The beautiful town of Brasov is the perfect base if you want to explore the region of Transylvania in Romania. While many choose to visit the famous Bran and Peles Castles or Poiana Brasov, there are many other places to visit and things to do in the area. I listed 6 best day trips from Brasov so if you’ve already visited the city and wish to go on a day trip, read the entire article and pick the journey that suits you better.
Explore the Quiet City of RASNOV
Distance: 18 km, 20 minutes drive/one way
The city of Rasnov is a typical Romanian provincial town, with not much going on but still with enough things to do on a day trip from Brasov.
Enjoy a Panoramic View Over the City from the Rasnov Citadel
Start your day with an easy hike to the Citadel and admire the views over the city. The Rasnov Citadel is an impressive thirteenth-century fortress built on the top of a mountain at 200 meters above the town. It dominates Rasnov’s skyline, being a great example of a fort made to protect the community at times of invasion.
Note: The Rasnov Citadel is going through renovation works throughout 2020 and 2021 so you can’t go inside, but a hike up to the fortress and a walk outside the Citadel walls is still a good idea.
Take a Walking Tour of the Old Town
Rasnov has a few pretty streets with colourful houses, so take a short walking tour of the old town.
Stop for a traditional Romanian lunch at the fancy Radsor Hotel and admire the Hollywood sign at the top of the Hill. Or take a coffee break at the on-site pastry shop which has a variety of tasty sweets, tee and coffee.
Have Fun at Dino Park
The best place to spend a few exciting hours with your children is Dino Park, the largest dinosaur theme park in East Europe. Children and adults walk through a beautiful forest on a historical route where they encounter more than 100 dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that lived on this territory.
FEE: 28 RON ( around 6€ or 6$) for adults, 22 RON (around 5€ or 5$)for children.
- Monday to Thursday: 10.00 – 18.00
- Friday & Saturday: 10.00 – 19.00
- Sunday: 10.00 – 18.30
Discover the Valea Cetatii Cave
Valea Cetatii Cave, 1.5 kilometres from the city, allows a short tourist route, clear and easy to access. Inside you will be amazed by the beautiful calcite formations and white arches. When you reach the Big Room, a 20 meters high and 2.500 square meters room, the guide will turn off the lights to experience absolute darkness.
FEE: 15 RON for adults (around 3€ or 3$), 10 RON( around 2€ or 2$) for children.
OPENING HOURS: Daily: 10.00 – 20.00
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 THINGS TO DO IN RASNOV, ROMANIA
Learn About the Rescued Bears from LIBEARTY BEAR SANCTUARY ZARNESTI
Distance: 25 km, 35 minutes drive/one way
Drive to Zarnesti town and learn more about the rescued bears from Libearty Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti. This sanctuary gathers a lot of bears saved from captivity from different zoos or private places all over Romania. Libearty Bear Sanctuary is the largest brown bear sanctuary in the world and home to 100 bears who roam freely on 70 hectares of oak and hazel forest.
FEE: 50 RON (around 10€ or 10$).
OPENING HOURS: Open from Tuesday to Sunday. The guided tours are operated in Romanian and English, at 9.00, 10.00 and 11.00, for a maximum of 30 persons (for summer 2020).
NOTE: Since each tour is limited to a maximum of 50 people, buy your tickets ahead online.
Also, there’s a 50 RON (around 10€ or 10$)fee if you bring a photo camera.
Drive the Famous TRANSFAGARASAN ROAD
Distance: 134 km to Balea Lake and 2 hours drive/one way
Have you watched the episode of the popular TV show Top Gear where Jeremy, James and Richard drive some fantastic cars on the Transfagarasan Road and declare it one of the world’s most scenic drives? Well, here it is, only 100 kilometres from Brasov! Easy to explore, Transfagarasan road should be on your list!
Short Info about Transfagarasan Road
The famous road was built between 1970 and 1974, under Ceausescu communist regime, to guarantee a secured way through Carpathian mountains in case of a Soviet invasion. Now is a popular weekend and holiday destination among Romanians and tourists coming from different parts of the world only to see this road. It starts at Cartisoara, in the north and ends at Bascov, in the south, covering a length of 150 kilometres.
Driving the Transfagarasan Road
As a day trip from Brasov, you will be driving on Transfagarasan road only 30 kilometres, from Cartisoara to Balea Lake, situated at 2.042 metres altitude; and running back the same route. This spectacular section is closed from October to June due to extreme weather conditions.
In the beginning, the road has a few corners until the scenery changes entirely and you will be soon blown away by the beauty of the mountains in front of you. Take your time, park only in designated areas and get lots of photos. A set of sharp hairpins will take you up, at Balea Lake, where you can take a break and spend some time at your leisure. Additionally, you can discover the Balea Waterfall.
Things to Keep in Mind before Driving the Transfagarasan Road
- Drive it early in the morning if you want to avoid the slow traffic.
- Make sure to plan a full day trip as you will be stopping many times, and you will be driving at a leisurely pace.
- Check and double-check the weather forecast if you want to enjoy the day to the fullest.
Alternative: Hike to Capra Saddle (Saua Caprei)
If ascending to Moldoveanu Peak is not your thing, but still want to go on a short hike in the area: head to Capra Saddle (Saua Caprei). After 30 minutes hike from Balea Lake, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the lake and the valley. On the high plateau, you will discover another beautiful lake, Capra Lake. This place is so beautiful and so silent, much different than the Balea Lake area.
A picnic at Capra Lake, surrounded by lovely views and total silence, could be an excellent idea so bring some snacks and water with you.
Hike to the Top of Romania: MOLDOVEANU PEAK
Distance: 134km to BALEA LAKE, 2hours drive and 15km hike to Moldoveanu Peak/one way
Although hard to do as a one day trip from Brasov, it is still manageable. If you are a good hiker and you have a good pace, you can ascent the Moldoveanu Peak and drive from and to Brasov the same day. But it’s going to be a very long and exhausting day.
Otherwise, the 15 kilometres hike from Balea Lake to Moldoveanu Peak and another 15 kilometres back to Balea Lake should include a night stay eighter at Podragu Chalet eighter at a Chalet around Balea Lake.
For the first part, you will be driving the famous section of the Transfagarasan Road, but it’s going to be dark, and you won’t see much so consider driving the road on a different day.
Moldoveanu Peak is the highest mountain peak in Romania at an elevation of 2.544 meters also known as the “ROOF” of Romania. The views are amazing, and the ascent is well worthed.
Things to Keep in Mind before the Hike
- I recommend this hike only between June and September since the days are longer and the weather warmer.
- Always check and double-check the weather forecast, especially the humidity. If it is too humid, the possibility to rain at some point is high.
- The trek is quite demanding, so do not underestimate it and remember it will be a very long day, therefore start early morning.
I have an entire article about the ascent to Moldoveanu Peak so if you are interested, read that one:
RELATED ARTICLE. MOLDOVEANU PEAK, ONE DAY HIKE FROM BALEA LAKE
Explore the Moonlandscape of Romania – THE MUDDY VOLCANOES – VULCANII NOROIOSI
Distance: 153km, 2h30′ drive/one way
Only 153 kilometres from Brasov, you can find a unique and exciting phenomenon: active muddy volcanos. The geothermal activity from the deep blows methane and sulphur on the earth’s surface, forming dull lava.
This place is a must considering those are the only muddy volcanoes in Eastern Europe. The small volcanoes from Paclele Mari and Paclele Mici are listed as a natural monument from 1924.
Start with the ones from Paclele Mari and drive forward to Paclele Mici. If you only wish to visit one of the two places, I can highly recommend driving to Paclele Mici and visiting this area.
At Paclele Mari, leave the car at the free parking lot and walk to the entrance. Only few steps away you will discover many muddy hills, mini calderas and bubbling pools. Since these small vulcanos are so dynamic and active, you can spend more than an hour observing every movement.
After your first stop, drive forward north and reach Paclele Mici. At Paclele Mici leave the car at the parking area and walk uphill for 500 metres until you reach the entrance. Once there, you will find yourself on a vast plateau, with one big crater and many holes made by rainwater draining on top.
- Summer, daily 9.00 – 20.00.
- Winter, daily 9.00 – 16.00.
- No visit during rainy days.
FEE – around 1€/adult, for each (Paclele Mari – Paclele Mici).
NOTE. It can be slippery, so walk carefully. Read all the sings for your own safety so you won’t get caught in the mud.
Visit SIGHISOARA, a Unesco World Heritage Site
Distance: 117 km, 1h30′ drive/one way
Only 117 kilometres from Brasov, you will discover another hidden gem of Romania, the city of Sighisoara. A small provincial town, with a history dating back to the 12th century, right in the heart of Carpathian Mountains. Sighisoara was founded by a hand of craftsmen and soon after that was already home to 15 different guilds.
Now, the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for everyone travelling to this part of the country. Everything here is packed within walking distance, so visiting Sighisoara as a day trip from Brasov, it’s easy to do.
Start your day with a coffee at Casa Cositorarului, inside the Citadel
Before discovering the Citadel, take some time and enjoy a coffee or a tea and an excellent homemade cake at Casa Cositorarului. It is the perfect place for a hot drink on a cold winter day or a refreshment on a hot summer day. The location is full of charm, so quiet and colourful, away from the traffic and the noise. The refurbished old furniture gives a comfortable feeling so don’t forget to snap a pic inside too.
Explore the cobblestone Alleys inside the Citadel
After a well-deserved treat at Casa Cositorarului, begin to explore the narrow streets and alleys. Start by accessing every tower and learning about each guild and craftsmen working here.
Are you looking for some souvenirs? Forget the kitschy souvenirs, search for some home-made ones like ceramics, textiles or woodwork.
Climb the 176 covered stairs of Scholar’s Stairway (Scara Scolarilor) that connect the old town square with the Church on the Hill. Visit the Church on the Hill and the former German cemetery.
Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula. You will bump into the bust of Vlad Tepes, which is nowadays an association with Dracula and Transylvania.
Enjoy a delicious Lunch at the Fortress Square
After exploring the beautiful Citadel of Sighisoara, end your day trip at the Fortress Square (Piata Cetatii) and enjoy a delicious traditional lunch at one of the many restaurants.
NOTE. The old town of Sighisoara can be crowded in the summer, especially on weekends, but it’s well worth a visit.
I hope one of the 6 day trips from Brasov convinced you to discover the beautiful Transylvania Region in Romania!
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