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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in brasov
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Bra?ov is a mountain resort city in Transylvania, Romania.
Bra?ov (pronounced Bra-SHOV), known as Kronstadt in German or Brassó in Hungarian has a population of 283,901 and is one of the largest cities in Romania. It is located in the center of the country and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. The city provides a mix of wonderful mountain scenery in the nearby Poiana Bra?ov and medieval history with Germanic influences in the old town. The city is 160 km from Bucharest.
Bra?ov is up there with Sinaia and the surrounding mountain resorts as the most visited city in Transylvania, Romania, and this is something that's not in vain. Bra?ov boasts everything from dynamic modern life city life to old world charm and fascinating scenery. Also, it's pleasant to have some of the extras as well, including some of the best cleanliness records in the country, great transport and great food. Even though it's a bit overpriced for Romanian standards, especially in the high season, Bra?ov is definitely worth it. As some people say, "Why bother coming to Romania if you're not going to see Bra?ov?"
The Bra?ov region is one of the most visited by tourists. Other than Bra?ov city and its immediate attractions, the resorts of Sinaia and Predeal, which are quite a far way out from the city and are considered separate administrative entities, also offer great tourism.
Bra?ov has relatively cold and wet weather, especially at night. This region of Romania enjoys four seasons (i.e. spring and autumn as well as winter and summer). The average temperature is 7.6 degrees Celsius only, even though in summer temperatures may reach up to 35 degrees Celsius.
Due to fairly large minority populations, Hungarian and German are also spoken in addition to Romanian. Many locals also speak English.
Currently Brasov has no civilian airport.
Getting to Bra?ov is very easy, due to the fact that it is a major Romanian railway hub. Between Bucharest, the capital, there are 19 trains daily, and there are also frequent trains from other Romanian cities as well as a daily connection to Budapest, Hungary (via Oradea) and a EuroNight (fast night train) connection to Budapest via Arad. Also due to its affordability and comfort, train is the best way of reaching Bra?ov. Even though all Romanian trains are increasingly comfortable, try to take the InterCity (IC) trains, of which there are three per day. These are very modern and comfortable, as they are an initiative of the state railways to reinvigorate Romania's transport sector. "Rapid" trains are also comfortable and almost as fast as InterCities. "Accelerat" trains are also a fast alternative, lacking a little in the kind of comfort an InterCity or Rapid train would provide. Do not, however, take trains labelled as Personal (or abbreviated as P before their route number) to Bra?ov. There are 4 of these per day, and, besides the fact that some of them are quite low on comfort, they take nearly twice the time to get there, since they stop at every stop. If you really are forced to take them (even though there are Rapid and IC trains at very accessible times all day), at least buy a first-class ticket.
Aside from the train, car is one of the most popular ways of reaching Bra?ov, due to its fairly good road connections with Bra?ov. Road E60 will be the main road to use in and out or Bra?ov, because this European Road links Bra?ov to Bucharest in the south, as well as Cluj-Napoca, Oradea and Budapest, Hungary in the west. Road E68 will take you to Sibiu and further onwards to Arad and Timisoara. Road E574 takes you into the north, to the Moldavia region and the Painted Monasteries and Iasi. The nearest airport to Bra?ov is Bucharest Otopeni, which is 166 km away and accessible directly by road E60. A highway is also being built that, by 2007, will link Bucharest to Bra?ov and Bra?ov to Cluj-Napoca and Oradea.
Recently, there are quite a few intercity bus operators, but these aren't as comfortable and reliable as the train. Bra?ov does not have an international airport, due to its proximity to Bucharest and Sibiu, which both do. Consequently, you will need to take land transport if you're flying in to Bucharest. All coaches stop in the city centre, and so do trains, due to the fact that the railway station is very central.
Transport in Bra?ov is very extensive, and, as an added benefit, runs late into the night (there are specialised all-night services too). It is cheap also, even though not particularly comfortable due to ageing infrastructure. Run by RAT Bv (Regia Autonomă Transport Braşov), the network is made up of trolleybuses, buses and trams, like in most other Romanian cities. It is a lot better to buy tickets from kiosks, but remember to punch them when on the bus. Even though there are no ticket gates when entering the vehicles, and drivers/operators won't see if you fare-evade, it's wise to have a valid ticket because controllers are abundant, and they will land you with a fine. When someone requests your ticket, always ask to see an ID.
Taxis are a faster and more comfortable way to get around town than public transportation. Taxis are also relatively cheap. Most taxis have meters and drivers are usually friendly. There's never a shortage of cabs within city limits at any given hour, but it is a good idea to have one called, rather than going looking for one. Ask the approximate fare in advance and always make sure the driver uses the meter from the start, or agree on a fixed amount for the ride. Though rare, there have been cases when foreign tourists have been asked to pay enormous amounts. It is OK and always a good idea to ask for an estimate in advance, even when the cab is using a meter. Taxis are usually parked in designated areas along the curb, which are in the proximity of bus stations or other busy spots. When traveling outside city limits you may be asked to pay double fare per kilometer (it is considered acceptable), or you could agree on a fixed amount in advance. Tipping taxi drivers is not very common, but it's always appreciated. If you find a reliable and trustworthy driver that you feel comfortable with, you could ask if he is willing to serve you for the remainder of your stay in Brasov. Most likely, he will be happy to give you his cell number or car number so you can call dispatch and ask for him. This way you will avoid having to continually switch drivers. Never get into a taxi that doesn't have a sign with the company name on top of it, you may get ripped off.
Republicii Street in Brasov's Old Town, Black Church in backgorund
Brasov's old town viewed from Tâmpa Panoramic
Former City Council building, currently the History Museum in Brasov's Old Town
- Old Town including the Black Church and main square or Council Square (Piata Sfatului). Features medieval buildings in different architectural styles. Everything is situated around the main square (Piata Sfatului). The picturesque pedestrian-only Republicii street, the Black Church, former Council House, indoor and outdoor terraces and restaurants, the Orthodox Cathedral, Muresenilor House, the Hirscher House and more.
- Panoramic Tâmpa - Beautiful view of the old city and the surrounding nature from 900 meters above sea-level. Tâmpa is the mountain that you see from any point in Brasov, with a large TV transmitter antenna on top. The antenna building also houses a restaurant and a cable car station. Accessible by foot (1h hike, sometimes steep, but low difficulty level nonetheless, recommended in snowless seasons only) and also by cable car (called Telecabinã).
- The Brasov Citadel (aka Cetatea Brasov) - Situated atop the Citadel Hill (Dealul Cetatii). This 16th Century fortress-like citadel houses several restaurants with outdoor terraces, a bar, a winery, an armory, an 81 metres (240 ft.) deep fountain, four defense towers and, of course, a night-club. Makes for some great pictures inside and out.
- Strada Sforii (Rope Street) - Narrowest street in Europe, around 1.3 metres (4 ft.) wide. Newly renovated in 2003.
- Poiana Bra?ov - The place to ski in Romania.
- Bran Castle - nearby, also called Dracula's Castle
- Râşnov town
- Hiking and trekking - Brasov is the place to start for most people who visit Romania with a mind for mountain adventure.
- Ski - According to Eastern Euro Tours on the Gold Coast, Romania is the place to ski in Eastern Europe. And the crown jewel of the Romanian ski resorts is Poiana Brasov, 12 km. (8 mi.) away from Brasov's city center. Set in the pine forests of the Carpathian arch, at around 1700 m (5000 ft.) altitude, with 19 marked runs and 35 km. of unmarked runs, Poiana Brasov has its slopes designated with different difficulty levels, making it easy for beginners and advanced skiers to choose. Part of Transylvania, it is 18 km. (11 mi.) away from Bran Castle, also named Dracula Castle. A six-day ski pass costs less than $200.
- Cerbul de Aur annual music festival, usually held in August-September. On one hand, it brings hundreds of pop artists and musicians, contestants and big-name modern and classic stars. On the other, it clutters the best spot in the city (main square) with tons of heavy iron scaffoldings, for a large part of summer and fall.
- The Beer Festival (Festivalul Berii) - is smaller and more popular with the locals and tourists. Usually held in the fall. Dozens of tents from several beer companies offer their products. Also, you will be able to get a taste of mici (Romanian grilled sausages) and other traditional foods. Local and national bands and artists of all persuasions take the stage.
- Hotel Aro Sport - Str. Sfântul Ioan 3, (+40 268) 142 840. By name, Aro Sport seems like the logical lower-class equivalent of the four-star Hotel Aro. In many ways, it is, even though it doesn't near the standard of the luxurious Aro. Other than that, Aro Sport is a highly recommended stay for those on a tight budget. Although the rooms are small and minimally furnished, they include a sink and are usually very clean. There are shared bathrooms, and the hotel is very clean and modern.
- Hotel Camping Darste, Calea Bucuresti 285, (+40 268) 315 863. If you want only a place to sleep and that's all, Camping Darste does its job fairly well. Other than that, it's a lot better to choose a more central hotel with better facilities.
- Hotel Postavarul - 2 Politehnicii Phone: +40-268-144330. The Postavarul is a separate wing of the Coroana hotel entrance and bookings are made through that hotel. All of the immaculate rooms have washbasins, but some share a shower and toilet. For sheer location and spot-on service, this is the best value hotel in town.
- Kismet Dao Hostel - Str. Democratiei 2, (+40 268) 514 296. Complimentary beer, internet access, laundry, and tour information make this a great value. 10 Euros gets you a dorm, 26 euros gets you a private room. Check out their websitefor (http://kismetdao.com/brasov/index.html) more.
- Hotel Ambient, Str. Aninoasa 5, (+40 268) 470 856. This three-star hotel is one of the best choices if you're in Bra?ov and looking for a personal yet comfortable stay. The Hotel Ambient is a short way away from the Old Town, and offers very friendly service. All rooms have showers, minibar, international telephone, as well as some which have very nice balconies. If you want to splurge, there are some high-range apartments with all the amenities including jacuzzis.
- Hotel Capitol * * * - 19 Eroilor, Phone: +40-268-418920. Situated in the old center of Bra?ov, the "Capitol" is a three star hotel with 184 double rooms that are modern and comfortably furnished (color T.V., phone, fridge, etc.). It has 184 double rooms comfortably and modernly furnished, with color TV - sets, phone, and fridge. When staying at it hotel provide the following services: Restaurant - 1st category with excellent cuisine, lounge for conference, receptions, banquets, and individual breakfast choice The other supplementary services are available: room service, safe for personal belongings services, currency exchange, and courier service.
- Hotel Coroana * * - 62 Republicii, Phone: +40-268-144330. Coroana is situated in the historical center of Bra?ov being the oldest hotel of the town, built in a an impressive baroque style Facilities: extensive reception area, "Braserie" restaurant day, breakfast lounge, conference a hall, currency exchange office Two star hotel has 155 beds in 2 suite, 2 singles and 69 doubles furnished in classical style having telephone, TV - set, fridge, radio.
- Hotel Helis * * * - 29 Memorandului, Phone: +40-268-410223. Its immediate neighbourhood is not so enticing, but the Helis is a pleasant place to pitch up with nice wooden furniture, clean while decor and crisp white linen to match. Breakfast is included in the price, and the staff speak a variety of languages. The tasteful, spacious rooms come with TV, and the bathrooms are in good condition.
- Hotel Montana * * * - 2A Stejeris, Phone: +40-268-472731. Bra?ov's best accommodation is signposted road up towards Poiana Bra?ov. The modern (painted green) overlooks the centre of town and has a great terrace. Rooms are spacious and modern with TV and shower (those with balconies cost morel and there's a large shared living room. The pension has guarded parking and a cardphone in the lobby.
- Hotel Silvania * * * - 27 Caprioarei, Phone: +40-268-415556. Silvania Villa is one of the most outstanding villas in Bra?ov since it combines a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with impressive and modern facilities. Peaceful, stylish yet natural décor creates a calm, warm, welcoming ambience, making it hard to believe you are virtually close to the heart of the city.
- Hotel Tampa * * - 68 Matei Basarab, Phone: +40-268-415180. Located almost on the mountain, but approached from a ragged part of town, at first sight the Tampa is a forbidding concrete monolith, albeit a forbidding concrete monolith that's surrounded by trees and bird song. Inside, it's not as bad as you might think, with parquet floors, Persian-style rugs and a marble staircase. All rooms have TV and phone with a big size bath and shower.
- Hotel Trifan * * * - 1A bis Grivitei, Phone: +40-268-418893. Just out of town on the road to Sighisoara, Trifan is more of a motel than a hotel, useful to atop over after a long drive. Rooms have shared bathrooms, pay more if you want your own shower.
- Hotel Aro, Str. Eroilor, 27, (+40 268) 142 840. Hotel Aro has for long been one of Bra?ov's premier hotels. At four stars, it certainly doesn't come very cheap, but then again, it won't break the bank. Situated in the centre of the Old Town, it has 15 suites, 262 double rooms and 30 singles. Most rooms offer minibar, satellite TV, telephone, radio and room service. There is also a highly pleasant and classy atmosphere surrounding the hotel. In the complex, there is a Romanian, Italian and international restaurant, nightclub, bar, garden restaurant, breakfast lounge, hi-tech conference hall, a good tourist information office, parking area, hairdressing salon and a casino.
Brasov is generally safe for tourists and police presence is very noticeable, especially in places frequented by tourists. Usually the main risk is getting pickpocketed or scammed through various "techniques", all of which can be avoided. For more safety tips see Romania and Transylvania, and especially read about the "maradona" technique.