Inspired by Budget Savy’s Traveler trip to Brasov, i have decided to write a small guide to the city.
First thing is first: every other Romanian under 40 speaks good English, and every 1 in 5 over 40 speaks german. If you need directions, just ask, most of the times people are happy to help and are accustomed to tourists. If you can’t pronounce a name, just write it down on a notepad, people don’t get offended, as we know Romanian is the second hardest language, next to the Chinese.
The main sights are listed on wikipedia, so i am not gonna go over them again. One quick mention: Strada Sforii (Rope Street) is the second narrowest street in Europe.
There are 4 ways to get on top of the city, for a beautiful panorama:
- most obvious one, the BRASOV sign. you can go there by foot (30 mins climb if you are in decent shape) or by cable car from here. The last cable leaves at 5.30pm, so make sure you are on that last one down, otherwise you will have to come down by foot. when exiting the cable car building, make a right, it’s about 300m walk on a dirt road.
- the White Tower, across from the sign, is easily seen and reached, but it’s pretty low.
- behind the tower, there’s a road that leads to Poiana Brașov. take that road by car or foot and reach this parking lot for an elevated look.
- the Citadel (or Cetățuia), located here, offers a much better look than the last two. there used to be a restaurant there, but now it’s closed and for sale for 4 million euros.
Weather: cold. The city is 600m above sea level, surrounded by mountains, we have a short summer and a lot of cold. During the summer, it’s about 10°C less when in Bucharest is ~30. During the winter, temperatures drop constantly below -20 Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night and 10°C during the day. Make sure you rent a place with its own heathing sistem (called “centrala” or “centrala gaze”), as the public system is faulty.
Also, because of the cold weather, most places close around 10.30pm. And no mosquitoes, not even in the summer, and very few stray dogs.
Bears. Yes, we have them, they come down from the mountains looking for food if they are hungry. If you are staying at a place near the forest, be inside before dark or be very careful. Usually they are peaceful and just look for food, but if you start screaming of have a dog with you, they might attack you.
Transportation: trains, buses, no planes. In the city, the buses cost about 1 leu (22 eurocents), but drivers don’t sell the tickets, you must buy them in the station and not all stations sell them. The cabs are pretty cheap (look for the ones that have on the doors written “1,7 lei/km” or “2,2 lei/km” (as seen here).
Money: don’t carry large bills (100 and above). Take 100 from the ATM and break it at a shop. 10% of a bill is usually a good tip to leave at a restaurant.
The fortified churches from Hărman and Prejmer are not open on Monday (unless you are a group and make an appointment) and have short visiting hours on Sunday. Also, some places respect both Christian and Catholic holidays, usually the big ones (Easter, important saints).
Food: we have good Kurtos, good bakeries (with good bread and bagels), decent restaurants (Festival39, Sergiana, Taverna Sârbului, Plivax, Prato). The places in the Piața Sfatului and on the Republicii Street are good for coffee, as the food usually is not that great. For the American readers, very low GMO presence, meaning the taste of food is still there. Pizza is not very good, shaorma is not that great. Also, there are pretty good cake shops on Muresenilor Street. If you do your own cooking, look for small butcher shops, they still exist and they take good care of their meat. We have very few dishes with a lot of oil and cakes and sweets with lot of sugar.
Local beers: Ciucaș. Get it draught, non filtered, if you are at a bar.
Local dairy: Napolact and Delaco. The milk they sell is local, but the dairy products are mixed with Hungarian and Polski milk.
General rule: avoid walking thru a group of gypsies and take care of our smartphone (don’t leave it on the table if you are out and don’t hold it lightly). There aren’t many burglaries, but you don’t want to be the unlucky ones. Keep your belongings safe and don’t show fear if you get approach.
If you need more info or visiting, hit me up, would love to chat.