Budapest to Bucharest tour
Description of Budapest to Bucharest tour
From the beautiful Baroque churches of Budapest to the fabled castles of Transylvania, the colourful crosses of the Merry Cemetery and the traditional wooden homes of the Maramures region, this 10-day small group tour of Romania and Hungary uncovers an endlessly fascinating corner of Eastern Europe.
You’ll meet the rest of your group, and your tour leader, in the majestic Hungarian capital: Budapest. Before moving on, you might like to spend your first day exploring this historic city by bicycle, admiring its grand architecture and boulevards, the Communist monuments in Statue Park, and not forgetting to take a soothing dip in the famous thermal pools.
First stop on the itinerary is Eger, a Baroque town home to some of the region’s finest vineyards. Sample local favourite the ‘Bull’s Blood’ red wine, which legend has it the Hungarian army once drank for extra strength.
Travelling by bus, train and private vehicle, cross the plains into the Maramures region, like stepping back in time to the medieval period with its handsome wooden houses and churches. The undisputed highlight here is the Merry Cemetery, known for its colourful crosses hand-carved by Stan Ioan Patras and his apprentice.
Reaching Sighisoara in Transylvania you’ll be immersed in stories of Castle Dracula, as Bran Castle here is said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s novel – but have no fear, the welcome you’ll receive will be genuinely warm.
Continuing on through charming Viscri and Brasov, you’ll reach your final destination in the lively Romanian capital: Bucharest, which just like Budapest is renowned for its stunning architecture. A perfect place to end your tour and bid the rest of your group happy trails.
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PlanetOur small group size allows us to stay in family-run hotels and pensions throughout this trip. We also support small restaurants and cafes, serving locally sourced produce, this supports the local environment.
All our leaders are passionate about responsible travel, so the message is consistent at all times in regards to environmental issues. Especially in Romania, a lot of businesses are not yet across environmental responsibility, however we are trying to educate them by giving them business and delivering our message to them as well. The main environmental issue in Romania is littering. We actively educate locals by showing an example, such as picking up rubbish others have left behind, especially in rural areas.
PeopleThe local train and bus journeys on this trip are excellent examples of travelling like a local, with locals.
• Budapest to Eger – local train
• Eger to Debrecen – local bus
• Debrecen to Satu Mare – local train connections
• Brasov to Bucharest – local train
The remaining parts of the trip are done by private transport, the operators of which are always sourced locally.
This small group tour has a maximum of 12 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people.
This tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like in this part of Europe.
On the third day we visit Eger, where we include wine tasting in the traditional cellars in the Valley of the Beautiful Women. Instead of frequenting big state run wineries, we are taking our groups to small family-owned cellars (some just as big as a standard living room) where the owners will tell us everything about the local wine specialties we are trying.
On the fourth and fifth days we go to Maramures, where we stay with a local family in their traditional log-house. We have been staying with this particular family since we started operations in this region, and through our support they were able to enhance guest facilities. This part of Romania is very poor, and through our business the local community is benefitting in many ways. On the fifth day we embark on a day trip through the countryside with a local guide and meet many local businesses who all are very happy to receive international guests.
On the sixth day we go to Viscri, where we are staying at local homes, rented out by one of the few remaining German families in the area. Travellers will have the opportunity to indulge in home-made traditional food and try the local brandy. This idyllic village of red tiled roofs is a World Heritage site, virtually unchanged for 900 years. You’ll also visit the town's fortified church (thought to be the oldest in Transylvania). You’ll also learn about the Sock Project, which supports the local Roma community. The Sock Project is a community project where local women knit socks and sell them to supplement their monthly government payments.
We employ local leaders as much as operationally possible. Guides are always local (e.g. the included guide in the Maramures area) and they set their own rates. Leaders are always European, and wages are standard salaries as found elsewhere in the tourism industry.