This 5 nights tour offers you the opportunity to come face to face with some of the factors that influence the creation of the Dracula Myth. You will be touring through Transylvania and Walachia seeing the sites learning the history behind the story of Dracula.
Bucharest – Curtea de Arges- Sibiu – Sighisoara – Bran – Brasov – Sinaia – Bucharest
Day 1 – Arrival in Bucharest, followed by city tour and transfer to hotel. O/N in Bucharest
Day 2 – In the morning we depart for Sibiu, on the way we visit the 15th century Monastery of Curtea de Arges, and the Fortress of Poenari, one of Vlad the Impaler`s Strongholds. City tour of Sibiu Old Center (UNESCO World Heritage site) in the afternoon. O/N in Sibiu
Day 3 – Drive towards Sighsoara (UNESCO World Heritage site) in the morning, on the way stop for a visit at the Fortified Church of Biertan (UNESCO World Heritage) one of the best preserved fortified medieval churches in Transylvania. Continue to Sighisoara, upon arrival guided walking tour of medieval town. O/N in Sighisoara
Day 4 – Today we continue towards Brasov and stop along the way for a visit at Bran Castle (aka Dracula Castle).Walking Tour of Brasov old town in the afternoon. O/N in Brasov
Day 5 - We begin the day with a visit at Peles Castle the summer residence of the Royal Family of Romania. In the second part of the day drive towards Bucharest, on the way visit Snagov Monastery, the burial place of Vlad the Impaler. O/N in Bucharest
Day 6 – Departure day, transfer to the Airport.
Day 1 – Bucharest
Upon your arrival in Bucharest, you will be greeted by your private guide and start discovering the city right away. Nicknamed “Little Paris” between the two World Wars, Bucharest is, nowadays, a city of contrasts. 45 years of Communism changed the face of the city dramatically, but still, traces of the old, bohemian times can be found, especially in the French architecture of the residential districts and the famous churches that still survive throughout the Romanian capital.
The city tour will give you the opportunity to admire some of the landmarks of Bucharest, such as the Arch of Triumph (inspired by the one in Paris), the Atheneum (Romania’s most famous concert hall), the Revolution Square (where the 1989 anti – Communist revolt went nationwide), and the Romanian Patriarch’s Church.
Accommodation in Bucharest at a 3*, 4* or 5* Hotel.
Day 2 – Curtea de Arges – Poenari Fortress – Sibiu – approx. 260 Km/ 162 miles
After breakfast, we’ll be leaving Bucharest and make our way through Southern Romania. Our first stop will be Curtea de Arges, where we will visit the Royal Church, founded by the princes of Wallachia, one of the most famous churches in Romania. Leaving Curtea de Arges, we will also make a small detour to Poenari, the place where the ruins of the fortress built by Dracula, can still be seen. Due to its position, the fortress was never conquered. Today, visitors climb 1500 steps to make it to the top.
In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Sibiu. During the Middle ages Sibiu was the most important city in Saxon Transylvania, and it was, for a while, the place where Transylvanian governors lived. Vlad the Impaler visited this town often, even though he was not in the best of relations with the Saxon merchants. An excellent example of German Gothic architecture, Sibiu was appointed as European Cultural Capital in 2007. It is also the place where the first museum in Romania was open (The Brukenthal Museum) in 1817, only seven years after the National Gallery in London.
Accommodation in Sibiu at a 3*, 4* or 5* Hotel.
Day 3 – Sibiu – Biertan – Sighisoara - approx. 110 Km/ 65 miles
In the morning, we will take a stroll in its magnificent old center, and visit places such as the Large Square (UNESCO World Heritage site), Small Square, the Catholic Church, and Liars’ Bridge, afterward.we depart from Sibiu and we head toward Sighisoara. The drive will take us through the Saxon part of Transylvania. On the way, we’ll be able to admire a few Saxon villages, with their specific architecture.
Our first stop of the day is at the Fortified Church of Biertan one of the most important monuments of its kind in Transylvania beeing a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.
We continue toward Sighisoara also a city built by the Saxon colonists, but it stands out from the others through the fact that it is the only inhabited citadel in Europe, and wholly integrated in the UNESCO World Heritage. The Old Town literally resides in the citadel enclosure, and this is where some of the most important buildings are found, such as the Clock Tower, the Church-on-the-Hill, and the Vlad Dracul House the birthplace of Dracula.
Accommodation in Sighisoara at a 3*, or 4* Hotel.
Day 4 – Sighisoara – Bran – Brasov – approx. 175 Km/ 110 miles
In the morning we drive toward Bran. Here we visit one of the most famous landmarks of Romania, the Bran Castle, also known as Dracula Castle. The castle was built in the 14th century by the Transylvanian merchants as a military fortress to defend the area against the frequent Turkish attacks. After 1900, it was donated to the Romanian Royal Family and it became the favorite place of Queen Maria. After the visit of the castle, we will have free time for souvenir shopping. In the late afternoon, we drive to Brasov.
Upon arrival we will take a walk in the Old Town of Brasov. Brasov is one of the seven cities founded by the Saxon colonists in Transylvania, some 800 years ago. Thanks to its location on the Transylvanian border, Brasov became a trade center for the region. Most of the Saxon architecture is still present and, the Black Church, the largest Gothic church in South-Eastern Europe, is definitely worth a closer look.
Accommodation in Brasov at a 3*, 4* or 5* Hotel.
Day 5 – Brasov – Sinaia – Snagov – Bucharest – approx. 190Km/120 Miles
Today, we will be leaving Brasov and head for Sinaia, a little town which has always been linked to the Romanian Royal family. Here we visit Peles Castle, an astounding Royal residence, built by Carol I, Romania’s first king. Next, we make a quick stop at the Sinaia monastery, the very first building to be built in these parts, after which the whole town was named. In the afternoon, we head for Bucharest and on the way we stop to say goodbye to Vlad the Impaler at his final resting place at Snagov Monastery a beautiful monastic dwelling dating from the early 15th century.
Accommodation in Bucharest at 3*,4*, or 5* Hotel
Day 6 – Bucharest – Departures
Today you will say goodbye to Romania, and the friends you made here. Your private guide will escort you to the airport for your departure.
* 5 nights in 3, 4 or 5 star hotels with breakfast included;
* air conditioned car for the above mentioned route, gasoline price and parking fees;
* a professional private English speaking guide/driver, at your disposal throughout the trip;
* guide’s expenses;
* all transfers;
* guided tours and entrance fees for the sights included in the itinerary;
* VAT and local tax;
* map of Romania;
* meals other than the ones included in the program;
* individual travel insurance;
* photo and video fees;
Arch of Triumph
Initially built of wood in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I, Bucharest's very own Arc de Triumph was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city. The sculptures decorating the structure were created by leading Romanian artists.
Athenaeum in Bucharest
The work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the Athenaeum was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the preeminent public fundraising campaigns ever in Romania, the "Give a penny for the Athenaeum" campaign saved the project after the original patrons ran out of funds. With its high dome and Doric columns, the Athenaeum resembles an ancient temple.
Biertan Fortified Church
The 15th century fortified church at Biertan (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village. Three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls, connected by towers and gates, encircled the complex, making the church impossible to conquer during medieval times.
Featuring late-gothic architecture with heavy doors and double exterior walls, the church boasts the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar and a remarkable wooden door which once protected the treasures in the sacristy.
Built between 1385 and 1477 on the site of an earlier church (destroyed by Mongol invasions in 1242), the construction of the Marienkirche, as it was known in German, was hampered by extensive damage caused by Turkish raids in 1421. The church was given its new name after disaster struck again in 1689, when the Great Fire leveled most of the town, blackening the walls of the church. Restoration took almost 100 years. Of two towers planned, only one was finished.
The Black Church is the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul.
Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212, the castle was first documented in an act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilege to build the Citadel.
Although Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia.
Fringed by the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains and resplendent with Gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, as well as a wealth of historical attractions, the medieval city of Brasov, located just three hours north of Bucharest, provides a great introduction to the region. Among Brasov’s best know historical and cultural attractions are the Council Square, the beautiful St. Nicholas Church, the Black Church – the largest Gothic church east of Vienna.
Facing west of the square is the stunning Brukenthal Palace, built between 1778-1785 by a Viennese architect in a refined late-baroque style. It is now the home of the Brukenthal Museum, the oldest and one of the finest art museums in the country. The palace was built by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal to serve as his official residence and house his collections of Romanian and Western art, 16th – 18th century religious sculptures and icons, stamps and coins, as well as an impressive library.
Church on the Hill
To the north of the Clock Tower stands one of the most representative gothic-style structures in Transylvania, the Church on the Hill - so called because of its location on the School Hill (1,373 ft high). First mentioned in a document in 1345 and superposed on a former Roman basilica, its construction lasted almost 200 years.
Located at the heart of old medieval Brasov and lined with beautiful red-roofed merchant houses, the Council Square, known to the Saxon population as the Marktplatz, is a nice place to rest and soak in the beautiful scenery.
In the center of the square stands the Old Town Hall, now home to Brasov's History Museum, while the southeast corner is dominated by the town's most famous landmark, the Black Church.
Curtea de Arges Monastery
The Monastery of Curtea de Arges dates from the 16th Century, it is believed to be the most beautiful church in Eastern Europe. Behold the sad legend of Manole as you take in its beauty, the legend says that Manole, the master builder, had to sacrifice his wife by locking her into the wall to stop the monastery from falling apart. The monastery is also the final resting place of the first two kings and queens of Romania.
First mentioned in 1411 as a grain market, the Great Square – the largest square in the city, has been throughout the centuries a quiet witness to the town’s lively merchant activity, assemblies and even public executions. Located in the heart of the old walled city, the square was designated an architectural monument by UNESCO and features some of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu.
Huet Square is home to a mix of Gothic buildings dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral (Biserica Evangelica). This impressive structure, featuring five pointed towers, was built in 1520 on the site of an old Roman basilica. The simple, stark interior is in total contrast to that of the Catholic Church.
Here, you can also find the city's only fully German school, the Samuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium, which exemplifies the city's proud German heritage
Several steep streets and stairways lead from the upper to the lower town. One of them passes beneath the iron Bridge of Lies. Built in 1859 by Fredericus Hutte, this was the first wrought iron bridge in Romania.
From the Great Square, walk through one of two tunnels under the arches of the Council Tower to arrive at the Little Square. This second fortified square was home to the town’s most prestigious master craftsmen, who lived in rows of arcaded houses along the north and east sides. Today, small shops, cafes and businesses line the square.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant
Opened in 1906, the museum features the richest folk art collection in Romania, with over 90,000 artifacts that trace the colorful and diverse cultural life of the Romanian people. The displays dip into all aspects of life in the Romanian countryside. Exhibits of agricultural tools, carpets, icons, furniture, photographs and films build up a complete picture of Romanian folk culture. In 1996, the museum was named European Museum of the Year.
National Art Museum
Located in the neoclassical former Royal Palace, set amid a wealth of historic buildings such as the Romanian Athenaeum, Kretzulescu Church and the Hotel Athenee Palace-Hilton, the museum currently exhibits over 100,000 works divided into two major sections. Its National Gallery features the works of major Romanian artists, including Grigorescu, Aman and Andreescu. There is also a roomful of early Brancusi sculpture.
Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People's Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.
-It is the world's second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt)
- The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall weighs 2.5 tons
- Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs.
Peles Castle a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture, considered by many one of the most stunning castles in Europe.
Commissioned by King Carol I in 1873 and completed in 1883, the castle served as the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. Its 160 rooms are adorned with the finest examples of European art, Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows and Cordoba leather-covered walls.
Savings Bank Palace
Boasting one of the most impressive neoclassical facades in the city, this structure was built in the 19th century to the design of French architect Paul Gottereanu (who between 1875 and 1900 designed more than 50 buildings in the city, to house the first Romanian Savings Bank. The square-shaped palace has a large central dome with metallic ribs separated by glass, which allows natural light to come in; there are also four smaller domes.
Located at the end of School Street and connecting the Citadel Square with the Church on the Hill, the Scholars' Stairs, or Schoolboys' Stairs, as it was also known, makes for an interesting piece of medieval architecture. Built in 1642, the covered stair-passage was meant to facilitate and protect schoolchildren and churchgoers on their climb to the school and church during wintertime. Originally, the stairs had 300 steps, but after 1849, their number was reduced to 175.
Designated European Capital of Culture in 2007, Sibiu retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Explore the old city center with its upper town, home to most of Sibiu's historic sites, and lower town, lined with colorful houses on cobblestone streets and bounded by imposing city walls and defense towers overlooking the river Cibin. Sibiu makes an ideal base for the exploration of the nearby countryside and villages.
The medieval town of Sighisoara, a perfectly intact 15th century gem with nine towers, narrow passageways and cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad Draculea, nicknamed Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), ruler of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. It was Vlad who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula. His house is just one of many attractions here.
Sighisoara Clock Tower
Sighisoara's main point of attraction is the Clock Tower, also known as the Council Tower, built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century. In the 17th century, a two-plate clock, with figurines carved from linden wood, was set at the top of the tower, with one dial looking over the Lower Town, and the other facing the citadel. This intricate two-plate clock has been working continuously since the Middle Ages.
Snagov Monastery & Lake
One hundred years after the church was built (1364), Vlad Tepes (Vlad Dracula) added the fortress walls and a dungeon. A plaque on the floor of the church marks the grave with the presumed remains of the count.
The Village Museum was founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania's rural architecture. Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting.
Vlad Dracul’s House
Vlad Dracul's House is located in the Citadel Square of Sighisoara, close to the Clock Tower. This ocher-colored house is the place where Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's famous Dracula, was born in 1431 and lived with his father, Vlad Dracul, until 1435 when they moved to Targoviste.
The ground floor of the house serves as a pastry shop while the upstairs is a restaurant.