A remarkable tour of Romania, this journey begins at Bucharest’s majestic monuments and takes you to medieval towns and rural villages, legendary castles and iconic ‘painted churches’, via mountain roads, river gorges, idyllic landscapes and inspiring heritage
Bucharest - 2 nights
Sibiu - 1 night
Sighisoara - 1 night
Cluj-Napoca - 1 night
Gura Humorului - 2 nights
Brasov - 2 nights
Visiting the largest, the loveliest and the legendary monuments of urban and rural Romania, this tour is a variety of times, traditions, and tempo.
It starts in the capital, Bucharest, its enormous Palace of Parliament the heaviest construction on earth, and second only to the Pentagon in the world’s largest administrative buildings.
The next day is entirely different, with goats outnumbering people in the Olt Valley gorge, and old-world Sibiu straddling the Cibin river. Malancrav is ‘the village where time stood still’, evoking age-old customs of rural Transylvania.
Biertan was the seat of Saxon Evangelical bishops for three centuries, its fortified church now a UNESCO site; while Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, is a small city with a huge history, covering a thousand years and colouring its cobbled streets with rainbow-spanning façades; and Târgu Mures, ‘the city of roses’, displays a Hungarian/Romanian cultural blend.
Cluj-Napoca is a large and lively hub of arts and academia, in contrast to bucolic Bucovina and its unique cluster of Byzantine ‘painted monasteries’; and Sinaia’s royal summer residence, Peles Castle, has little in common with the myths and mysteries of Bran’s fortress, ‘Dracula’s Castle’.
Cultural & Countryside Tour
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
No Single Supplement
Local Guide Throughout
Day 1 Fly from London Heathrow to Bucharest and transfer to the 4-star Mercure City Center Hotel for a two-night stay.
Day 2 A tour of the capital city shows you the huge white edifice of the Palace of the Parliament (as deep as it is tall, with eight of its twenty storeys underground); the 17th-century Metropolitan Church (aka the Patriarchal Cathedral); the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall with its Baroque cupola; the Arcul de Triumf, commemorating WW1 with more than a nod to its Paris equivalent; and the open-air Village Museum, recreating traditional rural life. (B)
Day 3 Travel through the country’s longest gorge, the 47km Olt Valley, to Cozia Monastery, where its cupolas are reflected in the river, and its Byzantine style cloister is the only one remaining in Romania; continue to Sibiu, its Old Town circling three main squares with pastel-painted buildings. A walking tour includes Large Square and Huet Square; Liar’s Bridge (or Bridge of Lies), the first cast iron bridge in southeast Europe; and a visit to the Bruckenthal Museum, another ‘first’, the Baroque palace opening in 1817 as the country’s only museum. Overnight at the 4-star Hotel Ramada in Sibiu. (B)
Day 4 After a morning at leisure, visit the village of Malancrav for lunch, with Saxon architecture, a 14th-century church, and five wooden staircases climbing to fabulous views from the top of the tower. Drive to Biertan to visit the 15th-century fortified church, crowning a hill, encircled by the village below, its tiered ten-metre-high walls connected by towers; and continue to Sighisoara, for an overnight stay at the 4-star DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cavaler. (B, L)
Day 5 Delightfully stroll-able Sighisoara is UNESCO listed as one of the best-preserved medieval towns of southeast Europe. Within the multi-towered city walls, a walking tour of its cobbled lanes passes ornate churches and burgher houses, to visit the 14th-century Clock Tower, the former watchtower now providing panoramic views. Travel to Târgu Mures (‘market on the River Mures’), where Roses Square is lined with cafés, churches, monuments, and the Palace of Culture, which we visit to see its stained-glass hall and museums. Continue to Cluj-Napoca, a vibrant, elegant and arty city, where a walking tour shows you the prestigious National Theatre and the 15th-century Gothic St. Michael’s Cathedral, a landmark on lovely Piata Unirii (Union Square). Overnight at the 4-star DoubleTree by Hilton - City Plaza. (B)
Day 6The journey to Bucovina includes a visit to Bistrita, set by its namesake river at the foot of the Bargau Mountains, known for its 15th-16th century merchant houses and for its unhurried tempo. Cross the Tihuta Pass, 1,100m above sea level, the factual road of Bram Stoker’s fictional ‘Borgo Pass’, the gateway to Dracula’s realm. Continue to the town of Gura Humorului, at the confluence of two rivers. Two nights at the 4-star Best Western Bucovina. (B)
Day 7 We tour the best of Bucovina’s Byzantine treasures, the UNESCO World Heritage ‘painted churches’, including the best preserved, Sucevita, with imposing walls, defensive towers, and distinctive greens in its frescoes; and the most famous, Voronet Monastery, its epithet ‘the Sistine Chapel of the East’, its blue paint, incredibly unfaded by time, known worldwide as Voronet Blue. (B, L)
Day 8 A superbly scenic journey today takes us through the dramatic beauty of Bicaz Canyon, the rocky gorge carved by millennia of its river’s flow, and to the Red Lake, its water coloured by sediments of iron oxide. Formed from an earthquake in 1838, and flooding a former forest, the lake is studded with the (now petrified) tree trunks, which rise like silent witnesses above the water. Continue to historic Brasov, with its Saxon city walls and Gothic ‘Black Church’, for a two-night stay at the 4-star Aro Palace Hotel. (B)
Day 9 Travel the medieval route linking Wallachia and Transylvania, to picturesque Sinaia, ‘The Pearl of the Carpathians’, to visit Peles Castle, a fairy-tale confection of wood and marble, towers and spires, romance and ingenuity. Continue to Bran to visit ‘Dracula’s Castle’ atop its rocky cliff. The turreted fortress has an air of mystery about it, but its interior is a far-from-menacing mix of beamed rooms and hidden stairways. Return to Brasov and walk through the cobbled streets to visit the 16th-century St. Nicholas Church and First Romanian School Museum. (B)
Day 10 Transfer from Brasov to Bucharest for the return flight to London Heathrow. (B)
This is a busy itinerary with many visits on foot including some uneven surfaces and inclines.
Modern 4-star hotel, a few steps from the Romanian Athenaeum and Victoriei Avenue. Restaurant, bar, gym, WiFi (free) and 114 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
A modern 4-star hotel in the historical centre of Sibiu. Facilities include restaurant, bar, gym, WiFi (free) and 127 air-conditioned rooms, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
A stylish 4-star hotel in the centre of Sighisoara, close to the Citadel and the Clock Tower. Restaurant, bar, gym, pool, sauna and WiFi (free). 74 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
Central 4-star hotel within a 10-minute walk of Unirii Square and St. Michael's Church. Restaurants, bar, gym, pool, sauna and WiFi (free). 85 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
A traditional 4-star hotel in the town centre. Restaurants, bar, sauna, jacuzzi, spa and WiFi (free). 130 rooms with hairdryer, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
This spacious 4-star hotel overlooks the Tampa Mountain and the medieval historic quarter of Brasov and is facing the central park. Restaurants. bar, indoor pool, gym, sauna and WiFi (free). 196 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
per person in a twin/double room
Tarom Romanian Air Transport from Heathrow
Supplements per person
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
2023: Oct 6
Single supplement £295
Tarom Business Class from £425
Extra nights – Bucharest
Mercure City Center
(per night) £75
Single supplement £60
Add £695 per person
Arrival transfer add £20
Departure transfer add £110
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 9 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, 2 lunches, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
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