One Day in Brasov Itinerary: A Day Trip from Bucharest

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by Olivia Ellis

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Planning a one day in Brasov itinerary is an excellent way to see one of Transylvania’s most beautiful towns and enjoy the gorgeous scenery that lies in the Carpathian mountains.

One of the highlights of visiting Romania, Brasov is known to be the jumping-off point for visiting some of the region’s most imposing castles.

The town itself is filled with incredible history and a wonderful atmosphere that makes it a joy to explore. Whether you’re winding your way through Transylvania or are simply looking for a day trip from Bucharest, heading to Brasov is a wonderful addition to any trip to Romania.

How Many Days in Brasov?

Deciding how many days to spend in Brasov can be a difficult feat due to the gap between how long visitors typically stay and how much time to spend in Brasov is ideal to really understand the city and do it justice.

Many visitors often allocate only a brief window for Brasov, typically as part of a Transylvania tour. However, in my view, a full day is essential to truly appreciate the city.

A day trip from Bucharest to Brasov allows ample time to explore key sites without feeling rushed. While even a short stop in Brasov is better than not visiting at all, taking the time to move at a leisurely pace is much more enjoyable.

Furthermore, if you plan on spending time in other parts of Transylvania as part of a longer Romania itinerary, Brasov is an ideal city to have as a base to explore elsewhere in the region, especially to places like Peles Castle, Sibiu and Sighisoara.

The city has just about everything you can need, with a lovely small-town feel and bygone ambiance.

Brasov Sign on a Mount Tampa
Brasov Sign on a Mount Tampa

Getting To & Around Brasov

Due to its location in central Romania, Brasov is pretty convenient to reach, whether you prefer to rent a car during your travels, take a train, or fly.

Brasov can be reached by car in about 2.5 from Romania’s capital of Bucharest, just under 4 hours from Transylvania’s unofficial capital of Cluj-Napoca and about 5 hours from the city of Timisoara.

Renting a car for your time in Brasov is a great option if you plan on visiting other areas of Transylvania and Romania, especially since parking in Brasov isn’t too difficult to get a hold of unless you’re staying in the old town of the city. You can browse car rental options here.

If you’re already in Romania and prefer to take the train to Brasov, the city is easily accessible by Romanian rail and bus. Trains to Brasov are pretty frequent from major cities in Romania as well as smaller towns and cities that are close to Brasov, such as Rasnov and Sibiu. You can view schedules here.

Regarding train companies, Romania features both national and private rail services. This implies that the price, quality, and speed of your journey may vary depending on the company you choose to travel with.

Romania’s National rail company, CFR Calatori is typically the cheapest to travel with as well as the one with the most frequent services, with the downside of older trains usually with no air conditioning and slower services.

The private train companies in Romania such as Căile Ferate Române, Softrans, and Regiotrans will all be slightly more expensive, as well as more comfortable, with air-conditioned carriages.

Regardless of which company you decide to travel with, Romania is undoubtedly a country to conveniently and affordably travel around, and travelling to Brasov is no exception.

As of June 2023, Brasov has its own airport, Brasov-Ghimbav Airport, located a short 11 km outside the city centre. While the airport currently only services a small handful of routes from Germany and the UK, more airlines and routes are expected to be added to the flight schedule in the future.

For those of you who are looking to only do a day trip from Bucharest and not spend the night, there are several organised tours available such as this full-day tour or this private tour.

When you arrive in Brasov, the three most common ways to get around the city are; public transportation, ride-sharing, and walking.

Bus transport and trolleybuses serve public transportation in Brasov. The system consists of approximately 60 buses, offering frequent services with numerous stops across the city. This extensive network allows convenient travel to and from your destinations during your visit.

Tickets are affordable and can be purchased at a RAT kiosk throughout the city and must be in your possession before boarding, as well as validated at the machine once on board.

Ride-sharing apps, such as Uber or Bolt, are incredibly popular in Romania, as well as affordable. For reference, a 10-minute ride in Brasov will set you back around 20 lei (€4) and shorter rides will be slightly cheaper.

Drivers are plentiful, friendly, and the ease of booking through user-friendly apps enhances the overall convenience of using ride-sharing services in Brasov.

While the city of Brasov is one of Romania’s biggest cities and sprawls several urban and residential areas, the city centre is rather compact, making it easy and enjoyable to get around on foot.

The unique blend of architecture and pleasant surroundings creates a charming atmosphere for leisurely strolls, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture that define Brasov.

Council Square
Council Square

1-Day Brasov Itinerary

This one-day itinerary in Brasov will take you on a journey from the city’s medieval historic centre, winding through its ancient Dacian streets, taking in the city’s historic monuments, breathing in the fresh Carpathian air, and enjoying comforting, classic Transylvanian dishes.

Council Square

Start your day in the central Council Square, or Piața Sfatului in Romanian. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of Brasov, embracing the vibrant Baroque buildings, the historic Black Church, and the lush Carpathian Mountains gracefully tucked behind the city.

The Council Square has a history dating back several centuries and has been a central hub for civic and commercial activities since medieval times, spanning various occupations in the city, from the Ottomans to the Saxons and most recently, the Hungarians.

This intricate history is deeply reflected in the architecture of Council Square, and by taking a moment, or a few, by stopping at one of the cafés lining the square, you’ll see that Brasov is a city that both preserves and presents its past, seamlessly blending it with the culture of the present.

The Black Church

One of Brasov’s most recognized monuments, The Black Church, or Biserica Neagră, is situated just behind Council Square.

As the largest Gothic church in Romania, this remarkably well-preserved Orthodox church dating back to the 14th century stands as an iconic symbol representing the city’s resilience despite its tumultuous history.

Initially named as the Church of Saint Mary, the Black Church took its current name after a major fire in Brasov in 1689, which resulted in the darkening of the church’s walls. The fire, a devastating event in the city’s history, led to extensive restoration work, including the introduction of Baroque elements to the church’s interior.

While the church is a marvel in itself from the outside, I recommend visiting the inside as well to gain a deeper understanding of one of the most defining features of Brasov.

The church is typically open daily for visits (check times in advance) and tickets can be purchased either online, or across the street from the Black Church’s giftshop, INSPIRATIO.

Black Church in Brasov, Romania
Black Church

Wander Brasov’s Historic Streets

After exploring the Black Church, I recommend dedicating a substantial portion of your day to strolling through the historic cobbled streets of Brasov.

With structures dating back centuries and an intimate small-town ambiance, this, in my opinion, is the ideal way to acquaint yourself with the city.

The Old Town features charming bookshops like the historically housed Librăria Humanitas, decorated with stunning original frescoes on the ceiling.

Additionally, you’ll encounter a wide array of unique shops, from well-known high street stores to independent shops offering traditional Transylvanian and Romanian goods. Don’t miss the lively markets, each creating a vibrant atmosphere with quirky finds.

You could also take in the Black Tower and the nearby, larger White Tower (Turnul Negru and Turnul Alb in Romanian respectively). These medieval fortresses were constructed in the 15th century and the White Tower houses its own small museum.

It’s also worth wandering over to the First Romanian School Museum, which is a fascinating history museum housed in a beautiful Baroque building that was originally constructed in the late 16th Century.

To learn more information about Brasov and its history, I suggest taking part in a walking tour, where you’ll wander throughout the city with a local while learning interesting pieces of information as well as suggestions for your stay.

Walkabout Free Tour is a free walking tour (tip-based) that meets in Council Square and takes you through the city’s 800 years of history. You can join a paid walking tour.

The Black Tower
The Black Tower

Mount Tampa & the Brasov Sign

After making yourself familiar with Brasov’s Old Town and most iconic historic monuments, it’s time to make your way above the city to admire the city’s most recognisable modern-day monument, the Brasov sign.

In the same style as the Hollywood sign yet sitting in the Carpathian Mountains rather than the Hollywood Hills, there’s nothing more iconic about modern-day Brasov than its white sign looking out over the city.

The sign is located at Tampa Peak, 422m above the city of Brasov and easily offers some of the most spectacular, panoramic views of Brasov, the surrounding Carpathian Mountains and mystical Transylvanian wilderness.

To get to the Brasov sign and Tampa Peak, you have two options; either take a 2-minute ride from the boundaries of Brasov’s old town by the Tampa Cable Car, or embark on an invigorating hike beneath the cable car to reach the Brasov sign and Tampa Peak.

With positives and negatives of both, it ultimately depends on which suits you best to reach the peak. If you’re staying in Brasov for more than a day, you can also do both, as you’ll likely find yourself wanting to return.

The Tampa Cable Car operates daily, excluding Mondays, throughout most of the year. Extended hours are available during peak summer months. Though not comparable to a Disney World attraction, it offers a swift and pleasant ascent of Tampa Mountain, providing beautiful views without the physical strain of a hike, for those who prefer to skip it.

Once you reach the top, you’ll come across an inviting atmosphere, with a restaurant/café, and the magical feeling that you’ve just been transported into the mountains from the city! From here, you’re just a short 5-minute walk away from the Brasov sign and lookout points from Tampa Peak.

If you’re up for hiking to Tampa Peak, the trail begins at the base of Tampa Mountain, following well-marked trails through lush forests and meadows. The ascent provides a rewarding challenge, yet not too difficult for those in moderately good shape, leading to panoramic views of Brasov and the surrounding landscapes.

If you decide to embark on the hike, make sure you wear comfortable clothing and shoes, carry water, and check the weather conditions before setting out, as the cable car won’t run in adverse weather.

While Brasov is a delight from its streets below, it’s a completely different experience seeing it from above, with the unique perspective of easily being able to take in the centuries of history through its varying architecture, both Saxon, Transylvania, and Brutalist. There’s no doubt that going up Mt Tampa is one of the best things to do in Brasov.

The view of Brasov from the top of Mt Tampa
The view of Brasov from the top of Mt Tampa

Dinner at La Ceaun

Whether you’ve hiked up Tampa Peak or were whisked up by cable car, you’ve probably built up an appetite at this point and Brasov is a wonderful place to be hungry, thanks to its hearty traditional food, and cosy, welcoming restaurants.

My recommendation for dinner and to round out your day in Brasov is to head back to Council Square and eat at La Ceaun, or the Cauldron. Here, traditional Romanian flavours meet contemporary presentation.

This charming restaurant offers a diverse menu showcasing regional specialities, savoury dishes, warm hospitality, and a cosy ambiance makes dining at La Ceaun a memorable experience in the heart of Brasov.

Dinner at La Ceaun
Dinner at La Ceaun

Have 2 Days in Brasov?

As stated previously, Brasov is a wonderful city to spend more than one day in, whether you decide to spend 2 days in Brasov, discovering the city further or using it as a base while visiting other nearby areas.

Bran Castle

Undoubtedly the most renowned site in Transylvania, Bran Castle, famously known as Dracula’s Castle, graces the town of Bran, just 30 km outside of Brasov.

While a taxi or car provides the most convenient access, a bus operates every 30 minutes on weekdays and hourly on weekends from Brasov’s Terminal 2 (Autogara Bartolomeu) to Bran. The scenic 45-minute journey unveils Transylvanian landscapes and quaint towns.

Explore the medieval Bran Castle, and afterwards, meander through Bran’s historic corners, giving impressive views of the castle from below.

If you have your own car, it is also very easy to pair a trip to Bran with a stop in the small town of Rasnov, located about halfway between Brasov and Bran. Known for the imposing Rasnov Fortress, it’s a great place to stop off and wander around for a bit. You can also join an organised tour.

Bran Castle
Bran Castle

Libearty Bear Sanctuary

For a different kind of trip outside of Brasov, I highly suggest visiting the emotional yet inspiring, Libearty Bear Sanctuary, the largest bear sanctuary in Europe, located near Zarnesti, 25 km outside of Brasov.

Libearty Bear is one of the most notable wildlife conservation projects in the region and continues to grow, saving more animals from treacherous conditions. Established in 2005, the sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing and providing a safe, natural environment for captive bears that have been previously exploited for entertainment or kept in inadequate conditions.

Consider pre-booking tickets in advance, as guided tours are the only way of exploring the Libearty Bear Sanctuary. All proceeds from ticket sales contribute to the sanctuary’s mission and consider adopting your very own bear to support their ongoing welfare efforts.

Where to Stay in Brasov

Arce Boutique Hotel – Located within a minute’s of Brasov’s main attractions, this little boutique hotel has several comfortable rooms, a great terrace, an exceptional breakfast and lots of other perks.

Pensiunea Toscana – A good upmarket option in the Old Town of Brasov, this hotel has a range of plush rooms, an inviting on-site bar, a great breakfast and a lovely garden for guests to enjoy.

Zozo Hostel – This is a good place to stay in Brasov for budget and solo travellers, this cabin-like hostel is cosy and offers both dorms and private rooms. They have great common areas and self-catering facilities.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Brasov hotels!

While Brasov isn’t the city that typically comes to mind when thinking of medieval European cities, it’s a destination that should definitely be on your travel radar.

Are you planning to visit Brasov? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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