PRICE FROM: 1230 euro
DURATION: 9 days / 8 nights
ROUTE: Sofia – the Rila monastery – Plovdiv – the Bachkovo monastery – Veliko Tarnovo – the Ivanovo Rock monastery – Bucharest – Sibiu – Sighisoara – Brasov – Dracula’s Castle in Bran – Sinaia Resort – Bran Castle – Sinaia – Lake of Snagov – Bucharest
INFO: The novel, Kostova’s first, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list during the summer and fall of 2005 and it was named the 2006 Book Sense “Book of the Year” in the Adult Fiction Category.While nominally a modern re-telling of the Dracula story, The Historian delves deeply into the nature of history and its relevance to today’s world. The movie is in the shooting process and will be released in 2011. A mixture of culture, fiction and history, all in a Spiritual Journey as well as Physical one. Dive into a medieval world that Vlad the Impaler – Dracula once ruled with despotism and butchery close at hand. Explore Old Europe first hand. “What comes to your mind when you think of the word Transylvania, if you ponder at all? Yes, as I thought…wisely you don’t. But what comes to mind are mountains of savage beauty, ancient castles, werewolves and witches – a land of magical obscurity.” Guaranteed Daily Departures
Day 1: Sofia Arrival Arrive at Sofia airport. Meet and greet by your Bulgarian guide. Once in the capital Sofia take a panoramic city tour with the Rotunda of St George and a visit to the St Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Hotel check in with the evening at leisure.
B Accommodation in Sofia at Best Western Thracia Hotel **** (centrally located)
Day 2: Sofia – Rila Monastery – Plovdiv Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. You’ll enjoy a scenic ride to Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s most famous tourist site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilsky, the monastery was at the center of Bulgarian culture and Orthodox belief for centuries and today the most visited cultural site of Bulgaria. Continue to Plovdiv – the country’s second largest city. Orientation tour of this ancient settlement. Evening at leisure in the lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town.
B Accommodation in Plovdiv in hotel Belle Ville ***
Day 3: Plovdiv – Batchkovo Monastery – Kazanlak – Veliko Tarnovo Departure to the famous Batchkovo Monastery in the Rodopi Mountains, beautifully described in the book. A guided visit of the monastery here is included. Departure to Kazanlak. As we wind through picturesque Rose Valley, we make a stop at the world famous Thracian Tomb, you get an up-close view of the wonderfully preserved Hellenistic frescoes dating back to the 4th century BC. Another must-see is The Rose Museum. Continue to Veliko Tarnovo, the anicent capital of Bulgaria. The tour will include the picturesque Samovodene Street with its many artisans shops and a view of the mighty Tsarevets Fortress.
B Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo in hotel Gurko ***
Day 4: Veliko Tarnovo – Roman Ruins at Nicopolis ad Istrum – Ivanovo Rock Churches – Ruse – ROMANIA Bucharest Departure to the North where your first visit is the complex of Roman ruins of Nicopolis ad Istrum, built in the 2nd century AD by Emperor Trajan. Take an orientation tour of the center of Ruse, the largest Bulgarian town on the Danube with its classical architecture before you cross the Danube River where you will enter Romania and will change tour guides and vehicles. Drive to Bucharest. Check in and time at leisure. In the evening enjoy a Traditional Romanian Welcome Dinner and Folklore Show.
B D Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Berthelot **** (centrally located boutique hotel)
Day 5: Bucharest Tour – Curtea de Arges – Poienari Fortress – Cozia – Sibiu Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Morning orientation tour of Bucharest including the main sites as well as a view of the former Princely Court in the times of Vlad the Impaler, then drive north on the way of Curtea de Arges – one of the former capitals of the Principality of Wallachia, the fief of Vlad. Brief stop at the former Princely Court in Curtea de Arges. Visit the exquisite Monastery Church where three of the Romanian Kings are burried. Continue to the famousFortress of Poienari – the first Romanian site mentioned in the book and related to Vlad the Impaler – Dracula. This is the actual castle built by him. Later drive along the Olt River Canyon, one of the most picturesque roads in the entire country. Stop at Cozia Monastery built by Vlad’s grandfather and featuring a complete Last Judgment Fresco. Cross the mountains into Transylvania and observe the change of the village architecture. Reach Sibiu. Brief orientation tour on the way to the hotel. Overnight in Sibiu’s famous Romans’ Emperor Hotel, first built at the end of the 18th century. Dinner on own. Suggested is Crama Sibiul Vechi, one of the best restaurants in town, serving all Transylvanian dishes and the local Ausbruch wine.B Accommodation in Sibiu at Imparatul Romanilor Hotel ****Hotel Imparatul Romanilor, located in the old part of Sibiu near the main square, in a 16th century building built in traditional Transylvanian Renaissance style, a former merchant’s hall transformed into hotel in the 18th century, with many famous guests: Emperor Franz Joseph II, composers Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss, as well as Prince Charles and many others.
Day 6: Sibiu Walking Tour & Sighisoara Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your day with a leisurely walking tour of Sibiu, the European Capital of Culture in 2007. Visit the old surrounding defense walls and the remaining towers each belonging to a th old guilds. The main building in the Great and Lesser Squares features the dormers, the sao-called “sleepy eyes”. One of the landmarks of Sibiu is the Bruckenthal Museum assembled by Baron Bruckenthal, Governor of Transylvania at the beginning of the 19th century. The Evangelical Cathedral was completed in its actual shape in 1520, but inside, there is an exquisite fresco of the Crucifixion on the north wall of the choir dating from 1445. It was here that in 1510 the son of Vlad, Mihnea the Bad was stabbed to death and his tomb stone is on display in the church. Continue to the Passage of Stairs linking the Upper town to the Lower town, the 1859 Liar’s Bridge and the Byzantine style Orthodox Cathedral, a replica of St. Sophia in Constantinople. In the afternoon drive to Sighisoara – a World Heritage Site and the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. Accommodation in either one of the three hotels in the Upper Town also known as the “Citadel”. Tonight dinner is included at the actual Birthplace of Vlad Dracula.
B D Accommodation in Sighisoara at Hotel Sighisoara *** or The House with Antler *** (In the Upper Town)
Day 7: Sighisoara & Biertan Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Before starting your walking tour of old Sighisoara attend a lecture on Vlad the Impaler – Dracula, what is truth and what is fiction. Sighisoara is one of a kind. A World Heritage Site, this is the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. It was developed by the German settlers as of late 12 C. It stands on a network of tunnels and catacombs and, according to one version of the myth; this is where the Pied Piper brought the children of Hamelin after their ungrateful parents refused to pay him his due. Walking tour includes the two squares of the Citadel (Upper Town), the Scholars’ Staircase, the Ducklings’ Square, the Tinsmiths’ Tower, the House with Antler, the Tower with Clock (climb up for a great view), the Torture Chamber and the Weapon Museum. Sighisoara is the place where the famous Vlad the Impaler Dracula was born in 1431. The rest of the day is at leisure or drive 20 miles to Biertan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a visit of the former Seat of the Lutheran Bishops between 1516 and 1867. Optional plum brandy and sausage tasting in one of the local distilleries (15 Euro per person). Dinner on your own.
B Accommodation in Sighisoara at Hotel Sighisoara *** or The House with Antler *** (In the Upper Town)
Day 8: Sighisoara – Brasov – Dracula’s Castle in Bran – Sinaia Resort Hot and cold buffet breakfast. Leave Sighisoara in the morning. Journey south, crossing the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau with its colorful villages and fortified churches and citadels. Reach Brasov for a city tour. Along with Sibiu, Brasov was one of the two important German cities and the heritage is still rich. The visit to the 14th century Black Church with its 4,000 pipe organ and over a hundred Anatolian prayer rugs is included. The attraction of the day is the well known Bran Castle also known as Dracula Castle. Today owned by Dominic of Habsburg, the castle was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia, enlarged and restored a few times since then. It is one of the most visited atraction of Romania. Late afternoon arrival to Sinaia mountain resort. Named after St. Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai, Sinaia became the unofficial capital of the Kingdom of Romania towards the end of the 19th century. Orientation tour of the resort including the famous Casino, inspired by the one in Monte Carlo. Once the famous Orient Express train use to regularly call here and it still does once a year on its way from Paris to Constantinople. Dinner on own.
B Accommodation in Sinaia at Palace Hotel ****
Day 9: Sinaia – Snagov Island – Hot and cold buffet breakfast. In the morning visit one of the most important tourist attractions of the country: Peles Castle and Gardens in Sinaia, the royal residence of King Charles I of Romania and known as one of the most beautiful summer royal residences in Europe. This castle alone is worth your entire trip to Romania. On the way to Bucharest make a detour to the Lake and Island of Snagov. This is where Vlad the Impaler Dracula is burried. Cross the lake on a row boat and meet the Abbot of the monastery. In the afternoon drive to Bucharest.
PRICES AND DATES:
Guaranteed departure – every day from April 1 to November 30. On request from Dec 1 to March 31.
8 nights at three and four star hotels (all centrally located)
fully insured sedan/minivan with climate control, for the entire distance
fuel & parking fees included
all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
Vlad the Impaler – Dracula Lecture in Sighisoara
13 meals: 9 breakfasts, 4 dinners (including the Welcome and Farewell Dinners)
professional English speaking guides (driving) to accompany you throughout (guides are natives of their countries)
city tours of Sofia, Bulgaria and Bucharest, Romania
admissions to museums, sites, churches as per itinerary
porterage (except for customs areas)
VAT and local tax
detailed maps of Bulgaria and Romania
You’ll visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Historic Centres of Sighisoara and Sibiu, Biertan Fortified Church, Romania, Rila Monastery, Bulgaria Not included:
Other meals than stated
Photo/video fees at sites and museums.