PRICE FROM: 2028 euro
DURATION: 14 days
ITINERARY: ROMANIA: Bucharest – Maramures – Scenic drive in the Carpathian Mountains – Bucovina – Exclusive Gypsy Family Home Visit – Sighisoara – Bran and Peles Castles, BULGARIA: Veliko Tarnovo – Plovdiv – the Rila monastery – Sofia, MACEDONIA: Skopje – Ohrid, ALBANIA: Tirana
INFO: The most comprehensive ROMANIA, BULGARIA, MACEDONIA and ALBANIA 14 day itinerary. A great possibility to discover the four countries in one trip.
Day 1 – Depart USA with flights booked on your own.
Day 2 – Bucharest, Romania
Afternoon arrival to Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. Meet and greet by your professional English speaking tour guide waiting with a name sign reading COMPASS TRAVEL ROMANIA visible right after you exit Customs. Transfer to your downtown Bucharest hotel with a short orientation tour and welcome dinner.
Transfer and dinner – Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Berthelot **** (two nights)
Day 3 – Bucharest Half Day City Tour
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. This morning take a city tour of Bucharest including the Revolution Square, a view of the former Roayl Palace, a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament – the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, then Cotroceni Quarter for its representative architecture 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. Return to the hotel in the afternoon; the remainder of the day is at leisure in the city. Dinner on your own. B, L
Day 4 – Bucharest – Sinaia & Peles Castle – Bran Castle – Brasov & Evening at Leisure(Romania)
Hot and cold buffet breakfast. Morning pick up by your English speaking tour guide at your hotel. Leave Bucharest for Sinaia – one of the famous Carpathian Mountains town. Named after St. Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai, Sinaia became the unofficial capital of the Kingdom of Romania toward the end of the 19th century. The Orient Express use to regularly call here and it still does once a year on its way from Paris to Constantinople. Take an orientation tour including a view of the Casino building inspired by the one in Monte Carlo and a visit to Sinaia Orthodox Monastery. Next is one of the most important tourist attractions of the country: Peles Castle and Gardens , the former royal residence of King Charles I of Romania and known as one of the most beautiful summer royal residences in Europe. Then cross the mountains into Transylvania to the village of Bran. The attraction here is the medieval Bran Castle also known as Dracula Castle. The castle was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia to later be turned into a royal residence under Queen Marie of Romania. The connection between this place and Vlad the Impaler Dracula is still under debate, but the castle is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy cheese tasting on the premises. Continue to the nearby town of Brasov. Hotel check in. The evening is at leisure. Enjoy Brasov’s lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town with its many shops, traditional restaurants and outdoor cafes.
B, L, D Accommodation in Brasov at Hotel Aro Palace ***** (two nights)
Day 5 – Sighisoara Excursion & Transylvanian Lunch (Romania)
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Take a morning tour of Brasov with a view of the Gothic Black Church. Brasov has one of the best preserved medieval quarter and fortifications. The tour will include the Council Square, Schei Quarter and the First School in Romanian language, the Rope Street and Catherine’s Gate. Leave Brasov in the morning and drive through the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau with its quaint villages and Saxon fortifications such as Saschiz. Late morning arrival to Sighisoara, a World Heritage Site and the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. 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. Sighisoara is the place where the famous Vlad the Impaler-Dracula was born in 1431. The Birthplace is today a restaurant and one of the main tourist attractions. Visit the exquisite Spoonman Exhibition of Transylvanian Arts & Crafts. walking tour of Sighisoara includes the two squares of the Citadel (Upper Town), the Scholars’ Staircase, the Ducklings’ Square, the Tinsmiths’ Tower, the House with Antler and the Venetian House, a view of the Tower with Clock. Enjoy a Transylvanian lunch at the famous House with Antler – formerly a merchant house, built in the early 16th century. The afternoon is at leisure in the Upper Town to further explore on your own, then drive back to Brasov. Evening at leisure, dinner on your own.
B, L Accommodation in Brasov at Hotel Aro Palace *****
Day 6 – Brasov, Romania to Bulgaria
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Hotel check out. Depart form Brasov at 8 30 am and head south to Bucharest and then off to the border with Bulgaria at Giurgiu. There will be packed lunch. Arrive around 1 pm. Meet your Bulgarian tour guide, change buses and proceed with the Bulgarian leg of your tour.
Continue to Veliko Tarnovo.
Located on the hills above the meandering river Yantra, this city, once a glorious mediaeval capital (1186 – 1393), is now attracting thousands of romantic travelers with its irresistible atmosphere. Mixing the legends of the past with bursting joy of hundreds of young students – this is Veliko Tarnovo today, the seconds most important University City after Sofia. Start exploring the city with the Tsarevets Royal hill. Our guide can tell you more than any of the thick books will. The neighboring Arbanassi museum village is a genuine gallery of art. A must here is the 15th century Church of the Nativity, repainted in the 17th century. Because of its more than 1200 frescoes, It is also called the Sistine Chapel on the Balkans. Overnight.
B L D Accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo at Hotel Yantra ****
Day 7 – Veliko Tarnovo – Kazanlak – Plovdiv, Bulgaria
In the morning departure to Kazanlak where you will visit the « Golyamata Kosmatka » Thracian tomb, dating to the 4th century BC. Next stop is the Rose museum where you will get more information about the rose industry in Bulgaria. After lunch departure to Plovdiv. Sightseeing tour of PLOVDIV: The second largest town of Bulgaria, an area since the time of Philip, King of Macedonia, father of Alexander The Great. The most impressive building of Roman time that has come to us rising above the city is the Antique Amphitheatre by Emperor Mark Avrelii during the 2nd c. A.D. Its magnificent arcade adorned with marble statues is simply breath-taking. Theatre and opera performances are still staged here on warm summer nights. Check in. Dinner. Overnight.
B L D Accommodation in Plovdiv in Grand Hotel Plovdiv ****+
Day 8 – Plovdiv – the Rila Monastery – Sofia, Bulgaria
Departure to the Rila Monastery – the richest historical and architectural monument of the Orthodox enclave, founded in 10th century and transformed to the most important spiritual and cultural center of Bulgaria. On a number of occasions, it was destroyed and burnt down, only to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. The visitor’s first sight of Rila monastery huge towering walls gives the impression of a fortress. However, a step through the archway produces a wonderful surprise. The Monastery’s unrivalled architecture and murals will captivate you. Departure to Sofia. Overnight.
B L D Accommodation in Sofia in hotel Central Park **** or similar for two nights
Day 9 – Full Day Sofia, Bulgaria
In the morning visit the Boyana church and admire its beautiful paintings from the 13th century. In the afternoon take a walking sightseeing tour of Sofia including the most significant landmarks of the capital.
After lunch – time on your own to explore the central pedestrian street with its numerous cafes and shops. In the evening enjoy dinner in a typical Bulgarian restaurant with a folklore performance.
B L D Accommodation in Sofia in hotel Central Park **** (or similar)
Day 10 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Skopje, Macedonia
In the morning departure to Skopje. You will have packed lunch. In the afternoon take a tour of Skopje including the Mother Teresa House and the place where once stood her birth house, the Stone Bridge, the monument of Alexander the Great and his father Fillip of Macedonia. Dinner at the historical restaurant “Stara Kuka”. Overnight.
B L D Accommodation in hotel Holiday Inn ****
Day 11 – Skopje, Macedonia, Canyon Matka to Ohrid, Macedonia
Check out of the hotel in Skopje. Visit the Canyon Matka in the morning, including a short boat ride along the lake. After lunch in Skopje, depart for Ohrid, check in hotel, 2 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure, dinner on your own.
B L Accommodation in hotel Millenium ****
Day 12 – Ohrid, Macedonia
Walking tour of the old town of Ohrid including the church of St. Sofia, the Greek theater, the Fortress of Samuel, the Church of St. Ioan Kaneo, the Plaoshnik. Lunch, then boat ride on the Ohrid lake. Dinner on your own, overnight in Ohrid.
B L Accommodation in hotel Millenium ****
Day 13 – Ohrid, Macedonia – Tirana, Albania
In the morning departure to the Albanian border. After custom clearance proceed to Tirana, the capital of Albania. In Tirana take a sightseeing tour including Justinian fortress, the Ethem Bej Mosque, one of the most beautiful in the town and after a walking tour around the center continue towards the ex-block area, once an exclusive area for the communist leaders. The villa of the ex-communist leader Enver Hoxha is still standing next to tall buildings and loud bars. Check in the hotel, free time, farewell dinner at night.
B L D Accommodation in Tirana in hotel Sky Hotel **** (or similar)
Day 14 – Departure from Tirana, Albania (TIA)
Fly back to USA from TIA – Tirana International Airport, also called Nene Tereza Airport (Mother Tereza’s real name).