Romania - Life as it used to be
UK’s Leading Specialist Operator to Romania
Sunday 12 May to Friday 24 May 2013
Come back with us to a bygone age when farmers worked their fields with horses and drew water from picture postcard wells, when hay was stored in real haystacks and when the Highway Code included instructions for horses and carts. Romania offers the chance of a most interesting and rewarding holiday in a beautiful unspoilt country.
Day 1 Flight to Bucharest
Flight from London to Bucharest with transfer into the city. After checking in at the Ibis Hotel, we have a short city tour and an evening meal (included).
Day 2 Through the Mountains to Brasov
Morning rail journey through the Transylvanian Alps to Braşov, a lovely old city and our base for the next 3 nights. Accommodation is in the five star Aro Palace Hotel in the city centre. Free afternoon to explore or take the cable car to the top of a nearby mountain.
Day 3 Sinaia and Peles Castle
A choice today. Use your first class InterRail Pass to explore the region or take part in your tour leader’s optional excursion by rail to the ski resort of Sinaia. From here it is well worth the walk up to Peleş Castle, summer residence of King Carol and Pelişor Castle, summer residence of Queen Marie, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.
Day 4 Sighisoara, UNESCO Medieval Fortress
Another optional day but the rail travel is free on your InterRail Pass. Sighişoara is famous as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (Count Dracula) but this does not do justice to this beautiful town, now designated a World Heritage Site.
Day 5 Bran Castle and Târgu Mures
We are joined by our local guide who will provide a wealth of local knowledge invaluable when it comes to setting up that “perfect photo” of haymaking with horses! After a morning coach trip to Bran Castle and lunch in Braşov (included), we take the afternoon Inter City train to Târgu Mureş. We traverse a wild upland area dotted with white churches and then follow the scenic Mureş River valley.
Day 6 North Towards the Ukraine Border
Our journey today is by road over the mountains to Viseu de Sus. Lunch included en route and we have time to ride the recently reopened narrow gauge line from Sovata to Campu Cetatii.
Day 7 Steam in the Forest
A full day trip on a genuine narrow gauge working forest railway. The 20km line has survived because there is no road access to the remote Vaser Valley and, whilst the logging trains are now diesel hauled, steam survives for a daily passenger service. A picnic lunch is provided by the hotel.
Day 8 Maramures
This area is known as Maramureş and is typified by small villages with old wooden churches and a rural life unchanged for centuries. The feudal system dominated here until the mid-nineteenth century and, even today, strip farming is practised. We have a full day’s coach tour, including a visit to Merry Cemetary at Sapanta, so called because all the gravestones have been hand painted by local artists depicting the lives of those who have passed away. Today, being Sunday, the locals dress for church in colourful traditional costumes. We have lunch (included) with a village family.
Day 9 Across the Carpathian Mountains
A scenic train journey across the Carpathian Mountains into Bucovina in the north east of Romania, an area famous for its extraordinary Painted Monasteries. Lunch included with village family at Salva. Journey’s end is at Gura Humorului, our base for 2 nights. Evening meal included.
Day 10 Another Forest Railway and a Painted Monastery
At Moldovita we will visit the remnants of another forestry railway, now closed, but it is hoped that it will be revived for use as a tourist attraction. One steam loco and a couple of coaches comprise the stock and track has been laid for about ten kilometres. There will also be time for a short visit to the Moldovita Monastery. Lunch and evening meal included.
Day 11 Voronet, Sucevita and on to Iasi
We visit the Painted Monasteries of Voronet and Sucevita and have a circular tour of Bucovina by coach before lunch in Vama (included). We say goodbye to our local guide and take the train to the city of Iaşi where we stay at the four star Grand Hotel Traian.
Day 12 Iasi to Bucharest
A free morning in the pleasant city of Iaşi. Tram enthusiasts will note that the entire system is operated by second hand trams from Berne, Stuttgart, Augsburg and Darmstadt, most in their original colours. Afternoon train to Bucharest, arriving late evening.
Day 13 Bucharest to London
After a transfer to the airport we are, alas, back in the 21st Century for our flight home.
Please be aware that, in keeping with the “life as it used to be” theme, Romanian railways still have the traditional European low platforms and high trains. It is therefore more than ever essential that you travel with luggage which is easily manageable. Additionally, although there is very little “compulsory” walking on this holiday, you will get maximum value out of the options on Days 3 and 4 if you are able to walk for periods up to 30 minutes and climb steps.
|Single room supplement:||£330|
|Deposit for this holiday:||£200|
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2012