Daniel and I just returned from a weekend in Brasov. The town is an easy trip from Sibiu and definitely worth visiting while you’re in Romania. In fact, Daniel and I loved it so much we’re planning to return for six weeks of skiing in winter 2019!
Our trip included:
- Hiking with panoramic views of the city
- Great food and drinks
- Exploring Dracula’s Castle aka Bran Castle
- Touring the Black Church
- A scenic train ride
…and so much more! This guide has everything you need to know to plan your weekend in Brasov, from how to get there, where to stay, and what to do, eat, and see!
Transport from Sibiu to Brasov
Daniel and I went from Sibiu to Brasov by bus and returned by train. Both options are great, but they’re slightly different. Here’s the pros and cons of each so you can choose which is best for your trip.
Sibiu to Brasov by Bus
Pros: Fast travel time of only 2.5 hours
Cons: Only leaves a few times a day, more expensive than the train, hot, crowded, need to arrive early to ensure a seat.
Cost: 30 lei per person with the AXI Tour company
Location: Autogara 1 at Pta 1 Decembrie 1918, 6
Sibiu to Brasov by Train
Pros: Gorgeous views, many departure times to choose from, plenty of space, air conditioning, doesn’t sell out.
Cons: Travel times range from 4 to 6 hours (you can check the arrival time when you buy the tickets).
Cost: 20 lei per person
Location: Autogara 1 Pta 1 Decembrie 1918, 6
Luckily in both Sibiu and Brasov the train and bus station are in the same place, so you can choose which one will work better for you on the spot.
Your best option is to walk to the train station (only 10 minutes from the Sibiu city center) and check out the schedule a few days beforehand to chose the time you want. Tickets can only be bought from the driver at the time of the trip, so make sure you arrive at the bus station 30 minutes early to ensure you get a seat. Our ride with AXI Tours was fine, but the minibus was crowded and incredibly hot. Still, we arrived intact for our weekend in Brasov, so no major complaints!
On the way home, we missed the 1 pm minibus and didn’t want to wait until the next one at 6 pm, so we took the 2:30 train from Brasov to Sibiu. It was 4 hours instead of 2.5, but I really enjoyed it. It was pretty empty, new, air conditioned, spacious, and had absolutely amazing panoramic views of the mountains, farmlands, and idyllic little Transylvanian towns the whole way. If you have some time, I absolutely recommend taking the train at least one way for your weekend in Brasov.
Daniel and I arrived in Brasov at 7:30 and took a taxi from the bus station to our hostel near the center. Just make sure you keep an eye on the meter because we had multiple drivers try to start our trip with the meter already at 10 or 20 lei… so annoying.
We dropped our stuff off at the Mountain Tale Hostel (which was kind of weird, to be honest, but was clean and comfortable with a good location) and spent the evening just walking through the charming city streets, eating dinner, grabbing a few drinks, and smoking shisha.
It’s not for everyone, but I’m always on the lookout for a good shisha bar and they’re actually really hard to find. Not in Brasov, though. Cafe 13 has the best shisha I have ever had (and I taught for two years in Abu Dhabi, so I’ve smoked a lot) and a really friendly staff. Plus, it’s open ’til 1am which is pretty late for this sleepy mountain town.
The atmosphere isn’t the best in the city but if you’ve never smoked shisha before or just like to dabble in hookah every now and then, I can’t recommend Cafe 13 enough! So good!
Whew, get ready for a long day.
Saturday started with a lazy breakfast at La Birou Bistro. After we got some coffee in us and were ready to go, it was time to see the biggest tourist attraction in Romania: Dracula’s Castle.
Dracula’s Castle, aka Bran Castle, is located about 45 minutes from Brasov and is famous for inspiring Bram Stoker’s Dracula novels. Except… Bram Stoker never actually visited the castle (he just read about it in books) and Vlad the Impaler, the real life Romanian ruler that Dracula is based on, never lived in the castle either! So, it’s a tenuous connection at best, but a must-visit during your weekend in Brasov nonetheless.
Getting From Brasov to Bran is really simple. Just take a taxi to Autogari 2 Bus Station, and there the busses to Bran leave every hour on the hour on weekends, and every 30 minutes during the week. The cost is only 7 lei, and the ride is absolutely beautiful. Snowcapped mountains, yellow flowering fields, medieval churches, the works. Just make sure you sit on the left side of the bus to get all the best views 🙂
The bus is also nice because it dropped us off right at the castle. There we paid the 45 lei entrance fee and spent about an hour walking through it. Bran Castle has a lot of information in English, old furniture and recreated rooms, armor and swords, and anything else you might expect to see at the famous Romanian tourist site. Personally, I even preferred the Bran Castle to our day trip to Corvin Castle, but Daniel feels the opposite… they’re very different and it’s worth visiting both if you have the time.
After visiting Bran Castle, Daniel and I grabbed really delicious prosciutto sandwiches on freshly made bread for only 15 lei each. The sandwich shop is also a pizza place, and though I can’t remember the name you can find it right across the street from La Cristi Restaurant, a few minutes walking from the castle.
After lunch we headed back to the bus stop to grab the next one home. All in all, we only spent two hours in Bran, but the town was cute. If we had a car I definitely would have planned more time to drive up into the mountains outside it, or grab lunch at Villa Bran with a panoramic view of the castle.
Cable Car and City Views
We got back to Brasov around 4 pm and took an afternoon break at our hostel.
After our phones were charged and we had a few snacks, we decided to check out the cable car to get some aerial views from the mountain next to the city. Here’s where we messed up and you can learn from us!
First, even if you don’t want to take the cable car, the promenade walk (which starts at the corner of Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu and Strada Cestelului) is worth an afternoon stroll for pretty views of the city.
After about ten minutes walking you’ll get to the cable car, which is open ’til 4 pm in the winter and 6 pm in the summer. Here you can pay 17 lei for a roundtrip ride, or take the hiking trail on the left side of the cable car for an hour long trek to the top.
We chose to walk, but that was a mistake because it was hot and uphill and I wasn’t wearing proper clothes… so we only made it halfway. The views were still nice, but if I could do it again I would take the 6 pm cable car to the top, stay for the sunset, and then walk down the trail instead of up. For photographers looking for that golden hour shot, this is definitely the best option.
Dinner and Drinks
We finished our night with dinner and drinks in Brasov. We had already eaten at the top-rated TripAdvisor restaurant in the city and left disappointed, so instead we decided to just enjoy the atmosphere in the main square instead. We split a pizza at Pizza Vitto (which was average as expected, but good for the price) and had a couple beers on their outdoor patio. The total price was only 45 lei, which I thought was a great deal for the location.
Finally, we decided to grab a couple beers at Tipografia Bar, because it’s down a side street and has a really nice atmosphere. There were plenty of people drinking in the street which gave it a lively vibe, and two more wine bars right by it if you want to keep the night going.
Our last morning in Brasov started with a quick and cheap breakfast at Mon Mellis Bakery where we split a GIANT prosciutto and cheese croissant for only 10 lei.
The Black Church
After breakfast we visited the Black Church, the large ornate church in the center of the square. It’s shrouded by the myth that a Bulgarian worker killed a child by pushing him off the tower while it was being built, and then hid the body in the walls… spooky.
The entrance fee is 10 lei per person and it has a beautiful interior that I think is worth the price. There’s lots of info in multiple languages to explain the tapestries, paintings, alters, and tombs, and all in all we spent about 30 minutes wandering through it.
Final Foods to Try
Ok, I know me and Daniel aren’t the only ones who spot tons of places we want to try while traveling, then rush and eat them all at the last minute… right?
Although you can spend your Sunday hiking at Poiana Brasov (a 30 minute bus ride away) Daniel and I decided to keep end our weekend in Brasov a little more low key. We just grabbed some iced coffee at the eclectic Kafe Pub, tried the french fries from the Cartofisserie stand that had been crowded all weekend (they were amazing) and finally, finished our morning with gelato from Emma La Dolce and a walk through the Brasov Park.
Daniel and I tried for the 1:30 bus to Sibiu but missed it, and ended up taking the train instead (which I preferred). We caught the 2:30 train home and our weekend in Brasov was completed with a relaxing ride back to Sibiu, listening to music and enjoying the mountain views.
Your Guide to a Weekend in Brasov
Spending a weekend in Brasov is a must when visiting Romania. Luckily, the little mountain town is so easy to visit from Sibiiu and definitely shouldn’t be missed.
Use this guide to explore your transport options to find what’s best for you. Then, it’s impossible not to enjoy the food, drinks, hiking, history, and beauty of the city all weekend long!