Looking for a cultural tour in Romania? This 10 day tour will take you from the underground world of the salt mines to the beautiful medieval Transylvania. There is no doubt that Romania is blessed with natural and man-made places. Departing from Bucharest, you will explore this wonderful multicultural country and discover its secrets.
From its vibrant capital to the serene painted monasteries in Bucovina and impressive Peles Castle, from the underground salt mine of Turda to the high Carpathian mountains, this 10 day tour will definitely exceed your expectations. That is how we’d like everyone to think of Romania – better than expected!
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN ROMANIA
Bucharest – It is the capital of Romania since 1862 and currently the largest city and the most important industrial and commercial center of the country, the most important Romanian artistic and cultural center.
In the period between the First World War and the Second World War in Bucharest the elegant architecture developed and the intellectual elite living here got the city’s nickname “Little Paris”.
We will start the day with a panoramic city tour and admire some of its most emblematic and interesting sites: The Patriarchal Church, the Romanian Athenaeum, the Central House of Arms, the National Theater, the Revolution Square, the Victoria Boulevard with the Square of the same name, the Victoria Palace (headquarters of Parliament), the Arc de Triomphe, the Press House, etc .
Overnight in a Hotel in Bucharest.
Meals included: D
Day 2: BUCHAREST
Palace of Parliament – the most prominent building of Bucharest buildings and monuments is this one, built in the 1980s during the reign of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Inside you will see luxurious sand lamps, mosaics, marble, carpets and other valuable items. Currently, the largest building in Europe and the second largest in the world, is the seat of the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The building also has one of the largest convention centers in the world and a visit here while in Bucharest is a must.
Walk through the Old Town of Bucharest, including the grounds of the OLD COURT and its church. In the center of the historic area of the city is the ruins of the Old Stately Court built in the fifteenth century by Prince Vlad Tepes, also known as “The Impaler” Next to the palace is the Church of the Court, dating from 1559 and considered the oldest in Bucharest and the place where Romanian kings were crowned for the last two centuries.
For the past 18 years now, Cărtureşti redefines the expectations we have of a bookstore. If Borges was right, and Paradise is a great library, we try to put it at the feet of Romanian readers. That is why a visit to any of the bookstores is an experience in itself. In addition to a rich selection of books, music and art films, Cărtureşti Bookstore always waits for you with fragrant teas with delicious music or book launches and exhibitions of appreciated artists. And if you talk so much about bookstores in bookstores, it’s because you’ll always find more than books here.
Spring Palace – The “Ceauşescu Mansion” was for a quarter of a century (1965-1989) the private residence of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu and their children, Nicu, Zoia and Valentin. Built in the mid-1960s, the mansion was enlarged between 1970 and 1972.
Inside the mansion, there is an impressive collection of paintings signed by Octav Băncilă, Camil Ressu, Rudolf Cumpăna, Dumitru Ghiață, George Baron Lowendal; a wide variety of handmade tapestries, in addition to a large number of mosaics designed by Prof. Olga Porumbaru and Prof. Florin Pârvulescu. During the visit you will learn how Ceauşescu lived, not only as an internationally known head of state, but also as a man in his own private life: the hobbies he had, his routine around the privacy of his home, how he studied or what. Art collections he had in his house.
A visit to the Village Museum will introduce you to the Romanian rural culture and traditions.
This fascinating open-air museum is the largest in Europe, has an area of about 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau, in the park with the same name. It contains 50 buildings representative of the history and design of Romanian rural architecture. You will see houses with steep roofs, straw barns, log cabins, churches and water mills from all regions of the country were carefully dismantled and moved to the museum, where they were rebuilt to recreate the typical village setting.
Overnight in a Hotel in Bucharest.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 3: BUCHAREST – SINAIA – BRASOV
Peles Castle – Former royal residence, today an impressive museum and one of the most precious monuments in Romania, was built between 1875-1883 in different architectural styles, although the Germanic style prevails. It is located in the middle of a magnificent park with beautiful terraces and consists of 160 rooms with decorative elements of great value. It has an elegant design, an opulent display of art and elegance with ornaments from all over Europe such as Murano chandeliers, colored crystals from Germany, walls covered with Cordoba leather, Meissen and Sevres porcelains, ebony and ivory carvings, etc. It is worth mentioning the fact that this castle is the first European castle entirely lit by electric power; This was possible since electricity produced for its power plant located in the bank of a nearby stream.
Brasov – One of the well-preserved medieval cities of Transylvania. The settlement founded by the Teutonic knights in 1211 was the meeting place of the powerful and rich people, of the guilds of goldsmiths, weavers, postwar who transformed the city into a powerful craft center. The fortress of Brasov, located at the foot of the Tâmpa hill, was erected at the urging of Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1395, to defend the city’s inhabitants from the invasions of the Turks. At that time, the fortress had impressive bastions, located every 110 m. At present, some bastions and towers can still be seen intact, but also portions of the old walls of the fortress.
In the city, we have many important objectives like First Romanian School, ST Catherine Gate, Black Church, Rope Street, Schei Gate, The former city hall and the Jewish synagogue.
You can visit the Black Church, which has the biggest mobile bell from bronze from Romania and has 2 tones. Inside there is the biggest organ from S E Europe and has 3993 pipes and 72 musical registers. It also has the second biggest collection of oriental carpets from the world.
In Brasov, there are many interesting stories about the tunnels, which are under the city and makes connections between top of Mount Tampa and the Fortress from Straja Hill. In these tunnels and caves people hidden during the times the reserves of food and the supplies of water. They were also used to run on Tampa Mountains especially in First World War and 2nd world war. In these tunnels, the authorities discovered many weapons, gas masks and many bodies.
Go deep into the Carpathian Mountains in search of resident brown bears on this half-day tour from Brasov. With a forest ranger escort and guide accompanying you, you will have the best chance of spotting bears and you will learn about their biology and behavior through detailed commentary. Round-trip transportation means you can enjoy the scenic drive from Brasov and back.
Overnight in a Hotel in Brasov.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 4: BRASOV
Seven Ladders Canyon – See one of the most amazing places in Brasov – the magnificent Seven Ladders Canyon, in this small-group half day trip from Brasov. Carved by the river in ancient limestone from the Jurassic era, this gorge is one of the most popular attractions for tourists and locals as well.
After a hike through the forests situated at the foothills of Piatra Mare mountain, you will arrive at the canyon and go through it on almost vertical ladders. If you are afraid of heights, you can relax outside the canyon and enjoy the scenery.
Rasnov Fortress – The first mention of the fortress dates from 1335, with the occasion of a new invasion of the Tartars when the Bârsa Land was destroyed again, apart from the fortress of Tâmpa and the Fortress of Rasnov, which could not be conquered. Râşnov Fortress has a simple architectural style, close to the construction of ordinary houses, adapted to the fortification requirements, the medieval air being preserved even after 500 years of existence. As a material of fortifications, stone and brick were used, the height of the walls is 5 meters, and the largest width is the southern wall, as in some places it is 1.5 meters
Bran Castle (alias Dracula’s Castle) – The foundations of the castle were laid by the Teutonic knights in 1225, when a wooden fortification was built. The present construction completed in 1378 on top of a cliff, the castle served as a regular checkpoint between Vallachia and Transylvania and played a strategic defensive role in the passage. From 1920 to 1948, it was residence of the Romanian Queen Maria
The Dracula myth of Bram Stoker’s character has transformed Bran Castle into a worldwide tourist attraction, the most visited tourist destination of Romania in the last years and into a successful business. Lately it was at $ 140 million.
Optional – Dino Park is the only dinosaur theme park in Romania and the largest in southeastern Europe. There are 47 life-size dinosaurs, each scientifically accurate and made after the latest paleontology discoveries. They are special because they are made of fiberglass and a special type of resin with a 50-year warranty. A special place in an area of 1.5 hectares, in a natural environment that offers children and not just a unique experience
Optional – Brasov Adventure Park is a recreational and outdoor activity, a very pleasant way to spend free time with family and friends. It has 15 tracks of progressive difficulty. Each adventure participant receives a safety equipment with two carabiners, which must be used for safety at all times. Each route has a certain level of difficulty, which is symbolized by a specific color
Overnight in a Hotel in Brasov
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 5: BRASOV – SIGHISOARA – PIATRA NEAMT
Sighisoara – Visit of the Citadel of Sighisoara, the only medieval citadel still inhabited. It was built in several phases between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. It emerges as a nucleus of massive ho uses painted with different colors and distributed in small streets, surrounded by a defensive wall, 7 km long and 14 towers. Visit the Clock Tower where we can enjoy a spectacular panorama, 360 ⁰, of Sighisoara, the arms museum and Torture Room.
Optional – you might take the 160 stairs up to the Church on the Hill and admire the city from a different angle.
Salt mine Praid is one of the largest salt mines in Romania and Europe. With a hundred-year exploitation, this is the main source of income for the people in the area, especially since many of them work underground. Due to salt exploitation, large gaps have formed in the underground, which have facilitated a micro-climate of saline and constant temperatures between 14 and 16 degrees C, including a low humidity of 66-70%. The first level is intended for tourists and extends 1,300 meters. Once here, you have all the comforts from treatment bases, cafes, fun places, billiards, a retreat gallery for prayer, a library, and so on. The Salt Chapel dates back to 1993 and since that time every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, there are jobs for Orthodox, Catholic and Reformed. Of course, there is a museum of salt mine that contains the old equipment used in different historical periods, and for all people to be greeted, there is a gallery of wines where you can taste all sorts of “liquors”.
En route, we pass through the Bicaz Canyon, which is carved by the waters of the Bicaz River and serves as a passage between Transylvania and Moldova. It is 8 km long. The inner path of this canyon looks like serpentine coils. The walls of the limestone cliffs hide impressive caves.
The Red Lake is a storage lake in a natural dam and is the largest natural mountain lake in Romania, its name comes from the reddish silt (oxides and iron hydroxides) deposited in the lake by the Red Creek. The lake seems dark and threatening, the strains that come out of the water makes you think that a lake civilization knew its destiny just a few years before.
Overnight in a Hotel in Piatra Neamt.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 6: PIATRA NEAMT – BUCOVINA – GURA HUMORULUI
We will start with a visit of Sucevita Monastery. The complex of the monastery of Sucevita, located in a magnificent green valley, is fortified like a citadel, with towers of guard in the four angles. Thousands of paintings adorn the walls of the church. That is to say, that, among all the monasteries, Sucevita has the greatest number of paintings, although its wall is white. Legend has it that the painter fell from the stairs and died. Thus, the wall was left bare. When you visit this monastery, look for the pictorial complex “The tree of Isaias” on the south wall.
The “Lucia Condrea” Museum in Moldovita is the largest decorated egg museum in the world, with more than 11,000 exhibitions organized in 106 showcases made by the artist Lucia Condrea. Since 1993, the museum has operated in its own house and in the summer of 2007, the museum officially inaugurated the name of its founder, unique in the country and throughout the world through the outstanding artistic value of the original exhibitions. The idea of making this museum appeared as a natural consequence of many years of work and the desire to leave the next generation an invaluable artistic legacy.
The oldest and most suggestive eggs, used by the ancient symbols, the pre-Christianity, are the eggs coming from the ”hutuli”. In Moldovita Bucovina, communities where the ethnic “hutula” of the old times are, this tradition is at home!
Visit to the Monastery of Moldovita, a religious settlement founded in 1532. It has the appearance of a fortress, with towering towers and tall, thick walls (6 m high, 1.2 m wide). According to the traditional architecture established by Stephen the Great, the church has a three-lawn plan, also an open porch. The masters who painted their interior and exterior walls have decorated them with scenes from 16th century life in Moldova. Nevertheless, the most interesting painting is “the Siege of Constantinople” on the southern facade, a monumental composition, related to the fights of the people of Moldova against foreign invasions, especially the Turks. The panoramic view of the citadel of Constantinople is impressive for its many towers, and is stoked by the multitude of people around.
The last one would be the MONASTERY OF VORONET. It is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the country. It was erected in the year 1488, with San Jorge Mártir as its patron saint. From the beginning of its history, the monastery was marked with monks of very high spiritual fame, and in times of the pious San Daniil hermit, it was a true example of Romanian hermitage. The paintings on a light blue background are monumental; they have clarity and rigor of composition. It should be noted that Voronet’s blue color can be found in international color catalogs, along with Titian red and Veronese green.
Overnight in a Hotel in Gura Humorului.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 7: GURA HUMORULUI – BISTRITA – CLUJ NAPOCA
Tihuţa Pass is a transition zone located in the northern group of the Eastern Carpathians in the southeast of the Bârgău mountains at an altitude of 1201 m, is located on the national road DN17 and provides the connection between the Dorna depression and the depression of Transylvania.
Andrei Mureseanu Memorial House – It is located on Andrei Muresanu Street no. 19 and is the house where Andrei Mureseanu lived as a childhood, a house he received from his grandparents. The building dates from the beginning of the 19th century and is built according to the classic Romanian model, with the tent, the guest room and the kitchen with oven. Due to a fire that completely destroyed it, it was rebuilt in 1983 with the input of local authorities.
Later, in 1984, the book collections of the County Library for Children and Youth were housed inside the house, evidence of the Pașoptist revolution, letters and various publications reflecting the literary creation of Andrei Mureșanu, the activity of patriotic journalist, teacher ”dascăl” and translator.
On June 21, 1848, he published the poem “Un răsunet” or “Deșteaptă-te, române”, which became the anthem of the Romanian Revolution from 1848, and after the setting on notes by Anton Pann became the national anthem of the Romanians. Every year in August, in the courtyard of this building, a special cultural event called “Evenings from the house of poets” takes place.
Cluj Napoca – Walking tour of the city center of Cluj Napoca. The city stands out for its streets and squares and its university environment. About 80,000 students give life to the city during the school year, creating a lively and cheerful atmosphere. Hungarian, German influence is mixed with some foreign students and bilingual people who dominate German, English and French. The architecture of the center makes the whole neighborhood a monument in itself. Highlights of Hungarian-influenced buildings such as the Bánffy Palace are an example of the eighteenth-century Baroque and which today houses the city’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The Catholic Church of St Michael (Sfântul Mihail) whose construction began in the fourteenth century is another of the important buildings of Cluj. An example of religious diversity is that another of the great monuments is the Orthodox Cathedral located in Mihai Viteazul Square. Located in the center of the city, this square is dominated by the equestrian statue of Mihai Viteazul who was the first one to unite in 1600 the three Romanian countries: Tara Romaneasca, Ardealul and Moldova
Overnight in a Hotel in Cluj Napoca.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 8: CLUJ NAPOCA – TURDA SALT MINE – ALBA IULIA – HUNEDOARA – SIBIU
We begin with the visit of the Salina Turda – it is an example of an ancient and wonderful salt mine, now a museum and halo therapy center – with a distinctively modern touch. The absolute age attributed to the salt deposits in Transylvania is 13.6… 13.4 million years.
In addition to the preservation of historic mining facilities, Salina Turda has some unexpected pleasures. Now it looks a lot like the lair of a James Bond villain.
Alba Iulia Citadel visit to your account is the main tourist attraction of the city and must-see place. It is a fortification of the Vauban type designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Morando Visconti under the direction of General Stephan of Steinville. It was built at the beginning of the 18th century by order of Charles VI of Habsburg and was initially called “Alba Carolina”.
The citadel is located within a walled enclosure with a star shape that measures about 12 km in its perimeter, and is composed of 7 bastions and 6 access doors. The tallest tower is that of the Trinity, and the doors are decorated with statues and reliefs made by various artists under the direction of sculptor Johan Konig. Inside you will find the main historical buildings to visit: The Union Museum, the Episcopal Palace (headquarters of the Batthyaneum Library), and two Cathedrals: The Reunification (Orthodox) and the St Michael (Catholic).
Corvin Castle (visit to his account), also known as Hunyad Castle, is one of the most impressive medieval buildings in Romania. Many say it is even more surprising than the famous Bran Castle. The monument has a special charm due to various construction styles, the presence of military and civil innovations, and the tumultuous life in the courtyard that has animated it for more than 400 years
Iancu de Hunedoara (also known as John Hunyadi) was an important Hungarian military and political figure in Central and Southeast Europe during the 15th century. He began the construction of this magnificent castle. According to most contemporary sources, he was the son of a noble family of Walachian (Romanian) ancestry. He was appointed voivode (highest-ranking official in the Hungarian Kingdom) of Transylvania (at that time a region of Hungary) and assumed responsibility for the defense of borders against Ottoman attacks. Later, the castle belongs to his son Matthias Corvinus, one of the greatest kings of Hungary.
In the evening, you will arrive in Sibiu, another Transylvanian medieval city.
Overnight in a Hotel in Sibiu.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 9: SIBIU – ARGES – BUCHAREST
Visit of the Citadel of Sibiu, a medieval city located more or less in the middle of the country and designated to be the Capital of European Culture in 2007. The city has Germanic origins; it was founded around 1190 in the Olt river basin, and soon became one of the most important cities on a commercial level thanks to its 19 craft guilds. It has two very easy levels to walk: the upper part of the city that contains most of Sibiu’s monuments, and the lower part of the city that is a set of old houses and squares with lots of charm. The Citadel of Sibiu has been for centuries one of the largest and best fortified in Europe. The Citadel was surrounded by defensive walls and towers, some of these are still preserved in perfect condition. Panoramic visit of the Old City of Sibiu including the visit of the Evangelical Church, the Passage of the Stairs, the walls of the citadel, walk through the streets and squares of the Historic Center (Plaza Mayor from the 16th century, is one of the largest squares in Transylvania), with its Gothic arcades, Renaissance houses and elegant Baroque churches, as well as its Art Nouveau buildings. Admire the building of the old town hall, an imposing construction of the fifteenth century where you can clearly see the transition from Gothic to Renaissance.
Cozia monastery was erected near Călimănești by Mircea I of Valaquia in 1388, houses its tomb and is one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania. The walls are decorated with stone rosettes, horizontal Byzantine rows of brick and stone and the vertical frames are unprecedented in Wallachian architecture. The image of the monastery church was used as a Romanian seal in 1968. It is a symbol of culture as it remains as inspiration for old and current poets and writers. There are monks who have lived there and translated Slavonic books into Romanian. In the great church, mainly in the nave, where “Holy Trinity” is one can see original paintings. In the western room, there are paintings showing Mircea and her son Mihail wearing men’s suits, and on the left you can see a portrait of Serban Cantacuzino. In the hall, you can see the tombs of Mircea and the nun Theophane, mother of Michael the brave, who became a nun after the death of her son, she died in 1605.
Curtea de Arges Monastery, located at the end of a boulevard with lime trees for hundreds of years, this monastery is the most important place of pilgrimage and prayer in Arges County, with the dedication of “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary”.
Founded during the reign of Neagoe Basarab, between 1512 – 1517, the monastery is part of the most famous Romanian legend: “The Legend of Master Manole”. Also known as the Episcopal Church, because it was an episcopal chair between 1739 and 1748, the house of worship is 18 meters long, 10 meters wide and 25 meters high.
In addition, here are the earthly remains of King Ferdinand and Carol I, as well as Queen Elizabeth and Mary.
Overnight in a Hotel in Bucharest.
Meals included: B/L/D
Day 10: END OF THE CULTURAL TOUR IN ROMANIA
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Meals included: B