Many tourists who visit Transylvania stay in the well-located and quite charming town of Brasov. It lies at the edge of a fertile valley surrounded by the steep, heavily forested Carpathian mountains. The Old Town boasts red tile roofs, elaborate city gates, a large Gothic church and dozens of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Directly behind the Old Town, Mount Tampa rises immediately and dramatically up to a height of 960m (about 3,100ft).
Here’s how to have a perfect day hanging out in Brasov:
Wake up to partly sunny skies and cool, crisp temperatures. Weave your way between the crowds on one of the main pedestrian streets of the Old Town, lined with multi-hued buildings hiding beer gardens and courtyards behind their façades. Head over to the Black Church, so named due to a devastating fire in 1687 that left much of its stone blackened. Its massive Gothic walls are much more impressive than the heavily reconstructed inside, but the beautifully painted and carved pews designed and constructed by each of the city’s Guilds definitely stand out. Take note: you must buy a photo permit to snap shots inside.
After that, follow your noses around town. Discover elaborately built gates in the old city walls and walk down Rope Street, one of the narrowest streets in Europe, with your hands touching either side. Meander along the small path sandwiched between a little canal and the city walls and wonder at the large stone buildings lining Brasov’s broad avenues. Marvel at the beautiful, colorful architecture you’ve come to expect throughout the Old Town while strolling back to the main square.
Enjoy a light and healthy lunch at Bistro Simone, and once your food has settled, embark upon an epic (and extremely vertical) hike up Mount Tampa. Take in the stunning views along the way (they’re almost better than what you see up top), and then clamber back down “the hard way” over a series of incredibly steep and rocky “steps.” Indulge in a cat nap, break into a bottle of local wine – perhaps a feteasca neagra? – and have one of those great and random conversations that usually results from good wine and even better company. Eventually, drag yourselves back out of the flat for drinks and dinner.
Venture just off the main street, around a corner, and settle in at one of the two charming cafes populating cosy, rose-colored Piata George Enescu. Watch the sun set slowly over one of Brasov’s seven hills (like Rome, they advertise!), and be sure to try the Aperol Spritz from Opus 9 café. You’ll have one of those moments when you’re simply thankful to be alive and to be exactly where you are. Dinner will inevitably come too soon, but sashay just a block down the tiny George Enescu street and snag a table outside at Dei Frati (best to reserve one ahead!). Be sure to try a bottle of their sparkling rosé – one of the best you’ll have in Romania – and go for the seafood pasta. Make friends with your server, relax and chat deep into the evening, and finish out the night with a slow walk back to your Airbnb.