Rasnov is a small town located near the city of Brasov and just a few minutes drive from the famed Bran Castle. It's mainly known thanks to its Rasnov fortress, which is open to visitors year around. Much like the nearby Bran Castle, Rasnov fortress has its own local legends, which you'll undoubtedly discover during your visit.
For visitors who want to discover off the beaten path attractions and love the idea of staying in a quiet town with views of the surrounding mountains, then Rasnov is the place for you.
Here's everything you need to know about Rasnov to have a fantastic visit.
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I've been going to Rasnov almost every single year. It's a cheap and quiet base to explore the surrounding areas such as Brasov, the famous Bran Castle, the ski resort in Poiana Brasov and the beautiful natural parks nearby.
Rasnov is a small town with a population of just over 15,000. However, it's teeming with visitors year around as many come to visit Rasnov fortress and the nearby villages and attractions.
Rasnov is part of Transylvania, once part of the Saxon region called Burzenland. However, there is archaeological evidence that there were fortification traces on the fortress hill since prehistoric and Dacian times.
Since 2013, Rasnov became the host of the first metal festival in Romania. It was also a filming location for the film Cold Mountain, starring Nicole Kidman.
About Rasnov Fortress
Rasnov fortress is the main attraction in Rasnov and for good reason. Rasnov fortress is a refuge castle type of fortress which offers refuge for its townspeople in times of war. Its location is strategic, as it was meant to protect from invading armies coming from the Bran pass on their way to Brasov.
The medieval fortress is considered to have been built in early 1200 during the rule of the Teutonic Knights although there is no archaeologic evidence for this. The Rasnov fortress was first mentioned in 1331 as Rosenou (in German).
The fortress was razed many times by Tatars, Turks, and Wallachians. However, its defences held well and was only ever conquered once, in 1612 by Gabriel Báthory. This happened only because the enemy troops discovered a path from the fortress leading to a secret spring.
A 143 metre deep well was dug out to add a source of water inside the fortress and avoid any weakness in the fortress defence in the future. The well comes its own local legend. Two captured Turkish soldiered wre promised freedom in exchange for digging the well. It took them 17 years to finish the well and they were still killed at the end of the task. The famous well is a point of attraction at the centre of the fortress.
By 1850, the Rasnov fortress became a ruin and it was not restored until 1956, but still left in poor condition. In 2000, an Italian entrepreneur took over the fortress and turned parts of it into a tourist attraction. However, he did destroy and arbitrarily built parts of it.
In 2008, Rasnov recovered the property and new works ensued to continue the restoration and its preservation, thanks to European Union funds.
Visit the Rasnov fortress
Walk pass old Saxon houses and arrive at the base of the hill of the Rasnov Fortress. Here you have two options. Take the wonderful walking path to the old fortress and enjoy a lovely hike in nature. Alternatively, take the cable car up to the top.
Pay your fee at the ticket office, around £2 per person. It's time to start your visit to this freshly restored Saxon fortress. In the centre of the fortress there are souvenir shops, perfect to purchase something from the locals.
It's not just the fortress itself that looks fantastic, but take a moment to photograph the countryside stretching for miles on end.
Visit the Old Orthodox Church built in 1384 by Dan I Basarab. It's located on 14 Romulus Cristoloveanu, quite a small street. It houses a small museum.
Don't miss Cheile Râșnoavei, a green canyon where you can enjoy various activities such as climbing, walking, driving, and bungee jumping. Should you decide to sleep here overnight, in a tent, just be aware that bears roam free here. If you wish to see bears, head to the bear sanctuary, in Zarnesti.
Photograph many old Saxon houses as well as the old Saxon school. The walk will take you through the forest, and you'll see some superb houses, dating back 100-200 years.
Fun fact: There are many species of orchids in Rasnov and the town is home to the Romanian Orchid Lovers Club.
Take an organised Rasnov fortress tour, but also the nearby Bran Castle and the optional Peles Castle visit. Near Rasnov, there is the superb Prejmer fortified church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Food & Drinks
There are a few restaurants in Rasnov. We especially recommend Stâna Turistică Sergiana which is 25 minutes drive from the fortress.
Sub Cetate Sergiana is another traditional restaurant that focuses on great Romanian soup at decent prices.
For those who wish to also stay in Rasnov, Radsor is a great choice for dinner. You'll have Castle pub nearby, the BCR Bank building for atms and money transfer and the townhall is just minutes walk away.
Where to stay in Rasnov
There are many accommodation options in Rasnov with many of them being very well priced. Here is where to stay in Rasnov, to be close to the fortress and enjoy comfort for great prices and fantastic reviews.
Radsor - Located in the heart of Rasnov, just 450 yards from the cable car to the fortress, this lovely hotel has a restaurant on site. You'll have free toiletries and slippers included and some rooms come with views of the mountain and the fortress. Rooms just from £60 per night. Book Radsor here.
Das Fort Boutique - For a superbly decorated accommodation, you will want to stay here. A boutique suite with modern furniture and some rustic elements, this is ideal for those who want luxury in a medieval setting. Book Das Fort Boutique here.
AristoCat Hotels Rasnov - A moderatly price guest house with rooms that have their own private bathroom and a cosy bed. There's free parking and a shared kitchen and lounge. Prices from just £35 per night. Book AristoCat Hotels Rasnov here.
How to get to Rasnov
There are several ways to get to Rasnov but we recommend renting a car. It's easier to get around and you'll also be able to visit the nearby attractions with ease.
From Bucharest: Take the national road DN1 towards Predeal. From here follow the signs towards Rasnov. Distance from Bucharest: about 180 km.
From Brașov: You'll only drive 15 km. Exit Brasov to the south towards Pitesti. Pass Cristian then follow the signs to Rasnov.
You will need to catch a train from Bucharest to Brasov. From Brasov take the train towards Rasnov. The prices for tickets for Brasov - Rasnov are under £1. There are only 6-7 daily trains so make sure to check the local timetable and plan accordingly.
Take the train from Bucharest to Brasov, then take the bus from Brasov to Rasnov. The buses run every 10-30 minutes from Codreanu Autostation. The price is just under £1 per ticket and you need to get a ticket before boarding the bus.
From Bucharest, catch the train to. Brasov. From Brasov, you can catch a taxi to Rasnov. Check the prices per km on the taxi's door. As the driver has to make their way back, many will ask that you pay for their return fare as well. The cost will be around £10.
Another option is to take it easy and book a tour from Brasov to see the Rasnov fortress, the Bran Castle and the superb Peles castle. Transport is included, you'll learn the history from a professional guide and you'll meet like-minded travellers to share stories with.