As you probably know, we were recently part of Kevin’s great adventure of moving to Romania from the US. They chose Brasov as their destination and they were kind enough to allow us to be part of their amazing experience: we met them in Bucharest and traveled the other day to Brasov, also helping them out a little bit to get around the city, translate and share Romanian knowledge with them.
You already know most of their experience so far from my previous article and an interview with their opinions is coming right before the New Year, but until then, we’ll find out a bit more about Brasov, Romania: this time, a Romanian’s point of view. Because, yes, the Americans were impressed!
It’s been a while since I last visited Brasov and I had never spent 5 nights in the city before, exploring it thoroughly with the mindset of a person who’s going to share Pros and Cons about the city.
So it was a nice experience and, even though I didn’t really get to live there and I didn’t even see everything that Brasov has to offer, I still have some opinions that I will share with you below. Because, if you don’t mind the slightly colder weather, it might actually be a great place to move to in Romania!
As always, we did choose AirBnb as our go-to website for finding affordable and amazing accomodation and we weren’t disappointed this time either. We rented this place, which was absolutely beautiful. Since it was winter and Christmas was coming, we also had a nice surprise – the unique Christmas tree on the wall – and our host proved to be absolutely amazing.
The apartment is situated in the heart of the city (minutes of walking to Piata Sfatului and all the central attractions), it had nice furniture and lovely decorations, it was fully equipped and extremely warm, exactly as anticipated.
Here are some photos of the apartment:
AirBnb prices are close to hotel prices when booking for a few days, but the advantage of an AirBnb is that you get more room and rooms, a kitchen and not that hotel feel – which is something I really like.
For example, I believe that a house like the one we have stayed in would rent for around 500 Euros per month long term, while an apartment in a similar condition would be cheaper, somewhere between 300 to 400 per month. Of course, it’s a lot more expensive on short term deals.
Back to Brasov – I really enjoyed the city! Even though the weather was almost the worst possible for the Winter (cold and foggy), with no snow and just a bit of sunshine each day, things still looked amazing. Walking around the city and being surrounded by those mountains is almost surreal, the air is fresh and clean and I can only imagine how spectacular things are during the summer when everything around is green or during the winter after it snows, when everything’s white.
Being a large city and relatively touristy for Romania, Brasov has a lot to offer: from the regular cheap Romanian stores and restaurants (including some in the city center) to highly priced designer shops and fancy restaurants, you have them all there around the Piata Sfatului. We ate at different places, from an insanely cheap Chinese restaurant (where the food was horrible) to upper end restaurants and our experience was always great. You can read about the best restaurants and pubs in Brasov here.
For example, at one of the restaurants that we enjoyed the most together with the family from the US, we ordered appetizers, 5 main dishes, two deserts, coffee and drinks and everything was about $90 (with a very generous tip included). Plus, there was some leftovers that were taken home for a decent dinner as well! So even the nicer places in Brasov can be considered decently priced. And the food was delicious!
There are also the large hypermarkets available (although not near the city center) where you can find everything you need, at the same prices you get everywhere in Romania: extremely cheap, in other words.
They have a better offer compared to the ones in smaller cities, like the one I am living in and the options for eating organic are flawless. We also found a bunch of nice looking vegan/raw restaurants and enjoyed a great organic soup at a soup-salad restaurant, with the organic soup being just $2. That’s a good price and the food was tasty as well!
The city is, however, a bit more expensive than the smaller ones. Taxi rides are around 10 lei ($2.50) between two destinations but the price can triple if you mistakenly choose one of the more expensive taxis – fortunately, they have the rates posted on the front door, easy to see.
A trip from the city center to Carrefour during peak traffic was 15 lei (~$3.70) and the ride to the train station from Piata Sfatului was 8 lei (~$2). Strangely, none of the taxi drivers we met tried to scam us or our friends from the US.
More nice things about Brasov
There is a lot to see in Brasov – they have some nice old buildings and impressive new structures, parks to visit and streets to explore, but one thing I absolutely hated about the city, at least in the central (old center) area: the dog poop.
Except for the main pedestrian area where all the fancy restaurants and shops are, there’s dog poop everywhere and as soon as you aren’t careful where your next step will land, you’ll step in it. It’s horrible and I really don’t understand why Romanians don’t want to change and pick up the poop of their own dogs.
But apart from that, I really wasn’t able to find any other Con – except for, maybe, the weather, which is a bit too cold for me in December – but I always prefer the sun and the beach.
The people are really friendly there and the city, at least during the 5 nights we spent there, looks really amazing. It’s indeed a city I could live in, even though I’m not a big fan of the colder weather it offers.
However, with all the global warming and climate going completely nuts, during our stay in early December the temperatures were not as low as I expected them to be (just a bit under 0 degrees Celsius during the night and quite decent during the day).
It’s also not as crowded as Bucharest is, even though taxi drivers were complaining that there are more and more cars every day and traffic can get a bit crazy every now and then. But despite all these, I really liked it and I would strongly consider it a solid destination when you’re traveling to Romania or preparing to move here.
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12 thoughts on “Living in Brasov (and our Favorite AirBnb): A Romanian’s Point of View”
Brasov looks amazing! So beautiful and the Christmas tree in the center looks great . How much colder was it than where you are at? I agree with you about the spookiness with the fog, but l bet it looks awesome in the summer. I am really looking forward to visiting your amazing country, hopefully this year :-). Baby Romanian is growing up so fast, and your lava cake looks so good..l am drooling. That shake looks great too. I am hungry now, going to eat my leftovers..
It was really cold, too cold for my liking, even though it was still hotter than usually. During the night, the temperatures dropped a bit below 0 degrees Celsius, but during the day they went as high as 9-10. However, the fog made it feel even colder than it actually was!
Hopefully you’ll make it here in 2016, at least to make sure that Budapest is indeed the better looking place 😛
My wife is agreeing to live in Romania because with discount airlines like Wizz Air we can visit places she’s always wanted to see like Paris and Rome. What she doesn’t realize yet is Romania has amazing places to live in and visit like Brasov. Great pics, felt like I was walking down the street there. She’s more into stores than atmosphere, but I would never be bored walking around there. The dog poop would certainly keep me alert!
Yes, the discount airlines offer a lot of cheap option travel and they are really popular here. In Brasov, she’d still get her shops – the main pedestrian line is dull of shops and restaurants, so she wouldn’t get bored 🙂
Thanks for not keeping us waiting a month for a new post;-)
Great pictures of Brasov! (Still, there’s no place like home–Drobeta, right)Isn’t the weather crazy, there? There is supposed to be snow by now. Isn’t Brasov a big area for skiing, or am I getting it confused with Piatra Neamt?
Dog poop–never fails to gross me out! Could it be from the strays, and not the ones on leashes? (Well enough about that, eh;-P)
You seem to have great experiences with AirBnB. You’re lucky, as I’ve read about some stays that are really horrible–especially for the “host.” I like the Romanian home furnishings–sort of IKEA-ish. (No microwave is a deal-breaker, though;-)
Little Eric is turning into a “mini-me” (or a mini-you;-) He seems tall for his age. Maybe he’ll play basketball someday;-) I see a little of Mum in him, too.
In general, do the Romanian drivers respect pedestrians trying to cross the streets? I know in Buenos Aires (and most of Argentina for that matter) pedestrians are moving targets for drivers;-(
Cabs seem to be ubiquitous. Is the bus system not so great? Are there trams?
So you and the family are comfortable walking around all the areas, and not too worried about pickpockets, muggings, etc.? There is no gang violence? There is no fear of being shot by the police? You don’t have to worry about being shot or stabbed for your smart phone or Air Jordans by a juvenile delinquent? (You see where I am coming from? Sad isn’t it? I no longer go to crowded places [malls, cinemas, etc.] because of all the gun violence here in the USA.)
So you took a train from Drobeta via Bucharest to Brasov? I always get confused with your itineraries;-)
I still look forward to a “trip report” from Oradea and Piatra Neamt–maybe next year one of the two? Do you get bonus “track miles” (kilometers) from all your train trips?
Thanks again for this fine report of Brasov!
Your American amigo,
Hello, Teil! Brasov is indeed one of the big areas for skiing and one the most popular mountain destinations, but when we got there, the temperatures were higher than usual and no snow. It did snow a bit, but it all disappeared even though the temperatures went down below 0 degrees Celsius during the night.
Since I’ve never seen a Romanian cleaning after their dog and saw a ton being walked in Brasov, I believe it’s the owned ones as well as the strays (which seem to be a bit more in Brasov than in other cities, too).
AirBnb was great and Ikea furniture is considered great furniture here and quite expensive. I know it’s the other way around in the US, but here if you say “house has Ikea furniture” it automatically increases its value 🙂
The family that moved here was just saying to me how impressed they are that drivers actually stop at crossroads and allow pedestrians to cross. Not all of them do, but they could lose their license if they don’t so most of them won’t risk it…
I don’t think that there are trams in Brasov, but there are buses. At least in the central area, there are many narrow, one-way streets, but buses still get there and the family from the US that moved there is actually planning to try them a lot more often since it’s how many of the people living there travel the longer distances.
We’re not actually planning any trips to Oradea or Piatra Neamt, but at least some articles on them will surely come in the near future. We’ve traveled to Brasov via Bucharest, indeed and unfortunately there are no bonus miles/kilometers or anything for using the trains in Romania. But the services keep getting more and more expensive (still a lot cheaper than anywhere else since the trip from Bucharest to Brasov was about 50 lei which is something like $12)
Thanks for your response. I guess one of the reasons people remove their shoes before entering a home is due to the doggie-doo.;-) I wonder why more people don’t speak up! One sure way to bring in revenue is to fine those who don’t clean up after their poochies. (By the way do you have any critters? I’m sure Eric would be thrilled to have a cat, or some other easier to maintain-in-an-apartment pet.)
I like to hear that drivers do respect pedestrians in Romania! In most cities in the USA, pedestrians have the right of way, so to speak. However, in some cities, it’s just the opposite, and when there’s any doubt, I (as a permanent pedestrian;-) let the cars have their way.
So, not to let the cat out of the bag, any hints as to which cities you’ll visit in person? I imagine Cluj, Constanta (as you vacay on the Black Sea in the summers), and maybe Sibiu will be on your “must visit and write about list.”
BTW: You mentioned in your previous post that maybe people didn’t think you were charming or a nice person. Well, that’s nonsense! From your writing I can tell you (and the Missus) are very nice down-to-Earth people.
So, a very happy holiday season to you, Wife Romanian, and to little Eric. Don’t eat and drink too much–ha, ha!
After this article, Kevin (who moved to Romania from the US) told me that he actually saw people with bags, cleaning their dogs’ doo-doo, so you might have been right on the stray dogs making a mess thing. Also, the problem is not widespread and most of the other areas are quite clean. But I did laugh at your joke about the reason why people remove their shoes :)) We don’t have any pets – it’s very difficult to commit because we leave the home pretty often (plus, Eric is allergic to cats :D)
I really, really can’t answer your question about cities we’ll visit next year. We were planning a trip around Romania, but I am not sure we’ll be able to actually do it, from financial reasons. If it does happen, the plan was to visit cities like Sibiu, Deva, Alba Iulia. We might also visit Craiova (which is really close to us) and Constanta. Nothing is set in stone, we still have to check our finances and see what can be done – if anything 🙂
Thanks for your nice words and I wish you a great holiday season as well, and a happy new year!
I loved Brasov during my visit last spring. I found the people there friendly as well. Beautiful area.
It is indeed beautiful. I am happy you liked it and I am sure you’d still love it today as well 🙂
I am thrilled to hear you mention you may visit/write about our home city of Alba Iulia. I first visited about 5 years ago and I would say it was struggling at that time. We were their last summer and my wife and I clearly noticed that Alba Iulia is well on the way to recovery. The city has embraced it’s historical past and done a great deal to develop the historical Citadel and promote it. A lot of history to Alba Iulia that Romania and others should see and hopefully you can write about. Good luck to finding a way to get out and see the world next year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and all you hold dear.
Thank, Otto! Indeed, Alba Iulia has grown a lot in the past few years, like many other cities in Romania. Being part of the EU and having access to those reconstruction funds really helps. Merry Christmas to you too!