After a wonderful ‘pick me up’ in the form of a Slovakian weekend, I was feeling recharged and ready to do a little exploring in a new country.
It took two trains and an encounter with the most disgusting toilet on planet Earth, but after not too long I had arrived in Romania!
If you are planning to visit Romania in the future, if you heed one piece of advice, let it be this – the taxi drivers will try to rip you off.
The footpaths were very icy and slippery, so I wasn’t game to walk all the way to my hostel with my big backpack. I was already injured and cursed with the coordination of a newborn wildebeest, so I figured that there was no need to tempt fate further!
I was told that a taxi ride from the railway station to my hostel should cost around 15 lei, so when taxi drivers outside the train station tried to charge me 60 lei, I knew right off the bat that they were trying to rip me off. I refused the amount and kept requesting a metered cab, but they were all very resistant. In the end, I told them that they could miss out on the fare then and that I would catch a bus instead. I walked over to the bus stop, and within about a minute, one cab driver followed me and we agreed on 15 lei. If you feel like you are being overcharged – do not budge! A way to get the absolute cheapest fares is to book a cab online or via phone call like Uber, the details of these trips are stored in an electronic database, so those drivers tend to use (and stick to) their meters.
After I had safely arrived at my hostel and checked in, I was already getting positive vibes from Brasov. I stayed at the Kismet Dao Hostel, and had a wonderful time there. They have a gorgeous dog living in the hostel and anyone who takes her for a walk gets a free beer! Not a bad deal right there! The staff are wonderful, the beds comfy and the common areas are perfect for meeting new people.
After being given a solid rundown of the layout of Brasov, it was time for me to get out, brave the icy streets and get exploring. I only had one close call with slippage – which I thought was not too bad considering the circumstances!
I decided against a visit to the super touristy Bran Castle (famous for being the home of Dracula – even though there is no evidence Bram Stoker knew anything about this castle) and instead chose to spend my time in Brasov just exploring the city streets.
My first stop was the main square, which is super pretty in and of itself, but really, the main attraction is that the famous Black Church lies adjacent to said square.
Despite the Black Church not being as black as I expected it to be (calling it the Brown Church would have been more apt), it is still an incredibly beautiful church and a wonderful example of Gothic architecture.
After admiring the Black Church, I decided to head uphill to try and get some good views of the city. In the process, I passed Catherines Gate – a structure dating back to the mid 1500’s. It is famous for being the only original city gate to have survived to the modern day.
After passing this gate, I continued onwards and upwards, hiking my butt up a big ass hill! It was well worth the exertion though, the views of the city from above were nothing short of magical – even when under the cover of heavy fog.
Some other points of interest in Brasov include Rope Street (the narrowest street in Europe) and the few towers that line the city walls.
Brasov is definitely not the biggest city you’ll ever visit, but it is a beautiful one, and one that you’ll remember long after you leave.
Getting to Brasov: Brasov is well connected to both Vienna and Budapest by railway
Kismet Dao Hostel: A fantastic hostel with the cutest doggo ever, a dorm bunk starts at around $14/night AUD
Black Church: An amazing example of gothic architecture, entrance costs 9 lei (around $3 AUD)
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Icy streets are a real hazard in the winter, watch your step!
45 thoughts on “Get Your Garlic! Get Your Stake! I’m In Transylvania!”
Brasov’s main square looks like a film set, it’s so beautiful!
No kidding! Maybe the film set for a Dracula-esque film? 😉
Hah, the title is It! 🙂
Oh why??? Why skip the castle?
Ok, its touristy…Brasov looks fabulous too!
I honestly just wasn’t in the mood to be surrounded by a lot of other people, but if I ever return to Brasov I think I would go 🙂
It looks absolutely beautiful! This 3 week trip (that started at 10 days…) I’m planning is going to have to grow!
Where did you go on that trip!?
It’s still in the planning stages! I’m postponing it a bit for now, as I ended up booking another trip to Disneyland instead with a view to explore parts of Paris while we’re there!
If I leave it until next summer, I’ll have more savings hopefull for a bigger trip!
Great to hear this trip has turned around for you. Such high and lows it is just amazing. Take care of that bum knee.
It feels always great to read your blog. It has always been an inspiration for me to travel solo!
Thank you so much! This is my absolute favourite kind of comment to get <3
Looks like something out of a fairy tale! What sights are there to see in transylvannia?
So many old forts, gates and castles! If you are into gothic architecture then you’d be in heaven too!
Barcelona is great for Gothic architecture too, especially in the older parts of the city. If you haven’t gone and that’s your thing then I would definitely recommend 🙂
really beautiful scenery but I am fearful of ware wolves
Hahahaha, I’d be more fearful of vampires in Transylvania!
Disappointed about Castel Dracula, but googling Bran Castle now it doesn’t look like I’d hoped. A bit too orange. I thought I once found the worst toilet on a train between Congleton and Manchester. I think I might have still used it!?! They get everywhere, I’m sure.
Oh I dunno, I have certainly encountered a few doozies (this year especially!), so many gross toilets in the world haha
Great post! I’ve wanted to visit here since I read Dracula as a child – you’ve convinced me to put it on my travel list! 🙂
Awesome to hear! It is such an amazing city 🙂
I loved Brasov! Good call to skip Bran, but Sinaia and Prejmer are worth seeing.
Good to know, I will make a note of that for my return trip one day in the future 🙂
Looks beautiful, great pics. Liking the dog walking/free beer deal.
Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet deal!
Brasov main square looks beautiful. I love the idea of free beer in return for walking the dog – I don’t drink so the beer would be no use to me but I’d walk the dog anyway 🙂
I think the gorgeous doggo was in no shortage of people keen to walk her!
Don’t know if you read these comments, but I have been following you for quite awhile and really enjoy the photography and immersive, yet succinct visits around the globe you share.
This post is particularly enjoyable as I’m just down the street from you in Bucharest. I had to laugh when you mentioned the world’s worst toilet because I’m wondering if it was the one in Gara Nord or on the train. Regardless, I can relate as I still have powerfully vivid memories. However, this has helped me to develop extraordinary bladder control -especially since the Romanian trains are sooo slow.
Until your next stop… La multi Ani si Noroc!
Hi Gabe! Firstly, let me just say that I read each and every comment! It sometimes takes me a while to reply, but I make sure to read every single one 🙂
Haha it was on the train itself, but I have no doubt that those in the train stations are pretty horror inducing! How did you enjoy Bucharest? And where in the world are you now?
I loveeeeeeeeee your pictures!!! I immigrated away from Romania when I was young, so I’ve only had the opportunity to visit the mountains once. If it weren’t for family so obsessed with occupying your time, I would have been able to explore cities like Brasov so much more lol. I had the chance to see Bran Castle, and it’s a fun tour you can take to pass the time (if you do decide to see it). Peles Castle is another fun tour you can take, but I do envy your pictures from your trip, and wish that I could’ve explored the city in it’s entirety the way you did, myself.
I always look forward to your posts! I’m still so new to WordPress, so I’m not following too many people yet, but I truthfully enjoy following you. 🙂
Have a safe trip in Romania!
Oh! And I agree with you on the “Black Church.” I don’t understand why they named it that, when it really is brown. Did you go inside? They have a massive organ!
And no I didn’t, I was on a budget and couldn’t afford the ticket. I must do so next time!
Thank you so much for that thoughtful comment Roxi. I definitely must return to Romania one day and explore more of the castles. As for you, I hope you get the chance to explore much more of your home country!
Brasov looks well worth a day or two, at least. My Romanian correspondent, Ramona Crisstea, lives in Cluj-Napoca, and viewing her posts on WordPress would be worthwhile.
I will make sure to check her out!
As someone who would love to do what you do, I have one question…. How? How do you afford it, how do you make it work, where’s the income come from? If you’ve written about this, please point me there. I’m not trying to be at all offensive, I just want to know how it can be done so I have something to work towards. You live the dream I want. I want to stop reading and start doing.
I did a post a while back about my most frequently asked questions – this should clear some things up for you.
Oh, I sure would want to visit this place, too. It looks creepy already in the pictures.
It is such a lovely city – well worth a spot on your ‘list’ 🙂
The photos are beautiful – gotta love European old towns. It reminds me of my January trip in Prague when the landscapes looked similar.
Prague is such a stunning city – I would love to return there one day.
Visited Romania a couple of times now as my fiancee is Romanian. It is a true hidden gem! So many beautiful places also a great ski destination if looking to go skiing on a budget!
Beautiful photos as well!
I would kill myself if I ever went skiing (I have the balance of a newborn giraffe – basically none) but that is a great tip!
Just want to say that your blog inspired me to work on my own… hooray for solo travel! http://www.whereispoppy.com
Hopefully I’ll be making my way around here this summer.. it’s such a weird feeling when Romanians have been where I haven’t… in my own country… haha 🙂
Awesome – I always love to hear that I’ve inspired people. Good luck with your blog and safe travels.