Roaming Through Romania
September 29 – October 10, 2020
Have a desire to dig deeper into Europe and go off the beaten tourist path? Enjoy villages and cultural interactions with locals? We have the destination for you! Our Romania tour is ready to launch, and will take you to visit old-world Europe in leisurely paced, hands-on, small group experience.
This tour will be offered again in late September 2020. NOTE: This tour will not be led by Sarah, but she’s organizing it. It will be led by highly capable colleagues with Sarah’s personal seal of approval.
Romania Tour (11 days)
Sep 29-Oct 10, 2020
Cost: $2950 per person, airfare not included, $600 non-refundable deposit required at time of registration.
Tour price includes all transportation within the tour, 11 nights accommodation, 5 dinners and some lunches, all breakfasts, taxes, tips, admissions within the tour, and local fees.
Extra fees: Transfers to/from hotels from hotels can be arranged by us, but paid by you.
Singles Welcome! We can try to pair you up with another single to room with, otherwise you can purchase a single supplement for $450.
Keeping it Small and Personal!
We have enjoyed our small groups so much that we will continue to keep numbers low and personal attention high. This tour will have a maximum of 20, likely fewer depending on the group make-up.
This tour will be led by our fantastic Romanian colleague, Alexandra, and our American/Slovenian partner Andrew.
Days 1-4 in Cluj and Maramures region (NW Romania)
• Discover the rural fairytale of Maramures region where things have changed little in the past few centuries. You can still see folks dress in traditional clothing, skilled craftsmen build towering wooden churches, carve elaborate wooden gates and locals invite you into their homes for a Horinca plum brandy. Maramures contains many UNESCO protected wooden churches 17th and 18th century.
• Enjoy the Merry Cemetery, which owes its name to the carved and decorated wooden gravestones with colorful and often humorous epitaphs.
• Get spectacular autumn colors as we spend an afternoon on a narrow gauge steam engine train running through the rich forests of the Vaser Valley.
Days 5-6 Bucovina region (NE Romania)
• Visits to all four of the ‘Sistine Chapels of the East’. Romania’s magnificently kept painted monasteries have their exterior walls adorned with traditional Orthodox frescoes painted in Byzantine style and date from the 16th century,
Days 7-11 Transylvania region
• Tour the historic city of Brasov, an important craft centre for the German Saxons in the 14th-18th centuries that includes the gothic Black Church, filled with rich tapestries from Turkey.
• Visit the birthplace of the real Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) in Sighisoara, the only medieval citadel in Europe that is still populated.
• Learn the traditional recipes of the Romanian kitchen with a cooking class in a small Transylvanian village.
• Nature walk through the Southern Carpathian mountains with a local wildlife expert.
Tour begins in Cluj Napoca (airport code CJU) and ends in Bucharest (airport code BUH).
Details and Daily Itinerary
Day 1: Cluj
Transfer from airport to hotel. Walking tour around the bustling university city of Cluj, Transylvania’s capital. Welcome dinner.
One night Cluj at a central hotel.
Day 2: Maramures and Rural Romania
Depart Cluj and travel north to the rural fairytale that is the Maramures region. Maramures means “country of the wood” and you’ll marvel at the skilled craftsmanship of the towering wooden churches and elaborate carvings on gates and houses in all the small villages that we visit. The next 3 days we’ll see that life has changed little in the past few centuries and you will see folks still dressed in traditional clothing. Today we visit the village of Surdesti with its impressive oak church with a spire that reaches a height of 72m – second highest wooden church in Europe. Continuing on a scenic drive past rolling hills, idyllic villages and cone shaped haystacks before arriving at our hotel. 3 nights in Maramures
Day 3: overnight in Maramures region
Get spectacular autumn colors as we spend morning to mid-afternoon on a narrow gauge steam engine train running through the rich forests of the Vaser Valley. On the way back we visit Barsana convent, one of the eight churches in Maramures on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. As with other wooden structures here, no power tools or nails were used in the construction. Visit to the workshop of famous wood handicraftsman and Romania’s foremost carver. Home cooked dinner in one of the villages.
Day 4: overnight in Maramures region
First part of the day exploring more small towns and villages such as Sarbi, that has many water pools (or valtori as they’re known in Romanian) which are the village washing machines! One of the locals here makes a very strong Horinca (plum brandy) that those brave enough can try. We’ll also visit an artisan who makes traditional straw hats. Then we travel along the Tisa river, that marks the border with Ukraine, to Sapanta, a village famous for its Merry Cemetery, that owes its name to the carved and decorated wooden gravestones with colorful and often humorous epitaphs.
Day 5: overnight in Bucovina region
We say goodbye to Maramures but our next destination is equally beautiful in landscape and in culture. Our journey to the Bucovina region goes over the Prislop Pass, a scenic road in the Northern Carpathians. Visits to the country’s magnificently painted monasteries, known as the ‘Sistine Chapels of the East’. Unlike normal monasteries and churches, these have their exterior walls adorned with traditional Orthodox frescoes painted in Byzantine style from the 16th century. Today we visit two of them. The blue paint of Voroneț Monastery has a shade of blue that’s identical with the Bucovina sky in autumn. The most famous painting on Voronet is the large west outside wall covered with The Last Judgment (big fire, people waiting to be judged: angels and devils fighting over them). At Humor monastery the predominant hues of the frescoes are reddish brown. Traditional home-cooked dinner made from fresh produce of local farmers and our B&B’s own orchards and small chicken farm.
Day 6: overnight in Bucovina region
Visits to the other two painted monasteries: Sucevita and Moldovita. Sucevita looks an imposing fortress with its towers and buttresses. Its centerpiece is the Siege at Constantinople. Moldovita monastery dates back from 1532 It has the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls and is decorated with scenes from the 16th century Moldavian life. Visit with local artist painting traditional style Easter eggs.
Day 7: overnight in Malancrav
We travel from Bucovina into Transylvania. Stop in Sighişoara, the only medieval citadel in the world that is still inhabited. Tour around its atmospheric and well-preserved walled old quarter. Tour includes the 210 foot high Clock Tower, the Venetian House, the Stag House and the Dracula house – the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. Overnight in Saxon village of Malancrav with lodging in one of the traditional village houses.
Day 8: overnight in Malancrav
We start our day exploring a string of small Saxon towns with fortified churches such as Biertan and Richis, both UNESCO heritage sites. Then it’s time to get your hands dirty as we learn the traditional cuisine of the Romanian kitchen with a cooking class hosted by villagegrandmas to pass down their family recipes and help out with authenticity.
Day 9: overnight in Brasov
Depart our tranquil village and head to Brasov. Established by Transylvanian Saxons in early Middle
Ages, Brasov has one of the best preserved historical centres in Romania. This city became an important craft centre for the German Saxons in the 14th-18th centuries. The guided tour of the citytakes us to the Council Square, Black Church (features a rich collection of tapestries from Anatolia region of Turkey), Rope Street (narrowest street in Europe), The White and Black Towers and the Defense Walls.
Day 10: overnight in Brasov
Visit to Piatra Craiului National Park (Nicole Kidman’s Cold Mountainwas filmed here) where the largest populations of wolves, bears and lynx in all of Europe can be found. And now for something guests don’t do everyday, we go track wolves in the forests and alpine meadows. We’ll also learn about myths, legends and traditional beliefs surrounding wolves and their close historic and cultural ties to the Romanian people. Stop at impressive 13th century fortress of Rasnov on the way back to Brasov.
Day 11: overnight in Bucharest
Depart Brasov and travel to Bucharest. On the way we stop at in the town of Sinaia, nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains. Visit to the stunning Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture built by King Charles I. Continue on to Bucharest, Romania’s capital. Visit to the Palace of the National Military Circle where we’ll tap into Bucharest’s social habits from the beginning of the 19th century and explore the old city center, including the charming Stavropoleos Monastery. Farewell dinner.
Day 12: transfer to airport – end of tour
Ready to Book Our Romania Tour?
Email Sarah at email@example.com for registration forms. Deposit is $600 per person. Balance is due 60 days before the tour departs.