Historic Romania

Historic Romania

Introducing you Romania: fortified settlements and churches, painted monasteries amid virgin landscapes, medieval charm and eclectic architecture. Stunning nature and energetic cities make the picture complete. Discover this incredible mélange in a 12-days roundtrip covering the most important or Romania`s areas.

Day 1: București - Baia Mare

Arrival at airport Bucharest. Transfer to railway station Gara de Nord Bucharest for the night train (sleeping car) to Baia Mare located in the Northern part of Romania.

Day 2: Baia Mare– the Merry Cemetery in Săpânţa – Sighetul Marmației – Breb (131 km)

Arrival at Baia Mare – the gate to Maramureș, a region in the Northern part of Romania, which has preserved its traditional character and ancient customs, wooden churches and gates, virgin landscapes and natural beauty.

Breakfast at a local cafeteria before starting to explore our first two cities in Maramureș: Săpânţa and Sightu Marmaţiei.

Săpânţa is world-famous for its “Merry Cemetery”, a special kind of graveyard, which displays wooden crosses painted in vivid colours. Each cross displays an epitaph evocating a significant fact from the dead person`s life. The author of the cemetery is Stan Ioan Pătraș, an extremely creative artist who has carved his first cross in 1935.

We briefly visit Săpânţa-Peri Monastery, with its patron, St. Archangel Michael, a sober and imposing monastery, rising 78 m above the ground! It is currently the highest wooden church in the world, being included in the Guinness World Records.

Our next destination is Sighetu Marmației. Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

In Sighetu Marmaţiei we visit two of the most important highlights of the city: the open-air museum Maramureș Village Museum and the Sighet Etnographic Museum. Both of them are a wonderful guide into the rich cultural and traditional heritage of this area.

 Just 20 km away from Sighetu Marmației lies Breb village, a little village with about 400 homes, with unbelievably beautiful landscapes and breathtaking nature.

Spend some time with the local craftsmen, learn which is the best wood for a spinning wheel and take in the beautiful panorama.

 Dinner and accommodation at a guesthouse in Breb or Vadu` Izei.

Day 3: Breb – Bârsana –Săcel-  Vatra Dornei (171 km)

Today we discover the UNESCO World Heritage wooden churches, which tell through their wood the history of Maramureș. Along the centuries the foreign rulers of the area did not allow the people to build long lasting stone churches and instead the local carpenters built beautiful wooden churches, which resisted the ravages of time and are still being used for service nowadays.

Our first stop is in Josani – Budești, where we socialize with the locals in their traditional houses. The iconic architectural elements to focus on here are the famous wood-sculptured gates typical for Maramureș. The wooden church of Budești-Josani is famous for its objects belonging to two 18th century freedom fighters against the Austrian Habsburgs: the coat of mail of Pintea the Brave and the flag of Ferenc  II Rakoczi,  a Transylvanian nobleman.

Our next stop is Sârbi village which displays a great array of finely sculpted wooden gates. The village is reknown for its whirlpools and hydro-powered systems for washing clothes, rugs and blankets. Also the palinca-making devices is an example of peasants’ ingenuity, still used today for cereal processing and washing woolen fabrics.

Bârsana is one of the most important villages in the Valley of Iza River. The Church of the Presentation of the Virgin was built in 1720 and was moved to its current location in 1806. It stands on a small hill surrounded by a beautiful orchard  and is one of the eight churches on the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the legend, the church has been moved so that the souls of those killed by plague could rest peacefully in the shadows of the worship place. By the southern exit from the village stands Bârsana Monastery, probably one of the most visited places in Maramureș. Go in and enjoy a unique feeling emanating from the surroundings. Most of the buildings here are open to visitors.

From Bârsana, following the Iza Valley,  we drive through the pitoresque mountain villages Rozavlea, Sieu, Bogdan Voda. Brief stop in Săcel and visit to the workshop of one of the most famous ceramics artisans in Maramureș. Săcel ceramics is still practiced using the same antique tehniques and it closely resembles the Dacian pottery.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Drive through the Carpathians towards Bucovina. Arrival in Vatra Dornei in the evening.

Dinner and accommodation in Vatra Dornei.

Day 4: Vatra Dornei –Suceviţa- Voroneț – Iași (304 km)

Today we visit the exquisite Moldavian monasteries. Masterpieces inspired by Byzantine art, the Moldavian monasteries are extremely authentic and well preserved. The paintings covering all the facades represent complete cycles of religious themes and they are exceptional throughout their composition, harmony of the colours and perfect blend with the surroundings.

We begin with Sucevița Monastery – the last of Moldavia’s 22 painted churches, dating back to the late 16th century. The church is entirely decorated with mural paintings of the 16th century and is unique throughout the fact that is the only one worldwide to display a representation of the ladder of St John Climacus.

We continue with Voroneț monastery, known as the Sistine Chapel of the East, a medieval religious complex, one of the most important created by Stephen the Great (1457-1504). Perhaps the most famous and stunning of the painted monasteries, this monastery surprises throught its abundance of frescoes featuring an intense blue, often called the “Voroneț blue”. The hue that experts consider unique has become as famous as „Rubens’ red” or „Veronese’s green

Lunch at a local restaurant in Voroneț area.

After lunch, we head to Iași, one of the oldest and most important sites of the country, located in the Northeastern part of the country. The city is the economic and cultural centre of the Romanian province Moldavia and it gave inestimable material and spiritual values to the national patrimony. It is home of the first Romanian University and first Romanian Newspaper.

Dinner and accommodation in Iași.

Day 5: Iași - Capriana Monastery- Mileștii Mici winery - Chișinău (196 km)

Breakfast at the hotel in Iași and departure to Chișinău, the capital of the Republic Moldova.

On our way to Chișinău, short stop in Mileștii Mici Village (almost 30 km South from Chișinău), where over 50 km of underground galleries are transformed into wine warehouses. The "Golden Collection" Mileștii Mici is the pride of the whole country, being the oldest storage place of the “sacred drink”. In August 2005, it was registered in the Guiness World Records Book for being the biggest wine collection in the world. It contains over two millions bottles of wine highly appreciated by the winemakers from all over the world. The spirit of the age is very well felt here, in this underground wine city, emerged from wide tunnels. You can experience by car these 200 kilometers of natural lime galleries, but it`s much more interesting to make a pedestrian tour along the streets which are named after different types of wines or grapes like Cabernet, Aligote or Feteasca. Examine the monolithic walls from shell rocks, enormous oak barrels which spread marvelous aroma of wines, ancient lamps and natural springs in stone.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Transfer to Chișinău. Dinner and accommodation in Chișinău.

 Day 6: Chișinău - Orheiul Vechi (Old Orhei) – Chișinău (120km)

After breakfast we start a panoramic city tour and pass by the most important urban highlights: Chișinău Cathedral, Chyuflya Church, the Presidency, the Parliament, the City Administration on Stephen the Great Boulevard, National Theatre M. Eminescu, Organ Hall, Opera and Ballet Theatre, The Memorial of the Second World War.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

Afternoon tour to Old Orhei, one of the most important cultural sites in the Republic Moldova, which is actually a museum complex. Our programme consists of an excursion to the cave monastery, visit of the Museum of Archeology, dinner and folk show. Old Orhei is placed in a rocky gorge of Raut river, having a 200 m depth, 60 km away from Chișinău. The medieval city was constituted in 1330, during the Gold Horde period. Millenniums old signs of the Dacian civilization, the ruins of the fortress Sehr al Djedid, built by the Gold Horde in the XlV-th century, the rupestral monastery, caves dug in stone, the St. Maria church, ruins of a Dacian fortress and of an ancient Turkish bath - all of them situated between the Trebujeni and Butuceni villages, make up the wonder Old Orhei. Each of them comes from different times, has a different story and different architecture. After a long day exploring this wonderful site, we invite you to enjoy the hospitality of Moldavian people in one of the agrotouristic pensions, where you`ll taste the traditional Moldavian cuisine, made from local products: plăcinte, zeamă, mămăligă, exceptional wines, their receipes being passed on from generation to generation. You`ll understand the sincerity of the Moldavian songs — «hora», and will dance the unforgettable «pelenitsa» (traditional dance).

In the late evening transfer to Chișinău and overnight stay here.

Day 7: Chișinău - Piatra Neamț (278 km)

Breakfast and return to Romania. We head to Piatra Neamț – one of the oldest Moldavian cities, over 2000 years old, a former Geto-Dacian settlement. The excavations near the city revealed the ruins of a large Dacian city called Petrodava, which was mentioned by the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we explore the historic side of the city: The Tower of Stefan the Great, The Princely Court Exhibition, The Etnographic Museum of Neamț.

Dinner and accommodation in Piatra Neamț.

Day 8: Piatra Neamț – Cheile Bicazului – Lacul Roșu – Brașov (260 km)

After breakfast we leave for Brașov, along Cheile Bicazului / Bicazului Gorge – which connects Transylvania and Moldavia, one of Romania`s most spectacular and stunning roads, part of the natural park “Bicaz Canyon”.

We stop at Rosu Lake, which is the largest natural mountain lake in Romania, created in 1837 after a major landslide. (the Red Lake got its name from a 19th century landslide that enriched the waters with reddish alluviums). We then visit the UNESCO fortified church of Prejmer (Tartlau), located 15 km away from Brașov, in the proximity of Olt river. Prejmer was founded by Teutonic knoghts and Saxon settlers in the 13th century. It is the best preserved and most solid church and medieval fortress in Eastern Europe and it was conceived as a defence shelter for the villagers in war times.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon arrival in Brașov and city tour. Brașov is one of the most visited cities in Romania and is extremely wealthy when it comes to historical attractions, but also natural landscapes surrounding the city. We`ll stroll in the Old Town Hall (Piața Sfatului) and admire the beautiful Renaissance buildings in Republicii pedestrian area. We then take a look inside the Black Church, the largest gothic church in Romania, but also the largest one between Vienna and Istanbul. Discover the long history of Brașov and take a historical walk through Brașov`s medieval section: the White and the Black Tower, part of the city fortifications and observation tower, Schei and Catherine`s Gate, the old walls beneath Tâmpa, the First Romanian School built in 1495. An abundant and charming history will reveal on the medieval rolling streets of Brașov.

Dinner and accommodation in Brașov.

 Day 9 : Brașov – Viscri – Sighișoara – Brașov (268 km)

After breakfast we leave towards Sighișoara, with a short stop in Viscri, one of the Saxon villages in Romania, special due to its great UNESCO fortified church. Viscri or Deutschweisskirch in German, is also famous due to the restoration work done by Mihai Eminescu Trust whose patron is the Prince of Wales, truly in love with the beauty and cultural heritage of the Transylvanian villages.

Our next stop is Sighișoara, an example of small fortified city, an outstanding testimony of the Saxon Transylvanian culture, UNESCO World Heritage site. The walled towers of the city, the cobblestreets, the burgher houses, the turrets make out of Sighișoara a magic place. Explore in depth the landmarks of the city: the Citadel Square, the remains of the medieval towers (Blacksmiths` Tower, Butchers` Tower, Cobblers` Tower, Furriers Tower, Ropemakers` Tower, Tailors` Tower, Tanners` Tower, Tinsmiths` Towerlock Tower) among which the most famous still standing is the Clock Tower; the Church on the Hill with the murals from 1483, the wooden Şcolarilor Staircase stair-passage.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant in Sighișoara.

Dinner and accommodation in Brașov.

 Day 10: Brașov – Bran Castle – Peleș Castle – Bucharest (215 km)

Today we visit two of the most important castles in Romania: Bran Castle and Peleș Castle.

The two castles differ throughout their history and architecture, but they are both as famous.

Bran castle has had an extremely lively history, due to the fact that is is located at crossroads, in a natural amphitheater. It was built by the Magyar Sovereignity, who understood in those times the importance of a strategic defence plan of Transylvania. Explore the former residence of Queen Maria of Romania, who restored it to be used as a residence of the royal family.

Optionally, you can visit Rhein wine cellars in Azuga, where you can attend a wine tasting and a traditional lunch.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

We continue to Sinaia, a beautiful mountainous region at the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains, in Prahova Valley. This beautiful region drew the attention of the Hohezollern Royal House (Carol the First, King of Romania), who decided to bring a little bit of the Bavarian charme to Sinaia and built the spectacular Peleș Castle here, a must-see for all tourists. It is considered to be one the most beautiful castles of Europe, so enjoy the elegance of the German-Renaissance style.

Pelișor Castle (optional visit) is a small palace built in the garden of Peleș castle, ordered by Charles the First, serving as residence for his heirs – Ferdinand and Mary. The pavilion was built as a hunting house with 43 rooms and all Romanian kings grew fond of the place.

Transfer to Bucharest in the evening.

Dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.

 Day 11: Bucharest

We start our day by exploring Bucharest, a metropolis on the rise which used to be called the Little Paris of the Eastern back in the 30`s. Stroll on the major boulevards and discover the historic buildings of the city – the impressive Parliament Palace, the exquisite Cotroceni Palace, Victoria Avenue, University Square and the Old City Centre (Lipscani District). This was from Middle Age the most important commercial area of the city, where manufacturers of all nationalities coexisted harmoniously. Goldsmiths, hatters, shoemakers, tanners, saddlemakers, Germans, Bulgarians, Jewish – the nearby streets of the area bear the name of the trades. Discover these narrow cobblestreets and let your imagination stroll on these magic streets. Today the historic buildings from this area harbour various pubs, coffee shops, art galleries and represent the centre of entertainment in Bucharest.

Lunch at a traditional restaurant located in a historical building.

In the afternoon time at leisure for strolling along the beautiful narrow streets of the Old City or optional visit to one of two important museums in Bucharest: The Romanian Peasant Museum, situated in a historical building in neo-romanesc style, a genuine heritage of Romanian traditional items or/and Village Museum, which lies on the Herăstrău lake. It is an open-air ethnographic museum showcasing the traditional Romanian village lifestyle in different areas of Romania.

Dinner on your own at a local restaurant and accommodation in Bucharest.

Day 12: Departure from Bucharest

Breakfast and transfer from hotel to the airport Bucharest.

 

PRICES

Group size Tarif per person based on double occupancy Single room supplement Observation
15 - 18 persons 1140 EUR 239 EUR Transport by 19seater minivan

Price / person is based on double occupancy. The prices are calculated per person and in Euros. The given rates may vary slightly in 2015.

INCLUDED SERVICES:

  • 10 overnights based on double occupancy at guesthouse or hotels 4*
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 8 dinners - set menu (3 course dinner including including jugs of tap water)
  • 1 dinner with folkloric show at The Old Orhei in Republic of Moldova
  • 4 lunches on day 3, 4, 5 and 11  (3 course meal, including jugs of tap water)
  • English speaking local guide from day 1 to day 11
  • Private transport by minivan from day 1 to day 12, according with the above program
  • Night train (sleeping car) from Bucharest to Baia Mare
  • entrance fees for The Merry Cemetery in Săpânţa, Maramureș Village Museum in Sighetu Marmației, Budești – Josani Church, Bârsana Church, Sucevița Monastery, Voroneț Monastery, Mileștii Mici, Prejmer fortified church, Black Church and The First Romanian School in Brașov, Bran Castle and Peleș Castle (standard tour), Parliament House in Bucharest
  • Half day visit of The Old Orhei in Republic of Moldova
  • Visit at a local craftsman in Breb
  • Brief Romania travel guide with useful information

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Air travel
  • Entrance fees  - other than those mentioned at „Included”
  • Medical insurance

 Note:

Optional activities will be charged additional. The guide will assist you with all necessary information.

Depending on when you’re visiting Romania, you can take part in other local social and cultural events: weddings, traditional dancing and singing festivals, church celebrations, artisan reunions, etc.

The daily schedule can change according to the weather, to local social and cultural events, without any fundamental change to the program’s structure.

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