the history of Romanian education. Students have been educated on this site since the late 16th century. The museum houses recreated schoolrooms, a library of 4000 antique books, and one of the country's oldest Bibles.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Braşov.