UNESCO sites and traditions (11 days) + Danube Delta at a glance

Day 1 Arrive to Bucharest

Arrive to Bucharest by noon or afternoon. Meet the driver and guide at the airport and transfer to a 3* hotel.

On the way to the hotel, panoramic city-tour with one stop, at the revolution Square.

Revolution Sq., the place where the 1989 Revolution started (photo stop with the balcony from where Ceausescu delivered his last speech to the people, The Romanian Athenaeum – concert hall, University Library which burned down in 1989,Royal Palace, which at the present, houses The Contemporary Art Museum)
Check into the hotel.

Day 2: Bucharest – Sinaia – Brasov (230 km)

Breakfast

Start the day with the visit to the Palace of Parliament, the 2nd largest administrative building in the wolrd, after the Pentagon.

Built by Ceausescu’s ordres in only 5 years (1984-1989), he had one major request, that it had to be built exclusively of Romanian materials! — local marble, cherry and walnut paneling, crystal chandeliers, specially commissioned hand-woven tapestries, carpets and drapes — to achieve what was supposed to be the headquarters of Romania's last communist leader. Now the building (with over 1000 rooms) houses both chambers of the Romanian Parliament and a Convention Centre.

Before noon, we depart from Bucharest towards North, to Sinaia, along Prahova valley.

Visit Peles Castle - the summer royal residence from late 19th cent., built in a German renaissance style by the 1st Romanian King, Carol I of Hohenzolern Sigmaringen. This castle is one of the prettiest castles in Europe, a great art collection, a landmark of the Romanian culture.
Continue to Brasov – the southern gate to Transylvania and vibrating city of medieval Saxon origin.
    

Transylvania is a unique region, with historical, ethnic and cultural characteristics that set it apart from the other Romanian provinces. For centuries Transylvania has been inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons and Szeklers. These different ethnic groups have succeeded over the centuries in creating a magic land. Beginning with the 13th century, Saxons came to Transylvania to defeat the Empire’s borders.

They were given land and higher prerogatives than the locals in exchange of building citadels and fortifications to guard the southern and southeastern borders of Transylvania against the Tartar and Turkish invaders, at a time when this land belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom. They have built impressive strongholds, citadels on the hilltops of their inhabited areas and they have fortified their churches, most of which still stand today and can be visited.
Brasov was one of the first very well developed Saxon towns in Transylvania, due to its location on the commercial roads between the provinces.

Overnight in a 3* hotel.

Day 3: Brasov – Bran – Viscri – Biertan – Sighisoara (250 km)

After breakfast we start the day with a walking tour of the historic centre in Brasov, then transfer to Bran to visit the so-called “Dracula’s Castle”.

Built by the people of Brasov in late 14th cent to defend the mountain pass and the commercial road between the provinces, it was a military fortress for about 5 centuries! In the beginning of the 20th cent, the fortress was donated to the royal family which transformed it into a summer royal residence. The legend says the bloodthirsty prince Vlad the Impaler lived for a while in the castle…from here it comes the connection with Dracula…

Free time for shopping in the bazaar…

Continue North, deeper into the countryside, to visit one of the most charming Saxon fortified churches in Transylvania – Viscri, or Weisskirch (germ.) After we visit the church we have lunch with a local family, who will tell us all about how this charming church is now part of the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage list and how Saxon communities used to live here in the medieval times…

Continue to another important Saxon centre, also part of the UNESCO heritage – Biertan.
    

One of the most important Saxon fortified churches in Transylvania, Biertan was built at the end of the XVth century, in Gothic style and it is the host for the annual meeting of the Saxons in Transylvania.

We continue to Sighisoara for the night.
Overnight in a 3* hotel.

Day 4: Sighisoara – Zetea (70 km)

After breakfast, start the day with a revigorating visit in the medieval citadel of Sighisoara!

Visit the famous Clock Tower with its local hisory museum and panoramic view from the top of the tower, the clock mechanism and the wooden figurines representing the days of the week, then walk around the cobbled streets to discover the charming houses – which locals still use to live in – the schools, churches and, lately, the guest houses, cafes and hotels, all built in harmony with the local architecture. The history of Sighisoara – the best preserved medieval citadel in Eastern Europe – is hidden between the walls of the citadel, waiting for you to discover them!

Continue to Zetea, where we will have the whole day to rediscover the original local traditions of this region – the Szekeyland!    

Be prepared to roll up your sleeves to make bread and traditional Szekely cake on open fire, watch the locals cut the hay or make their own horse-shoes, have a horse-and-cart ride in the nearby hills and of course, taste the local spirits and the home-made food in this beautiful corner of Transylvania!

Overnight in Zetea in a local family’s guest-house.

Day 5: Zetea – Corund – Bicaz Gorge – Gura Humorului (300 km)

After the copious breakfast in Zetea, continue the journey in the Hungarian part of Transylvania and make the best of our fisrt stop in Corund! Here you can buy local, decorated pottery from the beautifully displayed kiosks along the 2 sides of the main road, all along the village!
Continue across Bicaz Gorge - the most spectacular pass across the mountains, in the East Carpathians, with stone walls of up to 300 m high! -  to reach in the afternoon the region of Bucovina. On the way, stop at the Red Lake, to have some local fresh trout for lunch.

Overnight in a 3* hotel in Gura Humorului – our home for 2 nights in Bucovina.

Day 6: Gura Humorului – Voronet – Moldovita – Sucevita – Marginea – Gura Humorului (130 km)

This day is dedicated to the visits of the Unesco enlisted painted monasteries from Bucovina, together with a home-made lunch at a local family with egg-painting demonstration.

The monastery of Voronet – this monastery consecrated to St.George Monastery is possibly the most famous church in Romania. It is known throughout the world for its exterior frescoes of bright and intense colours, and for the hundreds of well-preserved figures placed against the renowned azurite background. Voronet Monastery is probably the most accomplished sample of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting.

The monastery of Moldovita - build by Petru Rares in 1532 is depicted both interior and exterior paintings, as the "Siege of Constantinople", "Holy Virgin's Prayer" or "Jesse's Tree". Like dominant note of color, Moldovita has a sunny yellow. It’s the biggest church raised in the Moldavian style.
The monastery of Sucevita erected in 1581 is chronologically the last and greatest monastic ensemble among the painted monasteries in Bucovina, as it has the appearance of a real fortress, with towers, buttresses and watch roads. Frescoes are painted in purple red and blue against an emerald green background.

Overnight at the same hotel.

Day 7: Gura humorului – Sighetu Marmatiei (240 km)

Today we cross from one historic region of Romania to discover yet another important one, that keeps traditions alive even today. On the way visit the UNESCO enlisted wooden churches of maramures: Ieud, Poienile Izei and Barsana.
Dinner and overnight in Sighetu Marmatiei in a 3* hotel.

Day 8: Sighetu Marmatiei – Cluj-Napoca (220 km)

Start the day with an unusual place to visit, in the extreme North part of the country:  the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta – where you can see the funny inscriptions on the colorful,  wooden tombstones, all made by one man, named Stan Ioan Patras. The naive art made by Patras describes the people who are burried here and the lives they lived in a funny, poetic manner.

Continue South back to Transylvania, but not before visiting 2 other famous wooden churches – Budesti and Surdesti – also part of the UNESCO heritage list in Romania.

Arrive to Cluj Napoca.
Dinner and overnight in a 3* hotel.

Day 9: Cluj Napoca – Turda – Sibiu (170 km)

Start the day with a short city-tour in Cluj-Napoca, former capital and one of the most important cities in Transylvania.

University town of about 300 000 inhabitants, Cluj Napoca is also proud to be one of the few cities in Europe that has two State Theatres and Operas, one in Romanian and one in Hungarian, a testimony to the diversity and friendliness that characterise the city's cultural atmosphere.


Continue with the nearest town on the way to Sibiu, this time an underground visit to the salt mine of Turda. There has been salt mining in Transylvania since the Roman times, but the salt mine in Turda opened only in the 17th century, being at the present the most interesting attraction of its kind in the country, after major investments to renovate it!
After a quick lunch outside the mine, we continue to Sibiu – another one of Transylvania’s “Seven Burgs”, and also former Europen Cultural capital in 2007, together with Luxemburg.
Dinner and overnight in Sibiu, in a 3* hotel.

Day 10: Sibiu – Transfagarasan – Bucuresti (420 km)

Start the morning with a guided city tour in Sibiu, to discover the beautifully renovated historic centre with all the major buildings, squares and streets… also, visit the famous Brukenthal Palace with its art galleries.

After the city-tour we are ready to cross the mountains from Transylvania back to the innitial place we started the whole tour, into Vallachia and Bucharest – drive across one of the most scenic roads in Romania, across Fagaras Mts, called the Transfagarasan, with the highest alt. at 2044m. Stop for lunch by the glaciar lake Balea and then continue south to Bucharest.
Dinner and overnight in Bucharest in a 3* hotel.

Day 11: Departure / or visits and departure, according to the flight schedule.

 

Price (2014) based on 30 persons: 760 euros/pers. in double room

Single supplement: 170 eur

 

This includes:

-    accommodation in BB basis in 3* hotels
-    meals as mentioned in the program
-    all visits mentioned above
-    English speaking guide
-    transportation

TIPS:

Plan your trip:
1. to arrive in Bucharest on Friday-Saturday in order to get weekend rates...
2. in the summertime in order to have Transfagarasan road open (day 10)
3. group price for dinners, with reservations in advance

As long as you are here and you would like to take advantage of more of our country, we propose a Danube Delta extension od 3 days, which includes:
a full day boat-trip on one of the Delta’s Canals (lunch on board)
English speaking guide

Transportation

3-4* hotel/FB accommodation for 2 days
Price - based on 10 persons: 274 eur/pers in DBL room
based on 20 persons: 228 eur/pers in DBL room
Sgl supplement: 56 eur