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Budapest, Romania and the Castles of Transylvania

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Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer.

13 days Sold out

2022 Tour code: ROG22

About the tour

Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer. We'll immerse ourselves in Transylvanian tradition on a private tour of Bran Castle, as well as making visits to three of the country's painted monasteries and a rescue bear sanctuary. This holiday is perfectly bookmarked with time in cosmopolitan Budapest and Bucharest.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – The UK to Budapest

From London Heathrow, Manchester or Glasgow, fly to Budapest where we check into our hotel for the night. Experiencing this city of two halves from a unique perspective this evening, after dinner at a local restaurant, we get to know the flatter, lively region of Pest, which looks across the water to its older, historical neighbour, the hilly Buda. Rising away from the banks of the river, Budapest was once the joint capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and we embark on an illuminated night-time tour by coach. Tracing the Danube south, our evening is filled with stunning views of the city after dark, including the famous Szechenyi Chain Bridge and spectacular Gellert Hill.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Budapest to Brașov

After a free morning, a guided coach tour introduces us to Budapest's other main sights by day. We pass impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the Neo-Gothic Parliament building, designed to look like the Palace of Westminster, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and the more modern Fishermen's Bastion. Next, we make our way to a charming bistro, enjoying dinner ahead of our overnight rail journey to Brașov, in Romania.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Brașov

Arriving in Brașov for two nights, we transfer to our hotel, sitting down to some refreshing cake and coffee before setting out to visit the Schei district with a local guide. Nestled at the feet of the forested foothills surrounding the city, we explore the historic Romanian quarter, accessed through the 19th-century Schei Gate and home to traditional red-roofed houses and cobbled alleyways, one of which is the narrowest in Europe. We'll also see the Cathedral of St Nicholas. A mist-match of architectural styles, including Gothic, Rennaisance and Baroque, there's also a twisty spire funded by a Russian empress and colourful frescos from the 1700s.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 4 – Bear Sanctuary and Bran Castle

Our first visit of the day is to a Romanian bear sanctuary, where we take a private tour to meet and learn about the gentle brown bears who now live here peacefully after being rescued. Back in Brașov, you have free time before we transfer to Bran Castle, an atmospheric perched fortress with Gothic turrets that bears an uncanny resemblance to the description of Dracula's Transylvanian home in Bram Stoker's famous novel. With a history dating back to the Teutonic Knights of the 12th century, we travel through time as we explore the different rooms, learning about the castle's famous residents such as Vlad the Imapler, on a private guided tour. Afterwards, we enjoy dinner at the castle's restaurant which serves up a great choice of Romanian dishes.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – The Red Lake and Suceava

Our day begins with a scenic drive to Red Lake, a natural dam set amidst the Carpathian Mountains. The dramatic scenery of thick, fairytale woodland, crystal clear water and soaring mountains is a paradise for local wildlife, and we may get a glimpse of a Carpathian stag, mountain eagle or wild boar. Continuing to nearby Bicaz Gorges, an incredible limestone canyon carved that sits at the heart of a national park, we take a scenic drive right through the crevice, where sheer rock walls reach 1,000 feet into the sky, enjoying time to admire the exceptional views. We make our way to Suceava via Piatra Neamt afterwards, checking into our hotel on arrival for a three-night stay.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – The Huțulca Railway

Our day includes a quaint round-trip journey along the Huțulca Railway in restored 19th-century carriages. Travelling by steam train through rural Bucovina, we admire passing scenery of remote villages, rolling hills and fir tree forests ahead of our afternoon excursion to the Moldovița Monastery. One of Romania's famous painted monasteries, it was built in the 16th century and is decorated with vibrant frescoes depicting stories from the bible. Considered to be Byzantine masterpieces, the dominant colours are deep blue and gold, and as well as being a UNESCO protected site, the chapel is still attended by Romanian Orthodox nuns to this day.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Marginea and Romania’s painted monasteries

We admire the black pottery of Marginea, stopping at a ceramics centre to hear more about the age-old technique used to create striking pieces of jet black pottery. Created in the time-honoured way, using pre-historic technology passed down from father to son, each hand-made piece takes almost three weeks to make and is totally unique. Our next visit takes us to two more painted monasteries - Sucavita and Voronet. Also known as the 'Ladder of Virtues', Sucavita's frescoes look almost as fresh now as they day they were painted, some 400-odd years ago, while Voronet is one of the oldest of its kind and boasts an incredibly detailed illustration of 'The Last Supper'.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Sighisoara

We drive to Sighisoara today, in the Romanian region of Transylvania, our base for the next three nights. Along the way, we make plenty of stops to admire the views and stock up on refreshments.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Sibiu

Transferring to the city of Sibiu, perched in the shadows of the Cindrel Mountains, we enjoy a guided tour that delves into the fascinating history of this ancient destination. Exploring the Old Town, we wander past more traditional German buildings, the legacy of the region's Saxon settlers, surrounded by the remains of the city's medieval walls and 13th-century towers. We also see bustling Huet Square as well as the Bridge of Lies, said to collapse if someone tells a lie while walking across it, and the Evangelical Square. Another interesting aspect of Sibiu's architecture is, if you look closely, it's almost as if the houses are watching you thanks to the unusual attic windows built for optimal ventilation.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 – Biertan Castle and Sighisoara

We continue our historic explorations with a visit to Biertan Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site and fortified church which looks as if it's been lifted from the pages of a storybook. One of the largest medieval strongholds in the country, it sits on a hill overlooking the village of Biertan - the safest spot in the event of invasion. The castle is also home to an odd addition, considering the period it was built. Tucked away in the church grounds is a small room known as the marital prison. It was here that couples seeking a divorce from the bishop would be required to spend six weeks trying to repair their relationship before being allowed to separate. Back in Sighisoara, we set out on a tour of the citadel that includes the impressive Clock Tower and time to admire the city's Medieval weapons collection.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 – Peleș Castle

We start our journey to Bucharest, where we stay for two nights, stopping en route at the Neo-Renaissance Royal Peleș Castle in Sinaia. Regarded as one of the most eclectic and stunning castles in Europe, each room boasts a different theme and we see the extravagant music room, adorned with carved teak wood, as well as the embroidered silks of the exotic Turkish salon and the elaborate frescoes of the Theatre Hall, painted by Gustav Klimt and Frantz Matsch.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Bucharest

We take a fascinating tour of the Romanian capital, a city that's an engaging melting pot of history, culture, fine architecture and art. With a storied past, we'll experience centuries in just a few hours, discovering Bucharest's ancient centre, where we learn about the princely court of Vlad Tepes, visit Manuc's Inn and take a walk along Lipscani Street. Next, we uncover the Bucharest's communist links, stopping at Revolutions Square and the Unirii Fountains. With some free time afterwards, you may like to experience some contemporary shopping or stop at one of the superb bars or cafés. We end our holiday in style this evening, with an authentic Romanian dinner served at one of Bucharest's oldest restaurants.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – Return to the UK

Transferring to the airport, we board our flight to London Heathrow. Alternatively, you may be travelling to elsewhere in the UK with our regional flight options to Manchester and Glasgow.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Hotels

Continental Hotel, Budapest

Continental Hotel, Budapest

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Kronwell Hotel, Brașov

Kronwell Hotel, Brașov

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Hotel Balada, Suceava

Hotel Balada, Suceava

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Sonnehof Hotel, Suceava

Sonnehof Hotel, Suceava

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Central Park Hotel, Sighisoara

Central Park Hotel, Sighisoara

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Athenee Palace Hilton, Bucharest

Athenee Palace Hilton, Bucharest

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Train

Huțulca Railway

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Budapest, Romania and the Castles of Transylvania

Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer.

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Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Helen Laverack
Helen