ONE WEEK IN ROMANIA
Morning departure to Sibiu. Located only 170 miles northwest from Bucharest, you will need two days, including your travel day, to take in this city and the varied attractions the regions passed by have to offer.
Stop-over in Targoviste, former throne residence of Wallachia between 1396-1659. In the course of the centuries, the town was burnt down eight times. It is known for its Chindia Watch Tower built in the 15th century, during the reign of Vlad Tepes "The Impaler",nicknamed Dracula, and for the Princely Court (14th-17th centuries).
Continue on to Curtea de Arges for a visit to the Monastery, built between 1512-1515, an outstanding church in Romania, famous for its architecture, where, according to the legend, Master Manole, the builder, entombed his wife in the stone walls.
Travelling north across the Olt Pass into Transylvania, you may stop for a look at Cozia Monastery, a historical monument of architecture built by Mircea the Old, the ruler of Wallachia (1386-1418), a remarkable warrior and prince, buried here. The monastery was built between 1387-1388, having frescoes from the 14th and 18th centuries.
Late afternoon arrival in Sibiu. Dinner and accommodations in Sibiu.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, having a walking tour of the old part of Sibiu, with its narrow streets, you will find out that this is one of Romania's most romantic cities, a great place for history and art lovers. It is home to the Bruckenthal Museum of Art and History, one of the largest in Romania.
After a short stop in Sibiel to see its renowned collection of handmade glass icons you will head to Alba Iulia, a town of historical importance, a former Roman municipal center situated near the Dacian locality Apulon, on which the Roman town Apulum was raised.
On December 1, 1918, the Great National Assembly, attended by more than 100000 people, decided Transylvania's unification with Romania, concluding the process of building up the unitary Romanian national state. Alba Iulia still preserves some old buildings in a Romanesque style, from the 13th century; palaces from the 15th-16th century, Alba Carolina Citadel (1716-1735), the biggest citadel in Transylvania, and the Bathyaneum Library (18th century).
Drive on through the beautiful hills and forests of the Transylvania Plain and reach Cluj Napoca just in time for a short sightseeing tour of this important administrative, cultural and economic center of Romania. Dinner and overnight in Cluj-Napoca.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your day begins with a tour of Cluj Napoca. The sightseeing tour will take you to the Etnographic Museum of Transylvania, which displays over 65000 exhibits and documents, to the History Museum of Transylvania, founded in 1859, witnessing the historical events of this part of the country, to St. Michael's Church in Gothic style, one of the most beautiful monuments in Transylvania, built between 1350- 1487. Late morning's ride northwest will have you in Satu Mare, located in the northernmost reaches of Romania, close to the Hungarian border. This city was one of the first settlements for the many invading peoples that crossed Romania's borders over the centuries. Satu Mare is included in your tour not so much for its man-made attractions, but because its environs are said to be the most beautiful natural settings in Eastern Europe. An unexpected surprise, less than 100 km away, is the "Merry Cemetery" in Sapanta, where the crosses are adorned with sculptures and paintings in vivid colours, representing the negative and the positive features of those who are buried there. These are made by a clever popular handicraftsman, who improvises poetry for the original funerary monuments. This region is also known for the carefully preserved culture of its inhabitants. Colorful ethnic costumes and folk events are quite common in this natural paradise. Dinner & overnight in Baia Mare or Sighetul Marmatiei.
Breakfast at the hotel. Today's ride east, through northern Transylvania will lead you through breathtaking scenery to the remote city of Bistrita. Here you'll stop at the Golden Crown restaurant, mentioned in Bram Stoker's 19th century novel, "Dracula".
Later head north across fairytale landscapes into the mysteriousTihuta Pass. This is the Borgo Pass of Stoker’s novel, and the site of Dracula’s Castle. Stop-over just to enjoy the natural beauty of this region. Early evening, you will cross an invisible threshold intoMoldavia, land of the painted monasteries. Spend an hour inCampulung Moldovenesc, an old Moldavian settlement, first mentioned in documents in the 15th century. Visit the interestingMuseum of Wooden Craft. Overnight in Bukovina area.
Breakfast at the hotel. Today's itinerary will take you throughBukovina to the best known painted monasteries in all of Romania. Your first stop is Voronet, a 15th century complex, built by Stephen the Great. Often called "the Sixtine Chapel of the East", Voronet's frescoes are painted primarily in a unique shade of blue, known to painters throughout the world as Voronet Blue. Next stop isMoldovita Monastery, known for hosting the only existing frescoe depicting the Siege of Constantinople. Here you can also see the coveted Pomme d'Or prize, awarded to Bukovina for the preservation of these landmark monasteries. The last one you will visit is Sucevita Monastery, also the last in a series of Moldavian monuments whose exterior walls were entirely covered by frescoes (1601). Lunch en route. Stop at a black pottery workshop in Marginea Village. Overnight in Piatra Neamt.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your day begins with a brief tour of this popular town, set on the banks of the Bistrita River. A late morning ride has you on the road south, towards the distant Southern Carpathians. Drive by the most impressive natural rock formations in central Romania, theBicaz Gorges. These ancient cliffs, carved by millennia of raging waters, rise like walls on either side of the winding roads, leading to the town of Lacu Rosu (the Red Lake); you have the chance to see the crimson waters of this natural phenomenon, stained by a high concentration of mineral and algae. Changing direction due west, you will arrive at the 14th century old city of Targu Mures. This will be the day of mediaeval towns visits, rich in history and dabbled in folklore. Begin the tour in Targu Mures and you will see the Citadel, a fortification built in the 14th century by the Romanian princes, during the savage wars fought against invaders. From here, head on toSighisoara, a perfectly preserved town, trapped in the Middle Ages for overnight.
Breakfast at the hotel. Perhaps the best known site in Sighisoara is the 15th century house, where Prince Vlad Tepes, nicknamed Dracula, was born. The house has been turned into a restaurant and a museum full of interesting flavours and artifacts. Continuing southwards, you will reach Brasov, nestled in the Central Carpathian Mountains, where a sightseeing tour will reveal this mediaeval trading center, the second largest city in Romania, strategically situated at the meeting point of the three Romanian principalities: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. Today, together with Poiana Brasov resort, it is regarded as the chief tourist area of Romania. You may visit the lofty Black Church, so called because of a 1689 fire. It is famous for its imposing Gothic architecture, its 4000 pipe organ and the valuable collection of Anatolian carpets.
You should spare a little of your time to enter the "Schei Museum", great asset of the Romanian cultural heritage, where you can see actual 16th century books and documents of great value, as well as the first printing machines.
Finally, a lightly winding road will carry you high above the city lights to Poiana Brasov. Check in the hotel and get ready for a nice dinner with entertainment.
Breakfast at the hotel. Waking up this morning in this resort, you will realize that all twisting and turning of the last evening final ride has placed you on a mountain plateau, Poiana Brasov being truly a jewel set in a ring of nature. Winding your way southwards, stop at the fabledBran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle, built at the beginning of the 13th century by Knight Dietrich of the Teutonic Order. In 1377, the people of Brasov built a new citadel here to protect the way of access to their town. Later on it was fortified, its walls enlarged, and between 1920-1930, the Castle was used by the Romanian royal family, namely by Queen Maria (a niece of Queen Victoria of England). Only in 1958 Bran Castle was turned into a museum and opened to visitors.
From Bran, continue on to Sinaia mountain resort, well-known as the "Pearl of the Carpathians". Situated on the outskirts of this resort city, amidst sculpture gardens and fountains, Peles Castle is an exquisitely detailed landmark. Rivaling the castle itself is the beautiful natural setting in which it stands. Once the summer residence of Romania's kings, this spectacular castle, built at the end of the 19th century, is now one of Romania's most beautiful museums. Boasting priceless collections of weaponry, hand woven silk rugs and furniture, Peles Castle is a unique look back at life under the monarchy. Late afternoon, a short ride through Prahova Valley will have you back in Bucharest.
Rates/person in Euro:
Single Supplement: Euro 210.-
Rates for 2 - 8 day trips include :
*3 star accommodations;
*half board according to the program;
*transportation by private car/minibus/w/driver;
*English speaking guide;
*sightseeing of the attractions mentioned in the program;
*entrance fees at the museums,
*lunch (3 course menu & mineral water; alcoholic beverages not included).