• Private tour: only for you and your partner/family/group
• In English: with a guide or driver (other languages upon request)
• Dates: you decide the dates
• Services: you choose the type of services and options
• Location: it starts and ends in Bucharest
• Duration: 13 days in total
• No flights included
All must-see attractions in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia. An attractive and complete itinerary in 3 surprising and different countries, a Balkan synthesis. Spend 2 nights in each capital and visit all the attractions you can not miss. Discover castles, medieval fortresses and monasteries: a unique heritage in the world. Explore picturesque cities, admire unforgettable landscapes, understand the historical context. Live "the countryside", the folklore, the character of 3 different nations and enjoy the diversity of cultures, gastronomy and wines.
What you will do
• Discover Corvin Castle, chosen among the 10 best "fairy tale" castles by Lonely Planet
• Visit UNESCO attractions, picturesque cities, and Bucharest, the capital
• Get to know Sofia (young and welcoming capital city), Plovdiv (beautiful cultural town), Veliko Tarnovo ("the city of the Tsars")
• Visit UNESCO attractions: Thracian Tomb and Rila Monastery
• Explore Belgrade, charming capital on the Danube
• Excursion to Vojvodina, a diverse and prosperous region in the north of the country (optional)
Why Santiago Tour?
1. Local experts and excellent guides
2. Local prices and selected services
Why a Private Tour?
1. It's flexible - you decide when to travel and how
2. It's personal - a trip for you and according to your preferences
What customers say
Overall impression: 5*.
The trip has been very complete for the number of days we had.
1. About the program / itinerary / visits: The program has been as expected. Complete and adjusted to the number of days to enjoy everything.
2. About the guide: Very correct and attentive. Very good professional. We have been very satisfied.
3. About the transport and the driver: The van is comfortable, always ready and clean. The driver is a great professional. Great.
4. bout the hotels / accommodation: The hotels have been very well located and the facilities and rooms were very good, as well as the breakfasts, except maybe for the Play hotel.
5. About the meals: The trip did not include meals, but we have eaten phenomenally and the food was diverse. All the places recommended to us have been very good.
Laura - Canada
Overall impression: 5*.
It has been very well. Well planned, which has allowed us to get a minimal idea of the three countries. A relaxing and unhurried journey which leaves you craving for more.
1. About the program / itinerary / visits: The program has been very good. It has met my expectations.
2. About the guide: Very good guide, excellent vocabulary and speaks perfect English. A lot of knowledge. You can see that he’s passionate about history and art.
3. About the transport and the driver: The van was very good, very comfortable. The chauffeur drives great. Very attentive and always aware of us. A 10 to the excellent driver.
4. About the hotels / accommodation: The hotels have been very well located, centrally located and with good facilities. In general the breakfasts were very good.
5. About the meals: Very good.
William - Canada
This is a private tour, adaptable to your travel dates and preferences, organized only for you and your partner / family / group.
|Number of participants
||6 or more
Price* / person
* Discount: up to - €380/person, in case of choosing English-speaking driver-guide instead of proficient tour guide (see below in options)
What is Included:
• Accommodation: 12 overnights according to the program, in double room with breakfast included, 3* Smart type (see below).
• Transportation by modern vehicle according to the program, with related expenses and 2 airport-hotel and return transfers included
• Assistance: English speaking proficient tour guide, as per program
• Guided visits mentioned in the program; 1 attraction with free entrance: Rila Monastery (Bulgaria); 12 attractions with entrance fee included: Bulgaria - Tsarevets Fortress (Veliko Tarnovo); Nativity Church (Arbanassi); Hindliyan or Balabanov House (Plovdiv); Thracian Tomb (Kazanlak); Serbia - Museum of Yugoslavia (Belgrade); Romania - Corvin Castle (Hunedoara); Clock Tower (Sighisoara); Prejmer fortified church; Peles Castle (standard tour approx 1h) (Sinaia); Bran Castle; Village Museum and the Palace of Parliament (standard tour approx 1h) (Bucharest).
3* Smart Type Accommodation: mainly 3* superior hotels with quality services
or similar, depending on availability.
• Single room supplement: + €295.
What is Not included:
• flights and travel insurance
• personal expenses, such as: mini bar, phone calls, porterage etc.
• photo / video fees during the visits (if applicable)
• in general, all services not specified in "what is included"
• tips for the guide and/or driver.
• 4* Comfort type - mainly 4* hotels with quality services: Bucharest - K+K 4* Hotel (center 0); Veliko Tarnovo - Studio 3*- superior Hotel (center 0); Plovdiv - Holiday Inn 4* Hotel / Best Western Premier Hills 4* Hotel (center 2); Sofia - Central 4* Hotel (center 0); Belgrade - Jump Inn 4* Hotel (center 1); Timisoara - Savoy 4* Hotel (center 1); Sibiu - Ramada 4* Hotel (center 0); Brasov - Armatti 3*- superior Hotel / Belfort 3*- superior Hotel (center 1). Or similar, depending on availability. Total extra charge: approx. + €90/person in double room and the single supplement changing to: €350.
• 3* Economy type - mainly 3* standard hotels and pensions, with quality services. Total discount: approx. - €55/person in double room and single supplement changing to: €265.
Notes on accommodation
• Confirmed hotels can be communicated only after making the reservations on specific dates
• center 0 / center 1 / center 2 means: 0-5 / 5-15 / 15-25 minutes walking distance from the center (the important tourist area of the city)
• Some 3* boutique hotels and pensions don't have an elevator or air conditioning (because it is not usually required). If these are essential requirements, please let us know or choose the 4* Comfort option.
A. With a proficient tour guide. Option included in the price.
• English-speaking tour guide, offering detailed explanation, presentations, and guided tours. The tour guide also makes all necessary arrangements, as well as restaurant and meal recommendations.
• a tour guide for the entire program, no local tour guides being used in general. Some attractions only allow guided tours (their own staff); if the included tour is not available in English, our tour guide will join you and translate or even make the tour by himself (if allowed).
• depending on availability: a tour guide who also drives (1 person), or a tour guide plus a driver (2 people), with fee, meal allowance, and accommodation included.
• only with a tour guide and starting from 4 participants, you can also choose meal options: lunches and/or dinners.
B. With a driver-guide. Discount: up to - €380/person.
• English-speaking driver-guide, facilitating the visits, the entrances to attractions, the check-ins and other details. The driver-guide is also able to make restaurant and meal recommendations.
• offers basic information about the main attractions and the country but not detailed explanation or presentations. Some attractions only allow guided tours (their own staff); if the included tour is not available in English, our driver-guide will join you and translate or even make the tour by himself (if allowed).
• his fee, meal allowance, and accommodation are included.
• Half board in Romania (lunches): + €55/person, 4 lunches, days 9-12. Half board in Romania (dinners): + €90/person, 5 dinners, days 8-12. Full board in Romania: + €145/person (both previous options).
• meal options are only possible for a minimum of 4 participants and accompanied by a tour guide
• meals are organized in local restaurants and hotel restaurants
• Lunches and / or dinners are provided on full days of the program and they are tourist-menu type (standard): 3 dishes (starter, main, dessert), bread, and mineral water. They do not include drinks such as coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks etc.
• breakfasts are already included with the accommodation
• meal options are more suitable for groups.
Read the General Conditions for a Private tour by clicking here
How it is organized
• 12 Overnights: Bucharest - Veliko Tarnovo - Plovdiv - Sofia (2) - Belgrade (2) - Timișoara - Sibiu - Brașov - Bucharest (2)
• Itinerary: Romania > Bucharest (the capital) - Bulgaria > Veliko Tarnovo (medieval capital of the tsars) - Kazanlak (the city "of roses") - Plovdiv (European Capital of Culture 2019) - Sofia (the capital) - Rila Monastery ( UNESCO) - Serbia > Nis (the city of Constantine the Great) - Belgrade (the capital) - Romania > Timișoara (the city of the 1989 revolution) - Hunedoara (Corvin Castle) - Sibiu (European Capital of Culture 2007) - Sighișoara (UNESCO medieval town) - Brasov ("Crown city") - Bran ("Dracula's" Castle) - Sinaia (Peles Castle) - Bucharest (the capital)
• The tour has 12 overnights and 13 days: 2 days for arrival & return and 11 days of program with activities such as city tours, free time, and visits along the route.
• 13 days in total and planned to take place from Monday to Saturday. It can be adapted to your flights and preferred dates while taking into account the visiting hours of the attractions included in the program. Serbia is 1 hour behind the official time of Romania and Bulgaria.
• The program can be slightly customized to match your preferences and ideas, or it can be the draft for a tailor-made trip made from scratch.
• Extend: on day 7, in the afternoon, you can take an optional excursion to Vojvodina, an interesting region north of Belgrade (additional cost).
Day 1 of 13. Arrival in Romania
Program: transfer and free time (if possible)
Arrival at Bucharest Airport and meeting with Santiago Tour’s guide or driver.
Transfer to the accommodation.
Depending on the arrival hour, free time in the city (without driver or guide). You can stroll around the old town where the capital is recovering its "belle époque" charm: the Central Bank, CEC Palace, or Macca-Vilacrosse Covered Passage, and its medieval identity: the Prince Court of Vlad Tepes "the Impaler", the Old Court Church or Stavropoleos Monastery.
Day 2 of 13. Arrival in Bulgaria: The city of the tsars and a special village
Bucharest (Romania) - Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) ☾. 190 km
Program: visit Arbanasi; visit and free time in Veliko Tarnovo
Breakfast. We leave Bucharest towards the border with Bulgaria. We cross the Danube and begin our visit into this Balkan country reaching Arbanasi, a prosperous merchant village privileged by the Sultan in the past, characterized by a beautiful architectural heritage from the 17th and 18th centuries. Highlights include the surprising Nativity Church and Konstantsalieva House, an original residence with remarkable attention to detail. We then continue to Veliko Tarnovo, just 4 km away, (the) old medieval capital (of Bulgaria) with beautiful and unusual architecture that seems to climb the hills. Time for lunch, accommodation check-in, and walking tour admiring the extensive Tsarevets Fortress and the artisan’s historical street “Samovodska Charshia”. Free time in the afternoon.
Day 3 of 13. The Balkans, Thracian history and the cultural center of the country
Veliko Tarnovo - Kazanlak - Plovdiv ☾. 225 km
Program: visit the Russian Church and the Thracian Tomb; free time in Plovdiv
Breakfast. We leave Veliko and head south, enjoying spectacular landscapes in the Balkans. We arrive at Shipka, a mountain pass and the site of one of the most important victories against the Ottoman Empire in the War of Independence back in the 19th century. Visit the Russian Church and continue with the program to Kazanlak, a center of rose oil production. Refined and very much appreciated in perfumery, it is the essence of the flower that has become the national symbol of Bulgaria. Here, we visit the accurate replica (the only visit allowed) of "The Thracian Tomb" dating from the Hellenistic period - 4th century BC, a monument included in the World Heritage List. Time to have lunch. In the afternoon we arrive in Plovdiv, a charming city with a bohemian air and the second largest in the country, with an impressive history. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 4 of 13. The two most important cities
Plovdiv - Sofia ☾. 145 km
Program: visit Plovdiv; visit and free time in Sofia
Breakfast and visit Plovdiv. In case the visit takes place the day before: free time in the morning. The tour includes “the Roman city”, with a wonderful Ancient Theater and the ruins of the Stadium, and the Old Town dominated by beautiful buildings from the Bulgarian National Revival period. During the walking tour, we highlight attractions such as Dzhumaya Mosque, Hindliyan and Balabanov House Museums, or the Church of Saints Konstantin and Elena. Next, we leave for Sofia. Arrival in the Bulgarian capital and time to have lunch. City tour in the afternoon: Nevsky Cathedral with its multitude of domes, the Art Gallery - former Royal Palace and the rather small National Assembly, the beautiful Russian Church also known as St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, the Presidency with its guard of honour and the old St. George Rotunda inside its courtyard, and the iconic Theater building. Overnight accommodation and free time in Sofia.
Day 5 of 13. A Byzantine monastery and exploring Sofia
Sofia - Rila Monastery - Sofia ☾. 245 km
Program: visit Rila Monastery; free time in Sofia
Breakfast. We leave Sofia and take the road to Rila Monastery. It is a convent protected by UNESCO due to the beautiful Byzantine architecture and its importance as an Orthodox cultural and spiritual center. Founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila, the monastery is located at an altitude of 1,147 m, all surrounded by the nature of the homonymous mountains. Visit, time to have lunch, and return to Sofia in the afternoon. Overnight accommodation and free time in the city. You can stroll along the beautiful pedestrian street Vitosha, with its many cafes and terraces, visit one of the important Orthodox churches, or discover the offers of the Market Hall, housed in an elegant neo-Renaissance building.
Day 6 of 13. Travel through southern Serbia and reach the banks of the Danube
Sofia - Nis (Serbia) - Belgrade ☾. 405 km
Program: brief stop in Nis and arrive in Belgrade
Breakfast. We begin another stage of the journey: Serbia, finding on our route the town of Niš - an ancient Roman city where Constantine the Great was born - which still preserves in the center a medieval fortress with a long history. Time to have lunch and a short walk. In the afternoon we arrive in Belgrade, the charming capital of the country with a privileged location on the banks of the Danube and its tributary, the Sava river. Overnight accommodation and free time in the city. You can walk along the lively Knez Mihailova Street, which starts in Terazije Square, or take a cruise on the Danube.
Day 7 of 13. Explore Belgrade
Program: visit Belgrade; optional excursion to Novi Sad and Sremski Karlovci
Breakfast. Visit Belgrade, “the white city”: while driving, we see Saint Sava - still the largest Orthodox Church in the world; we broaden our perspective overcommunism in Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Tito by visiting the Museum of Yugoslavia; we admire the National Assembly, the City Hall, and the Republic Square, where the Museum, the Theater and the statue of Prince Mihailo III stand out. We stroll along the beautiful Kalemegdan Park and the impressive fortress overlooking the confluence of the Danube and the Sava river, and finish the visit in Skadarlija, the bohemian area with traditional cafes and restaurants called kafanas. Overnight accommodation and free afternoon.
Optional, excursion to Vojvodina, a diverse and prosperous region north of Belgrade (185 km in total, additional cost). Brief visit of Novi Sad, Serbian cultural center during the Austro-Hungarian rule, and discover its imposing Petrovaradin fortress, “The Gibraltar of the Danube”. It is the city that hosts a major music festival (Exit) and has been designated the European Capital of Culture for 2022. On our way back, we stop in Sremski Karlovci, a pretty little town of historical importance due to the 1699 Austrian-Turkish peace treaty. Walk through the city center where the Orthodox cathedral stands out and do an optional tasting of the local wine called Bermet, a dessert wine formerly served at the court of Vienna and apparently also during the tragic journey of the Titanic. We then return to Belgrade.
Day 8 of 13. Discover the European Capital of Culture 2023
Belgrade - Timișoara ☾. 160 km
Program: visit Timisoara and free time in the city
Breakfast. We leave Belgrade and continue our journey returning to Romania. We enter through the western region of Banat and arrive in its capital, Timișoara. One of the most modern and wealthiest cities at the end of the 19th century, called "Little Vienna" at that time. It is a multicultural historical center inhabited by Romanians, Hungarians, Germans and Serbs, and rightfully a designated European Capital of Culture for 2023. Walking tour including Union Square, where the Catholic Cathedral and the Serbian Vicarage stand out, and the pedestrian promenade with fine examples of Modernist architecture, between the Opera at one end and the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral at the other. Time for lunch, overnight accommodation and free time in the afternoon. Timișoara holds a special place in people’s heart, being the city where the anti-communist Revolution of 1989 broke out, and the first city proclaimed free of Communism in those violent days of December.
Day 9 of 13. A movie castle and another European Capital of Culture
Timisoara - Corvinilor Castle - Sibiu ☾. 295 km
Program: visit Corvin Castle; visit and free time in Sibiu
Breakfast. We leave for Hunedoara, where we visit “Corvin Castle”*, perhaps the most authentic medieval fortification in Romania. Chosen among the 10 best "fairy tale" castles by Lonely Planet, it is an impressive Gothic building and a filming location for several recent movies. We then continue to Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007. Time for lunch and accommodation check-in. In the afternoon, a walking tour of the city, whose eye-shaped dormers give charm to a beautiful Central European architecture. While strolling, we encounter: the fortifications, the Large Square, the Small Square, the Evangelical Cathedral and the Orthodox Cathedral. Free time in Sibiu.
*It is not recommended to visit Corvin Castle on Monday. It opens at 12:00 and usually there is a long waiting time.
Day 10 of 13. Medieval heritage in Transylvania
Sibiu - Sighisoara - Prejmer - Brasov ☾. 240 km
Program: visit Sighisoara, Prejmer Fortified Church, and Brasov
Breakfast. We leave Sibiu towards Sighisoara, the “postcard” town with an unforgettable collection of medieval buildings, declared a World Heritage Site. Walking tour including the Clock Tower (history museum with a panoramic view). Free time downtown and we continue with the program arriving in Prejmer, where we visit the UNESCO Fortified Church - the most complete and best preserved in Transylvania. Time to have lunch en route. In the afternoon, we arrive in Brasov, a charming town located at the foot of high mountains. Walking tour admiring the Council Square and its unique buildings, the Black Church, an imposing Lutheran church, and the beautiful Catherine’s Gate. Overnight accommodation and free time in the city.
Day 11 of 13. Dracula's Castle and a Royal Castle
Brașov - Bran - Sinaia - Bucharest. ☾. 205 km
Program: visit Bran Castle and Peles Castle; free time in Bucharest
Breakfast. Optional free time in the morning in Brasov. We continue to Bran and discover "Dracula's Castle", where the myth of the Count-Vampire enfolds in mystery a great historical fortress. We then continue to Sinaia mountain resort and visit Peles Castle (standard tour), the last royal residence in Europe built in neo-Renaissance style. Free time to stroll through the center of Sinaia, have lunch and perhaps a coffee on a terrace in its beautiful park. Return in the afternoon to Bucharest, the capital of the country. Overnight accommodation and some free time in the city.
Day 12 of 13. Explore the capital
Bucharest ☾. 30 km
Program: visit Bucharest and free time
Breakfast. Full day in the capital with a city tour. Duration: approx. 5 hours. We visit: the Village Museum, an open air display of the country's rural architecture; Revolution Square with the Romanian Athenaeum - one of the most iconic buildings, the Art Museum - former royal palace, and the balcony of the former Central Committee - where dictator Ceausescu delivered his last speech; Constitution Square, just in front of the Palace of the Parliament (second largest building in the world); Patriarhiei Church and the Palaces of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch. Free time in the afternoon and overnight accommodation. Suggestions for spending the free time: The Old Town (Lipscani), the parks of Bucharest, the Treasury (History Museum), the Art Museum, the famous Obor Market or Therme (the thermal baths at the north of the city).
Day 13 of 13. Return
Bucharest - Airport ✈
Program: free time (if possible) and airport transfer
Breakfast. Free time in the city depending on the flight and transfer to the airport. End of Santiago Tour’s services. Thank you!