Countryside tour of Romania
Day 2 – Monday
FULL-DAY TOUR OF BUCHAREST
The Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest
The day starts with a tour of Bucharest. Capital of modern Romania since 1859, Bucharest is by far the largest city boasting a rich history, amazing buildings, a vivid life, large green parks in the central area, a large number or restaurants but also many contrasts. Bucharest is a city of everything.
The tour will include the famous Revolution Square where thousands of people put an end to a 45-year long vicious regime. Get to understand the communist horrors and sufferings an entire nation had to endure. Around the Revolution Square there are many impressive buildings such as The National Art Museum, The Kretzulescu Church, The Central Library University and several others. You’ll be given explanation about each and every one. You won’t leave this area before visiting The Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol of Bucharest.
In the old town you’ll get to roam on it’s quaint little streets packed with restaurants, bars, buildings with outstanding architecture and old inns.
The tour of Bucharest continues with the famous Parliament, also known as the House of People. Built at the request of Ceausescu, the former communist leader, the building became the largest administrative construction of Europe.
After the lunch you’ll be taken in the northern part of Bucharest. On the way you’ll enjoy a driving tour. You’ll admire the large and green boulevards, the impressive private houses and several monuments such as the Aviators’ Statue or the local Arch of Triumph.
The Village Museum is the last stop of the day. Inaugurated in 1936, this outdoor museum boasts old traditional houses representative for the whole country. In a short period of time you’ll be able to admire different architectural styles and many other stories.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Overnight in Bucharest.
Day 3 – Tuesday
BUCHAREST – TARGOVISTE – HOREZU
The Sunset Tower, Targoviste
Leave Bucharest at 8:30AM and head off to Targoviste – the former capital of Wallachia and more recently known as the execution place of the Ceausescu couple. It is here where you can discover the ruins of the Princely Court. Beside the ruins you can admire the former church with its beautiful frescoes and the elegant Sunset Tower built for the first time during the reign of the famous Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula.
Horezu, will be the next stop. Here you can discover one of the most beautiful monastic places of Romania, a great UNESCO site. The architecture is breathtaking and the frescoes just perfect. It was built in a beautiful area surrounded by forest. The founder, Constantin Brancoveanu had a tragic end being executed by the ottomans together with his four sons and and one son-in-law.
In the afternoon you’ll reach the village of Maldaresti known for its 19th century massive fortified mansions. You’ll be able to visit them and find out more details about the life of the nobles who built them.
In the end you’ll enjoy the beauty of a quiet village and a gorgeous accommodation, one of the highlights of the tour.
Overnight in a quiet village in a traditional mansion.
Day 4 – Wednesday
HOREZU – SIBIU
Leave behind the province of Wallachia and cross the Transylvanian Alps into the famous Transylvania. The road will take you through the Valley of Olt, a valley surrounded by the green hillsides and tall mountains.
Sibiu, the European Cultural Capital in 2007, is the most beautiful city of Romania. Founded by the Germans about 800 years ago, Sibiu boasts the largest Saxon-like squares in Romania, impressive medieval architecture, quaint passageways and cobble streets. You’ll be taken around the old center, you’ll roam through its squares, you’ll visit the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Cathedral. You’ll be shown the old medieval towers, bastions and walls. You’ll be taken to the oldest parts of Sibiu and you’ll find out much more about the Bridge of Lies. In the end you’ll climb the Town Hall Tower from where you’ll have a lovely view over the town and beyond.
Before leaving Sibiu you’ll add some weight on you by enjoying one of the best restaurants in the country.
In the afternoon you’ll reach a village of Transylvania near Sibiu where you’ll stay for the next nights.
Overnight in a village – old mansion.
Day 5 – Thursday
SIBIU – SIGHISOARA – SIBIU
Today you’ll be taken on several back roads where you’ll discover the real beauty of Transylvania. Passing through several hidden villages built hundreds of years ago by the Saxon colonists, you’ll reach the town of Brateiu where you’ll discover the magic world of the gypsies. Meet a local coppersmith gypsy family and see how they live in a globalized world.
Further on you’ll be taken back to the hidden roads of Transylvania and you’ll get to admire the UNESCO site of Biertan. When the German colonists arrived to Transylvania 800 years ago they realized they are under constant threat of different invasions. That’s why they built hundreds of fortified churches. The one from Biertan was built in the 16th century and even today guards the village.
Not far away lays one of the best preserved medieval citadels of Europe. Sighisoara, UNESCO site since 1999, consists of massive walls, tall towers, cobblestone streets and medieval houses. Some of the historians believe that Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, was born right in the citadel. The Clock Tower is the symbol of the Sighisoara. Climb its stairs and enjoy the panoramic view over the town.
Get back to Sibiu taking again forgotten roads. Pass through several Saxon villages and admire their traditional architecture or old fortified churches.
Overnight in a village – old mansion.
Day 6 – Friday
SIBIU – HUNEDOARA – ALBA IULIA
Corvin Castle, Hunedoara
In the first part of the day you’ll be transferred to Hunedoara for the spookiest buildings of Europe, the Corvin Castle. Built around the 14th century, it became an important stronghold of Transylvania. At this castle you’ll find out two interesting legends and you’ll roam through the halls of this impressive Gothic castle. More than that, you’ll be astonished to discover the real place where Dracula stayed imprisoned for several weeks.
After the lunch you’ll get to see the biggest and the best preserved Vauban-like citadel in Romania. Built at the beginning of the 18th century, the citadel of Alba Iulia has been restored recently to its once former glory. Beside the two cathedrals, the Orthodox and the Catholic ones, you’ll be shown the intricate gates of the citadel, the 3rd gate being the most impressive. The old Roman castrum and the medieval citadel known as Balgrad are now integrated in the Austrian citadel. Their ruins are part of the tour.
Leave behind the cities and once again enter the forgotten world of the Transylvanian villages where you’ll discover the beauty of the Hungarian rural architecture. The lovely guest house, surrounded by a beautiful garden, is being guarded by the ruins of a former medieval citadel perched on top of a hill.
Before dinner you’ll take a walking tour of a village, an exquisite example of the Hungarian villages. The winding dirt roads are flanked by wonderful houses boasting the purity of the rural life.
Overnight in a village – lovely traditional Hungarian B&B.
Day 7 – Saturday
ALBA IULIA – TURDA – CLUJ NAPOCA – BAIA MARE – SURDESTI – SIGHETU MARMATIEI
Surdesti Church, Maramures
The tour of Romania continues with a very different tourist sight. The salt mine of Turda, probably the best in Europe, has received a major investment and it was transformed into an important tourist attraction of Romania. Along its interesting history, impressive size, underground lake and long corridors, the salt mine boasts a fantastic game of lights.
In Cluj Napoca you’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the city. You’ll see the main central squares, the Orthodox and Catholic cathedrals and the beautiful architecture.
Bontida was the homeland of Miklos Banffy, a famous Hungarian writer. It is here where he wrote the great Transylvanian Trilogy. His former estate, also known as the Transylvanian Versaille, was unfortunately destroyed by the German army during the Second World War. Today the descendents of Miklos Banffy try to bring back the estate to its former glory.
Passing through Baia Mare, the capital of Maramures, you’ll arrive in the village of Surdesti which the first wooden church from this trip. This UNESCO site, boasts the purity of the locals’ faith, their outstanding talent of building wooden constructions and a great level of modesty through its traditional simplicity.
You’ll arrive at your final destination, a traditional guest house located nearby Sighetu Marmatiei. You’ll be in time for a great traditional home-made dinner.
Overnight in a village – home stay.
Day 8 – Sunday
SIGHETU MARMATIEI – SAPANTA – SIGHETU MARMATIEI
The Village of Sapanta, Maramures
In the morning you’ll be taken to a local market where you can see the farmers selling their products. The cheese market is a must. Further on, we’ll change dramatically the register. You’ll be taken to the Memorial of the Anti-communist Victims from SIghetu Marmatiei. Probably this is the most important museum a Romanian should visit. It is here, in this former political prison, where you’ll find out many things about the horrors of the communist regime.
Not far away from Sighetu Marmatiei lays the village of Sapanata. In this village a local carver had the great idea of carving wooden crosses which were painted in bright colors. Each and every cross depicts an image of the buried one and more or less funny epitaphs. Don’t miss the cross of the drunker or mother-in-law.
In the afternoon you’ll roam on the roads of your village and you’ll discover a local distillery producing the famous tuica, a strong plum brandy.
Overnight in a village – home stay.
Day 9 – Monday
SIGHETU MARMATIEI – BARSANA – BORGO PASS – BUCOVINA
The village of Barsana is known for several tourist attractions. You’ll be meeting a local carver who is happy all the time to greet his guests. Discover this wonderful craft, admire his works, from wooden spoons or wooden chains to huge and intricate wooden gates.
In the same village you’ll visit the Convent of Barsana. Although it has a long history, the present monastic complex is quite new being built in 1992. The convent is not just another religious place but a fine testimony of the wooden constructions from Maramures. Add to all these an amazing garden and a great rural landscape.
Further on the tour of Romania passes through several villages and crosses the mountains. You’ll stop at Borgo Pass where Jonathan Harker, Bram Stoker’s character meets for the first time Dracula. Enjoy here a tasty lunch and the scenery then continue your road into Bucovina, the land of the painted monasteries and gentle green hills.
Moldovita is the first painted monastery of your tour around Romania. Rebuilt in the 16th century, the church had its exterior walls covered by frescoes in the same time. It boasts the best preserved “Siege of Constantinople” fresco. In fact this fresco will give let you know why these churches were painted on the exterior walls.
Driving through the gentle hills of Bucovina you’ll reach Sucevita. Here you’ll admire the largest and most impressive painted church. Sucevita was the last to be painted. At that time the artists had learned how to obtain everlasting pigments. Therefore, Sucevita boasts the best preserved frescoes, such as “The Ladder of Virtues”.
You’ll be accommodated in one of the beautiful villages of Bucovina.
Ovenight in Bucovina – B&B
Day 10 – Tuesday
BUCOVINA – BICAZ – SZECKELY
The Red Lake, Transylvania
Start the day with Marginea, a small town know for its unique black ceramic. Get to see how it is done and admire their works.
Continue Voronet, the Sistine Chapel of the Orient. Known for its unique blue color, the church boasts the largest “Last Judgment” fresco. You’ll get explanations about it.
Then the road continues through the Carpathian Mountains. Pass through the Bicaz Gorge where you’ll admire the wonders of the nature. Not far away you’ll stop for a short visit of the Red Lake. You’ll be told the interesting legend of the lake.
In the afternoon you’ll reach the Szeckely Land, a place frozen in time. Your accommodation re-enacts the old life of the locals.
Ovenight in Szeckely area – traditional mansion.
Day 11 – Wednesday
SZECKELY LAND – BRASOV – BRAN – PELES – BUCHAREST
The day starts with a short tour of the village. Observe the daily life of the villagers, how they take their cows to the fields and the horse-drawn carts passing by up and down.
Further on, you’ll be transferred to Brasov, another former Saxon town. Founded about 700 years ago, Brasov became an important trade town due to its geography. The German architecture is still visible. You’ll roam around the old town admiring the central square, the pedestrian alleys, the great architecture, the famous Black Church and narrowest street in Romania.
Bran Castle, Transylvania
The castle of Bran, the most important tourist attraction of Romania is the next stop. Known as Dracula Castle, it was built about 800 years ago. You’ll be told the real story of this medieval castle saved by Queen Mary of Romania.
It’s time to say goodbye to Transylvania. Cross the mountains and stop for one of the most beautiful castles of Europe. The Peles Castle was built at the request of King Carol I of Romania, a German prince part of the Hohenzoller-Sigmaringen house. It became the most advance castle of Europe and it boasts even today a breathtaking collection of paintings, statues, weapons, furniture and ceramics.
In the afternoon you’ll arrive to Bucharest where you’ll spend your last night in Romania.
Ovenight in Bucharest – 4-star hotel.
Day 12 – Thursday
BUCHAREST – OTOPENI
Today you’ll be transferred to the airport according to your schedule.