“It’s like stepping back in time.”
In the rural villages of Romania, this phrase rings incredibly true — when you visit, you really feel like you’ve done a time warp and been transported back at least a handful of decades, if not more. The rural scenes of village life in Romania, hay meadows full of flowers and mown by hand, storks nesting on chimneys, a medieval agricultural system that still relies on horse power, cows coming home through the village street in the evenings to be milked. The placesof Transylvania echo with a past long forsaken in the west but which we remember through fairy tales and view with nostalgia. Many people in Romania are rich in values that really matter: family, community, tradition, self sufficiency, and above all a warmth, generosity and hospitality that makes visitors come back again and again.
Duration: 9 nights/ 10 days
Price: from 790 Euro/person
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROGRAM:
- Bucharest-the capital of Romania-Little Paris of Eastern Europe
- Bran Castle- Dracula legend and Peles Castle- royal summer residence
- village scenes on Prahova Valley
- Brasov-traditional charm and modern city life
- fortified churches of Rasnov, Saschiz and Viscri
- traditional organic food and unique moments
- Sovata-salty lakes and warm water
- Cheile Bicazului – Natural Reservation
- Bucovina- Romanian living human treasures
Day 1 Bucharest
From the moment you land at the Henri Coanda airport in Bucharest, you will be welcomed by our professional guide and driver, who will be at your disposal for the entire journey. They will take you to your first stop, a 4* hotel in the heart of the city. Take a panoramic city tour of Bucharest. and discover the city’s eclectic mixture of architecture. Visit the Village Museum and be impressed by world’s largest civilian building- the Palace of the Parliament.This first evening will be enriched by a traditional dinner with entertainment show in one of the famous Bucharest restaurants. Accommodation in a 4* hotel in the heart of the city.
Day 2 Bucharest- Sinaia- Bran (195 km)
After a rich breakfast we leave Bucharest heading north to the beautiful city of Brasov. First stop in Sinaia – one of Romania’s most important mountain resorts, known as the “Pearl of the Carpathians” for its breathtaking natural surroundings. Take a guided tour of the Peles Castle, the royal residence of King Charles I of Romania and known as one of the most beautiful summer royal residences in Europe. The attraction of the afternoon is Bran Castle- Dracula Castle. Initially a fortress by the Teutonic Knights, 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 for Queen Marie of Romania as of the 1920s.
Enjoy a cheese tasting in Bran. The locals are famous for the various types of cheese from the smoked one to the cheese in wood bark.
Accommodation in a 3* local guesthouse. Today for dinner we will enjoy traditional Romanian cuisine prepared with local organic products.
Day 3 Bran-Rasnov-Brasov- Viscri (150 km)
We leave Bran for a visit to Rasnov fortress, built by Teutonic Knights as protection against invading Tartars and later enlarged by the local Saxon population. Strategically located on the commercial route linking the provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, Rasnov differs from other Saxon fortresses in that it was designed as a place of refuge over extended periods of time. As such, it had at least 30 houses, a school, a chapel and other buildings more commonly associated with a village.
Later we reach the city of Brasov- the Crown city – to discover the famous Black Church, the largest Gothic church east of Vienna – so named because of its dark walls which survived a devastating fire in 1689. You will stroll through the streets of Brasov’s Old Town, discovering the Council Square, the Rope Street, Catherine’s Gate.
We continue our way to Viscri Saxon village, a special one, due to his great fortified church which is part of UNESCO World Heritage. The documents tell that the village of Viscri was allways a free community, never beeing part of a noble property. Around AD 1500 the village has 51 households, 3 shepherds, 1 teacher and 2 poors. In the village of Viscri , The Prince of Wales owns a traditional Saxon house.
Dinner by the locals in the village and accommodation in some of the restored local houses in Viscri.
Day 4 Viscri- discovering the local rural life- Sighisoara (40 km)
After a rich breakfast short walk via charcoal burners to see wild flower meadows, sheep being milked and cheese making. Traditional Saxon picnic by sheep stana (horse and cart supported).
In the afternoon you will reach Sighisoara medieval citadel. The old town enclosed within the citadel walls has narrow cobblestone streets and brightly painted 16th century Saxon houses. There are nine surviving towers; the most beautiful is the striking Clock Tower, the main gate into the citadel. From its balcony one can see beautiful views over the whole town and countryside. Sighisoara fame is drawn mainly from being the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler which some still believe served as the inspiration for the novel “Dracula”. The house in which he was born lies at the foot of the Clock Tower.
Dinner and accommodation at 3* Dracula Danes Estate a few kilometers away from Sighisoara, in a wonderful natural setting.
Day 5 Sighisoara- Sovata- Bicaz Gorges- Red Lake (153 km)
After breakfast we head up to Sovata for a therapeutic day on the Bear Lake. This resort is unique in Europe, having one of the largest heliothermal salt lakes in Europe. Short walk around the lake.
You will discover today the Hungarian minority in Corund village. The name of Corund (Hungarian: Korond) is inseparable from ceramics: the village is one of the most important ceramic centers in Europe. There is a saying in Corund: “since the world exists they always produced pottery”.
We continue our journey to Bicaz Gorges in Hasmas National Park. The gorge twists and turns steeply uphill for 5km, cutting through sheer, 300m-high limestone rocks. At one point, the narrow mountain road runs uncomfortably beneath the overhanging rocks in a section known as the ‘neck of hell’ . A few kilometers west, you cross into Transylvania’s Harghita County and immediately hit the resort of Lacu Rosu (‘Red Lake’, or Gyilkos tó in Hungarian). The lake gets its famous mystique due to the strange forest of dead tree stumps that juts out of its murky waters at 45 degree angles.
Dinner and accommodation in a 3* hotel at the foot of the mountains.
Day 6 Red Lake- Piatra Neamt- Agapia- Gura Humorului (155 km)
We start our day with a generous breakfast and then we head towards Piatra Neamt, one of the oldest inhabited areas in Romania. The oldest traces of human civilisation in the present territory date back to the higher Paleolithic, about 100,000 years BCE. Short city walk to discover The Ensemble of the Former Lordly court, built between 1497-1499 during Stefan the Great’s reign and it holds a magnificent architecture monument, which is decorated with enameled ceramics on the facades and it also holds a tower (10 m tall) with an external stairway which makes the access to the first floor possible.
Our next stop is Agapia monastery, one of the biggest nun monasteries in Romania. The Agapia Monastery is known thanks to its carpet and embroidery workshops. Exempt from the closures of the communist period, Agapia’s nuns wove carpets for the Ceausescu’ megadome in the centre of Bucharest.
Today you will also have the possibility to see masks and costumes for Christmas and the New Year, wood and stone sculptures and a collection of traditionally embroidered waistcoats from all over the county of Neamt. All these at Nicolae Popa Museum.
Then we arrive to Dragos Voda Bison Natural Reservation. The place is famous for being one of the four similar reservations from Romania and it’s also one of the largest reservation exclusively dedicated to aurochs from Europe.
Traditional Romanian dinner and Romanian folklore in a 3* guesthouse near Gura Humorului.
Accommodation for 2 nights at the same guesthouse.
Day 7 Bucovina- a land of traditions and serenity
Today you will discover the painted monasteries of Bucovina, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First on our list is Voronet Monastery, called the Sistine Chapel of the East, and once you see these magnificent “Last Judgment” Frescos, you will fully understand why. We’ll reach the Moldovita Monastery (1532) of particular interest is a depiction of the Siege of Constantinople with the Christians winning. Driving on one of the most beautiful roads in the country, crossing the gentle slopes of Ciumarna pass, we’ll reach the Sucevita Monastery (1586). Sucevita Monastery is the largest of all, looking more like a mighty fortress than a monastery.
The next stop we’ll be at the Marginea village, one of 3 important pottery centers of Romania. We’ll see the workshops where the talented craftsmen make the renowned black pottery.
Late afternoon you will be back to your hospitable hosts who will delight you with a tasteful dinner.
Day 8 Gura Humorului- Vama- Vatra Dornei-Colibita (170 km)
Today we head to Vama village to visit The Painted Eggs Museum, an original museum having over 3,000 painted eggs from all over the world , using different techniques of painting and different supports: egg-shell, wood, ceramics, porcelain, stone, glass. The international artist Letitia Orsivschi collected them all at different exhibitions she participated to in the last 14 years. The artist will reveal to you the significance of the symbols from Bukovina.
Next stop is Vatra Dornei resort. A fashionable spa resort during Habsburg times, today Vatra Dornei is a year-round destination featuring spa treatments as well as summer and winter activities. The site became truly significant once the authorities officially confirmed the curing properties of its mineral waters, at the beginning of the 19th century. The spa’s healing properties that have made it famous across the world include mineral springs, mud and strongly negative ionized air.
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.
Dinner and accommodation at a 4* private resort on the Colibita Lake in a very beautiful area that helps you relax, let go any worries and let yourself enchanted by the gifts of nature.
Day 9 Colibita- Bistrita- Cluj (150km)
Today you will visit Bistrita, one of Transylvania’s most important Saxon citadels (Siebenbürgens). Saxon colonists, who settled here in 1206, helped develop the town into a flourishing medieval trading post. the old town’s quaint 15th and 16th century merchants’ houses, the remains of the 13th century fortress walls and a generally unhurried pace have preserved some of Bistrita’s medieval atmosphere. The greatest attraction of Bistrita’s Main Square is the Evangelical Church built by Transylvanian Saxons centuries ago. Construction of this gothic church began in 1470 and was completed almost 100 years later by Petrus Italus de Lugano, who added renaissance elements to the structure. A 246-foot steeple overlooking the city was added later, making it the highest stone church tower in Romania.
In the afternoon you will reach Cluj Napoca, a vibrant cultural and university center. The main square, resplendent with 18th and 19th century buildings, is dominated by the 15th century St. Michael’s Church, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Romania. The square is also home to the 18th century baroque Banffy Palace, housing the weaponry and Romanian painting collections of the Art Museum.
Festive farewell dinner in one of the best restaurants in Cluj.
Accommodation in a 4* hotel in the city center.
Day 10- Cluj Napoca – departure
After breakfast transfer to Cluj International Airport for the flight home.