Romania vacation, the Beauty of Yesterday

“An enriching combination of Romanian culture, architecture and history, everything on this small group tour is organised for you, so you can take in all the sights, stress-free.”

Highlights

Bucharest | Bacau | Piatra Neamt | Vama | Moldovita | Sucevita Monasteries | Voronet Monastery | Visue de Sus | Maramures County | Steam train from Viseu to Paltin Station | Iza Valley | Bistrita | Barsana Monastery | Targu Mures | Viscri | Sighisoara | Brasov | Bran | Sinaia

Please feel free to contact the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
03 Jun 2019
1255
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Jun 2019 departure
09 Sep 2019
1285
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 09 Sep 2019 departure
Our top tip:
Remember your mozzy spray in summer.
Trip type:
Small Group
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
9 nights 3*-4* hotel.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge.
Meals:
Full board - all meals provided.
Included:
Accommodation, transfers, transport, English-speaking guide, entry fee, listed activities.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Romania vacation, the Beauty of Yesterday

Environment

We have chosen to include places to stay where there is much more opportunity for you to interact more fully with the locals, to practice your language and to minimise your carbon footprint somewhat. The village guesthouses and local homes that we stay in use predominantly local produce in the preparation of meals, reducing the foodmiles, waste and carbon footprint associated with larger hotels. Our guides (and drivers/escorts) will also provide best practice information regarding your environmental impact upon sites and fragile landscapes which is key to respecting and conserving both remote and well-visited places.

By including the opportunity to visit the National Parks and UNESCO sites on this vacation you choose to contribute to the excellent record of conservation in recent years through the entrance fees. We ask all our customers to respect the environment. Litter, in particular, is damaging to the landscape and can injure animals so we encourage people to act responsibly.

As a company we employ responsible policies such as recycling paper, ink cartridges, glass and cardboard; we minimize the use of electricity and conducting the vast majority of our correspondence and promotion via the internet and email, minimizing the amount of paper used for our activities. We also compost waste in our company garden.

Community

Accommodation on this vacation is in, primarily, family run, small hotels. The food in the hotels is primarily sourced locally and a large number of dishes on the menus are home made. We only employ local guides as their expertise and local knowledge will enhance your experience and understanding of the historical context and the environmental impact of your visit. In Bucharest in particular you will see the evidence for and read about the impact of the Ceauasescu period; the cost of rebuilding and repairing the historic centre has been enormous and every contribution made by visitors will help. Similarly the countryside was devastated in this time as whole villages were destroyed and communities forceibly removed to the cities - because of this experience rural Romania and its traditional way of life is so precious and through our tours we aim to assist the local economies to thrive with the help of tourism whilst not losing the integrity of the community structures.

As well as supporting the local community and economy directly our vacations also encourage support indirectly. The latter because more interaction with local people and local tourist service providers engenders greater understanding and respect which almost always leads to larger and more careful spending by visitors.

9 Reviews of Romania vacation, the Beauty of Yesterday

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 11 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Coming from a miserable autumnal England, I very much enjoyed the delicious outdoors meals we had in the gardens of various hosts. A personal highlight was the Nicolae Popa museum, both for the exhibits and the beautiful settings. Talking about food: meals are generous and tasty, mostly 3 courses. Prepare to put on weight :-)
The main attractions come in two groups. On the one hand churches, in a multitude of styles and sizes. The old wooden village churches are, in their own way, every bit as rewarding as the famous painted monasteries. The other theme is the titular yesterday. We saw old villages in their individual styles, visited traditional craftsmen, took rides in a horse cart, and on a steam train. And somehow, in between, Romania snuck in some amazing landscape and sunshine.
It was my first group tour, and thoroughly enjoyable. Nothing to worry about, just have breakfast, go to the minibus, and enjoy what is coming. Alexandra, our guide, was no doubt the one who made all this possible. She seems to know everything and everyone, and any extra wishes or small problems were just resolved with a smile. Extra mention to Cristi, who did not only safely drive us - no mean feat on some of those roads - but was always ready to give a helping hand and find extra treats.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring something to read for the longer driving parts. Much of it is through breathtaking views, but sometimes it's unavoidable to pass 2 hours of unremarkable fields. Souvenirs shopping is best during the first half of the tour, later it became a bit generic. And most of all: take the moments as they come. This should not be a vacation to tick off must-see items from a guide book, but one to drink in the ever changing character of the countryside. A simple early morning walk to a lake near a guest house left a bigger impression than the overly busy Bran Castle, spectacular though it is.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely. Most of the guest houses were local and independently run. The meals were often prepared by local families and served in their yard. Even though we did come as the classical coach tourists, I never had the impression that the people put on a show for the camera. The wood carver clearly was a craftsman showing us around because he was proud of his work, not because he wanted to earn tourist fees. The small group size allows to support to such individual places, which simply couldn't cope with large coach parties.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely delightful, I never came back from a vacation more relaxed. The weather, of course was a bonus, but the perfect organisation made all the difference.

Reviewed on 05 Oct 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We enjoyed it all but going to to the Merry Cemetry at Sapanta was interesting also Viscri where Prince Charles has bought a home. He has helped the village and it was great going to the woods on a horse drawn cart to the brick maker and learning about his craft.
The fields to the village were covered in autumn crocuses and other wild flowers..... so beautiful.
Churches were wonderful although for us too many! Our guide Alexandra was excellent.
The food was a big surprise . We did not expect three good meals daily or to be taken to restaurants. The food at guest houses was wonderful, organic in most cases and was served with home made wine and schnapps.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Quite tiring traveling every day, but we had a great group of people, nine in all. We stayed over an extra day in Bucharest and visited The People's House or Parliament....well worth a visit.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely. Guest houses were successful so the owners built another next door. Tourism is still young but is providing many jobs. A lot of the food was home grown and organic. The people are poor and work hard and it would be a pity to become so commercial that the local produce disappears

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Different but excellent

Reviewed on 20 Jun 2018 by

For anyone with an interest in this part of Romania, with its unique history, unusual ecclesiastical architecture, and its customs and traditions, and who may be considering a vacation there, I can recommend this 10 day group tour by mini-bus with almost no reserve.

There was so much to see and enjoy. The painted monasteries of Bucovina each different from the last, the journey along the Vaser valley on the forestry railway - slightly touristy but great fun , the splendid scenery on the Prislop Pass, the fortified Saxon churches of Transylvania, the larger towns, the villages with their traditional wood carving, the folk art - an almost inexhaustible list full of interest and intrigue.

The tour price included full board and the hotels and guest houses were all of an acceptable standard, varying from almost palatial impersonal hotels in the larger cities to the far more enjoyable and more rural guest houses where we found ourselves almost part of the family. All rooms were en suite with modern showers and spotlessly clean.

I doubt if Romania could lay claim to culinary greatness, but the food was consistently good with the accent on soups, grilled meats, fish, with peppers and aubergines in various forms and all usually served with polenta. Lunches were an unexpected delight often taken in intriguing and lovely rural surroundings, old village inns or tiny restaurants in private houses where there was usually no choice of menu but abundant helpings and always accompanied by home made slivovic and wine of varied quality as one might expect. We over ate of course how could one not?

The whole trip was undertaken by minibus a modern 8 seater Renault reasonably roomy and very pristine when we boarded on arrival at Bacau airport, where we were greeted by Alexandra who would be our guide and driver for the tour.

And she turned out to be an absolute gem. Young , pretty, highly educated and speaking excellent English, there seemed nothing she did not know about her country, past and present not that any of the six of us was in a position to doubt her explanations. She went out of her way to ensure we enjoyed ourselves, often making little detours for odd sites that were not on the itinerary which she thought we might enjoy. Furthermore she drove well and safely on roads where that could not always be taken as normal.
And my one reserve? It was all too short! I was a little breathless at the end.

Reviewed on 12 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There are many to choose from, but Biertan and Viscri stand out for their beauty and country setting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for a lot of traveling, but the many things to see along the way make it worthwhile.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We used local guest houses and brought income to some small villages with their churches. We met and talked to Romanian conservationists and learned about their projects.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a great time. The accommodation was good, the people were friendly and the museum village and Ethnographic museums were wonderful.

Reviewed on 29 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Painted monasteries, fortified churches, peasant/rural lifestyle all brilliantly presented by our guide Alexandra. Also the steam train.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?



3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Staying in guest houses must benefit local people but the character and variation between these guest houses was quite wide.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent with one or two exceptions in the accommodation.

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The rich history and culture, the variety of landscapes, the natural beauty and the glorious food.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for some long, but worthwhile, drives. Oh, and if you are a tea drinker, carry your own black tea

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


In some ways, yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A wonderful vacation full of diversity in terms of sights, activities and experiences. Doina, our super guide/ driver (and sometimes cook), made sure we were well looked after. A trip to Romania is highly recommended.

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Hard to say as so many wonderful bits. Maybe visiting the fortified church in the village where Prince Charles has bought a house, and then going by horse and cart to visit the brick maker.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Come with an open mind and enjoy the home produce and home made wines of these very hospitable people. Learn a little of the history of this nation before you come. Visit the village museum in Bucharest. Fly with the national carrier TAROM as we found them very good.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes because we used local hotels, local restaurants, and the tour was run by a Romanian company.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


EXCELLENT, Our guide Alexandra was first class.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It is difficult to pick out the 'most' memorable as the whole vacation was absolutely wonderful. We were met by the link tour operators who were charming and cheerful. We were able to see many of the sites of Bucharest the following day, and the trip around the other parts of Romania over the subsequent week was brilliantly organised. The historical buildings, both religious and secular were stunning, and the young guide who took us around was knowledgeable, accomodating, and lovely to be with.
Marvellous.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you have any preconceptions of Romania, they are likely to be wrong. It is a clean, bright country with excellent infrastructure, including much better Wifi speeds everywhere than most of the UK.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The guide made it possible to visit small museums and 'cottage industries' such as a rural tile maker, which involved a pony cart ride, none of which would have been possible without her local knowledge.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A thoroughly memorable and enjoyable experience. Not given 5 starts only because the phrase attached to it seems impossible.
Many vacations can be fantastic but cannot be compared.

Reviewed on 15 May 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It's difficult to pick one thing. For me the Carpathian Forest Steam Train trip and the visit to Viscri Weisskirch are the two most memorable items.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


1) Get Alexandra Anghel (the daughter of the Romanian Agent Doina Anghel) to be your driver and guide. She is fluent in English, an extremely safe driver, has a great sense of humour, and tries her best at all times to see you have a great vacation.
2) Be prepared to accept different standards of behaviour (e.g. smoking) and accommodation that you might expect in Western Europe.
3) Swat up on your Bible if you are going to be taken round the painted monasteries!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It benefitted local people to some extent, but it did not reduce environmental impacts or supported conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Good.
It was a well constructed tour (created by the Romanian Agent) BUT it was let down by the "Tour Guide" who seemed to have limited knowledge about things other than the monasteries and palaces; never made any attempt to find out what we wanted to gain from our vacation; often started to talk about things when only one of us was present; at meal times often took more than her share of food (e.g. butter, bread water) and couldn't leave her mobile phone alone and at times acted as she was the one on vacation. We found this behaviour quite rude and unacceptable.
E-mailed op on 02.07.14 JP

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on this vacation. We are very pleased that the tour itinerary and Alexandra's driving and company were a positive and enjoyable experience.

We investigated your guide's conduct and found that her child was ill in hospital and so she was obviously distracted and not up to her usual high standards. She obviously should not have been allocated your tour under he circumstances and we have discussed this thoroughly with our local partner agency to ensure all guides perform to an expected high standard for all visitors and at all times.

Regarding the environmental impact of our tours we believe that by using small-scale and locally owned guest houses and hotels we help to keep food miles and waste to a minimum as well as supporting local economies directly and indirectly. The latter because more interaction with local people and tourist service providers engenders greater understanding and respect which almost always leads to larger and more careful spending by visitors. Our guides (and drivers/escorts) will also provide best practice information regarding your environmental impact upon sites and fragile landscapes which is key to respecting and conserving both remote and well-visited places.

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