"Buna ziua, Brasov!" Top 5 Page for this destination Brasov by midnight_mike
Brasov Travel Guide: 650 reviews and 1,779 photos
Whenever a traveler ventures off to a corner of the world they have never visited, there are usually a handful of preconceptions they carry with them that may or may not be accurate.
As I first entered Romania in October of 2002, I must admit I thought a lot about Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula.” After all, this was the land the author had envisioned when he created the vampire.
It is true that there was an historical figure named Count Dracul, whose son Vlad (1431-1476) was called Tepes--Romanian for “The Impaler”--because of his tendency to mount enemy soldiers onto stakes. He even dined in front of his slow-dying victims, which inspired rumors he had an appetite for human flesh.
But anyone who comes to Romania looking for vampires will surely be disappointed. Most Romanians have never read “Dracula” and those who feed into a traveler’s curiosity are likely selling T-shirts or post cards. While “Dracula” does draw in the most tourists, the Carpathian mountain range, which cuts through the middle of the country, has become an attraction unto itself.
Ever since the 1989 revolution that freed its citizens of communism, Romania has been slow to reform. The lack of an official bureau of tourism, for example, has kept the country a relatively unknown destination. This has been good news for the do-it-yourself traveler who purposely avoids crowded destinations. There are no tour buses or hordes of foreigners watering the local culture down.
In addition, Romania’s sluggish economy has made it a bargain for western travelers. Most meals at a quality restaurant cost between $2 and $5; a bottle of the local wine sells for around $2; and a pack of Marlboro cigarettes sells for under $1.
One of the things fellow travelers mention most about the country is the lifestyle of the rural villagers. Horse-drawn carts are still the most common form of transportation in many enclaves of Romania, where electricity is a luxury and indoor plumbing is an oddity. Regardless of its size or economic status, every town or village in Romania is likely to have at least one eye-catching Roman Orthodox church.
Brasov in southeastern Transylvania is one of the more popular and accessible destinations for tourists in Romania. The city, which still has several structures from medieval times, rests on a depression surrounded by the Carpathians. It is also referred to sometimes as Kronstadt, its German name.
There are dozens of restaurants, cafes and shops within blocks of Piata
Sfatului, Brasov’s center. It has many similarities with Old Town Square in Prague, but on a smaller scale.
From Brasov, it is easy to access other attractions such as Bran Castle, Sighisoara, Poiana Brasov and Sinaia.
Bran Castle (1378), which is about a 30-minute drive from Brasov, is one of the most recognized images in Romania, as it has been billed as “Dracula’s Castle.” There is no actual historical connection to Vlad Tepes, but it is worth visiting as it does have the appearance of the castle Stoker was describing in “Dracula.”
Visitors to Bran usually stop at Rasnov Castle afterward. Only minutes from Bran, this mountain-top fortress built in the 1300s is a medieval version of the Alamo in San Antonio, as it served as a last defense for generations of villagers.
- Pros:Beautiful old town with many pubs and restaurants
- Cons:No beach
- In a nutshell:The best town in Romania!
For those wanting to experience a little R&R, head to the city of Constanta on the Black Sea coast. Romanians flock here... more travel advice
One of Brasov's most famous sights is the Black Church. The church got its name after a fire in 1689 turned its walls... more travel advice
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