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TESTIMONIALS

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  • Tours in Transylvania
  • Tours in Bucharest
  • Tours in Northern Romania
  • Tours in Bucovina
  • Tours in Maramures
  • Tours in Moldavia
  • Tours in Dobrogea
  • Tours in The Black Sea Coast
  • Tours in The Danube Delta
  • Tours in Crisana/Banat
  • Tours in Carpathian Mountains

2017 / 2018 "TREASURES OF ROMANIA & BULGARIA"contactus

THE MOST COMPLETE ROMANIA & BULGARIA PRIVATE TOUR

INCLUDES OFF THE BEATEN TRACK SITES, AUTHENTIC PEOPLE INTERACTIONS, CASTLES, OLD VILLAGES, A GYPSY ENCOUNTER AND MUCH MORE...

Tour Bucharest, Transylvania, Maramures, Bucovina

& Veliko Tarnovo, Plovidv,Rila Monastery and Sofia.

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UNIQUE COMPASS TRAVEL ROMANIA TOUR FEATURES:

  •  enjoy the exceptional expertise of two native, national tour guides, one for each country and with excellent reviews;
  •  benefit of the complete flexibility of having the tour further tailored to your requirements, both in terms of the route and features, even after the tour has started;
  •  make the most of your tour experience through our exclusively designed tours and cultural connections with no less than 12 UNESCO Sites included;
  •  discover the capital cities of Bucharest and Sofia, on comprehensive city tours including the Palace of the Parliament and the Boyana Church;
  •  enhance your experience though our choices of tours to match your particular interests and traveling style;
  •  enjoy 12 nights of accommodation at full of character, centrally located historical hotels and lodgings with a local accent as well as a home stay in Maramures;
  •  discover the daily life, self-sufficiency and sustainbility in the more remote villages of Transylvania. Meet & interact with locals in both home hosted experiences and local markets;
  •  dine on varied local specialities, such the home cooked dinners in Maramures;
  •  take the unique chance of meeting Gypsies in their own community in Transylvania and discover their particular culture and traditional skills;
  •  learn first hand about arts & crafts and meet local artists in their workshops;
  •  benefit from  the best value for money offered by Compass Travel Romania.

 

Day 1:  

Arrival to Bucharest, Romania

Afternoon arrival to Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. Meet and greet by your professional English speaking tour guide. The tour guide will wait with a name sign visible right after you exit Customs. Transfer to your downtown Bucharest hotel with a short orientation tour.

OPTIONAL:    In the evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner and a Traditional Romanian Folk Dance Show.

T Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Berthelot **** (centrally located boutique hotel)

 

Day 2:  

Bucharest City Tour & Parliament Visit -  Olt River Gorge - Cozia - Sibiu (alternative route via the Trans Fagarasan Road, if open, on request)

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your Romania and Bulgaria tour with a morning city tour of Bucharest including the Revolution Square and a view of the former Royal Palace,  a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament: the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, Cotroceni Quarter for its representative architecture, a view of the Ceausescu’s former private residence and the Village Museum - one of the world's most interesting open-air museums with century old original peasant households from all parts of Romania.

BASED ON AVAILABILITY:  exclusive guided tour of the former private residence of the Ceausescus (pay on own). En route to Transylvania, make a short stop to the 14th century Cozia Monastery built by Prince Mircea the Old and an excellent example of late 14th century Wallachian architecture. Drive along the Olt River Canyon crossing the mountains into Transylvania. This obviously is one of the most scenic roads of Romania. Reach Sibiu. Brief orientation tour on the way to the hotel. Overnight in Sibiu's famous Romans' Emperor Hotel, first built at the end of the 18th century. Dinner on own. Suggested is Crama Sibiul Vechi,  best cellar - restaurants in town, serving authentic Transylvanian fares.

B  Accommodation in Sibiu at Imparatul Romanilor Hotel ****

Hotel Imparatul Romanilor located in the old part of Sibiu near the main square, in a 16th century building built in traditional Transylvanian Renaissance style, a former merchant's hall transformed into hotel in the 18th century, with many famous guests: Emperor Franz Joseph II, composers Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss as well as Prince Charles and many others.

 

Day 3:  

Sibiu Walking Tour & Fresh Market Visit - Choice of Visits: Huniady Castle OR Turda Salt Mines - Cluj Napoca

SIBIU_1Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your day with a leisurely walking tour of Sibiu, the chief city of the Transylvanian Germans. Walk in the famous Great and Lesser Squares and view the old surrounding defense walls and the remaining guild towers. One of the landmarks of Sibiu is the Bruckenthal Museum assembled by Baron Bruckenthal, the Governor of Transylvania at the beginning of the 19th century and the second museum to ever open in Europe after the National Gallery in London. Next is the Evangelical Cathedral completed in its actual shape in 1520. Visit the colorful open air fresh fruit and vegetable market of Sibiu. Leave Sibiu.

 

CHOICE OF AFTERNOON TOURS:

 

1. Hunedoara for a guided tour of the Gothic Huniady Castle OR 

2. tour of the recently reopened Turda Salt Mines.

Late afternoon arrival to Cluj Napoca, the former capital of Transylvania. Short orientation tour  on the way to your hotel. Hotel check in.

B Accommodation in Cluj Napoca at Hotel Siago *** (or similar)

 

Day 4:   

Cluj Napoca - Baia Mare - Maramures - Sapinta & The Merry Cemetery - Home Hosted Dinner & Folklore Music

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel.  In the morning take a panoramic city tour of Cluj Napcao with the main highlgihts such as the Hellmer & Felner Opera House, the City Hall,  the Banffy Palace and ST. Michael's. Your Romania and Bulgaria private trip takes you north toward Baia Mare where you reach the splendid region of Maramures (northern Transylvania). Due to the relative isolation of their land, the people of Maramures developed a particularly strong community, with a unique personality, traditions, culture, fashion and lifestyle unspoiled for centuries. Stop in the villages of Giulesti for the dowry tradition and Mara for the wonderfully carved wooden gates. Continue west along Tisa River and reach the village of Sapinta, world famous for its "Merry Cemetery".  Each wooden cross carries a funny epitaph about the person's life. In the same village you will have the opportunity to witness the construction of the tallest wooden structure in the wolrd: Sapinta - Peri. Accommodation in a private house in the village of Iza. Meet a Romanian family in their home (not a B&B) for dinner, this being a first hand cultural interchange. You will also enjoy an exclusively organized Maramures Folklore Show.

B D Home stay accommodation (modern villa) OR Hotel Casa Iurca *** in Sighet (surcharge may apply)

Family home, with one section renovated into a modern villa with all modern, private facilities. The location is excellent, in a small village, quiet neighborhood, far away from the main street. The terraces offer a beautiful view on the village. Excellent home cooking including cooking classes on request.

 

Day 5:   

Maramures:  Iza Valley Walking Tour - Sighetul Marmatiei - The Wooden Churches (UNESCO) - The Carpathians & the Borgo Pass - Bucovina

After breakfast, take an exclusively designed walking tour of the village of Iza including an icon-on-glass workshop (and learn about the technique), the local ancient type plum brandy distillery and a typical wooden whirlpool still used by the local women to wash heavy woolen

Maramures_Romania

blankets. Then drive to the nearby town of Sighet to mingle with the locals at the colorful fruit and vegetable market where you will have the oportunity to sample various produce. Continue to the Anti Communist Memorial - a political prison in the Communist times. This is one of the main memorial sites of the continent, alongside Auschwitz Museum and the Peace Memorial in Normandy. The visit here provides a direct connection to Romania's most recent history. Next is the superb Ethographic Museum of Maramures,  structured according to the main categories of folk culture. Lunch on own. Continue exploring Maramures along the picturesque Iza Valley – an excellent oportunity to witness daily life in this corner of Europe. Stop in the village of Rozavlea for a visit to the workshop of a famous master wood carver in his own workshop. He represented Romania at the 1999 Smithsonian World Folk Festival in Washington, DC. Next is the exquisite Barsana Monastery, a great example of Maramures wooden church architecture. Cross the Carpathian Mountains through the picturesque Borgo Pass into the northern part of Moldavia called Bucovina with excellent opportunities for pictures. In the town of Campulung enjoy an exclusively organized interactive egg-painting demonstration by a local artist in her home, this being one of the local traditions of the area. You will also have the chance to admire painted eggs from all over the world in an unique private exhibition. After arriving in Gura Humorului, check into the hotel.

B Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina ****  OR La Conac in Bucovina **** (two nights)

 

Day 6:   

Bucovina Painted Monasteries Excursion (World Heritage Sites) & Traditional Bucovina Lunch

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A la carte breakfast at hotel. A highlight of your Romania and Bulgaria private travel are the Bucovina monasteries, gems of medieval Moldavian architecture and artistry. Begin your day with Voronet , the most famous out of all, known as the Sistine Chapel of the East and featuring one the best Last Judgment Fresco in this part of the World. Next is Moldovita Monastery where the UNESCO Golden Apple Award given to the painted churches in 1975, is kept. As a cultural connection, enjoy a traditional Bucovina lunch in the picturesque village of Sucevita. Later continue to the nearby Sucevita Monastery, which is the largest of all, looking more like a mighty fortress than a monastery. The Ladder of John of Sinai is considered one of the best of the frescoes of Sucevita, rarely present in medieval Romanian art. The monastery has a small old bibles museum. In the village of Marginea visit the black pottery workshop - they use a technique called "oxygen reduction", there is the same technique in Mexico only! End your day with the Monastery of Humor, the only one without a belfry tower.

B L Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina ****OR La Conac in Bucovina ****

 

Day 7:   

Gura Humorului - Piatra Neamt Synagogue OR Neamt Citadel - Bicaz Gorges & Red Lake -  Gypsy Experience - Sighisoara & Transylvanian Dinner

A la carte breakfast at hotel.  Leave Gura Humorului in the mornig.

CHOICE OF MORNING TOURS:

 

1. visit the only wooden synagogue in Romania (dating back from the 17th century) and built half underground OR

2. tour the Neamt Medieval Citadel, one of the most impressive in the country. 

 

Later reach Bicaz Gorges where the surroundings are dramatic. Here you have an opportunity for a short hike. Optional lunch in the resort of the Red Lake  - Lacu Rosu (restaurants here specialize in naturally grown trout). Once passing the Red Lake you are back to Transylvania. On an exclusive cultural connection, meet a local Gypsy family in their own home.  Afternoon arrival to Sighisoara -  a World Heritage Site and the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. Before starting your walking tour of old Sighisoara attend an informal talk on Vlad the Impaler - Dracula, what is truth and what is fiction. Sighisoara is one of a kind. It was developed by the German settlers as of late 12th century. It stands on a network of tunnels and catacombs and, according to one version of the myth; this is where the Pied Piper brought the children of Hamelin after their ungrateful parents refused to pay him his due. The walking tour includes the two squares of the Citadel (Upper Town), the Scholars' Staircase, the House with Antler, the Tower with Clock (climb up for a great view), the Torture Chamber and the Weapon Museum. Visit an outstanding arts & crafts exhibiton. Sighisoara is the place where the Vlad the Impaler Dracula was born in 1431. The Birthplace is one of the main tourist attractions. Accommodation in the Upper Town. Enjoy a  typical Transylvanian Dinner in the Upper Town.

OPTIONAL:  Wine tasting and high quality home made fruit brandy in a 500-year old cellar in Sighisoara.

B D Accommodation in Sighisoara at The House with Antler ***  (or similar)

 

Day 8:   

Sighisoara – The Saxon Trail - Bran Castle - Tour of Brasov

A la carte breakfast at hotel. Depart Sighisoara heading South. En route enjoy an exclusive tasting of organic Transylvanian ”like Grandma used to make” recipes and learn about self-sufficiency and real sustainability. An inspirational experience. Journey south through the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau for a guided tour Bran Castle also known as Dracula's Castle altough the connections to Vlad are still in debate. Today being one of the most popular attractions of the country, the castle was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia, then enlarged and restored a few times to become a royal residence after the 1920s under Queen Marie of Romania. Take a guided tour followed by cheese sampling. Continue with a tour of Brasov (aprtly on foot) to admire the 14th century Gothic Black Church with its 4,000 pipe organ and over a hundred Anatolian prayer rugs given to the church as gifts by the rich Brasov merchants. Visit Schei Quarter with the First School in Romanian language (meet with professor Olteanu). The tour will also include the Council Square, Catherine's Gate, the Rope Street and a view of the synagogue. Hotel check in with the remainder of the day at lesiure in the lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town. 

B  Accommodation in Brasov at Hotel Bella Muzica *** OR Casa Wagner ***

 

Day 9:  

Peles Castle - Ivanovo Rock Hewn Churches  -  Arbanassi & Veliko Tarnovo

Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Morning scenic drive through the Oeriental Carpathians to Sinaia mountain town, formerly the un-official capital of Romania at the end of the 19th century.  Take a guided tour of the Peles Castle and Gardens in Sinaia, the royal residence of King Charles I of Romania and known as one of the most beautiful summer royal residences in Europe. A ride south to Bucharest and then across the Danube River then brings you into Bulgaria where you will change vehicles and tour guides. Drive to the cavernous Ivanovo Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Continue to the picturesque village of Arbanassi, near Veliko Tarnovo. Your afternoon highlight is a visit to the Church of Nativity, the most richly decorated church in all of Bulgaria! 

B  Accommodation in the Old Town Veliko Tarnovo at Hotel Gurko *** (Tripadvisor rank #1 in Veliko Tarnovo)

Day 10:  

Veliko Tarnovo Walking Tour – Kazanlak Thracian Tomb & Rose Valley – Plovdiv

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A la carte breakfast at hotel. The Romania and Bulgaria private tour includes morning take a tour of Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. The Tsarevets Fortress is one of the largest and most well preserved of the Northen Balkans. We will then journey south, through the heart of rural Bulgaria today en route to Plovdiv, the country’s second largest city. As we wind through picturesque Rose Valley, we make a stop in the town of Kazanlak at the world famous Thracian Tomb you get an up-close view of the wonderfully preserved Hellenistic frescoes dating back to the 4th century BC.  Old Plovdiv on Trimonzium hill is the centre of Bulgarian national revival architecture at its height and is full of charm and artistic character. Enjoy a tour including a visit to the Old Town,  the Byzantine and medieval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town, visit workshops of local artisans to learn about Bulgarian crafts, especially pottery. Hotel check in. Evening at leisure in the centre of Plovdiv.

B Accommodation in Plovdiv at the Plovidv Renaissance Hotel *** (in the heart of the Old Town)

 

Day 11:  

Plovdiv Tour & Roman Amphiteatre – Rila Monastery – Sofia

Hot and  cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Morning tour of the 2000-year old Roman Amphitheatre, the main highlight of Plovdiv. Later enjoy a scenic ride through beautiful Bulgarian countryside on the way to Rila Monastery, Bulgaria's most famous tourist site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 10th century by St. Ivan Rilsky, the monastery was at the center of Bulgarian culture and Orthodox belief for centuries. The monastery is the largest in the Balkans and included in the List of World Cultural Heritage. Our tour includes a visit to the Church, which is of particular artistic value, for it was adorned by the foremost 19-century masters of the Samokov, Bansko and Debar schools of painting and woodcarving. Continue to Sofia  with arrival in the late afternoon. Orientation tour of Sofia before arriving to your centrally located hotel. Check in with the evening at leisure.

B Accommodation in Sofia at Hotel Best Western Premier Thracia **** 

 

Day 12:  

Sofia Half Day City Tour including Boyana & Afternoon at Leisure

Hot & cold buffet breakfast. In the morning take a comprehensive sightseeing tour of Sofia, a city with a seven thousand year long history. The Sofiasofia highlights include the National History Museum, displaying the gold and silver Thracian Treasures, and the Boyana Church, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one of Bulgaria's most significant historical treasures dating back to the 13th century. Other points of interest during the tour will be the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Rotunda of St George and the Banya Bashi Mosque as well as a view of the Great Synagogue. Return to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure to further explore on your own.

B Accommodation in Sofia at Hotel Best Western Premier Thracia ****  

 

Day 13: 

Sofia Departure

Hot & cold buffet breakfast at hotel or boxed breakfast for early departures. Transfer to Sofia International Airport where your Romania and Bulgaria tour ends OR extend your trip to Hungary or Macedonia.

 

 

Included Features:

 

  • 11 nights at three and four star hotels, all centrally located
  • 1 night home stay in Maramures (or three/four star hotel on request, surcharge may apply)
  • fully insured sedan/minivan with climate control, for the entire distance
  • fuel & parking fees
  • all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
  • four informal talks on: Vlad the Impaler - Dracula, Ceausescu and His Times, The Gypsies and Their Journey, Communist Bulgaria (all by tour guide)
  • 15 meals:   12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
  • professional English speaking tour guides (driving) to accompany you throughout, one for each country
  • an exclusively organized folklore music show in Maramures
  • an egg painting demonstration in Bucovina
  • exclusive visit of a Gypsy family in their own home (and interaction)
  • cheese sampling in Bran
  • Bucharest and Sofia city tours (including the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest)
  • private airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • admissions to museums and sights as per itinerary
  • porterage (except for Customs Areas)
  • maps of Romania and Bulgaria.

 

You'll visit 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

 

Romania:  Sibiu's Historic Center, Maramures Wooden Churches, Bucovina Exterior Frescoed Monasteries, Historic Center of Sighisoara, Southern Transylvania Fortified Chuches

Bulgaria:  Ivanovo Rock Hewn Churches, Kazanlak Thracian Tomb, Ancient Town of Plovdiv, Rila Monastery, Boyana Church.

 

Not Included:

  • other meals than stated
  • alcoholic beverages
  • photo/video fees at sites and museums
  • gratuities of any kind.