Eastern Europe Overland Experience


Eastern Europe Overland Experience

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 32 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

We start this overland experience in Poland in the city of Krakow where we explore UNESCO highlights such as Krakow Old Town and the Wieliczka Salt Mine before heading to diverse Warsaw and a trip into the countryside to the birthplace of Fredric Chopin.

Belarus is an enigma, a corner of Europe that few have heard about and even fewer have visited. It has remained well out of the spotlight of international tourism, its secrets remaining hidden, its cities seldom visited and its countryside little explored. Too often associated with Soviet monotony, Belarus is slowly starting to reveal its subtle charms to the outside world. We take in the best of the country, from the sleepy capital Minsk with its fine churches and imposing Soviet architecture to the fortresses at Brest and Mir as well as the historic town of Njasvizh, packed full of 16th century buildings. We also spend time exploring the charming Belarusian countryside – one of the last wildernesses of Europe – in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, with wildlife that has long since disappeared from the rest of the continent, and we stay in a farmstead to gain a real insight into daily life.

Ukraine has been in the Soviet shadow for decades, hidden from the rest of the world with the result that few are aware of its charms. We explore Kiev with its rich cultural heritage and exquisite monuments before heading to Lviv, one of the most elegant cities and a delight to explore. You haven’t really experienced Ukraine until you’ve spent time in its glorious countryside. We stay in the Carpathian Mountains, a treasure house of traditional culture and spectacular scenery, and colourful customs. Staying in a local home allows us to gain a true insight into rural life and is a real highlight.

The tiny country of Moldova is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine and is home to the ‘breakaway republic’ of Transdniestr, making it one of the quirkiest countries in Europe. With influences ranging from the Ottoman Empire to Romania to Russia, Moldova is a fascinating mélange of cultures. On our short journey through the country we explore cave monasteries and vast underground wine cellars – of course with opportunities to sample the excellent local wines – and cross the border into Transdniestr to explore its capital Tiraspol and Bendery with its impressive 16th century fortress.

Romania is one of the most exciting parts of Europe, tucked away in a remote corner where few visit and of which fewer still have much knowledge. Blessed with large swathes of virtually untouched countryside, much of Romania follows a way of life that has been extinguished elsewhere in Europe, and the century’s old folklore and traditions still thrive in its picturesque villages. Our tour goes right to the heart of this captivating country taking you not only to important cultural gems such as the medieval towns of Sighisoara in Transylvania, but spending time getting to grips with life in the villages and staying in rural communities as guests of local families, where local culture is at its strongest. We also take in the gorgeous painted monasteries of Bucovina and the Saxon village of Viscri ‘Off the beaten track’ doesn’t even come close to describing this overland journey.


Tour Rating
Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●● | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●●● | Wildlife ●●○○○

Tour Pace
Busy

Tour Highlights

  • Experience some of the least known countries in Europe
  • The last bastion of communism in Belarus
  • A high emphasis on local culture and important historical sites
  • Experience local hospitality in rural farmsteads
  • Travel to the glorious Carpathian Mountains
  • See the quirky breakaway republic of Transdniestr

Tour Essentials
Accommodation: Comfortable hotels, farmsteads (3 nights) and 1 overnight train in Ukraine
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum of 12
Start Point: Krakow – please arrive any time on Day 1
End Point: Bucharest – you can depart any time on Day 32
Transport: Minibus and train
Countries: Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive Krakow (Poland)
Arrive in Krakow and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, the rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore the town. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel in Krakow.

Day 2 – Krakow – Auschwitz – Krakow
After breakfast you may choose to join an optional excursion to Oswiecim, the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp; an eerie and haunting place that drives home the terrible atrocities which took place here during World War II. If you do not wish to take this tour then your morning will be at leisure. This afternoon we explore the old town of Krakow (UNESCO), one of the most famous old districts in the whole of Poland (BL)

Day 3 – Krakow - Wawel Royal Castle - Wieliczka Salt Mine – Krakow
This morning we visit Wawel Royal Castle (14th Century) one of the most historical and culturally important sites in Poland. This afternoon we visit Wieliczka Salt Mine (UNESCO) dating back to the 13th Century and which only ceased operation in 2007. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel (BL)

Day 4 – Krakow – Zakopane – Krakow
After breakfast we journey for around 2 hours south to the foot of the Tatra Mountains in the Podhale region to visit the town of Zakopane, where we will explore its distinct architecture. Later we return to Krakow. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel (BL)

Day 5 – Krakow – Warsaw
This morning we journey to Warsaw (approx. 5 hours). After checking in to the hotel this afternoon we will explore Warsaw Old Town (UNESCO). Highlights include the Royal Castle, St John’s Cathedral, Old Town Market Square and the mermaid. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel (BL)

Day 6 – Warsaw – Zelazowa Wola – Warsaw
This morning we journey for around 1 hour to the village of Zelazowa Wola, notable as the birthplace of Polish-French pianist and composer Frederic Chopin. We shall enjoy some of the picturesque Masovian landscape and visit the birthplace park and museum dedicated to Chopin. Back in Warsaw this afternoon we visit Lazienki Park. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel (BL)

Day 7 – Warsaw – Brest (Belarus)
This morning we visit the museum dedicated to Chopin in the city centre, covering the history and works of the pianist and composer. This afternoon we transfer to the train station for train to Brest (Belarus). The journey should take around 5 hours. Overnight Hotel Vesta or similar (BL)

Brest
Pushed up against the border with Poland, Brest feels slightly less Belarusian, and more western, than other cities. The city is rich in culture, with numerous influences making their mark felt here, from Orthodox to Russian to Polish, and like many other cities has a fine collection of churches – St Simeon’s Cathedral is particularly beautiful. But Brest’s main centre of interest is its fortress, dating back to the 19th century. The fortress was home in the Second World War to a regiment of Soviet forces who defended it against the onslaught of Nazi troops invading the region, and although they were eventually killed after a long siege they became renowned as heroes within the Soviet Union. Today the fortress stands as a reminder of Belarus’s troubled past and the resilience of its spirit, and contains numerous monuments dedicated to the history of that period. Like Khatyn, Brest Fortress gives an insight into the psyche of Belarus today and is invaluable in understanding the nation.

Day 8 – Brest - Belovezhaskaya National Park – Brest
This morning we take a tour of Brest’s main sites including the imposing fortress, which played a significant part in the Second World War and is an important site in Belarusian history. After lunch we transfer into the wilderness to Belovezhaskaya National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the largest forested areas in Europe. You will experience some of the most picturesque places in the park to enable you to appreciate the splendour of this wilderness. Overnight in Brest in a comfortable hotel (BL)

Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
First established as a national park in 1939, this wilderness area has existed since the middle ages. It entered the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1992 and gained Biosphere Reserve status in 1993. The park contains primeval forest and stretches across the border into Poland; it is home to 212 species of bird and 59 species of mammal, including the iconic bison. Several hundred are known to inhabit the park after becoming almost extinct in the early 1900’s.

Day 9 – Ruzhany - Grodno
Today we transfer to Grodno and en-route we stop at Ruzhany to see the remains of the Sapega family palace. After lunch we arrive in Grodno and explore the city. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Grodno (BL)

Grodno
The name of the city is closely connected to the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Under the rule of Grand Duke Vitautis the town acquired equal status with Vilnius as a second state capital. It was also once the main residence of the Polish King Stefan Batory in the 16th Century and his influence can be seen in much of the city's architecture. Interesting sites include Jesuit Farny Cathedral, Kolozhskaya Church of St Boris and St Hleb, the Old and New Castles, and Sovetskaya Street to name but a few.

Day 10 - Belarusian Farmstead
Today we travel to a traditional village where we spend time meeting local people and learn about the old customs and crafts that are still practiced today. We explore the surrounding area for an insight into rural Belarus – a real highlight of the trip. Later we stay overnight as guests of local families in their homes and have the opportunity to sample home cooked Belarusian dishes and experience traditional music and dance. Overnight at farmstead accommodation (BLD)

Day 11 – Mir Fortress – Nesvizh
Transfer to Mir, a small town 90km to the South-West of Minsk. We visit one of the country’s most important, as well as beautiful, sites – the stunning 16th century fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then transfer to Nesvizh and visit the Radzivills Palace, with its beautiful buildings, monasteries and 16th century houses. Overnight Mir Prasad or similar. (BL)

Mir Fortress
Mir Fortress looks like something from a fairytale dramatically situated next to a lake and with white plasterwork a striking contrast to red brick towers and roofs. The fortress was built over a number of years, beginning in the 16th century, and various additions to it have been made throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. It played a significant part in the Second World War when Russian and German forces fought nearby. The fortress is great fun to explore, full of winding staircases and with great views from its towers over the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Day 12 – Minsk
This morning we transfer to Minsk. On arrival we begin our exploration of some of the key sights of Minsk. We visit Independence Square with its collection of Stalinist buildings, Victory Square and the Island of Tears, a monument to the fallen soldiers in the Soviet campaign against Afghanistan, the Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War, as well as the old town. Overnight Hotel Planeta or similar. (BL)

Minsk
Minsk is a fascinating city and almost unique in Europe. Although it has existed for almost a millennium, gaining prominence due to its position on the strategic trading route between the Black and Baltic Seas, it was almost destroyed during the Second World War. Most buildings were obliterated as Belarus was occupied by Nazi Germany, but since then it has been reconstructed in the typical Soviet style. Presenting almost a blank slate for designers, it represents one of the best examples of Soviet planning to be found, and although things are starting to change now it has very much retained this flavour, giving a glimpse into a way of life that has largely disappeared from elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain. As yet it has largely resisted the onslaught of western commercialism, making it an intriguing place to explore. With a number of pleasant parks and wide boulevards, Minsk is a good place just to wander around, taking in its monuments to fallen heroes and visiting its old churches.

Day 13 – Minsk – Dudutki – Minsk - Kiev (Ukraine)
This morning we travel to Dudutki and spend time meeting local people and learning about their enduring customs. Later we return to Minsk and take a late afternoon flight to Kiev. On arrival transfer to your hotel. Overnight Hotel Rus or similar (BL)

Day 14 - Kiev
This morning you will have some leisure time before meeting your guide for Ukraine around Noon. This afternoon we explore some of the key sights of Kiev, including the ancient ‘onion-domed’ St Sophia Cathedral, its bustling main boulevard Kreschatyk, and the Golden Gates, the only remaining section of ancient Kiev’s original fortifications. This evening we may have the opportunity to visit the opera, if you wish (depending on availability and dates of performance). Overnight Hotel Rus or similar. (BL)

Kiev
Kiev is one of the oldest cities in the region, founded back in the 5th century, and becoming an important centre of Slavic culture. Falling under the rule of the Varangians sometime later it became the capital of Rus, benefitting from its position on the trade routes between Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire, and becoming infused with a wide variety of cultural influences which remain today. Over time, Kiev has been sacked by the Mongols, incorporated within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and then absorbed into Russia and the Soviet Union. Straddling the banks of the Dnepr River, Kiev is Ukraine’s most cosmopolitan city, and a real mix of old and new. With a historic old quarter, the city is packed full of monuments, the most famous being the Lavra cave monastery, a collection of underground chambers and spectacular churches dating back to the 11th century. Kiev is a city with an enormous amount of churches and cathedrals, with a particular style that looks almost Russian but is unique to Ukraine, and in many areas these dominate the skyline, reminding visitors of the intense respect that ordinary Ukrainians have for religion. But perhaps one of Kiev’s greatest delights is simply walking around the city and seeing where you end up, discovering for yourself its corners, streets and cafes and immersing yourself in Ukrainian culture.

Day 15 - Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – Lviv
This morning we visit the Lavra cave monastery complex, with its stunning churches and underground tunnels. Later you will have some leisure time before we board the overnight train to Lviv. Overnight on board the train in shared sleeper accommodation (2 people per cabin) (BL)

Day 16 – Lviv
Early arrival into Lviv where we have a little time to freshen up before heading out to explore the city. Lviv is renowned as one of the most picturesque cities in Ukraine and its historic centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We take in some of its highlights including the Opera House, the Dominican Church and the fascinating Lykachivsky Cemetery, one of the oldest graveyards in Europe. Overnight Hotel Dnister or similar. (BL)

Lviv
Lviv is a fantastically eclectic city with a wide variety of architectural styles combining to create a place with a split personality, but which somehow definitely works. Founded in the 13th century, Lviv is almost dripping with history, and walking around its wide boulevards and large squares you will see Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture among many other types. Its medieval atmosphere harks back to days when Lviv was at the forefront of regional events, and it was once a wealthy trading centre. Unlike many other cities in Ukraine, it mainly escaped the terrible destruction wrought by Nazi bombers in World War Two, and its charming streets make it one of the most exciting places in Ukraine to explore. Lviv has been named as the best place in Ukraine to live, and wandering around its historic centre it is easy to see why.

Day 17 – Kamyanets-Podilsky – Ivano-Frankovsk
Drive to Kamyanets-Podilsky, an attractive town dramatically situated on a rocky island in the River Smotrych. We visit the 11th century castle, one of the most impressive in Ukraine, as well as the old quarter with its colourful buildings. We then head to Ivano-Frankovsk where we spend the night. Overnight Nadiya Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 18 – Ivano-Frankovsk – Carpathian Mountains
This morning we take a brief tour around Ivano-Frankovsk, the economic centre of the Carpathians before we head into the mountains. We stay on a local farmstead in Verkhovyna, a picturesque and very typical Carpathian village which is a superb base for exploring the mountains and the intriguing communities that live here. Overnight stay on a local farmstead (BLD)

The Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains stretch across a wide part of Eastern Europe, encompassing parts of Romania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Serbia. Rich in wildlife they are home to some of Europe’s last remaining populations of large mammals, with bears, wolves and lynx to be found prowling through the forests. The birdlife here is equally spectacular, with raptors such as eagles a frequent sighting. This is one of the most pristine environments to be found on the continent and is excellent walking country, with superb views to be had from every angle, and the possibility of seeing wildlife adding further excitement. The mountains are also home to isolated rural communities of Hutsul people, who use the region for pasture for their flocks.

Day 19 – Rural Ukraine
We spend today enjoying some walks in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Carpathian Mountains. Overnight on the local farmstead (BLD)

Day 20 - Chernivtsi – Chisinau (Moldova)
This morning we leave our hosts and drive to Chernivtsi, situated in the foothills of the Carpathians. We will spend a few hours exploring some of the interesting buildings and monuments in the town and after lunch travel to Chisinau in Moldova. Overnight Hotel Jolly Alon or similar (BL)

Chernivtsi
The town of Chernivtsi is the capital of the Bucovina region and it has many different ethnic influences from neighbouring countries. It is an attractive town surrounded by picturesque mountains and is seen as a cultural centre of Ukraine. It is also full of interesting architecture making it one of Ukraine's most interesting towns.

Chisinau
Chisinau was founded back in the 15th century, as a small monastery village within the province of Moldavia. Falling first to the Ottoman and then the Russian Empire, the city grew over the years and played a major part in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877. Sadly it was bombed extensively during the Second World War and most of the older buildings were destroyed – the city today has been rebuilt on a typical Soviet grid system of streets. It contains one of the highest proportions of green spaces within any major European city, with many parks and lakes within its boundaries.

Day 21 - Chisinau - Capriana Monastery - Hincu Monastery - Codrii - Chisinau
After breakfast we begin a walking tour of the capital, visiting key sites including the Arc de Triomphe, the cathedral, and the Moldovan Parliament. We then head to the village of Capriana to view its 14th century monastery. We will continue on to the Codrii Nature Reserve where we can take a leisurely walk around the reserve and visit the museum of Nature. Later we return to Chisinau. Overnight Jolly Alon Hotel or similar. (BL)

Codrii Reserve
Founded in 1971 Codrii is the oldest nature reserve in Moldova. Its main forest consists of tall oaks and beeches and its boundaries are home to 1000 species of plants, 43 species of mammals and 145 species of birds, some of them close to extinction.

Day 22 - Cricova - Orheiul Vechi - Butuceni
This morning we drive to the vast underground tunnels of the wine cellars of Cricova, and take a train through the tunnels, before enjoying a taste of some of the wine. We continue to Orheiul Vechi, an impressive monastery complex set amidst dramatic scenery. We will visit the traditional village of Butuceni and have lunch in a rural pension, which includes national Moldovan dishes and home-made wine. This afternoon you will have some leisure time in the Orheiul Vechi region to sample daily life in the Moldovan countryside. Transfer to Chateau Vartely winery for your overnight in traditional Moldavian style houses. (BLD)

Orheiul Vechi
The Orheiul Vechi Monastery complex is carved into a cliff, and dates back to the 13th century, although it has only recently come back into use after being abandoned in the 18th century. It contains a chapel and a sleeping area for monks, and the cliffside is dotted with small caves and places of worship, dug over thousands of years by ancient Dacian tribes.

Day 23 - Butuceni – Bendery - Tiraspol
Cross the border into the breakaway republic of Transdniestr. Head to the city of Tighina, or Bendery, where you can explore the 16th century fortress and visit the on- site museum. We will visit the War Memorial before continuing onto the capital, Tiraspol. We will have lunch in a traditional restaurant and after lunch we take a walking tour of Tiraspol, where we will spend the night. Overnight Russia Hotel or similar. (BL)

Transdniestr
Transdniestr is a curious entity, a self- declared republic that is to all intents and purposes a separate state – yet unrecognised by other countries. Historically, like Moldova, it had formed part of the Soviet Union but unlike Moldova its population is mainly ethnic Russian who are opposed to being incorporated within Moldova. The territory was claimed by Russia following conflict with the Ottoman Empire back in the 18th century, while the rest of Moldova fell under Turkish control – leading to claims in Transdniestr that it has never been part of Moldova. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Transdniestr declared independence, sparking war with Moldova and although peace reigns now, there is an uneasy relationship. Transdniestr has its own parliament, currency and border controls, yet few people have ever heard of it.

Day 24 - Tiraspol - Causeni - Et Cetera
This morning we begin with a visit to Causeni town to see its 15th century church, covered with antique frescoes (the church is currently closed for restoration but we can walk around it sub). In the event of bad weather we will instead visit the Martha and Maria Monastery, dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century, built in a fine architectural style. We then move onto the small family winery of Et Cetera, where we will be given a tour by the winemaker himself, with the opportunity to taste some of the award winning wines. We will then enjoy lunch prepared by the family before returning to Chisinau where the afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy a farewell to Moldova with dinner in a traditional Moldovan restaurant. Overnight Jolly Alon Hotel or similar (BLD)

Day 25 – Into Romania – Albita – Iasi – Vama
We depart Moldova today and cross the border into Romania at Albita and continue to Iasi. We explore the capital city of the Moldova region. Continue to another historical region of Romania, Bucovina (the land of beech trees), an oasis of Romanian spirituality, housing the famous painted monasteries (Voronet, Moldovita, Sucevita, Arbore and Humor) included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Overnight in Vama village in a traditional guesthouse where we will enjoy a traditional dinner prepared by our hosts (BLD)

Iasi
Iasi is the most important political, economic and cultural centre in the region of Moldova as well as one of the oldest cities in Romania. Located in the northeastern part of the Romania, Iasi was for many centuries at the crossroad of important commercial routes linking Poland, Hungary, Russia and Constantinople. The first Romanian University was established here in 1860.

Day 26: Vama – Moldovita – Sucevita – Marginea – Voronet – Vama
This morning travel for around 30 minutes transfer to Moldovita Monastery. This wonderful masterpiece of the Moldavian Gothic is adorned with exterior lively painted frescoes dating back to the beginning of the 16th century. We also visit an egg painting workshop where we can see a demonstration of the special technique required in this extremely delicate operation; and also see an exhibition of these local treasures. Continue to Sucevita where we visit to the local monastery, the last and the largest ever covered in exterior frescoes. Continue to Voronet monastery – with exterior frescoes dating from the 15th century, considered the Sistine Chapel of the East, known for its unique vibrant azure colour called “Voronet blue”, this is the most famous painted monastery. Later in the afternoon we return to our traditional guesthouse in Vama (BLD)

Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
The impressive monasteries of Bucovina, Romania, with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, have been preserved and handed down from mediaeval times, and because of their uniqueness and artistic value, were added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List in 1993. Most of the churches were fortified with strong defensive surrounding walls as protection against Turkish invaders and they sheltered large armies of soldiers awaiting battle. The exterior walls of the monasteries are richly decorated with vivid frescoes depicting dramatic Biblical scenes, intended to teach Christianity to the illiterate by means of pictures. The artwork has amazingly survived harsh exposure to the elements for over 450 years and the intense colours have been well preserved. The best of the monasteries are generally considered to be Voronet, Sucevita, Moldovita and Arbore.

Day 27: Vama – Tarpesti – Agapia – Lacu Rosu
We leave Vama for Tarpesti village and the house of the peasant artist Nicolae Popa, a self-taught archeologist, ethnographer and collector. Mr. Popa died in the autumn of 2010 in his 92nd year of life, but his family is carrying on his legacy. We have lunch prepared by his family and we visit the Popa museum displaying the works of the artist and his collections. This afternoon transfer to Agapia monastery, with paintings of the most famous Romanian painter, Nicolae Grigorescu. Later this afternoon we reach Lacu Rosu – The Red Lake. If time allows we can take an easy walk. Overnight in a local guesthouse or a mid-range hotel (BL)

Day 28: Lacu Rosu – Sighisoara – Viscri
This morning we transfer to Sighisoara – a medieval citadel included in the UNESCO heritage list, inhabited continuously since its settlement by the German colonists. Here we will take a tour of the citadel and then continue to Viscri village (Deutschweisskirch). This is a Saxon village included in the UNESCO heritage list, one of the villages in Romania where the Prince of Wales owns a traditional house. In Viscri we “check-in” at a traditional peasant house, renovated to accommodate guests and then you will have a traditional dinner prepared by the hosts and accompanied by homemade brandy and wine. Overnight in a traditional peasant house (BLD) (Bathrooms are shared between 2 people)

Sighisoara
In a region full of spectacular architecture, Sighisoara manages to stand out. Its fortified old town is a mass of medieval houses, testament to its previous existence as an important centre of commerce, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. The town was dominated by Saxon artisans and craftsmen, who also built the fortifications protecting it. Most impressive is the old clock tower, constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries as part of the town’s defences and today containing a museum giving an insight into Sighisoara’s history

Day 29: Viscri
After breakfast visit the fortified church in the village and then take a ride in a horse pulled cart through the local area, meeting some local craftsmen and watching them work. After a picnic lunch we return to the village with some time to relax in the peaceful atmosphere. Overnight in a traditional peasant house (BLD) (Bathrooms are shared between 2 people)

Day 30: Viscri – Prejmer – Bran – Brasov
This morning we journey to Prejmer to visit its 15th century Gothic style fortified church (UNESCO). Continue to Bran village where we visit Bran castle linked with the legend of Dracula. Continue to Brașov, one of Transylvania’s major cities, which we will spend some time exploring. Overnight in a comfortable mid-range hotel (BL)

Brasov
Also known as Kronstadt due to the presence of German colonists as early as the 12th century, Brasov is still a mix of minorities, like Hungarians and Gypsies, with a mediaeval centre boasting colourful facades, old ramparts, secret narrow cobbled streets, guard towers and the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul. Long under Saxon rule, the town betrays hints of its previous inhabitants in many of the buildings, with fine examples of merchants’ houses and an impressive Byzantine style cathedral, and it is still possible to see the old fortifications which once protected Brasov from invaders.

Day 31: Brasov – Prejmer – Bucharest
We leave the Transylvania region and head towards Bucharest. We will travel through the beautiful Prahova valley and cross the Carpathians from Transylvania into the Walachia region. We stop in Azuga and visit the Rhein wine cellars dating from 1879 where we can indulge in some tasting. Continue to Sinaia in the mountains where we take a leisurely walk before continuing to Bucharest. On arrival in Bucharest we take a short city tour before a farewell dinner this evening where you can reflect on a unique overland adventure through Eastern Europe. Overnight in a centrally located comfortable in Bucharest (BLD)

Day 32: Bucharest – Tour End
Today you can enjoy some leisure time (no guide) before your transfer to the airport for your onward flight (B)

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfer
All land transportation including overnight trains
All accommodation on twin share basis
Services of English speaking guides (please note that different guides will accompany the group in different countries).
Meals as listed on the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites described in the itinerary
Visa support if required

Excluded:
International flights
Travel Insurance
Visas if applicable
Meals not included on the itinerary
Drinks
Tips (discretionary)