Romania: Traditions, Crafts and Countryside – ITINERARY

Dates: June 1st – 11th, 2021 This is a unique adventure that explores cities where remnants of communism are intertwined with the vibrance of modern life, some of the best preserved medieval villages in Europe, a remote and traditional Transylvanian countryside where time has stood still for over a century, magnificent hilltop castles and palaces and breathtaking natural beauty in every direction…all of which is home to a diverse and most welcoming population! Bucharest – Sinaia – Brasov – Corund – Sighisoara – Bucharest
The Wandering Earl Tour Experience All of our unique tours focus on local interaction, local activities and education and we keep our itineraries flexible so that you always get the absolute most out of your trip. We also see the main stuff too, but these are not standard, cookie-cutter group experiences. Always small groups, always laid-back, always diving straight into the heart of every destination we visit!


  June 1st: BUCHAREST / ARRIVAL DAY Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up at the airport and taken to our group hotel in the city center. After getting settled and having a good rest, we’ll start off with an evening tour orientation and group dinner at one of Bucharest’s most popular Romanian restaurants, located in the heart of the Old City. June 2nd: BUCHAREST We’ll begin today with a walking tour along Victory Street, passing markets, street art and historical sights before entering a local neighborhood filled with beautiful early 19th century mansions, hidden cafes and unique street art. From here, we’ll explore narrow passageways, Communist structures and lively squares before lunch. We’ll also have time to visit an Antiques Market inside of the old Bucharest Stock Exchange Building and the grand Unirii Square. June 3rd: SINAIA / BRASOV Leaving Bucharest, we’ll drive 2 hours north, straight into the Carpathian Mountains. Our first destination will be the friendly town of Sinaia, where we’ll visit the impressive neo-renaissance Peles Castle, situated in the heart of the Prahova Valley. Then we’ll continue to the medieval and beautiful town of Brasov, with its diverse history and lively atmosphere. Dinner will take place in a long-running restaurant known among locals for its interesting ambiance and great food.    June 4th: BRASOV Today we’ll embark on a walking tour of the city, visiting the Romanian, German and Hungarian neighborhoods, including several traditional businesses (bakeries, bookstores, shoemakers and more) where we can interact with locals and learn about their work. We’ll also visit one of the traditional, centuries-old local guilds for a unique workshop on woodworking and glasswork. After sunset, we’ll head to Piata Sfatului, the lively main square where evening festivities are always taking place June 5th: BRASOV The day begins with a 45 minute drive to the sleepy village of Magura, set at the edge of the wonderful Piatra Craiului National Park. We’ll go for a walk through Magura’s stunning setting, with its rolling green hills, dirt roads, traditional homes, peaceful forests and farmland. We’ll meet the local inhabitants and enjoy a local lunch at one of the traditional eateries. From here, we’ll return to Brasov for some free time. Optional activities will include taking a funicular to the top of Mount Tampa, visiting museums, an old fortress or simply soaking in the laid-back atmosphere of this gorgeous town. June 6th: CORUND Today we’ll drive 2 hours to the authentic Hungarian region of Romania called Corund. Hungarians have been living in Romania for centuries and have maintained their unique culture and heritage. After checking in to our traditional guesthouse, we’ll head off with our local guide for a undeniably special experience. We’ll visit with local artisans who are producing their crafts, not for tourism, but for the community’s own use, using only traditional methods of production. This includes a black pottery workshop, traditional weaver and a tinder craftsman (tinder is a type of forest mushroom). We’ll learn about these crafts and the workshops that keep these traditions alive. Dinner will then take place in the beautiful gardens of a local trout farm. June 7th: CORUND The truly local experience continues as we head up to the remote Fantana Plateau, home to only a few small villages and the southernmost peat bog in the world. We’ll begin with a 2 hour tour of the villages, nature and a local bio-mushroom farm. We’ll then head to a local home for a delicious, freshly prepared lunch before stopping at a local syrup and jam producer where we can taste their products and photograph the people and their traditional rural factory. June 8th: CORUND Deeper into the countryside we go! We’ll pay a visit to a gypsy basket weaving family where we’ll have a demonstration from the basket master himself. From here we’ll head to the village of Criseni, home to the only Straw Hat Museum in the world. We’ll meet the passionate local founder of this museum as well as other villagers who will definitely be curious about our visit to this remote location. Next, we’ll drive to the village of Sansimion, home to the only licensed palinka (brandy) distillery in Romania that uses a centuries old technique for all production. After palinka tasting, we’ll head back to Corund for a special dinner prepared by our wonderful hosts. June 9th: SIGHISOARA With a short 1 hour drive, we’ll arrive in Sighisoara, considered the best preserved medieval village in all of Europe. Our guide will take us through the cobblestone lanes, to the 400-year old clock tower and impressive hilltop cathedral, into a traditional wine cellar and to the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (the inspiration for Dracula). You’ll have free time in the friendly walled village as well before we check in to our quiet guesthouse in the countryside just outside of town. Tour to Romania June 10th: BUCHAREST Our journey back to Bucharest will take approximately 6 hours, with several stops along the way at small towns, viewpoints over the Carpathian Mountains, local fruit stalls and lunch at a local inn. Upon arrival back in the capital, we’ll get settled into our hotel before our final group dinner. June 11th: BUCHAREST / DEPARTURE DAY You will be picked up at the hotel by a private driver who will take you to the airport for your departing flight
OPTIONAL EXTENSION June 11th – 15th: REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA This 4 day extension will take you to one of the least visited countries on the planet, the Republic of Moldova. As it borders Romania, we’ll only need a short 1 hour flight to reach the small capital city of Chisinau where we’ll settle into our hotel for the next 4 nights. During your stay, you’ll wander the streets and markets of non-touristy Chisinau, a laid-back city of wide boulevards and atmospheric neighborhoods. You’ll visit some of the world’s largest wineries, where you’ll explore underground cellars and enjoy tastings and then spend time with local craftspeople in villages out in the remote countryside. From cave monasteries overlooking beautiful valleys to delicious home-cooked meals to a day trip to the unique region of Transnistria, a self-declared republic within a republic, that feels like stepping back in time…this is an opportunity to experience a fascinating part of the world that so few people have a chance to visit!
INCLUDED – ROMANIA TOUR – Small group (max 12 participants) – Wandering Earl Tours group leader – Local guides in each destination – All accommodation (10 nights – 3*/4* hotels and lodges) – Breakfast every day, 4 lunches and 8 dinners – Transportation in Romania (private vans) – All activities mentioned and all entrance fees – Bottled water throughout the trip – All airport transfers INCLUDED – MOLDOVA EXTENSION – Flight from Bucharest to Chisinau – Breakfast every day, 2 lunches, 3 dinners in Moldova – 4 nights at a 4* hotel in Chisinau – Transportation in Moldova (private vans) – All activities mentioned and all entrance fees – Bottled water throughout the trip – All airport transfers NOT INCLUDED – Flights to/from Romania – Passport/visa fees – Meals and activities not mentioned – Travel insurance (mandatory) – Gratuities
TOUR COST $3985 USD per person, single room (there are 6 single rooms available on this trip) $3335 USD per person, twin-share room (solo travelers will be paired together in a room with two beds) Moldova extension $1400 per person, single room $1100 per person, twin-share room *BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be 100% refundable until 6 months prior to the trip start date.
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