Romania - Life As It Used To Be

A Study Tour in association with Wilmslow Guild Centre for Adult Education

Friday 29 June to Thursday 12 July 2012

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 rather than plastic rolls and when the Highway Code included instructions for horses and carts. Romania is a beautiful, unspoilt country which offers the chance of a most relaxing, interesting and rewarding tour. The Study Tour aims to give a brief history of Romania and to show how the country has developed since the fall of Communism. It will also give a close insight into Romania as it is today, including a large part of cultural and historic Romania, visiting Saxon Transylvania, peaceful Maramureş and the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

Our association with the Wilmslow Guild goes back over 15 years and we have been proud to have helped the Guild to develop its programme of specialist tours. Each tour is accompanied by a tour leader who is a specialist in the chosen subject and, whilst they are not strenuous tours, we should mention that they are an educational experience as well as a holiday.

The tour is open to the public as well as Guild members but please note that, since it was designed with the Guild in mind, departure is from Manchester Airport.

Day 1   Fly to Bucharest

Flight from Manchester to Bucharest. Check into hotel, then brief city tour including Revolution Square to learn about the fall of Communism. Evening meal at local restaurant with traditional music and dance.

Day 2   The Transylvanian Alps

Maramures - working in the fieldVisit Parliament House, the infamous grand project of the dictator Ceausescu.

Drive north into the Transylvanian Alps. Lunch at a traditional winery includes wine tasting. Visit Peleş Castle at Sinaia, then continue to Braşov for overnight.

Day 3   Bran Castle and Saxon ages

Morning visit to Bran Castle (built 1377), then to Viscri (UNESCO designated site) to see the work of the Mihai Eminescu Trust. Lunch with Saxon family, then drive to Copsa Mare for overnight.

Day 4   Sighişoara

SucevitaSighişoara (also UNESCO designated) is the most complete medieval inhabited citadel in Europe. Time to explore here followed by visits to nearby villages with their fortified churches. Lunch included. Overnight Copsa Mare.

Day 5   Traditional crafts, music and dance

Drive north into Moldavia. Visit small private museum near Targu Neamt to see examples of local traditional crafts, music and children’s dance.

Day 6   Painted Monasteries

Bucovina is famous for its Painted Monasteries (again UNESCO), all with interior and exterior walls adorned with Orthodox frescoes painted in Byzantine style. We visit Voronet and Moldovita Monasteries. Overnight Gura Humorului. Lunch and evening meal included.

Day 7   Market Day in Marginea

Viseu de sus forestry railwayVisit the traditional local market in Marginea – everything you need to stock your house or farm, including the animals! Then visit Sucevita Monastery before lunch with local family. Overnight in Gura Humorului with dinner.

Day 8   Cross the Carpathian Mountains into Maramureş

Merry Cemetary SapantaDrive across the Prislop Pass into the remote Maramureş region. Traditional strip farming using hand implements is still the norm. Overnight in Vişeu de Sus

Day 9   Steam train on a logging railway

Logging is the mainstay of the local economy and today we ride a working logging railway with steam loco. In the afternoon we drive to Hoteni to a beautiful homestay which specialises in our kind of visit. Packed lunch plus evening meal included.

Day 10   Village life in Maramureş

Today is Sunday and the villagers still dress in their traditional colourful costumes. Visit the “Merry Cemetery” at Sapanta, so called because all the gravestones are hand-painted. Drive to Sirbi to study typical village life (water powered mill, cottage industry and so on). Return to Hoteni for overnight. Lunch and evening meal included.

Day 11   South to Cluj

Maramures - Ox and cartDrive over the Rotunda Pass. Visit the UNESCO wooden church with interior paintings at Rogoz. Picnic lunch included. Overnight in Cluj.

Day 12   Sibiel and Sibiu

Visit the Glass Icons Museum and have lunch with a village family in Sibiel, then continue to Sibiu, European Capital of Culture 2007. The afternoon is free for your own exploration of this medieval city.

Day 13   On to Bucharest

Drive to Bucharest with lunch en route. If the weather is favourable, the journey will use the mountain route over the highest road in Romania, built by Ceausescu in fairly recent times and open for only three months each year. Evening meal at a traditional restaurant. 

Day 14   Flight to Manchester

Transfer to the airport for flight to Manchester.


  • Flights in Economy Class by KLM from Manchester to Bucharest via Amsterdam
  • Bed & breakfast accommodation in hotels or comfortable private homestay accommodation, all with private facilities
  • 11 Lunches & 7 evening meals (those in homestay using local produce)
  • All excursions and entrance fees
  • Travel within Romania by private mini-coach
  • Services of two leaders - Alan Heywood (Managing Director of Ffestiniog Travel and Ramona Cazacu (Romanian English speaking graduate with speciality in Romanian history and culture)
Escorted holiday: £2,235
Single room supplement: £250
Deposit for this Study Tour: £200

Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2011

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Tel: 01766 772030