Transylvania - Maramures Tour

"Transylvania is in my blood...." Charles, Prince of Wales

The name of "Transylvania" comes from the Latin expression -Trans Silva – which means the land beyond the forests, due to the forests which covered the mountains in the area. Transylvania is one of the most important regions of Romania and of Europe as well. It is one of the provinces of medieval Romania which experienced difficult moments along the centuries. Transylvania is the place where the Romanian nation was born, and an important economic and cultural centre of this country. And last, but not least, it is a region rich in natural and historical tourist attractions, being situated inside the arch of the Carpathians.

Maramures is considered by many to be the heart and soul of rural Romania. With its picturesque countryside of small villages, rolling hills, pastures, and meadows full of wildflowers,Maramures epitomizes all that the rural lifestyle encompasses. Visitors to Maramures have a unique opportunity to step back in time and bear witness to simpler times and simpler lives.

While Romania is on the verge of economically and socially joining the rest of Europe, Maramures stands as a testament to the traditional, to a romantic era of simplicity, pride and moral values that many of us can only now read about or hear about from our grandparents.

Package includes
  • Accommodation for 7 nights
  • Half board: breakfast and dinner
  • Specialized guide
  • Tickets to all touristic sites included in the tour
  • Transportation from/to airport
  • Transportation inside Romania
Package doesn't include
  • Transport from/to destination (landing city)
  • Travel and heath inssurance

Day 1: Arrival / Sibiu

Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels* built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. Sibiu’s Old Town retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Like Sighisoara and Brasov, it has a distinctly Germanic feeling. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares such as Great Square and Little Square.

Meeting with the Romanian guide. Transfer from airport to accomodation. Dinner and get to know the guests.Accomodation will be made in Gura Raului Village, situated 18 km away from Sibiu.

Placed at an altitude of 554 m and surrounded by hills and forests, Gura Raului has a clean mountain air. It is one of the few places where youth keep intact the traditions and habits, and where it mixes harmoniously with the modern.

Day 2: Sibiu - Alba – Cluj - Maramures ( cca 320km). 

After breakfast, we’ll start to drive north toward Maramures. On the way , we’ll make a short stop to Alba Iulia town, an important place in the history of Romania. In 1599, Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) achieved here for a brief period of time the union of the three main provinces of Romania: Walachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It was here that on December 1st 1918 the province of Transylvania announced its unification with Romania.

In 1922 Prince Ferdinand was crowned King of Romania in an act which mirrored the union achieved more than four centuries earlier by Mihai Viteazul.

In the old town we will shortly visit the tree-lined streets of the Habsburg citadel, one of the most impressive in Europe and discover the historical, cultural and architectural places of interest of Alba Iulia: the Roman Catholic Cathedral – the oldest and most valuable monument of architecture in Transylvania., the Batthyaneum Library, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Reunification, the Babilon Building – housing the National Museum of Unification, the Union Hall, the Apor Palace, the Princely Palace and the University of Alba Iulia.

In the afternoon, we’ll reach Viseu city, a good starting point for seeing the highlights of Maramures. Maramures is the land of wooden churches, mythological richness, impressive landscapes and very ancient customs.

It has carefully preserved the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of a medieval peasant past. Maramures is a small and unique location in the geographical heartland of Europe that has carefully and distinctively preserved the culture, traditions and lifestyle of a mediaeval peasant past. The region stands as a testament to traditional; to a romantic era of simplicity, pride and moral values that many of us can only now read about or hear from our grandparents. Traditional dinner and overnight in Viseu.

Day 3: Maramures one day journey with Vaser valley steam engine train 

After breakfast, we'll drive toward Viseu Valley for spending the day in the unique landscape of Maramures.

Here we'll take the steam engine train for an unforgetable experience. The Viseu de Sus forestry railway, located closed to the border with the Ukraine, is an outstanding example of technical cultural heritage. The line is known as the “Vaser Valley Railway” - "vaser" comes from the local German word for water, in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Travelling over a network of some 60 kilometers of narrow-gauge track, you will still find wood-burning steam locomotives running alongside several diesels and railcars. CFF Viseu de Sus ("CFF" is the Romanian abbreviation for Caile Ferate Forestiere, meaning "Forestry Railway") is the last remaining forestry railway in Europe.

The line runs along side the Vaser River with numerous curves, bridges and several tunnels, into a wild and romantic valley, high in the Carpathian Mountains. The railway opens up a vast area of isolated forest and mountain, without roads or villages but with plenty bears and wolves instead!
The future of the Vaser Valley forestry railway is not yet fully assured - there are still many problems confronting it and all the people working there. But this wonderful railway has many friends all over the world and the number is constantly growing! Not least because of tourism, it looks very likely that Romania's last forest railway will have a healthy future to look forward to.

In the afternoon, we’ll come back to the hotel and have free time for rest and leisure. Traditional dinner and overnight in Viseu.

Day 4: Viseu ( Maramures) – Sighetul Marmatiei – Baia Mare - Sighisoara

After taking the last breakfast in the heart and soul of rural Romania ( as Maramures is considered), we’ll start drive toward Sighisoara. But, as we can’t say good bye to Maramures so easy, we’ll make a few stops to see just a small part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We'll start with the Ieud church, built in 14th century by three woods.

We'll continue with visiting the Barsana Monastery, built in 1720, a large monastic complex comprising several wooden buildings, all constructed in the local style.

In the end we’ll make a short stop to "Merry Cemetery", located in Sapanta village, a special kind of graveyard, with wooden crosses painted in vivid colors. A particular blue, called "Sapanta blue" rules over all the other colors. Each cross is different: the carved images naively catch one of the deceased lifetime's characteristic attitudes. The merry-cemetery became an opened –air museum and an international tourism attraction.

In the afternoon we reache Sighisoara, the best preserved medieval castle in Romania and one of the most beautiful residential castles in Europe. Dinner and overnight in Sighisoara.

Day 5: Sighisoara - Biertan - Sibiu (aprox. 70 km)

After breakfast, a short tour of the medieval castle and the visit of the Clock Tower will be provided.

Drive through the beautiful Saxon villages and towns in the direction of Sibiu. On the way we'll passed by the great fortified church in Biertan (Birthälm) (15 -. 16C), which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we reached Sibiu, the European Capital of Culture in 2007. A short tour of the old town and visit the main attractions and later at leisure in the beautiful medieval city..

Traditional dinner and overnight in Sibiu.

Day 6: One day journey to Transfagarasan

The Transfagarasan is the most famous road in Romania - Follow the Top Gear route in Fagaras Mountains Transfagarasan

The Transfagarasan journey is not only a trip through nature at its best, but it can also be a good trip through history.
This road, which was built for military purposes and which connects Transylvania to Wallachia, Romania’s historic regions, was built between 1970 and 1974, during the rule of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Ceaușescu wanted to ensure quick military access across the mountains in case the Russians ever invade.

The landscape is fantastic, and the differences of altitude and the curves represent a challenge for both cars and drivers. Unfortunately, because of the weather conditions, Transfagarasan Road is opened for only a few months every year, usually from July until October. The most important tourist attractions are Vidraru Lake and Vidraru Dam, which is one of the greatest in Europe, then Poenari Fortress (built in the time of Vlad Tepes), Balea Glacial Lake and Balea Waterfall. We’ll spend the entire day here and at noon we’ll have a picnic lunch in this breathtaking mountain scenery.

In the afternoon we’ll come back to Sibiu for dinner and overnight

Day 7: Visit Sibiu surroundings

After breakfast we’ll drive toward Jina village, located in a remote area of Cibin mountains. Here, the traditions are kept rigorously despite of modern look of the houses. The main occupation of the inhabitants is farming. In different periods of the year, a few festivals are taking place here, most of them dedicated to their activities as farming and traditional handmade objects. The village is well known for products resulting from farming: milk, meat and several types of cheese. We’ll have lunch within a sheep farm in Jina.

Traditional dinner and overnight in Sibiu

Day 8: Departure

Last breakfast in Romania.
Transfer to the airport. Journey home