Maramures and Bucovina 7 days Tour from Bucharest / Iasi / Cluj-Napoca
Price: from 500 £/ tour/person (depending on group size)
Discover the northern regions of Romania: Bucovina, the land of painted monasteries where most of the churches have frescoes covering their facades and their interior walls and some of them have been included in the UNESCO World Heritages List, and Maramures, famous for its wooden churches (the old and higher wooden buildings from Europe can be visited here), traditions and real village life. This tour is also an opportunity to taste the local gastronomy, to meet local craftsmen and discover beautiful landscapes.
Bucuresti / cluj napoca / iasi – Vatra Dornei – Voronet – Gura Humorului – Moldovita – Sucevita – Putna – Ieud – Barsana – Sapanta – Sighetu Marmatiei – Vadu Izei – Ocna Sugatag – Breb – Budesti – Baia Mare – Cluj-Napoca
Package includes: 6 nights of accommodation in 3 star (***) classified rural pensions, coach transportation, full meal services, visitor fees, lessons from craftsmen’s, meal at sheepfold, guide and transportation throughout the holiday period with the takeover from Cluj-Napoca / Iasi / Bucharest .
Package does not include: souvenirs, drinks and personal expenses.
- Second option
Day 1 Wines and history Enter the charming world of Satmar Hills and stop by at Brutler&Lieb’s wine house cellars – relish 6 varieties of wine cultivated in this vineyard, aside a traditional meal with foods prepared by local recipes. Discover, step by step, Baia Mare – the capital of Maramures, an important cultural, historical and mining centre, with a history of over 700 years.
Day 2 Tales of wood: wooden churches and gates. Travel through Gutai Pass (987 m) to Desesti – a village situated on the Maramures Greenway trail, on Mara River – and enter the fascinating rural world of Maramures, the universe of carved wooden gates and wooden churches with their steeples sharpened up to the sky. Learn about some local initiatives that make sustainable use of the local natural resources such as medicinal herbs, wild berries and mushrooms or about the natural remedies produced from wild berries and plants collected in this ecologically pure area.
Day 3: Archaic way of life and Tatarului Gorge Hike along Tatarului Gorge, through the ancient spruce forest dominated by the steep cliffs carved in volcanic rocks by the rapid waters of Brazilor Valley and admire the vertical andesite walls, 80 – 100 m high, upholstered with very rare species of lichens, providing a perfect nesting place for rufous-tailed rock thrush and common kestrel – both vulnerable and very rare species. Meet the hospitable and generous sheperds at the sheepfold on Tatarului Plateau and discover the joy of traditional shepherd foods, all prepared by them only from natural local products. Discover the typical flora and fauna in Brazilor Glade Nature Reserve: the spruce tree forest surrounded by a gird of juniper (the juniper here grows at the lowest altitude in our country), found on an active peat bog that also hosts little carnivore plants such as Drossera Rotundifolia as well as indigenous trout, Carpathian triton and vipers or big mammals such as the wolf, the bear or the stag.
Day 4: Peasant technical installations and traditional music Travel in the local manner: by the horse-drawn cart. First stop in Harnicesti, a village where peasant technical installations based on water power still work and are used at producing woolen traditional fabrics. The village wooden church (XVII-th century) and the Iurca boyar family house (18th century), true traditional architectural jewelries, will also be part of our itinerary. Further on, meet a special man, in Hoteni village, whose name is associated with authentic folklore from Maramures: Ioan Pop. Visit him at his home – a noble house from Maramures, more than 100 years old, enjoy a meal together and let him fill our souls with emotion and joy by playing a spining dance from Maramures on his “cetera” (fiddle). Day 5: Archaic village of Breb and Hoteni lakes Hike to Hoteni lakes – a natural complex formed by an oligotrophic swamp and 3 eutrophic lakes with specific flora [many relict species of the ice age] and fauna of scientific importance. The lakes are also famous for the presence of over 150 species of algae which give the water surface a specific colour and where the luxuriant vegetation hides large varieties of fish and freshwater turtles, unique for the region. While in Breb, travel back in time, to the primordial atmosphere of the archaic village. Visit the village wooden church erected in the XVI-th century, admire its icons painted on glass and the old religious books and visit a few local craftsmen for discovering the wonderful world of hand carved wood and handmade traditional shirts.
Day 5: Archaic village of Breb and Hoteni lakes Hike to Hoteni lakes – a natural complex formed by an oligotrophic swamp and 3 eutrophic lakes with specific flora [many relict species of the ice age] and fauna of scientific importance. The lakes are also famous for the presence of over 150 species of algae which give the water surface a specific colour and where the luxuriant vegetation hides large varieties of fish and freshwater turtles, unique for the region. While in Breb, travel back in time, to the primordial atmosphere of the archaic village. Visit the village wooden church erected in the XVI-th century, admire its icons painted on glass and the old religious books and visit a few local craftsmen for discovering the wonderful world of hand carved wood and handmade traditional shirts.
Day 6: Wetlands, peatbogs and Creasta Cocosului Nature Reserve On the way to Creasta Cocosului [Rooster’s Comb] mountain massif stop at Morarenilor Lake [formed as a results of rock slide, with a max depth of 20 m and declared protected area] for visiting a wetland area hidden in a complex vegetal association formed by common alder, grey or speckled alder and mountain alder, for seeing plants specific for this type of habitat such as round-leaved sundew, clover, common bladewort or buckbean. Then climb the Creasta Cocosului Nature Reserve [nature monument] – remainder of a volcanic crater that erupted 9 million years ago, representing one of the most spectacular andesitic formations in Romania. A visit at the birds observatory, especially arranged and equipped for tourists, will allow watching a large variety of species nesting in this area but also raptor bird species hunting against the beautiful mosaic of forests and meadows. At Chendroii Lakes, an active peat bog situated at an altitude of 1053 m, the wooden built visiting bridge enables a better understanding of the way this unique ecosystem was formed and evolved.
Day 7: Barsana Monastery, Dragomiresti, Sacel – sacred, nature and traditional art and crafts. Visit Barsana Monastery, a sacred space where we will better understand the place of the Romanian people between God and the Earth, a space where nature, traditional wood art and faith shed tranquility, peace and beauty over the soul of the pilgrim or tourist. Hike along Iza Valley up to Moisei and visit the Romanian Peasant Museum at Dragomiresti while at the Potter’s House at Sacel admire and learn about the famous pottery of Sacel. Return, along Viseu Valley, down to Viseu de Sus, the starting point of the later trip on Vaser Valley railway with the steam loco.
Day 8: Travel by the steam train along Vaser Valley. Hop on “Vaser Valley steam train” and ride it over bridges and through tunnels, in a landscape of enchanted wilderness, with dark forests, deep gorges and sunny mountain pastures. The journey along Vaser Valley is an adventure that reveals an unforgettable, fascinating world. Another kind of world.
Day 9: The journey is over. The experience remains. Farewell and transfer to the airport
- Land of Dracula
Day 1: Touchdown in Bucharest, meet your English-speaking tour guide and transfer to your three-star city centre hotel accommodation to get ready for a week in Romania. After settling in you’ll be driven to Snagov before taking a short boat ride on Lake Snagov to the island monastery which is reputed to be the final resting place of Vlad the Impaler. Snagov Monastery is also well-known for its architectural style which mirrors the monasteries to be found on Mount Athos in northeast Greece. This evening you’ll get to enjoy a welcome meal in one of Bucharest’s top traditional restaurants.
Day 2: Your first full day in Romania finds you taking a drive to the city of Targoviste on the banks of the River Ialomita whereupon you’ll be invited to inspect the ruins of Curtea Veche, the former princely residence of Vlad the Impaler. After exploring the courtyards and museum exhibits you’ll continue onwards to Sinaia, one of Romania’s top mountain resorts, which features one of Europe’s best-preserved royal residences, Peles Castle. Tonight you’ll be staying in the mountain resort of Poiana Brasov which is situated at the base of Mt Postavaru surrounded by pine trees and boasting magnificent views. This evening’s meal will be taken within the resort’s four-star medieval dining room where live music and medieval delicacies round off the day in style.
Day 3: Bid farewell to Poiana Brasov and head to Bran and the famous medieval castle which sits atop of a tree covered hillside surveying the land below. Bran Castle is closely linked with Bram Stoker and the Dracula story and also contains a shrine dedicated to Romania’s Queen Maria. After exploring Bran Castle it’s off to the Saxon city of Brasov and one of southeast Europe’s largest Gothic structures, the Black Church, before finally transferring to Sighisoara to settle into your three-star hotel accommodation in the centre of Brasov.
Day 4: This morning you’ll be able to stroll around the old cobbled streets of Sighisoara and find out more about Vlad the Impaler’s birthplace as well as the town’s church on the hill and unique covered staircase. Where better to settle for lunch other than Casa Vlad Dracul restaurant, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, although the chance to taste the meal that Jonathan Harker was presented in Bram Stoker’s novel is not to be missed if you’re passing the Golden Crown restaurant at Bistrita. This evening’s accommodation is going to be extremely memorable as you cross the Tihuta Pass (‘Borger Pass’ in Stoker’s story) and step into Hotel Castel Dracula and the realm of the dark lord himself. This atmospheric three-star hotel has been designed with Bram Stoker’s imagination in mind and a visit to Dracula’s coffin, a candle-lit evening meal, followed by stories told around the campfire, will all set pulses racing just that little bit faster before you finally retire to bed.
Day 5: After a good night’s sleep you’ll drive to Cluj Napoca for a city sightseeing tour which includes some fine examples of medieval architecture, of which the cathedral of St Andrew is certainly no exception. In keeping with Vlad the Impaler’s on-going battles with Turkey, Cluj Napoca is rather ironically renowned for its kebabs which are highly recommended for lunch prior to heading from Cluj to the small medieval town of Turda, the home of Romania’s oldest salt mines. This evening’s accommodation in Turda is at a four-star hotel where an unashamedly vampire-inspired menu followed by a live performance of the Ritual of Killing of the Living Dead and a typically gothic masquerade ball keeps the medieval-themed fantasy at full throttle.
Day 6: Turda’s vast salt mines provide this morning’s unique excursion where huge halls and colossal chambers help you piece together parts of Romania’s history as well as unveiling an interesting test of your inner soul, right at the very end. After exiting into sunlight you’ll transfer to the city of Medias in Sibiu County where preserved fortifications and fascinating structures, including St Margaret’s Church and the Tower of the Buglers, provide plenty of talking points alongside a unique local artist known for his paintings of spider webs. Your final stop on Day Six is the town of Sibiu which is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania and well-known for its German heritage-laden town squares and surrounding ringed fortifications. Get settled into this evening’s accommodation in a four-star hotel before heading out for a traditional Saxon meal in one of the city’s finest local restaurants where you’ll be introduced to a few of the local medieval rituals as explained by the Galdius Dei, also known as: the Knights of Sibiu.
Day 7: Your week in Romania draws to a close today as you head back to Bucharest after taking the morning to visit the ruined fortress of Poenari Citadel that can be found perched over the River Arges close to the foothills of the Fagaras Mountains. If you’re feeling fit there are nearly 1,500 stairs leading up to the castle but fortune favours the brave as the views from the top are quite stunning. Your return to Bucharest will be made in the late afternoon, around 5pm, where the option to stay on for one or more days in the capital is always a great idea for those who have the time.