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Winter in Transylvania
FH-EXD-118964
8 days from
£1,049
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At a glance
Step into the pages of a storybook in wintery Transylvania
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
Bucharest
End Destination
Brasov
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 7 dinners included on this trip. Most meals are included on this trip, including all breakfasts and all dinners. During the trip we will have the opportunity to try a selection of Transylvanian dishes which are a mix of Romanian, German and Hungarian cuisine. We also have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Romanian lunch in Bucharest and a traditional farmer’s lunch in the village of Viscri. We will also have the opportunity to try some of the local wine which Romania is gaining a growing reputation for.

Itinerary
1
Day 1
Fly to Bucharest
Those on the group flights will arrive in the afternoon in Bucharest. Land only clients can arrive any time today.
2
Day 2
Bucharest city tour
This morning we visit Bucharest, Romania’s capital city. With its tree-lined boulevards, belle époque architecture and Arc-de-Triomphe, the city has often been likened to Paris. We visit some of the main sites including the colossal People’s Palace. Now housing the parliament, this palace was built in the 1970s by Nicolae Ceausescu and is the 2nd largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon. The palace’s 12 floors, 1,100 rooms, 328-feet long lobby and four underground levels (including an enormous nuclear bunker), were built by an army of 20,000 workers and 700 architects. We enjoy a traditional lunch before heading out of the metropolis towards Transylvania and the quaint town of Sibiu.
3
Day 3
Visit Sibiu and Sibiel
When, in the 12th Century, the Saxons came to Transylvania, they built seven walled citadels. Sibiu was the largest and wealthiest of these and its old town retains some of the grandeur of those days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Steep-roofed 17th Century buildings with gable overhangs flank narrow streets which lead into vast church-dominated open squares. The old town is surrounded by imposing medieval walls and protected by 39 towers and four bastions, some overlooking the River Cibin. We spend the morning exploring this Saxon gem before going to nearby Sibiel to experience Transylvania’s rural heart. Sibiel is a shepherd’s village where people still live to the ancient rhythms of nature. We visit the Icon Museum with its impressive collection of icons in the tradition of reverse glass-painting. If time allows we can go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride and enjoy a traditional shepherd’s dinner at a local family. We return to Sibiu for the night.
4
Day 4
Medias and Sighisoara
The next stop on our atmospheric journey through Transylvania is the UNESCO World Heritage site city of Sighisoara. Another Saxon town founded in the 12th Century, Sighisoara is one of Europe’s most beautiful and best preserved medieval cities with much of the current layout and architecture dating back to the 16th Century. Wandering the cobbled streets past ornate churches and burgher houses in the crisp winter air fills one with a sense of magic straight out of a story book to rival old Prague or Vienna. It is also believed that this is the birthplace of the infamous Vald the Impaler, AKA Vlad Dracula, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of vampires. On the way to Sighisoara we’ll stop at a vineyard estate to sample some of the local wines. Less known that some other wine-producing countries, Romania has a long tradition in wine-making and is being increasingly recognised for the quality of its produce.
5
Day 5
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Viscri; onto Brasov
We continue our journey through Transylvania as we head to the village of Viscri, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a part of the world lost in time to an era before large-scale farming. The bucolic charm and serenity has enchanted many visitors, including the Prince of Wales who first came here in 1998 and now owns houses in Viscri and neighbouring villages and returns at least once a year. We visit the village with its fortified church, experience the simplicity of village life and enjoy a traditional lunch at a farmer’s house. We continue our journey and reach Romania’s most beautiful medieval town, Brasov. Situated at the intersection of trade routes between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, and with certain tax exemptions, Saxon merchants of Brasov amassed considerable wealth and exerted power over the region. Fortifications were erected around the city and expanded by various guilds whilst inside the walls buildings sprung over the ages in gothic, baroque and renaissance styles. Cradled by the towering peaks of the southern Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is our home for the next three nights.
6
Day 6
Libearty Bear Sanctuary and Vulcan
In Zarnesti visit Libearty, Europe’s largest bear sanctuary. The sanctuary, set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests, is home to nearly 100 rescued bears, many of whom suffered over many years in captivity as dancing bears or in circuses. From the bear sanctuary we will go on a gentle hike across meadows to the village of Vulcan. This region, around Brasov, is closely related to the history of the Transylvanian Saxons, settlers who immigrated 800 years ago from the Rhine-Moselle valleys. Their strong fortified churches have attracted international attention and some of them are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Vulcan derives its name from the Slavonic word ‘valc’, meaning wolf. In Vulcan we will be welcomed with coffee and tea in the yard of the fortified church. The churches in Transylvania were strongly fortified during the Middle Ages when the region was raided a number of times by Mongols and Tartars. Return to Brasov for the night.
7
Day 7
Brasov and Dracula's castle
This morning we explore Brasov before heading out to the village of Bran and Dracula’s castle. Built on the site of a Tutonic stronghold perched atop a 200-foot-high rock, with imposing towers and fairy-tale turrets, it’s easy to see why Bram Stoker (who’d never travelled to Transylvania) chose this place as the setting for Dracula’s castle. The character himself, was based on Vlad Tepes, AKA Vlad the Impaler, a Wallachian prince from the 15th Century. The castle was originally built in the 14th Century by the Saxons of Brasov as a citadel to defend the mountain passes from the Turkish and also served as a royal residence from 1920 to 1948. We return to Brasov for our final night enjoying the beautifully atmospheric Transylvanian Winter.
8
Day 8
To Bucharest, fly to London
After a relaxed start we say farewell to the Transylvania and drive the 3 hours back to Bucharest in time for the flight back to London. Those not travelling on the group flights, the trip ends upon arrival at Bucharest Airport.
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Winter in Transylvania 5/5

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