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, we’ll go to one of the hotels in Bucharest, where you will spend the first night in Romania. Then we’ll take a walk to discover the old center of the city. You’ll remarc 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, we’ll 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 at 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 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 we’ll go 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, and then we’ll spend the night at one of the hotels in the city.
After breakfast, we’ll leave Brasov and we’ll cross a land named Bârsa. We’ll go through Perişani Mountains, where you’ll see on the left side the majestic chain of Fagaraș Mountains. We’ll climb to Hotel of Ice Bâlea Lake, 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.
Then we’ll continue our trip on Transfagarasan road which „straps” across the Carpathians through a tunnel at 2,000 m altitude, then goes the other side of the mountain, following the contour of the high terraces of the two peaks. It is considered an engineering masterpiece that drew attention to Top Gear team which classified it in the top of the masterpieces of its kind in the world.
We will stop at Bâlea Waterfall, because in this season we cannot run on Transfăgărăşan, the snow being very heavy. We’ll climb up in 10 minutes by the cable car, from 1,234 meters to Cabana Bâlea Lake, located at an altitude of 2,034 meters. The cottage is located on a small peninsula, surrounded by a glacial lake which covers an area of over 4 hectares, completely frozen in winter. The mountanmen believe that this is the most emblematic winter landscape in the Carpathian Mountains.
Here you will install in the Ice Hotel for the night. After lunch, you will have the opportunity to take a walk on the terraces under the high ridges loaded by a white crown and a robe of snow. You can visit the Ice Church, with its bas-reliefs and statues made totally by cold and white ice, you’ll see the igloos and you can spend your time in the Winter Park which is available with its facilities for recreation.
In the morning we’ll descend from Bâlea Lake and go 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. We’ll enter into the central park area, where you can admire the old walls for defense which are housing the Sibiu Philharmonic Orhestra and attract thousands of visitors. 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 we’ll 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. You can take the best photos in this area.
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 we can go back for dinner next to the fireplace, at Brukenthal Palace Avrig.
After breakfast at Brukenthal Palace Avrig you’ll enjoy some hours for relaxation, until noon, and then we’ll hit the road, on the Olt Valley, 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.
We will visit Cozia monastery, an ancient monastic center and a representative place for the romanian culture. Then we’ll turn to the East, on a secondary road to Curtea de Arges, where we’ll visit a pearl of medieval romanian architecture – Curtea de Arges Monastery, built by the ancient ruler of the XVI century.
In the evening we’ll arrive in Bucharest, where we’ll spend the last night of the journey.
After breakfast we’ll prepare to leave for the airport, for boarding, and if time will allow us, we will spend a few hours in Bucharest, where you can visit another part of the town.