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  • When?March 2015
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Explore - Transylvania
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Explore - Transylvania

  • 5 Night Holiday
  • B&B
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The name “Transylvania” may instantly conjure images of spooky castles, swarms of bats and bloodthirsty vampires, but the dark past that has inspired this picture is just one of the many reasons to visit this fascinating and beautiful region of central Romania.

Set amidst the magnificent Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania is home to breathtaking scenery, imposing fortresses and even an abundance of native wildlife. Its medieval and Saxon towns are wonderfully preserved, and are the perfect place to uncover the essence of Romania as you wander through their charming cobbled streets and characterful squares, stopping to visit quaint cafés and old churches. 

On this 5-night small group tour, get to grips with the real Transylvania, as you explore the historic towns of Sighisoara, Viscri & Brasov, hike through incredible natural rock formations, visit Dracula’s Castle, and even come face to face with some rescued native bears! Stay in colourful local hotels and spend one night getting to know a Romanian family in a traditional homestay, before ending your journey in the cool and modern capital of Bucharest. Join us on this short but unforgettable adventure to discover how bewitching Transylvania can truly be.

 

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Romanian New Leu (lei)   
Local Time
Irish time +2 hours.
Passport
A valid passport is required for this holiday. EU citizens do not need a visa, however non-EU citizens should check with their embassy. 
Climate

Bucharest has a temperate-continental climate with moderate features which is characteristic for Central Europe. with hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons.

Food & Drink
The central characteristic of the Romanian cuisine is its great variety. It is a cuisine influenced by it's surronding cultures such as Greek, Turkish, German, Serbian and Hungarian.There are also numerous international restaurants throughout the city, whatever your food preference you won’t go hungry in Bucharest.  
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 7.58 lei

  • Beer: 6.00 lei

  • Glass of wine: 8.00 lei

  • Light meal: 25.00 lei

  • Soft Drink: 5.42 lei

  • Bottled Water: 5.42 lei

  • (€1 = approx. 4.553 lei)

Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • A continental adaptor
  • A small backpack
  • Camera
  • Comfortable shoes
Recommended Reading
  • Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon

  • The Third Secret by Steve Berry

  • The Dean's December by Saul Bellow

Holiday highlights

Sighisoara

Sighisoara is a beautifully preserved medieval town set in the rolling countryside of Transylvania. The city walls encircle cobbled streets lined with 16th century burghers’ houses and churches. The well-preserved medieval citadel dominates the New Town from its rocky massif, where the slopes support a jumble of ancient leaning houses. The citadel is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The most representative building is the gigantic Old Clock Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. Each day a different wooden figure emerges from the belfry on the stroke of midnight, and a drummer strikes every hour. The interior of the Gothic Saxon Church of the Dominican Monastery has stark whitewashed walls, hung with colorful carpets, similar to those in Braşov’s Black Church.

Traditional home stay in Viscri

The traditional Saxon village of Viscri is one of the oldest in all of Transylvania. It is famous for the traditional houses that Prince of Wales bought, restored and converted into guesthouses for tourists. A visit to Viscri is an authentic experience giving a glimpse in to Romania’s rural past.

Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti 

In 1998 a Romanian woman named Cristina Lapis, saw three bears in a small cage outside a restaurant in central Romania, where they were being used to attract customers. She later found more bears used in a similar way in other areas around the country who had been captured as cubs from the wild. Cristina set up the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti to rescue these distressed animals, and hoped to change the public’s attitude towards the exploitation of bears. Today, there are over 70 bears enjoying a new life at the 160 acre sanctuary, which is located in an oak and hazel forest in the Carpathian Mountains. The bears are free to climb trees, swim in the pools and forage the vegetation. The sanctuary has given new life to once-captive bears and is a symbol of optimism for the protection of Romania’s rich natural environment.

Bucegi Mountain Walk 

The Bucegi Mountains are the number one destination for mountain lovers in Romania. The town of Sinaia is known as the “Pearl of the Carpathians” due to its magnificent mountain scenery and Royal Castle.

Dracula’s Castle 

Bran Castle is a medieval fortress on the Transylvanian border, dating back to the 13th century. Situated on the edge of Bran Gorge, it was the inspiration behind Dracula’s Castle in Bram Stoker’s classic novel. Today the castle is open to the public and houses a display of art and furniture collected by Queen Marie during the fortress’s time as a royal residence between 1920 and 1948.

Bucharest 

In a document dating from 1459 signed by Prince Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, Bucharest was mentioned as a trading town at the crossroads of the main commercial routes connecting Europe and Asia. Under the long centuries of Ottoman domination from the 15th to mid-19th century, the city was often attacked by the Turkish troops, and destroyed several times, so little remains of the medieval core on the banks of the river Dambovita. Right after independence was won in 1877, Bucharest began to forge a different identity. The French style flourished, endowing the city with wide tree-lined avenues, neo-classical style mansions and institutions. These gave Bucharest the name “Little Paris of the East”, but its brilliant life during times of Monarchy came to an end with Soviet rule. This brought huge concrete buildings that obliterated much of the old charm of the city. Entire districts were razed to the ground to make room for communist President Ceausescu's megalomaniac dream, the House of the Republic.

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Romanian New Leu (lei)   
Local Time
Irish time +2 hours.
Passport
A valid passport is required for this holiday. EU citizens do not need a visa, however non-EU citizens should check with their embassy. 
Climate

Bucharest has a temperate-continental climate with moderate features which is characteristic for Central Europe. with hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons.

Food & Drink
The central characteristic of the Romanian cuisine is its great variety. It is a cuisine influenced by it's surronding cultures such as Greek, Turkish, German, Serbian and Hungarian.There are also numerous international restaurants throughout the city, whatever your food preference you won’t go hungry in Bucharest.  
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 7.58 lei

  • Beer: 6.00 lei

  • Glass of wine: 8.00 lei

  • Light meal: 25.00 lei

  • Soft Drink: 5.42 lei

  • Bottled Water: 5.42 lei

  • (€1 = approx. 4.553 lei)

Packing List
  • Your valid passport
  • A continental adaptor
  • A small backpack
  • Camera
  • Comfortable shoes
Recommended Reading
  • Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon

  • The Third Secret by Steve Berry

  • The Dean's December by Saul Bellow

Trip Itinerary - Day by day

Day 1 – Depart for Transylvania

Afternoon

Depart for Transylvania

Begin your Transylvanian adventure with a flight to Cluj International Airport. On arrival in Cluj, you will be met by your local expert guide and transferred to your hotel in Sighisoara, a beautifully preserved medieval town set in rolling countryside. A welcome dinner will be served on arrival at your hotel so you can get to know your group.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Sighisoara (1 night)

Day 2 – Explore Sighisoara & Viscri

Morning

Explore Sighisoara

This morning you will explore Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, by foot. The well-preserved medieval citadel of Sighisora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walking tour, wander through the cobbled streets and discover the town’s highlights, which include the Church on the Hill and the impressive Clock Tower, dating all the way back to the 13th century. Each day a different wooden figure emerges from the belfry on the stroke of midnight, and a drummer strikes every hour.

Afternoon

Explore Viscri

In the afternoon, depart Sighisoara for the Saxon village of Viscri. The traditional Saxon village of Viscri is one of the oldest in all of Transylvania. It is famous for the traditional houses that the Prince of Wales bought, restored and converted into guesthouses for tourists. You will spend the night at a traditional homestay and enjoy a meal, prepared by your host from local ingredients, in a 19th Century barn.

Overnight

Accommodation

Home stay in Viscri (1 night)

Day 3 – Explore Viscri & Brasov

Morning

Explore Viscri

A visit to Viscri feels like you are getting a glimpse into Romania’s rural past. Embark on a morning walking tour of Viscri, taking in the atmosphere of the quaint town. You will visit the well-known fortified church which, along with the surrounding village, is another one of Transylvania’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Afternoon

Depart for Brasov

Say goodbye to your homestay and depart for Brasov. Brasov is a medieval town surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. With its ornate churches, Saxon townhouses, lively cafés and impressive Baroque square, Brasov makes the perfect base for your next two nights in Transylvania. In your free time, you can visit the 15th century Town Hall, with its quaint Trumpeter’s Tower, the Lutheran Black Church or the Orthodox St. Nicholas’ Cathedral.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Brasov (2 nights)

Day 4 – Libearty Bear Sanctuary & Bran Castle

Morning

Libearty Bear Sanctuary

The Libearty Bear Sanctuary occupies a 160-acre site in an oak and hazel forest in the Carpathian Mountains, close to the town of Zarnesti. It is home to over 70 bears, which are enjoying a new life following their rescue from the entertainment industry in Romania. The sanctuary was founded to rescue distressed bears, which were being held captive in small rusted cages at restaurants and petrol stations throughout the city. It was also set up in the hope of changing the public’s attitude towards the exploitation of bears. During your visit to the sanctuary, you will be able to see the bears as they free climb the trees, swim in the pools and forage vegetation. The sanctuary has given hope of a better life to these once-captive bears and is a symbol of optimism for the protection of Romania’s rich natural environment.

Afternoon

Bran Castle

In the afternoon you will explore one of Transylvania's most iconic landmarks. A large and imposing complex, Bran Castle certainly lives up to the Gothic fairytale image that Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula evokes. No visit to Transylvania would be complete without it! Bran Castle is a medieval fortress, situated on the edge of Bran Gorge, dating back to the 13th century. Today the castle is open to the public and houses a display of art and furniture collected by Queen Marie during the fortress’ time as a royal residence between 1920 and 1948.

Day 5 – Bucegi Mountain Walk

Morning

Bucegi Mountain Walk

The Bucegi Mountains are the number one destination for mountain lovers in Romania, so grab your walking boots and get ready to explore the stunning landscape with an expert mountain guide. Your morning will begin with a transfer from Brasov to Busteni, where you will take a cable car ride up to Babele, famous for its mushroom shaped rock formations. From Babele you will embark on a 7.5km guided walk along the Bucegi Plateau to Sinaia (approximate duration 3 hours). The town of Sinaia is known as the “Pearl of the Carpathians” due to its magnificent mountain scenery and Royal Castle.

Afternoon

Peles Castle

Following your morning walk, you will visit Peles Castle, a large royal palace set in a landscaped park. It was built in the late 19th century for Romania’s first monarch, King Carol I, and took 39 years to complete. Outwardly it resembles a Bavarian Schloss, in the German Renaissance style, with a host of turrets. It has over 100 rooms richly decorated in ebony, mother of pearl and leather, and each room is styled on a particular country. There are over 800 stained glass windows in the building, while its rooms are full of Renaissance armour and weapons, Murano chandeliers and Persian carpets. Afterwards continue to Bucharest, where you will spend your final night in Romania at leisure.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Bucharest (1 night)

Day 6 – Explore Bucharest

Morning

Explore Bucharest

Enjoy a morning at leisure in Bucharest to explore as you wish. Bucharest is the country's capital and commercial centre. It is a dynamic, energetic and fun city, combining elegance with history. Visit some of the iconic landmarks in your own time, or soak up the atmosphere in University Square, which is the heart of the city. Visit one of the many museums, stroll the parks or just hang out at a trendy café – the choice is all yours!

Afternoon

Return home

In the early afternoon, you will transfer to Bucharest airport for your return flight to Dublin.

* Please note that the order of your excursions on the itinerary above is provisional and subject to change

Customer reviews

Hotel & accommodation available for this trip

Hotel Sighisoara 3 Star

Hotel Sighisoara enjoys an enviable location right in the heart of the town’s citadel between towers, fairy tale fortresses and bastions. At Hotel Sighisoara no room is like the other. Each one has its own unique details and authentic furniture. The original building work dates b... read more read more read more

Hotel Sighisoara enjoys an enviable location right in the heart of the town’s citadel between towers, fairy tale fortresses and bastions. At Hotel Sighisoara no room is like the other. Each one has its own unique details and authentic furniture. The original building work dates back to 1520 so you will experience both character and comfort during your stay. This hotel is the ideal place to soak up the medieval atmosphere following a busy day of exploring the narrow streets of Sighisoara.

Hotel address
Hotel Sighisoara
4-6 Scolii Street,
Sighisoara,
Romania
View available dates for this hotel

Homestay Homestay

Immerse yourself in rural Transylvanian life during an authentic homestay in the UNESCO village of Viscri. Staying in quaint accommodation in restored historic properties, you will experience a glimpse of Viscri’s days gone by. Most buildings are built of natural materials, such ... read more read more read more

Immerse yourself in rural Transylvanian life during an authentic homestay in the UNESCO village of Viscri. Staying in quaint accommodation in restored historic properties, you will experience a glimpse of Viscri’s days gone by. Most buildings are built of natural materials, such as stone, bricks and lime, and have traditional handmade fabric wall displays. Both breakfast and dinner are prepared with local ingredients and served in in the barn, which dates back the 19th Century. Due to the unique nature of the homestay buildings, room sizes may vary. 

Hotel address
Homestay
125, Viscri
Brasov County
Romania
Viscri
View available dates for this hotel

Hotel Casa Wagner 3

Casa Wagner is a townhouse-style property in the heart of Brasov, directly on the main square. Guests can enjoy the nearby cafes, bakeries and Brasov's main tourist attractions which include the Biserica Neagră Church. The hotel is housed in a classified historic building dating ... read more read more read more

Casa Wagner is a townhouse-style property in the heart of Brasov, directly on the main square. Guests can enjoy the nearby cafes, bakeries and Brasov's main tourist attractions which include the Biserica Neagră Church. The hotel is housed in a classified historic building dating back to 1477 and retains beamed ceilings and orginal woodwork. Due to its historic nature, there is no lift.

Hotel address
Hotel Casa Wagner
5 Piata Sfatului
500031, Brasov

View available dates for this hotel

Hotel Capitol 4

Located right in the heart of Bucharest on the famous Calea Victoriei, Hotel Capitol is close to the city's most important attractions. This hotel was recently re-graded from 3* to 4* and is within a two minute walk is the pedestrianised Old Town district, home to a variety of ba... read more read more read more

Located right in the heart of Bucharest on the famous Calea Victoriei, Hotel Capitol is close to the city's most important attractions. This hotel was recently re-graded from 3* to 4* and is within a two minute walk is the pedestrianised Old Town district, home to a variety of bars and restaurants. Combining historic charm with attentive service, this tradtional hotel is an ideal base for discovering Bucharest.

Hotel address
Hotel Capitol
Calea Victoriei 29
Bucharest
010061
View available dates for this hotel

* Some hotel facilities may be seasonally operated or under maintenance and therefore unavailable at the time of your stay. Charges may apply for certain facilities.

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