Home -> Other -> Romania's Monasteries and Castles
Romantic Romania - Monasteries and Castles - 14 Days
Bucharest, Piatra Neamt, Gura Humorului, Sighet Marmatiei, Cluj Napoca, Sighisoara, Sibiu and Brasov



Departure September 27 and Return October 10, 2012

$3159 per person Land and Air from New York
$1999 per person Land Only
$470 per person Single Supplement
Prices include Government Taxes and Fees.
Highlights: Participate in this grand and unique coach tour of Romania. Walk the cozy streets of mountainous city, Piatra Neamt. Visit the breathtaking painted monasteries and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Gura Humorului. See the colorful tombstones of the Merry Cemetry in Sapanta and explore the historical capital of Transylvania, Cluj Napoca. Have lunch at UNESCO fortified church in Biertan. Walk through the old medieval town of Sibiu and see the refined late-baroque style Brukenthal Palace. Visit the Bran Castle, known more famously as Dracula’s Castle, and then visit the most beautiful castle in Europe, fairytale castle, Peles Castle in Sinaia. Then visit the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest civilian administrative building.  

Day 1, September 27, Thursday - USA/Bucharest
Depart from New York JFK International Airport via your trans-Atlantic flight.

Day 2, September 28, Friday - Bucharest
Arrive at Otopeni Airport Bucharest, Romania’s capital and transfer to your hotel. (Central Hotel)

Day 3, September 29, Saturday - Bucharest/Piatra Neamt
Travel east to the mountainous city of Piatra Neamt (350 km). Arrive here with its cozy streets and coffee shops, warm people and antique boutiques and transfer to your hotel. Piatra is surrounded by wooded mountains with all of the modern comforts, making it one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the eastern region of Moldavia, Romania. Enjoy dinner at the hotel. (Hotel Ceahlau) (B/D)


Day 4, September 30, Sunday - Piatra Neamt/Suceava/Gura Humorului
After breakfast, travel to Targu Neamt, one of the oldest towns in Moldavia (160 km). Visit some of the old monasteries like Varatec and Agapia Monastaries. Varatec Monastery is a Roman Orthodox religious settlement located in Varatec village. Walk through the beautiful garden and explore the inner court. The Agapia Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery in Agapia Commune. The church was painted by one of Romania’s leading masters, Nicolae Grigorescu and has been restored and modified throughout the years. Enjoy a nice lunch in Suceava. Then arrive in Gura Humorului, with its beautiful scenery and close proximity to the painted monasteries, and transfer to your hotel. (Best Western) (B/L)



Day 5, October 1, Monday - Gura Humorului
After breakfast, visit one of the painted churches of northern Moldavia and UNESCO World Heritage site, Voronet monastery, the main reason to stay in Gura Humorului. It is known for it striking blue color called “Voronet blue,” which has not been replicated since, as the formula disappeared. It is also known for its depiction of Heaven and Hell and considered the “Sistine Chapel of the East.” The main church, katholikon of Saint George is the most famous church in Romania, known for its exterior frescoes of bright and intense colors and the well-preserved figures. It has a Gothic Style, but the rectangular frames on the south and north doors of the exonarthex indicate a transition from Gothic to Renaissance. You can find the tomb of the monastery’s first abbot, Saint Daniil the Hermit, at the monastery.
Then visit the black pottery center from Marginea Village in Solca, set in a beautiful landscape at the outskirts of mountains and surrounded by hills covered by thick forests. The village uses clay soil to create their black pottery, obtained using the Gaeto- Dacian ancient method of choked burning. After which, it is polished by the help of a river stone.
Visit the Monastery of Sucevita, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the village Sucevita. The architecture of the church contains both Byzantine and gothic elements and the walls are covered by mural paintings of the Old and New Testament. It was a princely residence and fortified monastery. And today it is a museum with an outstanding collection of historical and art objects. Enjoy lunch at Bucovina Popas in Sucevita. After lunch, visit the Moldovita Monastery, founded as a protective barrier against the Muslim Ottoman conquerors from the East. It is one of the five monasteries in Nothern Moldavia with frescoes painted on the outer walls: painted by Toma of Succeava, they are filled with yellow accents and well preserved. The yellow and blue paintings on its exterior represent recurring themes in Christian Orthodox art like a procession of saints leading up to the Virgin enthroned with the Child in her lap and the “Tree of Jesse” and the “Siege of Constantinople.” Tall arches open the porch to the outside and “the Last Judgment” covers the entire surface of the west wall with its river of fire and the sea giving up its dead to judgment. Travel through Campulung and visit Humor Monastery, a monastery for nuns dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary. It was built over the foundation of a previous monastery in 1530. It was one of the first of Moldavia’s painted monasteries to be frescoed and along with Voronet, it is the best preserved. The most prominent color is a reddish brown and the subjects of the frescoes include the Last Judgment and the Siege of Constantinople. (B/L)


Day 6, October 2, Tuesday - Gura Humorului/Campulung Moldovenesc/Borsa/Sighetul Marmatiei
Travel (220 km) through one of the medieval cities of Wallachia, Campulung Moldovenesc on your way to Borsa, where you see the Prislop Pass surrounded by the Rodna and Maramures Mountains. This mountain pass connects the historical regions of Maramures and Bukovina in the Eastern Carpathians. Enjoy lunch in town before traveling to Sighetu Marmatiei. See Barsana monastery, which features baroque indoor murals. The monastery houses a collection of icons painted on glass, as well as old religious books. It is one of the eight World Heritage churches and stands on a small hill surrounded by an orchard. It was built of thick beams of oak on a stone foundation. Also visit Rozavlea Monastery with its tall tower, sharply pitched roof and double eaves. The entrance to the church is through an open porch, where a rare painting of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist appears. The main theme of the monastery is the “Last Judgment” which is displayed around the entrance door of the pronaos. (B/L)



Day 7, October 3. Wednesday - Sighetu Marmatiei/Sapanta/Satu Mare/Zalau/Cluj Napoca
Today’s total travel distance is 280 km. After breakfast, visit the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. The Merry Cemetery is famous for its colorful tombstones with native paintings to portray the persons buried and the scenes from their lives. These painted tombstones are unique and poetic. After lunch in Sapanta, pass through Certeze and Negresi Oas, the richest towns in the area, full of shepherds to Satu Mare. It is located on the Somes Meadow on both sides of the river, leading to flooding during heavy rainfall and the current sand banks, valleys, and micro-depressions. Explore Satu Mare and see the center of the city, with all of its old buildings, from the old Fireman’s Tower. From Satu, travel along the “Salt Route” of Zalau, which was the crossing point between Central Europe and Transylvania. Continue to the capital of historical Transylvania, Cluj- Napoca, one of the most visited cities in Romania. Transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a traditionally festive dinner at a local restaurant. (Tulip Inn) (B/L/D)


Day 8, October 4, Thursday - Cluj/Targu Mures/Sighisoara
Travel by coach to Sighisoara via Targu Mures, 165 km total. After breakfast, travel through Cluj and see Matthias Corvinus’ mounted statue and the old St. Michael’s Church in the Union Square. It is the most valuable architectural piece in Transylvania and is in gothic style. the Cultural Palace, built in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style. See the Cultural Palace and biggest attraction in Targu Mures at the south end of the Roses Square. This flamboyant early 20th century city hall, with a striking stained-glass hall, houses the main local museums. After lunch in Targu Mures, travel to UNESCO World Heritage site, Sighisoara. Enjoy dinner. (Hotel Korona) (B/L/D)

Day 9, October 5, Friday - Sighisoara/Medias/Sibiu
Explore Sighisoara and see the Clock Tower, the city’s landmark, and is currently a Museum of History. The Clock Tower, with its great view from the balcony, is part of the Sighisoara Citadel. It is also called the Council Tower. Walk through the Monastery Church, a Lutheran church in the late- gothic style, which resides next to the tower. See a small yet fascinating collection of medieval weapons at the Weapon Museum and walk the old stone staircase, covered staircase, with a wooden roof to the Church on the Hill, the cemetery, and the Joseph Haltrich High School, also known as the “School from the Hill.” The church is in the late gothic style and contains a crypt and many frescoes. Also visit Vlad Dracul House, where Vlad Tepes or Dracula was allegedly born. Visit the Saxon villages in the area with lunch at one of the fortified churches in Transylvania. Visit one of the first German settlements, Biertan. The fortified church is included on the UNESCO List of World Patrimony. It stands high on a hillock, in the center of the transverse valleys, bordered by vineyards, maize cultures and forests. Built in the late Gothic style, with elements of Renaissance architecture, the walls are painted and the basic structures are made of stone. It has three naves and arches disposed in a network. The shrine of the church is built in the late Gothic style, carved in wood and has 24 painted icons representing biblical scenes. Travel 95 km to Sibiu, Europe’s Cultural Capital and formerly the centre of the Transylvanian Saxons, and was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels. Transfer to your hotel. (Golden Tulip Hotel) (B/L)


Day 10, October 6, Saturday - Sibiu/Sibiel/Sibiu
Enjoy a nice breakfast in the country houses and then walk through the beautiful, old medieval town in Sibiu. The buildings remain in good conditions and streets are full of small, secluded lanes, corner cafes and beautiful churches. Walk through Upper Town, home to most of the historic sights, and three beautiful squares in the center. The Great Square and largest square, is the site of the beautiful baroque Roman-Catholic Church, with classical decorations, and the refined late-baroque style Brukenthal Palace, full of Romania’s most important art collections and one of the finest art museums in the country. It houses collections of Romanian and Western art, 16th-18th century religious sculptures and icons, stamps and coins, as well as an impressive library. It is linked to the Little Square by a passage under the arches of the Council Tower, used as an entrance gate to the second row of fortified walls in Sibiu. The Little Square was home to the town’s most prestigious master craftsmen, who lived in rows of arcaded houses along the north and east sides. Small shops, cafes and businesses line the square today. Then view Huet Square, dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral. Walk the Stairs Passage to the Lower Town, between the river and the hill, with long and wide streets for medieval city standards. The architecture is rustic, typically two-story houses with tall roofs and gates to inner courts. It is an architectural masterpiece with twin staircases and archways and one of the most picturesque places in Sibiu. See the Bridge of Lies, the first wrought iron bridge in Romania. Continue 50 km on to Sibiel where you can visit the church, as well as the Zosim Oancea Museum of Icons on Glass. This museum holds the largest existing exposition of icons on glass in Transylvania. Have a Romanian traditional lunch at the church in the village center of Sibiel. (B/L)


Day 11, October 7, Sunday - Sibiu/Fagaras/Brasov
After breakfast, travel 150 km to Fagaras then to Brasov. Fagaras, known for its medieval fortress, the Fagaras fortress with a well preserved initial structure, is in the proximity to the Southern Carpathian Mountains. The fortress has a museum with history, ethnography, and art collections. Also see Saint Nicholas Church, an Orthodox church built in the Brancovenesc architectural style. Travel to Brasov, fringed by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and full of gothic, baroque, and renaissance architecture, and a wealth of historical attractions. Have lunch and explore Brasov and see Council Square, with its big City Hall in the middle and the Black Church, a gothic site dating back to 1477. Also, see the Saint Nicholas Church. Also see the First Romanian School and Jewish Synagogue. Transfer to your hotel and have dinner with a traditional wine tasting at a central restaurant. (Hotel Alpin) (B/L/D)

Day 12, October 8, Monday - Brasov/Bran/Sinaia/Bucharest
In the morning, travel to Bran and stop at the Bran Castle, a national monument and landmark in Romania. It is commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle,” and is marketed as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is no evidence, however, that Stoker even knew about the castle. And Vlad Tepes never called the castle his home, and it is unknown as the whether he ever visited. The exterior is far more impressive than the interior. The castle is now a museum open to visitors, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Travel to Sinaia and visit to fairytale castle, Peles Castle, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful castles in all Europe. The castle was built from wood, stone, bricks and marble and has more than 160 rooms. Several additional buildings were built and added at the same time, like the Guard’s Chambers, the “Economat” Building, The Hunting House, the Royal Stables, the Electrical Power Plant and the Sinaia Monastery, which was founded by Prince Mihail Cantacuzino in 1695 and named after the great Sinai Monastery on Mount Sinai. The Religious Objects museum in the monastery has a copy of the first Bible printed in Romania and other interesting icons. After lunch, continue to Romania’s capital and most important city, Bucharest, once known as “Little Paris.” Bucharest is known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and glorious Belle Époque buildings. There is a version of the Arc de Triomphe on a boulevard longer than Champs Elysees, with a range of fragrant trees. Enjoy a nice dinner on a cruise on the Dambovita River and transfer to your hotel. (Central Hotel) (B/L/D)


Day 13, October 9, Tuesday - Bucharest
After breakfast, visit the Palace of the Parliament, a multi-purpose building, containing both chambers of the Romanian Parliament and the Museum of Modern Art. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Palace is the world’s largest civilian administrative building, the most expensive administrative building, and the heaviest building. It is the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon. It is formerly named “Casa Poporului” meaning the People’s House and was built by the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1984. It spans 12 stories, and has 3100 rooms. Walk through the building’s marble rooms to Nicolae Ceausescu’s balcony. Have lunch in a local restaurant. The Palace museum has collections of objects that belonged to the former Romanian royal family. See the National Museum of Romanian History, which contains Romanian historical artifacts from prehistoric times to modern times, like Dacian treasures. A late medieval archaeological site was discovered under the building. Walk through the Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum located in the Herastrau Park, showcasing traditional Romanian village life. The museum extends to over 100,000 meters squared, and contains 272 authentic peasant farms and houses, as well as churches, workshops, and mills, from all over Romania. You can see furniture, pottery, and clothing gathered from villages in every region of Romania. Herastrau Park is the largest of several parks around the man-made lakes on the Colentina River. You can also find various sports grounds, a small amusement park, and many restaurants and clubs in the park. Explore the city’s eclectic mixture of architecture, from old monasteries to Orthodox Churches, Second Empire mansions, and the solid Stalinist architecture of the communist years. Have dinner in a restaurant in the old center of Bucharest. (B/L/D)

Day 14, October 10, Wednesday - Bucharest/USA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight back to the USA. (B)

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