this trip we have put the accent on the culture and
history of Maramures, Bukovina and Transylvania.
day you can make longer or shorter hike in each region, or
just stroll around by foot or car. You travel around by
private car or rental car.
stay overnight in comfortable guestrooms and pensions, all
the rooms have private bathrooms. You'll enjoy each night a
typical hearty meal, in
the morning is a large continental breakfast, and you make
yourself a lunch-packet for noon. The Romanian kitchen is
simple but tasteful, cooked mostly with home grown products or
from the village. In Cluj Napoca and Sibiu you have bed and
breakfast. There are in both towns dozens of restaurants to
all the places can all be
reached with a normal car. You can leave each time
your car there without problems.
hikes and walks are made for the large public with a normal
physical condition. Sportive people can extend the
travel in three regions in Romania, all three regions
are very different regarding history, culture,
architecture and folklore.
is especially known for its wooden churches, (8 of
them are on the World Heritage List). beautifully
sculptured gates, its folk costumes, its traditions.
You'll find here the last working steam locomotives in
the country and there is the merry cemetery of Sapanta.
of the painted monasteries are on the Unesco World
Heritage list. They were fortresses against invading
Tartars and Turks. Special is that by several
monasteries you find frescoes not only inside the
churches, but also on the exterior walls. There is
further famous pottery in the village Marginea and
there is the historical town Suceava.
The region was colonized in the Middle Ages not only
by the Saxons, but also by Flemish, Dutch, Walloon,
Luxembourger and Rhine and Mosel settlers. You'll find
here the beautiful historical towns Brasov, Sibiu,
Sighisoara and the fascinating fortified churches of
which 7 are on the Unesco World Heritage list together
with the center of Sighisoara. Unique is that during
the Middle Ages, the inhabitants fortified the
churches, built extra defense galleries on the naves,
built fortified walls, towers and bastions to keep the
Turks away. There were more then hundred of
them, most of them still stand, some restored, others
almost in ruins. Besides that you find in the region
larger and smaller museums, castles and
nature: The biodiversity of the different mountains regions is
very special. There are dozens of endemic plants and there is
still brown bear, wolf and lynx in the mountains, but there is
little chance that you will meet one.
receive the day of arrival an extensive road-book, addresses
of the accommodations, tourist information, maps and described
hikes or walks.
rental car: The car will be brought to the pension in Cluj
Napoca at 9am on day 2. The car will be picked up at 6pm on
day 14, again at the pension in Cluj Napoca. (totals 13 days)
The warranty for the rental car can be paid with credit
drive on the transfer days about 4-5 hours. You drive
only on asphalted roads. We choose for the more quiet
secondary roads and avoided as much as possible the
busy E-roads. You find everywhere gas-stations,
restaurants and shops along the roads so that extra
provisions or restrooms are not a problem.
less bound travelling during the summer months as you
most likely won't be hiking in the high mountains
where you can still find snow. Basically you can have
snow on the roads from December till end March.
Romania has an efficient system to clean snow covered
roads and snow hardly remains for more then a day on
the road except with blizzard conditions. Snow might
occur occasionally in November or April but never last
long. The ideal travel period is 1 May till end
October. The busiest tourist season is between 15 July
and 15 August, but it is never that busy that you will
have traffic jams or problems to visit
description of the trip:
1 Arrival in Cluj Napoca. If you come by train or plane, you will be picked up from the airport or train
station and be brought to a cozy pension downtown Cluj Napoca.
We'll introduce the program.
Day 2 You'll get the rental car and drive to Maramures. You'll drive through a pastoral landscape along
some fine historical fortified churches, a roman site and several traditional
villages. The Maramures region is especially known for the wooden
churches and gates, its traditions. You stay overnight in guestrooms in Salistea de
Sus on the Iza Valley. You near the wooden churches of
Ieud and Poinile Izei, both World Heritage sites.
Day 3 Roundtrip Maramures. You can visit the monastery of Birsana, the
little border town Sighetu Marmatei with ethnographic
museum and the former prison where the communists
locked and tortured political opponents can now be
visited. Sighet was up to the second world war an
important Jewish center. If you like steam trains you
can travel along the Vaser valley with the only still
working narrow gauge steam railway. You can also make
a walk between the villages Botiza and Poienile Izei.
You stay again in Salistea de Sus.
Day 4 Transfer to Bukovina. You descend in the Bistrita
valley and follow the "golden" Bistrita river almost
till Bukovina. Bukovina is especially know for its painted
monasteries. They are fortified monasteries, built to protect
the region against invading Turks and Tartars. Special
is that the monastery churches are not only have painted
frescoes inside, but also on the exterior walls. 7 of these
monasteries are on the World Heritage list.
5 Nearby Vatra Moldovita are the monasteries
Voronet, Humor and Sucevita. Besides the monasteries,
you can visit the village Marginea with its famous
pottery, or the historical town Suceava with Zamca
Monastery and the ruins from the princely court. Accommodation again in Vatra Moldovitei.
Day 6 Transfer to Miercurea Ciuc. You will drive
through the narrow Bicaz canyon with 300m high vertical walls,
you come along Lacu Rosu (Red lake) formed after a landslide
in the 19th century, where you can make a walk around the
lake. You enter the Szekely counties where the ethnic Hungarians have the
majority. Castle lovers should make a detour to the Lazarea
Castle (Polish architecture) The castle is in restoration and
there is a contemporary art gallery. You stay near Miercurea
Ciuc for the night and enjoy a typical Hungarian dinner.
Day 7 Roundtrip in Harghita.
You drive along Baile Homorod (known for its mineral
water and hot springs), you cross the villages Satu Mare
(nicely sculptured gates), Bradest, (known for its
onions) and enter the little town Odorhei Secuiesc. The
historic center remained preserved and there are 3 18th
c, churches. Pottery lovers can make a detour to the
village Cristuru Secuiesc where you find an excellent
ethnographic museum with a special section about pottery
and ceramics. You drive by Coirund, also known for its
pottery and you can visit some workshops. There is a
permanent artisan market all along the main road. You
drive over Praid, known for the large salt mine (can be
visited) and you end up in Sovata, a 19th c. resort with
beautiful wooden villa's several salt lakes (you can
take a bath, the salt water keeps you afloat)
Hikers and nature lovers can make a walk around Luci
moor. Accommodation again in Miercurea Ciuc.
Transfer to Bran and nature lovers can make a hike around St Anna Lake. St Anna Lake is the only volcanic
lake in Europe. It lies at 944m altitude. Nearby is a secondary
a 10m thick peat. You continue to Brasov. Just before
you arrive in Brasov you can visit the fortified church
of Prejmer (World Heritage List) Brasov is a beautiful
medieval town at the base of the Carpathian Mountains.
The historic town center is largely intact and you can
visit the east and west wall fortifications. There is
the large gothic black church and several museums. You
can take the funicular up the Tampa hill. You continue
to Bran, worldwide known for its castle. You stay overnight in
a fine guesthouse at a few minutes walking from the castle.
You can visit a special page about
9-10 You can drive to the little town Sinaia to visit the world famous Peles
Castle, the former Royal Castle. Its built in Bavarian
style, and loaded with art and antiques. You find works
Greco, Zurbaran, Murillo, Velasquez, Titian, Rembrandt,
Rubens, Van Dyck, Clouet, Rafael, Brueghel, David,
Correggio….There is Meissen and Rosenthal porcelain,
There are 17-18c gobelins and much more.
It is by far the most beautiful castle of the country.
You can take the ski-lift up the Bucegi Mountains for a
stroll on the 2000m high plateau. There is the medieval
fortress of Risnov and there are the Piatra Craiului
Mountains with a bear reserve. More then enough to
fill 2 fantastic days. You stay in the Bran guesthouse.
11 Transfer to Sibiu. During the summer months you
can make the transfer by the 2000m high Trans Fagaras
highway. The other months you can mostly access the
ridge by the northern access road. If you travel
south-north you can visit the real Dracula fortress if
you climb 1500 steps. On the ridge you can make a short
hike to an alpine lake. There is the town Fagaras with
it's beautiful castle (now museum). There are the ruins
of a Cistercian monastery in Carta. Sibiu was cultural
capital of Europe in 2007. It is a historical Saxon town
and the medieval center is largely preserved. There are
numerous historical buildings and many museums, the most
important is the Brukenthal museum with important works
from Flemish, Italian and Dutch school. To the south of
the town is the Astra Open Air museum with more then
hundred buildings and structures from all over Romania.
You stay overnight in a stylish pension right outside
12 Roundtrip to the Saxon villages and Sighisoara.
can visit the ruins of the Stolzenburg fortress in
Slminic, the beautiful fortified churches of Mosna,
Valea Viilor and Biertan (World Heritage list). (besides
numerous others) The
fortified churches are unique in Europe. More then
hundred churches were transformed to fortified
fortresses during the middle ages. The have fortified
walls, towers, bastions, defense galleries, even
sometimes a moot. There are the ruins of a
renaissance castle in Cris and the Medieval town
Sighisoara. (the old town center is one of the best
preserved in Europe). You stay again in
info about Sibiu:
13 Transfer to the Bihor Mountains in the West Carpathians.
You drive along the historical towns Sebes and Alba
Iulia. You continue to the village Girda de Sus, along the
Aries River on the eastern border of the Apuseni Nature Park.
The Western Carpathians offer a very varied landscape. Crystalline
and volcanic mountain ridges interchange with limestone massifs.
region is a large plateau where rivers or tectonic forces cut
deep canyons. The altitude is generally between 600 and 1850m.
can visit the famous ice cave of Scarisoara.
The cave lies at an
altitude of 1100m
and at the bottom of the cave lies and enormous bloc of ice,
75.000 m3 big. It is here since the last Ice Time. This cold
mass of ice cools the air down and seeping water freezes up to
beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. You can also choose to
visit a woodcarver in the village Patrahaitesti. You stay in
comfortable guestrooms in Girda de Sus.
included a special page about the Apuseni Mountains: click
Day 14 Transfer to Cluj Napoca. You travel via the Aries Valley to Turda.
Along the road you come along Lupsa monastery (with oldest church from the
region) and a very interesting ethnographic museum about the gold mining of the
region. You can visit the Roman Galleries in Rosia Montana. You can make a short
detour to the ethnographic village Rimetea at the base of the Piatra Secuiului
Mountains and there is the nature reserve Turda
Canyon. The Turda Canyon offers more then 1.000 types of
plants. The flora is very heterogeneous because of the
geographic location, the limestone underground and the special
micro climate. You stay overnight in the
cozy pension in Cluj Napoca.
15 End of the trip after breakfast.
Monasteries in Bukovina
Brasov, Bran, Bucegi and Piatra
Sibiu, Saxon fortified churches