Romania at a glance

Dark legends, priceless monuments, and fascinating historical revelations are revealed as you travel deep into the Transylvanian countryside, in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains. Discover remote Gothic ruins and fortresses, medieval castles, precipitous gorges, a tragic monastery, and the ruthless trajectory of Vlad the Impaler.

Begin your tour in Bucharest, and make your way directly into the breathtaking Transylvanian landscape. At Curtea de Arges, visit the soaring 14th century monastery associated with an abundance of sorrowful legends.

At Poienari Fortress, ascend the steep staircase to the eagle’s-nest throne of Vlad the Impaler. In Sibiu, tour the most fortified of the region’s Saxon cities. The Saxons also built Biertan and other “peasant fortified churches,” in an architectural style reproduced extensively across Transylvania.

In Sighisoara, a gorgeous medieval citadel, climb to the beautiful Clock Tower for an exquisite view. At the end of your walking tour, have coffee in the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, now a prominent restaurant.

In Brasov’s Old Town, admire the Black Church (the largest Gothic cathedral in southeastern Europe), the Old Town Square, and St. Nicholas Church, the most important Romanian medieval church.

Proceed to Bran Castle, widely called “Dracula’s Castle,” but warmly redecorated by Queen Maria in the 1920s. The opulence continues at Peles Castle, the 19th-century royal residence, where the exquisite décor includes Carrara marble, Murano chandeliers, Venetian mirrors, and walls carved of 40 types of wood.

Highlights of the tour

Click Here To See Detailed Tour Itinerary
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Bucharest, city tour Click for more photos »

Day 1: Arrival in Bucharest, city tour

Arrive in Bucharest, greet your guide, and make yourself comfortable at the streamlined, up-to-the-minute Berthelot Hotel, a lovely jumping-off point for uncovering this splendid capital’s enticing cultural riches.

So cosmopolitan that it rivaled the sophistication of the City of Lights in public consciousness during the post-WWI era, Bucharest is now a study in startling opposites. Exquisite French architecture stands in juxtaposition with vainglorious testaments to the Communist era; elegant 19th-century homes provide an interesting counterpoint to gleaming skyscrapers of glass and steel. Join your guide for a scenic city tour, and take in the enlivened, effervescent personality of this extraordinary city.

*should you travel to Bucharest on a flight that arrives late in the afternoon or evening, the city tour can also be done the next morning

Overnight in Bucharest, Hotel Berthelot**** (centrally located)

Day 2: Bucharest – Curtea de Arges - Poienari ruins - Transfagarasan road – Sibiu Click for more photos »

Day 2: Bucharest – Curtea de Arges - Poienari ruins - Transfagarasan road – Sibiu

Today, you’ll travel into mountainous, spectacular Transylvania to experience the stunning medieval city of Sibiu. On the way, take a break at the Curtea de Arges monastery, an architectural wonder that seems to challenge the laws of physics. This 16th-century marvel, constructed under intense time constraints, spawned multiple legends of love, loss, and premature death.

After your tour, ascend the Carpathians to visit the forbidding ruins of the 13th-century Poenari Fortress, perched on the edge of a sheer cliff face falling straight into the Arges River. You’ll climb 1,480 steps to reach the former home and castle of Vlad the Impaler. Legends transmitted from the 15th century say that he terrorized the Boyars into the hard labor required to rebuild and fortify the existing structure; most his prisoners ended their days as exhausted slaves.

Continuing your drive to Sibiu, you’ll journey along the high Transfagarasan Road, built by the Communists at an altitude of 2054 m (over 6000 feet). The scenery is absolutely stunning.

This afternoon, arrive in Sibiu and settle into your hotel. Your guide will lead you on a fascinating, in-depth walking tour of the medieval Old Town. This settlement was built by ethnic German Saxons, who were extremely thorough in their construction of defense systems incorporating thick walls, high watchtowers, and secret passageways.

*please note the Transfagarasan road is open only between June and September. If your tour takes place outside this period, you will travel on the road going along the Olt river valley

Overnight in Sibiu, Hotel Casa Levoslav**** (located in the Old Town)

Day 3: Sibiu – Biertan fortified church - Sighisoara – Brasov Click for more photos »

Day 3: Sibiu – Biertan fortified church - Sighisoara – Brasov

Depart the magnificent town of Sibiu, and proceed to the Biertan Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Saxon villagers took the protection of their towns very seriously, and built fortified churches over the course of the medieval era. Interestingly, the townspeople were solely responsible for the construction and maintenance of these structures—a tradition they have perpetuated to the present day. Saxon roots in Transylvania run deep, with some present-day families tracing their lineage back as far as the 1100s. The Biertan Church, built between 1486 and 1524, represents the last expression of this particular architectural style.

In the afternoon, continue on the trajectory of your journey with a visit to Sighisoara. Here, the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town exemplifies a living citadel, and the majority of its medieval fortifications remain relatively untouched by time. Tour the famous clock tower, a widely-recognized and beautiful symbol of medieval Transylvania. A picturesque covered wooden staircase brings you to the archetypal Church on the Hill, from where you’ll gain a superb view of the surrounding area.

Sighisoara is recorded in historical annals as the birthplace of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, the cruel Prince of Wallachia famous for brutally torturing his enemies. The house of his birth looks much the same today as it did in 1431, and now provides the setting for a distinctive restaurant.

In the afternoon, travel to Brasov, a quintessential Transylvanian town.

Overnight in Brasov, Hotel Armatti*** (located in the Old Town)

Day 4: Brasov – Bran Castle – Peles Castle – Bucharest Click for more photos »

Day 4: Brasov – Bran Castle – Peles Castle – Bucharest

Today, let your guide lead you on a captivating walk in Brasov’s Old Town, amidst the evocative homes of well-to-do medieval merchants. Discover the Black Church, a vast 14th-century Gothic cathedral featuring a museum and Lutheran services each Sunday. Walk along the town’s impregnable city walls and bastions before departing for the famed Bran Castle, redecorated by Queen Marie in the 1920s following a period of disrepair and abandonment.

Next, travel through majestic mountain scenery and soaring views to arrive at Sinaia, a beautiful town in the Carpathian Mountains. Visit the Peles Castle, the lavish 19th-century home of the first King of Romania. The castle boasts a palatial interior lined with luxuries: sumptuous crystal, oriental rugs, magnificent wood paneling, and precious mirrors. Nearby, pause to tour the Sinaia monastery, named after ancient Mt. Sinai of Biblical times.
Arrive in Bucharest in the evening.

Overnight in Bucharest, Hotel Berthelot**** (centrally located)

Day 5: Bucharest, departure

Today is the day when your tour ends. Transfer to the airport for the flight home.

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What people have said:

We enjoyed the European style hotels we were booked in. They were quaint and very charming. We particularly enjoyed our visit and meal at the home of Lucia, the egg designer. Our visit with the gypsy family was an eye-opening experience. Adrian made every effort to satisfy our interests and stopped several times to ask the peasants questions for us along the way. We are so glad we chose to see … read more

Joann and Bill Bedics (United States)

Our trip was really great in every way.  Catalin could not have been more accommodating – he added little gems that all five of us really enjoyed.  He even tried to work in the salt mines for us and did take us to the airport on Saturday! He’s a keeper for your company. Would have enjoyed meeting you or your wife but he was an outstanding substitute.  Please check out our … read more

Leslie Snyder and friends (United States)

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If you would like to book this tour, or just want to learn a bit more about it, please fill in the enquiry form below and we will get back to you within 48 hours.
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vladzoe21

We are Vlad and Zoe Trestian – the owners and managers of Balkan Trails. We have been creating memorable travel experiences in Eastern Europe for almost 20 years now.

We understand traveling is personal and individual, and no two travellers are alike. That is why the majority of our tours are based on customised itineraries. Your tour is exactly that: YOURS. Just let us know when you’d like to arrive and depart, what your interests are, the type of hotels you prefer, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Looking forward to showing you our part of the world.

Other Ways to get in touch:

Have a Question? Call Us: 0040 723 578 452

E-mail address: office@balkantrails.com

Frequently asked questions

1 Romania at a glance

What is included with this tour?

Included services and features:

  • The possibility of having your itinerary customised in any way you desire before the tour starts, at no extra charge
  • Great flexibility regarding changes to the daily itinerary even after the start of the tour
  • A private, licensed English speaking guide/driver, available throughout the tour
  • All guide’s expenses (meals, accommodation, etc.)
  • Private transportation in air conditioned car
  • All car expenses, such as gasoline, parking and road tolls
  • Complimentary wireless internet access in the car, so that you can stay in touch with your loved ones even while traveling
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary, with guided visits. If you wish to add any sight on the go, the guide will always be available with information during the visit
  • Accommodation as per the hotel list on the itinerary page (we can also offer a different selection of hotels, based on your preference)
  • Breakfast every day
  • Airport transfers

Not included:

  • Airfare to and from Romania
  • Meals or beverages, other than the included ones
  • Photo fees (some sights require the payment of a fee for allowing you to take pictures – they are mostly inexpensive, around 2 or 3 euro/sight)

Posted in: 1 Romania at a glance

About Tours In General

Where do the tours start?

Our tours start in either Sofia (Bulgaria) or Bucharest (Romania). Both cities have well-connected international airports. However, we can also customise the tours to start in a different city, if that better suits your flight arrangements. Alternative airports include Varna or Burgas (in Bulgaria) or Sibiu, Cluj Napoca, Iasi and Targu Mures (in Romania).

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What are the departure dates?

We do not have set departure dates. All our tours are private and organised on request. The dates when you start and end the tour are entirely up to you.

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I like one of the tours, but I’d like to make some changes to the itinerary. Is it possible?

Of course. All our tours are customisable. We can make changes to one itinerary, join 2 itineraries together, or you can just tell us about the places you want to see, and we’ll make a whole new itinerary just for you! Customising a tour comes at no extra charge.

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I would like to change some of the hotels that come with the tour. Can I do that?

Definitely. The hotels are always up to you. We can upgrade the standard selection of hotels, or if you are on a budget, we can also offer cheaper accommodation options.

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I see that in most cases, only breakfast is included. Why is that?

Having meals included means that you would have to be at a certain restaurant at a certain time just so that you don’t miss a pre-booked meal. This takes away from one of the great advantages of a private tour: flexibility. Not having a restaurant pre-booked gives you great freedom to set your own pace each day, add or skip some sights as you go, etc.

To ensure maximum flexibility throughout your trip, meals are usually planned as you go. Your guide knows the best restaurants in each area you travel through and will make suggestions based on the kind of meal you’d like to have.

The meals we include are the ones that come with an important cultural element: home-cooked meals where you can interact with locals, lunches at homes of artists where you learn more about a specific form of art, or refreshments such as the ones offered during the home visit with the Gypsy family.

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Do your tours include any insurance related services?

No. We recommend to all of our clients to  carry a medical insurance that would cover any health-related costs that might incur while on the trip. Insurance for trip interruption and lost/stolen luggage is also recommended.

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Do I have to pay for the guide’s meals?

No. The guide will have a meal allowance, which will cover his meals. Furthermore, the guide will only join you for meals if you ask him to – if you’d rather be on your own for lunch and/or dinner, that is perfectly fine.

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How about changes of itinerary on the fly? Can we do that?

Changes on the fly can be done to a certain extent. You can always choose to skip a meal or a sight, or swap for a totally different sight altogether. Alterations of itinerary that imply hotel changes are subject to rooms availability. Also, please note that in the case of last minute hotel cancellations, sometimes the hotel may charge late-cancellation penalties which can be up to 100% of the reservation cost. Additional costs generated by on-the-fly changes will be billed separately.

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