Romania Self Drive 5 - The Grand Tour

Fabulous hospitality in Romania's contrasting regions

Summary

A full tour of Romania - includes the most famous sights plus our recommended "Hidden Gems" (Transylvania, Maramures, Moldavia & Danube Delta).

START / FINISH - Bucharest.

Activity code: ROFD05

Duration: 15 Days

This holiday is a Best Bits Grand Tour of the country combining the ancient heart of Romania - Transylvania, the resurgent cosmopolitan capital - Bucharest and the fascinating undiscovered regions of Maramures in the north and the Danube Delta in the east. It is a holiday itinerary full of history and dramatic scenery. Overall it is a wonderful opportunity to visit such very different places which would be impossible in almost any other country in Europe.

Rediscover the World's recommended fly-drives will take you right into the heart of this fascinating country. We will share our knowledge and the experience of our local partners to offer you 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. The guest houses and hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in this fascinating country.

This popular self-drive route is a tried & trusted itinerary which will allow you plenty of time to enjoy the countryside as you travel. During your holiday you will traverse the spectacular Carpathian Mountains and take in the mysterious history-filled towns of Transylvania - an experience which will afford genuine cultural encounters, leaving you with enduring memories of this truly unique and enchanting country.

Important Information

Your fly drive can be as active or leisurely-paced as you please. Staying one night at each stop allows the maximum amount of sightseeing; two or more nights will allow you to do more side trips, whilst staying in one place will give you the opportunity to relax and explore the local area.

If you would like to visit these wonderful places without driving then we can supply a private driver for the duration or, alternatively, pre-book train tickets for you between the main locations. We can also pre-book guided sightseeing, lunches, extra activities and visits on your itinerary as required.

Flights are available to book with us through a range of airlines from various UK airports to Romania. If we book your flights this means that your holiday will also be fully ATOL protected.

Prices shown are a guideline "from" (in UK Pounds) and are based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. Single supplements may need to be applied to the twin/double price and discounts for children (under 12yrs) and/or a 3rd adult sharing a room are available upon request. Quoted prices for individual enquiries will depend upon your chosen accommodation, room availability and dates of travel. We always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Discounts will apply if there are 3 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.

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Based upon 2 persons travelling.

Prices from £891 per person

What's included in your fly-drive holiday:

  • 12 days fully-inclusive car rental.
  • Private round trip airport transfers.
  • 14 nights accommodation on B&B
  • Dinner on 7 nights (HB).
  • City tour in Bucharest.
  • Danube Delta day cruise with lunch.
  • Fully detailed itinerary with driving routes and sightseeing suggestions.
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather & much more.
  • All local taxes.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind.
  • 24hr local representative services.

Highlights

Itinerary

On arrival into Bucharest International Airport we will provide a private transfer directly to your hotel. We recommend a private tour of Bucharest - visits would include the outstanding open-air Village Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, Calea Victoriei, Palace Square, the iconic Athenaeum, the Revolution Square, the monumental Parliament Palace, the University Square and the National Theatre. Afterwards, stroll around the narrow streets of the historic quarter, one of the most popular leisure districts.

As part of your introduction to Romania we can also arrange a traditional Romanian dinner at Caru cu Bere restaurant, emblematic of the glittering Bucharest Belle Epoque (with transfers).

Day 3 - collect your hire car and drive east towards the Black Sea on the main highway, visiting the ancient port of Constanta, sights include the Roman Mosaic, the Hunchiar Mosque, Genoese Lighthouse, Archaelogical Park, Roman City Wall & the Victory Monument. In the afternoon make the short drive north to Tulcea and take walk on the esplanade admiring the Danube River.

Day 4 - for your full day in the area we will arrange a day cruise into the Danube Delta including lunch on board.

Recommended places to stay

Day 5 - drive back inland and into Moldavia en route to Piatra Neamt. It is a relatively long journey (5-6 hours), crossing the Danube by ferry in Braila, but necessary for you to reach the next fascinating region on your itinerary where you will be assured of a warm welcome upon arrival.

Day 6 - your full day in this area could be enjoying the stunning drive up through the Bicaz Gorge and into the Ceahlau mountains; you may even go as far as the Red Lake for some walking. You can also visit Piatra Neamt itself to immerse yourself in the local cuisine and way of life; in the recently renovated town there are some fascinating places to visit and we suggest taking time to go for a cable car ride which departs from the centre.

Today, discover the land of Neamt with its large monasteries and also Bucovina’s famous painted monasteries (included in UNESCO’s heritage list). In the morning take a tour of Agapia, Varatec and Neamt Monasteries (900 nuns live in the villages surrounding the monasteries). Recommend lunch at Neamt Monastery.

In the afternoon, visit Humor and Voronet, richly decorated churches of worship, "albums" of fresco art that have survived the elements since the 15th century. Voronet Monastery has been named the "oriental Sistine Chapel" and Voronet Blue, a colour obtained from lapis lazuli, has entered the lexicon of art alongside Titian red and Veronese green.

Day 8 - time-permitting, you can visit 2 more of the monasteries included on UNESCO Heritage list: Sucevita, founded in 1530 by Stephen the Great and Moldovita, built in 1532, by Petru Rares. These are the most accomplished samples of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting. Recommend a traditional Bucovina lunch in Vama.

Of course, you could decide upon your favourite monasteries in advance and visit them all on day 7 which would leave you free to travel west and immerse yourself in the M-tii Rodnei mountains and Maramures. Otherwise, after lunch, drive to the northern-western part of Romania, Maramures, crossing two mountain passes across the fabulous Carpathian Mountains.

Day 9 - a full day in Maramures region to visit the famous wooden churches and experience the traditional way of life. You could start your journey in the Iza Valley, visiting the wooden churches at Barsana, Ieud (the oldest wooden building in Europe, built in the 14th century) and Botiza. Recommend a traditional lunch in the Barsana Monastery complex. Continue to Sapanta and visit the famous Merry Cemetery, an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction unique in Europe. It is famous for its colourful tombstones with paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives. 

** an alternative for this day (or for an extra day) would be the forest railway along the scenic Vaser Valley, from Viseu to Paltin passing through the most spectacular landscape. In the late afternoon on return to Viseu you can continue to visit the wooden churches en route to Sighet.

Today, depart for the way to Transylvania, another drive back in time en route via Baia Mare and Dej to Cluj Napoca, a small city with a youthful energy thanks to its large student population. Balance of day to explore the centre of Cluj on foot, ideal for a walking tour including some important monuments and buildings: the Catholic Cathedral of St. Michael built in Gothic style in the fourteenth century, the Municipal Theatre and the Christian Orthodox Cathedral built in the early twentieth century in Neo Byzantine style. Dinner can be taken in a typical Romanian restaurant or at your hotel

** We recommend breaking your journey in Cluj as you may well have chosen to spend this morning exploring the villages of Maramures, particularly if you took the Vaser Valley Forest Railway on Day 9.

After breakfast drive across country to Reghin and then down to Targa Mures for a short visit including the City hall, cathedral & impressive Cultural Palace. Lunch could be in town or in one of the villages along the way south through the hills to Sighisoara.

** you may choose a slightly different route from Cluj, travelling south to visit the impressive Salt Mines at Turda before driving east to Targa Mures.

Sighisoara, the most beautiful mediaeval city of Romania, where you will certainly enjoy its atmosphere, its mysterious corners and narrow streets.

NB: Sighisoara Festival of Medieval Arts and Crafts is held on the last weekend of July, a mediaeval festival featuring troubadour music, costume parades, street entertainers and handicraft displays, open-air concerts and mediaeval ceremonies.

A relatively short drive to one of Transylvania's most impressive historic towns, Sibiu. We suggest a stop on the way to visit Biertan - the Saxon fortified church listed on UNESCO Heritage List, dating from 1492, one of the pearls of the Saxon monuments in Transylvania. You could also choose to go a little further west to visit Alba Iulia which has a fabulous (restored) citadel area with many wonderful buildings (and places to eat). The new highway from nearby Sebes to Sibiu will make quick work of the remaining journey.

Upon arrival in Sibiu a suggested city tour would include the Little Square, Grand Square, Evangelical Cathedral, Liars’ Bridge and the ancient fortified walls with their remaining towers. There is a great choice of restaurants in Sibiu.

Day 13 - in the morning drive to Brasov, one of the most beautiful mediaeval cities in Transylvania. We recommend a walking tour of the historic centre of Brasov, its highlights include the Black Church, the Council Square, the old quarter Schei, Europe's narrowest street (Rope Street), the Katerina Gate that separated the Romanians from the Saxons in the Austro-Hungarian occupancy period and much more. We suggest a lunch in a traditional restaurant in the city centre. Nearby you may have time to visit Prejmer and/or Harman fortified churches. Onward drive at the end of the day to Zarnesti.

** an alterantive for this day would be a drive along the first section of the Trans Fagarasan Highway, which is just east from Sibiu, and take the cable car to Balea Lake.

Day 14 - Now you have a free day to enjoy the sights and experiences available in this fabulous corner of Transylvania. Within easy reach are Bran Castle, the village that hides the most famous castle in Romania - "Dracula's Castle"; Libearty Bear Sanctuary; Rasnov Fortress citadel (13th century founded by the Teutonic knights, now with a funicular from the base of the hill). Outdoor activities including Hiking, mountain biking, adventure park, bear watching & much more are also possibilities.

This morning, an incredible drive over to the Prahova Valley with its winter resort, Sinaia, "the Pearl of the Carpathians, to visit Peles Castle, one of the best preserved royal palaces in Europe - it served as the summer residence for several Romanian monarchs including King Carol I. Recommend a final lunch at the Rhein Cellars with champagne and wine tasting (still producing and delivering the champagne for the royal family).

After lunch, depart for the international airport in Bucharest and flight home or one final night in the city (depending upon your flight times). Alternatively, you could add an extra night in any location along the way.

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Flexible Tailor-Made Holidays

  • 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.

Travel Knowledge

  • We have all travelled extensively and will be happy to share our experiences.
  • Personally-chosen hotels, riads, guest houses & apartments in places we know and love.
  • Individual sightseeing recommendations and route planning.
  • Add excursions, activities and food & wine experiences (one of our passions).

Why book a Fly Drive ?

  • Accommodation choices are small, independent or family-run properties which add significantly to your travel experience.
  • Stress-free arrival & departure transfer service.
  • Detailed driving directions, parking info, suggested routes & sightseeing ideas.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind & financial security.