As far as pretty cities go, Brașov is up there, with its pastel coloured buildings, beautiful churches, and spacious cafe-lined square. Located in the Transylvania region of Romania, Brașov is often thought of as a gateway to the Saxon architecture of the area which continues in Sibiu and Sighișoara, the fabled birthplace of Dracula.
But forget the Dracula clichés; vampires don't take centre stage here, in fact, far from it. Aside from nearby Bran Castle being the alleged inspiration for Dracula, you'll feel more like you've stepped into a romance film than a horror story.
A great place to start in this city is the main square Piaţa Sfatului, which is surrounded by the city's Old Town. In the centre of the square you'll find the former Council House (Casa Sfatului) with its Trumpeter's Tower which today houses the History Museum of Brașov (Muzeul Județean de Istorie). Visit the museum if you fancy it, or just grab a seat in one of the surrounding cafes and restaurants and watch the world go by.
Be sure to take some time to stroll around the cobbled streets of the Old Town, snapping photos and soaking up the beautiful surroundings.
Visiting the Black Church (Biserica Neagra) is another popular attraction in Brașov. It's said to be the largest Gothic church in Eastern Europe, earning its name after a fire in 1689 blackened its walls. Although on the inside it might not be the prettiest cathedral you've ever visited, it's still a striking example of Gothic architecture combined with traditional decoration of the region.
Another sight you'll probably notice in Brașov is the Hollywood-esque sign of the city's name which sits on Tampa Mountain overlooking the city. Take the cable car or hike to the top to reach the letters and get a birds-eye view of Brașov.
Catherine's Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei) is another of Brașov's great sights; an original city gate which looks as if it's come straight from a fairy tale.
Although Brașov doesn't have an airport, it's a major Romanian railway hub which connects the city to the rest of the country, as well as to bordering Hungary. From Romania's capital Bucharest there are 18 trains daily to Brașov, as well as frequent services from other major cities around the country. There is also a daily connection to Budapest in Hungary which goes via Oradea on the border, as well as a fast EuroNight train which connects with Budapest via Arad.
Travel tip: Although Romanian trains are generally really good, try to get the InterCity trains when you can, as they're super modern and comfortable.
If you're flying to Romania and hoping to visit Brașov, the nearest international landing spots are Otopeni-Bucharest and Sibiu airports, where you can hop on a train to the city.
There are also fairly good road links to Brașov, connecting it to Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Sibiu, Arad, and Budapest.