Brasov is 167 kilometres from Bucharest. Unfortunately, because there is no motorway, it takes even the most lunatic of drivers two and a half hours to make the trip. On holidays and during weekends in high summer or the ski season, it can take more than four hours.
At busy times the train is a better bet: the fastest (InterCity) services now take just under two and a half hours. Trains to Brasov from Bucharest leave Gara de Nord roughly every two hours. The full timetable is online here.
Fortunately, Brasov’s railway station is only partly the usual Eastern European shambles. While it offers all your favourite features, such as drunks, tramps, thieves (if your mobile phone gets stolen in Brasov you can buy it back here) and damp, dingy underpasses, it could (and once was) a lot worse. In the main hall you will find two ATMs, a Relay press store and even a chemist.
There’s only one exit, which deposits you outside in a big and well organised car park, where taxis and buses await. There are now few taxi sharks in Brasov: most of those who wait at the station are honest, and will take you into the city centre for around 8 lei. Just make sure the taxi displays the name, logo and phone number of a trusted Brasov taxi company, such as Martax or Bratax.
Cheapskates and lovers of old, crowded buses can take bus No. 4 into the city centre: buy tickets (2 lei each) from the RAT kiosk or vending machine next to the bus stops. No. 4 leaves from platform three. It takes around 10 minutes to get to Livada Postei, the main bus stop in the city centre.
It’s from here that you will take No. 20 if you are heading up to Poiana Brasov.