This tour is an opportunity to learn about Romania; to visit local places of interest and enjoy the beautiful countryside. You sample very tasty, home made and home grown produce, a variety of flavors and dishes.
Enjoy the hospitality of local families and their rural accommodation.
It will be opportunities to take advantage of local events as: organ concerts, festivals, weddings, Sunday church service, etc.
DAY 1: Starting from Bucharest, you drive about 3 hours north-west to Curtea de Arges, a very small town today, but once upon a time the capital of Valahia (the south province of the country). The church in town, build in the 16 century is an architectural jewelry. Inside the kings of Romania are buried.
DAY 2: After breakfast, we start our drive over the mountains, passing Transfagarasan. The highest road in Romania, build in the communist time to conquer Romanian highest mountains. The road goes up to 2100 m altitude. Because of the altitude the road is open only 3 month a year (usually July, August, September). You might see bears on this road!
Possible to buy cheese from the shepherds and have a picnic to enjoy the spectacular views.
Arrival in Sibiu. Overnight accommodation in a boutique hotel, in the old town. B
DAY 3: Time to explore and see Sibiu, the European Capital of Culture in 2007 and European Gastronomy Capital in 2019. 80 ha of old architecture, 3 medieval squares, cobbled streets and beautiful museums.
A nice place to relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee!
In the after noon we take back roads through beautiful Saxon villages to head to one for our accommodation. Dinner and accommodation in a beautiful restored Saxon house. We use this accommodation for the next 2 nights. B D
DAY 4: We visit the largest Saxon defensive fortress, with three surrounding walls – Biertan, considered to be among the most fantastic Saxon heritage in Transylvania. The fortified church is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visit Richis church and listen the story about the green men of the church. Small walk on rolling hills around the villages, to observe wild flowers. B D
DAY 5: We take again back roads and hidden villages, passing Saxon villages and mountain villages with wonderful views. We get at the foothills of Piatra Craiului mountain to a small mountain guesthouse with wonderful views over Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains. The guesthouse is at 1000 m altitude. B D
DAY 6: As you are in the mountains, have a walk in the surroundings. Walk along Zarnesti gorge (where Cold Mountain movie was filmed). Picnic lunch provided by your host.
You may also wish to visit Bran Castle, built in 1377. Since 1920 the castle has become the summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania. The castle is strangely linked to Count Dracula, even if it is doubtful that Vlad the Impaler ever spent the night here. BLD
DAY 7: Drive to Brasov, a Saxon fortress, often compared with old towns in Poland and Czeck Republic. We climb a little hill to the White Tower where you can have a stunning panorama of the old stronghold and from here we start our tour in the old center, visiting the Council Square and the famous Black Church.
Continue to Viscri, a remote village with a beautiful 12th century fortified church. Beside the one-room church and the traditional house architecture, we can still find treasures of many Saxon civilization families. Viscri is the headquarter of Mihai Eminescu Trust (English trustee aims to preserve the villages fabric, remedy their loss of income and revive their sense of community. The Trust helps the inhabitants to develop new sources of revenue and the restore their houses with sympathetic use of traditional materials).
Accommodation in a neighbouring village, in a restored house, with delicious dinner. B D
DAY 8: On your way to the next accommodation stop to visit Sighisoara, considered to be the most beautiful and complete medieval architectural assemble of Romania and the most beautiful inhabited citadel throughout Europe. Sighisoara is also the birth place of Vlad the Impaler, connected according Bram Stoker’s novel with Count Dracula. The medieval citadel is perched on a hillock and is fortified with a 14th century wall.
Before dusk you will reach your accommodation in a Hungarian minority village, in a restored traditional house. B D
DAY 9: Crossing the Eastern Carpathians, via Bicaz gorge, we head in the province of Moldavia.
Afternoon tea with wonderful views by the lake and accommodation in traditional wooden houses. B D
DAY 10: Among the most picturesque treasures of Romania are the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. Their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of angels and demons, and heaven and hell. Deemed masterpieces of Byzantine art, these churches are one-of-a-kind architectural sites in Europe.
MOLDOVITA’s exterior walls feature predominantly gold and deep blue paintings, dating from 1537. The large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes. There is also a beautiful fortified wall and garden and the museum displays the “Golden Apple”, a prize received by the painted churches in 1977 for the “best travel destination”.
SUCEVITA High walls and heavily buttressed defensive towers surround the great monastic complex of Sucevita, giving it the appearance of a fortress. The Ladder of Virtues is magnificent.
CORONET is also known as the Sistine Chapel of the East. Perhaps the most stunning of the painted monasteries, it was founded in 1487 by Stephen the Great to celebrate a victory over the Turks. The frescoes were added about 60 years later and feature an intense blue…even after more than 500 years!
Same overnight accommodation as previous night. B D
DAY 11: We cross the Carpathians again to head to Maramures, Romania’s most traditional region. Beside wooden architecture and Unesco heritage churches, Maramures is famous for its people. They are very proud people and it is the only place in Romania where you can still see people wearing their traditional clothes or having a traditional wedding.
Overnight accommodation for the next 3 nights with village families, in a lovely rural setting. B D
DAY 12: It is good to have a Sunday in Maramures to see locals at their churches, dressed in their Sunday best and a morning at farmer’s market where you can see the livestock.
Easy walk with superb views from our village to Desesti (visit the Unesco heritage church). Walk (Visit) to and around Breb, the village where William Blacker lived, a remote traditional village at the foothills of Gutai mountains. (William Blacker’s book recommended “Along the enchanted way”).
Sightseeing in the picturesque villages of Budesti and Sarbi. Along the riverside there are several wooden water-powered installations: “valtori” (villages’ simple washing machines) for washing clothes and blankets. B D
DAY 13: Visit Sighetu Marmatiei town, near the border with Ukraine. Sighetul Maramtiei is also the birth place of Eli Wiesel, laureate of Nobel Peace Prize and Holocaust survivor. Visit the colorful daily market with fruits and vegetables.
Leaving Sighet town head along the Tisa river and the Ukrainian boarder to Sapanta – very well known for its unique Merry Cemetery. It owes its name to the vivid colours of the wooden headboards on which naively painted scenes narrate the biography of the deceased. B, D
DAY 14: Have more visits in the morning through Maramures villages and Unesco heritage churches, then start driving south towards Cluj. Overnight in a central 3* hotel for your flight next day. B
Day 15: Flights.
Cost of the tour:
Included: comfortable accommodation everywhere, with dinners and breakfasts, as mentioned above; transport by minibus in Romania, with services of English-speaking guide.
Not included: return flights; lunches (see above); drinks; entrance fees; tips; insurance.