Departing from South Africa on 16 May, the group flies on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul to Bucharest. We’ll have two days to explore this city before driving to Sibiu. En route we’ll visit the medieval towns of Cisnadie and Sibiel. Sibiu is considered to be one of the most beautiful Romanian towns, due to its unique architectural style. In 2007 it was awarded the official title of European Capital of Culture.
From Sibiu the tour continues to Biertan and Sighisoara. Both towns host UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sighisoara is known as “The Pearl of Transylvania”.
The following day we’ll visit Targa Murres, one of the most important centres of the Hungarian minority. We’ll also visit a salt mine and explore the ancient streets of Cluj Napoca.
The itinerary proceeds into the Maramures region, one of the most rural areas of Romania. Besides the beautiful scenery, we’ll experience the warm hospitality of the locals and enjoy visits to the old towns of Baia Mare (famous for its painting school) and Surdesti before ending the day at a local guesthouse where we’ll have a splendid dinner and overnight. We’ll use our guesthouse as a base to explore Vadu Izei, the border town of Sighet, the Merry Cemetery and the highest wooden structure in the world, the Peri Convent the next day.
Culture and history define the Maramureş region. There are numerous historic sights, museums and memorial houses. The region is noted for its traditional architectural monuments, perfectly preserved. Lovely traditional houses, marvelous wooden gates, famous all over the world, beautiful wooden churches, with sky-touching towers, are, for the local people, part of the everyday life. Built centuries ago and decorated inside with fabulous frescoes, their wooden churches are not simply museums: they are open to the public and religious ceremonies are performed here regularly. The uniqueness and great value of these churches was recognized by UNESCO, who has included eight of them on the World Heritage List.
Maramureş is a land of rural simplicity. We will be amazed to discover the rich folk traditions and customs that survived throughout the centuries, and have not been changed by modern influences. Traditional rural life, folklore and customs are still preserved here, as the “moroşeni” (people from Maramureş) knew how to keep their traditions high and many folk events are still part of daily life. The local farmers still use traditional hand-made tools.
The journey from Vadu Izei to Gura Humorului is long but beautiful. We’ll visit the impressive wooden monastery, the Barsana Convent, perched on the hills of Maramures, overlooking the Iza Valley. The drive continues over the Prislop Pass to the Bucovina region, famous for its painted monasteries, traditional houses and warm and friendly people. The triumph of Byzantine-influenced art reflect a development of Moldavian civilization in the 15th and 16th centuries, under the patronage of Stephen the Great.
We’ll base ourselves in Gura Homorului for 2 days in order to allow ourselves time to explore these five exquisitely painted churches, convents and monasteries.
Leaving Bucovina, we’ll travel through the Eastern Carpathian Mountains passing Bicaz Gorge and Red Lake to Szeklerland, home of the ethnic Hungarians, before arriving in the ancient city of Brasov, one of the most important medieval citadels of Transylvania. The old city, founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211, is one of the best preserved cities in all Europe.
From Brasov, the group proceeds via Pejmer and Bran Castle to the Carpathian Mountain resort of Sinaia where we’ll spend two days exploring the Carpathians. Our visits include a cable car ride to see the spectacular views, Cantacuzino Castle and winetasting and lunch at a local winery.
En route to Uzlina on the Danube Delta, we’ll visit the famous Peles Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. Peles Castle was the summer residence of King Carol I and his wife, Queen Elizabeth.
The mighty Danube River flows 2880 kilometers from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas: 3540 square kilometers of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. The Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s (especially a bird watcher’s) paradise. We’ll spend one night at Uzlina in the delta region with a morning boat tour on the waterways before returning to Bucharest for the night.
Liz Cotton will be accompanying the group from South Africa and a professional local guide will be escorting the group throughout.
If you have any queries, or would like to secure your reservation on this tour, please do not hesitate to contact me on 021 786-2598 or cell 083 357 4855. I look forward to booking you place on this unique tour.
Now is the time to visit Romania while it is still largely unspoilt. We do hope you will be able to join this unique tour to this charming and delightful country.