Romania - The Land that Time Forgot


Romania - The Land that Time Forgot

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 - Bucharest

Arrive in Bucharest. Depending on arrival, you may have a chance to explore the city. Overnight Capitol Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Azuga, Brasov and Wild Bears (150km)

We start the day with a short tour of Bucharest before we drive to the small village of Azuga and visit the Rhein wine cellars, which produce a renowned sparkling wine. There is a tour of the cellars followed by a tasting. We have lunch at the cellars before continuing on to one of Transylvania’s major towns, Brasov. Close to Brasov we visit a special observatory in the forest accompanied by National Forestry Administration representatives. Here, if we are lucky we hope to see wild European Brown Bear in their natural habitat. We return to Brasov late this evening.

Overnight in city centre hotel (BD) 

Day 3 – Bran and Viscri (160km)

This morning we explore the city of Brasov before travelling for 45 minutes to Bran village. This is home to Bran castle, tenuously linked to the legend of Dracula. We have a tour of the castle and discover its colourful history. From here we continue to the delightful village of Viscri, a Saxon village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we stay for two nights in a carefully restored Saxon house. (BD)

Day 4 – Viscri

Spend the day exploring the village and surroundings, and learning about local life. We visit the fortified church in the village, and then enjoy a horse and carriage ride through the surroundings. Along the way we will meet people specialising in traditional crafts and gain an insight into the customs of this part of the country. Overnight local house. (BLD) 

Day 5 – Sighisoara and Sibiu (150km)

Today we travel to Sighisoara with its beautiful medieval citadel. We explore the fortress and also visit the house where Vlad the Impaler was born. We then head to Sibiu, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Romania and carefully restored in recent years. We have time to explore the old centre with its ramparts, churches and narrow alleys.

Overnight in Sibiu hotel (B) 

Day 6 – Alba-Iulia and Cluj (160km)

In the morning we drive to Alba-Iulia, a city with a high importance in Romania’s history, being the place where the Romanian Principalities and Transylvania united to form Romania after the First World War. The city is also home of the best preserved Vauban fortress in Europe. It was designed by an Italian architect in the early 18th century, modeled on a star shape with seven points. With its arrow-shaped bastions, the fortress is outstanding both for its baroque decorative elements and for the beauty of its six gates. We then continue to Turda salt mine. The salt mine that we see today dates from the 17th century and it is now a fascinating underground entertainment area, described as ‘the coolest underground place in the world’.

This evening we will arrive in to Cluj, the former capital of Transylvania.

Overnight in Cluj hotel (B) 

Day 7 – Vama (250km)

We explore Cluj this morning, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. We then depart Cluj, travelling through the Carpathian Mountains and via the Tihuta mountain pass. This was the pass described as the ‘Borgo pass’ in Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. Our drive takes us to the region of Bucovina, located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians. We arrive at our destination for the evening, Vama village, where we will have a traditional dinner prepared by our hosts.

Overnight in traditional guesthouse. (BD) 

Day 8 - Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

In the morning we visit Moldovita Monastery, a wonderful masterpiece of Moldavian Gothic architecture adorned with lively exterior frescoes dating back to the beginning of the 16th century. Then we visit an egg painting workshop where we are shown the special technique required in this extremely delicate operation. We also see an exhibition of these local treasures. Later we visit Sucevita monastery – the largest of the painted monasteries – before we visit Voronet monastery with its exterior frescoes dating to the 15th century, also named the Sistine Chapel of the East. We arrive back in Vama in time for dinner with our hosts.

Overnight in traditional guesthouse. (BD) 

Day 9 – Popa Museum and Agapia Monastery (180km)

This morning we travel to the village of Tarpesti and the remarkable Popa Museum. At his home, Nicolae Popa had gathered an incredible collection of Romanian folk art and handicrafts, giving us a fantastic insight into the ancient traditions of this region. We visit the museum and have a home prepared lunch here. We then travel to the Agapia Monastery before ending the day in Piatra-Neamt where we have time to explore.

Overnight in Piatra-Neamt Hotel. (BL) 

Day 10 – Danube Delta (340km)

We leave Piatra-Neamt and continue via the Siret valley to Galati, on the ancient commercial road that connected the Orient, through Constantinople and the Black Sea, through the middle of Moldavia then Poland, to the wealthy cities of the Hanseatic League on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here we cross the Danube by ferry and on towards Tulcea, the gate to the Danube Delta.

Overnight in Tulcea Hotel (B) 

Day 11 - Danube Delta

In the morning we visit the Danube Delta Museum and then take a boat from Tulcea and enter the Danube Delta - the second widest Delta in Europe and included in UNESCO’s world heritage list. We travel to a typical fishermen village where there is plenty of free time to explore. There is the option to hire a kayak if you wish. (Payable locally)

Overnight in local guesthouse (BLD)

Day 12 – Danube Delta

Spend the full day exploring the lesser visited channels of the delta by small boat, allowing us to reach some of its most beautiful parts. There are superb opportunities for spotting some of the region’s spectacular wildlife, as well as seeing some of the isolated communities deep within the backwaters, some of which still contain traditional houses built with reeds. Depending on the weather and Danube water, we will spend the whole day away, having a picnic lunch and came back in the afternoon or we may have a morning ride of about 4 hours, come back for lunch and a short rest and have a 2nd ride in the afternoon. Traditional dinner in the evening and accommodation in guesthouse. (BLD)

Day 13 – Tulcea - Bucharest

We leave the Delta behind and travel by boat back to Tulcea, arriving at lunchtime. From there we head back to Bucharest (280km) for our final night.

Overnight Capitol Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 14 - Bucharest

Tour ends. (B)