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During a vacation in Romania you should definitely visit the beautiful town of Brasov (Kronstadt) in Transylvania. Approaching this city, you can see the Brasov lettering on Tampa, the city’s local mountain – almost like Hollywood.
We combined our trip to Brasov with a visit to the Zarnesti Gorge. We had watched it on television and we definitely wanted to see this place. You will find out later why that wasn’t so easy.
If you – like us – stay in Sibiu during your vacation, you drive about 2 1/4 hours to Brasov (approx. 90 miles).
Brasov – Brief overview
Brasov is beautiful, clearly laid out and well suited for shopping. Here you can find a few good shops (especially many shoe shops!), that offer high quality goods.
The city is divided into the center with the historic old town surrounded by the old city walls and some very beautiful sights that are a bit outside. During our visit, we focused on the city center and the ascent to the local mountain with the Brasov lettering.
Brasov – Parking
We parked in the ‘Parking Military Hospital Regina Maria’, a modern parking garage on the edge of the old town of Brasov. From there you walk about 7 minutes to the shopping street ‘Strada Republicii’ in the center of Brasov.
Brasov – Restaurant tip
If you want to eat something traditional, I can recommend the Beraria Ciucas. It is located in Strada Politehnicii 1, on the way from the parking garage to the city center. The restaurant has a beautiful inner courtyard, which is great for sitting and eating. Since the Beraria is close to the university, there are a lot of students and the food is quite common but very tasty!
Brasov – Sights
The Strada Republicii shopping street is home to beautiful shops in historic buildings, as well as countless cafés and restaurants – in summer almost all of them with outdoor seating.
The shopping street ends at the town hall square, the Piata Sfatului. It is surrounded by beautiful old town houses and many cafes and restaurants, too.
In the middle of the square is the old town hall, Casa Sfatului. Today it is no longer used by the city administration, but comprising a regional museum.
In between the house front on Piata Sfatului you can find the Orthodox church ‘Biserica Sfanta Adormire a Maici Domnului’. My recommendation: take a look inside this beautiful church.
If you would like to explore the city by bike, there are several rental bikes available on the edge of the Piata Sfatului.
Passing a small street between Starbucks and the Humanitas bookstore at the southern corner of the square you’ll reach the ‘Black Church’, the Biserica Neagra. It is one of the most famous landmarks of the city and got its name after a fire in the 17th century. In front of the church the statue of Johannes Honterus is placed.
I wouldn’t say the church was really black, but opinions will definitely differ.
If you walk further west from here, you will come to the Katharinentor, the Poarta Ecaterinei, a beautiful city gate. A little further north you can see the Blacksmith’s Bastion and the Black Tower. However, we went from the Biserica Neagra to the Telecabina Tampa, because we really wanted to drive up to the Brasov sign and enjoy the view over the city.
Brasov – Up to the Brasov lettering
The way to Telecabina Tampa, the cable car up the mountain, is unfortunately signposted poorly. Therefore, I recommend using a mobile phone app or a city map to navigate.
The ticket price is 17 Lei (around 3.50 euros) for the ascent and descent. You can also hike up or down the mountain. However, I’ve already read many bad reviews about the hiking trails, as there is garbage lying around everywhere due to the few waste bins along the way.
We preferred the gondola lift and were up on the Tampa in few minutes.
At the ‘mountain station’ there are small stands with drinks, ice cream, sweets, etc. To get to the Brasov logo and enjoy the great view over the city, turn right from here and reach after about 10 minutes the small viewing platform. The path is quite wide, but not paved and you have to walk over hill and dale. The path is not suitable for people with limited mobility or for strollers.
Arrived at the viewing platform and the Brasov lettering, you will be rewarded with this wonderful view:
To get back to the parking garage after visiting the local mountain of Brasov, go back down the small alley and then keep right.
Brasov – Culinary tip
My last, but very important tip for your visit to Kronstadt: You should definitely eat a tree striezel. In Romanian Colac or Cozonak (sometimes also written with K). This is an elongated yeast dough pastry with a large hole in the middle and frosting or nuts all around. You can buy it at stands that also sell corn and other snacks and it’s awesome!!! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture. For a first impression, find here is a link to Wikipedia with pictures. hier ein Link zu Wikipedia mit Bildern.
The Zarnesti Gorge
After our visit to Brasov we went to the Zarnesti Gorge. We only knew that it was somewhere near the village Zarnesti and that it was easy to find. Unfortunately, it is not well signposted and after three laps through Zarnesti, during which we kept coming back to the same place, we thought we would never get out of this little place. After we switched on Mr. Google Maps, he guided us the wrong direction down a short one-way road!! Hence you better enter the Piatra Craiului National Park directly into your navigation system, as this is the name of the GPS location (as we now know).
At 7 p.m. we finally arrived at the gorge and were the only visitors at that time. It was still bright enough, but after we passed signs with information about bears, vipers, foxes, etc., the children and I felt a bit queasy. The fact that we could hear bears roaring from afar didn’t make things any more relaxed.
But then we hiked very bravely to the gorge, which is really impressive – nevertheless I was happy when we were back in the car without having met any bears.
Nevertheless, I can strongly recommend a trip to the Zarnesti Gorge – perhaps as a full day trip. During the day there should be a lot more visitors and you probably don’t worry about the bears at all.
As always, this is an unsponsored post to inspire you about beautiful Romania. Would you have imagined Transylvania or Romania to be that beautiful? I’m looking forward for your comments!
You can find more great excursion destinations, tips and information for an unforgettable vacation in Transylvania here:
Of course, I have put together charming accommodations in Sibiu for you: