Winter in Transylvania

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8 days
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$1,625 USD
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4.3 / 5 from 6 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
CVX
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Winter Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Exploring Transylvania in winter is like stepping into the pages of a storybook in Romania

The air is crisp and fresh, the sky a deep azure and the surrounding fields glitter with a fresh coat of brilliant white snow. The towering peaks of the Carpathian Mountains mark the backdrop for this fairy tale adventure into one of Europe’s most enchanted regions where horse-drawn carts make their way through woodlands and moors to gothic castles and Saxon villages. Discover Transylvania’s wintery charms, history and folklore and visit Christmas markets (in December) as we travel into the pages of a story book.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Carpathians in winter
  • Explore the Saxon towns and villages of Transylvania
  • Visit Bran Castle, the home of Dracula 
  • Visit Libearty; Europe's largest Bear Sanctuary

Key information

  • 7 nights hotels, all en suite
  • 6 days guided sightseeing
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by minibus
  • Christmas Market departures in December

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 5 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Bucharest.

    Land only clients can arrive any time today. Those on the group flights will arrive in the evening in Bucharest. 
    Ramada Parc Bucharest or similar

  • Day 2

    Bucharest city tour and on to Sibiu in Transylvania.

    This morning we visit Bucharest, Romania’s capital city. With its tree-lined boulevards, belle époque architecture and Arc-de-Triomphe, the city has often been likened to Paris. We visit some of the main sites including the colossal People’s Palace. Now housing the parliament, this palace was built in the 1970s by Nicolae Ceausescu and is the 2nd largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon. The palace’s 12 floors, 1,100 rooms, 328-feet long lobby and four underground levels (including an enormous nuclear bunker), were built by an army of 20,000 workers and 700 architects.


    We then leave Bucharest and drive towards Transylvania and the quaint town of Sibiu, stopping for a traditional lunch along the way.

    Imparatul Romanilor Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Explore Saxon Sibiu and the mountain resort of Paltinis.

    When, in the 12th Century, the Saxons came to Transylvania, they built seven walled citadels. Sibiu was the largest and wealthiest of these and its old town retains some of the grandeur of those days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Steep-roofed 17th Century buildings with gable overhangs flank narrow streets which lead into vast church-dominated open squares. The old town is surrounded by imposing mediaeval walls and protected by 39 towers and four bastions, some overlooking the River Cibin. We spend the morning exploring this Saxon gem before going to nearby Paltinis, a mountain resort outside of Sibiu in the Cindrel Mountains.

    Paltinis was founded in 1894 as the first mountain resort in Romania and still is the second highest in the country. Because of its north-west position a layer of snow can be expected about 6 months a year. Here we will enjoy an easy walk in the fresh mountain air before finishing the day in a local restaurant for dinner, then return to Sibiu.

    Imparatul Romanilor Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Brandy and wine tasting at the UNESCO site of Sighisoara

    The next stop on our atmospheric journey through Transylvania is the UNESCO World Heritage site city of Sighisoara. Another Saxon town founded in the 12th Century, Sighisoara is one of Europe’s most beautiful and best preserved mediaeval cities with much of the current layout and architecture dating back to the 16th Century. Wandering the cobbled streets past ornate churches and burgher houses in the crisp winter air fills one with a sense of magic straight out of a story book to rival old Prague or Vienna. It is also believed that this is the birthplace of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, AKA Vlad Dracula, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of vampires.

    In Sighisoara, we have time to sample some of the local brandy and wines. Less known than some other wine-producing countries, Romania has a long tradition in wine-making and is being increasingly recognised for the quality of its produce.
    Hotel Sighisoara or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Discover the village of Viscri; on to Brasov

    We continue our journey through Transylvania as we head to the village of Viscri, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a part of the world lost in time to an era before large-scale farming. The bucolic charm and serenity has enchanted many visitors, including the Prince of Wales who first came here in 1998 and now owns houses in Viscri and neighbouring villages and returns at least once a year.

    We visit the village with its fortified church, experience the simplicity of village life and enjoy a traditional lunch at a farmer’s house.

    We continue our journey and reach Romania’s most beautiful mediaeval town, Brasov. Situated at the intersection of trade routes between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, and with certain tax exemptions, Saxon merchants of Brasov amassed considerable wealth and exerted power over the region. Fortifications were erected around the city and expanded by various guilds whilst inside the walls buildings sprung up over the ages in gothic, baroque and renaissance styles. Cradled by the towering peaks of the southern Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is our home for the next three nights.
    Coroana Brasovului Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Visit the Bear Sanctuary and the village of Vulcan.

    In Zarnesti we visit Libearty, Europe’s largest bear sanctuary. The sanctuary, set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests, is home to nearly 100 rescued bears, many of whom suffered over many years in captivity as dancing bears or in circuses. From the bear sanctuary we will go on a gentle hike across meadows to the village of Vulcan. This region, around Brasov, is closely related to the history of the Transylvanian Saxons, settlers who immigrated 800 years ago from the Rhine-Moselle valleys. Their strong fortified churches have attracted international attention and some of them are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Vulcan derives its name from the Slavonic word ‘valc’, meaning wolf. In Vulcan we will be welcomed with coffee and tea in the yard of the fortified church. The churches in Transylvania were strongly fortified during the Middle Ages when the region was raided a number of times by Mongols and Tartars. Return to Brasov for the night.
    Coroana Brasovului Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Brasov city tour before going to Bran, Dracula's Castle.

    This morning we explore Brasov before heading out to the village of Bran and Dracula’s castle.

    Built on the site of a Teutonic stronghold perched atop a 200-foot-high rock, with imposing towers and fairy tale turrets, it’s easy to see why Bram Stoker (who’d never travelled to Transylvania) chose this place as the setting for Dracula’s castle. The character himself was based on Vlad Tepes, AKA Vlad the Impaler, a Wallachian prince from the 15th Century.

    The castle was originally built in the 14th Century by the Saxons of Brasov as a citadel to defend the mountain passes from the Turkish and also served as a royal residence from 1920 to 1948.

    After the visit to Bran Castle, we have a short hike in Piatra Craiului National Park, up to the mountain village of Magura, where our final dinner is served in a local guesthouse.

    After dinner, we return to Brasov and enjoy the beautifully atmospheric Transylvanian winter.
    Coroana Brasovului Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Return to Bucharest Airport; end trip.

    We say farewell to Transylvania and drive the 3 hours back to Bucharest in time for the flight back to London. For those not travelling on the group flights, the trip ends upon arrival at Bucharest Airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Romania

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Romania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 5 dinners are included on this trip.

Transylvanian cuisine contains different dishes and is influenced by several traditions and cultures (German, Hungarian and Romanian cuisine) but still maintains it's own distinct character with a love for homemade cooking. Soups are a staple and much loved dish, main meals tend to be hearty with a strong focus on local produce and desserts are varied and plentiful.

We also have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Romanian lunch in Bucharest and a traditional farmer’s lunch in the village of Viscri.

Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options can be limited throughout Romania - please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.

Weather

Romania enjoys a continental weather pattern. Winter is normally cold but crisp with clear skies, though heavy snowfalls are common. Skies tend to be clearer in the mountains whilst in valleys and cities it may take a little longer, generally until lunch time, for the fog to clear. Generally, as long as you dress for cold weather, winter is a nice time to visit the region.

Brasov

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded 1 for Leisurely.

This is a cultural trip exploring one of Europe’s most beautiful regions in winter when the snow-covered countryside and quaint mediaeval towns come together in true story book style. This is not a particularly active trip, though there are some walks in towns and villages and a slightly longer, but still gentle, walk to Vulcan. Temperatures are generally quite cold, averaging 0°C in the valleys, though blue skies are common in winter, especially in the mountains. In the valleys mornings tend to be a little more foggy and nicer in the afternoon. Snowfall can happen any time between December and April.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

Please be advised that the below accommodation listed in each location are our standard hotels used, but there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

During the trip we stay in a series of warm and comfortable hotels, all en suite. The first part of the trip we change hotels each night.

In Bucharest we stay in the Ramada Parc Bucharest hotel.The hotel is equipped with an indoor swimming pool, sauna and free Wi-Fi. 

In Sibiu, the hotel Imparatul Romanilor is located in the historical centre of the town and dates back to the 16th century, with sophisticated architecture and elegant interiors. It also has an indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and free Wi-Fi.

The Hotel Sighisoara in Sighisoara is located within the historic walls of the citadel, dating back to the 16th century. It offers a sauna and hot tub, free Wi-Fi as well as a wine cellar and traditional restaurant.

For the second part of the trip we’re based in the mediaeval town of Brasov at the Hotel Coroana Brasovului offering free Wi-Fi with only a ten minute walk to the square.

Single supplements are available on request.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Janet Gibbons

    Winter in Transylvania-without snow!

    Despite a lack of snow this was an excellent trip with a really good group and great guide. The trip provided plenty of variety-some lovely towns, a great walk, plenty of tasty food, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday there were really good experiences. Perhaps extra worthy of mention was the special day we visited the bear sanctuary, followed by a tasty picnic in the sun overlooking the Carpathian Mountains then a lovely walk to Viscri to see a fortified church and have tea and cake with the priest and his dog!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a great leader. Extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his country. Very competent while being good fun. Keen to ensure we enjoyed the week which we did. Driver also excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like a bit of shopping (!!) there's a lovely souvenir shop in the square at Sighisoara near the hotel called House on the Rock. Worth a visit if you have time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was very full on and yet very leisurely which I really appreciated. I would thoroughly recommend it.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Sally-Anne Hutchison

    Winter in Transylvania

    I booked this as I wanted to try something different from my usual trekking holidays, especially as I was recovering from several knee operations. I had always wanted to visit the Eastern side of Europe and the holiday delivered in all accounts and I felt that the trip was well organised from the outset and the leader made sure that everyone was well informed both with the days' plans and the local history. All the visits are included and almost all the meals so the trip offers excellent value for money for the "lazy" traveller who wishes to see a different country but not have all the difficulties with planning transport or restaurants.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the visit to the bear sanctuary. I knew a little about the history of the sanctuary prior to visiting and loved to see these beautiful creatures in a loving environment and being well cared for. Unfortunately the weather was not so good during the visit but it was so fascinating to just see these mammals rooting in the bushes and foraging. I would have liked a slightly longer time at the sanctuary to just watch the bears but was aware that they only open their gates for a limited period in order to protect the bears from simply continuing to be yet another "tourist attraction"; being the very reason they rescued them from the circuses in the first place. This visit was followed by a short hike across some woodland to a local village. Again it was very peaceful despite the weather's attempts to make it into a full blown winter hike!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was very attentive of the group and made an effort to chat to everyone at some point on the trip. He explained what each day would involve and listened to any requests that the group may have in order to try to accommodate these requests into the day's events. I felt he put himself out to ensure that the meals went well and all the restaurants were well chosen and had a well set out menu plan, especially for me being a vegetarian. He stayed later in the evenings and offered to show the group the interesting sites with evening walks in the villages and towns. He had a good knowledge of all the history of the areas we visited and ensured that he passed on this knowledge with querky walks and alternative strolls around the relevant sites. We would not have been aware of some of these buildings or history without his guidance. I felt he handled the group excellently and had a good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Money was difficult to obtain prior to the trip to Romania from banks but some of the group managed to source some Romanian currency from the post office before the departure. Also the leader will guide you to the best exchange offices after arrival but this was not until day 3 of the trip for me. Because of the travel dates we flew out at a weekend so this was not until the Monday. That said, there was little need to spend a lot of money as the majority of the evening meals and lunches and all the visits to the churches, parliament building and sanctuary were included. The money is only needed for drinks, coffees etc. Bring warm clothes with you as the weather we had was quite interchangeable and also some "yaktracks" to put on your shoes for extra grip over the icy cobbles in the towns! But don't forget to take them off when inside the churches and buildings as they are quite slippy on the flag-stones. I would advise taking a smaller kit bag rather than a suitcase as you do need a large wardrobe and it is easier for transporting into all the different hotels and accommodation buildings. It is also nicer for the driver not to have great large cases to shift!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would definitely recommend this trip as an easy cultural break and the guide was excellent with the group and made sure we all saw the "local" Romania and not just the tourist side. I would seriously consider about a further visit to think about snow shoeing or more adventurous holidays to that country. The trip is fantastic value as all meals are included and you will not go hungry as the portions are bigger than the USA portions in my experience!!
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Tan Siew

    Winter in Transylvannia

    Scenery was very picturesque, both in the towns and in the countryside. All administrative arrangements proceeded without any hitches. The tour provided a good varied programme of city tours and countryside walks. We were given a good sampling of food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Countryside walk ending with dinner at a village with shepherd performing, Snow finally falling on the 3rd last day of the tour. Visit to bear sanctuary.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was entertaining, humorous and shows great pride of his heritage.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good hiking shoes needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tour did not include any major aspect of Hungarian influence, as it concentrated mainly on Saxon heritage.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Marilyn Staib

    Winter in Transylvania

    An excellent winter break. Relaxed but comprehensive itinerary with a competent leader. No tourist crowds & some lovely towns or villages especially Sighisoara. Most meals are included. Food is good, so not a venue for weight watchers. All hotels were very good, particularly Sighisoara

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dinner in the ice hotel restaurant. Sighisoara.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Competent

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suggest Exodus offer the stay in the Ice Hotel itself as an option at an additional cost. I suggest limiting the stay in Brasov to 1 night & spend the last night enroute to Bucharest in the mountain resort of Sinia
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Gayle Gayle

    Beautiful Transylvania

    Beautiful mountains, giggles and too much schnapps! Despite being a warm winter for Romania, we had a wonderful time exploring traditional villages, crumbling churches and the beautiful Balaea Lac.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful scenery up at the ice hotel and walking through the snowed in road tunnel to reveal a stunning view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fun and very proud of his saxon heritage. I think he prefers leading more active groups though.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wrap up warm, but be prepared for it to be baking indoors, so layers are ideal. It wasn't a very active trip. There was quite a bit of walking in towns but a minimal level of fitness was fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you again to Exodus for doing all the hard work of organising things for us again!
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Veronica Veronica

    Winter in Transylvania

    An interesting and varied trip but forget the ice hotel !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The evening meal in Sibiel with local music

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas ,s knowledge of his country was very good, and he imparted a lot of information. However as tour leaders go, he was not very communicative on practicalities He gave out instructions in a very haphazard way to whoever happened to be around him at the time.He did not gather us together and tell us times, where we were eating etc etc in a methodical manner, so we had to pick up info as we went along.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good waterproof boots with a good grip for icy conditions

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