About Beauty of Yesterday
Rediscover traditional countryside & folklore, experience wild Maramures & dramatic gorges, unique painted monasteries & Transylvania.
Activity code: ROBOY01
Duration: 10 Days
Our popular small group guided tour to many of the lesser-visited parts of Romania's historic landscape will leave you wanting to see much more and wondering, perhaps, why you had not experienced Romania before. A holiday in Romania conjures up a heady mix of culture, history, natural beauty, legends, adventure, traditional food and fun…. come and see, taste, hear and rediscover Romania!
Romania is one of the most unexplored parts of Europe, tucked away in a remote corner where few visit and about which fewer still have much knowledge, beyond the connection with the myth of Dracula. Much of Romania is virtually untouched countryside and follows a way of life that has long been extinguished, or at the very least diminished into very small pockets, elsewhere in Europe; the centuries old folklore and traditions still thrive in its picturesque villages.
This tour, with our superb Romanian guide, takes you back in time, allows you to meet some of the friendliest people in Europe, many following traditional ways of life untouched by the modern world. Whilst you will cover a lot of the country the tour is relatively relaxed in its pace, helped by the small numbers and the knowledge, experience and flexibility of your guide. It is suitable for all ages and most ability types; much of the sightseeing is done on foot but we are able to use the transport effectively for those less able to walk long distances and there is time available for others who prefer to explore a little more.
2020 departures - on request.
The above departures are small group tours but we can arrange this holiday for any reasonable date between April and end of October as a Private Journey for a minimum of 2 persons.
The Beauty of Yesterday is our most popular small group tour; it has a well thought through itinerary and a superb local guide. Let us take you right into the heart of this fascinating country by sharing our knowledge and experience to offer not just important cultural sights, dramatic scenery and historic locations but the opportunity to spend quality time in the villages, often staying in rural communities as guests of local families, where local culture is at its strongest.
Flights can be booked to match exactly with this tour, please contact us for best current prices and full details or, of course, to arrive early or extend your stay. If you prefer to arrive into Bucharest we can arrange an overnight hotel and/or onward train or flights to the starting point of this tour.
Note on Rediscover Group Tours: Rediscover the World is committed to providing unique and carefully thought out small group tours that combine the highlights of the country together with some of the lesser-known wonders. Running a limited number of departures a year, we opt for quality rather than quantity. Our guides think about the whole experience and will use their experience to allow you into the homes of the locals and many of the lesser-known places that will make your trip unique. We believe that a small group size is imperative for this kind of travel and we therefore keep our maximum number to 12.
Arrival in Bacau [direct from London Luton] *. On arrival you will be accompanied by our professional English speaking guide and transferred to Piatra Neamt, the capital of Neamt County, which due to its architectural and natural beauty earned the nickname 'Pearl of Moldova'. Dinner with traditional Romanian dishes at a guest house in Piatra Neamt.
* suggested alternative - arrival in Bucharest a day (or two) earlier and we will pre-book a train or private transfer to Bacau for you to meet up with the main group (available on request).
After breakfast the tour starts with a departure through the beautiful Moldavian countryside en route to Bucovina, the "Monastic Archipelago", housing the painted churches, a quite unique experience (protected by UNESCO as part of humankind's world heritage). On the way there will be also be stops to visit Agapia and Varatec monasteries. Agapia is one of Romania's largest convents with 350 nuns, well known thanks to its carpet and embroidery workshops (included in the visit). The Varatec Monastery is a rather new monastic settlement, which has a museum that hosts many valuable religious objects and books mostly made by the nuns. The tour will continue its journey to Tarpesti, where you will visit the house of the popular artist Nicolae Popa, author of the famous ceremonial masks and enjoy a traditional lunch [with folklore for groups].
In the afternoon you will arrive in Bucovina and visit Voronet Monastery (UNESCO), founded in 1488 by Stephen the Great. It is the most accomplished sample of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting, known as the oriental Sistine Chapel.
Today you will visit more of the world-famous painted monasteries: Moldovita (UNESCO) dates back to 1532 and has the aspect of a fortress with imposing towers and high, thick walls. Sucevita, the last and the most magnificent monastic achievement among the painted monasteries in Bucovina, looks like a real fortress with towers, buttresses and watch roads. Paintings on the Sucevita monastery have been well preserved both on the outside and on the inside. Your morning ends with a traditional lunch in Sucevita.
In the afternoon you will witness the dramatic changes between Moldavia and the next region of Romania - Maramures, the land of traditions and wooden churches travelling via the stunning, remote and beautiful Prislop Pass.
A fun day at a slower pace; you will experience the raw power of the steam train taking you from Viseu de Sus to Paltin Station up through the Vaser Valley. The railway line passes through the most spectacular landscape of the whole route, narrow, rock lined canyons, fast-flowing, sparkling mountain brooks and the colourful wildlife of the mixed forests. A picnic / BBQ lunch is laid on at Paltin (included).
On your return to Viseu, later in the afternoon, there is a drive to Sighetu Marmatiei. Free time in Sighet where you may wish to visit the Museum to the Victims of Communism, located in the town centre at the former prison.
After breakfast leave for a visit to the little village of Sapanta with its unique Merry Cemetery, famous for its colourful tombstones with paintings describing the deceased. Much of the day will then be devoted to the traditional villages, rural scenery and wooden architecture of the Iza Valley, home to villages known for their historical significance and their wooden churches. The history of Maramures is told through the wood of their churches - through the centuries, the area's foreign rulers did not allow the people living here to build long-lasting stone churches, so instead, the local carpenters raised beautiful wooden churches to communicate with God. The visit begins with Ieud and Rozavlea Churches, then Barsana Monastery, known as the "Holy Mother's Entrance". Lunch at Barsana Monastery or in a traditional guesthouse.
The day concludes with a drive through southern Maramures via Nasaud and through the mountain pass to Bistrita. You will have a short visit of Bistrita before dinner (landmarks are the Coopers' Tower, the Orthodox Church, the Saxon Evangelical Church, Bistrita's main square, the Sugalete Medieval Buildings and the Silversmith's House).
After breakfast drive to Targu Mures, the city of roses, which enjoys the best of both Romanian and Hungarian cultures. Lunch is taken at a Hungarian speciality restaurant in the city centre. Targu Mures' top attraction is located at the south end of the main square: the Culture Palace, a flamboyant early 20th-century city hall, with an outstanding stained-glass window, housing some of the city's main local museums.
In the afternoon a gentle drive south to the incomparable Sighisoara, that most unique but typical, in the mind's eye, of Transylvania towns. After check-in at your hotel in the old town a walking visit to Sighisoara, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved mediaeval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th Century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation, Count Dracula. Landmarks of Sighisoara are the famous Clock Tower, hosting the History Museum and the Torture Chamber with its impressive mediaeval arms collection; the Church on the Hill is a beautiful Gothic building which dominates the hill at the southern end of the citadel.
Dinner in a restaurant in the old town.
After breakfast it is time for a day excursion to the imposing city of Sibiu. A brief visit to the village of Biertan with its impressive fortifed church is included en route. Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of seven walled citadels built in the 12th Century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. Riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of impressive buildings and fortifications to protect them. Sibiu's old town retains its grandeur of yesteryear when these rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade.
A visit of the mediaeval centre of Sibiu: the Great Square is the site of the Roman-Catholic church and the Brukenthal Palace, where you will find one of Romania's most important art collections. The square is linked to the Little Square by a passage beneath the Council Tower. The third square, Huet Square, is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral.
Return to Sighisoara for dinner in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon you continue your tour with a visit of Brasov (100 km away), considered the heart of Romania, one of the most secure fortresses in Europe, the architectural defensive pile being made of massive stone walls, 32 defence towers and 4 fortified gates. During your Brasov tour you will visit the magnificent Black Church - the largest Gothic-style church between Vienna and Istanbul, and stroll around the old Council Square, lined with beautiful red roofed merchant houses. You can also admire the Black and White Towers, the Ekaterina's Gate, the Schei Gate and Rope Street - the narrowest street in Europe.
After a substantial buffet breakfast of delicious home produce you will visit the famous Bran Castle [Draculas Castle] where, along the dark corridors and in the inner gardens one can still hear the steps of the "Prince of Darkness". Continue your trip through the Bucegi Mountains to the highest town in Romanaia, Predeal and then on to Sinaia. Lunch at Vanatorul restaurant.
After lunch, visit Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance, once the summer residence of the Romanian king. It is considered by many to be one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Dinner at Rhein cellars, former Champagne "Supplier of Romania's Royal Court", and since April 2006 designated "Supplier of His Majesty King Michael the First".
Transfer to Bucharest International Airport (145 km) for your flight home or to Bucharest city centre for an extra night and more time* in this fascinating country.
* optional add-on stays in Bucharest or at the Black Sea coast, e.g. Constanta, or even a few days hiking in the nearby Carpathian Mountains.
Fully-inclusive small Group Tour - land-only price. Early booking price - valid until January 15th, 2016.
Single Supplement - (option for single sex room-share - NO COST): 145 GBP
Date range: , Option: Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure
|1 to 12 people|
All prices are per person
Fully-inclusive small Group Tour - land-only price.
Add-on for arrival one day early in Bucharest (includes private airport transfer, one night on B&B basis, 1st class train tickets for Bacau): £ 116 per person
Option for single-sex room share: £ 0 per person
Single Supplement: £ 181 per person
Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 17/09/2018
|1 to 12 people|
Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 3/6/19
|1 to 12 people|
Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 9/9/19
|1 to 12 people|
All prices are per person
"Our group loved the itinerary, pace and food stops. We LOVED our guide Mihai"
M Mellor, October 2017
"Our 'Beauty of Yesteryear' holiday tour of Romania was outstanding - made more so by our wonderful guide, Doina. We were very fortunate with the weather and our travel group was very agreeable."
J Wotherspoon, July 2016
"It's difficult to pick one thing. For me the Carpathian Forest Steam Train trip and the visit to the Visri Weisskirch are the two most memorable items. Very enjoyable."
M Sutton, May 2014
"I really enjoyed the Romania trip last year, one of the best trips I have done; Alexandra, our guide, was excellent and the two ladies from Peteborough good company; a fascinating country to visit."
R Salisbury, June, 2015
"The whole holiday was just brilliant, relaxed and interesting. All the arrangements went smoothly without a hitch. Alexandria the driver guide was well informed and for us gave the right amount of info and was very knowledgeable about her country The accommodation was varied so too was the food - We enjoyed the variation - This is not a criticism! The local Travel Agent DOINA was very helpful in tracking down Mary's purse left in an open safe. She got it posted to our hotel in Bucharest. Great service SO ......IT'S Thanks to all involved"
M Ward, Sept 2017
"We were met by the link tour operators who were charming and cheerful. We were able to see many of the sites of Bucharest the following day, and the trip around the other parts of Romania over the subsequent week was brilliantly organised. The historical buildings, both religious and secular were stunning, and the young guide who took us around was knowledgeable, accomodating, and lovely to be with. Marvellous. If you have any preconceptions of Romania, they are likely to be wrong. It is a clean, bright country with excellent infrastructure, including much better Wifi speeds everywhere than most of the UK. The guide made it possible to visit small museums and 'cottage industries' such as a rural tile maker, which involved a pony cart ride, none of which would have been possible without her local knowledge. A thoroughly memorable and enjoyable experience."
J Stokes, October 2014
"Doina provided an excellent service and could not have done more. Mihai, our driver/guide was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and made sure we saw everything we wanted. We could not wish for a better guide. The hotels and guest houses were of a good standard and we were well fed. The sites we saw were quite amazing although on some days we wouldn't have minded one less church/monastery. We were delighted to be able to visit Biertan and Viscri and appreciated the trouble Doina and Mihai took over this. We enjoyed the train ride and Popa Museum. Mihai enabled us to visit the Sighet and Brasov Ethnographic Museums, a special interest of ours. Thanks to Andy the tour was arranged to give us free days in Sibiu, where we visited the Astra Village Museum, which is both friendly and impressive. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday we will remember for a long time."
Mr R Moody, Sept 2017
"The actual tour, Alexandra the tour leader, the itinerary, and the "worry free" aspects were all excellent. So much so that we have recommended this tour to our friends by email (over 60 of them) plus to those we met on our subsequent trip around Ancient Macedonia. As well as the itinerary, Alexandra looked after the details when we arrived at hotels, arranged help with luggage etc. so with all this we were 100% satisfied. However there are some adverse comments as follows:- 1. The tour really started at Piatra Neamt. For us to get to Piatra Neamt from New Zealand is really difficult. It would be much better if the tour actually started in Bucharest, which is a proper international airport, accessible from anywhere in the world. 2. When you asked us if we wanted you arrange flights we said no because we are on a complicated itinerary involving many flights around the world. But you did not tell us was that a tour of Bucharest was also involved on the day of arrival. So we were annoyed to find when we met up with our tour in Bucharest, that our Australian travelling companions on this tour who had flights booked through you had been met and taken on a tour of Bucharest by Alexandra on the day of arrival. We would have liked to have been included on that tour of Bucharest. 3. In our dealings with you when booking the tour originally we felt quite frustrated by delays in getting information or replies, being asked the same question several times even though we kept replying, being told things were on the www under our password but when we checked they were not. In summary, communication needs to be improved. 4. The tour was advertised as " all inclusive - no extras", but the itinerary received shortly before we set out said we had an independent lunch one day. We actually all went to the same place that day for lunch as usual, but we had to pay for lunch. So this was an extra."
P Hartnall, June, 2015
"Suffice to say we had a really great week...Alexandra looked after us really well.The program and accommodation was mostly great, especially the more traditional places. We'll certainly look at your website again when we plan our next holiday. Many thanks for a great service."
D Czaczkes, June, 2017
"This was a wonderful tour, outstanding in every respect. Alexandra is by far the best guide I have ever encountered. She made it special for all of us. She is very flexible and nothing was too much trouble, and her knowledge of Romania is incredible. Also, she is possibly the safest driver in the country! Now the tour is over, I feel like I have lost a good friend."
D Small, Sept 2017