Brasov was my second stop in Romania and it’s funny to think that originally I had no intentions to even go to Romania but to bounce around in the Balkans. I am happy I decided to hit Romania. I’ve met some amazing people and overall Romania has been wonderful, not what I expected at all. First of all Bucharest is a world class city but Brasov was just great. Not to put down Bucharest but I feel as though Brasov gave me a more true Romanian experience. The downfall of being a world class city is that you’r often effected by western culture and that takes away from its appeal.
Brasov is located in the Carpathian Mountains in the Transylvania portion of Romania. The train ride just to get there from Bucharest was amazing. The views of the mountains were spectacular and the scenery was just awesome. Brasov does have a small city centre that is the heart of its touristy area but outside of Brasov is full of wonders to explore. The most famous of these would have to be Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. But I’ll save that one for last. The others include the Rasnov Citadel and Peles Castle. If you have the ability to go see these I recommend it even if you only have one day, much like my American friends did. You always have time in the evening to explore Brasov. Peles castle is the furthest out from Brasov and to me it’s more of a mansion rather than a castle. It is also the newest of these places to see with construction beginning in the late 1800’s and ending in the early 1900’s spanning approximately 40 years. It’s filled with modern amenities like electricity, heating, cooling, a central vac system and an elevator. But that’s not what makes the place great. The architecture is mind blowing! But you will need to check it out to see for yourself.
Rasnov Citadel is located high atop a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding area. Partially in ruins but the best part the view it offers is still intact. Within the citadel there is not much to do but to take it in. There are a few small shops that all cell the same stuff, an axe throwing area and a dress up place. Everything costs money on top of your entrance fee.
Bran Castle I would say is the staple attraction of the three. It is Dracula’s Castle even though Vlad the Impaler only ever stayed there maybe a few nights. If you don’t know who Vlad the Impaler is well let me explain. He was a Romanian leader who liked to impale people, especially people who lied, cheated, and overall were bad people. He is believed to be the inspiration behind Dracula and Bran Castle the inspiration for his Castle. To me Bran Castle is what I expected of a Transylvanian castle. It has places for archers to defend the castle and it placed on top of a hill to make defence easier.
If you have the time you should also hike up Mount Tampa the home of the Brasov sign, it pretty much is another take on the Hollywood sign in California. If you want more spectacular views you’ll go! The hike depending on the trail you take will depend on the difficulty, and don’t be fooled by the colours the red trail is easier than the yellow! If you don’t want to hike and save time you can take the cable car up the side of the mountain, but if you hike it the view is worth it! Make sure to bring refreshments for along the way and once at the summit, you will need them.
Finally here is my wrap up of observations I’ve had in Romania. Romanians do not like large bills, unless you are paying for meals and the use makes sense. But if your in a shop paying for something that costs let’s say 5 Lei if you give them a 50 they will automatically ask for smaller. Now I know everywhere else that would not be normal to pay with a 50 but here is the thing, 50 is the lowest denomination they dispense from the ATMs. So they try to make it seem inconveniencing but in the end they make change no problem.
Another thing is the service in Romania is not high on their priorities. They often miss the opportunity to have a second drink order during meals. They will deliver the food and that will be the last time you see your server until your trying to flag them down for the bill. Yes you could flag them down to order another drink but your usually to busy eating the delicious food to bother.
Well that’s my post about Brasov and my last on Romania. I arrived in Budapest yesterday and so far it’s been great. So keep an eye out for my Budapest post. After Budapest I’m heading to Kraków!