It is no surprise that the charming town of Brasov is often referred to as “the city at the foot of Mount Tampa”. Beautifully nestled within the natural protection and confines of the Carpathian mountains, the medieval town of Brasov was able to ward off invaders for centuries with its impressive fortification systems of walls, towers and gates. Today, Mount Tampa is an important landmark in Brasov whose lush forested peak can be seen from literally ever street within the old part of town.
The main reason why people visit the top of Mount Tampa is to see the spectacular panoramic view of Brasov. You can literally see where the old medieval town ends and the newer, Communist-era buildings begin. Mount Tampa is also a wonderful place to hike since most of the mountain is a nature reserve containing an abundant amount of wildlife and plants. Getting to the top of Mount Tampa was high on our list for our five days in Brasov and we were finally able to fit it in on our last day in town.
As we left our hotel, we passed one of the largest remaining fortifications in the city that features several bastions, a large wall and a few lookout towers. The Weavers’ Bastion (Bastionul Tesatorilor) at the far western end of the fortification is the largest medieval bastion in Brasov and the best-preserved among the seven original watchtowers constructed around the city walls. It was built during 1421-1436 and rebuilt in 1570-1573. Today, the Weavers’ Bastion has an interesting museum that can be visited on the way up Tampa Mountain.
As you walk behind the fortress walls southeast along Aleea de sub Tampa, you will reach a beautiful alley called Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu. It is the perfect place to stroll beneath the shaded old trees and or take a rest on one of many lovely benches before heading up to the top of Mount Tampa. I loved seeing all the young families out playing with their kids or the couples hand in hand strolling along this lovely path.
There are two ways to get to the top of Mount Tampa. You can either follow the winding trail up through the forest which takes about one hour or you can journey aboard a 1970s cable car (Telecabina Tampa). We opted to take the cable car up and hike down which was a good call given it was getting late in the day.
Although the cable car is not very modern, the ride up afforded amazing views of the city. You can literally see where the red rooftops end and the concrete flats begin. It is extraordinary. (Check out the slideshow below for some incredible views).
Once on top, it is a short five-minute walk to a rocky outcrop (955m high) for a stunning panoramic view of the city below. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be at sunset.
Mount Tampa is an important habitat for brown bear, lynx, boar, and a wide variety of birds and butterflies. We didn’t see any bears but knew they were there given the incessant barking from the dogs at night. The hotel apologized profusely but it was clear that the dogs were only doing their job. Bears have been known to come down into Brasov and raid garbage cans at night or get into all sorts of trouble.
If the weather is clear, you will be able to easily recognize the different parts of Brasov. The old, German part of town is distinguished with its mass of terra-cotta roofs surrounding the narrow streets of Piata Sfatului. The Romanian Schei district (to the south) is a cobweb of small streets and jumbled houses flowing up into the hills. On the flat plains are the Communist-era expansions to Brasov as well as the rows of factories and concrete flats built over the past 50 years. When you enter Brasov via car, you pass through the seemingly never-ending jungle of factories, concrete blocks and streets until you reach the charming old part of town. It is quite a noticeable change in architecture.
After taking photos, it was time to head back down. We followed the wooded dirt travel that weaved down the mountain and back to our hotel in under an hour. I was getting excited for dinner given all the fantastic venues to choose from. Brasov was quickly growing on me as one of my favorite little towns.
If you go:
Walking to the top takes about an hour and you have several alternative trails with different difficulty levels to choose from. You can also ascend Mount Tampa by cable car (telecabina) to an altitude of 940 m. From the upper cable car station walk five minutes along the path behind the Brasov sign to the rocky summit (at 955m) for the best views of the town.
Sources for this post: