Two hikes for a bird’s-eye view of Brașov, Romania

FEATURED ARTICLES, ACTIVITIES, STAFF, EUROPE, WALKING/HIKING — By on December 28, 2018 at 23:23

Text & photos Copyright © Estrella Azul

MY FIRST TIME IN Brașov, Romania was on a girls’ trip in the spring of 2013 with a dear friend who visited me from Australia. It was such a special trip! Since then, I’m really happy to have been able to visit Brașov a few times during winter also.

Snowy fields with stunning blue skies and snow-dusted mountains

Being set in the mountains, in such a beautiful part of the country, even the drive there is spectacular. We stopped several times along the way to take pictures of the pine tree-lined roads and snowy mountains in the distance.

Wintery scenes on our drive to Brașov


The most beautiful white scenery to drive through

If you’ve read any of my previous articles on Milliver’s Travels (Estrella Azul story archives) you’ll know I love a good walk or hike. When I visited Brașov with my boyfriend and friends, we did two distinctive hikes for a bird’s-eye view of the city.

View from Tâmpa

The first hike was to the top of Tâmpa Mountain.

OK, we didn’t actually hike all the way up, on account of it being -22 Celsius (-7,6 Fahrenheit), but we did go by foot up to the cable cars. The winding paths through the forest from the foot of Tâmpa offer great views with every level of the mountain conquered. In warm weather, I would’ve insisted on the full hike.

The Black Church

Brașov is the largest city in a mountain resorts area with a beautifully preserved old city center. Overlooking it from above offers tourists a view into its old-world charm. In my opinion, it is one of those cities where traditional charm and modern city life seem to have found a way to live in perfect harmony.

Council Square

On our walk through the narrow step streets and snowy paths to the cable cars situated at around 640 m altitude, we passed one length of the old fortress wall. Just like my city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, this was also once a city with fortifications erected around it and continually expanded until 1689 when a great fire almost entirely destroyed it.

Looking past the old fortress walls

I fully enjoyed the walk along the southeast side of the mountain, making snowballs and playing with our friends while getting a peek at parts of the city among the forest trees lining the paths.

The ice skating rink at the end of the old fortress wall was full, parents took their kids on sleigh rides down the hill, pet owners walked their dogs—some brave folks were even jogging.

There was generally a peaceful atmosphere in the crisp cold air that I wish would’ve lasted a lifetime.

Ice-skating rink at the foot of the mountain


The view from different levels of the winding path on the way to the cable cars

After the cable car took us the rest of the way up the mountain from Casa Pădurarului (the Ranger’s Cabin) to an altitude of 960 m, we took a short walk down a wider, yet slippery and mostly ice-covered, path. This led to a lookout offering a panoramic view of the city. It was cold and windy but the views warmed my heart!

Making our way up the snowy mountain in -22C

Before heading back down the mountain, if you want you can enjoy a meal or a hot cup of tea at Panoramic Restaurant next to the cable car station. The cable cars’ ascending and descending times may vary depending on weather conditions, especially on windy, rainy or foggy days, so having the option to keep warm is great.

View of the old town

From the city below, one can spot a Hollywood-like sign on top of Tâmpa Mountain with the city’s name. I like the idea that, while it may not have its own film industry, due to Hollywood’s rampant use of the Transylvanian scenery (think Dracula) it’s like having a fraternal twin on the other side of the world.

Brasov’s “Hollywood sign”

The second hike was on a different day, up Straja Hill to the Citadel, Cetățuia de pe Strajă. It is similar to the Citadel in Cluj-Napoca in its history, but differs in that the fortress on top of it still stands and has been renovated.

View from Straja

We did not do our homework before heading there, so instead of walking up the road leading to it (also accessible by car), we took to the hillside paths. We walked up flights of stairs of various lengths among the houses on the hillside, then made our way on the snow-covered and slippery paths—often holding on to bushes, trees trunks, or tree branches to prevent ourselves from falling.

For anyone visiting, I’d suggest you try this path during warm weather instead. It was quite the workout!

The bike or car-accessible road we didn’t take

When you step into the fortress, you can see an inscription dating back to the 1630s with the city’s coat of arms, detailing the place’s history and purposes.

Once an important defense point, the fortress has served many purposes: artillery warehouse, barracks, jailhouse; even housing the State Archives of Brașov County before turning into a medieval tourist complex.

History and purpose


View of and from the fortress grounds

Back when we hiked up to it during our trip, it was functioning as a hotel and restaurant so one could experience different cuisine specific to Brașov and the region’s medieval history. Unfortunately, the fortress is currently closed to the public.

Exploring the courtyards

For leisure and tourism purposes, it is still a great walk and offers some of the most amazing views of both the old city center and new parts of the city. Because of its picturesque setting and bird’s-eye view of the city below it, it is also a preferred location for wedding photo-shoots.

Looking past pines for a city view

Even though Brașov benefits from a growing winter tourism season each year centered on winter sports, I believe it is more than worth exploring and taking a hike or two in the city as well.

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Travel tip: Pack warm clothes, especially if you enjoy walks and hiking! Due to its proximity to the mountains and Poiana Brașov (the most popular Romanian ski resort), as you can imagine, it gets cold. Freezing cold. I seriously under-packed in terms of warmth on my first winter trip there. My sweaters and coat were fine, but I didn’t take warm enough boots, having to make do with warm tights and a warm pair of socks. Every day of that trip, I wished I’d been wearing two pairs of socks, or warmer boots.

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Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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