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All About Visiting Brasov, Romania

Posted by Emily Henkel on 8/20/19 10:04 AM

ILP Romania

Looking for a super dreamy, cute as a button, mountainous green getaway city that is also full of castles? If you only can choose one place to visit in Romania, choose Brasov! 

This Romanian city will steal your heart. It’s a huge bucket list spot because it is near Brasov the castle which inspired the legend of Dracula .... plus this city is as cute as can be. Complete with its own “Hollywood sign” and streets full of charming buildings that are pale yellow, creamy pink, and faded orange, it’s easy to fall in love with. ILP volunteers who are living in Romania for a semester cannot get enough of this gem. It's even a favorite for other ILP volunteers who want to see what all the fuss is about — yep, this place is that charming. 

Thinking you want to see more of Romania??
Spend a semester in Romania volunteering in an orphanage.


Oh and to make it even easier for you to visit, we have your whole itinerary planned out. I pulled in a few of my recommendations from my own visit to Brasov,  and talked to ILP alumni who have visited so you know you're getting all the best tips for your own visit here. 

Things You Can’t Miss In Brasov 

The city itself isn’t that huge, so the things in Brasov are easily done in between activities that are outside of the city. We're pulling the most popular things to do so you can more easily integrate what interests you the most, before leaving Brasov for the day to to check out the nearby adventures (or leaving altogether to explore the delightful towns that are easily reached from Brasov). Let's dive in — 

Old Town

Little shops and restaurants line the main city square creating a darling Old Town. You’ll find quite a bit of souvenirs here; things like Romanian rugs and more expensive gifts in the stores.You’ll find cheaper souvenirs in other places (like around Bran’s Castle or a different city like Bucharest) but it’s fun to window shop.

If you have time, you might want to do a walking tour of the area; you can do a quick search online “Brasov Free Walking Tour” and go with a guide if available or find a self-guided one, (like this one), or just wander around. A huge pull of the Old Town is just hanging around and soaking in the colorful little buildings, or stopping to get a treat from one of the cafes or vendors in the area. 

If you have the time, go inside the Muzeul Judetean de Istorie to admire some relics of Romania's involvement in WWII and it's Soviet past, but the real gem is the view you get right when you exit which is a very pretty shot of the city right in front of you. 

ILP Romania

The Black Cathedral

Found in Old Town, this towering cathedral was originally built in the 1300’s (wow!). It was partially destroyed by a fire in the 1600s but it’s been restored so you can soak in the sites of the largest Gothic church in all of Eastern Europe — 5,000 people can fit inside!  It's one of the largest medieval churches in all of Europe. 

It’s gorgeous and impressive to see from the outside, but past volunteers highly recommend visiting when the church is open. Inside, you can find several European treasures, like detailed sculptures of Moses and several other figures, along with the medieval coat of arms of Brasov. There are mural paintings and a huge collection of Oriental rugs (some say it's the largest collection of rugs outside of Turkey). 

  • Address: Curtea Johannes Honterus 2, Brașov 500025, Romania 
    Cost: 9 lei for adults, 6 for students 
    Hours: Hours vary, depending on when you are visiting. Thing are generally open from 10:00 AM to 5:45 PM or later, but double check when you're here. 
  • If you’re visiting between June and September, you can pay an extra 10 lei to attend an impressive 400-pipe organ concert every Tuesday at 6:00 PM.

Rope Street 

Another favorite spot around Old Town, this is a short activity but it so fun. Brasov has an incredibly narrow street called “Rope Street” (Strada Sforii) that makes for a cool photo op … it’s one of the narrowest streets in all of Europe.

Rope Street runs perpendicular to Strada Poarta Schei; it should pop up in Google Maps and get you to the right area. Past volunteers mention needing to hunt around a bit once you “arrive” according to Google Maps, but it’s in the area, so just keep looking. 

ILP Romania

Visit the Brasov Hollywood Sign 

Situated above Old Town on the slopes of the green alpine hills, you’ll see the city’s named spelled out, ala-Hollywood-style on mount Tâmpa. It is a nod the burgeoning film industry in the area, which was home to the sets of a handful of Drucula productions (as you can imagine) as well as several others films shot in picturesque Transylvania. 

I mean, you can admire the sign from Old Town if you'd like but I thought the hike up is gorgeous (switchbacks on a dirt trail up through the green hills). Or, you can ride the gondola up. Personally, I loved hiking up (it's about 2.5k, and took about an hour) and then riding down.

You'll want to search for the "Serpentinelor Trail" (it pops up in Google Maps) but just know that the trail gets muddy if you're visiting when it's rainy. We hiked on a sunny day but the ground was still pretty muddy (but the views were awesome). It does snow here in the winter, so it's not advised to hike up when it's snowy and icy. Find the trailhead near the Tampa Mountain Cable Car station. 

Or, you can ride the gondola up (and down if you'd like a roundtrip ticket). It takes about 5 minutes to ride up and the views are spectacular all along the way. 

  • Tampa Cable Car info: 
    Hours: 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM, closed Mondays 
    Cost: 25 lei for a roundtrip ticket, 15 lei for a one-way
    Address: Find it here. 

ILP Romania

ILP Romania

ILP Romania

Hike The White Tower

Just outside of the old walls that rim the Old Town there's a straight up staircase that leads you to the White Tower (also known as Turnul Alb), an impressive watchtower that's been around since the 15th century. After you climb up some 200 steps, you'll be rewarded with what may be my favorite view in all of Brasov! 

The tower has a long history, represented in writings about the area from way back in the 1400s. The White Tower was built as a defensive wall to the city, outfitted with small cutout windows and balconies to help protect the city from any attacks. The tower was impacted by a fire in 1689, but has gone through a handful of renovations to restore the tower and return it to that iconic white color.

You also can go inside the tower when it's open (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Closed Mondays) if you pay 7 lei. Inside it's a museum, but the view itself is worth climb. I was visiting on a Monday and couldn't peek inside, but still loved that we made the climb up (I love the view of the Black Church and the Brasov sign!). 

ILP Romania

Nearby Adventures 

Rasov, Bran's Castle and Peles are all highly recommended, are are just outside of the city of Brasov, so be sure to visit! Most visitors stay an extra day or two in Brasov so they can visit these nearby spots — if you have time to just pick one, I'd recommend visit Peles. 

Rasnov Fortress 

Just about 10 miles outside of Brasov this imposing Cetatea Râșnov fortress is perched high above the city, and has been for about 700 years. You can either hike up or take a cable car up to the entrance (we vote cable car), before you can tour the maze of streets hidden inside the fortress. The views from up here are stunning. Inside, there’s a highpoint with a Romanian flag mountain on top … be sure to snap a picture before making your way down and back to Brasov. 

Getting Here: Head to bus terminal 2 in Brasov, and get a ticket to Rasnov (the #16 bus gets you to the bus terminal if you’re leaving from Brasov). Tickets cost 4 lei; buses run every 30 minutes daily, or every 60 minutes on the weekends. It's a 25 minute ride, and you can check the schedule here.

Train is also popular, with frequent departures. It takes about the same amount of time and prices are about same as a bus ticket. Check the schedule here

You can also take a short taxi ride (it shouldn’t cost more than 45 lei or so, so not bad if you split the cost). 

Once you arrive, ask where you can catch the funicular up to the fortress’s entrance, or just meander to through the city to find it (it's a small town and easy to find).

Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, daily
Cost: 12 lei for the funicular and 12 lei for a ticket into Rasnov (6 if you're a student). 

*As a heads up, the Citadel was undergoing restoration projects in November 2023. Visitors were welcomed to admire the fortress from the outside, but weren't allowed to enter. Check up on that status of this project before visiting. 

ILP Romania

ILP Romania

Bran’s Castle

Found in the nearby city of Bran, you might know this better as “Dracula’s Castle”. Iconic and imposing, this hilltop castle inspired the legend of Dracula and is one of the main reasons why you visit this region of Romania. There's a reason this castle made the top of our list of favorite castles in Romania!

The castle is said to be the only one in all of Transylvania to match Bram Stoker’s description in the novel, hence the idea that Bran’s castle inspired Dracula’s home. It’s very touristy in the best way; you’ll see posters and advertisements about Dracula all over the place, but once you go inside, it’s like a museum.  Read up about the castle’s real history here. 

An Insider Tip For Fall Volunteers: According to some ILP Fall alumni, "1000% should go to Bran/Dracula's castle the night of Halloween or the weekend before it! It was SO fun! We went to a haunted house and then bought tickets to the party at Dracula's Castle where we got to tour around the castle and they were projecting images on the outside of it which was super cool." This whole area really embraces the holiday with special events and effects in late October. We've had groups dress up in costume, visit at night for a spookier experience (and to see the castle lit up with on-theme well wishes, like "Happy Halloween"). It's a very very fun experience if you can time your visit right! 

Year round, the vampiric fun is still to be found, don't worry. Outside of the castle, you can get a few Transylvanian-inspired souvenirs; things stamped with Dracula’s picture and name, and other Gothic-inspired knickknacks, like pottery etched with traditional patterns (or ghouls). 

Getting Here: Buses leave for Bran every half and hour from Autogara 2 Bus Terminal (tickets cost around 13 lei and can be purchase onboard). It’s about a 40 minute bus ride away. Check the schedule here, but there are frequent departures. Pull up Bran Castle on Google Maps to help you know when you're getting close, but you'll see a small village with lots of Dracula related restaurants and shops to help you know. Other volunteers have taken an Uber here. Prices will vary but one group visiting in October paid about $30 each way. 

Tickets To The Castle: Prices depend on when you visit and if you're visiting as a student or not. Things range from 30 - 60 lei, plus a few extra charges if you'd like to visit certain sections of the castle. Visit the official website for more information. 

April - September: Monday 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM 
Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

October - March: Monday 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

ILP Romania

ILP Volunteers in Brasnov

ILP Romania

ILP Romania

ILP Adventure

Peles Castle In Sinai 

This is HUGLY recommended don't miss this one! One ILP Romania volunteer said that Peles is “what you think about when you think of a castle”. This place looks like something out of a movie. Peles is perched between sloping alpine mountains, found in Sinaia which is outside of Brasov technically, but it’s so stunning it would be shame to miss Peles when you’re visiting Brasov.

If you're like me, you want just a little history to get you interested. This impressive castle was first built by the King of Romania Carol I of Hohenzollern - Sigmaringen (here's a bit more about his life if you're interested). He was actually Romania's first king, and built this to be his summer residence. Construction took place between 1890 and 1914, and no expense was really spared. Inside, you'll find German neo-Renaissance style, with touches of neo-Ottomon and neo-Rococo styles when it comes to the rugs, facades, and window details. The exterior is equally beautiful, but inside, you’ll see what you’d expect of a royal residence (we’re talking lush ornamental rugs, vaulted ceilings with detailed chandeliers, rich wooden doors that are intricately carved …. you know, total luxury). If you want some more convincing, here's what one ILP volunteer said about Peles Castle: "Rome was impressive...but this honestly might be better". It's gorgeous inside! 

I spent about 2-3 hours here taking photos of the grounds and exploring the interior. It's very very pretty and makes for a good full-day trip if you incorporate the travel time.

Getting Here: You have options. Past volunteers say it’s worth it to hail a taxi and split that with your group instead. It's about an hour drive.  

However, I was in Brasov for 3 days and loved taking the train to Sinai (get tickets at the Brasov Train station) Trains leave every hour (here's the schedule) and cost about 18 lei, depending on if you're booking a 2nd class ticket or something nicer/less nice. The train ride to Sinai is absolutely gorgeous and a highlight of my trip — if you're into the idea of taking a train through the winding Transylvanian mountains, train is the way to go. Oh, and if you take an overnight train from Bucharest, you might pass right through Sinai first, before getting to Brasov. We've had ILP groups start their day in Sinai by getting off of their train early, then just catching a bus/train from Sinai to Brasov. 

Tickets to the castle: Depends on what floors you’d like to see. First floor tickets are 20 lei (7.5 if you have student ID card that's accepted), second floor tickets are 50 lei. If you have the budget, pop for both floors because this place is spectacular ... I visited on a Tuesday in May and only the 1st floor was open and it was beyond worth it to go inside. 

May 15 to September 16
Tuesday: 9:15 AM - 4:15 PM 
Wednesday 11:00 AM - 4:15 PM 
Thursday - Sunday: 9:15 AM - 4:15 
Closed Monday 

17 September - 15 May 
Wednesday 11:00 AM - 4:15 PM 
Thursday - Sunday 9:15 PM - 4:15 PM 
Closed Monday and Tuesday 

Visit the official website for more information. 

+Pelisor Castle

There's another castle on the grounds you can visit if you'd like. This pretty castle was built in 1899–1902 by the same King Carol, but this time, the castle was the main residence for his nephew and future king, King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. 

You can get more information about Pelisor Castle here, just know that it requires separate tickets from Peles Castle. 

Get tickets and opening hours here (they're similar to Peles castle). 

ILP Romania

ILP Romania

Hike Seven Ladders Canyon 

The entire country of Romania is blanketed with an impressive number of national parks, and people from all over flock to see some of Romania’s untouched landscapes. The nearby Canionul Sapte Scari (Seven Ladders Canyon) is a good option for hikers staying in Brasov. Like the name might suggest, you’ll climb seven ladders in a deep canyon, over waterfalls and through rolling forests. It’s gorgeous. 

The ladders can be steep and are situated in the canyon, so it might not be ideal for someone afraid of heights. You will want to be wearing solid hiking shoes. The waterfalls can make things slippery so go slowly to keep your balance. 


Walk south of the Timisu de Jos Village, from the point called “Dimbul Morii”. Start hiking on yellow stripe track, which takes you through the Seven Ladders Canyon. You’ll trek through the hillsides before reaching the canyon which is where you’ll encounter the ladders (there’s a small fee to hike through this section). Once you exit the canyon, you’ll reach Piatra Mare Hut where you can get snacks and drinks. Then, you’ll make a loop through the forest to get you back where you started. It should take 6-8 hours total. 

The Tourism booth in Brasnov is very helpful when it comes to planning your trek here. 

Getting here: Taxi to the village Timisul de Jos, where the trailhead is. Your taxi driver should know it (it should be about a 15 minute ride from Brasov). It might be helpful to talk to your hostel staff or the tourism booth to see if you can go via a guide to help you navigate the hike. 

Getting back: There is a little snack shed at the trailhead; the lady inside speaks English and can help you figure out the bus back to Brasov, or call a cab. (There is no cell service around the hike so make arrangements for your return transportation before you get here, just in case the snack shack happens to be closed). 

Go With A Tour 

If you'd rather not figure things out, you can go with a tour. Most will pick you up from your accommodation which is a nice perk. Past groups found a tour option which was $55 a person which included everything except the 10 lei entrance fee to enter the trailhead.

Here's what that group said: "We definitely liked having a tour guide because it made it so we didn’t have to stress at all! I’d also recommend getting an earlier start because it gets super busy! It’s about an hour hike to where you pay to get into the canyon, and that doesn’t open till 10:00 AM. So we started at 9:00 AM so we could get there right at 10:00 AM and have the canyon to ourselves!

Some Other Details 

Open: March to November if the weather is good. The trailhead to the actual canyon doesn't open until 10:00 AM. 
Cost: About 10 lei to enter the trailhead (5 for students) plus more to climb the ladders. 

ILP Romania

ILP Volunteers hiking in Europe

ILP Romania

+ Day Trips 

So many darling cities in Romania are just outside of Brasov, so if you have more room in your itinerary come visit for a day or two! 


White-washed castles with coral-colored tiles on all the rooftops, and home to a Prince’s summer home — How could you not love this place? Learn more about visiting Viscri here. 

Targu Mures

More like a 3-ish hour visit (and worth an overnight) is the charming city of Targu Mures. It's an underrated gem in this part of Romania, complete with Hungarian history, dotted with towering palaces, overflowing with flower gardens, and an overall charm that's a bit hard to define, we know you'll be dying to visit. Get more about Targu Mures here. 


Blush pinks, pale lemon yellows, coral rimmed windows, and vivid greens are just a few of the colors you’ll find on homes, stores, and other buildings around this Romanian city.  Come for pockets of pinks, blues, and oranges hiding among the dark, Gothic architecture which also dots the city when you visit Sighisoara. 

ILP adventure

Places To Stay 

There are a few places to stay in this city, but ILP Romania volunteers have had good luck and fun at a couple places, which are below if you're looking for recommendations. 


While we have had most groups stay in hostels (listed below), there are a few AirBnBs groups have loved staying at. Like this one, which has a stunning terrace view and a great location. 

Something keep in mind: There are several little skiing villages and resorts in the mountains around Brasov with cutie AirBnb’s but that mean you’ll need to take a 30 minute bus or taxi ride into the city. The views are stunning there, but we recommend booking a place as close to or in Old Town since that’s where most of the activities are, or where you can catch a bus to visit Bran, Rasnov, or Sinaia. 


Past ILP groups have also stayed at hotels in the area, like this one, which is found by the Black Church and other things to do in Brasov. 

Rolling Stone Hostel 

This hostel has great staff that can help you set up tours all in and around Brasov which is really handy. The Rolling Stone Hostel also is pretty easy to get to. There are also free lockers handy where you can lock up your things while you’re out adventuring.

Kismet Dao Hostel 

ILP volunteers loved this hostel for a helpful staff that can help you book tours to all the things you want to see and do around the city, plus they have a pretty central location. Kismet Dao Hostel also offers a free breakfast (with free coffee and tea all day long), plus a cool yard and terrace area to hang out in ... If you're staying in the "flower room" this is the view outside of your window. Talk about dreamy. 

ILP Romania

Places To Eat 

Emma La Dolce Gelato 

This place is amazing (and so affordable .... get three scoops for 17 lei!). Try flavors like pistachio + passion fruit, apricot + walnut, brownie batter and more. I went twice and don't regret it, even when there was a line! 

AddressStrada Republicii 10, Brașov 500030, Romania
Hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM (11:00 PM on Fridays and weekends). 

ILP Adventure

Chimney Cakes 

Another huge favorite in this city are the chimney cakes: Roasted cylinders of bread rolled in all sorts of things: spicy cinnamon, crunchy caramel, toasted coconut ... they are divine. Sometimes, you can get them lined with chocolate or Nutella and filled with all sorts of things: Berries and Cream, Ice Cream and Oreos .... so messy, but so delicious. They're usually around 15 lei and are easily shareable.

There are a few places around town to get them in Brasov, but the places I went to have since closed (Kürtöskolács is temporarily closed and Good Food Chimney is reportedly permanently closed), so if you have a killer recommendation for chimney cakes, let me know and I'd love to include a specific recommendation for this post. I'm guessing you can still find them in restaurants around the area or street vendors in the heart of Old Town. 

ILP Adventure - Romania

Opus 9 

They have tasty dishes like chicken kabobs and potatoes, yummy smoothies, and the overall vibe of the restaurant is so fun. It's a place you'd want to hang out for a while, which is nice on a rainy afternoon. If you're looking for some fun drinks, our group really liked trying the different kola options. 

Address: Piața George Enescu 9, Brașov 500031, Romania
Hours: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM / Midnight, depending on the day. 

ILP Adventure

La Ceuan 

One of my favorite spots in Romania; their menu is delicious with dishes like rich stews, chicken pot pie topping with mashed potatoes, and warm Transylvanian potato bread. If you want delicious local food, come here! 

Address: There are a couple of locations around town. 
Hours: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM 

ILP Romania

Where Is Brasov? 

Found basically right in the middle of Romania, Brasov is in the Transylvanian region of the country. The main city center is historic and iconic, displaying medieval architecture and baroque buildings painted in pretty pastels, and topped with red-tiled roofs.  We told you this place was cute. 

ILP Romania

How Do I Get There? 

Our pick is traveling by train. Not only is it an adventure (at one point, be sure to stare out the windows to see the gorgeously green, mountainous countryside dotted with quaint villages speeding past you), but you'll also find bus routes from the main cities in Romania. We've pulled a couple more resources for routes our ILP volunteers are typically taking. 

Getting Here From Iasi

It’s about an 8 hour train or bus ride, which makes it a good pick for an overnight option. You can leave Iasi in the evening, and arrive in Brasov in the morning. There are multiple bus and train routes to check out. 

Head’s up: there are two train stations in Iasi, so be sure you know which once you are booking tickets for.

Virail is a good site that can give you the bookings and listings for several train/bus companies, letting you choose the time and price that works best for you. You can also use this option to see what the train schedule looks like from a lot of other cities in Romania.  Others like booking buses on Flixbus

Getting Around Brasov

Once you arrive in Brasov, it’s fairly easy to get around. You’ll mostly be hanging around Old Town but a public bus system and taxis make getting around Brasov + nearby towns fairly easy.

Google Maps will come in handy to help you get around; it’ll pull up the local bus system and give you pretty accurate bus/walking directions. When I visited, I was able to get everywhere on my list by walking or taking a bus/train to the places just outside of Brasov. Like I mentioned, this city is quite small and easy to navigate. 

How Long Should I Visit? 

This is an absolute don’t miss city in Romania, so even if you can only visit on a weekend (ILP volunteers get Saturday and Sunday off), do it. Groups have also visited on a 3-day or 4-day weekend and “haven’t regretted it” according to one ILP Romania volunteer. A weekend trip will be a bit busy, but past groups have said to just find a time to visit, whenever works — just don’t skip out on Brasov. 

ILP Adventure in Romania

Want more?  How about living in Romania for a semester?

International Language Programs has a volunteer program where you can serve in an orphanage — it's actually the only ILP program where you won't be teaching ... but you'll still be able to make a huge difference by loving and caring for these sweet kids.

Discover Romania



Topics: Europe

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We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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