You might as well switch to sightseeing mode right away. Walking down the main street in Brasov old town, you immediately notice the Black church in the heart of the city. It clearly stands out as one of the most powerful buildings in the city, and is actually the largest church in Romania.
If you think you are looking for a black church though, think again. The church got its name after a fire in 1689, when the smoke painted the wall black. It took about 100 years to renovate the facade, so the name was already well established.
The main square is surrounded by houses of all shapes and colours, just the way I like it! But there is of course more to discover, so join me on our walk.
Rope street, or Strada Sforii, is one of the curiosities in the city. It is a very narrow alley, some even claim it is one of the most narrow in Europe. Originally, it was used as a connection for fire fighters to get between Cerbului Street and Poarta Schei.
By first sight Katerina’s gate might look like a mini version of a fairytale castle. This gate was the entrance to the fortified city, and is the only city gate surviving from the medieval times.
Walking on for just a few minutes, you enter Dupa Ziduri, or “the alley behind the walls”. A short walk uphill from there, takes you to the so called Black Tower. Again, it has no trace of being black, but got its name after a fire in 1559. Even though the uphill is a little bit steep, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the old town!
Continue further to the white tower (which is actually white), presenting a great view from a different angle, looking directly down at the town square. Both towers were bastions that were a part of the town’s defensive wall, built to protect the city from the repeatedly raids by the Turks and Tatars.
By the end of the steep steps down from the White Tower, you will find yourself at the end of the canal and the alley behind the walls.
The easiest way to the top of Tampa is by cable car. As it works its way up, the city unfold itself more and more. From the top there is a 5-10 min walk to view point following the path with the green light poles, either to the viewing platform by the “Hollywood” sign, or continue a few minutes uphill to the other one, that I personally liked better.
Our last sightseeing stop was the citadel, but as it was closed when we got there so we just turn around and left. The views from the other viewpoints were also much nicer, so unless you are planning to enter the citadel (check the opening hours first….), I do not think you need to go there.
Back down in the city center, we were just strolling in the park and between the colorful houses, taking detours through the side streets, just soaking in the atmosphere.
Brašov by night
The main pedestrian street is lined up with restaurants in the middle of the lane, but as I mainly prefer, we found a side street to sit down instead. The first evening we just had a light meal at Terroirs Boutique du Vin. And of course wine. Wanting to see a bit more of the nightlife, we walked on for a drink another place as well. This ended up being much more difficult than imagined, as all the bars we tried to go were closing. And it was not even midnight! On a Saturday night! After walking around for a while, we had to admit defeat and ended up having a nightcap at Street Café right next to our hostel, as it was one of very few places still open.
The second evening we were prepared and went out for drinks before dinner. We had spotted the cool Dr. Jekelius – Pharmacy Café the night before, and did not want to risk it closing on us again. The place is set up as an old pharmacy, carried down to the smallest detail with artefacts all over. The tasteful drinks are even served in beaker glases!
Dinner was enjoyed in the cozy brick basement of Restaurant Sergiana. As I am always keen on trying the local food, we ordered a plate with mixed starters, including local cheeses and meat from boar and bear!
After dinner we again searched for a bar for a drink or two, so we asked our host for tips. He gave us a few, but sadly they were both closed (ok, it was Sunday). We therefor went back to a place we had passed on the way, but despite the fact the sign on the door said they would be open one more hour, they were closing. Well, it seemed Brasov had decided we should call it a night, so we did. At least it gave us the chance to get an early start the next day.
Where to stay:
There are many different opportunities for accommodation in Brasov. We stayed the first night in a hostel dorm, but figured that a private apartment was more or less the same price, so we moved the second night.
Centrum House Hostel
Central location on the main street in the old town. We stayed in a 4-bed room with private bathroom. Beds were comfortable, bathroom clean and the room was spacious. Enough sockets for everyone.
Wonderful and big apartment in a quiet parallel street to the main street. Lovely balcony and pleasant host. Nice and clean, and great to have the fridge for cold drinks in the morning.