Day 1 of 15. 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, 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 15. A royal castle, Dracula's Castle, and a city in the heart of the country
Bucharest – Sinaia – Bran – Brasov ☾. 205 km
Program: visit Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and Brasov
Breakfast. We leave Bucharest heading toward the Southern Carpathians and arrive in about 2h / 2h30 in Sinaia mountain resort. We visit Peles Castle (standard tour), the last royal residence in Europe built in neo-Renaissance style. 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. Time for lunch and then we finish this day’s itinerary in Brasov. 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.
Optional: Extra day in Brasov. A more relaxed program and extra time in Brasov
Day 3. Dracula's Castle and a fortified Church
Brasov - Prejmer - Bran - Brasov ☾. 90 km
Program: visit Bran Castle and the fortified Church of Prejmer; free time in Brasov
Breakfast. With these 2 visits, the previous day (only with Sinaia) and the next one (without Prejmer) become easier while more time in Brasov adds up to the program. Enjoy the lively pedestrian downtown, its many shoe shops and the large number of restaurants, cafes and bars. In addition, you can take the gondola up to the Mount Tampa and enjoy the panorama over the elegant center, a concentration of rooftops between hills and mountains. The hours of the gondola end around 4:30 p.m. (closed on Mondays). Overnight accommodation in Brasov.
Day 3 of 15. Medieval heritage in Transylvania
Brașov – Prejmer – Sighișoara – Sibiu ☾. 235 km
Program: visit Prejmer fortified church, Sighisoara, and Sibiu
Breakfast. The itinerary takes us in the morning to Prejmer, where we find the UNESCO Fortified Church - the most complete and best preserved in Transylvania. Then we continue to 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). Time for lunch and we proceed with the program arriving in Sibiu, European capital of culture in 2007. 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 and overnight accommodation.
Day 4 of 15. A fairytale castle and a typical Transylvanian village
Sibiu - Corvin Castle - Sibiel - Sibiu ☾. 265 km
Program: visit Corvin Castle and the Glass Icons Museum in Sibiel; free time in Sibiu
Breakfast. In the morning we go to Corvin Castle*, perhaps the most authentic medieval fortification in Romania, chosen among the 10 best "fairy tale" castles by Lonely Planet. Visit and then return to Sibiu, stopping in the picturesque village of Sibiel. Entrance to the Glass Icons Museum, the most important of its kind in Romania, with surprising naive painting styles. Optional lunch in a rural house with homemade wine and typical plum liquor (palinca). Return in the afternoon to Sibiu and overnight accommodation. Free time to explore the city: walk along its picturesque streets, see the inside of the Jesuit Catholic Church, or visit the Brukenthal Museum's art collection, with famous paintings such as Jan Van Eyck's "Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon".
* It is not recommended to visit Corvin Castle on Monday(s). It opens at 12:00 and usually there is a long waiting time.
Day 5 of 15. A star-shaped citadel and an underground world
Sibiu - Alba Iulia - Turda Salt Mine - Cluj Napoca ☾. 180 km
Program: visit Alba Iulia and Turda Salt Mine; free time in Cluj Napoca
Breakfast. We leave Sibiu heading toward the north of the country and arrive in Alba Iulia, the city of the union between Transylvania and Romania. Brief stop to admire the impressive star-shaped citadel, named Alba Carolina, whose splendor has been recovered after a recent restoration. We continue the route arriving at Turda Salt Mine, a former salt exploitation and the most important tourist attraction of its kind, after an investment of € 6 million - European funds. Visit and continue to Cluj-Napoca, the second largest city in the country, an important bicultural economic and university town (Romanian and Hungarian), which still maintains a certain aristocratic air. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 6 of 15. The capital of Transylvania and arrival in Maramures
Cluj Napoca - Rohia - Surdesti - Baia Mare ☾. 155 km
Program: visit Cluj-Napoca, Rohia Monastery and Surdesti Church; free time in Baia Mare
Breakfast. City tour, discovering: Union Square - around Saint Michael Catholic Church, the tallest gothic building in Romania (80 m); the birthplace of the famous Hungarian king Matías - located in the old town, near Museum Square; the monumental Romanian Orthodox Cathedral and the Theater built by Helmer & Fellner. Afterwards, we leave Cluj-Napoca heading north and visiting Rohia Monastery on our way. At the top of a hill and surrounded by nature, this monastery is a spiritual center related to Nicolae Steinhardt, a cultural figure who wrote one of the most popular books in Romania: "The Diary of Happiness." Time to have lunch en route and we arrive to visit Surdesti Church, the highest in the world among the old wooden churches (72 m), of an interesting hybrid cult, called Greek-Catholic. This day’s program ends in Baia Mare, departure point to explore Maramures the next day and the most important city in the region. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 7 of 15. Maramures, a fairytale region
Baia Mare - Sapanta - Barsana - Viseu de Sus ☾. 170 km
Program: visit the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta, Barsana Monastery, Bogdan Voda Church and the Peasant Museum
Breakfast. Full day in Maramures. We begin to explore a region almost isolated by mountains, where the life of some people still continues according to ancestral rhythms. We visit the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta, among the famous of the world for its attitude towards death and its aesthetics. A multitude of modeled crosses with traditional decoration and bright colors on a blue background, followed down by a naive and representative painting of the deceased - his daily activity, circumstances of death, his passion - and a comic epitaph. Time for lunch and we continue along the Iza Valley, discovering slender Wooden Churches in a pure Maramures style, recognized by UNESCO. We visit Barsana, a new orthodox monastic complex that has renewed the tradition of carving wood, and Bogdan Voda Church, old but well preserved, with remarkable mural paintings (or similar: Rozavlea Church or Poienile Izei Church, with a small detour). During this day, we also visit the Museum of the Peasant Woman from Maramures and we get to know better the features of a typical village in this region. Overnight accommodation in the tourist town of Viseu de Sus.
Optional: Extra day in Maramures. Explore the region on foot or by bike
Baia Mare ☾. 50 + 50 km
Program: tour the "Green Way of Maramures"
Breakfast. We head to an area of authentic villages where car traffic is partially prohibited, therefore becoming part of “GreenWays” - a network of paths that can be traveled on foot or by bike, a European concept of ecotourism. "The Maramures Heritage Trail", as it is known, connects seven typical villages and seven protected natural areas. We make a tour discovering churches, houses, workshops, enjoying the local gastronomy and observing both nature and rural life. We return in the afternoon to Baia Mare. It is also recommended to book authentic accommodation in the area (please ask us about this option).
Day 8 of 15. Special excursion by steam train
Viseu de Sus - Bistrita ☾. 95 km
Program: Excursion by “Mocanita” steam train, along the Vaser Valley
Breakfast. Arrive in the morning at Viseu de Sus train station and start a unique excursion in “Mocanita” steam train through an old logging route that reaches areas of wild, unspoiled nature. Lunch included during the stop in a meadow, on the banks of the Vaser River (mixed grill, water / soft drink, pastry and coffee). In the afternoon, follow the route to Bistrita, an old city in Transylvania famous for its appearance in the novel "Dracula". Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 9 of 15. Bucovina and the Painted Monasteries
Bistrita - Moldovita - Sucevita - Voronet - Gura Humorului ☾. 235 km
Program: visit Moldovita, Sucevita, and Voronet monasteries; visit the Painted Eggs Museum
Breakfast. A day to explore 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. Time to have lunch en route and we continue with the visit to Sucevita Monastery, solid stone fortification that protects the best preserved church, with frescoes on a green and dark blue background just like the colors of a deep sea. Also during the day, we 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, and by stopping at Marginea Black Pottery Workshop, where they use the technique of "oxygen reduction". Later in the afternoon, we visit the Church of Voronet Monastery, 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. This day’s program ends in Gura Humorului, a regional centre and tourist town. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 10 of 15. Surprising nature
Gura Humorului - Red Lake - Piatra Neamt ☾. 230 km
Program: spend time at the Bicaz Gorges and the Red Lake; visit Agapia Monastery; free time in Piatra Neamt
Breakfast. We head south and discover Agapia Monastery, an immaculate white convent whose church was painted in neoclassical style by Nicolae Grigorescu, the most distinguished Romanian painter. Visit and continue the route arriving in Bicaz Gorges, a narrow and spectacular pass in the Carpathians, the result of the erosion of the calcareous rocks that rise up to 300m. Short trekking admiring the impressive natural environment of the gorge and we continue to the unusual Red Lake, originated by a natural dam, from whose surface emerge fossilized pine trunks. Free time to enjoy nature, take a boat ride and perhaps have a Hungarian lunch, typical of this enclave region. In the afternoon, we drive to Piatra Neamt, a city with an original historical center in Moldavian style. Overnight accommodation and free time depending on the previous activities. You can walk downtown or take the cable car to Mount Cozla, enjoying a beautiful view over the Bistrita River Valley.
Day 11 of 15. Crossing the Danube and getting close to the Delta
Piatra Neamț - Tulcea (Danube Delta) ☾. 330 km
Program: visit the Delta Museum and its Aquarium in Tulcea
Breakfast. We continue with a new stage of the journey, crossing the historical region of Moldavia to the south. Short stop in Marasesti, admiring the Mausoleum dedicated to the heroes of the First World War. The end of the conflagration made possible voting in previously occupied Romanian provinces and, subsequently, the formation of Greater Romania in the time of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria. Arrive in Galati, an important port on the Danube and active student city. Time to have lunch and cross the Danube by ferry. In the afternoon we arrive in Tulcea, the gate to the Danube Delta, ancient Greek and Roman city called Aegyssus. Visit the Delta Museum, a modern center with a very interesting exhibition about the Danube Delta and an attractive Aquarium that includes all types of sturgeons plus many other fish species. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Día 12 de 15. The Danube Delta and the Black Sea Coast
Tulcea - Murighiol - Constanta / Black Sea Coast ☾. 185 km
Program: Danube Delta excursion and free time in Constanta
Breakfast. Boat trip through the channels of the Delta, exploring this fantastic territory that is home to 25 ecosystems with various types of flora and fauna, fish, and more than 400 species of birds - local and migratory. It is the newest land area of Romania, in continuous expansion, the largest wetland in Europe (5,200 km2) and a Biosphere Reserve. Duration: approx. 2h-3h / 2 to 3 hours. After the excursion, we continue the route to Constanta - ancient Greek and Roman settlement of Tomis, an important port city nowadays with a small old town having a charm of its own and a certain Balkan atmosphere. Free time and overnight accommodation.
Optional: Extra Day (13). The Black Sea Coast
Constanta / Black Sea Coast ☾
Program: enjoy the beach and optional excursion to Murfatlar wine region
Free time to enjoy the beach or stroll around the elegant tourist port of Tomis, in Constanta.
Numerous private beaches are also to be found in Mamaia, north of Constanta and attached to the city. It is a strip of land between Lake Siutghiol and the Sea, considered to be the best seaside resort on the Romanian coastline for its fine sand and entertainment options. Enjoying good temperatures in summer, for both air and water, the Black Sea is an important tourist attraction, different from the Mediterranean sea due to its natural characteristics: practically no tides and a low level of salt.
Optional excursion to Murfatlar (additional cost). It is a well known wine region in Romania, a hilly area privileged by a microclimate. Visit a winery with tasting and lunch.
Optional: Extra Day (13/14). A palace on the Bulgarian coast
Constanta/Black Sea Coast - Balchik - Constanta/Black Sea Coast ☾. 125 + 125 km
Program: visit Balchik Palace and spend time on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
In the morning, excursion to Balchik Palace - the favorite summer residence of Queen Maria of Romania during the interwar period. It is a beautiful architectural ensemble on the Black Sea coast: a main building with an extravagant minaret, a botanical park, a wine cellar, outdoor baths and the Stella Maris Chapel. After the visit, we take the way back and make 2 possible stops: Cape Kaliakra, a historical place with beautiful views over the sea at 70 m high, and Bolata Bay Beach, one of the most beautiful on the entire coast. Both attractions are part of a protected natural area. Time for lunch in a restaurant on the seashore, one of the options being Dalboka, famous for its mussel farming, and return to Romania in the afternoon. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 13 of 15. The beach, the port and return to the capital
Constanta / Black Sea Coast - Bucharest ☾. 225 km
Program: time on the beach or for a walk, visit Constanta, and free time in Bucharest
Breakfast. Time to enjoy the Black Sea beach or take a walk in the morning. Visit of Constanta walking from Ovid Square (the great Roman poet exiled here, AD 8) to the seafront, admiring Carol Mosque, the Orthodox Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, and the Casino. Time to have lunch and continue the route returning to Bucharest, the capital city. Overnight accommodation and free time.
Day 14 of 15. Explore the capital
Bucharest ☾. 30 km
Program: visit Bucharest and free time in the city
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 15 of 15. 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!