Rock climbing around Brasov, Romania
Ciprian Draghici introduces the rock climbing potential around the town of Brasov in central Romania.
There are many climbing areas in Romania, but I would like to introduce the region around the beautiful town of Brasov. With 17 crags and more than 700 routes, Brasov is probably the best "base camp" for climbing in the central part of Romania.
The crags Tampa and Pietrele lui Solomon, situated in the outskirts of Brasov, are ideal strating points for those visiting Brasov with little time to climb. You'll find nice and easy routes at Tampa and at the same time you can enjoy the panorama onto the old town of Brasov from the heights of the Tampa mountain.
For those who prefer steep endurance routes I recommend Pietrele lui Solomon, just 20 minutes from the Brasov town centre, while those who can afford a whole day at the crag have several options. The Piatra Mare Massif has two beautiful crags: Tamina and Prapastia Ursului. Tamina is one of the newest crags in Romania, suitable for the hot summer days with long and sustained routes mostly on pockets, while Prapastia Ursului offers sport climbing in an alpine environment. And if you make it to the Piatra Mare Massif, a visit to the Seven Stairs Canyon is a must.
Another beautiful crag with long, difficult routes (and also lots of projects) is located in Postavaru Massif. This is the ideal place for technical face climbing and if you feel that you didn't get enough excitement after a day's climbing here, then definitely go for a bungee-jump in the Rasnoavei Gorge, one of the highest natural bungee-jumping facilities in Eastern Europe.
Whatever you choose to do, don't miss Belvedere, one of the country's classic crags: if you love long and steep routes on shallow pockets, this is the place for you! The quality of the limestone and the scenery of Bucegi Mountains which you can admire when reaching the top of the routes makes this crag an ideal place even for summer days, when it can be quite chilly due to alpine climate.
If you are in search of multipitch routes, then Costila is the perfect crag. There are two conglomerate towers here with lots of multipich routes (protected mostly with pitons) which will reward the climbers with a sense of adventure, because of its alpine feel. You can stay overnight free of charge in the nearby Costila Refuge or, if you prefer a more comfortable night's sleep, you can choose one of the many guest-houses down in the valley.
Brasov - Romania Factsheet
How to get there
The regulations for crossing the Romanian borders allow citizens from the European Union, the United States of America, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand to stay here for up to 90 days without a visa. Turkish citizens can stay up to 60 days and the citizens from states from the former Eastern Europe Communist Block can stay up to 30 days. Despite Brasov not benefiting from an airport, the easiest way to get here is by plane. The closest international airports to Brasov are in Bucharest and Sibiu.
Another option to get here is by train: there are daily international trains which connect Brasov to the biggest towns of the Central Europe (Munich, Prague, Venice, Budapest) or other areas (Sophia, Istanbul, Kiev, Moscow).
The Romanian road network is improving constantly, making it easy to get here by coach from the biggest towns of Europe. You can also reach Romania by boat. There are daily boats travelling to the Danube Delta from Passau and Vienna. From there you can get to Brasov by train.
Brasov offers various forms of accommodation, such as guest houses, hotels or hostels. You’ll find most of the accommodation located in the old town centre. The price for a double room at a guest house is about 100 lei (25 euro). For those who wish to camp or use a bungalow, the Dirste campsite is located to the south of Brasov.
What to see
Brasov and its surroundings are an ideal place to learn more about the local traditions of the inhabitants. You can’t miss the visit of the old Schei residential area, where you can still admire the old medieval houses that guard the narrow, zigzagging small roads of this old settlement.
The most panoramic view of the town is from the top of the Tampa Mountain. Reach the top by cable car or by walking on the one of the many forest trails. Bran Castle is located 30km south of Brasov; this is one of the most famous medieval castles in Romania and also a popular tourist attraction for those wishing to glimpse Dracula’s Castle.
If you feel in the mood for a day-trip further to the south of Brasov, don’t miss the Sapte Scari canyon in the Piatra Mare Mountains or the strangely wind-and-water shaped rocks Babele and The Sphinx in the Bucegi Mountains. History lovers must not miss out on a visit to Peles Castle in Sinaia.
Certainly the diversity and authenticity of the gastronomic experience of this area will be unforgettable, especially for those who visit Brasov for the first time. Here are some of the local specialities: sarmalute (meat and rice rolled in boiled cabbage), mici (grilled rolled meat), tochitura (stew from internal organs), ciorba de burta (tripe soup) or papanasi (cheese doughnuts with cream and jam).
The best restaurants can be found in the old town centre. Some well known ones are: Casa Hirscher, Butoiul Sasului, Sergiana, Bella Musica or Ceasu’ Rau but there are many others for you to choose. Vatra Ardealului patisserie is renowned for the most delicious cakes and sweets.
Best time of year
The ideal season for climbing in Brasov and its surroundings is from May until September. Most of the crags face south or southwest and present ideal conditions for climbing. The average summer temperature ranges between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius. The rainiest month is June, and some crags seep in early spring. Because of the alpine climate specific to the mountain areas, climbing in winter is only possible at a few crags and in favourable conditions: dry weather, sun and no wind. One of them is the Tampa crag, where it’s possible to climb in winter wearing just a T-shirt.
Where to buy gear
Himalaya on Republicii Street and Sport Virus on Muresenilor Street, both in Brasov, just 5 minutes from the old town centre, Piata Sfatului.