Romania and Bulgaria in 13 days

Escorted tour of Romania and Bulgaria with private English speaking guide

This tour combines important and beautiful regions of Romania with some interesting and full of history sites of its neighbor Bulgaria.

In Romania you have the opportunity to see: the astonishing Transylvania with its castles and fortresses surrounded by myth and legend such as one of the famous Dracula, medieval cities like Sighisoara, calm and wonderful Brasov, reminders of Communism like the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. In Bulgaria you will visit the important cities and most beautiful attractions as Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Sofia, Kazanlak.

The tour will start from Bucharest, the capital of Romania and will end in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.   

Romania Highlights of the tour: 

  • The three most famous medieval Saxon towns from Transylvania:
  • Sibiu (“the town that sees and hears everything” – you’ll find out why!),
  • Sighisoara (the best preserved medieval citadel in SE Europe, UNESCO site and also the birthplace of Dracula)
  • Brasov, the pearl of the medieval towns in Romania;
  • Best castles as Bran – Dracula’s Castle, and Peles Castle  – the most beautiful palace in Europe – a masterpiece of his time.
  • Painted Monasteries in Bukovina Region.
  • Alba Iulia and Huniazilor Castle.
  • Red Lake and Bicaz Gorges.
  • Transfagarasan Road – named the world's best road by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the most fascinating road in Transylvania, due to its landscape, that it's the highest road in Transylvania (2042m), but also due to its interesting story! 
  • Bucharest – the capital! 

Bulgaria Highlights of the tour:

  • Veliko Tarnovo, often referred to as the "City of the Tsars"
  • Sofia, the capital city.
  • Plovdiv, the oldest city in Europe and sixth oldest in the world, with a history dating back more than 6.000 years.
  • Rila Monastery, the oldest in the Slav world and still the largest active religious center in Bulgaria

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest, Romania.

Depends on your arrival flight, today we will discover the capital of Romania.

Your guide will wait for you at the airport and you will be transferred to the city center to discover the beauty of the well-known "Little PARIS". 

If your flight is not in the morning, then you can add one night before the tour or just adjust the city tour for you. 

Highlights: the Arch of Triumph (inspired by the one in Paris), the Press Square (where a copy of the Moscow University can be seen), the former Royal Palace (nowadays the Art Museum), the Athenaeum (Romania’s most famous concert hall), the Revolution Square (where the 1989 anti - Communist revolt went nationwide), ride along Victoria Avenue, the University, the National Theatre, the Opera House, Manuc’s Inn, the medieval core of the town, the Patriarchy, the Italian church, St. Joseph Cathedral.  

Depend on your arrival, we can visit inside the Palace of Parliament, the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon. 
Then, the tour will end with a visit to the Village Museum, one of the biggest and the oldest outdoor museums in Europe. The Village Museum is lying in a specific Romanian setting, on the Herãstrãu Lake shore in Bucharest. Its exhibits - genuine monuments including houses, pens, churches, water and wind mills, cloth mills, of great historic and artistic value - acquaint the visitors in two hours with the specific of the Romanian village. The objects inside the households - carpets, pottery, rugs, icons, furniture - point to the originality of the folk creation, the sensibility and care for the beauty of the rural people.  

Accommodation in Bucharest to a 4* hotel, centrally located. 

Day 2: Bucharest – Cozia - Sibiu (280km)

The guide will pick you up from the hotel at 09.00am and will start the tour arriving in Sibiu where will overnight for 3 nights.  

We will start the tour heading north from Bucharest to Sibiu taking Olt Valley and visiting Cozia Monastery, erected by Mircea cel Bătrân in 1388 and boasting his tomb, one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania.

In the summertime, starting with July 1st, the tour will take the way through the mountains and we will cross the Carpathians by the second-highest Road in Romania, the famous Transfagarasan Road. 

Check in to the hotel and easy walking city tour to familiarize with the old city and serve the dinner.

Overnight in Sibiu to Forum Continental Hotel 4* located in the old town, walking distance or similar.

Day 3: Sibiu - 2019 European region of Gastronomy!

Today you will spend visiting Sibiu city. 

“Sibiu 2007” represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a Romanian city to host the European Capital of Culture designation. Sibiu/Hermannstadt as European Capital of Culture in 2007 aims at opening gates through which the city’s rich cultural landscape and diverse life will meet that of Europe. Also, Sibiu is proud to be European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019 and also be on the nominated list for one of the best 2020 Destinations!

Sightseeing tour in Sibiu, visit: Piata Mare (The Big Square), Piata Mica (The Little Square), Piata Huet (Huet Square), Iron Bridge, Biserica Evangelica (The Evangelical Church) and Mitropolia (The Orthodox Church), Brukenthal Museum.

In the afternoon you can visit the biggest Open Air Museum in Romania and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe - Astra Village Museum, near Sibiu city. It contains houses and workshops of the traditional Romanian folk culture from the pre-industrial era. Over 300 houses and other buildings are situated in the forest around two artificial lakes with over 10 km of walkways between them.
The houses are open and you can go inside and visit them. There are carriages for rent for a museum tour. 

Overnight in Sibiu to Forum Continental Hotel 4*.

Day 4: Sibiu- Day trip to the famous Huniazilor Castle and The Other Capital: Alba Iulia!

Day trip: Visit Huniazilor Castle and Carolina Citadel of Alba Iulia. 

Huniazilor Castle is a remarkable monument and tourist brand of Hunedoara County. The castle was built by Iancu de Hunedoara, in the fifteenth century, the place of a much older fortification which is on a rock surrounded by river waters Zlasti. The Chapel, considered one of the representative parties XV century, is a mixture of late Romanesque and Gothic fashion. An exponent of the Middle Age and one of the most important gothic architecture edifices in Romania, the castle has been included by Lonely Planet in the top of the most beautiful castles in Europe.

Alba Carolina Citadel. The impressive structure is 1 km wide and it is considered to be the largest of this kind in south-eastern Europe. The fortress was finished in 1738; along its walls, seven bastions give it a stellar shape. After the Turks were defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1683, Transylvania comes again under Viennese administration. The citadel is called "Alba Carolina" after the Austrian Emperor's name, the one who commanded its construction. It was planned to function as the military headquarters of Transylvania.

There are 6 gates, considered to be unique in the military architecture of Europe.

In the evening we will return to Sibiu and overnight at the same hotel. 

Day 5: Sibiu - Biertan - Sighisoara (120km). “Medieval Day”

Highlights: Biertan Fortified Church and Sighisoara Medieval Citadel. 

After breakfast, at around 09.00 am start the day by driving to Sighisoara. On our way, we will visit one of the most important fortified churches of Transylvania, named Biertan Church. 
The presence of the fortified churches dating from the 12th – 16th century is characteristic for Sibiu, these churches existing in the great majority of the villages and commercial centers colonized by the German population known generically under the name of Saxons.  The architectonic ensemble from Biertan impresses by a harmonious matching in locality, by its esthetic and historic value and especially by the original substance very well preserved.  

We will continue our tour to Sighisoara, Europe’s best preserved medieval town. 
Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful towns in the heart of Transylvania. The whole medieval citadel is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. German architectural influences are visible throughout the entire city. Sighisoara was for several centuries a military and political stronghold. One of its most famous attractions is the Clock Tower (Council Tower), built in the 14th Century. This was the control tower of the main gate of the 2,500 foot long defensive wall. The tower has seven foot thick walls and was used to store ammunition, food reserves, archives and the city's treasures. The clock was placed in the tower in the 17th Century. 
Highlights include: Guild Tower, Venetian House (built in the 13th Century), Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) House, Wood Covered Staircase, Hermann Oberth Square.
                                                                                         
Optional: You can serve a nice dinner in the house where Vlad Tepes was born, today a famous restaurant and can taste his favorite plate and drink his Vampire Red Wine. 
Accommodation in Sighisoara.

Day 6: Sighisoara – Bistrita – Vatra Dornei – Gura Humorului /Suceava (300-320km)

After breakfast at around 09.00 am, leave Sighisoara and drive to Gura Humorului. 
We will take the way Bistrita – Vatra Dornei – Gura Humorului. (There are 2 ways to reach Bucovina, but we choose this one for this day because we will return in Transylvania after 2 days on the other way which is Gura Humorului - Bicaz - Red lake – Gheorgheni and arrive in Brasov).
The landscape is very nice; we will cross the Carpathian Mountains to Bucovina, the famous region in the north-east of Romania. We can have a lunch break in Bistrita Nasaud city. Then drive to Vatra Dornei, a mountain city and arrive in Gura Humorului in the evening at around 6.00pm where will overnight for 2 days. 

Overnight in Suceava, hotel Sonnenhof 4*.

 

Day 7: Tour Bukovina: “The Famous Painted Monasteries” and Marginea Black Ceramic (200 km)

This day is dedicated to Monasteries visits. The "Painted" Monasteries is the major Moldavian destination, because of the vivid and animated frescoes on their church walls. These depict Biblical and other scenes, designed in sequences almost like strip cartoons to educate the local people in the Orthodox religion. Due to their singleness, the monasteries in Bucovina are now UNESCO protected cultural sites. The art historians compare their artistic value with the mural paintings of San Marco church of Venice or the church of Orvietto. The secret of the Moldavian painters who prepared the colors and the techniques that made the paintings incredibly resistant is still a mystery.

After breakfast will visit VORONET Monastery (1547, most known for the frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", these frescoes depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven". This "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488).

Moldovita Monastery that one can we see today dates back to 1532 and is due to ruling prince Petru Rares (1532-1546). It has, like Sucevita, the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls (6 m high, 1.2 m wide). The masters who painted its interior and exterior walls have decorated them with scenes from 16th century Moldavian daily life. But the most interesting painting is the Siege of Constantinople on the south facade, relating to the Romanians' fights against foreign invasions, especially Turks. The painting combines scenes of the siege of Constantinople from 1453 with others referring to a previous such attempt made by the Persians, in 626. 

The Marginea ceramics is a specific ceramic type for the Marginea village in Suceava County. It’s characterized by the black color acquired by the objects after burning – the result of the use of prehistoric technology, and by ornaments – the result of the use of specific techniques or the preservation of some traditional forms. It’s one of the old crafts that were still preserved to this day in Romania and it offers tourist traveling to Romania the opportunity to acquire truly unique souvenirs to bring back home. It’s also an opportunity to witness the art of making such interesting ceramic items using techniques passed down from generation to generation.

Day 8: Gura Humorului – Bicaz Gorges - Red Lake - Brasov (340km). “Feel the Nature”

“Feel the Nature”: Bicaz Georges – The Red Lake – Brasov city 

Breakfast at the hotel and start the day heading Lacu Rosu / Red Lake and passing Bicaz Gorges, gorges in the Eastern Carpathians, on the river Bicaz, making the connection between Transylvania and Moldavia. The gorges attract by its beauty many tourists every year. They are crossed by a winding road. The limestone walls of the gorges are like a medieval fortress wall. Bicaz Gorges is a real rock climbing paradise, with huge walls over 300m high, including spectacular ceilings, deep crackers, great clear faces.

The Red Lake is located in the Oriental Carpathians at 980 m altitudes, near Bicaz Gorges, surrounded by Ceahlau and Hasmasu Mare mountains. It is a unique region in the world, where the evergreen pine forests and the fresh air gives perfect relaxation conditions. It is a natural dam lake and it belongs to a very picturesque natural reserve of complex (geological, botanical and landscape). The unusual magic is amplified by a lot of trunks of the old fir trees, which come out from the water passing through the image of Little Suhard Mountain reflected in the lake mirror. 

In the late afternoon, around 6.00pm, arrive in Brasov and overnight.
After check-in walking tour of Brasov. 

Day 9: Brasov – Bran - Sinaia –Bucharest 210 km “Royal Day”

We will meet the guide at 09:00 am after breakfast at the hotel and will start slowly and modest our way to the kingdom. First, we will visit Brasov city and will discover the medieval part with: The Black Church that houses a priceless collection of Oriental rugs as well as a 4000-pipe organ, The Town Hall Square, The Central Park, The Black Tower, The White Tower, the Rope Street – the narrowest street in Europe and the first Romanian School in Transylvania.

Then, we will continue our way to discover the well known Transylvania’s Castle – Bran Castle, an important national monument and landmark of the Romanian tourism, due not only to the beauty of the Castle and the landscape but also to the legend of Count Dracula. The first documentary attestation of the Bran Castle is the act issued on November 19, 1377, by Ludovic I D'Anjou. On December lst, 1920, the Brasov Town council donated the Bran Castle to Queen Marie of Great Romania, as a symbol of gratitude for her contribution to the achievement of the "Great Union" of 1 December 1918. Between 1920 – 1927 years, Carol Liman transformed it into a beautiful summer residence, surrounded with a park, fountains, a lake, walking alleys and halt terraces and built the "Tea House" of Queen Maria. In 1938 Queen Maria left with will the Bran Castle to her daughter, Princess Ileana. Since 1956 the Castle was opened as a museum of history and feudal art.

In the afternoon we will visit Peles Castle, the summer residence of the Romanian kings. A testimony to the 19th-century ruler’s refinement, the wonderful edifice was built after the wish of Romania’s first king, Carol I, and it happily mingled everything that was most beautiful and representative about the neo-Renaissance. The intricate facades, with applications of brown silky wood towers that seem to scratch the sky with their sharp roofs, along with the fountains and statues all make up a harmonious ensemble designed by accomplished Viennese architects. 

Peles has entered history as the place where some of the most important decisions were taken regarding Romania’s fate. Anniversaries, balls, music, literary events, and theater shows organized on the scene of the theater hall gave life to the castle and refreshed the Romanian high life. The atmosphere of this place preserves so much of the force of those times that visitors will be surprised when, at their departure, they will notice that no gilded carriage is waiting at the stairs!

Before leaving the city, we will visit Sinaia Monastery.
Arrive in Bucharest in the evening, around 07.30 pm.

Day 10: Experience the Balkans – Discover Bulgaria.

Bulgaria: magical and mysterious country which amazes with its rich history, art, culture, and incomparable hospitality. The tour includes a visit to some of the most intriguing places in the country. This journey will take you from the capital Sofia, to the smallest city in the country, passing through mountains and valleys you will have the chance to discover and admire the authentic beauties and abundance that Bulgaria has to offer.

Bucharest –75km – Ruse – Ivanovo – 110km - Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi (Total around 230km)

Today we will cross the border to Bulgaria taking the way to Friendship Bridge between these two countries.  We will leave Bucharest early in the morning. It will be a day full of visits and we will enjoy any of it. 

Ivanovo rock monastery is situated above the waters of the picturesque canyon of the Roussenski Lom River, several kilometers from the village of Ivanovo and 18km south of the town of Ruse. Ivanovo Rock Monastery was established in the twenties of 13th century by the monk Yakim who together with his students has built the first rock church at that place. The old church and the rest of the churches in the area form the Rock Monastery “St. Michael the Archangel”. Therefore, the rock monastery is completely different from the other monasteries in Bulgaria. The traditional monastery complex consists of 1-2 churches and a residential building, whereas the Ivanovo cloister represents a network of small churches, chapels and monks cells hewn into the rocks.

Arbanassi. The village was founded in the late 15th centry by Christians coming from the south-western parts of the Balkan peninsula. Today it is an archeological reserve. Visit of the Konstantsaliev's house, built in the 17th century and the Nativity church. Lunch break and visit the village.

In the late afternoon arrival in the old capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Turnovo

Sightseeing: Veliko Tarnovo. Cultural, spiritual and scientific center – it is one of the most important towns in the region of Veliko Tarnovo, due to its thousand years old history and culture. It was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the XII – XIV centuries. Today it is visited by thousands of tourists from Bulgaria and abroad, attracted by its picturesque disposition – the amphitheatrically perched houses on the rocks above the Yantra river, decorated by the surrounding hills Tsarevets, Trapetisitsa and Sveta gora.

Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo at Hotel Yantra 4* 

Day 11: Veliko Tarnovo - Gabrovo/ Open-air museum Etura – Kazanlak – Plovdiv.

Highlights today: Kazanluk, Plovdiv and Etura Open Air museum if there will be time and if you would like to visit it. (or skip it and spend more time in Plovdiv because the next day will leave Plovdiv in the morning because you have many km to Rila Monastery and then Sofia).
After breakfast departure to the biggest Open-air museum on the Balkans – Etura. Here you will see houses from the Bulgarian revivel time, learn about the Bulgarian crafts.
Kazanluk. Visit to the Thracian tomb in Kazanluk – the town of the Thracian kings and the rose festival. The tomb comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals, representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BC and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality. 

In the afternoon arrive in Plovdiv and visit the city. Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second-biggest city after the capital Sofia. Plovdiv was recently announced as the oldest city in Europe and sixth oldest in the world, with history dating back more than 6.000 years. The Old Town of Plovdiv is part of the UNESCO world heritage. The most valuable expression of the antique layer is the Antique Theatre - one of the most imposing architecture examples of the Roman provinces. The Roman Stadium which is situated on the main walking/shopping street of Plovdiv is another important monument of the ancient city.

Overnight in Plovdiv, Trimontium Princess 4* 

Day 12: Plovdiv – Rila Monastery – Sofia (Total 345km)

Breakfast at the hotel, then departs to Rila Monastery. Rila Monastery, the oldest in the Slav world and still the largest active religious center in Bulgaria, is first and foremost an exceptionally fine artistic complex, in which architecture and painting merge harmoniously. Apart from this, it has been for centuries the seat of the development, preservation, and diffusion of Slav religious culture in all its various manifestations, including literary and artistic, and it became the symbol of Bulgarian cultural identity that was continually threatened by Turkish domination. The monastery stands about 120 km from Sofia, in the heart of the Rila Massif, located at the north-western extremity of the Rodopi Mountains, a mountainous system with peaks that rise to almost 3,000 m. On a number of occasions it was destroyed and burnt down, only to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes.

Arrive in Sofia late afternoon.  Short city tour of Sofia after check-in to your hotel.

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sofia, a pleasant city of boulevards and open spaces and see the city’s most important places of worship – Alexander Nevski Memorial Church and St. George Rotunda. Walk along the main streets and see the most important landmarks in the city center - St. Nedelya Square and St. Nedelya Church, St. Petka of the Saddlers, the Synagogue, the Central Baths, the Mosque, the underpass outside the President's Office, Alexander Battenberg Square, the National Theatre, the former Royal Palace, the Russian Church, St. Sophia Church and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.

Overnight in Sofia.

 

Day 13: Sofia - End of the Tour.

Breakfast at the hotel. Flight back home from Sofia with nice memories!

Description

This tour combines important and beautiful regions of Romania with some interesting and full of history sites of its neighbor Bulgaria.

In Romania you have the opportunity to see: the astonishing Transylvania with its castles and fortresses surrounded by myth and legend such as one of the famous Dracula, medieval cities like Sighisoara, calm and wonderful Brasov, reminders of Communism like the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. In Bulgaria you will visit the important cities and most beautiful attractions as Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Sofia, Kazanlak.

The tour will start from Bucharest, the capital of Romania and will end in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.   

Romania Highlights of the tour: 

  • The three most famous medieval Saxon towns from Transylvania:
  • Sibiu (“the town that sees and hears everything” – you’ll find out why!),
  • Sighisoara (the best preserved medieval citadel in SE Europe, UNESCO site and also the birthplace of Dracula)
  • Brasov, the pearl of the medieval towns in Romania;
  • Best castles as Bran – Dracula’s Castle, and Peles Castle  – the most beautiful palace in Europe – a masterpiece of his time.
  • Painted Monasteries in Bukovina Region.
  • Alba Iulia and Huniazilor Castle.
  • Red Lake and Bicaz Gorges.
  • Transfagarasan Road – named the world's best road by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the most fascinating road in Transylvania, due to its landscape, that it's the highest road in Transylvania (2042m), but also due to its interesting story! 
  • Bucharest – the capital! 

Bulgaria Highlights of the tour:

  • Veliko Tarnovo, often referred to as the "City of the Tsars"
  • Sofia, the capital city.
  • Plovdiv, the oldest city in Europe and sixth oldest in the world, with a history dating back more than 6.000 years.
  • Rila Monastery, the oldest in the Slav world and still the largest active religious center in Bulgaria

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest, Romania.

Depends on your arrival flight, today we will discover the capital of Romania.

Your guide will wait for you at the airport and you will be transferred to the city center to discover the beauty of the well-known "Little PARIS". 

If your flight is not in the morning, then you can add one night before the tour or just adjust the city tour for you. 

Highlights: the Arch of Triumph (inspired by the one in Paris), the Press Square (where a copy of the Moscow University can be seen), the former Royal Palace (nowadays the Art Museum), the Athenaeum (Romania’s most famous concert hall), the Revolution Square (where the 1989 anti - Communist revolt went nationwide), ride along Victoria Avenue, the University, the National Theatre, the Opera House, Manuc’s Inn, the medieval core of the town, the Patriarchy, the Italian church, St. Joseph Cathedral.  

Depend on your arrival, we can visit inside the Palace of Parliament, the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon. 
Then, the tour will end with a visit to the Village Museum, one of the biggest and the oldest outdoor museums in Europe. The Village Museum is lying in a specific Romanian setting, on the Herãstrãu Lake shore in Bucharest. Its exhibits - genuine monuments including houses, pens, churches, water and wind mills, cloth mills, of great historic and artistic value - acquaint the visitors in two hours with the specific of the Romanian village. The objects inside the households - carpets, pottery, rugs, icons, furniture - point to the originality of the folk creation, the sensibility and care for the beauty of the rural people.  

Accommodation in Bucharest to a 4* hotel, centrally located. 

Day 2: Bucharest – Cozia - Sibiu (280km)

The guide will pick you up from the hotel at 09.00am and will start the tour arriving in Sibiu where will overnight for 3 nights.  

We will start the tour heading north from Bucharest to Sibiu taking Olt Valley and visiting Cozia Monastery, erected by Mircea cel Bătrân in 1388 and boasting his tomb, one of the most valuable monuments of national medieval art and architecture in Romania.

In the summertime, starting with July 1st, the tour will take the way through the mountains and we will cross the Carpathians by the second-highest Road in Romania, the famous Transfagarasan Road. 

Check in to the hotel and easy walking city tour to familiarize with the old city and serve the dinner.

Overnight in Sibiu to Forum Continental Hotel 4* located in the old town, walking distance or similar.

Day 3: Sibiu - 2019 European region of Gastronomy!

Today you will spend visiting Sibiu city. 

“Sibiu 2007” represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a Romanian city to host the European Capital of Culture designation. Sibiu/Hermannstadt as European Capital of Culture in 2007 aims at opening gates through which the city’s rich cultural landscape and diverse life will meet that of Europe. Also, Sibiu is proud to be European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019 and also be on the nominated list for one of the best 2020 Destinations!

Sightseeing tour in Sibiu, visit: Piata Mare (The Big Square), Piata Mica (The Little Square), Piata Huet (Huet Square), Iron Bridge, Biserica Evangelica (The Evangelical Church) and Mitropolia (The Orthodox Church), Brukenthal Museum.

In the afternoon you can visit the biggest Open Air Museum in Romania and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe - Astra Village Museum, near Sibiu city. It contains houses and workshops of the traditional Romanian folk culture from the pre-industrial era. Over 300 houses and other buildings are situated in the forest around two artificial lakes with over 10 km of walkways between them.
The houses are open and you can go inside and visit them. There are carriages for rent for a museum tour. 

Overnight in Sibiu to Forum Continental Hotel 4*.

Day 4: Sibiu- Day trip to the famous Huniazilor Castle and The Other Capital: Alba Iulia!

Day trip: Visit Huniazilor Castle and Carolina Citadel of Alba Iulia. 

Huniazilor Castle is a remarkable monument and tourist brand of Hunedoara County. The castle was built by Iancu de Hunedoara, in the fifteenth century, the place of a much older fortification which is on a rock surrounded by river waters Zlasti. The Chapel, considered one of the representative parties XV century, is a mixture of late Romanesque and Gothic fashion. An exponent of the Middle Age and one of the most important gothic architecture edifices in Romania, the castle has been included by Lonely Planet in the top of the most beautiful castles in Europe.

Alba Carolina Citadel. The impressive structure is 1 km wide and it is considered to be the largest of this kind in south-eastern Europe. The fortress was finished in 1738; along its walls, seven bastions give it a stellar shape. After the Turks were defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1683, Transylvania comes again under Viennese administration. The citadel is called "Alba Carolina" after the Austrian Emperor's name, the one who commanded its construction. It was planned to function as the military headquarters of Transylvania.

There are 6 gates, considered to be unique in the military architecture of Europe.

In the evening we will return to Sibiu and overnight at the same hotel. 

Day 5: Sibiu - Biertan - Sighisoara (120km). “Medieval Day”

Highlights: Biertan Fortified Church and Sighisoara Medieval Citadel. 

After breakfast, at around 09.00 am start the day by driving to Sighisoara. On our way, we will visit one of the most important fortified churches of Transylvania, named Biertan Church. 
The presence of the fortified churches dating from the 12th – 16th century is characteristic for Sibiu, these churches existing in the great majority of the villages and commercial centers colonized by the German population known generically under the name of Saxons.  The architectonic ensemble from Biertan impresses by a harmonious matching in locality, by its esthetic and historic value and especially by the original substance very well preserved.  

We will continue our tour to Sighisoara, Europe’s best preserved medieval town. 
Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful towns in the heart of Transylvania. The whole medieval citadel is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. German architectural influences are visible throughout the entire city. Sighisoara was for several centuries a military and political stronghold. One of its most famous attractions is the Clock Tower (Council Tower), built in the 14th Century. This was the control tower of the main gate of the 2,500 foot long defensive wall. The tower has seven foot thick walls and was used to store ammunition, food reserves, archives and the city's treasures. The clock was placed in the tower in the 17th Century. 
Highlights include: Guild Tower, Venetian House (built in the 13th Century), Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) House, Wood Covered Staircase, Hermann Oberth Square.
                                                                                         
Optional: You can serve a nice dinner in the house where Vlad Tepes was born, today a famous restaurant and can taste his favorite plate and drink his Vampire Red Wine. 
Accommodation in Sighisoara.

Day 6: Sighisoara – Bistrita – Vatra Dornei – Gura Humorului /Suceava (300-320km)

After breakfast at around 09.00 am, leave Sighisoara and drive to Gura Humorului. 
We will take the way Bistrita – Vatra Dornei – Gura Humorului. (There are 2 ways to reach Bucovina, but we choose this one for this day because we will return in Transylvania after 2 days on the other way which is Gura Humorului - Bicaz - Red lake – Gheorgheni and arrive in Brasov).
The landscape is very nice; we will cross the Carpathian Mountains to Bucovina, the famous region in the north-east of Romania. We can have a lunch break in Bistrita Nasaud city. Then drive to Vatra Dornei, a mountain city and arrive in Gura Humorului in the evening at around 6.00pm where will overnight for 2 days. 

Overnight in Suceava, hotel Sonnenhof 4*.

 

Day 7: Tour Bukovina: “The Famous Painted Monasteries” and Marginea Black Ceramic (200 km)

This day is dedicated to Monasteries visits. The "Painted" Monasteries is the major Moldavian destination, because of the vivid and animated frescoes on their church walls. These depict Biblical and other scenes, designed in sequences almost like strip cartoons to educate the local people in the Orthodox religion. Due to their singleness, the monasteries in Bucovina are now UNESCO protected cultural sites. The art historians compare their artistic value with the mural paintings of San Marco church of Venice or the church of Orvietto. The secret of the Moldavian painters who prepared the colors and the techniques that made the paintings incredibly resistant is still a mystery.

After breakfast will visit VORONET Monastery (1547, most known for the frescoes with predominant blue color - Voronet blue, surnamed “The Sixtin Chapel of the East", these frescoes depict a fairy-tale world, painted on a "piece of heaven". This "jewel of Bucovina" was built by Romanian great ruler Stefan the Great in 1488).

Moldovita Monastery that one can we see today dates back to 1532 and is due to ruling prince Petru Rares (1532-1546). It has, like Sucevita, the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls (6 m high, 1.2 m wide). The masters who painted its interior and exterior walls have decorated them with scenes from 16th century Moldavian daily life. But the most interesting painting is the Siege of Constantinople on the south facade, relating to the Romanians' fights against foreign invasions, especially Turks. The painting combines scenes of the siege of Constantinople from 1453 with others referring to a previous such attempt made by the Persians, in 626. 

The Marginea ceramics is a specific ceramic type for the Marginea village in Suceava County. It’s characterized by the black color acquired by the objects after burning – the result of the use of prehistoric technology, and by ornaments – the result of the use of specific techniques or the preservation of some traditional forms. It’s one of the old crafts that were still preserved to this day in Romania and it offers tourist traveling to Romania the opportunity to acquire truly unique souvenirs to bring back home. It’s also an opportunity to witness the art of making such interesting ceramic items using techniques passed down from generation to generation.

Day 8: Gura Humorului – Bicaz Gorges - Red Lake - Brasov (340km). “Feel the Nature”

“Feel the Nature”: Bicaz Georges – The Red Lake – Brasov city 

Breakfast at the hotel and start the day heading Lacu Rosu / Red Lake and passing Bicaz Gorges, gorges in the Eastern Carpathians, on the river Bicaz, making the connection between Transylvania and Moldavia. The gorges attract by its beauty many tourists every year. They are crossed by a winding road. The limestone walls of the gorges are like a medieval fortress wall. Bicaz Gorges is a real rock climbing paradise, with huge walls over 300m high, including spectacular ceilings, deep crackers, great clear faces.

The Red Lake is located in the Oriental Carpathians at 980 m altitudes, near Bicaz Gorges, surrounded by Ceahlau and Hasmasu Mare mountains. It is a unique region in the world, where the evergreen pine forests and the fresh air gives perfect relaxation conditions. It is a natural dam lake and it belongs to a very picturesque natural reserve of complex (geological, botanical and landscape). The unusual magic is amplified by a lot of trunks of the old fir trees, which come out from the water passing through the image of Little Suhard Mountain reflected in the lake mirror. 

In the late afternoon, around 6.00pm, arrive in Brasov and overnight.
After check-in walking tour of Brasov. 

Day 9: Brasov – Bran - Sinaia –Bucharest 210 km “Royal Day”

We will meet the guide at 09:00 am after breakfast at the hotel and will start slowly and modest our way to the kingdom. First, we will visit Brasov city and will discover the medieval part with: The Black Church that houses a priceless collection of Oriental rugs as well as a 4000-pipe organ, The Town Hall Square, The Central Park, The Black Tower, The White Tower, the Rope Street – the narrowest street in Europe and the first Romanian School in Transylvania.

Then, we will continue our way to discover the well known Transylvania’s Castle – Bran Castle, an important national monument and landmark of the Romanian tourism, due not only to the beauty of the Castle and the landscape but also to the legend of Count Dracula. The first documentary attestation of the Bran Castle is the act issued on November 19, 1377, by Ludovic I D'Anjou. On December lst, 1920, the Brasov Town council donated the Bran Castle to Queen Marie of Great Romania, as a symbol of gratitude for her contribution to the achievement of the "Great Union" of 1 December 1918. Between 1920 – 1927 years, Carol Liman transformed it into a beautiful summer residence, surrounded with a park, fountains, a lake, walking alleys and halt terraces and built the "Tea House" of Queen Maria. In 1938 Queen Maria left with will the Bran Castle to her daughter, Princess Ileana. Since 1956 the Castle was opened as a museum of history and feudal art.

In the afternoon we will visit Peles Castle, the summer residence of the Romanian kings. A testimony to the 19th-century ruler’s refinement, the wonderful edifice was built after the wish of Romania’s first king, Carol I, and it happily mingled everything that was most beautiful and representative about the neo-Renaissance. The intricate facades, with applications of brown silky wood towers that seem to scratch the sky with their sharp roofs, along with the fountains and statues all make up a harmonious ensemble designed by accomplished Viennese architects. 

Peles has entered history as the place where some of the most important decisions were taken regarding Romania’s fate. Anniversaries, balls, music, literary events, and theater shows organized on the scene of the theater hall gave life to the castle and refreshed the Romanian high life. The atmosphere of this place preserves so much of the force of those times that visitors will be surprised when, at their departure, they will notice that no gilded carriage is waiting at the stairs!

Before leaving the city, we will visit Sinaia Monastery.
Arrive in Bucharest in the evening, around 07.30 pm.

Day 10: Experience the Balkans – Discover Bulgaria.

Bulgaria: magical and mysterious country which amazes with its rich history, art, culture, and incomparable hospitality. The tour includes a visit to some of the most intriguing places in the country. This journey will take you from the capital Sofia, to the smallest city in the country, passing through mountains and valleys you will have the chance to discover and admire the authentic beauties and abundance that Bulgaria has to offer.

Bucharest –75km – Ruse – Ivanovo – 110km - Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi (Total around 230km)

Today we will cross the border to Bulgaria taking the way to Friendship Bridge between these two countries.  We will leave Bucharest early in the morning. It will be a day full of visits and we will enjoy any of it. 

Ivanovo rock monastery is situated above the waters of the picturesque canyon of the Roussenski Lom River, several kilometers from the village of Ivanovo and 18km south of the town of Ruse. Ivanovo Rock Monastery was established in the twenties of 13th century by the monk Yakim who together with his students has built the first rock church at that place. The old church and the rest of the churches in the area form the Rock Monastery “St. Michael the Archangel”. Therefore, the rock monastery is completely different from the other monasteries in Bulgaria. The traditional monastery complex consists of 1-2 churches and a residential building, whereas the Ivanovo cloister represents a network of small churches, chapels and monks cells hewn into the rocks.

Arbanassi. The village was founded in the late 15th centry by Christians coming from the south-western parts of the Balkan peninsula. Today it is an archeological reserve. Visit of the Konstantsaliev's house, built in the 17th century and the Nativity church. Lunch break and visit the village.

In the late afternoon arrival in the old capital of Bulgaria – Veliko Turnovo

Sightseeing: Veliko Tarnovo. Cultural, spiritual and scientific center – it is one of the most important towns in the region of Veliko Tarnovo, due to its thousand years old history and culture. It was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom in the XII – XIV centuries. Today it is visited by thousands of tourists from Bulgaria and abroad, attracted by its picturesque disposition – the amphitheatrically perched houses on the rocks above the Yantra river, decorated by the surrounding hills Tsarevets, Trapetisitsa and Sveta gora.

Overnight in Veliko Tarnovo at Hotel Yantra 4* 

Day 11: Veliko Tarnovo - Gabrovo/ Open-air museum Etura – Kazanlak – Plovdiv.

Highlights today: Kazanluk, Plovdiv and Etura Open Air museum if there will be time and if you would like to visit it. (or skip it and spend more time in Plovdiv because the next day will leave Plovdiv in the morning because you have many km to Rila Monastery and then Sofia).
After breakfast departure to the biggest Open-air museum on the Balkans – Etura. Here you will see houses from the Bulgarian revivel time, learn about the Bulgarian crafts.
Kazanluk. Visit to the Thracian tomb in Kazanluk – the town of the Thracian kings and the rose festival. The tomb comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals, representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BC and has been on the UNESCO protected World Heritage Site list since 1979. The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality. 

In the afternoon arrive in Plovdiv and visit the city. Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second-biggest city after the capital Sofia. Plovdiv was recently announced as the oldest city in Europe and sixth oldest in the world, with history dating back more than 6.000 years. The Old Town of Plovdiv is part of the UNESCO world heritage. The most valuable expression of the antique layer is the Antique Theatre - one of the most imposing architecture examples of the Roman provinces. The Roman Stadium which is situated on the main walking/shopping street of Plovdiv is another important monument of the ancient city.

Overnight in Plovdiv, Trimontium Princess 4* 

Day 12: Plovdiv – Rila Monastery – Sofia (Total 345km)

Breakfast at the hotel, then departs to Rila Monastery. Rila Monastery, the oldest in the Slav world and still the largest active religious center in Bulgaria, is first and foremost an exceptionally fine artistic complex, in which architecture and painting merge harmoniously. Apart from this, it has been for centuries the seat of the development, preservation, and diffusion of Slav religious culture in all its various manifestations, including literary and artistic, and it became the symbol of Bulgarian cultural identity that was continually threatened by Turkish domination. The monastery stands about 120 km from Sofia, in the heart of the Rila Massif, located at the north-western extremity of the Rodopi Mountains, a mountainous system with peaks that rise to almost 3,000 m. On a number of occasions it was destroyed and burnt down, only to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes.

Arrive in Sofia late afternoon.  Short city tour of Sofia after check-in to your hotel.

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sofia, a pleasant city of boulevards and open spaces and see the city’s most important places of worship – Alexander Nevski Memorial Church and St. George Rotunda. Walk along the main streets and see the most important landmarks in the city center - St. Nedelya Square and St. Nedelya Church, St. Petka of the Saddlers, the Synagogue, the Central Baths, the Mosque, the underpass outside the President's Office, Alexander Battenberg Square, the National Theatre, the former Royal Palace, the Russian Church, St. Sophia Church and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.

Overnight in Sofia.

 

Day 13: Sofia - End of the Tour.

Breakfast at the hotel. Flight back home from Sofia with nice memories!

Map
Tour costs

from 1350€

Included in the cost
  • 12 nights accommodation with breakfast sharing a double room. 
  • transportation by comfortable and AC car/minivan/minibus for the entire trip starting with Bucharest, Romania and ending with Sofia, Bulgaria, fuell and all taxes included
  • border taxes between Romania and Bulgaria 
  • airport transfer in the first and the last day of the tour 
  • English speaking guide for the entire tour -  escorted tour. Your guide is there to answer all your questions and assist you every day of the trip.
  • visits as per itinerary 
Not included
  • entrance tickets to the attraction 
  • photo tax (for the inside attraction)
  • meals, except breakfast