Beauty of Yesterday

[Small Group Tour or Private Journey].

Summary

Rediscover traditional countryside & folklore, experience wild Maramures & dramatic gorges, unique painted monasteries & Transylvania.

START - Bacau [or Bucharest] / FINISH - Bucharest

Activity code: ROBOY01

Duration: 11 Days / 10 nights

Our most popular small group guided tour; a journey to many of the lesser-visited parts of Romania's historic landscape which will leave you wanting to see much more. 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!

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 our transport effectively for those less able to walk long distances - there is also time available for others who prefer to explore a little more.

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.

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.

Important Information

The designated departures on this page 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 4 persons.

The tour price has no compulsory single supplement, we offer a same sex twin share but a single supplement can be paid for a guaranteed single room. Discounts for children and a 3rd adult sharing are available upon request.

  • NO meal kitty, NO hidden extras, NO local payments (except gratuity)

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.

Flights can be booked to match up exactly with this tour, please contact us for best current prices and full details or, of course, to discuss options for arriving early and/or extending your stay. If you prefer to arrive into Bucharest we can arrange an overnight hotel plus onward train reservations or domestic flights to the starting point of this tour.

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Prices from £1359 per person

  • Add-on for arrival in Bucharest (includes airport transfer, one night on B&B, 1st class train tickets): £ 132 per person

  • Single Supplement: £ 195 per person

Departures

  • DepartTrip / Resort
  • Mon 30th May 2022 Beauty of Yesterday 
  • Tue 30th Aug 2022 Beauty of Yesterday 

What's included on your Small Group Tour ?

  • 10 nights accommodation.
  • Half board throughout.
  • Lunch in Tarpestri, Vaser Valley & Viscri
  • All transport during tour (comfortable modern vehicles with a/c)
  • Professional English-speaking guide & assistance throughout
  • Admission fees to museums, monasteries and castles
  • Round trip tickets for steam train and horse carriage ride in Viscri
  • Fully detailed itinerary
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather and much more
  • Porterage at hotels & guest houses
  • All local taxes

Highlights

Itinerary

Arrival in Bacau [suggested flight - 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.

* an alternative would be to arrive into Bucharest a day (or two) earlier; we will then pre-book train tickets (or a private transfer) up to Bacau so that you can easily meet up with the main group.

After breakfast we have a scenic treat for you ... a drive westwards into the Carpathians to visit the Bicaz Gorge and Ceahlau Mountains National Park. A picnic lunch at Lacu Rosa with an opportunity for a stroll alongside the lake. On your return to Piatra Neamt you will have time to visit the renovated main square and possibly take a ride on the cable car (fare not included).

Return to your guest house or small hotel in Piatra Neamt for dinner & overnight.

After breakfast the tour starts with a departure through the beautiful Moldavian countryside en route to Bucovina, the "Monastic Archipelago", housing the unique painted churches (protected by UNESCO). On the way there will be visits to 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, maker of the famous ceremonial masks and enjoy a traditional lunch [with folklore for groups]. Onward to Vama for a home-made dinner and accommodation in a family-run guesthouse.

Today you will visit more of the world-famous painted monasteries:

* 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.

* 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.

During the day your guide will also schedule visits to the fascinating painted egg museum with a demonstration and the unique Black ceramic workshop.

Return to Vama for a home-made dinner.

After breakfast you will witness the dramatic changes between Moldavia and the next region of Romania on your tour - Maramures, the land of traditions and wooden churches. This journey involves travelling via the stunning, remote and beautiful Prislop Pass.

Later, in the early afternoon, there is a short drive to Sighetu Marmatiei. Free time in Sighet for a late lunch and where you may wish to visit the Museum to the Victims of Communism, located in the town centre at the former prison. Afterwards, time permitting, 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.

Dinner & overnight in a traditional guest house in Ieud.

A fun day at a slower pace; you will experience the raw power of the steam train taking you from Viseu de Sus up through the Vaser Valley to Paltin Station. 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).

Afterwards, the remainder of the day will then be devoted to the traditional villages, rural scenery and wooden architecture of the nearby 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 concludes at Barsana Monastery, known as "Holy Mother's Entrance".

In the evening arrive back in Ieud for dinner at your guest house.

After a fabulous home-cooked breakfast drive south through southern Maramures via Nasaud and through the mountain pass to Bistrita and into Transylvania proper. You will pass through Bistrita spotting the famous Coopers' Tower and its many churches en route to Targu Mures, the city of roses, which enjoys the best of both Romanian and Hungarian cultures. 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. Lunch can be taken at a Hungarian speciality restaurant in the city centre (our recommendation).

In the afternoon a gentle drive south to the incomparable Sighisoara, that most unique but typical, in the mind's eye, of Transylvanian towns. After check-in at your hotel in the old town a walking visit of 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. This 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.

After breakfast it is a short drive to the UNESCO protected village of Viscri; not only is Viscri renowned for its cultural heritage and natural beauty it also caught the eye of Prince Charles who now owns one of the 18th century Saxon cottages in the village. Further investigation of Viscri reveals an ancient fortified church and an array of pastel shaded houses that add to the artisan and scenic ambience of rural Transylvania. Further agricultural scenes come in the form of a horse drawn carriage ride prior to an organic lunch which you're invited to take at a family house within the village.

In the afternoon you continue your tour with a visit of Brasov, 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 city 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.

Dinner and accommodation at a guest house in Zarnesti or Bran.

After a substantial buffet breakfast of delicious home produce you will have the opportunity to see the the famous Bran Castle [Dracula's Castle] and then on to visit the equally impressive but far less touristy Rasnov Fortress. Continue your trip through the Bucegi Mountains to the highest town in Romanaia, Predeal and then on to Sinaia. Visit of 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.

After a lunch break (free time) a visit to the Rhein cellars, former Champagne "Supplier of Romania's Royal Court", and since April 2006 designated "Supplier of His Majesty King Michael the First".

Onward travel down from the mountains and across the Wallachian plain to Bucharest.

A farewell dinner will be held at a city centre restaurant within walking distance of your hotel.

After breakfast a city tour including a visit to the famous Rural Life Museum, a walk through the old part of the city centre to see some of the fabulous historic buldings that have survived into the 21st Century plus the Parliament Palace (the second largest office building in the world).

Transfer to Bucharest International Airport for your flight home or stay in 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 are available upon request.

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  • We believe passionately that no two holidays should be the same.
  • With our flexible tailor-made holiday options you can travel at your own pace.
  • Rediscover a city, a resort or an island in a weekend or longer.
  • Take a small group tour or embark upon a more adventurous trip.

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