Visit Romania and Moldova, two countries who shares the same language and traditions, preserved and unattended trough the history!
Explore medieval fortifications and cities, religious settlements resembling the long Christian faith, marvelous and scenic landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, as well as urban testimonies of the Soviet communist time!
Arrival to Chisinau airport. Meet the guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation for 2 nights in Chisinau at 4* star hotel.
Breakfast. Short drive outside of Chisinau to Castel Mimi, an impressive chateau built at the beginning of the XXth Century by an emblematic politician and wine maker of Moldova, Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia during Russian Empire. The tour includes a captivating walk through the castle’s cellars, gardens, courtyard and the production area of the winery. Castel Mimi’s underground galleries are more than a century old. There are several wine collections produced here (Reserve, Classic, Animaliens, Select, Ice Wine), one could choose for an interesting tasting experience. Wine tasting and lunch.
Return to Chisinau and walking tour in the afternoon.
Cricova cellar represents biggest and one of the most impressive wine cellars from Europe with a history back from 1952, boasting 120km of labyrinth roadways. As of 2008, the collection consists of over 70 silver, gold and Grand Prix awards. Among the large variety of wines, Cricova makes a unique sparkling red wine, kodrinskoie-sparkling, made from Cabernet Sauvignon stocks and marketed as having a 'rich velvet texture and a blackcurrant and cherry taste'. The method used is in accordance with the classical French method, purportedly invented centuries ago by the monk Dom Pierre Perignon - 'methode Champenoise". Visit including wine-tasting.
Orheiul Vechi. Overlooking the Raut River, this open-air complex features fortifications, baths, caves, ruins, and monasteries – all which date back as late as the Dacian tribes of 2000 years ago. The ancient monuments date from various periods including the Tatar and Mongol invasions, the 10th century BC, and more recently the occupation of the Golden Horde in the 14th century. Traditional lunch in the village.
Overnight in Soroca.
Soroca. Build in wood in 1499 by the great ruler of Moldova, Stephen the Great and transformed into the actual stone and brick structure by his son, Petru Rares, this fort has an unusual round shape, an unique monument of the military architecture of Europe. Soroca represents the only citadel in republic of Moldova, that is preserved until today.
Leave for Romania and reach Suceava city, the former capital of the historical medieval region of Moldova
Visit Suceava citadel, the unconquered fortress of Moldova, with a history since the XIV century; royal residence of several leaders, including Stephen the Great, the citadel represents a symbol of resistance against the Ottoman rule.
Accommodation in Suceava.
The vineyard culture at Cotnari is dated back since the 1st century BC. The accounts become important during the reign of the most important rulers of Moldova from the XV-XVI centuries. Today, Cotnari wines have exceptional qualities obtained by limiting average grape production in the attempt to choose quality at the expense of quantity. Spread over 1,700 hectares of vineyards through high-performance agricultural work, the company produces unique (mostly) white varieties as the medium-sweet "Grasa de Cotnari" who won a large number of distinctions in international and national wine competitions, as well as "Tamaioasa Romaneasca", "Francusa", or the famous roze "Busuioaca de Bohotin". Wine-tasting and lunch.
Afternoon we will discover the beautiful Agapia Monastery. It is the only monastic settlement in the country that bears the name of “Christian love”, which comes from the Greek “agapis”. The monastery is famous around the world due to its interior frescoes painted in 1858 by the great Romanian painter Nicolae Grigorescu (one of the founders of modern Romanian painting).
In the evening, we will reach our final day stop – Gura Humorului, where we will be accommodated.
Breakfast in the morning, then we will visit three of the most famous and beautiful Painted Monasteries of Bucovina (UNESCO protected cultural sites):
Sucevita (founded in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, Bishop of Radauti, Sucevita was the last of the 22 painted churches of Bucovina and has the largest number of painted images; it was a princely residence as well as a fortified monastery),
Moldovita (built by Petru Rares in 1532, the predominantly gold and deep blue paintings on the exterior walls were completed in 1537; the large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes, while another stunning representation depicts the Tree of Jesse, representing Christ’s genealogy, a wide-spread iconographical theme in Europe during the Middle Ages)
Voronet (1547, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", this "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488, and it is well known for its frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, that depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven").
Today, a special visit is dedicated also to the Museum of Painted Eggs “Lucia Condrea” in Moldovita. The Easter, the most important and the greatest Christian holiday of the year has always been worshiped by the Romanians as a day of holly joy. Among all Romanian customs, the one of painting eggs for Easter is by for the finest and mildest and maybe nowhere else like in Bukovina the egg isn’t looked upon and considered with so much love the custom of painting it is raised at a high artistic level. In Moldovita (Bukovina) this tradition is at home. Member of the Artistic Union of Romania and having a lot of prize within the most important exhibitions of art in the world, Lucia Condrea is an unique artist and the eggs painted by her are the reflection of a gift with which she is endowed by God to make the other people happy.
Another interesting site we will enjoy today is Marginea village, famous for its black pottery. Visit to the workshop included.
In the evening, return back to Gura Humor and overnight in the same hotel.
Breakfast in the morning. Today we leave Bukovina and move further to Maramures County.
Continue our way via Campulung Moldovenesc, Iacobeni, Vatra Dornei, Tihuța Pass and Bistrita Nasaud. On the way a stop will be made in Tureac for a visit to Bacea family to discover the mastery of one of the few furriers specialized in fine embroidery on sheepskin.
Reaching Maramures region, we can visit also Barsana Monastery, one of the highest wooden churches in the world with splendid gardens, and Toader Barsan’s house, a local wood carver who took part at the Smithsonian World Festival in Washington, famous for the wonderfully carved wooden gates.
In the afternoon we reach Sapanta Village, famous in the whole world for "The Merry Cemetery". Ancient beliefs viewed death as a beginning, not as an end, and this faith is reflected in the carvings in the town’s unique Merry Cemetery. Blue wooden crosses feature a carved scene and humorous epitaphs that endeavor to capture essential elements - both the good and the imperfections - of the deceased’s life.
In the evening arrival and accommodation in Sighetu Marmatiei.
After breakfast, we discover the small town of Sighetu Marmatiei, where we stop at the “Memorial to the victims of Communism”, located in the building of the former Sighet Prison used by the communist regime to silence its opponents, in the 50’s. We will continue your walking tour on the streets of the village admiring the wooden gates, the wooden houses, the local architecture and the locals.
Another visit will be to The Elie Wiesel Memorial House - The Museum of the Jewish Culture in Maramures in Romania. Sited in the house where famous Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel was born, the museum uses devotional objects, documents and photos to evoke the memory of the Jews of Maramures killed in concentration camps: 90% died in Auschwitz; the survivors, including Elie Wiesel, emigrated to Israel. The Elie Wiesel House is today a place of pilgrimage for thousands of visitors interested in its famous namesake.
Then we drive from Maramures Region towards Cluj-Napoca, the largest city of Transylvania. On the way we will also have a stop in Barsana village which hosts one of the 7 UNESCO wooden churches from Maramures. Built in 1770 on the site of an older church, it has preserved its original form. The painting, with post-Byzantine influences, made in 1780, was very well preserved. On all the interior walls classical scenes from the Bible are represented. In the patrimony of the church there are also 14 wooden icons made during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Overnight in Cluj Napoca for the following 2 days.
Breakfast in the morning, then we head 20 km from Cluj town to Turda Salt Mine, a real history museum of salt exploitation. Located in Turda, the 2nd largest city in Cluj County, Transylvania, Turda Salt Mine is a must-see Romanian tourist attraction. The Salt Mine (which dates as far back as the 17th century) has been transformed into an incredible underground theme park.We will head down about 400-feet before reaching the submerged wonderland, and once inside, we will find an amphitheater, a bowling alley, an underground lake with paddle and row boats, and even a Ferris wheel.
We return to Cluj Napoca and do a sightseeing tour of the most important sites: Union Square, with shops, cafés and restaurants and the monumental St Michael’s Cathedral, dating from 14th century. Next to the cathedral, is the imposing equestrian statue of Mátyás Corvinus (raised in 1902) tramples the crescent banner of the Turks underfoot. His formidable Black Army kept the Kingdom of Hungary safe from banditry and foreign invasion for much of his reign. Next we visit The Pharmacy Museum that displays a beautiful collection of ancient prescriptions, jars and implements, as well as Baroque furnishings and glass cabinets. Down in the pharmacy basement something akin to a medieval dungeon – is the old laboratory, complete with an assortment of tools, pestles and containers. If we have enough time we will visit the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, the oldest ethnographic museum in Romania. It was founded on 16 June 1922 as a real science museum and managed to hoard in the eight decades of activity over 120,000 documents of traditional culture. Our tour of Cluj will end with a walk around Avram Iancu Square, where is located The Orthodox Cathedral inaugurated in 1933 to celebrate the Romanians’ triumph in Transylvania.
Accommodation in Cluj Napoca, in the same hotel.
After breakfast, we continue our way to Alba Iulia - the capital of the independent Principality of Transylvania, where the Union Act of the Romanian Principalities was signed in 1918. It is also known under the Latin name of Apulum, the Hungarian name of Gyulafehérvár and the German name of Karlsburg/Weißenburg.
We will visit the Alba Carolina Citadel - the symbol capital of the Romanians. The Citadel is the heart of the town of Alba Iulia, and was design to be the main defensive point of Transylvania, a militay center and arm storage facility. It is composed of 7 bastions conferring it the star shape characteristic to such citadels. Visit also the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the most valuable monument for the medieval architecture in Transylvania, inside which can be found the tomb of Iancu de Hunedoara (John Hunyadi). We should not forget Muzeul Unirii (the Union Museum), the place where the Union Act between Transylvania and Romania was signed on 1st December 1918.
Then we drive to Hunedoara for a visit of Corvin Castle - also known as Hunyad Castle. Built in the 14th century, the castle represents one of the most amazing and well-preserved medieval buildings, being in fact the most famous property of Iancu de Hunedoara, building that even today dominates the city of Hunedoara.
Arrive in Sibiu in the evening. Accommodation for the next 3 days in the same hotel.
Breakfast in the morning.
Today's highlights: Biertan Fortified Church. The architectonic ensemble from Biertan impresses by a harmonious matching in locality, by its esthetic and historic value and especially by the original substance preserved since the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, characteristics which determined its inclusion on The UNESCO List of World Patrimony.
After this, we continue our way to Sighisoara citadel – Europe’s best preserved medieval town! One of the most beautiful towns in the heart of Transylvania, the whole medieval citadel is today a part of UNESCO World Heritage. The Clock Tower (Council Tower) – one if its most famous attractions, the Church on the Hill, the Scholars Stairs, The Monastery Church, the towers of the citadel (originally fourteen), The Shoemakers Town, the Tailors Tower, the Tinsmiths Tower, the Venetian House and Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) House are only a few of the highlights.
In the evening, return to Sibiu and overnight in the same hotel.
Breakfast in the morning, then in the afternoon we move to Sibiel, a picturesque village situated 20 km away from Sibiu. Here, we will discover a typically Transylvanian village where nature, tradition, culture and inhabitants’ hospitability join in a harmonious way.
We will enjoy a tasty traditional home-made lunch in a family guesthouse – meal prepared by the owner herself for you with pure biological food and drinks included, experiencing the Romania hospitality. We will also have the opportunity to see how villagers live in the country side, how they grow their domestic animals and how they prepare traditional food and drinks.
Here we will also see the wonder of Sibiel - the Glass Icons Museum, maybe the greatest Glass Icon Museum from Europe or even from the world, that is named after his founder, the priest Zosim Oancea.
Afternoon enjoying a relaxing walking tour of Sibiu`s Old District. Sibiu is one of the most important fortified towns in Transylvania. The city is reminiscent of old European cities such as Nurnberg and it was founded in 1190 and grew to be the chief city of the Transylvanian Saxons. This amazing place, with the "Old Town" (The Big Square, the Small Square, the Ursuline Church, The Franciscan Church, The staircase Tower, the Tanners Tower, the Liar’s Bridge , the House of the Butcher’s Guild and last but not least with the amazing Brukenthal Museum) is a gorgeous place to see. Optional visit to Brukenthal Museum, the oldest museum in Romania with a vast collection of paintings, antiques, coins, and rare books.
Accommodation in Sibiu.
We will start the tour heading South from Sibiu to Bucharest, passing through the Carpathian Mountains via the famous Transfagarasan Road* into the last historical region of Romania from our tour, Valachia. So, prepare your cameras for an incredible scenery!
On our way we have short stop to visit Vidraru Dam, located on the bank of Arges River, along Transfagarasan Road, considered by specialists a real jewelry of engineering, especially as it was built with many human sacrifices and then at the Curtea de Arges Cathedral, a religious masterpiece of the XVI century, hosting the tombs of the Royal Family of Romania.
In the evening arrival and accommodation in a centrally located 4* hotel in Bucharest for the following 2 days.
*Between 1st of July and 15th October, the Transfagarasan Road is usually open and we can visit Curtea de Arges Monastery; when the weather conditions do not permit it or the road is closed, we will change our route and visit Cozia Monastery, located on the beautiful Olt River Valley.
Meet the guide after breakfast, and then begin the sightseeing tour of Bucharest – the Romanian Capital.
The tour will start in the morning at your hotel and following a four hour itinerary that will show the participants the most interesting sights of Bucharest downtown with entrance at the Parliament Palace and The Village Museum.
The itinerary will include: Free Press Square (Piata Presei Libere) – The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf) – Victoriei Square (Piata Victoriei) – Calea Victoriei – Revolution Square (Romanian Atheneum, Revolution’s Memorial) – The Palace of Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) – Union Square (Piata Unirii) – University Square (Piata Universitatii) – Romana Square (Piata Romana) – Victoriei Square (Piata Victoriei) – Charles de Gaulle Square (Piata Charles de Gaulle) – The Village Museum (Muzeul Satului).
Of course, we will not miss the Old Town of Bucharest!
After a refresh break at the hotel after the city tour, we will get ready and go out to the restaurant for a Goodbye Dinner! We will enjoy a traditional Romanian dinner, try some traditional dishes and get familiar with the local culture through the live music and show of folk dances, in a cozy and famous restaurant in Bucharest!
Return to the hotel for your last night accommodation.
Breakfast in the morning, then free time at your disposal to enjoy the city as you wish, have a walk, make some shopping, until your departure flight. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight and end of the tour.
1350 EUR/pers (for min 6 pers)
1590 EUR/pers (for min 4 pers)
2250 EUR/pers (for min 2 pers)
· Professional guide assistance, English speaking (or other languages upon request), during the whole trip;
· Transport by private modern AC car/mini-van (fuel and parking fees incl);
· Airport pick-up/drop off;
· 14 nights accommodation, breakfast included, in 3*and 4* hotels;
· Traditional home-made lunches with pure biological food, at the local guesthouses in Orheiul Vechi and Sibiel, alcoholic drinks included;
· Wine tasting and cellar visit at the Cricova Winery;
· Wine tasting with lunch and cellar visit at Cotnari Winery;
· Farewell dinner in Bucharest;
· City tour in each city in the trip.
· Entrance fees to the touristic attractions included in the itinerary;
· Photography fee;
· Meals, other than those mentioned in the itinerary;
· Other expenses (such as souvenirs, room service and so on);
· Tips for the guide/driver.