Why you should Visit Brasov, Romania
It’s taken us a bit of time to put our feelings together about Brasov. It’s definitely a very pretty place and worth a visit. But as ‘slow travellers’ who will have been here a month by the time we leave, how do we feel about Brasov? I’ll explore that in this post.
But first a whole lot of photos. Because Brasov is incredibly photogenic.
The Citadel is another great place for vantage points.
.A few more photos from around town
And a couple of last photos from Tampa Mountain…
Ok, I probably included too many photos on this post. But as you can see Brasov is very photogenic.
My recommendation if you’re here for a short trip: Take a 3 hour Walking Tour. By the way: the tourist information center is useless, usually closed (their hours are listed as 10-6 Mon-Fri but even then they’re often closed), and if you do find it open the lady might not even acknowledge you. When we came we waited for 10 minutes for her to stop talking to her friend. We gave up*.
* I’ve got a real peeve about lousy tourist centers. Their sole job is to help tourists and nothing gives a worse impression on a town than a surly government employee who doesn’t give a damn. And what tourist information center is closed on weekends when most tourists are in town? (and it does get very busy here on weekends). Come on Brasov, get your act together.
Places you have to see if you’re in Brasov for a few days:
Highlights in the surrounding area: For most people, Bran Castle is the place to see (we think it’s very overrated). The best highlights in the immediate vicinity of Brasov, in our opinion, are Rasnov Citadel and the German Fortified Churches.
All about the above here: What to See around Brasov
The other highlight, a bit further away, is the fabulous Peles Castle.
About Peles: Why Peles castle is the one place you can’t miss in Romania
Accommodation in Brasov
I have a few recommendations: Drachenhaus (beautiful hotel, can’t beat the central location), Pensiunea Casa Tepes (very comfortable, great location, inexpensive), Vila Alba (new, comfortable, friendly with a great location and at a good price).
If you’re here for a few days you’ll love Brasov. Visitors who fit into this category can probably stop reading this post right here.
So how about Brasov for the Slow Traveller?
Most people who follow our blog know that we are slow travellers, staying a month or even two somewhere. We’re working as we travel so we rent an apartment and do most of the things locals would: groceries, laundry, shopping, cooking, going to restaurants and bars, and trying to participate in local activities. We even join gyms, as we have in Brasov. So we live in a place and get to know it as well as I think any traveller can in a few weeks to a month (or two).
I’ve seen a few posts out there from other bloggers who’ve visited Brasov and who write about possibly living here. They’ll tell you that it’s pretty, the temperatures are temperate, the food is delicious, and you can get an apartment for a “few hundred dollars a month”. Hmmm.
Every place has its pros and cons and Brasov is not excluded from that. So what should you know before coming here for an extended period of time?
1) Costs. It’s not that cheap. You won’t find an apartment for a “few hundred dollars a month”. We are paying $1200 CAD/mo (that’s US $920 these days) for a very nice apartment near the city center. Go on Airbnb and they’re all in that range. We even contacted a few property agents and alternatives were 650 Euros ($740 US or $960 CAD) right next to Piata Sfatului or 450 Euros ($510 US or $665 CAD) for a Communist block building on the outskirts of town. Airbnb prices are in line with what we’ve paid in places like Budapest, Prague and Split. Of course it’ll be much cheaper if you sign a longerterm lease – but don’t expect Thailand or Mexico-type pricing. Groceries: not that cheap either. By the time our month is over, I expect we’ll have paid about $550/mo CAD on groceries (that’s about $420 US). That might be cheap by Canadian, US or Western European standards but it is again in line with what we’ve paid in Budapest and Prague.
.2) “Temperate” climate. Brasov is in Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains do result in a more temperate climate. But it also results in more rainfall. We counted 3 days when we had sunshine during the first 16 days there. Not only was it rainy, it was cold. So cold we went out and picked up thick sweaters and light coats. Anyone living near mountains will tell you that the weather can be very variable – and that’s the case with Brasov.
3) Prettiness. The Center of Brasov is very pretty. The countryside is also very pretty and the mountain backdrop is beautiful.
4) Transport is spotty, connections between cities limited. Not easy getting around as a tourist without a car. On the plus side, taxis are very cheap with the meter running at 1.53 lei/km. We’ve joined a gym on the outskirts of town and we always take the taxi: a 15 minute ride costs 10 Lei (which is roughly $3.33 CAD, $2.56 US). The downside? We get at least one taxi a week trying to screw us over by not turning on the meter or trying to extract more money by other dishonest means. No fun feeling that you have a bullseye on your head as a foreigner.
5) Contradictions. Romania doesn’t feel rich at all and walking around you get the impression that most people are struggling to make ends meet. As I say, costs are not that cheap. We’ve spoken to a few friendly Romanians and they’ve been pretty open about the lack of opportunities and the struggle to save money for anything. On the other hand, Brasov has one of the nicest shopping malls we’ve seen anywhere (the Coresi shopping mall). Similarly, the gym we signed up for is easily the most impressive gym we’ve ever been a member of. So I guess some people do have money. But there is a big income gap and if we “don’t find it that cheap” I can only imagine how some locals struggle to make ends meet.
6) Brasov has stray dogs, quite a lot of them. Lissette had flashbacks of Thailand. She doesn’t like stray dogs. But like in Thailand they’re usually well behaved. It’s a little scary running into a big German Shepherd in the middle of the night though.
7) People. We’ve met a few people who’ve been friendly: we’ve had good conversations with a girl at the gym and Christina at the German Bakery is really sweet. The organizer of the Dracula Fim Festival went out of his way several times over to introduce himself to us and tell us about some of the films that would be showing. The owner of our Airbnb apartment showed us around town the day we arrived. So we’ve met some people who have been very welcoming. But as a foreigner we’ve felt that this would be a difficult town to settle into and that it would take a long time to make friends and have a decent social life. I think Romanians are generally reserved and/or just not familiar or comfortable with foreigners. I’ll be honest: some are also just plain rude and inconsiderate. And that’s not just with us but among themselves. We’ve seen them in at the gym (pushing each other to get to the mats or weights), walking down the street (not giving way to others) and doing grocery shopping (where they’ll practice the same games of blockage, avoidance, or rushing to get ahead of you). Just yesterday I had a taxi driver get pissed off at me for changing our destination (we decided to stop off at the grocery store instead of going straight home). Can you imagine, I’m asking him to make a detour – which I’m paying for – and he’s getting pissed off ? I’m not going to say that Romanians in general are unfriendly. But they’re gruff and won’t win any awards for friendliness.
That’s the non-fluffy, “not-everything is perfect” reality about Brasov.
BUT – Brasov should be visited because it is a beautiful town in an interesting region. Romania is still “off the beaten path” and for this reason it’s not always the smoothest of destinations. But if you like a quieter kind of place and can adjust to some of the factors above, you might find that you want to stay longer than a couple of days or even a couple of weeks. But it’s good to at least be aware of the different pros and cons before deciding to do so.
Related: Why you should visit Sofia (Bulgaria)
Related: 5 Best Places to See in Moldova
Related: Our Best and Worst “Slow Travel” Bases over 5 years of Full-time Travel
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I know this comment comes a bit late but things have changed since your visit.
First of all, smoking was banned a few years ago in all restaurants and bars interiors. Thanks to this, everywhere you go there are nice people, families with children just enjoying their meal.
Yes, rents can be expensive but you should have asked for help from a local. They know the best tips about living on a budget.
Hmm, people being rude… I don’t know what to say. Yes, there are rude people everywhere and probably you were just unlucky. Locals from Brasov are very proud of their town and will happily show your around or give some useful advice.
Generally speaking, a lot of things have changed since your visit. Here’s a list of things to do in Brasov. Maybe you’ll consider it for your next visit in Brasov https://outdoorholidays.eu/blog/top-things-to-do-brasov-romania/
Thanks for your comment Robert. You’re right, our trip was a long time ago. We’d actually come back to Romania – we’ve come to appreciate lesser visited places over the last 5 years and Romania is one of those.
I’ll allow your plug 🙂 Actually one of our highlights in the vicinity were the fortified German churches. Very few people know about them and we were very impressed.
I just came back from Romania and Moldova. The weather was amazing (the end of summer – hot and sunny) and I had a great time! It was one of the places where I had the best food ever – and because the weather was so nice, we were eating outside and didn’t have to put up with he cigarette smoke which I hate. In Moldova, people didn’t smoke in the restaurants so it was so cheap and the dishes were top quality – even in the best restaurants you’d pay around 10 EUR for a main course and a drink. I loved Brashov – visited only for one day so I can’t say what it would be like to live there longer. But as you said, it was so pretty. And Romania seemed to me quite well maintained and clean – I had expected it to be poorer. Moldova, on the other hand seemed neglected and abandoned. But it was quite interesting. Also, we visited the castles – Bran and Peles and we preferred the latter. Have you been to Sighisoara and Sibiu? They are also so lovely – my favorites! Later on, we went to Bucharest as well but I didn’t enjoy it much.
Thanks for the great comment Tom. Haven’t been to Moldova or the Romanian towns further to the west (Sighisoara and Sibiu). But I think we’d like to go back and see more of Romania, sometimes you need to get that first trip under your belt. Now we know more what to expect. Another thing that changed for the better since we were there are the smoking laws – when we went people smoked everywhere including right next to you at the restaurant. Was unbearable and one of the reasons we didn’t eat out much.
HI. MY HOMETOWN IS BRASOV. I LIVED NOW IN UK FOR 13 YEARS. LIFE IN ROMANIA IS EXTREMELY TOUGH. AND WAS ALWAYS, FOR MOST OF THE POPULATION. I TRAVELED A LOT TO CUBA. REMINDS ME A LOT ABOUT ROMANIA ,BEFORE 1989. BUT CUBA HAS GOT THE SUN, THE MUSIC, IS EXOTIC. ONE THING I LEARNED , IF YOU VISIT ONE OF THE COUNTRIES LIKE ROMANIA, RESEARCH WELL. CAN BE BEAUTIFUL. AMONG THE HOARDS OF FAST MADE RICH ,CRAZY DRIVING AND MANY OTHER DOWNSIDES, THERE ARE A HUGE NUMBER OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IN BALKANS,THEY ARE THE HIGHLIGHT. BUT THEY STRUGGLE, AND DO NOT SEE LIFE AS A TOURIST. THEY WONT SMILE MUCH.BUT THEY ARE THERE , THEY ARE QUIET, AND FULL OF KNOWLEDGE, AND WELL BEHAVED . BUT AS EVERYWHERE IN THE POORER COUNTRIES, THEY ARE NOT TO BE SEEN IN THE TOWN CENTERS, OR TOURIST PLACES , THEY JUST CANNOT AFFORD. IN CUBA I LEARNED: DO VISIT THE MOST IMPORTANT SITES FOR FEW DAYS AND GET ACCOMMODATION CLOSE TO CENTER. BUT IF YOU WANT TO MEET LOCALS, OR LIVE LIKE ONE , GO A BIT FURTHER . I EVEN TRIED TO BE A TOURIST IN MY HOMETOWN FOR A WEEK. BOOKED A FLAT IN THE CENTRE OF THE OLD TOWN. BUT APART FROM THE BAD PARTS, I DID NOT FEEL I AM IN ROMANIA. IT COULD BE ANYWHERE ELSE IN EUROPE. BECAUSE I DID NOT GET INTO CONTACT TO THE PEOPLE,DID NOT TALK TO THEM. IN THE END THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE ,OR THE BEST PLACE TO VISIT ,TAKES A HUGE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH,IF IS NOT A WELL KNOW DESTINATION FOR QUALITY OF LIFE, FOOD OR ANY OTHER SERVICES. THIS COUNTRIES HAVE A HISTORY OF SAD EVENTS. MANY PEOPLE ALTHOUGH THEY OWN CARS AND SUPER LED TV S ,THEY ARE HUNGRY ONLY FOR MONEY ,FORGETTING THE REST. THE PROBLEM IS ,THAT YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO MEET THIS PEOPLE. IN THE END THERE IS THIS BIG QUESTION? SHOULD WE VISIT THIS COUNTRIES OR NOT? VISIT THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE , ANY COMPARISON IS HARD TO BE A CORRECT ONE. THERE ARE JUST SO MANY FACTORS THAT CAN INFLUENCE THAT EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE FROM A DULL ONE. BE PREPARED TO ENCOUNTER FEW UNPLEASANT MOMENTS, AND WE SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL HUMANS, AND THE WORLD IS OUR HOME. SO EVERYWHERE YOU GO ,IS A SMALL PART OF YOU:EMBRACE IT, ENJOY IT,MAKE THIS LIFE WORTH LIVING, BECAUSE MANY FORGET,INCLUDING MANY TIMES MYSELF,BEING CAUGHT IN A COMPARISON WAR, EVERY TIME I DO SOMETHING , EVERY TIME I TRAVEL SOMEWHERE.IS IT BETTER CUBA OR THE DOMINICAN, WHERE ARE THE BEST BEACHES, WHAT IS THE TALLEST MOUNTAIN AND THE BEST VIEW? THE TRUTH IS THAT APART FROM THIS ,THE BEST PLACE IS WHERE YOU FIND YOUR WAY, WHERE THERE IS SOME KIND OF CONNECTION,EVEN IF IS FAR FROM THE PRETTIEST PLACES THAT EXISTS.
Thank you for your comment Adrian. We often think of Romania and the time we spent there and we will go back one day. Yes, it was not always pleasant and the people not always friendly, but it still felt different from many places we have been and was unique. I think expectations (or as you say, comparisons) can influence your enjoyment of a place. I think if we went back again we would be more prepared for the downsides of Romania. But as I say, it was also unique : we were amazed by the German fortified churches as well as with Peles castle and there were almost no tourists visiting these incredible sites. And that is what makes Romania special.
Thank you again Adrian for your insightful comment.
I came across your article last month when we were in Romania, and my husband and I just laughed because you described it sooo perfectly. I just wrote about our experience and hope you don’t mind we linked back to your article. It just sums up our feelings so well. We’ve been digging through your site a lot since then because we are slow travelers as well. You have so much good information on long term stays as we are trying to plan the rest of our year. So thanks for that! Its super helpful. 🙂
Thanks Brittany, I enjoyed your article on Romania as well. We pretty much had exactly the same experiences.
Nice that you popped over, I like your blog and will make sure to read more of your articles. Always great meeting people who travel the same way.
Alex of Wanderlust Marriage
Interesting read and great photos! We spent a few days in Brasov and yes, we enjoyed it. I’m not a huge fan of stray dogs but we met a couple cute and friendly ones in Brasov. There was one we even wished we could bring home. It was early October and temperatures were starting to get very cold at night, and would obviously get much colder in the dead of winter. On our last cold night he just looked so sad, and we went over and pet him as usual.
I know what you mean about Romanians being gruff. But as you say, it’s hard to get by there so many clearly have a cut throat mentality. In some ways, it isn’t so dissimilar to some areas of the US. Trump won the election (jesus). Yes, the taxi drivers in Brasov generally suck.
Interesting about the shopping mall and gym. We didn’t visit either. The train station is pretty creepy. I didn’t find those bars very welcoming! lol. Cool that you stayed awhile, my wife and I wish we could have stayed longer.
You’re right about the train station – we took the train from Budapest and arriving in Brasov you suddenly feel like you’re pretty much off the grid. Very rough (but train stations always present the worst of a place). We had an old man in a uniform come to help us, he looked like he was in his 60s, and ended up speaking in French with him. There’s a bar in the station where men were drinking and smoking, and it was barely past 9 in the morning…
It’s rough and some will say part of the charm of Eastern Europe…
Hi, nice piece,
We were in Brasov last month just for a couple of days, we found a lovely vegan restaurant just off the main square that strictly enforced the no smoking ban and the food was fantastic. Rawdia is the name it’s on Apolonia Hirscher No.7 open from 1pm to 9pm 🙂
Thank you very much Mike. Smoking was so bad our last time that we spent very little time in restaurants. What a welcome change! Thanks for the recommendation, Spanky is vegetarian (vegan at times) so it is for sure a place we would try out.
Hi Frank, I’ve just read this post because we are currently in Bulgaria and in a few days time we will cross the border into Romania. Our intention is to spend a few days in Bucharest and then head towards Brasov. Although I initially read your blog to see what you thought of Brasov, I got sidetracked (and began to chuckle) because everything you describe under your ‘So how about Brasov for the Slow Traveller?’ section in relation to people, smoking, transport, food, costs etc. can exactly be applied to our experience here in Bulgaria. Of course some Bulgarians we have met have been very nice but many are rude and they shout at us (and each other) a lot. They smoke like chimneys, there are stray dogs all over the place (Lonely Planet even has a warning section about them), intercity transport is poor and staff at tourist boards have generally left us with a bad impression (also one of my pet peeves). I’m not sure if you have visited Bulgaria but if you haven’t, you should and when you write your blog post just copy and paste the above and you will have it done in no time – job done :-). I would still recommend Bulgaria however, lots to see and do, especially for lovers of concrete! We were only going to stay about 10 days and by the time we leave a month will nearly be up.
HA! Somehow I always pictured Bulgaria exactly the same.
Looking back at it (I wrote this post last November, about 9 months ago) maybe we’ll give Romania a shot again sometime in the future. There are a lot of attractions and you won’t see many tourists. These are both good things. The downside is that is can be rough travelling…The added complicated in Bulgaria though is the cyrillic writing. But we’ll get there one day, overall we love that region.
Sand In My Suitcase
It looks like you managed to get some great photos when Brasov isn’t rainy and/or foggy :-). And it sounds like if we visit Romania, we should only give Brasov a few days – good to know. But there are so many other places we still want to visit which hold more appeal for us – Romania really isn’t a destination we’re itching to visit.
I’m still glad we visited and things picked up once we started exploring outside the town. Peles Castle was incredible and we also really enjoyed the German fortified churches. But I have to admit a month felt long at times…
Better late than never reading this..trying to,catch up. Brasov looks beautiful, but l really think l would prefer Budapest . I am only a little surprised that it’s not as cheap as people say. I am extremely surprised that groceries cost that much. Good thing l have never had a desire to go there. Glad that Carlos above also loved Budapest 🙂
I guess costs are relative Kemkem and if you’re coming from US/Canada/Western Europe you’ll find it cheap. But having just spent 2 months in Budapest we didn’t. It was basically the same.
Damn auto correct..l mean Bucharest!!! 🙂
Bucharest?? I haven’t heard many great things about Bucharest, it’s a huge city by all accounts and doesn’t have many highlights. We only saw it when we spent a night at the airport.
Brasov itself was very nice and I would recommend it if going to Romania. It’s just that Romania didn’t have the happiest vibe of all the places we’ve been…we met some nice people as I say, but in general we thought people a bit dour…
Frank. I did not read this article about Romania but I will as soon as I finish this feedback, as you may remember I asked you some questions because we were going on a trio to Vienna-Venice-Prague and Budapest, well we came back home last October 28, when you commented about Prague and their language that you bought buttermilk instead of milk, I said to myself: this is not going to happen to me and I made an alphabetical list of words in English with translation to German (Vienna), Czech (Prague) and Hungarian (Budapest) and the same list from the foreign language to English, no need to do it with Italian is very close to Spanish and I studied Italian long time ago but I have good memory, later on I will; tell you what happened, first let me tell you about my experience in each city the only one we knew in advance was Venice so I am not going to talk about it.
Vienna, beautiful city Germanizedly clean, beautiful buildings, the season was maybe too cold for flowers at the Schonbrunn palace, every day (5 day stay) was cloudy and scattered rain) very cultural city we attended Madame Butterfly at the opera theater, nice people in general not so good food, we had, let’s say 3 good meals during our stay, one at Café Landtmann, other at a Wiener Wurstel kiosk close to the cathedral and the best (in may years) at the Central Market, we ordered a combination platter beef, pork and chicken, everything delicious.
Prague: beautiful city, not as much to my eye as I expected, as clean as Vienna, here I have to agree with you about people, not very friendly don’t return your smile and when we went to the supermarket to buy milk, we had the list of words and we got mil, BUT we wanted butter and this word was not in the list, nobody speaks English/Spanish at the supermarket so by signing I asked one of the dependents if it was to spread on bread and she said yes, when we got home it was something we did not know what it was, we googled it and it was cottage cheese, good flavor but does not look like the one we are used to in America, food worse than in Vienna and let me tell you that I love sausages but I did not get the one I liked. After visiting the Sanctuary of the Infant Jesus of Prague we looked for a restaurant to have lunch and this was the only one the three of us liked, in Café de Paris a small restaurant just crossing in front of the church and going around that block, this is a very unique restaurant, there is only one main dish: entrecote & fries and it is great we repeated the day before leaving Prague. Well, so far Prague for me was not what I expected but when the night came the city dresses in magic, the castle, the bridges, towers, buildings, the cathedral, Beautiful.
Budapest, here I agree with you in your comparison between these two cities, the winner is Budapest, not as clean as Vienna or Prague without being a dirty city, the sounds of some horns and sirens, but smiling people, a lot of young and beautiful people, beautiful city, beautiful buildings, good, no, excellent food EVERYWHERE you eat (as Spanky says, this is New York) we went to New York Café, beautiful place and wonderful experience, I did not find it was too expensive, the bill was 43.15 Euros for the 3 of us. We were pleasantly surprised with this city and we will return to this city right away to spend 2 or more weeks, and by night, if you think Prague by night was great, you won’t wave words to describe how Budapest looks by night especially if seen on a river cruise.
Sorry for this very long feedback.
Great, of course I remember you and the trip you had planned. I had asked you for your feedback and happy to to hear your thoughts.
You got one thing wrong: I had said Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities anywhere at night (not Prague). So we agree 🙂 . Always interesting what people think Prague vs Budapest. Honestly I think Prague more stunning but you are right Budapest has GREAT food and people and in the end we also preferred the city because of that. Spanky LOVES Budapest, I think it is now one of her favorite cities.
We haven’t been to Vienna so good to hear your review.
So I take it from the above that your favorite place was Budapest?
Were you generally happy with your trip? Any regrets?
How was Venice this time around? We haven’t been since 2010.
Thanks for the feedback!
Once again amazing pics and tips! You guys make me want to travel to Eastern Europe badly. Someday…and when we do, I will come back to your blog for ideas and your honest insights. Thanks for all the great articles with your honest input. 🙂
Thanks for the kind words Elizabeth! 🙂
Cross that one off my list. Looks boring.
Ha! Thanks Tom 🙂
Brasov is a tourist town. Interesting about the costs, I think theyve gone up seriously since I was there in 2004. Skyrocketed. rent surprised me.
Yes, surprised us too after being told how ‘cheap it is’. It’s also different as a traveller where you’re not going to sign a 6+ month lease so always more expensive. Still, never thought short term rates would be that expensive.
Natascha from Westwards
Actually we had pretty much the same impression of Brasov – but we only stayed for three nights. We also went to the fortified church of Prejmer by bus, what was really worth the half-day trip (if you still there and have time).
You guys always so full of tips! I just turned to Lissette and told her we’re going to Prejmer tomorrow (if it’s not raining).
Have been to Bran, Rasnov, and Sinaia in recent days with varying degrees of impressions from “what the heck is so great about this?” to “wow, one of the most beautiful palaces we’ve ever seen”. Look forward to seeing Prejmer.
Natascha from Westwards
I can`t remember how much English information is available at the site. It might be better to catch up on history before you go. One of the interesting things about Romania is (we thought) that it really was at the border of Islam and Christianity. They have all these prayer rugs in the churches and you have to imagine the historical setting when visiting the fortified churches.
You can’t remember what bus you took to get there and where exactly you took it, do you Natascha?
Looked at the forecast and looks good for tomorrow. I’ll read up and we’ll definitely go. Thanks again 🙂
Thanks for the post about Brasov! For me, the photos look amazing – it is definitely a place I’d love to visit. And I know you preferred Budapest more, but the photos of Brasov look stunning and I’ll definitely visit Romania next year – I don’t mind that the buildings are a bit shabby – I really like it – it’s more authentic and it really shows that they’ve been there for a really long time.
Regarding the weather – that’s why I’m not going to travel to Romania now – I know climate in November-March in Europe can be grey, gloomy and depressing. I never travel in northern/eastern Europe during that time… Winter can be beautiful if you like it though…
I love the Balkans and the Caucasus but I must agree – I just hate cigarette smoke, I can’t stand it!
As I see, you’ve also encountered the typical mentality of people from the post-Soviet countries. They seem to be a bit more cold and reserved, and pretty straightforward if they don’t like something (the taxi driver). But if you get to know someone deeper, it’s much better 🙂 This is the way it is in the East – you must come from such a place (like me) to understand it 😉 Just ignore such behavior and don’t let it ruin the amazing places you visit 🙂
You stayed in Brasov for a month… Wow – I think for me, it would be just a weekend destination!
Also, I don’t recommend that you stay so long in Gjirokaster, Albaina next year. The town is so tiny that although it’s amazing, you’ll get bored very quickly. It’s better if you stay a week in Gjirokaster, visit the Blue Eye, Butrint and Ksamil, then you can move to Sarande for a few days and then on to other coastal villages – Himare, Dhermi, Vlora. They are all picturesque but very small so if you’re used to the city life – you will definitely miss it!
It is worth visiting and I agree that the buildings and roofs feel authentic. I also like all the nature and viewpoints.
Where are you from Tomasz?
Thanks for the tips on Albania, as you know we’re quite interested in seeing it next year. I don’t think we need city life, just the right small town where we feel comfortable and where we can find a good cafe, restaurant, and where the people are friendly. We actually need very little as long as the atmosphere is right and the infrastructure is there. We were in the small town of Nong Khai (Thailand) for 4 months last year and quite enjoyed it.
I’m from Poland. If you ever want to visit I can give you some cool tips on what great, off the beaten places to visit, etc… I just don’t recommend coming to Poland from November until April – unless you want to ski.
Even if you don’t like Gjirokaster in Albania (I liked the food because the restaurants are local, run by the local people – great seafood if you like), you can still stay in one of the surrounding villages. Don’t stay in the new, industrial towns – they are depressing and full of communist era concrete blocks. The south of Albania (along the coast) is very peaceful, picturesque and quiet and the roads are in a good condition. Before going to Albania, if you’re coming from Romania, you can stop at Ohrid, Macedonia and then on to Gjirokaster/coastal area. Ohrid is also very nice and has a unique atmosphere as virtually no western tourists visit Macedonia. Bear in mind that when you’re in Macedonia/Albania, you’ll feel like in South America – it’s chaotic, especially the new architecture and much more messy than the rest of Europe (you can see donkeys down the streets of local villages). But contrary to popular belief, the south of Albania is not dirty/polluted – and the nature is spectacular. The coast of course is not a posh French Riviera but that’s why it’s so charming, authentic, and unspoiled.
You can also come from Greece – I wouldn’t recommend to come from Montenegro and then drive down south – the central parts of Albania are more of the industrial type, really chaotic and the way they drive is crazy. The coast is really nice from Vlora down south to Sarande.
Thanks Tom. I’d like to see Krakow and the Tetra mountains one day!
Actually I think I would probably come to Albania by way of Curfu which I think you detailed on one of your posts. And I’d get to Corfu from Brindisi in Southern Italy. That’s the idea but we’re a long way off – thinking of doing that next summer. You can bet I’ll get in touch with you for further details as we get closer…
Yes, from Corfu – it’s the easiest and best way! The Tatra Mountains are spectacular, I visited them properly for the first time last year and I was surprised how amazing the crystal clear lakes are.
Yes, I’ve heard they’re amazing. Would love to go on a hiking adventure!
Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ll be moving to Brasov any time soon, there are too many ‘unfriendly’ places like this out in the world aren’t there. Don’t think I could cope with the smoking in restaurants either. It’s something that really irritates me. It’s great that smoking is now banned here in the UK, but it does mean that you can never sit out in the beer garden of a pub for a pleasant meal or drink since that’s where all the smokers congregate. Still, it looks like a pretty town for a few days perhaps, and the views from the mountain are superb!
The friendliness factor I think in the end is what would stop us from coming back. We enjoyed being here for a month and it’s a great place to visit (when the weather is nice) but we just didn’t feel that we could live here. The smoking is another factor that just can’t handle.
We were there for only 6 nights but completely agree with everything you said. And as we told you, Mr. Tipples said it was the craziest country he’s ever driven in. Almost getting hit head on by a tanker passing a van on a 2-lane, winding mountain road was one of the highlights of our driving there. 🙂
I didn’t even touch upon the driving. They’re crazy, besides being aggressive they’re all on their mobile phones either texting or calling.
I really enjoyed reading the unvarnished section of your post. We visited Brasov for a very short time so it’s always nice to hear the opinion of someone who stayed there longer. The smoking issue is a non-starter for me.
Thank you Michael. How did you enjoy Brasov?
Yes, totally agree with the smoking issue. I think they changed the smoking rules 20 years ago in Montreal and now just can’t take it.
Once again, I enjoyed reading this post and looking at the photos – especially that sunrise one. You must be early risers.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks John. We’re still working but we’ve changed our hours to 7-3 so that we can fit in more activities in the late afternoon 🙂