Romania holiday, the Beauty of Yesterday

An enriching combination of Romanian culture, architecture and history, everything on this small group tour is organised for you, so you can take in all the sights, stress-free.
Bucharest Bacau Piatra Neamt Vama Moldovita Sucevita Monasteries Voronet Monastery Visue de Sus Maramures County Steam train from Viseu to Paltin Station Iza Valley Bistrita Barsana Monastery Targu Mures Viscri Sighisoara Brasov Bran Sinaia
£1795 excluding flights
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12 Days
Small group
Group size
6-12 people
More info
Price includes: - 11 nights' accommodation - half board (some lunches) - airport transfers & transport throughout - professional English-speaking guide & assistance - entry fees - excursion on steam train - horse carriage ride - all local taxes
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Description of Romania holiday, the Beauty of Yesterday

Travel back in time to visit traditional craftsmen in their workshops and spend time with local families in rural villages, and you’ll quickly begin to piece together the centuries old traditions and customs that help holidays in Romania resonate with responsible travellers.

This eleven day small group Romania tour provides the perfect introduction to the untouched lifestyles and sweeping countryside of northern Romania and Transylvania including some of the country’s best-loved national parks, historic towns and UNESCO world heritage sites.

This small group holiday is offered on two guaranteed dates during the year accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide. Travellers are thus invited to take Romania holidays to a more immersive level with many of the overnight stays being the guests of a local family, certainly adding to the appeal of a genuinely authentic cultural experience.

Alternatively, a minimum of two people are required for the tour to take place as a private experience (for any dates between April and October) with an English-speaking tour guide throughout helping travellers dig a little deeper into the history and the landscapes of this lesser-visited eastern European crown jewel.

Romania tours such as this don’t come along every day and you can expect an incredibly scenic route that takes in the drama of both the Carpathian Mountains and the iconic hilltops settings and cobbled town squares of Romania’s most famous region, Transylvania.

From Piatra Neamt in Moldavia, to Peles Castle near Sinaia, via Bucovina, Maramures and a spectacular steam train ride through the Vaser Valley, this holiday in Romania promises a treat for all of the senses with chances to linger a little longer in Bucharest definitely worthwhile if you’ve got time to spare before or after the tour.

The accommodation that we use on this Romania tour has been hand-picked to represent the hospitable nature of the local people as well as the charm and character of life in rural areas with family-run guesthouses and small, independently-owned, hotels adding to an experience that’s as unique as enchanting.


Day 1:[Bucharest] Suceava - Bucovina. Arrival in Suceava [suggested flight - direct from London Luton]*. On arrival you will be accompanied by our professional English speaking guide and transferred to our wonderful guest house in the village of Vama, in the heart of Bucovina. Dinner with traditional Romanian dishes. * an alternative would be to arrive into Bucharest a day (or two) earlier; we can then pre-book a flight up to Suceava so that you can easily meet up with the main group.
Day 2:Vama - Moldovita, Voronet and Sucevita Monasteries. Today you will visit the world-famous painted monasteries: * Voronet Monastery (UNESCO), founded in 1488 by Stephen the Great. It is the most accomplished sample of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting, known as the oriental Sistine Chapel. * Moldovita (UNESCO) dates back to 1532 and has the aspect of a fortress with imposing towers and high, thick walls. * Sucevita, the last and the most magnificent monastic achievement among the painted monasteries in Bucovina, looks like a real fortress with towers, buttresses and watch roads. Paintings on the Sucevita monastery have been well preserved both on the outside and on the inside. During the day your guide will also schedule visits to the fascinating painted egg museum with a demonstration and the unique Black ceramic workshop. Return to Vama for a home-made dinner.
Day 3:Vama - Prislop Pass - Sighetu Marmatiei - Ieud. After breakfast you will witness the dramatic changes between Moldavia and the next region of Romania on your tour - Maramures, the land of traditions and wooden churches. This journey involves travelling via the stunning, remote and beautiful Prislop Pass. Later, in the early afternoon, there is a short drive to Sighetu Marmatiei. Free time in Sighet for a late lunch and where you may wish to visit the Museum to the Victims of Communism, located in the town centre at the former prison (if time permits). Afterwards, time permitting, leave for a visit to the little village of Sapanta with its unique Merry Cemetery, famous for its colourful tombstones with paintings describing the deceased. Dinner & overnight in a traditional guest house in Ieud.
Day 4:Ieud - Forest Railway - Iza Valley - Ieud. A fun day at a slower pace; you will experience the raw power of the steam train taking you from Viseu de Sus up through the Vaser Valley to Paltin Station. The railway line passes through the most spectacular landscape of the whole route, narrow, rock lined canyons, fast-flowing, sparkling mountain brooks and the colourful wildlife of the mixed forests. A picnic / BBQ lunch is laid on at Paltin (included). Afterwards, the remainder of the day will then be devoted to the traditional villages, rural scenery and wooden architecture of the nearby Iza Valley, home to villages known for their historical significance and their wooden churches. The history of Maramures is told through the wood of their churches - through the centuries, the area's foreign rulers did not allow the people living here to build long-lasting stone churches, so instead, the local carpenters raised beautiful wooden churches to communicate with God. The visit concludes at Barsana Monastery, known as "Holy Mother's Entrance". In the evening arrive back in Ieud for dinner at your guest house.
Day 5:Ieud - Targu Mures - Sighisoara. After a fabulous home-cooked breakfast drive south through southern Maramures via Nasaud and through the mountain pass to Bistrita and into Transylvania proper. You will pass through Bistrita spotting the famous Coopers' Tower and its many churches en route to Targu Mures, the city of roses, which enjoys the best of both Romanian and Hungarian cultures. Targu Mures' top attraction is located at the south end of the main square: the Culture Palace, a flamboyant early 20th-century city hall, with an outstanding stained-glass window, housing some of the city's main local museums. Lunch can be taken at a Hungarian speciality restaurant in the city centre (our recommendation). In the afternoon a gentle drive south to the incomparable Sighisoara, that most unique but typical, in the mind's eye, of Transylvanian towns. Dinner in a restaurant in the old town, overnight at a hotel just below the citadel.
Day 6:Sighisoara. After breakfast at your hotel just below the old town a walking visit of Sighisoara, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved mediaeval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th Century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation, Count Dracula. Landmarks of Sighisoara are the famous Clock Tower, hosting the History Museum and the Torture Chamber with its impressive mediaeval arms collection; the Church on the Hill is a beautiful Gothic building which dominates the hill at the southern end of the citadel.
Day 7:Sighisoara - Viscri - Biertan - Sibiu. After breakfast it is a short drive to the UNESCO protected village of Viscri; not only is Viscri renowned for its cultural heritage and natural beauty it also caught the eye of Prince Charles who now owns one of the 18th century Saxon cottages in the village. Further investigation of Viscri reveals an ancient fortified church and an array of pastel shaded houses that add to the artisan and scenic ambience of rural Transylvania. Further agricultural scenes come in the form of a horse drawn carriage ride prior to an organic lunch which you're invited to take at a family house within the village. After lunch it is time for the main journey to the imposing city of Sibiu. A brief visit to the village of Biertan with its impressive fortifed church is included en route. Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of seven walled citadels built in the 12th Century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. Riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of impressive buildings and fortifications to protect them. Sibiu's old town retains its grandeur of yesteryear when these rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Dinner & overnight at a hotel on the edge of the old city.
Day 8:Sibiu. After breakfast a visit of the mediaeval centre of Sibiu: the Great Square is the site of the Roman-Catholic church and the Brukenthal Palace, where you will find one of Romania's most important art collections. This square is linked to the Little Square by a passage beneath the Council Tower; the third square, Huet Square, is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral. Afternoon free time to explore the city and its many museums and galleries.
Day 9:Sibiu - Brasov - Bran. In the morning a drive along the northern edge of the Fagaras mountains to continue your tour with a visit of Brasov. Considered the heart of Romania, Brasov has one of the most secure fortresses in Europe, the architectural defensive pile being made of massive stone walls, 32 defence towers and 4 fortified gates. During your city tour you will visit the magnificent Black Church - the largest Gothic-style church between Vienna and Istanbul, and stroll around the old Council Square, lined with beautiful red roofed merchant houses. You can also admire the Black and White Towers, the Ekaterina's Gate, the Schei Gate and Rope Street - the narrowest street in Europe. Dinner and accommodation at a guest house in Zarnesti or Bran.
Day 10:Bran - Zarnesti. After a substantial buffet breakfast of delicious home produce you will have the opportunity to see the the famous Bran Castle [Dracula's Castle]. Your morning will also include a visit to the bear sanctuary in Zarnesti. In the afternoon you have the choice of relaxing at your lovely guest house, exploring the village or going for a relatively short walk in the nearby gorge.
Day 11:Transylvania - Bucharest. Morning drive through Carpathians, visit Peles Castle in Sinaia, lunch at Rhein Cellars and onward to Bucharest. Farewell dinner in traditional restaurant near to your hotel in the historic city centre.
Day 12:Bucharest. Morning city tour, including a visit to the incredible Palace of the Parliament building and then departures to Bucharest Airport or extra nights in the city or add-on tours to the Danube Delta and/or Black Sea coast - more details on request.

Price information

£1795 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Price includes: - 11 nights' accommodation - half board (some lunches) - airport transfers & transport throughout - professional English-speaking guide & assistance - entry fees - excursion on steam train - horse carriage ride - all local taxes
Make enquiry

Check dates, prices & availability

Travel guides

Rural Romania is perhaps the only place in Europe where a bicycle can often be the speediest form of transport, and where friendly local people offer ...
In French, they use the word ‘insolite’ to describe an unusual holiday. Which sounds a bit like insolent. Rebelling against the norm.

Holiday information

Our top tip:
Remember your mozzy spray in summer.
Trip type:
Small Group
Activity level:
9 nights 3*-4* hotel.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge.
Full board - all meals provided.
Accommodation, transfers, transport, English-speaking guide, entry fee, listed activities.
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.


12 Reviews of Romania holiday, the Beauty of Yesterday

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2019 by

We really enjoyed our discovery of Romania and its treasures. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Jun 2019 by

If you drink tea, take your own teabags. Take your own plug for the basin. This sort of info should be provided automatically by you Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2018 by

Absolutely delightful, I never came back from a holiday more relaxed. The weather, of course was a bonus, but the perfect organisation made all the difference. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Oct 2018 by

We enjoyed it all but going to to the Merry Cemetry at Sapanta was interesting also Viscri where Prince Charles has bought a home. He has helped the village and it was great going to the woods on a horse drawn cart to the brick maker and learning about his craft. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jun 2018 by

For anyone with an interest in this part of Romania, with its unique history, unusual ecclesiastical architecture, and its customs and traditions, and who may be considering a holiday there, I can recommend this 10 day group tour by mini-bus with almost no reserve. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2018 by

The painted churches, Sighisoara, the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, the dramatic mountain scenery around Azuga and the excellent tour leader and meals. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2017 by

There are many to choose from, but Biertan and Viscri stand out for their beauty and country setting. We had a great time. The accommodation was good, the people were friendly and the museum village and Ethnographic museums were wonderful. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Sep 2017 by

The most memorable was the painted monasteries, fortified churches, peasant/rural lifestyle all brilliantly presented by our guide Alexandra. Also the steam train. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2017 by

The rich history and culture, the variety of landscapes, the natural beauty and the glorious food. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2015 by

EXCELLENT, our guide Alexandra was first class....Hard to say as so many wonderful bits. Maybe visiting the fortified church in the village where Prince Charles has bought a house, and then going by horse and cart to visit the brick maker. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2014 by

It is difficult to pick out the 'most' memorable as the whole holiday was absolutely wonderful. The guide made it possible to visit small museums and 'cottage industries' such as a rural tile maker, which involved a pony cart ride, none of which would have been possible without her local knowledge. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 May 2014 by

It's difficult to pick one thing. For me the Carpathian Forest Steam Train trip and the visit to Viscri Weisskirch are the two most memorable items. Read full review

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.


We have chosen to include places to stay where there is much more opportunity for you to interact more fully with the locals, to practice your language and to minimise your carbon footprint somewhat. The village guesthouses and local homes that we stay in use predominantly local produce in the preparation of meals, reducing the foodmiles, waste and carbon footprint associated with larger hotels. Our guides (and drivers/escorts) will also provide best practice information regarding your environmental impact upon sites and fragile landscapes which is key to respecting and conserving both remote and well-visited places.

By including the opportunity to visit the National Parks and UNESCO sites on this holiday you choose to contribute to the excellent record of conservation in recent years through the entrance fees. We ask all our customers to respect the environment. Litter, in particular, is damaging to the landscape and can injure animals so we encourage people to act responsibly.

As a company we employ responsible policies such as recycling paper, ink cartridges, glass and cardboard; we minimize the use of electricity and conducting the vast majority of our correspondence and promotion via the internet and email, minimizing the amount of paper used for our activities. We also compost waste in our company garden.


Accommodation on this holiday is in, primarily, family run, small hotels. The food in the hotels is primarily sourced locally and a large number of dishes on the menus are home made. We only employ local guides as their expertise and local knowledge will enhance your experience and understanding of the historical context and the environmental impact of your visit. In Bucharest in particular you will see the evidence for and read about the impact of the Ceauasescu period; the cost of rebuilding and repairing the historic centre has been enormous and every contribution made by visitors will help. Similarly the countryside was devastated in this time as whole villages were destroyed and communities forcibly removed to the cities - because of this experience rural Romania and its traditional way of life is so precious and through our tours we aim to assist the local economies to thrive with the help of tourism whilst not losing the integrity of the community structures.

As well as supporting the local community and economy directly our holidays also encourage support indirectly. The latter because more interaction with local people and local tourist service providers engenders greater understanding and respect which almost always leads to larger and more careful spending by visitors.

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