Day 1: Transfer to Piatra Craiului Mountains. Welcoming you at the Otopeni Int. Airport, transfer by car in Zarnesti, following Prahova Valley (Otopeni – Sinaia – Rasnov – Bran – Pestera). If the time allow, we’ll stop in Sinaia, a mountain resort known as the “Pearl” of Carpathians. We’ll visit the Royal Peles Castle, which is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful castles in all of Europe. Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle has served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.
Rasnov Fortress - located on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, 650 ft. above the town of Rasnov. First mentioned in an official document in 1331, the fortress was built by the Teutonic Knights as protection against invading Tartars and was later enlarged by the local Saxon population. Strategically located on the commercial route linking the provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, Rasnov differs from other Saxon fortresses in that it was designed as a place of refuge over extended periods of time.
Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, Bran Castle was built by the Teutonic Knights, between 1377 and 1382 on a 60 m. high rock and is usually associated to the legend of Dracula. Former Royal Residence, today Bran castle has been retroceded to Archduke Dominic von Habsburg-Lothringen, Prince of Tuscany, as a descendent of Princess Ileana, the youngest daughter of Marry Queen of Romania and King Ferdinand. The castle hosts a museum of medieval art, weapons, furniture and hunting trophies. Accommodation in a chalet in Piatra Craiului National Park.
Day 2: Deep into the forest, looking for wildlife. 9:00 AM Breakfast. 10:00 AM visit the Carpathians’ brown bear habitat. Romania is known for sheltering more than a half of Europeans’ big wildlife population. Watching the brown bear in freedom is definitely a spectacle. 7:00 PM Dinner. Accommodation and dinner in a chalet in Rasnov.
Day 3: Brasov and surroundings. 9:00 AM Breakfast. We leave Rasnov to go, by car, to Poiana Brasov, a resort in Postavarul Mountains. From here we will start a short walk through the forest (about 3-4 hours) toward Brasov. In Brasov we will have a tour of the old German and Romanian localities. Some of the objectives in Brasov are:
The Fortress of Brasov - a fortified construction built originally in wood and stone, and later transformed into a Vaubman type fortress, hosting today a very inviting restaurant.
The White Tower – one of the standing towers, remaining from the old fortifications of the city, and The Black Tower; The Black Church - (14th-15th century), the biggest Gothic style Church in South-East Europe; The Town Hall - (15th century) dominates the Old City. Presently, it is the History Museum of Brasov County, divided in four sections: Archeology, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary history; The String Street – one of the narrowest street in Europe; The Medieval Romanian Settlement – Schei whit the Saint Nicolas orthodox Church. We will have dinner and stay overnight in a 3 stars guesthouse in Brasov.
Day 4: Brasov – Sighisoara. At 9 o’clock - breakfast and we get ready for the only medieval citadel continuously inhabited in Europe with a UNESCO World Heritage status. We leave for Sighisoara by car at approximately 10 o’clock. On route to Sighisoara we will stop in the village of Viscri (German: Deutschweißkirch or simply Weißkirch; Hungarian: Szászfehéregyháza), which had a population of 467 in 2002, is best known for its highly fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD. It is part of the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, designated in 1993 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. At noon we arrive in Sighisoara, where we will have lunch.
Sighişoara is a popular tourist destination, due to its well-preserved walled old town. Sighisoara also is known to be the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) After lunch we will make a tour of the city during which we will visit the following sites: Sighişoara Citadel - a 12th Century saxon edifice, is the historic center of the city. Still inhabited, the citadel is listed as a World Heritage Site. Weapon Museum - next to Vlad's birthplace. Very small, but it contains an interesting selection of medieval weapons (swords, arrows, etc.) Covered Staircase - a very old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span. This leads up to the Church on the Hill and the cemetery.
The church on the Hill - contains many frescoes and a crypt. Built on the location of a Roman fort. Located on the side of the hill next to it is one of the Lutheran cemeteries in the city, which contains many tombstones of Germans. The Clock Tower. Among the many structures and especially among the towers - each one bearing the name of a trade or guild - there is a particular one, more than impressive : the Clock Tower or the Gate Tower, a great example of mechanical brilliance and architectural mastership. The clock with small figures, present here, is the only one of this type in Romania and one of the few in the whole world. With a height of over 64 meters, the Clock Tower is by all means a sight to behold, yet most of the visitors have eyes for the huge clock, on the fourth floor (the fifth and final one is actually an open balcony). The roof, with a pyramid shape, has two small domes. Over this domes there is a small golden globe, and over this a rooster made out of metal, which turns on the wind. Accommodation and dinner in a guesthouse in Sighisoara.
Day 5: Sighisoara – Sibiu. At 9 o’clock we have breakfast and head for Sibiu. Objectives in Sibiu:
The Liars Bridge - Is the first bridge made of iron in Romania; The Council Tower – is one of the best known monuments in Sibiu. During the centuries it had diverse uses, from Grain Warehouse, to Fire Observation Tower, Prison and Museum Of Natural Science.
The Haller House – a building in Renaissance stile, which belonged to a number of personalities from Sibiu, until 1537 whose family kept it for 345 years. The Roman Catholic Church “Holy Trinity” – built by the Jesuit Monks between 1726 – 1733 in the Early Viennese Baroque style.
The Ursuline Church – built in 1473. It was first Dominican monastery and, after the Protestant Reform, in 1543 it became Lutheran Church. It was later given to the Ursuline Nuns who rebuilt it in 1728. The exterior has Gothic elements, while the interior was redecorated, at the request of the Nuns in Baroque Style. The Wall from the Citadel Street, which keeps its aspect from the 15th century when was built. The wall is flanked by three Defense Towers, which bear the names of the Guilds responsible for their maintenance: The Carpenters Tower, The Potters Tower And The Archebuziers Tower.
The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral – built on the plans of the architects Iosif Kolmmer and Virgil Nagy from Budapest, inspired by “Hagia Sofia” in Constantinople, at reduced scale.
Brukenthal Palace and Museum – is the first museum opened in Romania, in 1817, just 7 years after The National Gallery in London opens its doors for the public. The museum initially hosted 1090 paintings from the private collection of Samuel Brukenthal. The European art collections of the Baron were open for the public since 1790, 3 years before the Louvre Museum was inaugurated. The Brukenthal Gallery was mentioned in 1773, in the Almanach von Wien, as the second after prince von Lichtenstein’s picture gallery. We will have dinner and stay overnight in a 3 stars guesthouse in Sibiu.
Day 7: Astra Museum/Hiking in Cindrel Mountains. The activates for today are at your choice, since on the one hand we have the Astra Museum, and on the other, a hiking day in Cindrel Mountains. The "ASTRA" National Museum Complex represents an ensemble of four ethnographic museums located in Sibiu, in the center of Romania. The most important of them all is the Open Air Museum ("ASTRA" Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization), one of the biggest open air museums in the world and the biggest in South – East of Europe. The Open Air Museum which spreads over more than 96 hectares offers a representative imagine of the traditional Romanian village from the architectural evolution point of view as well as from the technical point of view.
The monuments offer a picture of the traditional way of life. The museum has two wooden churches where religious ceremonies take place, a collection of mills (one of the most fascinating collections in the world), a playground for children, two restaurants, a lake etc. From Paltinis resort start trekking tours in Cindrel Mountains, which may vary from 2 to 9 hours. We can visit Natural Reservation Iezerele Cindrelului with his glacial lakes. Also we have that day the opportunity to meet shepherds and monks in their monasteries in the forest. Dinner and accommodation in a 3 star guesthouse in Sibiu.
Day 7: Sibiu – Cluj – Barsana. 9:00 Breakfast. After breakfast we head for Cluj-Napoca. We stop in Cluj for a short visit of the city.
Here we will visit a few historical monuments such as:
The St. Mikhail Church, one of the most beautiful monuments, build in Gothic style, from Transylvania. The church was built in the interval of 1350-1487, on the site of the old St. Jacob chapel. The altar is the oldest part of the construction and it was built around 1390. The newest part of the church is its tower, built in Neo-Gothic style around 1860. A number of restorations have revealed mural paintings executed in the first part of the XV-th century.
The Franciscan Church and Monastery, built in Romanic style between 1270-1272. The Monastery is a gothic style building which dates from the XV century. The church, situated in the south part of the monastery initially was a gothic church, built under the Dominicans, and was later offered to the Franciscans. It was afterwards rebuilt in late baroque style. This is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Cluj. We will have lunch in Cluj Napoca and, depending on the time available, we will visit a number of other monuments from Cluj. In the afternoon we will arrive to Barsana where we will spend the night, at a guesthouse. Dinner and accommodation in a 3 star guesthouse in Barsana.
Day 8: Maramures Area 9:00 Breakfast After breakfast we will visit the wooden churches of the Iza Valey (UNESCO monuments): We will have lunch to guesthouse in Barsana. After lunch we will go to Sapanta to visit : The Merry Cemetery and The wooden Church from Budesti, the wooden Church from Desesti, Peri Monastery, the tallest wooden church in the world (78 m). Dinner and accommodation in a 3 star guesthouse in Barsana.
Day 9: Vaserului Valley (Valley of the Whater). We wake up early in the morning, have breakfast and head to Viseu de Sus (Upper Viseu), where we will take a step backward in time, in order to ride the “Mocanita”: After going through the woods, Mocanita has a short 2 hours stay, while we will have lunch. Around afternoon we will arrive in Viseu de Sus. Later ve will have dinner at the guesthouse in Barsana, where we will spent our last night in Romania.
Day 10: Goodbye Romania! 9:00 Breakfast After breakfast we head for the international airport in Baia Mare.
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