Don't Miss Out on Picturesque Brasov, Romania
Posted on 05/17/2017
While Romania still remains one of the most underrated countries in Europe, savvy travelers that make it to this Eastern European gem almost all seem to shout from the rooftops about one place in particular: Brasov.
Hollywood Good Looks
Brasov is filled with leafy squares and graceful buildings befitting a capital or spa town, especially near the train station. Nestled at the foot at the Carpathian mountains, the town is crowned by forested peaks, and many of its older medieval streets wind back and upward into gorgeous green valleys.
The setting is truly idyllic, with a hike to the top of Mount Tampa—the hill that dominates the town—as the best way to take it all in. The summit can be reached via a gentle switchback path or cable car ride. Once there, you are rewarded with sweeping views of the Transylvanian countryside and the warren of windy cobbled streets below.
One of the loveliest landmarks visible from above is Brasov's hub, called Council Square. This plaza is lined with cafes, restaurants and bars and is centered by a yellow-hued town hall, whose onion-domed tower is the epitome of European charm.
If you plan to scale Mount Tampa, be sure to pack a bottle of local red wine as a reward when you reach the top, but also be careful up there because there is a giant Hollywood-style sign blocking some of the great views.
Yes, you read that correctly, there is a collection of huge white letters atop Mount Tampa that reads ‘Brasov’. While a few big-budget films have indeed been shot in the area (most notably Nicole Kidman and Jude Law’s Cold Mountain), the sign is more quirky oddity than icon.
Brasov is home to two especially fascinating houses of worship: the Black Church and St. Nicholas’ Cathedral.
The Black Church is the largest Gothic church in all of Romania and has resided at its prime spot near Council Square through thick and thin since the 14th century. The church picked up its nickname following a very thin moment when soot from a fire stained its facade.
Located in the character-rich Schei neighborhood, St. Nicholas’ Cathedral looks like the precise type of church you would expect in Transylvania. The skinny cathedral is topped by a set of pointy spires and is surrounded by a moody graveyard. Inside, there are treasures to discover like a set of royal murals.
Brasov was founded by Saxon settlers from modern-day Germany. After suffering many invasions, they decided to fortify the town with a set of defensive walls. Remnants of these walls, entrance gates and their lookout towers remain, offering a fascinating insight into what life was like when invasion from the outside was a near-constant threat.
There are two other walls you can’t skip, either: The two that flank Rope Street, purported to be one of the skinniest streets in all of Europe. Here, you can reach out and touch both facades while you stroll down the touristy-yet-fun walkway.