Maramures and Bucovina – a magic journey back in time:explore the north of Romania in 9 days and enjoy two of the most beautiful and well- preserved historical regions: Maramures and Bucovina. You will discover a fragile and almost forgotten way of life, perhaps the most unchanged place in Europe.Maramures is a land of wooden churches, mythological richness, impressive landscapes and very ancient customs. It has carefully preserved the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of a medieval peasant past. Bucovina is known for one of the world’s greatest art treasures: the UNESCO World heritage sites of the Painted Monasteries .
Duration: 9 days/8 nights
Price: from 605 Euro/person
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR:
- Cluj Napoca– a vibrant cultural and educational city;
- The Wooden Churches of Maramures, UNESCO heritage sites: Surdesti, Desesti, Ieud Churches;
- The Merry Cemetery in Sapanta;
- Meet a world famous local wood carver in Maramures;
- The painted monasteries in Bucovina, UNESCO heritage sites: Voronet, Humor, Moldovita, Sucevita;
- Demonstration of traditional egg-painting;
- Horse-drawn carriage to discover the world famous Corund ceramics;
- Turda Salt mine;
- Sighisoara– the birthplace of Count Dracula.
Day 1 Cluj Napoca
Arrival in Cluj-Napoca. Our guide will pick you up from the airport and you will be transferred to your hotel in the city center. Your first day in Romania will reveal a vibrant cultural and educational city. The main square is dominated by the gothic 15th century St. Michael’s Church. Then, Banffy Palace with it’s baroque style will open the gates for an overview history of Romanian weaponry and art collection. Dinner will take place in one of the top restaurants of Cluj in the old center. Accommodation in a 4 * hotel in the city center.
Day 2 Cluj Napoca- Baia Mare- Sighetu Marmatiei (250km)
After breakfast we head towards the region of Maramures, a place where time has stopped and kept untouched the purity of nature mixed with centuries- old traditions. Here, locals still use carved wood as a common way of building houses. Passing through Baia-Mare we will reach the UNESCO site of Surdesti to visit one the highest wodden church from Maramures. The same UNESCO patrimony proposes one of the best preserved wooden church from the region in Desesti village. It was built of oak beams, thick and square, on a foundation of river stones. The most intriguing part of the journey is to be found beyound Gutai Mountains in Sapanta Village. There’s nothing more surprising as the Merry Cemetery, well known across the world for it’s colourful tombstones graved with original lyrics.
Late afternoon we will arrive in Sighetu Marmatiei. Dinner and accommodation in a 3* hotel.
Day 3 Sighetu Marmatiei- Bistrita (133 km)
Today we continue our journey in this fairy tale land through the valleys of Iza and Mara, true outdoor museums of rural art. You will be introduced to the mysteries of carved wood while meeting Toader Barsan. He is a local wood carver who took part at the Smithsonian World Festival in Washington. We will also visit another piece of wood architecture, Barsana Convent. Next on our list of wooden churches is the one from Ieud (UNESCO) . It’s interior has the best preserved entities of post-Byzantine mural paintings from Maramures. In the afternoon we’ll arrive in Bistrita ,one of the oldest towns from Romania, an important Saxon citadel. A short walking through the center to discover the most important landmarks of this medieval town: The Orthodox Church and the Saxon Evangelical Church, the Silversmith’s House and Sugalete Medieval Buildings. Dinner and accommodation in a 4* hotel in the city center.
Day 4 Bistrita- Gura Humorului-Suceava (192 km)
From the Borgo pass we will find ourselves in Dracula Land where the famous Irish novelist Bram Stoker imagined and located the fantastic castle of the count. The large panorama of Bargaului mountains will delight our view from Dracula Castle Hotel where we’ll take a refreshing brake. Today the famous land of painted monasteries Bucovina reveals you the best preserved secret of Moldova region: Voronet monastery with its blue outdoor paintings . Another moldavian religious treasure is Humor Monastery. Here you’ll see a variety of frescoes dating from 1535. Dinner and accommodation in a 4* hotel in Suceava.
Day 5 Bucovina
Today we will visit Putna monastery, a great cultural centre, the richest in the country . But first, on our way to Putna we will have the chance to visit the workshop of a famous local artist in Radauti for a unique demonstration of traditional egg-painting. We continue our tour with 2 other painted monasteries: Sucevita and Moldovita. Nearby we will visit the Black Ceramics factory of Marginea. Dinner and accommodation ina 4* hotel in Suceava.
Day 6 Suceava-Sovata (244 km)
After breakfast we will leave the sacred land of Bucovina heading south. Our next stop is in Agapia, the largest nuns monastery complex in Europe, with more than 1000 nuns. Agapia is famous for the carpet workshops. Then you will enter again in Transylvania region discovering two of the best known landmarks of Romania, the wonders of nature: Bicaz Canyon and Red Lake. A short stop for admiring the landscape and buying souvenirs. Arrival in Sovata, the most significant bathing resort and well known across Europe fot it’s natural formed salt lake. A beautiful evening walk around the biggest helio thermal salt lake- the Bear Lake. Dinner in a cosy restaurant by the lake. Accommodation in a 4* hotel in Sovata.
Day 7 Sovata-Targu Mures ( 53 km)
Transylvania is also known for the Hungarian minority. They are famous for their hospitality, spicy meals and beautiful art works. You will discover all of that in Corund village– one of the most important ceramics centers in Europe. In the afternoon we will arrive in Targu Mures, political, economic and cultural center, a multi-ethnic city that became a Romanian city after the First World War. We will visit the old town with the most important monuments : the Prefecture in Art Nouveau style, the Palace of Culture in style Viennese Secession, but also eclectic style, the University of Medicine, Banya House. Dinner with traditional Hungarian dishes in a local restaurant. Accommodation in a 4* hotel just in the center of the town.
Day 8 Targu Mures- Sighisoara-Turda (176 km)
The most important medieval fortress in Romania and among the very few in Europe, Sighisoara is waiting to take us in a world of knights and princess surrounded by defensive towers. You will see the main ones: the Tailors Tower, the Shoemakers tower and the Clock Tower. Besides the story of Dracula vampire, Transylvania provides also other stories: the ancient salt mines , known even since the Romans’times. Turda salt mine, a museum and a center for halotherapy is our highlight for today. It is considered ‘ the coolest underground place in the world”, gaining its 22nd place of the unbelievable travel destinations, according to Business Insider. You will have the chance to visit this underworld theme park and also relax in the futuristic rest rooms breathing the salty atmosphere, so beneficial to health. Delight yourself with a vampire menu for dinner, a delicious reason to travel to Transylvania ! Accommodate in a 4* hotel in Turda.
Day 9 Turda- Cluj Napoca- departure
Today you will say goodbye to your guide and driver and head to Cluj Napoca International Airport for your flight home.