The tour reveals Romania’s diversity: from scenic, all types of landforms to various architectural styles, way of life and history. From the externally painted churches of Bucovina, to the fortified medieval cities of Transylvania, from the eclectic capital city of Bucharest to the unique Danube Delta.
Tour type: Discovery tour (explore one country in 13 days)
Itinerary: Bucharest - Sibiu – Alba Iulia - Hunedoara - Cluj-Napoca - Sighetu Marmatiei – Viseu de Sus - Gura Humorului - Suceava - Piatra Neamt - Bicaz - Brasov - Tulcea - Bucharest
Group pick up from "Henri Coanda" Airport, Bucharest.
Transfer to the hotel.
Get acquainted with the atmosphere of the Old Center of Bucharest during the pedestrian tour.
Bucharest, known in the past as "The Little Paris", has suffered a decline in the communist period, followed by a "revival in its own way", in the past 30 years. Nowadays the city displays an interesting mix of old and new: modern steel-and-glass buildings mixed with ancient monuments with long and rich history; palaces and museums scattered in the Old Town, sophisticated cafes and restaurants providing unique feelings along with grey marks from the communist era, altogether representing the reborn charm of Romania's modern and interesting capital, with its cultivated sensibility.
Pedestrian tour of the Old City Centre: attractions in the Lipscani street / Historical Centre: Stavropoleos church, Manuc's Inn, the ruins of the Old Court) now transformed into Bucharest's bustling downtown.
Enjoy a special dinner in a restaurant situated in the Old City Centre (historical building)
This morning enjoy a half day city tour of Bucharest:
Visit the Parliament Palace, a place full of superlatives: world’s largest civilian building, most expensive administrative building and world’s heaviest building (last entry 3:45 pm). The Parliament Palace was designed and its construction started in 1984, during the Ceausescu’s communist regime. Its enormous rooms, halls and galleries are richly decorated with sculptures, golden plasters, intricate ceilings artworks, opulent tapestries and huge carpets, altogether aiming to overwhelm the visitors.
Immerse yourself in the green atmosphere of the Village Museum, with the nice traditional houses representative for Romania’s different regions.
Free time to continue the visit in your own pace in the afternoon.
Dinner on your own
Bucharest - Olt Valley – Sibiu (~ 315 km)
Journey to Sibiu, passing through the Olt river valley.
On the way, visit Cozia monastery, one of the oldest historical art monument in Romania, located on the Olt riverbanks, built in the XIVth century by the Romanian ruler Mircea the Elder. Pedestrian tour of the medieval centre of Sibiu.
Sibiu: one of Romania’s most charming cities, elected in 2007 as the European Capital of Culture, together with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Two hour walking city tour of the medieval center of Sibiu includes: Large Square (Brukenthal Palace, Haller House, Catholic Church and Council Tower – one of the city’s landmarks); Small Square (Luxembourg House, Liar's Bridge, House of Arts); Huet Square (Evangelical Church and its tiny colourful houses, some built in the XIIth century); Cetatii Street (Fortress Street) with the Guilds Defense Towers and cozy cafes. Considered in its earlier days one of the best fortified citadels in Europe, Sibiu offers the best mix between a medieval atmosphere and a modern outlook.
Sibiel: 22 km far from Sibiu is one of the 18 traditional Romanian villages with a special cultural, architectural and historical heritage, located SW of Sibiu outskirts ("Marginimea Sibiului").The village is surrounded by scenic landscapes and the tourists will be charmed by the simplicity & hospitality of the locals, the genuine Romanian traditions & culture visible everywhere.
Dinner with home cooked traditional menu and folk show in a rural pension, in Sibiel. Take the chance to connect with local people and their way of life OR
Dinner in a restaurant situated in the cosy atmosphere of the Small Square
Sibiu – Alba Iulia – Hunedoara - Cluj Napoca (~370 km)
Your journey takes you to Alba Iulia for a visit of the Alba Carolina Fortress. Optional - a nice lunch on the premises of the fortification. The next stop of the tour reveals the most impressive gothic castle in Transylvania: Hunedoara castle. In the afternoon, enjoy the „young at heart” vibes of Cluj-Napoca, the „100.000-students-city”, a major academic city hosting various events, festivals & happenings.
Alba Carolina Fortress (Guard Changing Ceremony - every day at 12 pm) is the largest citadel in Romania and also the Alba Iulia's city landmark. It was built in the early XVIIIth century, after plans who radically transformed the medieval fortress into a seven-bastion baroque fortress, the most remarkable of its kind in SE Europe. The fortress is impressive because of its Vauban-style architecture and its star-shaped bastions.
is represented by the Vauban-style fortress with its star-shaped bastions.
Corvin Castle (Hunyad Castle), in Hunedoara, was built in the XIVth century, on a cliff above Zlaști river and represents, by its greatness, the most important Gothic style secular building in Transylvania. The castle is a large and imposing building, with tall and colored roof tiles; showing towers, turrets, windows and balconies with intricate stone carvings. This unique castle is representative for the XVth century military architecture in SE Europe; it is a special place and it shows the social & financial power of the Corvin family.
The day ends with dinner in Cluj-Napoca, Hungarian cuisine
Cluj-Napoca - Desesti - Sapinta - Sighetu Marmatiei (~260 km)
You leave in the very morning for quite an adventure of the soul, body and eye, to explore Maramures region.
First of all, something for the soul: stop to visit the UNESCO-listed Desesti wooden church, one of the best preserved typical tall wooden churches in the region of Maramures, XVIIIth century.
Then, it is time to see some of the locals work at a sheepskin master.
It follows the Merry Cemetery in Sapinta, some call the second attraction of this kind in the world; but to us, it is unique. Famous for its colorful wooden tombstones, depicting episodes of the villagers lives in a naive manner, Sapinta's Merry Cemetery represents a genuine chronicle of the rural life.
Back to Sighetu Marmatiei and visit at The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance in Sighet, a place meant to “resuscitate the collective memory”.
The evening will find us in Sighetu Marmatiei, tasting some of the most amazing Romanian dishes (‘tzuica” will accompany the food).
Overnight Sighetu Marmatiei.
Sighetu Marmatiei - Barsana – Rozavlea - Ieud – Viseu de Sus (~85 km)
Journey to Barsana Monastery, to soak in the tranquility of the site; the old wooden church was built in 1711 by the noble priest Ioan Ștefanca, together with his sons and the other villagers, to thank God for the protection during The Great Plague one year before.
Next stop is in Rozavlea, to see the wooden church from 1710, and then compare styles when visiting UNESCO heritage Ieud church that follows on the day list.
Take the chance of interacting to a local in Dragomiresti Museum of the Romanian lady peasant; it is quite something.
Then, it is finally end of the day at Viseu de Sus, for a well-deserved warm meal and the ever present tzuica.
Overnight Viseu de Sus.
Viseu de Sus – Mocanita experience – Gura Humorului (~180 km)
A day with the narrow gauge steam train, "Mocanita", can only be a memorable day.
Rise and shine as we must board the train early.
Passing through beautiful scenery and having some picnic lunch (or on board).
En route to Gura Humorului and here we are in the heart of beautiful Bucovina.
Voronet monastery, famous for its stunning and well preserved XVth-XVIth century vivid blue exterior frescoes, also named the Sistine Chapel of the Orient, and the monastery of Humor, one of the first painted Moldavian monasteries in the XVth century; both part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Picnic lunch (or on board)
Overnight Gura Humorului
Gura Humorului – Moldovita – Sucevita - Marginea – Gura Humorului (~130 km)
This day is fully dedicated to Bucovina, Land of Wonder.
Journey to Moldovita; visit the monastery with inner and outer frescoes depicting Biblical scenes – a true “holy scriptures in color”.
Of all the Romanian customs the one of painting eggs for Easter is by far the smoothest and the warmest. Nowhere else but in Bucovina the egg is looked upon with so much love and the tradition of painting is raised at an artistic level. Visit the International Museum of Painted Eggs Lucia Condrea, in Moldovita.
Next stop is Sucevita, with the visit of the painted monastery which marks the end of an era, those of the custom of painting the facades of the churches, a tradition specific to the reign of Stephen the Great and Petru Rares.
At the end of the day – visit a traditional black pottery workshop in Marginea village and get acquainted with this secular tradition in the area. The small village preserves this unique craftsmanship dating from 15th century.
Dinner in Gura Humorului
Overnight Gura Humorului.
Gura Humorului - Tirgu Neamt – Piatra Neamt - Bicaz Gorges – Sighisoara (~345 km)
Journey to Piatra Neamt, a “green urban island” near the mountains;
Pass through the spectacular Bicaz Gorges, a narrow path carved into the sheer rocks, one of Romania’s most spectacular roads.
Optional, en route visit
- Neamt fortress, a XIVth century important medieval monument;
- Agapia monastery, an Orthodox nunnery built in the XVIIth century, with its beautiful inside frescoes, created by Nicolae Grigorescu, the first founder of modern Romanian painting.
In the afternoon – arrival in Sighisoara. Pedestrian tour of the medieval fortress.
Sighisoara (Schässburg in German) is one of the most visited cities in Transylvania and offers an outstanding testimony of the local Saxons culture. Explore the medieval city of Sighisoara in the morning, this well preserved fortified site visiting: the Stag House, the Clock Tower, the Venetian House. Optional visit of a Traditional Art Gallery, located in the ancient catacombs of the fortress.
“Bloody Dinner” in “Dracula House” Restaurant
Sighisoara – Crit – Bran – Brasov (~190 km)
Free time in the morning
The picturesque road from Sighisoara to Brasov is passing through Haferland region (The Oat Land), and it is spread with small villages with fortified churches, vivid traditions, good food and friendly people.
Stop at Crit village for an Optional lunch at the restored parrish house, with traditional Saxon food and a nice Orgue concert in the nearby church.
Next stop is in Bran, with the visit of Bran Castle, known as the Dracula’s Castle. The medieval stronghold perched on rocks high above the valley was built in the XIVth century, in order to protect the peasants and landowners at the border between the two historical provinces: Walachia and Transylvania.
City tour of Brasov, with the visit of the City Council Square, the Black Church (Brasov's landmark, over 500 years old, the largest Gothic church in SE Europe, hosting one of the greatest pipe organs in Europe), Ecaterina's gate (a fairy-looking medieval tower, part of the last preserved original city gates), the rope street (one of the narrowest streets in Europe) and many others.
Dinner with local meal on the foothill of the castle.
Brasov - Sinaia – Danube Delta (~445 km)
Heading to Sinaia mountain resort, the ”Pearl of the Carpathians” and visit Peles Castle, former residence of Romania's Kings. Built by King Carol I of Romania, as his summer residence, Peles Castle is surrounded by a lush forest, overlooking a beautiful valley. It shelters an important collection of works of art, rare furniture and valuable paintings, beeing the most important and most visited monument in Romania.
Lunch and wine tasting (sparkling wines produced using the traditional method) at "Rhein Azuga" wine cellars, former supplier of Romanian Royal Court.
Transfer from Brasov to Dobrogea region / Danube Delta
Dinner in Danube Delta
Overnight Danube Delta
One full day dedicated to the Danube Delta:
Early-morning departure by motorboat and explore the narrow channels, waterways and lakes, bird colonies, reed beds and willow forests.
Danube Delta, a sanctuary for birds, fish and animals, is the third largest biodiversity in the world (over 5,500 flora & fauna species) and the largest and most compact reed bed area in the world, sheltering the richest ornithological fauna.
Danube Delta shows the well preserved spirit of the locals ("Lipovans”), with the specific fisheries (“cherhanale”) and houses covered with reed roofs and their traditions: fishing, beeskeeping, gardening and cattle raising, craftsmanship.
Enjoy local gastronomy with original fish dishes (fish broth, stuffed fish, brines, fish meatballs, fish egg/roe salad, seafood – the best in Romania).
Farewell dinner in Danube Delta
Overnight Danube Delta
Danube Delta – Bucharest (~315 km)
Transfer from Danube Delta to Bucharest Airport.
Good bye Romania.