Bucharest – Curtea de Arges – Sibiu – Sighisoara – Cluj Napoca – Sapanta – Moldovita – Sucevita – Voronet – Bicaz – Brasov – Bran – Sinaia – Bucharest.
Arrival in Bucharest – the capital of Romania. Pick-up from the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. In the evening you will meet your tour guide.
Overnight in Bucharest.
After breakfast, a full day sightseeing tour of Bucharest including a visit to the famous Parliament Palace. The walking tour includes the Revolution Square and the bustling old center of Bucharest. You’ll also admire The Village Museum and the famous boulevards and neighborhoods of this interesting city.
The settlement of Bucharest was first mentioned in 1459 and, ever since, the town has gone 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”.
Guinness Book registers the Palace of Parliament as the second largest administrative building in the World, after the Pentagon – with a floor area of 330,000m² – and the third in the world as volume, with 2,550,000m³. The building is situated in the historical and geographical center of Bucharest and it was built on a hill. The building, whose works were started in July 1984, is structured on six levels and divided into 21 body units. It includes a huge combination of monumental sculptures, glided ornaments, decorative flooring, laced ceilings, brocade curtains, heavy carpets and tapestry, all in a succession of chambers, galleries, lavish vast rooms and halls.
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 find out the story of the anticommunist revolution (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 is today the Mecca of bars, restaurants and quaint cobblestone streets.
Overnight and welcome dinner in Bucharest.
Breakfast and departure to Curtea de Arges, the former capital of Walachia and a visit to Curtea de Arges Monastery.
The Episcopal Church, known as the Church of the Curtea de Arges Monastery, was built by the Romanian ruler of Wallachia Neagoe Basarab between 1512-1517. A great legend is connected to this church. It is said Master Manole entombed his wife alive in the walls of the church so that they would never crumble. Manole himself had to be sacrificed for the secret of the monastery’s construction to be preserved forever. Left without a ladder on the roof of the church, at the command of the prince, Manole made himself wings from wooden laths and tried to fly: he crashed to earth and a spring welled from his body. This is the legend of Manole’s Well. In 1875, the beautiful trefoil church was demolished and rebuilt by French architect Andre Lecomte du Nouy. The Episcopal Church of Curtea de Arges houses the tomb of its founder, Neagoe Basarab, and of other members of the royal family (Kings Carol I and Ferdinand, Queens Elisabet and Mary and KIng Michael, who died in December 2017).
In the afternoon we will drive along the picturesque Olt Valley to visit Cozia Monastery.
Mircea the Elder, ruler of Walachia and grandfather of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), built Cozia Monastery in the 14th century. Here you’ll have a first contact with the painted frescoes. On the entrance wall of the church you’ll see an impressive “Last Judgment” fresco.
Overnight and dinner in Sibiu.
After breakfast, you will enjoy a walking tour of Sibiu.
One of the most beautiful Romanian towns, due to its unique architectural style and to the impressive complex of museums, Sibiu was awarded the official title of 2007 European Capital of Culture. Sibiu has a vast number of museums organized around the two great centers: The Brukenthal Museum and the Astra Museum. The town’s tourist attractions are: The Evangelical Church, The Orthodox Cathedral, The Roman-Catholic Church, The Stairs Tower, The Council Tower, etc
Drive to Biertan to visit the impressive Saxon fortified church.
The village of Biertan (German: Birthalm), first mentioned in an official document in 1283, is home to one of the largest and most impressive medieval strongholds in Transylvania. Surrounded by quaint streets and vineyards, the 15th century fortified church at Biertan is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village. Three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls, connected by towers and gates, encircled the complex, making the church impossible to conquer during medieval times. Featuring late-Gothic architecture with heavy doors and double exterior walls, the church boasts the largest Transylvanian wooden altar and a remarkable wooden door which once protected the treasures in the sacristy. The altar was built by artisans from Vienna (Austria) and Nurenberg (Germany) between 1483 and 1513. The door, a true marvel of engineering, has an ingenious locking mechanism with 19 bolts that can be simultaneously activated by a key.
The day continues with a stroll on the streets of Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (also known as Dracula). We will visit the medieval citadel (the Upper Town): the Clock Tower and the Church on the Hill.
The medieval town of Sighisoara is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list as being the only inhabited citadel in Europe. It is a popular tourist destination, due to its particular architecture, as well as to the strong connection that exists between the citadel and the legendary image of vampire-prince Dracula.
Departure to Targu Mures – panoramic tour of the elegant city center well known for its architecture. We will continue our journey to Cluj Napoca, one of the oldest cities of Romania.
Overnight and dinner in Cluj Napoca.
The name Cluj comes from Castrum Clus, first used in the 12-th century as the name of the citadel surrounding the city. Clus means “closed” in Latin and refers to the hills that surround the city.
After breakfast we will head towards the region of Maramures, a place where the purity of nature blends with the beauty of the old villages, a place with untouched traditions, like building with carved wood.
Passing through Baia Mare you will reach the UNESCO site of Surdesti. The local wooden church, built in the 18th century, is an amazing example of the local architecture, a wooden church surrounded by a well preserved rural landscape.
Crossing the Gutai Mountains you’ll arrive to Sapanta village where you will admire the famous Merry Cemetery.
The Merry Cemetery has gained originality and value due to the chopped, carved and painted crosses on which the artisan has chiseled out versified epitaphs, most of them full of a remarkable sense of humor, particular to the area and to all the Romanians. The value of these works of art is recognized both at home and abroad. In the same village you’ll admire the highest wooden structure in the world: Peri Convent, recently rebuilt.
In Sighet you will hear more about the horrors of the communist regime. You will visit a former prison where during the communist years many important Romanian leaders, but also ordinary people who were against the regime lost their lives.
The day ends at a local guesthouse where you’ll meet a wonderful family. It is here where you’ll enjoy a rich dinner and plenty of tuica also known as palinca which is a sort of strong plum brandy. You are going to enjoy a room with private bathroom.
Overnight and traditional dinner in Sapanta.
Today the journey is long and beautiful. First, you will visit Toader Barsan’s house, a local wood carver who took part in the Smithsonian World Festival in Washington. In the same village, you’ll visit one of the highest wooden churches in the world, Barsana Convent.
Perched on the hills of Maramures, overlooking the Iza Valley, the Barsana Convent is one of the most impressive monastic places of Romania despite being recently rebuilt. The slender and tall silhouette of the wooden church, the carvings of each building and the amazing garden represent a perfect symbol of the strong faith of the locals, their skills and nature.
Driving through the famous Borgo Pass where you’ll enjoy a tasty lunch at the Dracula Castle Hotel, you will reach Bucovina, known for its painted monasteries and for the traditional houses adorned with beautiful floral and geometrical motifs, for its traditions and its hospitable people.
The Convent of Moldovita is the first painted church we will visit in Bucovina. It is famous for its “Siege of Constantinople” fresco. Then you’ll be driven to the nearby Sucevita Monastery, which is the largest of all, looking more like a mighty fortress than a monastery. The monastic place, as the last one to be painted on the exterior walls, boasts the best preserved frescoes of Bucovina.
Overnight and dinner in Sucevita.
Today the journey is long, but impressive. The first visit of the day is at the most famous painted monastery of all, Voronet Convent.
Built in 1488, Voronet Monastery represented one of the first Moldavian creative elements showing a distinctive style. The church is a combination of Byzantine, Gothic and local elements. The exterior painting on the western wall depicts, on five registers, the Doomsday scene, unique in the whole world. The Voronet Monastery entered the universal cultural heritage also for having in the composition of the paintings the inimitable “Voronet blue” (its composition has been kept secret).
We will leave behind Moldova and enter again into Transylvania. It is here where you’ll be astonished by the wonders of the nature. The Bicaz Gorge and Red Lake are among the most known landmarks of Romania.
Overnight and dinner in Brasov
After breakfast you will enjoy a walking tour of Brasov with a visit of the old downtown. Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels*, Brasov has a distinct medieval ambiance. It has been used as backdrop in many recent period films.You’ll admire beautiful buildings like the Black Church (built in Gothic and Renaissance style and also the largest Gothic church in Romania). You will also walk on the narrowest street in Romania, the Rope Street and see Schei and Catherine’s Gates, St. Nicholas Church and the old Schei neighborhood.
Then, you will visit the famous Bran castle also known as Dracula’s castle.
The Bran Castle was a safeguard castle for the trade route that connected Transylvania and Wallachia. It was built by the people of Brasov between 1377 – 1378. The Castle, known to the public as the residence of Bram Stoker’s character has had different owners across centuries. After the first world war it became a royal residence, as the Brasov City Council offered the castle to Queen Mary of Romania. It was a gift expressing gratitude for Queen Mary’s involvement in the Romanian Great Union (1918).
After a scenic drive you will leave Transylvania and you will stop in Sinaia to visit the most beautiful castle in Romania – Peles Castle.
The Peles Castle, built in two stages between 1875 and 1914, was the summer residence of King Carol I and his wife, Queen Elisabet. The museum complex in Sinaia includes both Peles castle and Pelisor castle and the Foisor royal residence.
Overnight and dinner in Bucharest.
In the morning free time in Bucharest and transfer to the airport.