The beautiful town of Brasov is the perfect base if you want to explore Transylvania in Romania. While many choose to visit the famous Bran and Peles Castles or Poiana Brasov, there are other places to visit and things to do in the area. I listed the 6 best day trips from Brasov, so if you’ve already seen the city and wish to go on a day trip, read the entire article and pick the journey that suits you better.
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1. Explore the Quiet City of Rasnov
Distance from Brasov: 18 km, 20 minutes drive/one way
RELATED ARTICLE: THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN RASNOV, ROMANIA
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.
The city has a few pretty streets with colorful houses so take a short walking tour of the old town. If Rasnov is your choice out of these 6 best day trips from Brasov, here is what to do:
Have lunch at the fancy Radsor Hotel and admire the Hollywood sign at the top of the hill.
Next, hike to the Citadel and admire the views over the city.
Then, have fun at Dino Park and discover the Valea Cetatii Cave.
Finally, drive to Zarnesti town and learn more about the rescued bears from Libearty Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti.
Enjoy a panoramic view over the city from the 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 200 meters above the town. It dominates Rasnov’s skyline, a great example of a fort made to protect the community during an invasion.
At the base of the hill, there is a funicular that takes you to the Citadel. For those who wish to hike, there is a path on the right-hand side of the funicular. It’s quite an easy hike, so don’t waste your money on the funicular unless you don’t want to walk.
Once at the top, follow the path to the entrance and ticket office. It is a self-guided walk through the outer wall and gates and into the inner courtyard. You can let your mind go free and imagine how people lived when the Citadel was operational.
April – October: daily 9.00 – 19.00.
November – March: daily 9.00 – 17.00.
Note: If the Rasnov Citadel goes through renovation works, you can’t go inside, but a hike up to the fortress and a walk outside the Citadel walls is still a good idea!
Have lunch at the fancy Radsor Restaurant
Stop for a traditional Romanian lunch at the fancy Radsor Hotel and appreciate the silence, the hospitality, and the coziness of this place! Enjoy the spectacular view over the Citadel from the terrace while having a traditional lunch accompanied by a glass of Romanian wine.
Make sure to taste the homemade PAPANASI, a Romanian traditional fried pastry, doughnut-shaped, served with sour cream and jam topping.
TIP: The on-site pastry shop has a variety of tasty sweets, tee, and coffee. And, the artisanal ice cream is so delicious!
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.
You can spend more time in the park since there is also an entertaining area with cinemas, a playground for kids, a small volcano that simulates a small earthquake, a gift shop, a zip line, and a museum.
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 Valea Cetatii Cave
Valea Cetatii Cave, 1.5 kilometers away from Rasnov, 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
If you plan to visit Rasnov Fortress on a day trip, you can check out this FULL-DAY TOUR FROM BRASOV! You will discover 3 of the most beautiful and important touristic sights that Romania has to offer. The Peles Castle, Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle), and the Rasnov Fortress are among them!
For those based on Bucuresti and wanting to discover this part of Transylvania, check out this FULL-DAY TOUR FROM BUCURESTI! You will visit Peles Castle, one of the most luxurious castles in the world, see Rasnov Citadel, and explore 14th-century Bran Castle, known as Dracula’s Castle, a Romanian national monument!
2. Learn About the Rescued Bears from Libearty Bear Sanctuary Zarnesti
Distance from Brasov: 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 many bears saved from captivity from different zoos or private places throughout Romania. Libearty Bear Sanctuary is the largest brown bear sanctuary globally and home to 100 bears who roam freely on 70 hectares of oak and hazel forest.
FEE: 65 RON
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.
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.
3. Drive the Famous Transfagarasan Road
Distance from Brasov: 134 km to Balea Lake and 2 hours drive/one way
RELATED ARTICLE: MOLDOVEANU PEAK, ONE DAY HIKE FROM BALEA LAKE
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 kilometers from Brasov! So 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 secure way through the Carpathian mountains. Now Transfagarasan is a popular weekend and holiday destination among Romanians and tourists from different parts of the world. It starts at Cartisoara, in the north, and ends at Bascov, in the south, covering 150 kilometers.
Driving the Transfagarasan Road
As a day trip from Brasov, you will be driving on Transfagarasan road only 30 kilometers, from Cartisoara to Balea Lake, situated at 2.042 meters altitude, and running back the same route. This spectacular section is closed from October to June due to extreme weather conditions, so keep this in mind.
In the beginning, the road has a few corners until the scenery changes entirely, and you’ll soon be 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 to 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 to avoid the slow traffic.
- Make sure to plan a full-day trip as you will be stopping many times and 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 your time allows you and you want to go on a short hike in the area: head to Capra Saddle (Saua Caprei). The 30 minutes hike from Balea Lake will bring you to a beautiful place, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the lake and the valley.
On the high plateau, you will discover another beautiful lake, Capra Lake. This place is pretty and silent, much different from the Balea Lake area.
Surrounded by lovely views and total silence, a picnic at Capra Lake could be an excellent idea, so bring some snacks and water with you.
4. Hike to the Top of Romania: Moldoveanu Peak
Distance: 134km to BALEA LAKE, 2hours drive, and 15km hike to Moldoveanu Peak/one way
RELATED ARTICLE: MOLDOVEANU PEAK, ONE DAY HIKE FROM BALEA LAKE
Although hard to do as a one-day trip from Brasov, it is still manageable. If you are a good hiker and have a good pace, you can ascent Moldoveanu Peak and drive from Brasov the same day. But it’s going to be a very long and exhausting day.
Otherwise, the 15 kilometers hike from Balea Lake to Moldoveanu Peak and another 15 kilometers 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, 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 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.
5. Explore the Moon Landscape of Romania – The Muddy Volcanoes (Vulcanii Noroiosi)
Distance: 153km, 2h30′ drive/one way
Only 153 kilometers from Brasov, you can find a unique and exciting phenomenon: active muddy volcanos. The geothermal activity from the deep blows methane and sulfur on the earth’s surface, forming dull lava.
Considering those are the only muddy volcanoes in Eastern Europe, this place is a must. The small volcanoes from Paclele Mari and Paclele Mici have been listed as natural monuments since 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 on your day trip from Brasov, I highly recommend going to Paclele Mici and visiting this area.
At Paclele Mari, leave the car at the free parking lot and walk to the entrance. Only a few steps away, you will discover many muddy hills, mini calderas, and bubbling pools. Since these small vulcanos are 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 meters until you reach the entrance. Once there, you will find yourself on a vast plateau, with one giant crater and many holes made by rainwater draining on top.
NOTE. It can be slippery, so walk carefully. Read all the signs for your safety so you won’t get caught in the mud.
- 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).
6. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sighisoara
Distance: 117 km, 1h30′ drive/one way
Only 117 kilometers from Brasov, you will discover another hidden gem of Romania, the city of Sighisoara. The small provincial town with a history dating back to the 12th century, right in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains is one of the best 6-day trips from Brasov. Sighisoara was founded by artisans, and soon after, the city was already home to 15 different guilds.
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for everyone traveling to this part of the country. Everything here is packed within walking distance, so visiting Sighisoara as a day trip from Brasov is easy to do.
Start your day with a coffee inside the Citadel at Casa Cositorarului
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 colorful, 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.
Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, so you will bump into Vlad Tepes’ bust, which is nowadays associated with Dracula and Transylvania.
Start by accessing every tower and learning about each guild and artisans working here.
Are you looking for some souvenirs? Forget the kitschy souvenirs, search for some homemade 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.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at Fortress Square
After exploring the beautiful Citadel of Sighisoara, end your day trip at Fortress Square (Piata Cetatii) and enjoy a delicious traditional lunch at one of the many restaurants.
NOTE. Sighisoara’s old town can be crowded in the summer, especially on weekends, but it’s well worth a visit.
Interactive Map of the 6 Best Day Trips from Brasov
Underneath, you’ll find a customized map that includes all the locations mentioned in this article. Just open up this article on your phone and click on the frame in the upper right corner of this map. Google Maps app will open up, and you can check all the details. I hope it helps!
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