Budapest to Sofia Tour

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Budapest to Sofia Tour - 13 days

From Hungary to Bulgaria via Romania, 3 countries in one tour

The Budapest to Sofia Tour crosses three of the most beautiful Eastern European countries, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. It takes you from Budapest, the romantic capital of Hungary, to the surprising city of Sofia, Bulgaria. During this 13 day trip, you will discover unique cities, be pampered in the famous thermal baths from Budapest, taste the delicious local cuisine, admire the mighty Danube river (known as the King of the European rivers) and the breathtaking Carpathian Mountains, experience the rural life in charming and picturesque villages from Transylvania, get in touch with the local people, visit impressive UNESCO Monuments, listen to old legends about medieval castles and cities, and hear about how life used to be behind the Iron Curtain.

Type: private, cultural

Distance: 2500km / 1553mi

Countries: Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria

Accommodation: 4-star hotels and superior guesthouses

This tour is private and can be scheduled based on your request. We kindly inform you that some of the sites included in the program might be closed, so we suggest you contact us before booking your flights to Bucharest.

Group of 2-3 persons - €3685 / person sharing a double room 

Group of 4-7 persons - €2793 / person sharing a double room

Single Supplement: €400

Highlights of the tour:


  • Hungary
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria


  • Budapest
  • Eger
  • Cluj Napoca
  • Alba Iulia
  • Sibiu
  • Brasov
  • Bucharest
  • Veliko Tarnovo
  • Plovdiv
  • Sofia

Major Sights

  • The Hungarian Parliament
  • Mathias Church
  • Danube Cruise Dinner
  • Budapest Hot Springs
  • Merry Cemetery
  • Turda Salt Mine
  • Bran Castle
  • Peles Castle
  • The Romanian Parliament
  • Tsarevets Fortress
  • Plovdiv Roman Ruins

UNESCO Attractions

  • Danube banks in Budapest
  • Surdesti Wooden Church
  • Sighisoara
  • Biertan Fortified Church
  • Ivanovo Rock-hewn Churches

Day 1
BUDAPEST (40min drive)

Arrival in the capital of Hungary. You’ll be transferred from the airport to Budapest. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight in Budapest: 4-star hotel

Day 2 

Today you will discover the city of Budapest, capital of Hungary, considered the most beautiful city in Eastern Europe. Budapest occupies both banks and the Danube River: the West Hill, Buda, and the East plain, Pest. According to a local joke, Budapest people can be easily divided into those who live in Buda and those who want to live in Buda. This being said, you will start the visit of the city with Buda, crossing over the Danube river on the famous Chain Bridge, one of the most known landmarks of Budapest, built-in 1849. Guarded by two lions at each end, the bridge became a symbol of freedom in 1989 when people demonstrated against the communist regime.

Built for the first time in the 13th century and defended by thick walls, Buda Castle was many times modified. It became a real castle in the 14th-15th centuries, during the reign of Sigismund of Luxemburg. After the Turkish invasions from the 15th century, the castle was rebuilt in the 18th century by King Charles and his daughter, Empress Maria Theresa. Affected by the Second World War, it was renovated and brought to its former glory.

Further on, you’ll admire the beautiful buildings of the Castle District, and you’ll reach Matthias Church, the first parish church of Budapest. The church was built for the first time in the 13th century, but it was many times modified.

Right next to the Matthias Church, one can see the Fisherman’s Bastion, built in 1905. The edifice, a combination of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque styles, attracts the visitor’s attention with its seven towers, symbolizing the seven tribes that came to Hungary in 896. Get back to Central Pest and see from the car the Deák Square, Elizabeth Square, Basilica, Opera, Andrassy Boulevard, Liszt Ferenc Square, the Heroes’ Square, and the City Park.

At noon, enjoy lunch in a typical Hungarian restaurant and head to the Palace of the Parliament,  the largest building in Hungary and still the highest building in Budapest. Inspired by London’s House of Parliament's design, the Hungarian building is constructed in the Gothic Revival style, having a central dome and a symmetrical façade that displays statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders, and famous military figures. The Palace was inaugurated in 1896, but the construction was completed later on, in 1904. Sadly, Imre Steindl, the architect of the building, went blind before its completion.

The visit inside the Palace of the Parliament lasts about 45 minutes, during which you will admire great ornamental stairs, frescoes on the ceiling, stained glass, busts, official conference halls like the Assembly Hall of the House of Representatives, and the original Holy Crown of Hungary, which has been displayed in the central hall since 2000.

The rest of the day is free. As a tip, we suggest that you enjoy a romantic walk in the evening along the Danube river and admire the city so beautifully enlightened. You won’t regret it!

Overnight in Budapest: 4-star hotel

Budapest, Hungary

Day 3

The city of Budapest is also well known for the abundance of hot springs. It is really a blessing, and that is why you cannot say you have visited Budapest if you haven’t seen and, most importantly, experienced the hot baths and spa establishments, a habit here since the time of the Romans. So, if you’ll do it, you should do it right!*

In the evening, enjoy a great cruise dinner over the Danube river, a special experience you should not miss while in Budapest.

*Please note that this activity is optional and can be provided on request.

Overnight in Budapest: 4-star hotel

The Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

Day 4 

Today will be a long day, as you will leave Hungary and head to the 2nd country, Romania. On the way, stop for a short walk in Eger, a town full of history, beautiful buildings, and good restaurants.

In the afternoon, cross the border and enter Romania. After the plain scenery from Hungary, now we are changing the register completely as the Carpathian Mountains are welcoming you to the first historical region of Romania, Maramures. Located in the Northside of the country, Maramures is a land of old traditions and inspiration for the saying, “Romania starts where the asphalt ends.” You will be driven along with picturesque mountain villages and stop at Sapanta to visit an out-of-the-ordinary cemetery, the Merry Cemetery.  Stan Ioan Patras, a local carver, had the idea of carving wooden crosses, which were painted in bright colors. Each cross depicts an image of the buried one and more or less funny epitaphs.

In the evening, head to a charming village where you will enjoy a great traditional homemade dinner prepared by a local family.

Overnight in the village – homestay, room with private bathroom

Eger, Hungary

Day 5 

In the morning, enjoy a traditional breakfast, then prepare to visit the household and learn how the people live in this region.

Leave the village and head to Surdesti to visit the wooden church, a UNESCO Heritage Monument. The construction boasts the purity of the locals’ faith, the outstanding talent of the locals in building wooden constructions, and a great level of modesty through its traditional simplicity.

Continue the journey and prepare to enter the legendary land of Transylvania, the one about which Prince Charles of Wales used to say: “Transylvania is the last corner of Europe where you see true sustainability and complete resilience. There’s so much we can learn from it before it’s too late.  ”

The first stop in Transylvania will be in Bontida village, where you will see and find out the story of the Banffy Castle and the family who owned it: 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 last stop of the day will be in Cluj Napoca, one of the oldest cities in Romania, dating from the Romans’ time. After checking in at the hotel, you will start a short walking tour of the small historical center of Cluj and admire the Matthias statue, the Catholic Cathedral, the main squares, and the beautiful architecture of the buildings located along the streets.

Overnight in Cluj Napoca: 4-star hotel

Rural Maramures, Romania

Day 6

In the morning, leave Cluj Napoca and start to explore the legendary land of Transylvania. The first stop is at Turda Salt Mine, considered the most beautiful and modern salt mine in Romania, very well appreciated abroad. The first excavations here date back to the 13th century (one of the oldest salt mines in the world), and after 1932 this huge underground space was used as a bomb shelter during WWII and even as a cheese storage center. Nowadays, one heads down more than 90 meters to discover the history of the salt mine and salt excavations in Romania. Probably the most important is the theme park, which, once you reach it, gives you the feeling of being in a wonderland. You will find an underground lake with rowing boats for the visitors, an amphitheater, a bowling alley, ping pong courts, and even a Ferris wheel.

Prepare to leave this science fiction land and get back on the ground to continue your adventure in Transylvania.

You will head to Alba Iulia, an iconic place people call “Romania’s spiritual capital city” or “the Capital of the Union.” This ancient city boasts the largest medieval citadel in Romania, Alba Carolina citadel, designed in Vauban style. Before walking in the citadel, visit the beautiful Coronation Cathedral, an Orthodox worship place built to host the Coronation ceremony of the second Royal Couple of Romania, Queen Marie and King Ferdinand, in 1922, at the end of WWI. Head then to Saint Michael’s Catholic Cathedral, located right next to the Orthodox one. The Catholic Cathedral is contemporary, with the Notre Dame of Paris being built between 1247 and 1291.

In the afternoon, travel to Sibiu, the last stop of the day. You will be impressed for sure with this beautiful medieval city, founded by the Saxon colonists in 1190 and declared in 2007 the European Capital of Culture. Hermannstadt, under its German name, is considered to be the most beautiful city in Romania, no matter the season. You will explore the city on foot and admire the Small Square with the famous Liars Bridge and the Large Square surrounded by beautiful buildings, making you feel like you turned back time. You will also see Huet Square with the most impressive building of Sibiu, the Evangelical Church, featuring the tallest tower in Transylvania and the largest organ in South-Eastern Europe.

Overnight in Sibiu: 4-star hotel

Turda Salt Mine, Transylvania, Romania

Day 7 

Today, you will get even deeper into the typical Transylvanian scenery.

Head to Sighisoara and visit the charming medieval citadel (UNESCO Heritage), one of the oldest medieval citadels in Europe. Also founded by the Saxon colonists from Transylvania, the citadel of Sighisoara is a place you should not miss while in Transylvania. Once you get inside, you will feel yourself like in a medieval movie set and expect at any moment to see a princess walking next to a knight along the narrow cobblestone streets. Take a walk in the citadel and discover its story. Visit the Clock Tower and enjoy from the top the beautiful panoramic view of the whole citadel, admire the walls of fortification and the towers of defense, climb the Scholar’s stairs and reach the beautiful Evangelical Church on the Hill, and, of course, discover the house where it is believed that Vlad the Impaler, known as Vlad Dracula, was born.

Head to a Transylvanian village, a picturesque, small settlement frozen in time. You will enjoy a short tour of the village during which you will admire the beautiful architecture of the Saxon Houses, and you will observe the daily life of the villagers, the horse-drawn carts passing by. In the evening, enjoy a tasty homemade dinner and overnight stay in a typical, comfortable Saxon house, which re-enacts the old life of the locals.

Overnight in Transylvanian village – room with private bathroom

Sighisoara, Transylvania, Romania

Day 8 

After a delicious traditional breakfast, leave the village and head to another picturesque settlement, Viscri. Cross the rolling hills of Transylvania and reach one of the Saxon villages where Prince Charles of Wales spends his holiday every spring while in Romania. Viscri is another village frozen in time, famous for the well-preserved 12th century fortified church. The worship place is a UNESCO Heritage site. It impresses the visitors through the beautiful medieval architecture, the local museum which presents the daily life of the Saxons, and, of course, the view over the whole village from the top of the church’s tower.

Leave this magic land and head to another place surrounded by mystery, Bran village. Here you will find out the legendary Count Dracula's story and visit Bran Castle, which became so famous thanks to the Legend of Dracula.

Go to Brasov, another typical Saxon city, also known as Kronstadt, the “City of the Crown.”

Overnight in Brasov: 4-star hotel

Bran Castle

Day 9 

After breakfast, you will enjoy a short walking tour of Brasov, a medieval city founded in the 13th century. You will see the Council Square guarded by the symbol of the city, the Council Tower, visit the Black Church (during the cold months between November and April, the church will be seen from outside), one of the largest Gothic worship places in Eastern Europe, discover one of the narrowest streets in Europe, the Rope Street, and finally, admire the beautiful mountains which surround the city.

After Brasov, prepare to leave the land of Transylvania and head to Wallachia, another historical province of Romania located in the southern part of the country. The drive will be pleasant as you will admire the mountain scenery and learn more about the Carpathian Mountains chain and its importance to Romania.

Stop in Sinaia, a beautiful mountain resort, also known as the “Pearl of the Carpathians.” Visit here Peles Royal Castle*, considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. Peles represents the former summer residence of the first royal couple of Romania, Queen Elisabeth and King Carol I.

As you visit the castle (ground floor exhibition), you will admire the unique interior design and get surprised by the modern facilities of the castle for the last half of the 19th century (electricity, vacuum cleaner, electrical elevator, and central heating). Peles Castle is also the place where you will find out the story of the Royal couples of Romania and their importance in the history of our country. After the visit, spend some time in the small garden of the castle, admiring the mountains surrounding the estate.

Before leaving the mountain resort, visit Sinaia Monastery, a beautiful Orthodox Monastery representing the first establishment to be built in this area in the 17th century.

In the evening, head to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.

* Peles Castle is closed on Mondays. Rasnov fortress or the Cantacuzino Castle in Busteni may be used as alternatives.

Overnight in Bucharest: 4-star hotel

Peles Castle, Sinaia, Romania

Day 10

After breakfast, a full-day sightseeing tour of Bucharest, including the visit to the famous Parliament Palace, the walking tour includes Revolution Square and the bustling old center of Bucharest. You’ll admire as well The Village Museum and famous boulevards and neighborhoods of this interesting city.

The settlement of Bucharest was first mentioned in 1459, and, ever since, the town went through a series of continuous changes, representing the central scene of Romania’s political, artistic, university, financial and cultural life. Between the two world wars, due to the elegant architecture and to the elite living in Bucharest, the city was nicknamed “The Little Paris.”

During the tour of Bucharest, you’ll stop to visit the Romanian Parliament, the largest administrative building in Europe. The building is located in Bucharest's historical and geographical center, and it was built on a hill. The building, whose works were started in July 1984, includes a huge combination of monumental sculptures, gilded ornaments, decorative flooring, laced ceilings, brocade curtains, heavy carpets tapestry, all in a succession of chambers, galleries, lavish vast rooms, and halls. It’s the perfect image of a regime detached from reality, a regime that didn’t care at all about the real needs of the Romanian society.

Located in a green area of Bucharest and inaugurated in 1936, The Village Museum is one of the most beautiful and most interesting museums in the country. It boasts old and original houses brought from different parts of the country. In The Revolution Square, you’ll get the story of the anti-communist revolution from 1989, and you’ll find out more about the hardships an entire nation had to suffer for 45 years. The day ends with what became the most bustling area of Bucharest, The Old Center. Once the place of princely families and nobles, later an area of the craftsmen, the old center became today the Mecca of bars, restaurants, and quaint cobblestone streets.

Overnight in Bucharest: 4-star hotel

The Savings Bank, Bucharest, Romania

Day 11

In the morning, prepare to leave Romania and enter the second country of your journey, Bulgaria.

First, you’ll reach the remote area of the Ivanovo Churches. Part of the UNESCO heritage since 1979, the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo boast some stunning frescos dating back to the 13th-14th centuries. The monastic life was founded in the 13th century by the future patriarch of Bulgaria, Joachim. All these churches are located in the beautiful valley of the Rusenski Lom River.

Then, stop in Arbanassi, located right next to Veliko Tarnovo, a little and quaint village with a strong medieval atmosphere. You’ll enjoy a stroll, and you’ll admire the beautiful houses.

In the afternoon, you will arrive in Veliko Tarnovo, also known as the City of the Tsars. Located on the banks of the Yantra River, Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It is given as one of the strongest fortifications in the area. Even today, the most impressive tourist attraction of the old town is the fortress. You’ll roam on the alleys of the former Tsarevets palace, and you’ll visit the former patriarchal church, rebuilt in modern times. You’ll be taken along the old streets and alleys of the town where you’ll admire the local architecture and the beautiful panorama.

In the afternoon you’ll be transferred to Plovdiv.

Overnight in Plovdiv: 4-star hotel

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Day 12
PLOVDIV – SOFIA (1h 45min drive)

After breakfast, enjoy a tour of Plovdiv, the second-largest city after Sofia.

Here you’ll find out more about the old town with its 3,000 years long history. And the best place to do this is the ancient Roman Amphitheater, which boasts impressive marble statues, decorative columns, and arcades.

In the afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sofia. You are going to visit Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral – one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in Europe, as well as one of Sofia’s symbols and a primary tourist attraction, Saint George Roman Rotunda dating from the 4th century, Saint Sophia Basilica built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, the Ruins of Serdica, the National Theatre Ivan Vazov, the former Royal Palace, the Synagogue, etc.

Overnight in Sofia: 4-star hotel

Sofia, Bulgaria

Day 13
SOFIA – AIRPORT (40min drive)

You’ll be transferred to the airport according to your flight schedule.

End of the tour


Group of 2-3 persons - €3685 / person sharing a double room

Group of 4-7 persons - €2793 / person sharing a double room

Single Supplement: €400


  • Private airport transfers in Budapest and Sofia
  • Transport by modern car/minibus, fuel included
  • Accommodation for 12 nights in 4-star hotels and superior B&Bs
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Licensed English-speaking tour guide/driver in Romania
  • Licensed English-speaking tour leader/driver in Hungary and Bulgaria
  • Entrance fees to sites included in the program
  • Danube River Dinner Cruise
  • Homemade dinner on Day 4 and Day 7

Not Included:

  • Flight ticket
  • Spa visit in Budapest (Optional – about 20 Euros per person)
  • Hotel extras (telephone, mini bar, etc)
  • Other meals except for breakfast
  • Photographing or filming fees at the visited sites
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses

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