Romania – The Land that Time Forgot Tour – a 14 day Small Group Tour. Also available as a bespoke private tour.
Since the 1989 revolution that saw the collapse of the Ceausescu regime Romania has maintained a low profile in tourism terms. Its capital is still confused with Hungary’s and save for Castle Bran’s Dracula associations few of its sights make it onto European must-see lists.
Therefore, the grandeur of Bucharest’s wide boulevards and its diverse wealth of architecture often come as a surprise to visitors, particularly those expecting a crumbling wasteland of utilitarian communist concrete. Beyond the capital, mediaeval monastic cultural and historical sights reflect the richness of Romanian history.
The countryside’s remarkable biodiversity is also a revelation. On farms few pesticides and chemical fertilisers have ever been employed, effectively ‘organic’ agricultural practices maintaining wild flora and fauna lost to agrobusiness in other parts of Europe. Further afield, in the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube Delta wildlife has found a refuge from human habitat encroachment.
Romania may remain a ‘forgotten’ part of Europe, but among its landscapes the value of its inheritance is now being realised.
Romania is one of the most exciting parts of Europe, tucked away in a remote corner where few visit and fewer still have much knowledge of. 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 centuries old folklore and traditions still thrive in its picturesque villages.
Our tour goes right to the heart of this captivating country – rather than simply skim over its highlights we take you not only to important cultural gems such as the medieval towns of Sighisoara and Sibiu in Transylvania, but spend time getting to grips with life in the villages, often staying in rural communities as guests of local families, where local culture is at its strongest. We traverse the spectacular Carpathian Mountains, home to bears and wolves, and devote to the Danube Delta the time that it truly deserves, staying at an isolated settlement deep within its backwaters.
Taking in the gorgeous painted monasteries of Bucovina and the Saxon village of Viscri, this trip encompasses the very best that Romania has to offer. But Romania cannot simply be experienced by ticking off its sites – it is the genuine cultural encounters that we have with local people that make this tour so very special, and will leave you with enduring memories of this truly enchanting country.
Day 1 - Arrival in Bucharest
Arrive in Bucharest. Depending on when you arrive, you may have a chance to start exploring the city on your own. Overnight Venezia Hotel or similar. No meals included today.
Day 2- Bucharest - Peles Castle - Azuga - Brasov
(Driving distance: 150km; Approx. driving time is 3.5 hours today)
We start the day with a city tour of Bucharest. After lunch (optional) we leave Bucharest via the Prahova Valley. We stop of to see Peles Castle and then 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 wine tasting. We continue to one of Transylvania’s major towns, Brasov for the evening. Overnight in Brasov city centre – Safrano Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 3 - Brasov – Excursion to Bran and Wild Bears
(Driving distance: 100km; Approx. driving time is 2.5 hours today)
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. Returning 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. The trip will take about 4 hours and include a 20 minute walk. We return to Brasov late this evening. Overnight in Brasov city centre – Safrano Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 4 - Brasov - Viscri
(Driving distance: 100 km; Approx. driving time is 1.5-2 hours today)
From Brasov we drive (about 1 ½ hours) to the delightful village of Viscri, a Saxon village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the way we stop to view a beautiful UNESCO listed fortified church of Prejmer. 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 - Viscri - Sighisoara - Sibiu
(Driving distance: 150km; Approx. driving time is 2.5 hours today)
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 Continental Forum Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 6 - Sibiu – Alba - Iulia – Turda - Cluj
(Driving distance: 180km; Approx. driving time is 3 hours today)
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 Capitolina Chic Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 7 - Cluj - Sucevita
(Driving distance: 280km; Approx. driving time is 5 hours today)
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, Sucevita village, where we will have a traditional dinner prepared by our hosts. Overnight in traditional guesthouse. (BD)
Day 8 - Sucevita – Excursion to Painted Monasteries of Bucovina and Voronet
(Driving distance: 120km; Approx. driving time is 2.5 hours today)
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 Voronet monastery with its exterior frescoes dating to the 15th century, also named the Sistine Chapel of the East. On the way back to our accommodation in Sucevita, we stop in Marginea village to see the black pottery workshop and then we visit Sucevita monastery – the largest of the painted monasteries. We arrive back in Sucevita in time for dinner with our hosts. Overnight in traditional guesthouse. (BD)
Day 9 - Sucevita – Tarpesti – Agapia – Piatra Neamt
(Driving distance: 180km; Approx. driving time is 3 hours today)
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, Central Plaza Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 10 - Piatra Neamt – Galati - Danube Delta with Tulcea – Crisan
Driving distance: 340km; approx. 5,5 – 6 hours driving time)
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. In Tulcea we take a fast boat and arrive to our guesthouse for the following nights. Overnight in Crisan, Vasiliu Guesthouse or similar. (BD)
Day 11 - Danube Delta
Today, depending on the weather, we can have two outings by small boat exploring the winding channels of the Danube Delta (returning for lunch at our guesthouse) or a whole day in the Delta with picnic lunch. In the evening we return to our guests for dinner and accommodation. Overnight at Vasiliu Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)
Day 12 - Danube Delta
Today we visit the protected area of Letea forest, with oak trees as high as 30 meters, poplars, ash, but also Mediterranean type vegetation with creepers and vines. We have a fisherman’s lunch in Letea village and return in late afternoon to our guesthouse. Dinner and overnight at Vasiliu Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)
Day 13 - Crisan – Tulcea - Bucharest
(Driving distance: 280 km; Approx. driving time is 4.5 hours today)
We leave the Delta behind and travel by boat back to Tulcea and from there we head back to Bucharest for our final night. Overnight Venezia Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 14 - Departure from Bucharest
Tour ends with transfer to the airport. (B)
Dates & Price.
Single Supplement starting from £415 – Please note that there may be communal bathrooms in village houses.
Return direct flights from London to Bucharest start at £180. Contact us for a quotation.
Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.
Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Bucharest costs from £41 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £74 per person in a solo occupancy room.
Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.
Travel to Romania by Train
We know that for many of our destinations flying cannot be avoided. But we believe that for some of our tours, taking the train is a practical, affordable and most of all a very enjoyable alternative. Even flying in just one direction will have a very positive benefit on the environment. To compare the emissions for your next trip take a look at this easy to use emissions calculator – https://uic.org/ecopassenger.
One-way fares from London to Bucharest or vice versa start at £170.
For a quote to travel from a European city other than London please contact us. We will advise you of the options, including routes and fares.
Contact us for further details about how we can help you plan the perfect environmentally friendly addition to your holiday. As well as train tickets, we can arrange stopovers along the way, including hotels and guided tours.
Combine Romania with Bulgaria and Moldova
Why not include Bulgaria and Moldova to your tour for a more in depth look at this fascinating and little visited part of Europe? As from 2022, you can join the Essence of Bulgaria tour before and continue with the Moldova Discovery tour as all three tours can easily be done back to back. This option also applies to May and September 2021 departures.
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- All transportation throughout with a professional driver
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader – we have a combined driver/guide for groups of three or less.
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Items of personal nature