This tour of Romania takes you from the peaks of the Carpathians Mountains to the wetlands of the Danube Delta. It is designed for those who have time for a longer vacation. In 15 days this private tour of Romania will give the chance of visiting cities like Bucharest or Cluj Napoca, medieval citadels of Transylvania such as Sibiu, Sighisoara or Brasov, rural areas from Maramures and Bucovina, Hungarian villages, the castles of Bran or Peles, UNESCO sites and the unique Danube Delta.
Type: private tour, cultural tour
Distance: 2995km / 1861mi
Regions: Wallachia, Transylvania, Maramures, Bucovina, Szekely, Dobrogea
Accommodation: 4-star hotels and superior guest houses
Group of 2-3 persons – €2649/person
Group of 4-8 persons – €1859/person
Single Supplement – €289/person
Arrival in the capital of Romania. You’ll be transferred from the airport to Bucharest.
Accommodation in Bucharest
BUCHAREST – FULL DAY TOUR
The day starts with a tour of Bucharest. The capital of modern Romania since 1859, Bucharest is by far the country’s largest city, boasting a rich history, fascinating architecture, a vivid street life, lush green parks, a large number of excellent restaurants. Bucharest is a city which has everything.
The tour will include the famous Revolution Square, where thousands of people put an end to a 45-year-long vicious Communist regime. Get to understand the horrors of the Communist period and the sufferings an entire nation had to endure. Around Revolution Square there are many impressive buildings such as the National Art Museum, the Kretzulescu Church, the Central Library University, and several others. You’ll be given explanations about each and every one, and you won’t leave this area before visiting the extraordinary art-nouveau Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol of Bucharest.
In the Old Town, you’ll get to roam its quaint little streets packed with restaurants, bars, inns, and many buildings with outstanding architecture.
The tour of Bucharest continues with the famous Parliament, also known as the House of the People. Built at the command of Ceausescu, the former Communist leader, it became the largest administrative building in Europe.
After lunch, you’ll be taken to the northern part of Bucharest. On the way, you’ll enjoy a driving tour while you admire the large, green boulevards; the impressive private houses; and several impressive monuments such as the Aviators’ Statue and the local Arch of Triumph.
The Village Museum is the last stop of the day. Inaugurated in 1936, this outdoor museum boasts old traditional houses representative of the whole country. In a short period of time, you’ll be able to admire different architectural styles and many other sites.
Accommodation in Bucharest
BUCHAREST – TARGOVISTE – POENARI – SIBIU
In the morning you’ll set off for Targoviste, the former capital of Wallachia. It is here that you’ll be able to see and climb the famous Sunset Tower (Chindia Tower). Built at the order of Vlad the Impaler, the tower offers great views over the entire city of Targoviste. Before your departure, take a stroll around the ruins of the former court and admire the Orthodox frescoes of the Princely Church.
Further on, you’ll be taken to the fortress of Poenari, located in the Transylvanian Alps. Perched on top of a mountain, be careful as there are 1480 steps to be climbed! The citadel was probably built in the 14th century by the first Wallachian princes. Later on, it was modified and extended by Vlad the Impaler, whom we also know as Dracula. In addition to all the stories and legends, the site offers great panoramic views of the mountain on both sides.
The tour continues along the Transfagarasan* highway. As the second highest road in Romania, the Transfagarasan offers route to the alpine area of the Carpathian Mountains. The road is 100km (62mi) from the town of Arefu (Arges County) to Carta (Sibiu County). The highest point – 2042m (6699ft) is reached at the Balea Lake. It was built in just four years, between 1970 and 1974, at the order of Nicolae Ceausescu, the last Communist dictator of Romania.
Once you are at the top of the mountain, Transylvania welcomes you. You’ll reach the city of Sibiu in time for dinner.
*between October and July the Transfagrasan road will be changed for the road along the Olt Valley.
Accommodation in Sibiu
SIBIU – BIERTAN – SIGHISOARA – SIBIU
Today you’ll enjoy a one-day tour of Transylvania. In the morning you’ll set off for Sighisoara. On the way you’ll make a detour for the UNESCO site of Biertan. Located in a beautiful rural area of Transylvania, the castle-church of Biertan is perched on a hill surrounded by old Saxon houses which preserve the medieval atmosphere. You’ll enjoy a tour of the fortress and church, where you’ll learn the history of this place as well as hear some funny stories.
Sighisoara, another UNESCO site in Transylvania, is the next stop on your trip. Built by the Germans about 800 years ago, the medieval citadel of Sighisoara looks like a perfect postcard. It is the best preserved citadel in Romania, a stunning combination of cobblestone streets, medieval walls, massive watch towers and old architecture. Add to these the House of Vlad Dracul, allegedly the birth place of Dracula. You’ll visit the Clock Tower, the symbol of Sighisoara, and the Church on the Hill, one of the oldest buildings of the citadel.
In the afternoon you’ll return to Sibiu. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Accommodation in Sibiu
SIBIU – HUNEDOARA – ALBA IULIA
In the first part of the day you’ll enjoy a walking tour of Sibiu. Hermanstadt, to use its German name, was founded by Saxon colonists about 800 years ago. In a short time, Sibiu became one of the most important cities of Transylvania. Sibiu boasts several medieval squares, including the Great Square (Piata Mare) which is the largest of its kind in Romania. It is surrounded by old houses, impressive palaces such as the Brukenthal Palace, and by religious constructions including the Catholic Cathedral. The tour of Sibiu continues with the other squares, the oldest cobblestone streets, and you’ll find out more about the legend which surrounds the Bridge of Lies. The tour of Sibiu ends with the Evangelical Cathedral and the former medieval towers.
Further on, you’ll be taken to Hunedoara where you’ll visit the largest Gothic castle in Transylvania. Built in the 14th-15th centuries, the castle belonged to the ancestors of King Corvinus, the Hungarian king of the 15th century. It is here that Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned on his way to Budapest.
In the afternoon you’ll reach the city of Alba Iulia, a former capital of Transylvania.
Accommodation in Alba Iulia
ALBA IULIA – TURDA – CLUJ NAPOCA
Today Alba Iulia is a great Vauban fortification. It was the capital of Transylvania between 1541 and 1690. In the first part of the 18th century the Austrian Empire transformed Alba Iulia into one of the best defended citadels of the region. Several of the gates have been very well preserved, the third gate being a real masterpiece.
The tour of Romania continues in Turda. Here you’ll visit the local salt mine, one of the best in Europe. The Romans were the first to exploit the salt deposits in Turda, but because of their lack of technology, they had to stop. Much later, the Austrians reopened the salt mines, which remained active until just before the Second World War. Recently renovated, Turda’s salt mine has become one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country, a must for every tourist.
In the afternoon you’ll arrive in Cluj Napoca, the largest and most developed city in Transylvania. Cluj Napoca is one of the oldest settlements in the country. Although the town has been inhabited since pre-Roman times, it was incorporated as a city for the first time only in 1213. You’ll take a stroll around the streets and you’ll admire the most important squares and the architecture of the old town.
Accommodation in Cluj Napoca
Cluj Napoca – Baia Mare – Surdesti – Vadu Izei
Transylvania is known not just for its legends, castles and medieval citadels, but also for the many magnificent estates built over the centuries by the Hungarian noble families. One of them is the estate of Bontida which belonged to the members of the Banffy family, one of the oldest Hungarian noble families of Transylvania. The history of the castle, initially built as a small fort, starts in the 14th century. Later, it was transformed into a castle. Ransacked by the German army during the Second World War, it was then completely neglected by the Communists. The last owner before the Communist regime was Miklos Banffy, the author of the famous “Transylvanian Trilogy.”
The tour of Romania now takes you to a new region of the country. Maramures is known for its wooden churches, several UNESCO sites, hospitable people, unspoiled rural areas, great food, and its colorful traditional costumes.
You’ll stop briefly in the center of Baia Mare, the capital city of Maramures, and then you’ll continue to Surdesti, a village known especially for its wooden church, a fine example of the local architecture.
In the afternoon, you’ll arrive at the village of Vadu Izei where you’ll meet a lovely local family. Prepare yourself for tasty home-made meals and lots of tzuica, the local (and very strong!) plum brandy.
Accommodation in Vadu Izei
VADU IZEI – SIGHETU MARMATIEI – SAPANTA – VADU IZEI
The tour of Maramures starts with Sighetu Marmatiei, a town on the border with Ukraine, a former Jewish center and the birth place of Elie Wiesel. You will observe the daily life of the local market, where farmers come to sell their fresh products.
The next stop will be at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, a former political prison where thousands of innocent people were imprisoned because they dared to disagree with the communist regime. You’ll visit the former cells, now transformed into rooms dedicated to various subjects such as the Cold War and to the various methods of torture that were used.
Probably the most famous tourist attraction in Maramures is the Merry Cemetery. The story started in the 1930s when a local traditional wood carver decided to carve crosses representing the dead during their lifetimes. To the beautiful carvings epitaphs were added, some of them funny, others quite tragic, all painted in the bright.
In the same village you’ll visit the highest wooden structure in the world: the convent of Peri, built for the first time more than 600 years ago and rebuilt in 2003.
In the afternoon you’ll discover the hidden gems of Vadu Izei. Every tour of Maramures should include a visit to a local distillery where the locals make their famous strong tzuica. Maramures boasts many traditional washing wooden installations located along the rivers. Even today, the people of Maramures still come to wash their carpets as they did hundreds of years ago.
Accommodation in Vadu Izei
VADU IZEI – BARSANA – MOLDOVITA – SUCEVITA – BUCOVINA VILLAGE
In the morning we’ll continue our tour in Barsana, a village located along the river Iza. Here you will meet one of the most charismatic craftsmen in Romania. A master woodcarver will show you the wide range of his works, from traditional spoons to traditional wooden houses and gates.
In the same village you’ll make your last stop in Maramures. You’ll be visiting the most impressive wooden convent in Romania. Built more than 600 years ago, this religious complex was rebuilt in 1993 and during the years which followed. You’ll admire the tall and slender silhouette of the church, the stunning wooden buildings, the fine wooden art, and the lovely gardens.
Driving through the beautiful green slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, you’ll reach Bucovina, one of the historical regions of Romania. You’ll pass through the Borgo Pass, made famous by Bram Stoker in his novel “Dracula.”
The tour of Bucovina includes several painted churches, all of them UNESCO sites. We will beginning with the convent in Moldovita. You’ll receive explanations about the frescoes and why they were painted on the exterior walls more than 400 years ago.
The last journey takes you through the gentle mountains of Bucovina. At the end you’ll reach Sucevita, known for its stunning painted church, the most impressive and the best preserved of all the painted churches. This religious complex, which looks more like a fortress, is set in a beautiful valley surrounded by green mountains. Transfer to a village in Bucovina where you will stay overnight.
Accommodation in Bucovina village.
BUCOVINA VILLAGE – VORONET – BICAZ – SZEKLERLAND
Our tour of Romania continues with the convent of Voronet. Voronet is known for its extraordinary painted church. Built in 1448 by the most famous prince of Moldova, the church is known for its unique blue color and for the stunning “Last Judgment” fresco. Painted on an entire wall, the fresco depicts in five horizontal registers the fantastic religious beliefs of the 16th century.
Now we are going to cross the mountains back into Transylvania. On the way we’ll pass through the Bicaz Gorge where nature shows her full splendor. Tall cliffs flank the narrow road, while the river gushes through the gorge. Not far from the gorge lies the Red Lake, a strange attraction with wooden stumps which are still visible in the lake even after hundreds of years after the valley had been completely flooded.
In the afternoon we’ll reach the Szekely region, where the core of the Hungarian minority has lived around 1000 years. We’ll reach a remote Hungarian village where you’ll enjoy a delicious typical dinner in a mansion originally built by an important noble Hungarian family.
Accommodation in Szeklerland
SZEKLERLAND – PREJMER – BRASOV – BRAN
The area known as Szeklerland is one of the best preserved Hungarian regions in Transylvania. In the morning you’ll walk the village roads, you’ll observe regular daily life, the cows being taken to the pastures, and visit the main local attractions.
On the way to Brasov you’ll make a detour to Prejmer*, a fine example of the German fortresses built 800 years ago. The UNESCO site of Prejmer boasts the best preserved fortified church in Transylvania. The church, the oldest building, is surrounded by more than 270 rooms, and boasts massive walls and towers.
Further on, you’ll be transferred to Brasov, another former Saxon town. Founded 700 years ago, Brasov became an important trading town, thanks to its geography. The German architecture is still visible. You’ll roam around the old town admiring the central square, the pedestrian alleys, the great architecture, the famous Black Church,** and narrowest street in all of Romania.
In the afternoon you’ll reach the rural area of Transylvania, where you will enjoy all the wonders of nature and the mountain villages.
* Between November and April, the Prejmer fortified church is closed on Sundays and Mondays. It can be replaced with the Rasnov fortress, if available.
** During the cold months, between November and April, the Black Church will be seen only from outside.
Accommodation in Bran
BRAN – SINAIA – BRAN
The famous castle of Bran is the most visited tourist landmark in Romania. Built about 800 years ago when Transylvania was controlled by Hungarian kings, the castle became a major attraction in the ’60s when it became known as “Dracula’s Castle.” You’ll get to admire its beautiful rooms renovated by Queen Marie of Romania, and you’ll be told the story of Dracula.
In Sinaia, located at the foothills of the Carpathians, you’ll visit the local monastery, the oldest building in the town. Further on, you’ll be literally overwhelmed by the splendor of Peles Castle*. Built by the order of Carol I, the first king of Romania, Peles Castle is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. The unique architecture and exquisite interiors are matched only by the beauty of the Carpathian Mountains themselves.
In the afternoon you’ll take a stroll on the roads of the village and you’ll get to know the real life of a Transylvanian village. You’ll admire the landscape, the traditional houses and courtyards, and the farm animals passing by.
* Peles Castle is closed on Mondays between May 16th and September 15th. For the rest of the year it is closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays. Each year the castle is closed for the entire month of November. Pelisor Castle or the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni may be used as alternatives.
Accommodation in Bran
BRAN – GALATI – DANUBE DELTA
No tour of Romania would be complete without a visit to the Danube Delta. Today you’ll first be transferred to Dobrogea, one of the several historical regions of Romania. Then in Galati, you’ll see for the first time the mighty Danube River, which you will cross by ferry.
On the way to the Danube Delta, you’ll stop for an enjoyable wine-tasting experience. In the afternoon you’ll arrive at the villages of the Delta, where you’ll stay for one night.
Accommodation in Danube Delta
DANUBE DELTA – BUCHAREST
In the morning you’ll take a private boat for a tour of the Danube Delta. The Danube River, the second longest European River after the Volga, changed both the history and geography of the continent of Europe. Napoleon called it “the king of all rivers”.
The three branches of the Danube Delta form the last European nature sanctuary and the largest marshland on the continent. The Delta boasts the largest bed of reeds in the world, which act as a purifier and thus make the local water drinkable. The total area of the delta amounts to 58000ha (143321 acres) and consists of lakes, virgin forests, natural and man-made channels, and the occasional village. There is no better European destination for bird watching, given that the Delta hosts more than 320 species of birds including pelicans, ibises, egrets, and cormorants. There are 45 species of fish, catfish and pike perch being the most common. During the four-hour boat ride you’ll have time to admire all these wonders of nature.
After lunch you’ll be transferred back to Bucharest, where the Danube Delta Tour ends.
Accommodation in Bucharest
In the morning, some free time in Bucharest and transfer to the airport.
End of the tour
- Airport/hotel pick-up and drop-off
- Transport by modern car
- Accommodation for 14 nights in 4-star hotels and B&Bs
- Licensed English-speaking tour guide/driver
- Entrance fees to sites included in the program
- Wine tasting
- Danube Delta boat ride
- Flight ticket
- Hotel extras (telephone, mini bar, etc)
- Drinks (other than water)
- Other meals except breakfast
- Photographing or filming fees at the visited sites
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses