Summary

Expect a nice mix of cities, small towns, and villages with a healthy dose of centuries-old traditions and walks through the countryside on this slow-paced trip around Transylvania (including Maramures and Bucharest).

On this locally-focused trip, we’ll examine the lasting influence of the German Saxons, who settled this region starting in the 12th century. We’ll climb clock towers, wander medieval streets, eat home-cooked meals, experience the hospitality of village life, and even meet a Roma coppersmith.

Tour by:

Start
Bucharest, Romania
Finish
Bucharest, Romania
Trip Type
Experience Tour
Physical Level
Moderate
Cultural Rating
Moderate
Ages
Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult
Group Size
12 max group size
minimum group size of 3 is needed to run this tour
Included
Admissions to all included attractions and sights
10 nights of accommodations
All transportation within Romania including airport transfer
10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners
Not Included
Air/rail tickets to and from Bucharest
Visa – Romania is in the EU but not part of the Schengen Area. (Most countries do not need a visa to enter Romania.)
Compulsory Travel/health insurance (Browse policies at World Nomads, our recommended travel insurance provider.)

Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Bucharest
    Most travelers will arrive the day before. Airport transfer is included. We’ll start this tour by exploring the Romanian capital. In the time between the two world wars, the city was called the Paris of the East. We will discover large boulevards, exquisite Belle Epoque villas and palaces, but also traces of Communism. We’ll visit Revolution Square and will also see the famous balcony from which the former communist dictator Ceausescu held its last speech. Besides that, we will see beautiful, hidden corners of the city. Welcome dinner and accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 2
    Bucharest – Sinaia – Brasov
    Buffet breakfast. Start your day by driving through The Prahova Valley, towards the Carpathian mountains. In Sinaia visit the 17th century Sinaia monastery, the first building to be erected in the area. The name “Sinaia” has a direct connection with Mount Sinai: in the 17th-century monks from the St. Catherine monastery came here and founded the Sinaia monastery. Later, in the 19th century the place was chosen by the first Romanian king, Carol I, for building the summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family, the Peles Castle. Have a guided tour of the castle and admire the richly decorated rooms. Your guide will also give you a great insight into the history of Romanian royalty. Further, cross the mountains into Transylvania. In the afternoon, arrive in the city of Brasov, one of the most beautiful medieval cities of Transylvania. The Old Town is very well preserved and has a great atmosphere. Accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 3
    Brasov and Bran
    Buffet breakfast. In the morning, discover more of Brasov. Just before noon, we’ll drive shortly to Bran, where we visit the famous castle from the 14th century, which gained the nickname of “Dracula’s Castle”. The castle was built on a rock by the wealthy merchants of Brasov in order to protect the border between the medieval states of Wallachia and Transylvania. Find out more about the real historical character of Vlad the Impaler. In the afternoon enjoy some time at leisure. Accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 4
    Brasov – Harman -Prejmer – Viscri
    The region is called the Burzenland and was home for a short while of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. This happened after the Christian forces were defeated in the Middle East. The Hungarian kings permitted them to settle here to defend the eastern borders of Hungary. You will visit two villages which were founded by the Teutonic Knights and were then taken over by the Saxon settlers: Prejmer and Harman. In Prejmer strong defense walls guard the Lutheran church and the approximately 200 storage rooms. A special element is represented by the guards’ walkway: this is the only place in Transylvania where you can actually walk all the way around. In the next village, Harman, you will discover some of the few remaining medieval frescoes in Transylvania. In the afternoon we will drive through the magnificent hills and forests of Transylvania and arrive in the small village of Viscri. The village was included in a restoration project led by the Mihai Eminescu Trust, under the patronage of Prince Charles. Many of the old Saxon houses have been beautifully restored, as well as the medieval Saxon fortified church. Prince Charles himself owns here an old farm dating back to the 18th century. Have a walk through the village and discover a cultural and natural landscape which disappeared in most parts of Europe. Accommodation in traditional houses and home-made dinner. In Prejmer strong defense walls guard the Lutheran church and the approximately 200 storage rooms. A special element is represented by the guards’ walkway: this is the only place in Transylvania where you can actually walk all the way around. In the next village, Harman, you will discover some of the few remaining medieval frescoes in Transylvania. In the afternoon we will drive through the magnificent hills and forests of Transylvania and arrive in the small village of Viscri. The village was included in a restoration project led by the Mihai Eminescu Trust, under the patronage of Prince Charles. Many of the old Saxon houses have been beautifully restored, as well as the medieval Saxon fortified church. Prince Charles himself owns an old farm here dating back to the 18th century. Have a walk through the village and discover a cultural and natural landscape which has disappeared in most parts of Europe. Accommodation in traditional houses and home-made dinner.
  • Day 5
    Viscri – Mesendorf – Sighisoara
    After breakfast we will hike across flower meadows and through oak woods to Mesendorf. The biodiversity of Transylvania is huge and the land is not fenced in, giving us the opportunity to move in freedom. In the afternoon, we’ll travel by minibus to Saschiz and visit the Info Centre of the NGO Discover Tarnava Mare. This is one of the organizations working for the preservation and restoration of the old Saxon villages and fortified churches, and also for the revival of ancient traditions. Just a short drive further lies Sighisoara, one of the last inhabited fortresses of Europe, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a walk through the romantic streets, we will find out more about the history of the city. We will see the birth house of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), the Clock Tower and the other towers built in the Middle Ages by the city guilds. Accommodation in a centrally-located guesthouse.
  • Day 6
    Sighisoara – Biertan – Brateiu – Maramures
    After breakfast, we’ll drive to the fortified church in Biertan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was for almost 300 years the Lutheran Episcopal see. Its towers and surrounding defense walls remind us of the attacks of the Turks. A few kilometers away from Biertan lies Brateiu, where you will discover a special community: the Romani (Gypsy) coppersmiths. This is a unique opportunity to find out more about their lifestyle, history, and handcraft. In the afternoon, we’ll drive to the rural northern region of Maramures. Accommodation in the Iza Valley and dinner.
  • Day 7
    Maramures
    Today is entirely dedicated to the beautiful region of Maramures. It is a very special region and many ancient traditions are still alive here. Many craftsmen, like woodcarvers, potters, and carpet makers are still active in the region. Maramures is also renowned for its magnificent wooden churches from the 18th century, some of them UNESCO World heritage sites. We will visit some of them. Our morning program also includes a beautiful 3-hour hike, across hills and meadows. In the afternoon we will drive to the small town of Sighetu Marmatiei, the birthplace of Elie Wiesel. In Sighet we will visit the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance, created in 1993 in the former 19th-century prison of Sighet. At the end of the 1940s, after the communists took over the power, and during the 1950s it served as a political prison for the former democratic political elite of the country. This can be quite an emotional experience! A short drive away from Sighet lies Sapanta, where we will visit the Merry Cemetery with its colorful 800+ wooden crosses. On each cross, a painting presents a life scene of the deceased and a few verses, some really funny, describing his or her life. Accommodation in the historic Iza Valley (in a traditional, picturesque village) and dinner.
  • Day 8
    Maramures – Cluj
    Breakfast. We will leave the Maramures today and drive back to Transylvania. We will first cross the mountains and reach Baia Mare and continue then towards Cluj. In the afternoon, we will explore Cluj, the biggest Transylvanian town and one of the most important university centres of the country. Have a walking tour of the city, which saw a rapid development in the last few years. Learn more about the greatest Hungarian king, Mathias Corvinus, who was born in Cluj in the 15th century. An impressive statue on the main marketplace shows him together with his closest collaborators. The Roman-Catholic church next to it dates back to the 14th century. Accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 9
    Cluj – Hunedoara – Sibiu
    Breakfast. Today we’ll head to southern Transylvania and visit first the Hunyadi Castle in Hunedoara. It is one of the most impressive in Romania, dating back to the 15th century. In the afternoon we’ll arrive in Sibiu and explore its Old Town. The big marketplace is the largest in Transylvania, surrounded by former residences of the nobility. Here we will also see the 18th-century Catholic Church built by Maria Theresia. Our walk then takes us to the small marketplace, where the different guilds of the city used to sell their products. The Liar’s bridge and the Lutheran Church are additional landmarks of the city. Accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 10
    Sibiu – Bucharest
    Drive through the Olt Valley to Sibiu. Stop en route and visit one of Romania’s oldest Orthodox monasteries, the Cozia monastery from the 14th century. In the afternoon explore more of Bucharest on your own. Farewell dinner and accommodation in a centrally-located boutique hotel.
  • Day 11
    Departure
    Transfer to airport. Goodbye, Romania.

More Information

Packing List for Experience Transylvania Tour (recommended)
  • Weather in Romania in late September can be warm during the days and cool at night. Pack accordingly.
  • Moneybelt
  • Comfortable shoes for walking/light hiking
  • Cash (ATMs are common in the cities, but it’s always a good idea to carry cash to the villages and small towns)
Useful Information
  • Romania uses the Romanian lei. ATMs and cash exchange offices are common in the cities. Credit cards are commonly accepted in the cities as well.
  • We will have 2 days of light hiking, both around 3 hours long. People of normal fitness level without training should have no problem.

Accommodation

The accommodation will be in centrally located 3-star boutique hotels and guesthouses. In Viscri, we’ll stay in traditional houses.

Transport

We use private transportation (car, van, and/or mini bus) with A/C for this trip.


Our trip provider: This exclusive Unquote Travel tour is brought to you in conjunction with local tour provider: Slow Tours Romania. Slow Tours Romania is a locally-based tour provider. Founder Alexandru Grigorescu has been passionately leading groups of travelers around his home country since 2002. He created Slow Tours Romania with the aim of showing visitors the diversity of Romania, on bike and foot. Thier tours combine a mix of incredible places, landscapes, outdoor activities, and people. Adhering to the Slow Travel philosophy, they like to engage and support local communities.

Important Notes

Cancellations and Refunds
If you must cancel your reservation for a tour and/or its extension, we will refund your payment, less the following fees per tour and/or extension:

Days Prior to Trip Start Date Trip Cancellation Fee Per Person
60+ days $250
31 – 60 days 50% of trip price
0-30 days 100% of trip price

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