General

PRICE FROM: 990 euro based on a group of 8 people. For more or less people please ask.
DURATION: 12 days
ITINERARY: BULGARIA : Sofia – Rila – Plovdiv – Kazanlak – Veliko Tarnovo / ROMANIA : Bucharest – Maramures – Home Hosted Dinner & Included Folklore Show – Scenic drive in the Carpathian Mountains – Bucovina – Exclusive Gypsy Family Home Visit – Sighisoara – Bran and Peles Castles
INFO: THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BULGARIA & ROMANIA 12 DAY ITINERARY. A hand crafted cultural tour steeped in vibrant local and time-honored traditions.

DETAILED ITINERARY FOR THE Bulgaria-Romania Treasures TOUR:

Itinerary: Bulgaria : Sofia Tour – Rila – Plovdiv – Kazanlak – Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanassi – Roman Ruins at Nicopolis – Ivanovo Rock Hewn Churches

Romania : Bucharest Tour & Folklore Show – Lunch at the famous Hunchback’s – Huniady Castle – Maramures Exclusive Program: live in a village and interact with locals – Home Hosted Dinner & Included Folklore Show – Scenic drive in the Carpathian Mountains – Bucovina Frescoed Monasteries – Bicaz Gorge – Exclusive Gypsy Family Home Visit – Sighisoara Upper Town – Bran and Peles Castles

Day 0: Sofia Arrival. Pick up from the Sofia airport and transfer to your hotel. Reminder of the day – time at leisure. Accommodation. Overnight.

Accommodation in Sofia at Best Western Thracia Hotel **** (centrally located, two overnights)

Day 1: Sightseeing tour of Sofia: 

In the morning visit the Boyana church (UNESCO) where you will admire beautiful paintings from 1259. In the National Historical Museum see the world famous Thracian Treasure of Panagyuristhe dating to the 4th century BC. Drive back to the central part of Sofia. Visit the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – the biggest and the most beautiful on the Balkan Peninsula, the St. Sophia early Christian basilica, which has given the city its name, the Monument of Alexander II – Tzar Liberator, the Parliament, the Russian Church, the Presidency, the National Theater, the Ruins of Serdica and the Rotonda St George 4th c. AC, The Statue of St Sofia – the symbol of the city, the Synagogue, the Mosque.

Reminder of the day – explore the little streets of Sofia on your own.

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 the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s most famous tourist site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilski, 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. Evening at leisure in the lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town.

B Accommodation in Plovdiv at family hotel “Renaissance” – a 19th century house with 5 rooms 

Day 3: Plovdiv – Kazanlak – Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanassi

Breakfast at hotel. Morning tour of the Old Town including the large Roman Amphitheatre and the Roman stadium. 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. Continue to the picturesque village of Arbanassi, near Veliko Tarnovo. Your afternoon highlight is a visit to the Church of Nativity, the most richly decorated church in all of Bulgaria

B Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo at Hotel Gurko *** (located in the Old Town)

Day 4: Veliko Tarnovo – Ivanovo Rock Churches – Ruse – ROMANIA Bucharest

Departure to the North where your first visit the cavernous Ivanovo Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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. OPTIONAL: In the evening enjoy a Traditional Romanian Welcome Dinner and Folklore Show.

B Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Berthelot **** (centrally located boutique hotel)

Day 5:  Bucharest City Tour & Parliament Visit –  Olt River Gorge – Cozia – Sibiu (alternative route via the Trans Fagarasan Road, if open, on request)

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your Romania and Bulgaria tour with a morning city tour of Bucharest including the Revolution Square and a view of the former Royal Palace,  a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament: the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, Cotroceni Quarter for its representative architecture, a view of the Ceausescu’s former private residence and the Village Museum – one of the world’s most interesting open-air museums with century old original peasant households from all parts of Romania.

BASED ON AVAILABILITY:  exclusive guided tour of the former private residence of the Ceausescus (pay on own). En route to Transylvania, make a short stop to the 14th century Cozia Monastery built by Prince Mircea the Old and an excellent example of late 14th century Wallachian architecture. Drive along the Olt River Canyon crossing the mountains into Transylvania. This obviously is one of the most scenic roads of Romania. 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,  best cellar – restaurants in town, serving authentic Transylvanian fares.

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, Johann Strauss as well as Prince Charles and many others.

Day 6:  Sibiu Walking Tour & Fresh Market Visit – Choice of Visits: Huniady Castle OR Turda Salt Mines – Cluj Napoca

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your day with a leisurely walking tour of Sibiu, the chief city of the Transylvanian Germans. Walk in the famous Great and Lesser Squares and view the old surrounding defense walls and the remaining guild towers. One of the landmarks of Sibiu is the Bruckenthal Museum assembled by Baron Bruckenthal, the Governor of Transylvania at the beginning of the 19th century and the second museum to ever open in Europe after the National Gallery in London. Next is the Evangelical Cathedral completed in its actual shape in 1520. Visit the colorful open air fresh fruit and vegetable market of Sibiu. Leave Sibiu.

CHOICE OF AFTERNOON TOURS:

  1. Hunedoara for a guided tour of the Gothic Huniady Castle OR
  2. tour of the recently reopened Turda Salt Mines.

Late afternoon arrival to Cluj Napoca, the former capital of Transylvania. Short orientation tour  on the way to your hotel. Hotel check in.

B Accommodation in Cluj Napoca at Hotel Siago *** (or similar)

Day 7:  Cluj Napoca – Baia Mare – Maramures – Sapinta & The Merry Cemetery – Home Hosted Dinner & Folklore Music

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel.  In the morning take a panoramic city tour of Cluj Napcao with the main highlgihts such as the Hellmer & Felner Opera House, the City Hall,  the Banffy Palace and ST. Michael’s. Your Romania and Bulgaria private trip takes you north toward Baia Mare where you reach the splendid region of Maramures (northern Transylvania). Due to the relative isolation of their land, the people of Maramures developed a particularly strong community, with a unique personality, traditions, culture, fashion and lifestyle unspoiled for centuries. Stop in the villages of Giulesti for the dowry tradition and Mara for the wonderfully carved wooden gates. Continue west along Tisa River and reach the village of Sapinta, world famous for its “Merry Cemetery”.  Each wooden cross carries a funny epitaph about the person’s life. In the same village you will have the opportunity to witness the construction of the tallest wooden structure in the wolrd: Sapinta – Peri. Accommodation in a private house in the village of Iza. Meet a Romanian family in their home (not a B&B) for dinner, this being a first hand cultural interchange. You will also enjoy an exclusively organized Maramures Folklore Show.

B D Home stay accommodation (modern villa) OR Hotel Casa Iurca *** in Sighet (surcharge may apply)

Family home, with one section renovated into a modern villa with all modern facilities. The location is excellent, in a small village, quiet neighborhood, far away from the main street. The terraces offer a beautiful view on the village. Excellent home cooking.

Day 8:  Maramures:  Iza Valley Walking Tour – Sighetul Marmatiei – The Wooden Churches (UNESCO) – The Carpathians & the Borgo Pass – Bucovina

After breakfast, take an exclusively designed walking tour of the village of Iza including an icon-on-glass workshop (and learn about the technique), the local ancient type plum brandy distillery and a typical wooden whirlpool still used by the local women to wash heavy woolen  blankets. Then drive to the nearby town of Sighet to mingle with the locals at the colorful fruit and vegetable market where you will have the oportunity to sample various produce. Continue to the Anti Communist Memorial – a political prison in the Communist times. This is one of the main memorial sites of the continent, alongside Auschwitz Museum and the Peace Memorial in Normandy. The visit here provides a direct connection to Romania’s most recent history. Next is the superb Ethographic Museum of Maramures,  structured according to the main categories of folk culture. Lunch on own. Continue exploring Maramures along the picturesque Iza Valley – an excellent oportunity to witness daily life in this corner of Europe. Stop in the village of Rozavlea for a visit to the workshop of a famous master wood carver in his own workshop. He represented Romania at the 1999 Smithsonian World Folk Festival in Washington, DC. Next is the exquisite Barsana Monastery, a great example of Maramures wooden church architecture. Cross the Carpathian Mountains through the picturesque Borgo Pass into the northern part of Moldavia called Bucovina with excellent opportunities for pictures. In the town of Campulung enjoy an exclusively organized interactive egg-painting demonstration by a local artist in her home, this being one of the local traditions of the area. You will also have the chance to admire painted eggs from all over the world in an unique private exhibition. After arriving in Gura Humorului, check into the hotel.

B Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina ****  OR La Conac in Bucovina **** (two nights)

Day 9: Bucovina Painted Monasteries Excursion (World Heritage Sites) & Traditional Bucovina Lunch

A la carte breakfast at hotel. Bucovina monasteries are gems of medieval Moldavian architecture and artistry. Begin your day with Voronet , the most famous out of all, known as the Sistine Chapel of the East and featuring one the best Last Judgment Fresco in this part of the World. Next is Moldovita Monastery where the UNESCO Golden Apple Award given to the painted churches in 1975, is kept. As a cultural connection, enjoy a traditional Bucovina lunch in the picturesque village of Sucevita. Later continue to the nearby Sucevita Monastery, which is the largest of all, looking more like a mighty fortress than a monastery. The Ladder of John of Sinai is considered one of the best of the frescoes of Sucevita, rarely present in medieval Romanian art. The monastery has a small old bibles museum. In the village of Marginea visit the black pottery workshop – they use a technique called “oxygen reduction”, there is the same technique in Mexico only! End your day with the Monastery of Humor, the only one without a belfry tower.

B L Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina ****OR La Conac in Bucovina ****

Day 10: Gura Humorului – Piatra Neamt Synagogue OR Neamt Citadel – Bicaz Gorges & Red Lake –  Gypsy Experience – Sighisoara & Transylvanian Dinner

A la carte breakfast at hotel.  Leave Gura Humorului in the mornig.

CHOICE OF MORNING TOURS:

  1. visit theonly wooden synagogue in Romania(dating back from the 17th century) and built half underground OR
  2. tour the Neamt Medieval Citadel, one of the most impressive in the country. 

Later reach Bicaz Gorges where the surroundings are dramatic. Here you have an opportunity for a short hike. Optional lunch in the resort of the Red Lake  – Lacu Rosu (restaurants here specialize in naturally grown trout). Once passing the Red Lake you are back to Transylvania. On an exclusive cultural connection, meet a local Gypsy family in their own home.  Afternoon arrival to Sighisoara –  a World Heritage Site and the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. Before starting your walking tour of old Sighisoara attend an informal talk on Vlad the Impaler – Dracula, what is truth and what is fiction. Sighisoara is one of a kind. It was developed by the German settlers as of late 12th century. 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. The walking tour includes the two squares of the Citadel (Upper Town), the Scholars’ Staircase, the House with Antler, the Tower with Clock (climb up for a great view), the Torture Chamber and the Weapon Museum. Visit an outstanding arts & crafts exhibiton. Sighisoara is the place where the Vlad the Impaler Dracula was born in 1431. The Birthplace is one of the main tourist attractions. Accommodation in the Upper Town. Enjoy a  typical Transylvanian Dinner in the Upper Town.

OPTIONAL:  Wine tasting and high quality home made fruit brandy in a 500-year old cellar in Sighisoara.

B D Accommodation in Sighisoara at The House with Antler ***  (or similar)

Day 11: Sighisoara – The Saxon Trail – Bran Castle – Tour of Brasov

A la carte breakfast at hotel. Depart Sighisoara heading South. En route enjoy an exclusive tasting of organic Transylvanian ”like Grandma used to make” recipes and learn about self-sufficiency and real sustainability. An inspirational experience. Journey south through the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau for a guided tour Bran Castle also known as Dracula’s Castle altough the connections to Vlad are still in debate. Today being one of the most popular attractions of the country, the castle was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia, then enlarged and restored a few times to become a royal residence after the 1920s under Queen Marie of Romania. Take a guided tour followed by cheese sampling. Continue with a tour of Brasov (aprtly on foot) to admire the 14th century Gothic Black Church with its 4,000 pipe organ and over a hundred Anatolian prayer rugs given to the church as gifts by the rich Brasov merchants. Visit Schei Quarter with the First School in Romanian language (meet with professor Olteanu). The tour will also include the Council Square, Catherine’s Gate, the Rope Street and a view of the synagogue. Hotel check in with the remainder of the day at lesiure in the lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town.

B  Accommodation in Brasov at Hotel Bella Muzica *** OR Casa Wagner ***

Day 12:  Peles Castle – Bucharest. Departure from the Bucharest Airport. End of service.

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Morning scenic drive through the Oeriental Carpathians to Sinaia mountain town, formerly the un-official capital of Romania at the end of the 19th century.  Take a guided tour of the 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. A ride south to Bucharest. Drop off at the Bucharest airport. End of service.

PRICES AND DATES:

Guaranteed departure – every day from April 1 to November 30. On request from Dec 1 to March 31.

If you are looking to share this tour with other people please see our “Scheduled Tours” category.

Included features in Bulgaria:

  • Accommodation in total 4 overnights with breakfasts
  • fully insured sedan with climate control, for the entire distance
  • fuel & parking fees included, border fees, toll fees, vignette
  • all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
  • transfer from Sofia airport to your hotel
  • professional English speaking guide
  • admissions to museums, sites, churches as per itinerary
  • VAT and local tax
  • Deatialed map of Bulgaria

Included features in Romania:

  • Accommodation in total 8 overnights with breakfasts and 1 night home stay in Maramures (or three/four star hotel on request)
  • an exclusively organized folklore show in Maramures
  • fully insured sedan with climate control, for the entire distance
  • fuel & parking fees included, border fees, toll fees, vignette
  • all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
  • 1 home hosted lunch, 2 dinners
  • exclusive visit to a Gypsy family in Transylvania (based on your interest)
  • three informal talks on: Dracula: Truth and Legend, Ceausescu and His Times, The Gypsies and Their Journey
  • cheese tasting in Bran
  • interactive egg painting demonstration in Bucovina
  • portrage at hotels
  • admissions to museums, sites, churches as per itinerary
  • VAT and local tax
  • Deatialed map of Romania

At all time not included:

  • Food and beverages other than stated
  • Photo and camera fees in the sites and the museums
  • Bank or paypal fees

PAYMENT OPTIONS:

This tour can be paid by credit card, paypal, bank transfer or cash upon departure.

Please note paying by credit card will apply a supplementary fee of 2,5% for VISA card and 2,5% for Master Card. Paying by paypal will apply a supplementary fee of 4%, no additional fee if you send it from another paypal account.

BOOKING:

We require 30% downpayment upon booking. In the event of cancellation 14 days prior to date of the tour the downpayment will be fully reimbursed.

CANCELLATION POLICY FOR THIS TOUR:

–  14 days prior to date of activity – Free cancellation

– 13 to 8 days prior to date of activity – 30% Cancellation Fee (70% reimbursement)

– 7 to 4 days prior to date of activity – 70% Cancellation Fee (30% reimbursement)

– 3 days prior to date of activity, on the day of the activity and for now show – 100% cancellation Fee (No reimbursement)

You’ll visit 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Bucovina Exterior Frescoed Monasteries
  • Maramures Wooden Churches
  • Historic Center of Sighisoara
  • Biertan Fortified Church
  • Sibiu Historic Center
  • Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
  • Ivanovo Rock Hewn Churches
  • The Rila Monastery

Please see our other tours including Romania.

Available departures

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