A Grand Tour of Romania: Maramures to Bucharest

Discover the colorful villages, traditions and crafts of Maramures, and participate in one of the local festivals. Delight in the unspoiled rural life and legendary painted monasteries of Bucovina.  Explore Transylvania’s medieval gems.  Enjoy cosmopolitan Bucharest.

Special Festival Tour Date June 20-July 3, 2015

Price for 2015

Our Tour Features
* 13 nights at deluxe & first-class hotels, including porterage of 1 suitcase per person
* Buffet breakfasts daily
*11 Dinners with beverages at restaurants or hotels
* Welcome & Farewell dinners at top restaurants
* 3 special lunches as indicated
* All entrances and special visits according to itinerary
* English-speaking Professional Guide throughout
* Transportation by deluxe minibus or coach
* Individual transfers on arrival and departure
Note* Participation limited to a maximum of 12

Note: The flight from Bucharest/Satu Mare is not included in the land tour.  The flight times are at 4:50 p.m.-6:15 p.m. We can reserve this flight on your behalf unless or you can include it on your international ticket.

Day 1, Sat, June 20: Arrival Bucharest
Individual arrivals at Otopeni Airport and private transfer to the Europa Royale Hotel.  This evening we enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a top restaurant.

Day 2, Sun, June 21: Bucharest’s Highlights
We enjoy a city tour of Bucharest, affectionately called “Little Paris” for its many wide tree-lined boulevards, fine architecture and French, once the second language of many Romanians.  We pass the Romanian Atheneum, with distinctive Baroque dome; the Opera House; the National Military Club and Military Academy, Bucharest’s Arch of Triumph, built to commemorate the 1877 War of Independence, and Revolution Square.  We visit the mammoth Palace of Parliament, world’s second largest building, where every detail is Romanian-made, from the 24-carat gold leaf on the ceilings to the hand-woven carpets on the floors. We view some of the collections of the National History Museum including its dazzling Treasury, with an impressive array of gold objects, and the outstanding colorful collections of all kinds at the Peasant Museum.  (B, D)

Day 3, Mon, June 22: Bucharest to Satu Mare & on to Baia Mare
After breakfast, we tour the interior of Cotroceni Palace, once home of the Romanian Royals with lavish furnishings, art and many of their personal possessions.  After lunch, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Satu Mare departing in the late afternoon.  On arrival in Satu Mare, we transfer to Baia Mare, and check in at Hotel Carpati for 3 nights.  Dinner this evening is at the hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 4, Tues, June 23, Maramures: Villages, Wooden Churches, Colorful Traditions
We drive to Sapanta to visit the unique Merry Cemetery, where colorful folk-art paintings are carved into the wooden grave markers. We pass picturesque villages on the way to Sighetu Marmatiei, historic capital of Maramures, to tour its open-air village museum and its superb Maramures Museum. We stop at Plopis to admire its wooden architecture, and at Surdesti, we view the highest wood church in Europe, rising 170 feet. (B, D)

Day 5, Wed, June 24
Festival Day – Jocul Satului in Hoteni
We drive to Hoteni, known for its wooden farm houses and decorated wooden gates, to participate in the festival of Jocul Satului.  We will enjoy the colorful show given by the many regional folk bands and traditional dancing teams assembled here to celebrate.  We have leisure time to sample the culinary specialties and admire local crafts. We stop at Budesti before returning to Baia Mare. (B, D)

Day 6, Thu, June 25: From Maramures to Bucovina, Moldova
En route to Bucovina, renowned for its painted monasteries, its vineyards and fine wines and its unspoiled natural beauty, we stop in Ieud to view the murals of its Church on the Hill.  At Barsana, we enjoy a special visit to a wood-carving workshop, and have a lesson in wood carving given by a local craftsman. After a traditional lunch at a farm house in Botiza, we are received by the wife of Mr. Berbecaru, the local priest, for a private viewing of her internationally renowned carpet collection woven by herself.  We continue to Gura Humorlui for 3 nights at the Best Western Bucovina. (B, L, D)

Day 7, Fri, June 26: The Crafts & Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
We drive to Marginea for a special visit of the black pottery workshops before beginning our tour of the painted monasteries, all greatly influenced by Byzantine art. The brilliant colors of their exteriors have survived the elements since the 15th century.  Today we tour Suceavita Monastery, considered the best-preserved of all, with stone fortification walls and towers and the most frescoes; and the award-winning fortified Moldovita Monastery, built as a refuge from the Turks. We tour the Wood Museum in Campulung  Moldovenesc before returning to Guru Humorului. (B, D)

Day 8, Sat, June 27:
Painted Monasteries * Suceava * Dragomirna Monastery

Today we tour Arbore Monastery, known for its predominance of green in its paintings; Humor, the smallest monastery, where shades of red were used, and Voronets, called the “Sistine Chapel of the East” for its exterior and interior frescoes, with biblical scenes and themes, and a predominance of a special blue, known as Voronet blue. We enjoy a sightseeing drive of Suceava, medieval capital of southern Moldova, and tour the unpainted Dragomirna Monastery with massive fortress-like walls. We admire the interior of its church and visit its Museum where 26 surviving illuminated manuscripts are displayed.  We return to Guru Humorului. (B, D)

Day 9, Sun, June 28:
Bucovina to Sighisoara, Transylvania
We leave enchanting Bucovina and drive through the spectacular Bicaz Canyon, into Transylvania, arriving in colorful Sighisoara, the best-preserved medieval fortified town in Romania. We enjoy a walking tour and visit the famous Clock Tower Museum with its Torture and Weapons Rooms.  We stop at the house where a plaque marks the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, commonly called Dracula. We spend two nights at the inderbubi Hotel near the old citadel. Dinner is enjoyed at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 10, Mon, June 29:  Sighisoara * Sibiu * Sighisoara
We drive to Sibiu for a comprehensive walking tour of its historic center and admire the art at the Brukenthal National Museum, the oldest art museum in Romania and tour the impressive Evangelical Church, with its five pointed towers. We drive toSibiu to visit a working farm and enjoy a traditional lunch.  We visit the Museum of Icons Painted on Glass in its village church, returning to Sighisoara for a walking tour through its open-air Museum of Folk Civilization. (B, L, D)

Day 11, Tue, June 30: Sighisoara * Brasov * Sinaia
We drive to Brasov, a well-preserved medieval city and once a rich Saxon trading town. We have a walking tour that takes us to the 15th century Weaver’s Bastion, the largest, best preserved medieval watchtower of the region.  We visit the 15th century Romanian Gothic Black Church, with a stark-white interior adorned by a colorful collection of antique Turkish carpets, and an astounding 4,000 pipe organ. We continue to the resort town Sinaia, “Pearl of the Carpathians”, and check-in for two nights at the Palace Hotel. (B, D)

Day 12, Wed, July 1: Sinaia * Bran * Peles Castle
We drive to Bran for a comprehensive tour of 14th century Bran Castle, built by the Brasov merchants to protect the borders. The castle has lots of hidden places that we discover. We return to Sinaia to tour Peles Castle, former summer residence for the Romanian royal family, considered one of the best preserved royal castles in all Europe.  Behind its Bavarian chalet façade are 160 rooms filled with treasures of all kinds. At Sinaia Monastery, we stop to admire its architecture and view some of its magnificent frescoes. (B, D)

Day 13, Thu, July 2: Sinaia * Snagov * Bucharest
After breakfast, we enjoy a scenic drive en route to Snagov Monastery set on a small island in the middle of Snagov Lake.  It is said that Vlad Tepes is buried here beneath the floor of the church.  We explore the monastery and learn about all of the secrets and legends of the monastery and its surroundings.  After a light lunch on our own, we continue to Bucharest for a last night at the Europa Royale Hotel.  This evening we enjoy our Farewell Dinner at a Jaristea with wonderful entertainment. (B, D)

Day 14, Fri, July 3: Departure
After breakfast, individual transfers are provided to Bucharest Otopeni airport. (B)