Detailed tour description
Your adventure begins with your landing on Otopeni International Airport, which is situated in the proximity of Bucharest. From the airport we’ll go to Bucharest, where you will spend the night. In 2014 the city celebrated 555 years from its first historical mention. The city is impressive with all the architectural styles gathered together from different historical periods, from medieval times to contemporary architecture. From the medieval period, which has left its mark on the ruins of the Old Royal Court, which can be visited in the historical center of the city, to the towers built in the business areas, which complete the architectural landscape of the european city, Bucharest offers to the visitors a long and fascinating story.
From the airport, you will check-in to your hotel in Bucharest, where you will spend the first night in Romania. Welcome drink and introduction. You can book a walking tour or wonder around in the old town district of the city. You’ll remark that the streets names recall the old occupations of the inhabitants: Lipscani – traders from Leipzig (Germany); Gabroveni Street – traders from Gabrovo (Bulgaria); Selari – craftsmen who made saddles, a.s.o. Nearby, on the French Street, you can admire the ruins of Curtea Veche, the first royal court of Bucharest, founded by the Wallachian prince Vald the Impaler, the same who inspired the famous character Dracula, well known worldwide. Vlad the Impaler is the ruler who has first established the capital of Wallachia in Bucharest. Very close to Curtea Veche you’ll see Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn), an old caravanserai built by an armenian innkeeper, where traders stopped coming or passing with their carts through Bucharest, two centuries ago.
This area full of history and legends hide many other old inns whose ruins are now buried a few meters into the ground. The ruins can be seen today in special places, where there have been made important archaeological discoveries.
Between the Royal Court and Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn), there is a restaurant famous for its authentic swiss specifics brought to Romania by Chef Jakob Hausmann – the restaurant Mica Elveție (Little Switzerland). The most important people who visit Romania use to visit this restaurant to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner.
Also, in the proximity of the old center of the city you can admire other monumental buildings as the National Museum of Romanian History, the CEC building or you can go frther, to visit the Athenaeum and the Royal Palace, which hostes the Art Museum. In the evening, you could choose one of the fine downtown restaurants we recommend for a perfect dinner.
The next day, after breakfast, we’ll depart to the picturesque Prahova Valley. On the way to Transylvania, at the base of Bucegi Mountains, we’ll make a stop at Sinaia. Prahova Valley is famous for its resorts that attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world.
Sinaia is the oldest mountain resort in Romania, founded by the royal family from the dynasty of Hohenzollern at the end of the nineteenth century. Here we’ll visit the sumptuous Peles palace that combines many architectural styles with traditional saxon features. In 1873, Carol I, the first king of Romania started to build his mountain residence – Peles Castle Sinaia -, creating in the same time the luxurious mountain resort of the Carpathians, dedicated to the winter sports. You can admire the Peles Castle, with its 170 rooms decorated in Rococo, Baroque, Renaissance, Byzantine and Turkish arhitectural stiles.
From Sinaia we’ll go further, to Transylvania. We’ll visit the medieval fortress Rasnov, built by the medieval saxon inhabitants in the XIV century on the site of an ancient fortress which was build by the Teutonic Knights. This is one of the few medieval cities that has never been conquered.
Then transferred to Brasov, the gorgeous city from the base of Tampa Mountain. The city offers to the visitors a sensational view of the combination between different historical and arhitectural periods. The city placed in the core of Transylvania was founded on the site of the old fortress Corona (Kronstadt), built by the saxons. Here you can admire the Citadel, the Central Park and the iconic Market Hall, the legendary Black Church, named like this after a damaging fire in 1689. Then, you can see the old defense towers – the White Tower and the Black Tower –, the Rope Street which is the narrowest street in Europe and many other monuments that will delight you at every step. You’ll can see also the outposts and the Ecaterina Gate. From there you could get a few minutes to the Bastion, which hostes a small museum, holding the oldest model of the old fortress Kronstadt.
A look from the top of the mountains – where we can go by the cable car within few minutes – would reveal you the whole landscape of this ancient and unique flagship saxon settlement in Europe. In the evening, you can dine in the old center of Brasov, choosing one of the elegant restaurants.
After breakfast, we’ll leave Brasov and go to Bran Castle, whose name is linked to a part of the legend of „Dracula”. We’ll pass through Bârsa, where you can admire the traditional Saxon households, then you will see some of the excellent beauty of the Southern Carpathians.
Bran Castle, the fortress which has kept for hundreds of years the pass and the main commercial roads connected between Transylvania and Wallachia, receives today the visits of tens of thousands of tourists coming from all around the world, looking for the traces of Dracula, in the heart of Transylvania. After the First World War, the castle became the favorite summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania, from the Hohenzollern dynasty.
From Bran we’ll travel to Sambata Monastery, built by the great ruler of Wallachia, Brâncoveanu, in the late seventeenth century. The monastery was destroyed in 1785, with other dozens of orthodox monasteries in Transylvania, but it was rebuilt in the last century. On the way to Sambata, you’ll see one of the most famous Lipizzaner horse breeder in the world. This is the main breed of horses used by the major academic training schools.
We’ll continue then our pass alongside the Olt Valley to Avrig, where you’ll spend your second night. Avrig Brukenthal Palace is located in the heart of a magnificent Baroque park. The palace is the former summer residence of the Governor of Transylvania, Baron Samuel von Brukenthal. The small town is located in the proximity of Sibiu, being characterized by the traditional saxon style of this part of Transylvania, which has marked the rural households and handicraft workshops of folk art. At the palace you will have a great dinner in the lounge, where the warm fireplace is waiting for you to come.
After breakfast at Brukenthal Palace Avrig you will be trevelling to Hotel of Ice Balea Lac, making a stop at Badea Cârţan Memorial House, in the village Cârţişoara – a setting where the time seems to have been stopped, for no one knows how many centuries, so as the visitors today can reach a part of Transylvania looking like in the ancient stories.
Badea Cârţan’s story became legend when the people of Rome had found „a real dacian man” sleeping next to the famous Traian’s Column – at least they believed so… He was a shepherd, a fighter for human rights, freedom and culture who went away from his village, reaching Rome and Vienna, Paris and other european capitals, becoming a cultural ambassador in the context of romanian’s emancipation.
Here you’ll see how romanian peasants lived two centuries ago in Transylvania, because there are still his clothes and sandals, even traditional bride and groom outfits and many other household items.
After reaching “Balea Cascada” 1400m (by car), you will change the transportation into a cable car that will take us to Balea Lake. The Ice Hotel.
You will leave the luggage in one of the rooms of the chalet (only for luggage and shower) and you can have lunch. Your guide will take you for a visit to the Hotel of Ice after. You can visit the Ice Church too. We definitely recommend you to do the activities around such as: Tunnel Trek, Rafting, Ice Sculpting, Snowmobiling, Tubing.
In the morning you will departure to Brukenthal Palace Avrig, the former summer residence of Baron Samuel von Brukenthal famous two centuries ago for its magnificent gardens designed in the Baroque style of the era. The style had been preserved intact until today. From here we’ll go to the city of Sibiu, Transylvania’s old borough founded by the german settlers in 1191. The original name of the city was Hermannstadt, developing on the site of the old Roman settlement Cedonia.
The walk through history and culture will start here with the main street. After lunch in the Palace a visit to Sibiu (the cultural capital of Romania in 2007) will mark on your map a different city. Here we go under the old arches, in the Market Square, where you’ll see the majestic Tower Hall. Then you can admire the Catholic Cathedral, and the imposing building of the current municipalities and of course, the famous Brukenthal Palace, which houses one of the most important museums in South-East Europe, holding unique art collections.
Then we get in the Small Square, where you can go downstairs to the „Lower City”. You can admire there the splendid architecture of the Liars’Bridge and the Evangelical Church, which housed the old town hall. The nature lovers and the admirers of the traditional folklore will have the opportunity to visit the largest and the most important open-air museum in the Eastern Europe: Astra Museum. On an area of 96 hectares, in the woods, lying on the banks of two lakes are exposed hundreds of copies of the authentic traditional houses, households and technical installations old of centuries, transported and preserved here from the entire Romanian territory, forming a magnificent heritage village.
After you enjoy the most successful photographs taken in the monumental city of Sibiu, you can choose a dinner in the old center of the town, choosing one of the dozens of restaurants that daily receive hundreds of visitors from all over the world, or you can go back for dinner next to the fireplace, in the warm atmosphere of Brukenthal Palace Avrig.
After breakfast at Brukenthal Palace Avrig you’ll enjoy some hours for relaxation, until noon, and then you will hit the road, on the Olt Valley (Olt river is the second largest river in Romania after the Danube), crossing the Carpathians. It is the main road built by the Roman legions that were installed in southern Dacia after the year 101, managing for nearly two centuries the territory of the inner arch of the Carpathians. A short visit of Cozia monastery, an ancient monastic center and a representative place for the romanian culture.
Travel back to Bucharest. Check in.
After breakfast, depending on your departure area you can wonder around till the driver will come to pick you up and leave to the airport. See you next time.