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11 Days Trip to Essential Romania and Bulgaria, private tour 2022

How it is organized

• 10 Overnights: Sofia (2) - Plovdiv - Veliko Tarnovo - Bucharest - Brașov - Piatra Neamț - Bistrița - Sibiu - Bucharest

• Itinerary: Bulgaria > Sofia (the capital) - Rila Monastery (UNESCO) - Plovdiv (European Capital of Culture 2019) - Kazanlak (the city "of roses") - Veliko Tarnovo (medieval capital of the tsars) - Romania > Bucharest (the capital) - Sinaia (Peles Castle) - Bran ("Dracula's Castle") - Brasov ("Crown City") - Prejmer (UNESCO fortified Church) - Piatra Neamț (Moldavian style downtown) - Bucovina (Painted Monasteries) - Bistrita (appearance in "Dracula" novel) - Targu Mures (cultural town) - Sighișoara (UNESCO medieval town) - Sibiu (European Capital of Culture 2007) - Bucharest (the capital)

• The tour has 10 overnights and 11 days: 2 days for arrival & return and 9 days of program with activities such as city tours, free time, and visits along the route.

Short description


• 11 days in total and planned to take place from Saturday to Tuesday. It can be adapted to your flights and preferred dates while taking into account the visiting hours of the attractions included in the program

• 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.


Day 1 of 11. Arrival in Bulgaria
Sofia ☾


Program: transfer and free time (if possible)

Arrival at Sofia 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 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 2 of 11. A Byzantine monastery and exploring the capital
Sofia - Rila Monastery - Sofia ☾. 245 km

Rila Monastery

Program: visit Sofia and Rila Monastery; free time in Sofia

Breakfast. Sofia city tour: 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.
Next, 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.

Day 3 of 11. Reach the Upper Thracian Valley and its cultural center
Sofia - Plovdiv ☾. 150 km

Program: visit Plovdiv and free afternoon in the city

Breakfast. This day we continue the route to Plovdiv, a charming city with a bohemian air and the second largest in the country, with an impressive history. Visit Plovdiv: “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 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. Plovdiv was the European Capital of Culture in 2019. Lunch during the visit, overnight accommodation and free afternoon.

Day 4 of 11. The Balkans and the capital of the tsars
Plovdiv - Kazanlak - Veliko Tarnovo ☾. 230 km

Veliko Tarnovo

Program: visit the Thracian Tomb and Veliko Tarnovo

Breakfast. We leave for Kazanlak, a center of rose oil extraction and production. Refined and very much appreciated in perfumery, an 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. Then we continue the itinerary through 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 follow the route arriving in the afternoon in Veliko Tarnovo, old medieval capital with beautiful and unusual architecture that seems to climb the hills. Walking city tour admiring the extensive Tsarevets Fortress and the artisan’s historical street “Samovodska Charshia”. Overnight accommodation and free time.

Day 5 of 11. A special village and reach Romania and its capital
Veliko Tarnovo - Arbanasi - Bucharest ☾. 190 km


Program: visit Arbanasi; city tour and free time in Bucharest, Romania

Breakfast. First, we visit Arbanasi just 4 km from Veliko Tarnovo, 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. Afterwards, we continue towards Romania and cross the Danube arriving in Bucharest, the capital. Time for lunch and city tour: 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. Overnight accommodation and some free time in Bucharest.

Day 6 of 11. A royal castle, Dracula's Castle, and a city in the heart of the country
Bucharest – Sinaia – Bran – Brașov ☾. 205 km

Dracula's Castle - Bran

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.

Day 7 of 11. A Teutonic Church and surprising Nature
Brasov - Prejmer - Red Lake - Piatra Neamt ☾. 245 km

Program: visit Prejmer Fortified Church; time at the Bicaz Gorges and the Red Lake

Breakfast. The itinerary takes us in the morning to Prejmer, where we visit the UNESCO Fortified Church - the most complete and best preserved in Transylvania. We continue through a series of lowlands up to the mountains and the unusual Red Lake, originated by a natural dam, from whose surface fossilized pine trunks emerge. Free time to enjoy nature, take a boat ride and perhaps have a Hungarian lunch, typical of this enclave region.
We then continue with the 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 follow the route arriving in the afternoon in Piatra Neamt, a city with an original historical center in Moldavian style. Free time and overnight accommodation.

Day 8 of 11. Bucovina and the Painted Monasteries
Piatra Neamt - Voronet - Moldovita - Bistrita ☾. 295 km

Programa: visitar los monasterios de Voronet y Moldovita; el Museo de Huevos pintados

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 9 of 11. The medieval "postcard" town and a European capital of culture
Bistrita - Targu Mures - Sighisoara - Sibiu ☾. 240 km

Program: short walk in Targu Mures; visit and free time in Sighisoara and Sibiu

Breakfast. We leave Bistrita towards Sighisoara, the “postcard” town with an unforgettable collection of medieval buildings, declared a World Heritage Site. Short stop on the way, in Targu Mures, a city that stands out for its colorful downtown and the original Palace of Culture (Viennese Secession style). Then we continue to Sighisoara and start a walking tour including the Clock Tower (history museum with a panoramic view). Time to have lunch and we follow the route to Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007. Accommodation check-in and 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 the city.

Day 10 of 11. A byzantine monastery and return to the capital
Sibiu – Cozia – Bucharest ☾. 280 km

Bucharest by night

Program: visit Cozia monastery and free afternoon in Bucharest               

Breakfast. We leave Sibiu heading south, returning to the capital city. En route, we visit Cozia Monastery, a splendid Byzantine-style old church on the banks of the river Olt. We cross the Southern Carpathians and finally arrive in Bucharest around midday. Overnight accommodation and free afternoon in the city. 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 11 of 11. 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!



from €1169 / person

Your consultant

Your consultant | Cristian Calcisca

Cristian Calcisca

Founder and manager of Santiago Tour since 2010. Tour guide in Romania from 2004, specialised in English speaking tourism as well as Spanish. Studies in UAB Barcelona.

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