Day 1 of 10. Arrival in Hungary
Program: transfer and free time in Budapest (if possible)
Arrival at Budapest “Ferenc Liszt” 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 down Andrassy Avenue, the most elegant street in Budapest, admiring its buildings and perhaps visiting the Opera House or the Museum of Fine Arts, two of the most important attractions in the city. You can also explore the beautiful shopping street Váci, parallel to the Danube, from Vorosmarty Square to the Central Market, take a boat ride at dusk, or attend an organ concert in St. Stephen's Basilica.
Useful: the Opera offers daily tours, guided in English and different other languages at 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., while the opening hours of the Museum of Fine Arts can be checked here. The abovementioned organ concert begins around 8:00 p.m. To choose a place for lunch and / or dinner, ask the guide or driver for recommendations and consult Tripadvisor.
Day 2 of 10. Discover Budapest
Budapest ☾. 30 km
Program: visit Budapest and free time in the city
Breakfast and city tour. We cross the Chain Bridge reaching Buda and its Castle District, where we admire Matthias Church and look for the best views from the Fisherman's Bastion. We then continue along the right bank of the Danube to the Citadel, a stronghold with a bunker from World War II and the highest point of the capital with an excellent panorama. Returning to the new city of Pest by the Elizabeth Bridge, we spot the Central Market, the National Museum, the Great Synagogue and arrive at Heroes' Square. A short stop to understand Hungarian history through the set of statues called the Millennium Memorial, flanked by two monumental buildings: the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art. Then we continue along Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002, marked by splendid residences and emblematic buildings such as the Opera or the Museum of Terror. In the second part of the tour, we spend time visiting St. Stephen's Basilica, which rises a 96 meters high dome and is dedicated to the first Hungarian king, canonized by the Catholic Church, and visiting the Parliament (entrance), the most famous building in Budapest, in neo-Gothic style and located next to the Danube.
Lunch time and free afternoon: you can explore the Citadel Park, with Vajdahunyad Castle and Széchenyi Spa, discover Margaret Island, return to Buda by funicular, or tour the center and enjoy its cafés, pastry shops and other charming places.
Day 3 of 10. Two special cities
Budapest - Szeged - Timisoara ☾. 325 km
Program: visit Szeged; visit Timișoara and free time in the city
Breakfast. We leave Budapest towards the south and arrive in Szeged, a university town with an intense cultural life, good gastronomy and modernist buildings. City tour: we admire the extensive Dóm Square, place of the Theater festival and the Christmas market, dominated by the majestic Votive Church, and we walk through the center between Dugonics, Klauzál and Széchenyi squares, enjoying its parks and discovering jewels of the Secession style. Time to have lunch and enjoy one of the famous pastry shops.
In the afternoon, we continue our journey entering Romania, crossing the western region of Banat and arriving in its capital, Timisoara. 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 European Capital of Culture in 2021. Accommodation check-in and 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, bordered by the Opera at one end and the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral at the other. Free time in the afternoon.
Optional: Extra Day (Day 3). One more country: Serbia.
Budapest - Szeged - Novi Sad - Belgrade ☾. 400 km
Program: visit Szeged, visit Novi Sad, and free time in Belgrade
After Szeged, we continue our itinerary entering Serbia, crossing Vojvodina - a diverse and prosperous region in the north of the country, and arriving in Novi Sad. Brief visit of this 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 a European Capital of Culture in 2021, together with Timisoara in Romania. 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.
The next day turns out like this: Day 4. Belgrade and Timisoara
Belgrade - Timisoara ☾. 160 km
Program: visit Belgrade; visit Timisoara and free time in the city
Breakfast. Visit Belgrade, “the white city”: while driving, we see Saint Sava - still the largest Orthodox Church in the world; we broaden our perspective over communism in Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Tito by visiting the Museum of Yugoslavia; we admire the National Assembly, the City Hall, and 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, and finish the visit in Skadarlija, the bohemian area of traditional cafes and restaurants called kafanas. Time to have lunch and continue to Romania, arriving in Timisoara. Overnight accommodation, walking tour, and free time in the afternoon.
Day 4 of 10. 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 5 of 10. The medieval “postcard” town
Sibiu – Sighisoara – Targu Mures – Bistrita ☾. 240 km
Program: visit Sighisoara and brief stop in Targu Mures
Breakfast. We leave Sibiu for 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 and maybe lunch, and continue with the program arriving in Targu-Mures, that stands out for its elegant city center and the original Palace of Culture (Viennese Secession style). Brief stop and then follow the route to Bistrita, an old city in Transylvania famous for its appearance in "Dracula" novel. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 6 of 10. Bucovina and the Painted Monasteries
Bistrita – Moldovita – Voronet – Piatra Neamț ☾. 295 km
Program: visit Moldovita and Voronet monasteries, and the Painted Eggs Museum
Breakfast. We leave for Bucovina, a splendid mountainous region dominated by the green of its firs and pastures, famous for the Monasteries painted on the outside - unique jewels of Byzantine religious art. Brief stop on the way, at the “Borgo Pass” and its mysterious "Dracula's Castle" hotel, and then we arrive to visit Moldovita monastery. The convent church stands out for its impressive exterior scenes such as the Tree of Jesse and the Siege of Constantinople, all on a red and ocher color background. We continue with the program and discover the popular art of Bucovina and its character through a visit to the Painted Eggs Museum, understanding the technique and admiring the artist's collection. Time to have lunch en route and arrive at Voronet Monastery. Visit of the church, called "The Sistine Chapel of the East'' for the monumental composition of the “Last Judgment” and the value of its “Voronet blue”, recognized in international art catalogs. Then, in the afternoon, we finish this day’s itinerary in Piatra Neamt, a city with an original historical center in Moldavian style. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 7 of 10. Surprising nature and back to Transylvania
Piatra Neamț – Red Lake – Brașov ☾. 245 km
Program: time at Bicaz Gorges and the Red Lake; visit Brasov
Breakfast. We leave for Transylvania, arriving at Bicaz Gorges - a narrow and spectacular pass in the Carpathians - followed by the unusual Red Lake, originated by a natural dam. Free time to enjoy nature and then continue the itinerary. Possible Hungarian lunch in this enclave region that we cross and arrive in the afternoon 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.
Day 8 of 10. Dracula's Castle, a Fortified Church and the Crown Town
Brasov – Prejmer – Bran – Brasov ☾. 90 km
Program: visit Bran Castle and the fortified Church of Prejmer; free time in Brasov
Breakfast. In the morning we go to Prejmer village, where we visit the Fortified Church, the most complete and best preserved in Transylvania, part of the UNESCO heritage. It is a church initiated by the Teutonic Knights themselves and continued by the Cistercian monks and the Saxons colonized during the Middle Ages. The place of worship is surrounded by a beautiful fortification with a very original element on the inside: family rooms occupied by the villagers in case of siege, warehouses, and even a classroom. Then we continue the route to Bran and discover "Dracula's Castle", where the myth of the Count-Vampire enfolds in mystery a great historical fortress. Visit and time to have lunch. In the afternoon, return to Brasov: free time and overnight accommodation.
Day 9 of 10. A royal castle and the capital city
Brasov – Sinaia – Bucharest ☾. 170 km
Program: visit Peles Castle and Bucharest
Breakfast. In the morning we go to Sinaia mountain resort, visiting Peles Castle, the last royal residence in Europe built in neo-Renaissance style. Afterwards, we follow the itinerary to Bucharest. Arrive in the capital and visit the city: 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. Time for lunch, during the visit, overnight accommodation and some free time in the afternoon.
Day 10 of 10. 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!