Eastern Europe tour
Description of Eastern Europe tour
Discover some of the most beautiful regions in Eastern Europe with a magnificent 18-day small group tour taking you from Budapest to Sofia via Bucharest.
Travelling by train and bus you will bask in stunning natural landscapes from the Pirin Mountains to the idyllic Maramures, a region almost frozen in the medieval age, and the exotically named Valley of the Beautiful Women, where you’ll sample the ‘Bull’s Blood’ wine that according to legend gave the Hungarian army strength in combat against the Ottoman empire.
Highlights include the famous Merry Cemetery of Sapanta in Maramures, where wooden crosses on the graves vividly illustrate the life stories of the deceased; a chance to visit Bran Castle, said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, and a tour of a bear sanctuary to meet some of its residents, rescued dancing bears.
Beyond a few organised excursions you will have all the free time you need in each stop, allowing you to sample local cuisine, and explore this region’s fascinating cultural heritage from a 15th century mosque and UNESCO-listed cathedral to the ruined Tsarevets Fortress and the thermal baths of Budapest. You’ll also enjoy a night in a village guesthouse high up in the Pirin Mountains, where you’ll be welcomed with a delicious homecooked meal.
Expect a group size of around 12, accompanied by a professional tour leader, and a very sociable atmosphere as you roam the treasures of Eastern Europe together.
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PlanetWe promote small group travelling, therefore maximum group size is 12. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Additionally, travelling in a small group allows us to stay in family-run hotels and pensions throughout this trip. We also support small restaurants and cafes, serving locally sourced produce.
All our tour leaders are passionate about responsible travel, so the message is consistent at all times in regards to environmental issues. In Eastern Europe the main issue is littering, and our leaders address this issue on the ground.
As part of our responsible travel philosophy we use public transport wherever possible. For example, on this trip we use train, bus, metro and taxi, which means a journey from Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo is not only more environmentally friendly but great fun too! However, when this isn’t an option we do our best to ensure that the private vehicles we travel in are suitable for our small group sizes. For instance, we wouldn’t use a 12-seater minivan if we only had five people on the trip with us.
PeopleThe local train and bus journeys on this trip are excellent examples of travelling like a local, with locals. 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.