Sited in the heart of Romania and surrounded by the Carpathians, Brașov is a not-to-be-missed destination and the perfect spot to capture some stunning views. Picturesque landscapes lure you to discover their beauty and wilderness outside of the city. At Culture Trip, we selected the most charming citadels, quaint villages, and outstanding sceneries that you can visit during a one-day trip from Brașov.
Rasnov Citadel and Bran Castle
Only a half hour by car from Brașov lies the home of the blood-thirsty vampire Dracula, the Bran castle. Surrounded by myths and legends, Bran castle has been, over time, a custom stronghold between Transylvania and Wallachia and later, a property of Queen Marie of Romania. However, after the release of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, the castle, strikingly similar to the one described in Stoker’s story, became one of the most famous in Europe and allegedly the residence of the most feared vampire.
On your way to Bran Castle, you can stop at Râșnov citadel. Perched on a hill, the citadel served as a refuge for the citizens living in the surrounding villages during long-time sieges. Inside the citadel, a fascinating well was carved in the stony soil. But what is truly fantastic are the views you get up there.
Piatra Craiului Mountains
With so many natural attractions around, Brașov is an ideal starting point for a day in the Carpathians. And the best mountains for a trek are the Piatra Craiului Mountains. You can start your excursion with a stop in Zărnești for a visit at the Liberty Bear Sanctuary. Created at the end of the ‘90s, the sanctuary has the role of protecting brown bears that have been rescued from a miserable life. At the sanctuary, 70 hectares of forest have been converted into a new home for the big mammals.
From Zărnești, you can start your journey in one of the most beautiful mountains of Romania. Craggy tops, narrow valleys, marvelous forests, and peculiar caves are scattered in the mountains waiting to be discovered. One of the most popular trails is the one through Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor, a two-kilometer gorge carved in the mountains.
Peleș Castle and Bucegi Mountains
This one day trip mingles fairytale castles with natural wonders at a just one-hour drive from Brașov. Take the road that goes to Sinaia, a mountain resort also known as the Carpathian pearl. Yet, it is more like a shell sheltering one of Romania’s treasures: the Peleș castle. Among the best preserved royal castles in Europe, Peleș was the summer residence of King Carol I. Today a museum, the castle looks like it was taken out of a fairytale, boasting stunning Neo-Renaissance architecture and no less than 170 astounding rooms.
On your way to Peleș Castle, stop in Bușteni and take the cable that goes towards two of the most curious rock formations of Romania: Babele (the old ladies) and the Spinx. Shaped by erosion and sited at 2,216 meters (7,270 feet), the two formations are luring travelers to admire Mother Nature’s miracles.
Hărman and Prejmer citadels
North of Brașov, two monumental citadels exhibit Saxon mastery in building fortifications. Arriving in Transylvania starting in the 12th Century, the German colonists left behind a fantastic heritage. The village of Prejmer houses the largest fortified church in southeastern Europe, known to have withstood 50 sieges. 12-meter (40-feet) high and four-meter (10-feet) thick walls with built-in rooms surround the church, serving as a shelter for the villagers in time of blockade and as food deposits in times of peace.
Not less impressive is the fortified church in Hărman, built by Teutonic Knights in the 13th Century. Strong walls and towers encircle the gothic church, boasting a beautiful 15th-Century fresco and a 16th-Century horologe.
Sighișoara and Viscri
Truly outstanding, Sighișoara shelters the best preserved, inhabited medieval citadel of Europe. Erected by the Saxons in the 13th Century, the picturesque citadel exhibits colorful houses, charming cobbled streets, centuries-old churches, and greatly preserved towers. Once you step inside, you will surely fall under its charm. Don’t miss the Clock Tower, inside the Museum of History, and the amazing views you can get from the top. And if you are around in July, re-live the medieval ambiance at Sighișoara Medieval Festival.
When going back to Brașov, stop in Viscri, a beautiful and unique Saxon village. Sheltering a centuries-old fortified church, the village has mesmerized even Prince Charles of Wales, who bought a traditional house, while today it is a cozy guest house. A walk into the village, among its beautifully restored houses and quiet streets, with a cart passing by here and there and women knitting socks and clothes is a great way to relax while taking in the pristine scenery around you.
Seven Ladders Canyon
A one-hour ride from Brașov, in the Piatra Mare massif, the fascinating Seven Ladders Canyon has been carved in limestone. Made up of seven ladders with heights between 2.5 meters (8 feet) and 15 meters (49 feet), the canyon is dotted with boardwalks and bridges that help you get through crevices and cascades. Each ladder features a waterfall, the tallest being 25 meters (115 feet) high. But the greatest thing is that you can climb just next to them. And if you still didn’t get your daily adrenaline dose, instead of walking back, you can enjoy the longest zipline in the country that will take you right back to your departure point.
Făgăraș Citadel and Sâmbăta Monastery
Taking a trip to the Făgăraș Citadel from Brașov will reveal the astounding scenery of Romania’s highest mountains, following you all the way to the fortification. The citadel used to be the center of one of the biggest domains in Transylvania, including 62 villages. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, it was also a very important residence of Transylvania. With a history of 600 years, the citadel opens today its 66 rooms and torture chambers to tourists from all over the world.
Near Făgăraș, in the village of Sâmbăta de Sus, lies the Orthodox Sâmbăta Monastery. Dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, the church is also known as the Brâncpveanu Monastery, erected by the Wallachian Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu in the 17th Century to strengthen the Orthodox faith in the area. Nowadays, the monks’ monastery attracts thousands of Christians, who wander through the beautiful convent, drink water from the Spring of life fountain, pray in the more recently-built 20th-Century church, or just enjoy a moment of peace.