AN EIGHT DAY COMPLETE TOUR OF ROMANIA INCLUDING BUCHAREST, BUCOVINA, MARAMURES & THE TRANSYLVANIAN HIGHLIGHTS
Itinerary: Bucharest City Tour – Bucovina Painted Monasteries – Maramures – Cluj Napoca – Turda Salt Mines – Sibiu – Biertan – Sighisoara – Brasov – Sinaia & Peles Castle – Bran Castle – Bucharest
Duration 8 days
Day 1: Bucharest Arrival
Arrival to Bucharest Coanda Airport, meet and greet by your tour guide (to wait with a name sign right after you exit Customs). Transfer to Bucharest. Hotel check in with the evening at lesiure.
T Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Casa Victor ***
Day 2: Bucharest City Tour – Bucovina
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Take a city tour of Bucharest with the Revolution Square, Cotroceni Quarter for its representative architecture, a visit of the Palace of the Parlament and the main avenues. Then leave Bucharest for a drive north to Bucovina. In the town of Campulung enjoy an exclusively organized interactive egg-painting demonstration by a local artist in her home, this being one of the main local traditions of the area. You will also have the chance to admire painted eggs from all over the world in an unique private collection. Enjoy a home hosted dinner in the village, a cultural interchange. After arriving in Gura Humorului, check into the hotel. Evening at leisure.
B D Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Casa Humor **** (two nights)
Day 3: Bucovina Painted Monasteries Excursion (UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
A la carte breakfast at hotel. Bucovina monasteries are gems of medieval Moldavian architecture and artistry. Begin your day with Voronet, the most famous out of all, known as the Sistine Chapel of the East and featuring one the best preserved Last Judgment fresco in this part of the World. Next is Moldovita Monastery where the UNESCO Golden Apple Award given to the painted churches in 1975, is kept. Later continue to the nearby Sucevita Monastery, which is the largest of all, looking more like a mighty fortress than a monastery. The Ladder of John of Sinai is considered one of the best of the frescoes of Sucevita, rarely present in medieval Romanian art. Visit the small museum of this monastery displaying some of the most valuable old Bibles in the country. In the village of Marginea visit the black pottery workshop – they use a technique called “oxygen reduction”, there is the same technique in Mexico only! End your day with the Monastery of Humor, the only one without a belfry tower. Return to the hotel.
B Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Casa Humor ****
Day 4: Maramures Excursion including Ieud and Iza Valley
After breakfast depart early. Journey west over the picturesque Oriental Carpathians and reach the splendid region of Maramures (northern Transylvania). Due to the relative isolation of their land, the people of Maramures developed a particularly strong community, with a unique personality, traditions, culture, fashion and lifestyle unspoiled for centuries. It is like a trip back in time. The first visit on the Iza Valley is in the village of Dragomiresti at this 235 year old original complete household. The visit the wooden church of Ieud (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the oldest in the area. Stop in the village of Barsana for an exclusive visit to the workshop of Toader Barsan, a famous master carver. He represented Romania in the 1999 Smithsonian World Festival in Washington, DC. Tour the famous Merry Cemetery in the village of Sapinta. Later, make a quick stop to the exquisite Barsana Monastery, a great example of Maramures wooden church architecture. In the town of Sighet visit the Anti Communist Memorial, a political prison in Communist times and along with Auschwitz and the Normandy Memorial, one of the three main sites of this type on the continent. Enjoy a home hosted accommodation in the village of Iza (modern villa with all facilities) as well as a home hosted dinner where our hosts will join. (This is not a bed& breakfast experience but a real home).
B D Home stay accommodation
Day 5: Maramures – Cluj Napoca – Turda Salt Mines – Sibiu
After breakfast drive south to Cluj Napoca, the capital of Transylvania and one of the important university centers of the country. The panoramic city tour will include St Michael’s Cathedral, the Fellner & Helmer Opera House as well as the City Hall and Old Center. In the afternoon visit the impressive Turda Salt Mines, recently re opened to all modern facilities. Late afternoon arrival to Sibiu. Take a brief orientation tour on the way to the hotel. Overnight in Sibiu’s famous Romans’ Emperor Hotel, first built at the end of the 18th century. Dinner on own. Suggested is Crama Sibiul Vechi, best cellar – restaurants in town, serving Transylvanian fares.
B Accommodation in Sibiu at Imparatul Romanilor Hotel ****
Hotel Imparatul Romanilor, located in the old part of Sibiu near the main square, in a 16th century building built in traditional Transylvanian Renaissance style, a former merchant’s hall transformed into hotel in the 18th century, with many famous guests: Emperor Franz Joseph II, composers Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss as well as Prince Charles and many others.
Day 6: Sibiu – Biertan – Sighisoara
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your day with a leisurely walking tour of Sibiu, the chief city of the Transylvanian Germans. One of the landmarks of Sibiu is the Bruckenthal Museum assembled by Baron Bruckenthal, Governor of Transylvania at the beginning of the 19th century and the second museum to ever open in Europe. Next is the Evangelical Cathedral completed in its actual shape in 1520, but inside there is an exquisite fresco of the Crucifixion on the north wall of the choir dating from 1445. The tour ends with the original Pharmacy Museum located in a 15 century pharmacy. Drive to Sighisoara via fortified church of Biertan, a World Heritage Site for a visit of the former Seat of the Lutheran Bishops. Before starting your walking tour of old Sighisoara attend an exclusive lecture on Vlad the Impaler – Dracula, what is truth and what is fiction. Sighisoara is one of a kind. It was developed by the German settlers as of late 12th century. It stands on a network of tunnels and catacombs and, according to one version of the myth; this is where the Pied Piper brought the children of Hamelin after their ungrateful parents refused to pay him his due. Your walking tour includes the two squares of the Citadel (Upper Town), the Scholars’ Staircase, the House with Antler, the Tower with Clock (climb up for a great view), the Torture Chamber and the Weapon Museum. Sighisoara is the place where the Vlad the Impaler Dracula was born in 1431. The Birthplace is one of the main tourist attractions. The rest of the day is at leisure in the lovely Upper Town.
B Accommodation in Sighisoara at Hotel House with Antler ***
Day 7: Sighisoara – Brasov – Dracula’s Castle in Bran – Sinaia
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Leave Sighisoara in the morning. Journey south through the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau for a tour of Brasov to admire the 14th century Black Church with its 4,000 pipe organ and over a hundred Anatolian prayer rugs given to the church as gifts by the rich Brasov merchants. Visit Schei District. The attraction of the day is Bran Castle also known as Dracula Castle. The castle was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia, enlarged and restored a few times to become a royal residence in the 1920s. Afternoon arrival to Sinaia mountain resort. Named after St. Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai, Sinaia became the unofficial capital of the Kingdom of Romania towards the end of the 19th century. Orientation tour of the resort including a view of the famous Casino, inspired by the one in Monte Carlo. Evening at leisure.
B Accommodation in Sinaia at Villa Camelia ***
Day 8: Sinaia – Bucharest Airport & Departure
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. In the morning take a guided tour of the Peles Castle and Gardens in Sinaia, the royal residence of King Charles I of Romania and known as one of the most beautiful summer royal residences in Europe. After the visit transfer to Bucharest Coanda Airport in time for your return flight.
Note: For a morning departure the program will be adjusted to spend the last night in Bucharest.
Your price includes:
- 7 nights accommodation three & four star hotels and home stays
- fully insured sedan/minivan with climate control, for the entire distance
- fuel & parking fees included
- all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
- three informal talks on: Ceausescu and His Times, the Gypsies and Their Journey, Vlad III Dracula
- exclusive interactive egg painting demonstration in Bucovina
- 9 meals: 7 breakfasts, 2 home hosted dinners
- a Tours of Romania professional English speaking guide (driving) to accompany you throughout
- guide’s expenses
- all transfers
- cheese tasing in Bran village
- porterage (except for customs areas)
- VAT and local tax
- detailed map of Romania.
You’ll visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Bucovina Exterior Frescoed Monasteries
- Maramures Wooden Churches
- Historic Center of Sighisoara
- Biertan Fortified Church.
- other meals than stated
- admissions to museums, sites, churches as per itinerary
- alcoholic bverages
- photo/video fees at sites and museums.
Maria Helms, Australia
Dr. and Mrs. Luis G. Murillo, San Diego, California
Janel Barberito and Jim Jurczyk
Rachelle Babij and Her Group of 42, Canada
Helmuth and Johanna Ehrlich, Vienna, Austria
Martin West and Jimmy T. Nelson, USA
The Samsons in Delaware
Rick Oncescu & Group, Canada
Mr. And Mrs. Rodriguez, Los Angeles, California
Nancy Ewing and family, US
Nancy Allen & sister
We spent two nights in the upper town and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was enjoyable to just sit around the square and enjoy the sights around us. The area was very manageable to walk around. This was one of our favorite spots. One evening, we ate dinner at Dracula’s birth place. And, of course, we felt that it was only fitting to have a glass of “Vampire” wine while in Transylvania! The next day we toured the area and stopped to photograph a gypsy market where they were selling/trading pigs and horses. It was fascinating. Most were in horse carts with wagons for the pigs, etc., but one of the most interesting sites was a Mercedes pulling a cart filled with pigs. We also visited some interesting churches and towns in the area. I really enjoyed just driving through the country away from the main roads to see farmers using horses and wooden plows to till the soil. The next day we headed to the northeastern part of the country to an area where they have painted Monasteries. I’d never seen anything like this. There are as many frescoes painted on the outside of the churches as the inside. It was amazing. We stayed at a new Best Western Hotel in this area which was quite nice and comfortable.
On our final day of touring we headed back to Bucharest for a farewell dinner and cultural performance. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Romania and were surprised at the many sites that we were not expecting. We covered a lot of ground in 6 days and were grateful that we didn’t have to do any of the driving. I’m not a very adventurous eater, but I was always able to find something I liked. The salads were amazing. The lettuce/tomatoes tasted like it has just been picked in the garden. There were times when we just wanted a quick sandwich for lunch. We found that there were many gas stations that had “fast food” restaurants which served pre-made sandwiches which really hit the spot. We much preferred this to sitting in a restaurant for an hour or more. We flew to Krakow the next morning.