DRACULA, MARAMURES AND MONASTERIES OF BUCOVINA
Duration: 12 days / 11 nights.
Cities: Bucharest, Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Cluj, Baia Mare, Gura Humorului, Piatra Neamt, Sighisoara, Brasov, Bran, Sinaia, Bucharest.
Day 1. Airport – Bucharest
Departure by plane to Bucharest. Meeting with the guide and transport to a 4* or 5* hotel / Bucharest. The travel to hotel will give us the chance of a sightseeing of the capital city of Romania and some of its important landmarks such as The Free Press Square, The Arch of Triumph, The Victory Square, The Revolution Square, The Romanian Athenaeum, The Constitution Square, The Union Square, The University Square and The Roman Square. Welcome dinner party with folklore show and drinks included, at the Seagull Restaurant located on the bank of lake Herăstrău, one of the green lungs of the capital city, where you will get the chance to watch folk dancers from every country region.
Day 2. Bucharest – sightseeing
The day will start with a nice English breakfast. Then we will be spending the whole morning discovering the beauties of Bucharest, continuing with a panoramic tour of the Romanian capital city, once called “the little Paris” (ro: “micul Paris al Europei”), visiting the Cişmigiu Park, the Romanian Opera House, the Cotroceni Palace and the Military Academy. Then we will go visit the Palace of Parliament, which is a spectacular building, the second largest in the world after the Pentagon in USA, covering an area of 315,000 m2, of which over 250,000 m2 are over 84 meters high and 25 meters deep. The finishes used include wood (walnut tree, cherry tree, oak) and Transylvania marble, curtains embroidered with gold and silver, 5 cm thick floor carpets, 2800 bronze, aluminum and crystal chandeliers etc..
We will also visit the Orthodox Cathedral, which was founded in 1656 by Prince Constantin Serban. Inside are exposed various paintings, frescoes, iconostasis and the relics of St. Dimitrie Basarabov. We will then continue with a visit to The Village Museum, founded in 1936, exhibits a total of 300 wooden houses from every region of the country and three wooden churches. At noon, we will go for lunch to the famous restaurant “Jaristea” to enjoy the “Little Paris” atmosphere, where many famous people of the world, as for example, film director Francis Ford Coppola, once spend some of their time. In the afternoon you will be free to do whatever you feel like. We will meet again for dinner at the famous restaurant “Carul cu bere”, built in 1878 in German Gothic style, which once was a brewery and the place of gathering of many literary and artistic personalities. In front the restaurant stands the Stavropoleos Church, a gem of Orthodox architecture, built in 1724. After dinner, you may stay back and have a look around the old historic center, with its many bars and terraces, and the ruins of the Ancient Royal Court built in the fifteenth century, during the reign of Prince Vlad the Impaler – Dracula. Accommodation at the same hotel.
Day 3. Bucharest – Sibiu
Breakfast. Departure to Sibiu passing through the impressive gorge of the Olt River, crossing the Southern Carpathians. On the way to Sibiu we will visit the oldest monastery in Wallachia region – XIV century – Cozia Monastery. Arrival in Sibiu. We will have lunch and then will have a walk through the beautiful medieval city that preserves its beautiful medieval architecture very well. We will admire the old building with their intricate facades, their iron gates telling of old shops with their red oxide stained walls, old wooden doors and colorful windows sills. Virtually everything in Sibiu speaks of the essence of the Middle Ages. We will visit the medieval city center, including the Orthodox Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Evangelist Cathedral (XIV-XV), housing the tomb of Mihnea, the son of Prince Vlad the Impaler, then the Large Square, the Little Square and the Liars’ Bridge. Dinner and accommodation at Ramada 4* hotel or similar / Sibiu.
Day 4. Sibiu – Alba Iulia – Cluj
Breakfast. We will leave for the town of Alba Iulia, the old capital of Dacia and will stop over for sightseeing. Lunch. In the afternoon we will arrive in Cluj, the former capital city of Transylvania, for a panoramic tour of the city, including the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Beyfin 4* or similar / Cluj.
Day 5. Cluj – Baia Mare
Breakfast. We will continue our travel to Maramureş, the oldest and most appealing region in North Transylvania, well renowned for its wooden churches and its carved wooden gates. Lunch time. Visit the peculiar Funny Graveyard in Săpânţa. Dinner and accommodation at Carpaţi 4* hotel or similar / Baia Mare.
Day 6. Baia Mare – Gura Humorului
Breakfast. Departure to Gura Humorului. Along the way we will visit the wooden church in Surdesti a world heritage landmark. We will pass through the spectacular Iza Valley, where we will stop and visit Bârsana Church. After lunch we will move on and cross the Eastern Carpathians, from Transylvania to Moldova. Dinner and accommodation at Popas Bucovina 4* hotel or similar / Suceviţa.
Day 7. Gura Humorului
Breakfast. Here, we are in the land of the famous painted monasteries of Bucovina, UNESCO heritage (XV – XVI). We will visit Sucevita monastery, which boasts the largest number of biblical images, and the Moldoviţa monastery, built during the reign of Petru Rareş – son of Stephen the Great. Lunch. Visit to Voroneţ Monastery, called the “Sistine Chapel of the Orient” with its impressive blue background of the frescoes, shown in many international catalogs, alongside the Veronese green and the Titian red. Dinner and accommodation at Best Western 4* hotel or similar / Gura Humorului.
Day 8. Gura Humorului – Piatra Neamt – Sighisoara
Breakfast. Departure to Sighisoara, passing through the town of Piatra Neamt, called “the Sinaia of Moldova” owing to its ski slopes. Along the way, we will visit Agapia Monastery (17th century), painted by Romanian’s most famous painter, Nicolae Grigorescu, which is house to almost 400 nuns. Lunch time. We will be crossing then the Eastern Carpathians, passing from Moldova to Transylvania through Bicaz River Gorge (Bicaz Gorge) and across the Red Lake. We will arrive at Sighisoara, the only inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and a UNESCO heritage, the birth place of Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia, who inspired the Dracula character in Bram Stoker’s novel. The visit includes: the Clock Tower, the Medieval Armory Hall, the Torture Chamber and the Dracula House. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Cavaler 4* or similar / Sighişoara.
Day 9. Sighisoara – Brasov
Breakfast. We will leave for Brasov, the best tourist attraction city in Romania, located in the center of the country, a cross border point of the three historic regions of Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania, located at a height of 500 meters. Lunch at the famous restaurant “Şura Dacilor” (The Dacians’ Barn), located 13 km far from Braşov, at 1000 meters above sea level, in Poiana Braşov, the largest winter sports resort in Romania, where you can taste special venison dishes (bear, wild boar or deer). Guests will have the opportunity to listen to traditional folk songs, played by traditional Romanian music instruments. In the afternoon, we will go for a short sightseeing around the city, to see “Piata Sfatului” and the Black Church (XIV-XV). Dinner at a famous restaurant in Brasov and accommodation at Ambient 4* hotel or similar / Braşov.
Day 10. Brasov – Bran – Sinaia
Breakfast. We will be heading to Sinaia, “The Perl of the Carpathians”, passing through Bran, where we will stop to visit the world famous Dracula’s Castle (XIV century). Lunch. Once arrived in Sinaia, we will visit the monastery erected by Prince Mihail Cantacuzino after he had visited the Holy Land and the Mount Sinai, hence the name of Sinaia. We will be visiting the Peleş Castle, built in the era of King Charles I (XIX century). This wonderful castle is considered by many as one of the most beautiful in Europe, a masterpiece made of wood, a construction built at the initiative of the first king of Romania – Charles I, a member of the German Hohenzollern Zigmaringen family. Dinner and accommodation at hotel Palace 4* or similar / Sinaia.
Day 11. Sinaia – Bucharest
Breakfast. We leave for Bucharest and, before entering the city, we will visit the Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum, built in the form of a village, where typical peasant houses from every region of the country are on display. Lunch and free afternoon, to bid goodbye to the Romanian capital city. Farewell dinner at the “Seagull” Restaurant in Herăstrău, located on the lake of the park of the same name, one of the green lungs of the capital, where we will watch a performance of typical dancers from every region of the country. Accommodation at 4* or 5* hotel / Bucharest.