Detailed tour description
Transfer from Sibiu International Airport to Brukenthal Palace Avrig, located in the heart of a magnificent Baroque park, former summer residence of the Governor of Transylvania, Baron Samuel von Brukenthal. Here we’ll present to you the schedule for the following days.
Depending on your arrival time, we can then visit the city and its surroundings, where you can become familiar with the traditional saxon transylvanian arhitectural style of the region, which has marked the rural households and crafts workshops of the folk art creators.
If you’ve ever wondered where you could find the already famous character Dracula, you will find out that you have just arrived in the heart of Transylvania! The route that you will follow in the second day of the trip will reveal you a wild beauty, full of light and color. Every season has its own charm here, but the snow turns the whole land in a fairyland!
We’ll climb to the heights of the most fascinating massive in the Carpathians – Fagaras Mountains -, and on the way we will stop first at the Memorial House of Badea Cartan, at Cârţişoara, a settlement where it seems like the time has stopped, for no one knows how many centuries, so that everything here can reveal to the visitors of Transylvania today a place looking exactly as it is described in the ancient stories.
Badea Cartan’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.
On the third day 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.
Day 4 – version Brasov
After breakfast we’ll go to Braşov. We’ll pass by the largest and most famous Lipizzaner horse breeder in the country, also founded by the noblemen von Brukenthal. This is the main breed of horses used by the major academic training schools. Then we’ll go to Sâmbăta Monastery, an old and powerful orthodox monastic center in this part of Europe. The monastery was built in 1667, as a wooden construction, then it was rebuilt by stone. 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 a secondary road that follows the Fagaras Mountains line, passing Piatra Craiului Mountains, we’ll reach Bran Castle, which is linked to the name of Dracula. The imposing building was 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 – the dynasty that has rebuilt Romania in the nineteenth century and ruled the country until it was removed, after the Second World War, when the communist regime was installed in the Southeastern Europe.
We’ll then pass through an area where the residents main concern has always been the sheep, and we’ll reach the town Rasnov, dominated by a peasant citadel build by the saxons in the fourteenth century, on the site of a fortress built by the Teutonic Knights. You’ll can see there how the city is a copy to scale, of the old city: every house has a correspondent in the city from above, including the church and the school building. When the inhabitants were attacked, they sought refuge inside the fortress, with all the animals. It is one of the few citadels that have never been conquered.
Then we’ll go to a famous mountain resort, with numerous slopes for winter sports and summer hiking trails: Poiana Brasov. Descending from here, you will have the opportunity to admire and to take sensational photos of the great city situated above the cliff called Tampa. From the top you will see the whole town as a template. Then, going down in the city, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the Citadel, the Central Park and the iconic Hall Square and the legendary Black Church, named like that after the great fire of 1689. From above, the city is guarded by medieval defense towers: the White Tower and the Black Tower. You’ll see the outposts and Catherine’s Gate, from where we could get in few minutes to the Bastion, which houses a small museum, holding the oldest model of the old fortress Kronstadt.
A look from the top of the mountain – where we can reach by the cable car within few minutes – would offer you the whole landscape of this ancient and unique saxon settlement.
On the way back to Avrig, you’ll have the opportunity to admire some of the Carpathians peaks, the traditional saxon settlements and households, which are delightful in a sea of white snow blanketed over the forests in the foothills.
Day 4 – version Sighisoara
We’re going to Sighisoara, passing through the town Slimnic. We are under the ruins of a large medieval fortress which seems like it was built for giants. We go through Medias, a town founded by german settlers in the medieval times. The settlement is dominated by the imposing Leaning Tower of the Evangelical Church. This area was opened the first methane gas exploitation in the world. This place provides 80% of Romania’s gas.
We’ll reach Biertan, an ancient village with a central fortress that guards three rows of walls, a magnificent construction defending the Evangelical Church, listed as UNESCO monuments.
From here we’ll go to Sighisoara, one of the best preserved medieval citadels in Europe. The old town, surrounded by defensive walls, is located on a hill that dominates the whole area. In the XIII century, here was raised the Evangelical Church, a monument of great importance for the saxon architecture in this part of Europe. Going up and down the streets of the old monumental city, we’ll visit the Clock Tower, the City Square on the edge of which there is the house where was born, in 1431, Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), the same one who inspired medieval saxon legends and became, over hundreds of years, Bram Stoker’s model for the famous character Dracula.
We will be served with a delicious lunch in one of the restaurants inside the old medieval city, then we’ll go to Avrig, crossing magnificent places that seem to be timeless, with forests and meadows covered in white snow, absolutely fabulous. From place to place, you’ll have the chance to admire some ancient saxon fortresses that stood guard for centuries to defend the inhabitants of the invaders who came from the Eastern Europe. We’ll descend the valley Hârtibaciului which leads us to Avrig, where we’ll spend the evening and the night.
After breakfast – transfer to Sibiu airport. If we’ll have enough time, we could spend a few hours in Sibiu, before the flight.