TRANSYLVANIA BY TRAIN: Chasing vampires in Brasov

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We took the train from Bucharest to Brasov early in the morning. This is a lovely journey, the scenery quickly changes from sunflower fields to impressive mountains and forests.

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After dropping our things at the hotel, we went exploring the city centre. Brasov is the gateway to Transylvania, and it couldn’t be a better start for this trip. The old town centre is full of pedestrianised roads filled with shops and cafes. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the streets were full with locals and tourists enjoying the perfect weather.

We stopped for lunch at Pizza Vitto, one of the many Italian places around the city centre. Lunch for two including drinks and tip cost 63 lei (£10).

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At the hotel they suggested we took a free walking tour, so we did. The tour was organised by Walkabout tours, and our guide, Iliana, showed us the main sites around the city centre. This was a great way of learning more about Brasov. We tipped 20 lei, which seemed exceedingly cheap for such a great experience. This is a daily tour which starts at 6pm in the summer and 10am in the winter.

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After the tour we went for dinner at Bistro de L’arte, a nice place in one of the narrow streets in the city centre. Although it wasn’t particularly veggie-friendly, the food was delicious. Dinner for two including drinks and tip cost 85 lei (£15).

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Around the city centre in Brasov, you can also go up two towers to get good views over the city centre: the White and Black towers are a quick hike from the main square and both are great for getting good photos of the many red roofs in the centre and the Hollywood-style sign over the city.

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We also visited the Black Church, an impressive building just off the main square. The church was completely rebuilt after a fire, but the restauration efforts mean it’s very well preserved. There’s an impressive organ as well as Ottoman tapestry inside. Tickets cost 8 lei.

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We stopped for lunch at Pilvax. Drinks and lunch cost 93 lei (£15). Our final stop of the day was Tipografia, a nice cocktail bar around the city centre. A relaxing break before we headed to the station to get on our next train!

Bran Castle:

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You can’t visit Brasov without stopping at Bran Castle. Made famous by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this castle is not actually where the real-life Dracula (Vlad, the Impaler) lived. But it’s still a nice castle in a pretty village – and on the lovely summer day we visited, it wasn’t really misty and foggy enough to spot any vampires around.

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To get there, you can take a bus from Autogara 2 (one of the bus stations) in Brasov. Buses go hourly or every half an hour from platform 2, but frequency changes throughout the day. The journey takes about 50 minutes and tickets cost 7 lei (a little bit over £1).

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: The train from Bucharest to Brasov takes 2h40. Tickets are really cheap and can be booked online here.
  • Stay: We stayed at Jugend Stube, a nice hotel ideally located a stone’s throw from all the main sites. The hostess was very helpful with suggesting places to go and advising on transportation. A double bedroom cost £25 for two people per night.
  • Transportation: Brasov’s bus and train terminals are located outside the city centre, but there are lots of local buses to take you around. Line 4 serves the train station, and line 12 goes to the bus station. Both stop at Levada Postei, the main stop just outside the city centre. Tickets cost 2 lei and must be purchased in advance and validated when you get on the bus.

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