Transylvania uncovered

Transylvania uncovered

Transylvania is a mysterious and wild land, with a complex history, blessed with a rich and ancient mithology, cluttered with supernatural beeings: witches, fairies, vampires. This is the home of one of the most disputed character of Romania, Count Dracula, home of the Saxon Fortified Churches, of the medieval fortifications and home of a mainly untouched nature. The history of Transylvania is closely linked to one of Europe’s greatest empires, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and hence ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously very diverse.

Day 1: Bucharest

Arrival in Bucharest and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.

 Day 2 : Bucharest- Bran-Brașov (225 km)

Departure in the morning from Bucharest to Bran.

Bran Castle is located in a natural amphitheater with an extremely dynamic history due to its strategic position at crossroads. It became famous after the Irish writer, Bram Stoker, called it Dracula’s Castle; it was first documented in 1377. The castel was initially a medieval fortress built by the Teuton Knights who understood the importance of fortifying the Transylvanian boders during the social and mass reorganization in whole Europe. After being the favourite residence of Queen Marie, the great queen of Romania, the castel became a museum which displays different ceramics, furniture, weapons and armors.

Lunch at a local restaurant in Bran.

In the afternoon we arrive in Brașov, situated in the heart of Romania, a city which benefits from the influence of an ancient history, tracing civilization going back to the Bronze Age. Our city tour starts in the city`s central point, Piața Sfatului, and passes by different highlights of the city. The Black Church is the most representative gothic art monument in Romania, which has the largest organ in South-East Europe. The Black Tower – is one of Brasov’s four observation towers and its location is isolated, outside the old walls. Schei Gate – one of the two gates (the other one – Catherine’s Gate) – separated the German city from the Romanian population in Schei village; Catherine’s Gate – Romanians that wished to gain access into the city could go through the gate only in certain days of the week, after paying a fee. The Street of the Cord (Strada Sforii) – one of the city’s curiosities, it is considered the narrowest street in Eastern Europe (measuring between 111 and 135 cm wide and 80 m long); the old walls beneath Tâmpa; the walled city – part of Dealul Cetăţii fortifications, offers a spectacular view of the old city center; the first Romanian school – built in 1495 in Scheii Brasovului neighbourhood.

Dinner and accomodation in Brașov.

Day 3: Brașov- Prejmer- Viscri- Darjiu- Saschiz (198 km)

We begin our tour of the UNESCO World Heritage fortified settlements in Transylvania by visiting Prejmer village, located just 30 km outside Brașov.

The legends say that the name Prejmer  comes from “Preajmir” which translates as the village with 1000 rivers. The village is crossed by countless small rivers, which gave birth to flourishing trout shops all over the place. The Prejmer church was built in the 13th century by the Teuton knights and illustrates impressive Gothic architecture and an altar piece five centuries old. Even though it has been attacked more than 50 times by the turks, Prejmer fortified church was never conquered.

We continue our journey to Viscri - one  of Romania’s most famous destinations, promoted by Prince Charles himself as a fairty tale land. The village is dominated by a magnificent fortified church, dating back to 1100 AD, one of the oldest in Transylvania, among the six of its kind included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

We head to Darjiu village, which is home to a 13th century UNESCO World Heritage fortified Unitarian Church. It is the oldest fortified church in this region and most frequently mentioned in the art history literature.

Our final stop for the day is Saschiz with the beautiful gothic church and clock-tower. Here we admire the typical famous Saxon houses. UNESCO included these houses, in 1999, in the World Heritage List together with six other Romanian sites.

Dinner and accomodation in Saschiz.

Day 4: Saschiz – Sighișoara – Biertan – Valea Viilor – Sibiu (140 km)

Today we get to visit Sighișoara. With its still standing protection walls, it is the best preserved medieval city in Europe and an UNESCO World Heritage site. The Clock Tower, built in 1300 AD, 64 m high, is the main interest point of the city and is also, known as the town symbol. The tower got its name from its figured-clock, unique in Romania, on the  tower’s fourth floor. Another highlight is the Venetian House which dates back from the 16th century, and was home to Stephanus Mann, the citymayo. We also pass by the house of Vlad Ţepeș – it is said that Vlad was born here in 1431. The wooden Şcolarilor Staircase (initially counting 300 steps) was built in 1662 for the students of the German school on the hill. Another impressive site is the Church on the Hill is impressive through its Central European engravings, dating from the late 1300s.

We continue our journey to Biertan. The fortified church from Biertan is one of the biggest and most famous in Transylvania. Built in Late Gothic style in the 16th century, it replaced an older church.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Our next stop is the fortified village Valea Viilor - The Saxon name roughly translates to "snake hole" (“Wurmloch”). As to whether the place was swarming with snakes or full of cattle it is unclear. What is clear is that the land was owned by noble people. However, by 1359 the land was being mentioned as a free commune. Surprisingly, the villagers of Valea Viilor excelled at making wine, giving rise to the Romanian name meaning Vineyard Valley. The whole area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. The fortified church is situated in the centre of the village and it`s characterized by Late-Gothic elements from around 1500.

Arrival in Sibiu. Dinner and accommodation in Sibiu.

Day 5: Sibiu

Sibiu – European Capital in 2007 together with Luxembourg – is one of Transylvania`s most important cities, boosting with medieval highlights and a beautiful city centre which has been restored in 2006. The diverse local community including various ethnic groups - Romanians coexisting with Germans, descendents of the Saxon colonists, Hungarians and a small Jewish community - the social structure, as well as the multicultural life experience concede the city an extremely special aura. Our morning begins with a half day city tour and starts in Piața Mare (The Great Square) – first historically attested in 1411 as a grain market and as a place for hosting carnivals, public gatherings and medieval executions. We pass by the Bruckenthal National Museum built in a refinded late-baroque style, the History Museum, the Huet Square which is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral, the Staircase Tower – the oldest standing building in Sibiu, the Stairs Passage, the Small Square – the enclave of buildings with arcades that host museums and galleries; Sfatului Tower, the Pharmaceutical History Museum – the old, 17th century  pharmacy displaying unusual medical instruments from the 1500s, as well as medicines created by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy; the House of Arts, the Bridge of Lies, the Goldsmyths’ Square and many other beautiful medieval highlights of the citadel.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant

In the afternoon free time to explore the city on your own.

Optionally you can choose to explore Mărginimea Sibiului on a half day tour and discover the authentic villages surrounding Sibiu, located on the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains. We firstly visit the charming Christian village, which stands on the site of a 13th century basilica. Our next stop is in Orlat, one of the oldest villages in Mărginimea Sibiului. We briefly stop in Sibiel, a charming village, famous for its glass painted icons, hosting the biggest collection of its kind in Transylvania. The museum displays over 700 glass stained icons. We can also visit the Church of the Holly Trinity, dating from 1765, when the Orthodox religion was prohibited in Transylvania – in order to adapt to the restrictions, the church’s exterior has Catholic features, while its interior bears Byzantine decorations.

Return to Sibiu late in the afternoon. Dinner and accommodation at Sibiu.

Day 6: Sibiu - Bucuresti

In the morning departure to Bucharest for return flight.

PRICES

Group size Tarif per person based on double occupancy Single room supplement Observation
15 - 19 persons 530  EUR 145 EUR Transport by 19seater minibus
8 - 14 persons 670  EUR 145 EUR Transport by 19seater minibus
6-7 persons 670  EUR 145 EUR Transport by 8seater 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:

  • 4 overnights based on double occupancy at hotels 4*  (Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu)
  • 1 overnight based on double occupancy at guesthouse 3*   (Saschiz area)
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 5 dinners - set menu (3 course dinner including including  jugs of tap water)
  • 3 lunches on day 2, 3, and 4 at traditional restaurants in Bran, Viscri and Biertan areas (3 course meal, including jugs of tap water)
  • English speaking local guide from day 1 to day 6
  • Private transport by minibus from day 1 to day 6, according to the above program
  • Entrance fees at Bran Castle, Black Church and The First Romanian School in Brașov, fortified churches in Prejmer, Viscri, Darjiu, Saschiz and Valea Viilor villages; Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu
  • Brief Romania travel guide with useful information

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Air travel
  • Entrance fees  - other than those mentioned at „Included”
  • Medical insurance
  • Half day visit to Mărginimea Sibiului

 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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