As our trip was only 5 days long it may have been easier to just remain in Bucharest but I really wanted to see some of the beautiful Transylvanian countryside so decided to factor in a couple of days in Brasov, the largest city in the Southern Carpathian mountain range.
Our train left Bucharest at 12.15pm and arrived just before 3pm, which was great timing to have a lazy morning and a long breakfast at the train station before catching the train. Getting on was a tad stressful as we struggled to find our seats, a man started to help us but it was soon clear the help was not free and we were pretty much forced to buy some Romanian magazines from him. The train was pretty busy but soon we were seated and settled.
It turned out to be what was one of the most beautiful train journeys. The scenery was so stunning and the time flew by. I’d given Rachel the window seat, which I slightly regretted from a photo point of view, but I enjoyed the journey none the less.
Arriving in Brasov the difference from Bucharest was clear. Brasov is a very picturesque place with quaint streets and fairytale architecture. Although still as warm as Bucharest the sticky heat was replaced with a cooling breeze and the streets were not as busy. Both Rachel and I agreed that we instantly fell in love with the place.
Our accommodation for the night was Casa Terezia where we had a really large twin room for only £22 a night. It was located right in the centre so it was very convenient and the owner gave us a very warm welcome. The room was clean and there was a centre communal area with a fridge and dining area. I’d totally recommend it for a base in Brasov.
Lunch was certainly on our agenda by this point so we headed to Trattorian Artisan Food, which was hidden down a sweet little back street. They had some really tasty pizzas and it was lovely to sit in the afternoon sun with good pizza and beer. We were in such a great spot for people watching!
The old town of Brasov can be maneuvered around relatively easily and quickly. At the centre sits Piata Sfatului, the council square. In the middle of the square sits the council house, which was built in 1420, and a number of colourful buildings surround it. Although this was probably the busiest area we encountered there was no real people traffic and it was easy to take a leisurely stroll around the square.
From the square you can also see the ‘Brasov’ sign that sits at the top of the Tampa Mountain, which can be reached by cable car if you have the time, unfortunately we didn’t.
Just off the square is the Black Church, built by the German community in the city, and even though it was closed when we visited the external architecture was still very stunning.
Another place to visit in Brasov is the Strada Sforii, otherwise known as Rope Street, which is one of the narrowest streets in Europe. First built as a corridor for firemen to travel now you’ll now only encounter the odd tourist trying to get themselves into some sort of creative pose.
We visited the Synagogue although it was closed and it had gates so we had to settle for a photo between the bars. Synagogues are something I still feel I haven’t encountered that often and so the architecture still really grabs my attention.
Catherine’s gate is also a spot worth visiting, the only original gate still surviving from the Medieval times. There was something about the turrets that reminded me of a Disney theme park, they looked pretty stunning against the blue skies.
Schei Gate sits right next to Catherine’s gate, although I didn’t snap a picture as there was a large tour group looking at it so we walked straight on. It’s quite classical looking, built like a triumphal arch, but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to see it.
St Nicholas church was such a pleasure to visit. It was a bit out of the way so we encountered hardly anyone else there, save a man repainting all the church murals. His recent restoration had left the murals so bright and vibrant and the church really looked so wonderful in the afternoon sunshine.
After a couple of hours chilling at the hotel we had a wonderful meal at Bistro Albert. We’d made a late reservation, for 9pm, and when we turned up the restaurant was empty. The staff were very welcoming though and we had a delicious meal, I had salmon steak followed by chocolate souffle.
The restaurant surroundings are impressive, as we made our way down a little alleyway before finding ourselves into the underground restaurant with its vaulted ceilings and stone arch walls. Despite its beautiful decor and its fine dining menu there was no act of pretension and the atmosphere was friendly and homely.
Steps walked: 16,452