A touch of fascinating Transylvania and intriguing Bucharest perfectly combined in a 6 day program
With almost nine centuries of Saxon presence, central Transylvania claims a specific cultural and architectural heritage unique in Europe; the region is home to nearly 200 Saxon villages, churches and fortifications built between the 13th and 15th centuries as strategic points of defense against multiple invaders. Seven of the fortified Saxon churches are listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites: Biertan, Calnic, Darjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor, and Viscri.
Bucharest, the capital and the largest city of Romania, on old trading town at the crossroads of the main commercial routes connecting Europe and Asia, nowadays with Parisian style wide avenues lined with trees, neo-classical style mansions but also new supertall skyscrapers, the cultural, political and economic center of the country.
Excellent tour guiding, top rated hotels, nice traditional restaurants, safe and comfortable transportation, unique places and people, a collection of heritage, history and culture, wonderful and authentic experience.
Day 1 : Apt – Sinaia, 125 km
Arrive to Bucharest airport and transfer to the mountain resort of Sinaia - known as the ‘ Pearl of the Carpathians’ due to its magnificent mountain scenery and Royal Castle.
Day 2 : Sinaia / Peles Castle – Bran / Dracula’s Castle – Sibiu, 225 km
This morning we visit Peles Castle, a royal palace set in a large park landscaped in the English fashion. It was built in the late 19th century for Romania ’s first monarch, King Carol I, and took 39 years to complete. Outwardly it resembles a Bavarian Schloss, in the German Renaissance style, with a host of turrets. It has over 100 rooms richly decorated in ebony, mother of pearl and leather, and each room is styled on a particular country. There are over 800 stained glass windows in the building whose rooms are full of Renaissance armour and weapons, Murano chandeliers and Persian carpets. Romania’s first cinema was established in one of the castle’s rooms.
Continue to Bran where we visit famous Dracula’s Castle: in actual fact, Vlad the Impaler never lived at Bran Castle , but the edifice lives up to the Gothic fairy-tale image that Bram Stoker’s book evokes. The castle was created by the Saxons in the late 14th century to defend Brasov from invasion by the Turks and its interior displays rich Western European furniture, which Queen Marie purchased in the 1920s when the castle was used as a royal residence. Drive further to Sibiu.
Day 3 : Sibiu – Sighisoara, 95 km
The charming Saxon town of Sibiu combines styles of the late Renaissance, Gothic, Classical and Transylvanian Baroque architecture. Sibiu has been likened to Nuremberg, but many of the houses are painted sky blue, red, apricot and pea green. Our tour will include the evangelical and orthodox cathedrals and the Brukenthal Art Museum. The Gothic Evangelic Cathedral is a massive structure that was completed in 1520 and whose huge imposing tower dominates the surrounding skyline. It boasts Romania s largest organ, which has around 6000 pipes, and is also home to the tomb of Prince Mihnea the Bad, the son of Vlad, who was murdered just outside the church. The Orthodox Cathedral is situated in the New Town, and is the second largest Orthodox cathedral in the whole of Romania. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century and is modelled largely on the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. Its lavish interior is embellished with all manner of Neo-Byzantine designs and frescoes.
Continue to Sighisoara, a beautifully preserved medieval town set in rolling countryside. The city walls encircle cobbled streets lined with 16th century burghers’ houses and churches. The well-preserved medieval citadel dominates the New Town from its rocky massif, where the slopes support a jumble of ancient leaning houses. The citadel is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. You will also see the gigantic Old Clock Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. Each day a different wooden figure emerges from the belfry on the stroke of midnight, and a drummer strikes every hour. The interior of the Gothic Saxon Church of the Dominican Monastery has stark whitewashed walls, hung with colourful carpets.
Day 4 : Sighisoara – Brasov, 125 km
This morning we travel to Brasov, a medieval town with ornate Saxon churches and townhouses. Legend has it that when the Pied Piper of Hamelin enticed the children away from the town and underground they emerged in Transylvania near Brasov’s main square, Piata Sfatului, situated in the heart of the medieval quarter. It is one of the finest Baroque squares in Romania. Here you will visit the 15th century Town Hall, with its quaint Trumpeter’s Tower on top, and the Lutheran Black Church. The church took almost a century to build (1383 – 1477) and is so-called for its soot-blackened walls – the result of a great fire started by the Austrian army that swept through Braşov in 1689. The Black Church is the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul, and its 7 tone bell is the largest in Romania. Inside there are fine hanging Turkish carpets and a huge organ with 4000 pipes built by Buchholz. You will then continue to the Orthodox St Nicholas’s Cathedral, which is easily recognized by its black spires, and then visit the adjacent Romanian School Museum, which displays some of the first textbooks written in the Romanian language and printed in Braşov (dating back to the 16th century).
Day 5 : Brasov – Bucharest, 175 km
Continue to Bucharest, Romania’s cosmopolitan capital and a city well known for its wide Parisian-style boulevards and fine pre-World War I buildings. Visits will include Stavropoleos Church, the Royal Palace and the open air Village Museum. The Stavropoleos Church (1724-1730) has an arabesque façade with a columned portico carved with delicate tracery. The interior is richly decorated with ornate carvings and colorful frescoes. The open air Village Museum of vernacular architecture was opened in 1936 by Royal Decree, and the vast park displays numerous houses and other structures from every region of Romania, illustrating the extreme diversity of folk architecture with heavily thatched peasant dwellings, wooden churches, dug-out homes with vegetables growing on the roof, windmills, tall farm barns and a bizarre subterranean house.
Day 6 : dep.
Travel to Bucharest Airport for your return flight.