Highlights of Romania

10 days
from
£1,239
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5 / 5 from 1 review >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
AWB
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Discover four different regions of Romania

Romania is one of Europe's most beautifully wild and fascinating countries. Dense forests have remained largely untouched, shepherds work their field by horse-drawn carts, and mediaeval towns and villages dot the pristine landscape. For centuries, people of different ethnic minorities have lived in harmony, preserving their culture and traditions. We go off the beaten track and explore four different regions of this wonderful country, starting in Bucharest, the vibrant capital. We then travel north to see the famous painted monasteries of Bucovina, followed by a ride on Europe's last functioning forestry railway, where the steam train slowly chugs through the remote Vaser Valley. Our journey ends in the mythical land of Transylvania, where traditional Hungarian and Saxon culture is still very much alive. We explore the mediaeval towns of Brasov, Sighisoara and Viscri, and visit Bran Castle, the home of Dracula.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the painted monasteries of Bucovina
  • Through the Vaser Valley on a steam train
  • Visit the mediaeval towns and villages of Transylvania
  • Explore Bran Castle, the home of Dracula

Key information

  • 6 nights hotels, 1 night monastery, 2 nights converted train hotel
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Transport by private minibus

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa's & vaccinations
  • Single supplement

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Bucharest

    Those on the group flight will arrive in the evening in Bucharest.

  • Day 2

    Visit the People's Palace; transfer to Targu Neamt.

    This morning we visit the People's Palace; the second largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon. Now housing the parliament, this palace was built in the 1970s by Nicolae Ceausescu. The palace's 12 floors, 1,100 rooms, 328-feet long lobby and four underground levels (including an enormous nuclear bunker), were built by an army of 20,000 workers and 700 architects.

    After visiting the palace, we travel to the northern region of Targu Neamt (approx. 6.5 hours), where we overnight at an Orthodox monastery. Lunch will be taken en route.

    Driving distance approx. 400km / Time 6 hours


    Orthodox Monastery

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit Agapia Monastery; transfer to Gura Humorului

    Today will be a mixture of nature and culture. We visit the Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, where we learn about the conservation project for the reintroduction of the European bison. After this we go on a short walk (approx. 30 mins) near a monastery dedicated to the holy St Teodora. Lunch will be taken in the monastery. We then make our way to the Agapia nunnery which is famous for its paintings by Nicolae Grigorescu and where the nuns are renowned for their carpet weaving workshop.

    Later in the afternoon we drive to Gura Humorului in the heart of Bucovina; a town which was once shared by German and Jewish residents. We stay the night here in our comfortable 4-star hotel.

    Driving distance approx 60 km / Time 1.5 hours


    Hilde's Residence or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Visit a decorated egg museum, followed by a round trip of Bucovina. Visit famous painted monasteries of Moldovita and Sucevita.

    This morning we visit to a decorated eggs museum. In Bucovina there is popular belief that if the sanctified Easter egg doesn't crack for the entire year until next Easter, the family will be protected for the whole year. The museum has a collection of more than 3,000 ornately decorated painted eggs. We then have a round trip through the pristine landscape of Bucovina which takes us to the famous painted monasteries of Moldovita and Sucevita. Considered treasures of Romania, their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes, featuring portraits of Orthodox saints, prophets, and scenes from the life of Jesus. We also have a chance to see a very special type of black pottery in Marginea, which has been produced in the region for more than 500 years.

    After lunch, we return to Gura Humorului for free time in the afternoon.

    Driving distance approx. 120km / Time 2.5 hours


    Hilde's Residence or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Drive to Viseu de Sus in Maramures and visit Bistrita en route.

    We leave Bucovina and drive to the Vaser Valley in the mountainous and forested region of Maramures, which stretches into a huge forested area close to the Ukraine border. We stop in the lovely town of Bistrita en route, where we have time for coffee and lunch. Our final destination is the small town of Viseu de Sus, located on the banks of the River Vaser. We stay overnight in a train that once belonged to the East German Railway. Now a hotel, the train consists of a steam locomotive, two first class sleeping cars and a cosy dining car - a one-off experience.

    Driving distance approx. 260km / Time 5 hours


    Carpatia Express Hotel Train

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Ride on a steam train through the forests.

    The Vaser Valley is one of the most wild and beautiful landscapes in Romania and famous for its forestry railway, which is still used for transporting logs from the remote forests. It is also the only means of transportation in the valley. Today we step back in time and slowly chug through the dense forests on the narrow gauge steam train, following the cascading Vaser River and passing the steep cliffs of the gorge. The puffs and hisses of the train, along with the occasional sharp whistles of the locomotive, add to the feeling of adventure and will take you back in time. Lunch is taken in the forest.

    We continue relaxing in this beautiful region and spend another night at the train hotel this evening.


    Carpatia Express Hotel Train

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Drive to Medias in Transylvania, stopping off at Turda salt mine en route.

    We make our way south to Transylvania this morning, where our destination is the mediaeval town of Medias. We stop at the impressive Turda salt mine en route and take our lunch close to the mine. We then continue our journey to the region of Transylvania.

    Driving distance approx. 290km / Time 5.5 hours


    Binderbubi Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Visit the fortified church of Biertan and the medieval towns of Sighisoara and Viscri; drive to Brasov.

    The next stop on our journey through Transylvania is Biertan, a small rural Saxon town nestled in what was once a very important wine-growing area. We visit the enormous fortified church with its several spiralling towers and ring-walls. The church has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993 and is a fascinating place to visit.

    From Biertan we drive to Sighisoara, one of the few mediaeval citadels in Europe that is still fully inhabited. The Saxon town was founded in the 12th century and is one of Europe's most beautiful and best preserved mediaeval cities. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and nicknamed "the pearl of Transylvania". We see the famous clock tower, ornate churches and burgher houses as we wander around the mediaeval cobbled streets.

    We then make our way to Viscri, another UNESCO World Heritage site perched on top of a hill. The village was saved from deterioration through the initiative of the Prince's Trust, after the Prince of Wales first visited the village in 1998. It's one of the leading examples of how tourism can benefit the inhabitants of remote areas. The Prince of Wales now owns houses in Viscri and neighbouring villages and returns at least once a year. We enjoy a traditional lunch at a family-run café and have a stroll through the village.

    We continue our journey and reach Romania's most beautiful mediaeval town, Brasov. Fortifications were erected around the city and expanded by various guilds, whilst inside the walls buildings sprung over the ages in gothic, baroque and renaissance styles. Brasov will be our base for the next two nights.

    Driving distance approx. 180km / Time 3.5 hours

    Hotel Coroana Brasovului or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Visit Bran Castle, the home of Dracula; return to Brasov to explore the city.

    This morning we visit one of the top sights in Transylvania, Bran Castle, also known as 'Dracula's Castle'. Perched on top of a 200-foot-high rock, with imposing towers and fairy-tale turrets, it's easy to see why Bram Stoker chose this place as the setting for his novel. It was originally built in the 14th century by the Saxons of Brasov to defend the mountain passes from the Turkish. It then served as a royal residence from 1920 to 1948. Inside there are displays of art and furniture collected by Queen Marie, and the grounds feature a small open air museum displaying Romanian peasant structures.

    After exploring the castle we hop back in the vehicle and make our way back to Brasov to visit the Black Church. There is time to explore the city on your own in the afternoon. In the late afternoon/evening, there is the option to watch wild brown bears from a closed hide in the forest, accompanied by a ranger (approximately €45 per person).

    Driving distance approx. 60km / Time 1 hour


    Hotel Coroana Brasovului or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Transfer to Bucharest Airport. Fly to London.

    An early start today; we say goodbye to Transylvania and drive back to Bucharest Airport (approx. 3 hours) in time for the group flight back to London, which usually departs at lunch time.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Romania

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Romania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners are included.

Romanian cuisine has strong influences from its surrounding countries like Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. Each evening there is a choice of a meat dish or vegetarian option (if you are vegetarian please let us know at the time of booking.) Where lunches and dinners are included, these are taken in unique locations, such as a monastery and the train hotel. Some evenings and lunches have been left free for you to either dine alone or with the group. The leader will recommend places to eat.

Weather

Romania enjoys a continental climate with warm summers and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is usually quite low except in the mountains, where spring and summer can be wet. The weather changes abruptly from winter to summer and spring is generally short. Summer days are often long and warm with ten to eleven hours of sunshine, whilst nights can range from pleasantly warm in the lower valleys to cold at higher elevations. September temperatures tend to be lower than those in July and August but at any time of the year changeable weather with cloud, rain and chilly daytime temperatures can occur. Expect temperatures in the village to be lower than Bucharest.

Bucharest

Brasov

Is this trip for you?

The trip is graded as activity level 1 (leisurely).

This is a cultural trip exploring one of Europe’s most beautiful regions, where pristine countryside and quaint mediaeval towns come together in true story-book style. We visit the main highlights of this fascinating country as well as some well-kept secrets that provide an insight into the Romanian culture. This is not a particularly active trip, though there are some walks in towns and villages, plus a longer walk (approx. 30 mins) on Day 3, which is slightly uphill.


There will be three long drives (approximately 6.5 hours on day 2, where we travel from Bucharest to the north of the country, 6 hours on Day 5, and approximately 5.5 hours on Day 7, where we make our way south to Transylvania). Please note that these times exclude lunch and comfort stops.

Accommodation

Hotels, monastery, converted train hotel

6 nights hotels, 1 night monastery, 2 nights converted train hotel. We stay in a wonderful mix of accommodation, ranging from 3 and 4-star hotels with en-suite rooms, an Orthodox monastery with en-suite rooms and a converted train that once belonged to the East German Railway.

The hotel train consists of first class cabins in sleeping carts and a cosy dining cart. The bathroom facilities for the cabins (toilets and showers) are located outside the train, whilst inside the train there are two toilets per car.

Single accommodation is available (upon request) from £155 GBP.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Sue Royal

    Great variety, fascinating country

    My husband and I loved our 10 day trip to Romania. The activities were many and varied and the long hours of travelling worthwhile

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlights were the Painted Monasteries which were simply stunning inside and out. Secondly, seeing the Bears on the last night will stay with us for a long time. A fantastic end to our holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Trian was a lovely person, enthustiastic and interested in the group. He was keen to impart his knowledge and his communication in English was exceptionally good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A visit to Romania is well worthwhile. Only a 3 hour flight to experience a totally different culture. Go for it!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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