UNESCO Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Begin your tour in Bucharest, then proceed to the lavish Peles Castle, the phenomenal royal residence of Carol I. Next, visit Sinaia Monastery, built in the 17th century as a reminder of Mount Sinai and the Holy Land. Proceed to the fantastical Bran Castle, beautifully restored by Queen Marie, second queen of Romania.

In Brasov’s Old Town, take a walking tour of the old town, visiting the Black Church, medieval city walls and St. Nicholas Church, rebuilt in 1495 and a place of major importance for the Romanians.

Next, drive across the forested Carpathians toward Bucovina, passing through “Szekely Land,” a region inhabited by Hungarian ethnics. Learn about their singular role in the history of the region and the political controversies still linked to them in the current era. Continue your journey along one of the most spectacular landscapes in all of Romania: the breathtaking Bicaz Gorges, with 300-meter mountain walls on each side of the road.

Tour the famous UNESCO World Heritage painted monasteries, famous for their priceless frescoes; each monastery is known for a specific predominating color. The political changes of 1989 allowed them to be re-opened, and they continue to be maintained by hardworking communities of nuns. Stop near Moldovita to discover the age-old art of egg painting, followed by homemade lunch at the artist’s home.

On the way to Bucharest, visit the Nicolae Popa Ethnographic Museum and the 14th-century Neamt Fortress, a pivotal defense component in battles against the Ottoman Empire.

Highlights of the tour

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

Day 1: arrival in Bucharest, followed by city tour

Arrive in Bucharest, get acquainted with your guide, and land in the comfort of the Berthelot Hotel, located in the center of town and a fabulous starting place for investigating the depths of history the city has to offer. Bucharest, with a diverse population of over 2 million, remains one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, and features an intriguing mixture of architectural styles. Even the Communists couldn’t completely wipe out the picturesque 19th-century French houses, which create a striking contrast with elegant new office buildings and leftover Soviet-style projects.

Enjoy a panoramic city tour that will afford you an inside look into the revitalized character of this exceptional 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 – Sinaia – Bran – Brasov Click for more photos »

Day 2: Bucharest – Sinaia – Bran – Brasov

In the morning, you’ll depart Bucharest and drive north, in the direction of Brasov. Along the way, pause at Sinaia to tour Peles Castle, the architecturally-complex 19th-century residence built by Carol I of Romania. The interior is extraordinarily rich, with rare oriental carpets, stained glass, oil canvases, and suits of armor. Near this amazing royal residence, stop at the Sinaia Monastery, a beautiful representation of Romanian religious architecture.

Next, continue on to the celebrated Bran Castle, a mysterious medieval masterpiece accessible by a breathtaking drive through the Carpathian Mountains. The past comes to vivid life here, and you’ll explore an extraordinary fairy-tale castle surrounded by vendors selling delectable cheeses, pálinka (plum and pear brandy), and traditional sausages and hams.

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

Day 3: Brasov – Bicaz – Gura Humorului Click for more photos »

Day 3: Brasov – Bicaz – Gura Humorului

When you have awakened and had your breakfast, savor a guided walking tour of Brasov’s Old Town. Discover the monumental Black Church (one of Eastern Europe’s key Gothic cathedrals) and the Old Town Square, circumvented by the beautifully-preserved houses of medieval merchants and luminaries.

Afterward, drive to Bucovina via a majestic route that traces its way through the unrivalled Bicaz Gorges. The view is perhaps the most spectacular you’ll ever witness, and souvenir-shopping along the way is an option.

Arrive in Gura Humorului in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Gura Humorului, Hotel Casa Humor****

Day 4: UNESCO Painted Monasteries tour, home hosted lunch Click for more photos »

Day 4: UNESCO Painted Monasteries tour, home hosted lunch

In the morning, set out to discover Romania’s celebrated UNESCO Painted Monasteries, each known for a specific work of art and a predominant color.

Begin your tour at the monasteries of Humor and Voronet. Humor, built in 1530, is famous for the vivid reds that dominate its interior compositions. Voronet, characterized by prevailing shades of blue, was constructed by Stephen the Great in 1488.

At lunchtime, you’ll be guests at the private home of a world-renowned egg-painting artist. The complex, highly specialized art of egg painting represents one of the most important traditional art forms in Bucovina, and offers a highly refined and symbolic mix of secular art and religious imagery.

Later on, explore the remaining two monasteries at Moldovita and Sucevita. On Moldovita’s kaleidoscopic outer walls, the main color is yellow; the frescoes were painted by Toma of Suceava in 1537. Jewel-like Sucevita was built in 1585 and features a highly-developed fortification system.

Overnight in Gura Humorului, Hotel Casa Humor****

Day 5: Gura Humorului – "Nicolae Popa" Museum - Neamt fortress - Bucharest

Morning brings a drive back to Bucharest. Along the way, stop to visit the medieval Neamt Fortress, a colossal 14th-century citadel built for inaccessibility: visitors could only gain entry via a narrow bridge built on monumental pillars.

You’ll also visit the extraordinary Nicolae Popa Ethnographic Museum, located in the home of sculptor himself. The museum is a carefully-curated repository for traditional Romanian peasant culture, and also features an extensive collection of original pieces by the artist.

Arrive in Bucharest in the late afternoon.

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

Day 6: Bucharest – departure

Today marks the end of your Bucovina tour. Your guide will transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

Download Tour Description PDF

What people have said:

Your tour company took us to six countries from Bulgaria to Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Republic of Moldova and Serbia. This required lots of planning on your part and it worked out very well. Going through immigration and customs, driving through roads and providing  hotels and guide facilities, all were perfect. Only an experienced tour company could plan so well.  We must have seen countless beautiful churches, museums, Unesco sights, gardens and cities. Indeed these countries are … read more

Jack and Varsha Shah (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 UNESCO Bucovina monasteries tour

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
  • One home hosted lunch in the home of a local artist in Bucovina
  • 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)

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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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