Treasures of Romania

Treasures of Romania

Experience Romania`s splendour during our 12-day land adventure that gives you the best of Romania`s highlights. Discover the colourful Danube Delta, unique in the world for its great biodiversity, Transylvania and its Saxon fortresses, the remote Maramureș and its magical allure.

Day 1: București - Tulcea

Arrival at Bucharest airport and transfer by car to Tulcea. Our meeting point is Aval Port in Tulcea, at 16:00 hour. From here we head towards Mila 23 or to Crișan, deep into the heart of the Danube Delta. We embark and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Danube Delta on our way to the guesthouse. The route Canal 36 is one of the most popular ones due to its diverse landscapes, which give us an insight on how our future days in the delta will look like. We follow the route Sireasa Brook, Şontea Brook, Olguța Canal, Old Danube Canal and finally, Mila 23 village or Crișan.

In the evening local cuisine.

Day 2: Danube Delta – Lakes tour

Today we start discovering this intricate maze of canals, lakes, reed islands and passages. The Danube Delta is the second largest delta in the world and Europe`s best preserved delta, so it`s a real wildlife paradise. After breakfast we start our lakes tour and get an insight on how these micro-habitats look like. We leave our guesthouse for the surrounding lakes on 2 tours, each about 4 hours long, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, inbetween lunch and short break for relaxing. The decision on the route will be spontaneous – we decide here which direction to take according to the water level and to updated information on where large groups of birds are feeding. The Danube Delta offers the opportunity to spot an incredible variety of migratory and resident birds, such as eagles, egrets, vultures, geese, cranes, ibises, cormorants, swans and pelicans, so we have a long day ahead with a few wonderful surprises.

Traditional dinner at the guesthouse around 19:00. Dinner and accommodation in Mila 23/Crișan.

Day 3: Danube Delta – Letea Forest

We embark after breakfast, at around 09:30. Today we get to know Letea Forest and Village, a remote area between Sulian and Chilia arms of the Danube. This is not only Romania`s oldest nature reserve, but also the northern most subtropical forest in the world. Our journey will take place partly by boat, to Letea village, whereas the rest of the road we`ll travel by car. Hidden away from the eyes of the tourists, Letea forest offers spectaculary changes of scenery -  from century old oak trees, some of them being older than 700 years, to canals covered in water lilies or exotic species of plants. Here you get to see the world`s only oak forest grown on a sea bank. Lunch at one of the locals – the community living here is a community of Russians, Romanians and Periprave Lipovans.

In the evening traditional fish dinner. Accommodation in Mila 23/Crișan.

Day 4: Tulcea - Bucharest

Breakfast at 9:00 and then boat trip to Tulcea, following the same route from day 1. Arrival in Tulcea at around 13:00.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant in Tulcea and transfer by car from Tulcea to Bucharest.

Dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.

Day 5 : Bucharest – Bran - Brașov (225 km)

Departure in the morning from Bucharest to Bran.

Bran Gorge hosts one of Romania`s landmarks, Bran castle, which became famous after the Irish writer Bram Stoker, called it Dracula`s castle. The castle is thus, much more than that – it is a place revolved by a long history, myth, intrigue and a magical allure, standing up high on a hill in the Bran Gorge.

The castle was a fortress erected by the Teutons, then royal residence of the Queen Maria of Romania, Romania`s “great queen” and nowadays it`s museum displaying ceramics, furniture, weapons and armors.

Lunch at a local restaurant in Bran.

Arrival in the afternoon in Brașov, where we begin exploring this beautiful city in a sighseeing tour. We visit the Black Church, one of the symbols of the cities, the largest gothic cathedral between Vienna and Istanbul, an impressing edifice which towers over the Council Square and the Old City. The church had an extremely turbulent history, but service is still held nowadays for a small community of Germans. Our tour takes us to the White Tower, part of the city fortifications and to the Black Tower, one of Brașov`s four observation towers. We pass by Schei Gate and Catherine`s Gate – which separated the German city from the Romanian population living in Schei village. We then go deep into the culture and history of the Romanian culture and visit the First Romanian School. The School has also a long history. Built in 1495, its mere existence was an outstanding event. Therefore as entrance fee, pupils would have to bring a bucket of wheat, a wagon of wood and the equivalent of 3-4 calves. Our next stop is on the Street of the Cord (Strada Sforii) – one of the city’s curiosities, which considered to be the narrowest street in Eastern Europe (measuring between 111 and 135 cm wide and 80 m long).

Dinner and accomodation in Brașov.

Day 6: Brașov - Prejmer- Viscri - Darjiu - Saschiz (198 km)

Our tour takes us today to a few of the most beautiful fortified settlements of Transylvania`s UNESCO World Heritage. We start in Prejmer village, just 30 km away from Brașov. One of the main touristic sights in Brașov district, Prejmer attracts mainly due to its fortified church built in the 13th century by the Teuton knights. Discover here the impressing gothic architecture, the five centuries old altar piece, as well as the 12 meter-high and 3-4 meter-thick walls protecting the church.

Our next stop is Viscri, which became famous due to the restoration works conducted by Prince Charles` Trust. He names the village “fairy tale land” and absolutely adores this pitoresque region with pastel coloured houses and deeply rooted traditions. Visit the fortified church here and the museum recreating the Saxon lifestyle.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Our final two stops are in Darjiu and Saschiz. Darjiu is home to a 13th century fortified Unitarian Church, UNESCO World Heritage site. The original interior of the church still preserves frescoes, which represent some of the most impressive Transylvanian medieval works.  Saschiz village hosts beautiful Saxon influence houses, which are also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Dinner and accomodation in Saschiz.

Day 7: Saschiz – Sighișoara – Biertan – Valea Viilor – Sibiu (140 km)

Today we meet Sighișoara, a superb 16th century city with 9 still standing protection towers, cobblestreets and burgher houses rivaling even the historic city centres of Prague or Vienna. The city was built by the Saxons on the ruins of a former Roman settlement and is nowadays one of Europe`s best preserved medieval cities, UNESCO World Heritage site. We begin our city tour with the Citadel, where you can still admire the nine towers of which the most famous is the Clock Tower. It was built in 1300 AD, 64 m high, it`s the main interest point in the city and the also the town symbol. The tower got its name due to its figured-clock, unique in Romania, on the  tower’s fourth floor, which has been working continuously since Middle Ages. Our tour takes us to the Venetian House dating back to the 16th century, home of Stephanus Mann, the citymayo and to what it is considered to habe been the house of Vlad Ţepeș.

We continue our journey to Biertan, the religious centre of the Saxons for 300 years, considered the most valuable attraction of the seven Saxon fortified churches included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This edifice has incredibely preserved its initial aspect. It impresses throughout its hall church with three cells arched in network, its 1290 tubes organ designed by the Hession Company in Vienna and its door of the vestry, which has 19 bolts.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Our next and last stop for the day is Valea Viilor, located in the Vineyards Valley. The fortified church situated in the center of the village was built in the 13th century in gothic style. Admire here an unique element like the well in the centre of the church choir, that provided water during sieges.

Arrival in Sibiu. Dinner and accommodation in Sibiu.

Day 8: Sibiu  - Alba Iulia

Our day starts with a morning city tour in the beautiful Sibiu, 2007 European Capital, a city with bohemian allure, which attracted a great number of cultural figures in the past – the country`s first hospital, library and pharmacy were established here. Nowadays, Sibiu hosts an impressive number of cultural festivals, and exhibitions, keeping its distinctive bohemian ambiance alive.

Let`s not forget that Sibiu was the largest and wealthiest of the seven-walled citadels built by the Saxons, so it still has the grandeur of the earlier days, reminding us with each step of the Germanic legacy.  So, stroll with us starting with the Great Square, which was first historically attested in 1411 as a grain market and as a place for hosting carnivals, public gatherings and medieval executions. The route continues with the Bruckenthal National Museum, the History Museum, the Huet Market with the Evangelical Cathedral, the Staircase Tower – the oldest standing building in Sibiu, the Staircase 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’ Plaza, 9th of May and New Street (where there are some of the oldest buildings in town – dating back from the 13th and 14th centuries), Cetatea Street, including the Archers’ Tower, the Carpenters’ Tower, the Potters’ Tower, the Thick Tower from the 16th century – which hosted the first theatre in the city, currently the town philarmonic.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon departure to Alba Iulia, an important city for the Hungarians, Transylvanian Saxons, as well as for Romanians. The city is known as the city of the unification between Transylvania and Romania, the historic capital of Romania and it displays one of the greatest European Habsburg fortresses. We make here a short sightseeing tour and visit the White Caroline Citadel, which was built to honour Transylvania’s unification with Romania. If you want to go deeper into the history of the city, you can also visit the Orthodox Unification Cathedral, the Catholic Cathedral, The Bishop’s Palace and The Alba Iulia Unification Museum.

Dinner and accommodation in Alba Iulia.

Day 9: Alba Iulia – Cluj-Napoca – Baia Mare - Breb

After breakfast, departure to Cluj-Napoca, the cultural and economical heart of Transylvania. The city centre of Cluj-Napoca is small enough to be experienced in one hour, but it hides so many wonderful places that you will want to spend here at least a few days. The Austrian - Ungarian edifices are mainly located in the Unirii Square (Unification Square): the Continental Hotel – the meeting point of the Hungarian nobles, Lucian Blaga National Theatre, Banffy Palace – hosting the National Museum of Arts, the Pharmacy Museum, the Reformed Hungarian Church -  a part of the German Fortress wall that includes the 15th century Seamsters’s tower; the Cetățuia Hill on which fortress ruins from the Habsburg period overlook the city and offer you a vantage point.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant and then departure to Breb – a picturesque village in the heart on historical Maramureș in Northern Romania.

Breb, Budești and Sârbi are villages where we discover together how the local communities value their wood, Maramureș being also called the land of wood. We start exploring the region by visiting the wooden church of Josani, UNESCO World Heritage site and by socializing with the locals in their traditional houses.

The wooden church of Budești-Josani is the largest wooden church in historical Maramureș and it impresses throughout its size and artistic value, adorned with popular murals dating back from 1762. The church has become famous for its objects belonging to two 18th century freedom fighters against the Austrian Habsburgs – Pintea the Brave and Ferenc II Rakoczi.

Sârbi is an idylic village which displays a large array of finely sculpted wooden gates, but also a perfectly functional 100 years oldwater mill. It„s not only the mill here as an example of  creativity, but also other water-actioned mechanical systems: batoza (the water-powered thresher), piua (a thumping device in which heavy wooden beams pummel hot, wet sheep wool into felt for coats, waistcoats and blankets), vâltoarea (a washing machine which tumbles clothes in a churning pool), the palinca-making devices – examples of peasants’ ingenuity, still used today for cereal processing and washing woolen fabrics. Sârbi village is alos famous for the highly-skilled craftsmen – hay and wood chips hat makers, who add a final touch to the traditional costumes in Maramureș; sheepskin coats and breastplates makers; wood sculptors creating, among others, surprising horinca bottles, in which a spinning wheel or a wooden ladder seem to miraculously appear out of nowhere.

Dinner and accommodation at guesthouse in Breb.

Day 10: Breb – Săpânța – Sighetu Marmației - Breb

Our Maramureș trip takes us today to two of the most famous cities of the region: Săpânța and Sighetu Marmației

Săpânța has become definitely famous because of the Merry Cemetery – a lively cemetery with beautifully carved wooden crosses, where its creator adds “a little zing to the dreaded inevitable”, as the journalist John Moore says in Toronto Star. Each cross is decorated with a humorous inscription, actually an original poem and painted in a radiant blue. Each epitaph evocates a significant fact from the dead`s life and here`s an example – “Here I rest/Stefan is my name/As long as I lived, I liked to drink (…)I drank a lot/And now i`m still thirsty.” After reading all the epitaphs you woun`t remember having smiled so much in a cemetery. Visit afterwards, the highest wooden church in the world, included in the Guiness World Records Book, Săpânța-Peri Monastery, a sober and imposing monastery rising at 78 m above the ground.

Lunch on your own at a local restaurant in Sighetu Marmației.

We pay a visit to two of the most important attractions in Sighetu Marmației: the Maramureș open-air Village Museum and the Maramureș Etnographic Museum, a wonderful guide to understanding the rural life, traditions and historical areas of the region.

Return to Breb in the evening. Dinner and accommodation at guesthouse in Breb.

Day 11: Ride on the Mocanița Steam Train

Breakfast early in the morning, at 6 am and departure to Vișeu de Sus, at 7 am by minibus.

Today we ride the last living Carpathian Forestry Railways, an outstanding example of technical cultural heritage. Mocanița  is also known as the Vaser Valley Railway, it travels on a narrow-gauge track and it runs alongside the Vaser River, winding up the valley with many curves, over bridges and through the wild romantic scenery of the Carpathian Mountains.

Lunch at Paltin resort layover and return to Vișeu de Sus train station at 3 pm, the latest.

Upon our return to Breb, we briefly stop in Săcel to visit the workshop of one of the most famous ceramics artisans in Maramureș. Săcel is famous for its red, unglazed pottery, being one of the oldest in Romania. It is obtained through 2000 years old ancient dacian techniques, wheres as the clay is extracted from deep wells and has an extremely high quality.

Our last stop is in Bârsana, a little town with a UNESCO wooden church and monastery, both with an extremely interesting history.

Dinner and accommodation at guesthouse in Breb.

Day 12: Breb – Cluj Napoca

After breakfast transfer to airport Cluj for return flight.

PRICES

Group size Tarif per person based on double occupancy Single room supplement Observation
15-18 persons 1095 EUR 340 EUR Transport by 19seater minibus
8-14 persons 1380  EUR 340 EUR Transport by 19seater minibus
6-7 persons 1430  EUR 340 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:

  • 3 overnights based on double occupancy at guesthouse 4* in Danube Delta
  • 4 overnights based on double occupancy at hotels 4*  (Bucharest, Brașov, Sibiu, Alba Iulia)
  • 4 overnight based on double occupancy at guesthouse 3*   (Saschiz area and Breb)
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 11 dinners - set menu (3 course dinner including including  jugs of tap water)
  • 5 lunches on day 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 11 at traditional restaurants in Danube Delta, Bran, Viscri, Biertan areas (3 course meal, including jugs of tap water) and at Paltin station (barbeque style)
  • English speaking local guide from day 1 to day 12
  • Private transportation by minibus from day 1 to day 12, according with the above program
  • Half day lakes tour in Danube Delta
  • Full day visit Letea Forest and Letea Village
  • Entrance fees for 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
  • All necessary taxes in Danube Delta, enforced by the local authorities (ARBDD)
  • Return train ticket: Mocanita Viseu de Sus – Paltin
  • Small donation for churches in Breb, Budești, Săpânța-Peri, Bârsana
  • Visit to water-actioned mechanical systems in Sârbi
  • Visit to a local wood carver and to the workshop of one of the most famous ceramics artisans in Săcel
  • Entrance fee at Maramureș Village Museum and Ethnographic Museum in Sighetu Marmației
  • Brief Romania travel guide with useful information

NOT INCLUDED:

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

 Note:

Optional activities will be charged additionally. 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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