Danube’s Iron Gates

An in-depth experience of the Iron Gates, a series of spectacular gorges separating the Carpathians from the Balkans, stretches out before you on this magnificent tour. Starting in Sibiu, an evocative medieval town characterized by intense fortifications, you’ll set out by car for Hunedoara. Along the way, stop to explore the 7th-century Densus Church, a gorgeous stone edifice covered in inscriptions. It is believed to have served as a pagan temple as late as the 4th century. Densus evolved in stages, with layers of construction evolving over hundreds of years. It was the first Christian church on Dacian soil.
Next, take a tour of the superb Hunyad Castle (Corvin Castle), a breathtaking 15th-century Gothic fortification complete with Knights’ Hall, inner courtyard, medieval chapel, towers, and moat. According to legend, Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned here by John Hunyadi prior to their later accord.
The exquisite Bigar Waterfall is the next stop on your journey through the magnificent Romanian countryside. Nestled in the Anina Mountains, this beautiful moss-covered cascade, gently fed by springs flowing from a series of caves, is known as one of the loveliest in the world—a vision that seems directly linked to the realm of fairytales.
Spend the night next to the Danube in Dubova, right at the center of the gorge. The next morning, take a glorious two-hour cruise of the Iron Gates by boat. This is the most spectacular stretch of the Danube, and you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the very best of it. During the cruise, catch sight of the Tabula Traiana, a Roman plaque memorializing Trajan’s epic military road; and the massive cliff-face carving depicting the face of Decebalus, last king of the Dacians. At 40 meters, it stands as Europe’s tallest sculpture in natural rock.
The Iron Gates area is by far the most ethnically diverse region in all of Romania, with picturesque villages inhabited by Romanians, Serbians, and Czechs. In the afternoon, take a break from touring with a scenic 90-minute hike to the Ciucaru Mare plateau, the perfect cliff-top vantage point for taking in the majestic views of the Danube and surrounding area.
On the last day of your trip, head back to Sibiu, and enjoy the amazing sights along the way. You’ll visit the 17th-century Horezu Monastery, an architectural piéce de resistance representing the height of Brâncovenesc style. The village of Horezu is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list for its extensive tradition of colorful, mosaic-like Romanian ceramics. Make a stop in Târgu Jiu to view the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncusi, an outdoor exhibit commemorating the Romanian soldiers who protected the city during WWI. Traverse the picturesque Jiu Valley, arriving back in Sibiu at the end of the day.

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What people have said:

It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I am sincerely grateful to you and to Catalin for the adventure in Bulgaria and Romania. The route we took was full and intense but that is exactly how we prefer it. It seems to me now that we have learnt more about the two countries that you have managed to squeeze almost every notable highlight into the time we had available (with the exception … read more

Gert and Caroline Claassen (South Africa)

We think our tour with Stoyan has been one of the best we have done. Stoyan was an excellent driver/guide, very considerate, and full of knowledge about Bulgaria and it’s history. We rate your company highly, and would certainly recommend it to friends. Thank you for being so organised and informative, it was all made very easy for us.

Jan and Rich Ellingham (New Zealand)

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