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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

 THE ”ROMANIAN RHAPSODY” TOUR

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  SIMPLY THE BEST 11 DAY CULTURAL

  PRIVATE TOUR OF ROMANIA.

  EXCLUSIVELY DESIGNED AND OFFERED BY COMPASS TRAVEL ROMANIA.

 

Itinerary:  Bucharest Tour - Sibiu Tour - Choice between Huniady Castle & Turda Salt Mines - Maramures Exclusive Program & Folklore Show - Local Markets - Bucovina Exterior Frescoed Monasteries - Bicaz Gorges - Gypsy Home Visit -Transylvanian Highlights: Sighisoara & Brasov - Peles and Bran Castles

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    TOUR HIGHLIGHTS AND UNIQUE CULTURAL CONNECTIONS:

  •  enjoy the exceptional knowledge and expertise of Romania's top rated tour guides, exclusively working with Compass Travel Romania;
  •  benefit of the complete flexibility of having the tour tailored to your requirements, in terms of the route, features and duration;
  •  make the most of your tour experience through our exclusively designed tours in Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina with no less than 9 UNESCO Sites included;
  •  enjoy 10 nights of accommodation at full of character, centrally located historical buildings as well as a superb home stay in Maramures;
  •  learn first hand about the daily life in the more remote villages of Transylvania, such as Biertan, Viscri or Barsana;
  •  meet local people in traditional markets and in a real home in Maramures;
  •  dine on varied Romanian specialities, from the home cooked dinners in Maramures to the authentic Transylvanian fares in Sibiu;
  •  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 the arts & crafts and meet local artists such as a wood carver, icon designer, mask maker and egg painter;
  • no less than three locations where you stay two nights in a row
  • NEW and EXCLUSIVE ! Since March 2016, Compass Travel Romania organizes guided tours to the former private residence of the Ceausescus.

 

Day 1: 
Bucharest, Romania
Afternoon arrival to Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. Meet and greet by your professional English speaking tour guide, to wait with a name sign reading Compass Travel, visible right after you exit Customs. Transfer to Bucharest hotel with a short orientation tour en route to your downtown hotel.
OPTIONAL:  In the evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner and a Folklore Show.
T  Accommodation in Bucharest at Hotel Berthelot **** (centrally located boutique hotel)
 
Day 2:
Bucharest City Tour - Olt River Valley & Gorge - Cozia - Sibiu
rhapsody1Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Begin your Romania private tour with a city tour of Bucharest including the Revolution Square, the Palace of the Parliament - the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, Cotroceni Quarter for its representative architecture 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 AND DAY OF THE WEEK:  exclusive visit to the private homte of the Ceausescus (pay on own, if going). Before leaving for Sibiu visit a typical 1930s downtown Bucharest Residence: an authentic example of the pre war architecture and city life style. En route, make a short stop to the 14th century Cozia Monastery built by Prince Mircea the Old. Drive along the Olt River Canyon crossing the mountains into Transylvania. 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 Transylvanian fares and excellent local wines.
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 - Huniady Castle OR Turda Salt Mines - Cluj Napoca
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Start your day with a leisurely walking tour of Sibiu (Hermannstadt), formerly the chief city of the Transylvanian Germans. The Great and Lesser Squares are the landmarks of the Old Town with the many merchant houses featuring ""the sleepy eye" dormers. View the old surrounding defense walls and the remrhapsody2aining towers belonging to the merchant guilds. One of the  landmarks of Sibiu is the Bruckenthal Palace, assembled by Baron Bruckenthal, the Governor of Transylvania at the beginning of the 19th century and a gem of Baroque architecture. Next is the Evangelical Cathedral completed in its actual shape in 1520 and featuring an exquisite fresco of the Crucifixion on the north wall of the choir dating from 1445. Visit Sibiu open air farmers' fresh fruit and vegetable market.
 
 
CHOICE OF AFTERNOON TOURS:
 
Leaving Sibiu, you have a choice between a drive to Hunedoara for a guided tour of the Gothic Huniady Castle or, a guided tour of the Turda Salt Mines, recently re-opened to all modern facilities. Late afternoon arrival to Cluj Napoca, the former capital of Transylvania and an important university center. Take a panoramic city tour followed by hotel check in. The evening is at leisure in town.
 B Accommodation in Cluj  Napoca at Hotel Siago ***+ (or similar) 
 
Day 4: 
Cluj Napoca City Tour - Maramures: Chioar Valley Villages - Surdesti - Iza
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. This morning take a city tour of Cluj Napoca with the main landmarks such as the Fellner & Helmer Opera House, the Gothic St. Michael's, the City Hall and the Banffy Palace.  Drive north toward Baia Mare and 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 and lifestyle unspoiled for centuries. The villages along the Chioar Valley are particularly stunning. Make a first stop to the early 1720s wooden Church of Surdesti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and until recently the tallest wooden structure in Europe. This is a good opportunity to learn about the Uniate Church (Greek Catholic). Then stop in the villages of Iza Valley to learn about the local dowry tradition and to admire wonderfully carved wooden gates. Accommodation in a private house (not a B& B) in the village of Iza. Dinner (and plum brandy) is included so that people get deeper into the local culture. Our hosts will join for dinner, this being a first hand cultural interchange.
B D Home stay accommodation (modern villa) or Casa Maramures *** in Sighet (on request) two nights
Family home, with one section renovated into a modern villa with all modern 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.
 
Day 5:
Maramures Tour: Iza Village Walking Tour - Sighetul Marmatiei & Market - Sapinta Village and The Merry Cemetery
After a hearty breakfast, take an exclusively designed walking tour of the village of Iza including an icon-on-glass workshop (learn about the technique), the local ancient type plum brandy distillery and a typical rhapsody3whirlpool still used by the local women to wash heavy woolen blankets. Then drive to the nearby town of Sighetul Marmatiei to mingle with the locals at the colorful fruit and vegetable market where you will have the opportunity to sample various produce from cheeses to sausage. Continue to one of the most important sites:  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. Next is the house of Nobel Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel who was born in town. Continue west along Tisa River (very close to the Ukrainian border) and reach the village of Sapinta world famous for its "Merry Cemetery". Here each wooden cross carries a funny epitaph about the person's life.  Before returning to Iza, take a view of what is the tallest wooden structure in the world: Sapinta Peri. Late in the afternoon return  to the village. Enoy a home hosted dinner on an exclusively organized Maramures folklore show and then accommodation.
BD Home stay accommodation (or hotel on request)
 
Day 6:
Maramures: Iza Valley, Barsana & Bogdan Voda - the Borgo Pass / Prislop Pass - Gura Humorului (Bucovina)
rhapsody4Following breakfast continue exploring Maramures along the picturesque Iza River Valley – an excellent oportunity to witness daily life in this corner of Europe and also meet locals. Stop in the village of Rozavlea for a visit to a famous master carver in his own workshop. He represented Romania at the 1999 Smithsonian World Folk Festival in Washington, DC. Next is the exquisite Barsana Nunnery, an example of Maramures wooden church architecture at its best. Visit Bogdan Voda wooden church (UNESCO Site).  In the village of Dragomiresti tour the unique local museum located in a 235-year old home. Continue your tour by crossing the scenic Carpathian Mountains through the picturesque Borgo Pass OR the Prislop Pass into the northern part of Moldavia called Bucovina. The Borgo Pass has been mentioned by Bram Stoker in his novel "Dracula". Enjoy an exclusively organized egg-painting demonstration by a local artist in her own 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. After arriving in Gura Humorului, check into the hotel. Evening at leisure. 
B Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina ****  OR La Conac in Bucovina **** (two nights) 
 
Day 7:
Bucovina Painted Monasteries Excursion (UNESCO World Heritage Sites) & Traditional Lunch
A la carte breakfast at hotel. The Bucovina Monasteries Tour will reveal outstanding gems of medieval Moldavian architecture and artistry. Begin your day with Voronet, the most famous out of all, known rhapsody5as the Sistine Chapel of the East and featuring one the best Last Judgment fresco in this part of the World. The newly open Customs and Traditions Museum of Gura Humorului is a must. 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. 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. Return to the hotel.
B L Accommodation in Gura Humorului at Hotel Best Western Bucovina **** OR La Conac in Bucovina ****
 
Day 8:
Gura Humorului - Piatra Neamt - Bicaz Gorges & Red Lake - Gypsy Village & Home Visit - Sighisoara
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Begin your day with a drive south to Piatra Neamt. 
 
CHOICE OF MORNING TOURS:
  1.    Visit the only wooden synagogue in Romania (the Baal Shem Tov, dating back from the 17th century) and built half underground;
  2.    Take a tour of the Neamt Citadel, a medieval fortress initially built in the 12the century.
 Later reach Bicaz Gorges where the surroundings are dramatic. Opportunity for a short hike. Next is the Red Lake, formed by a mountain sliding in the 1830s. Optional lunch in the resort (restaurants here specialize in naturally grown trout). Once passing the Red Lake you are back to Transylvania passing through an area inhabited mostly by the Hungarian Szeklers community, which actively maintains its peculiar culture and even script. Exclusive visit to a Gypsy village followed by a Gypsy home visit: this is an unique opportunity to learn about this less known yet controversial ethnic group, about its culture, identity and lifestyle. Afternoon arrival to Sighisoara - World Heritage Site and the only still inhabited medieval citadel in Europe. Accommodation in the Upper Town. Suggestion for dinner: the Birthplace of Vlad Dracula.
B Accommodation in Sighisoara at The House with Antler *** (two nights)
Previously used by Prince Charles during his early travels to Transylvania.
 
Day 9:
Sighisoara Walking Tour - Biertan Fortification & Village Tour 
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. 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. Sighisoara is the place where the Vlad the Impaler Dracula was born in 1431. The Birthplace is one of the main tourist attractions. Visit the Spoonman Exhibition of local arts & crafts.Then drive to the fortified church of Biertan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a visit of the former Seat of the Lutheran Bishops. After the visit you may opt for a walking tour of the Saxon village of Biertan where time seems to have stood still. Return to Sighisoara in the afternoon to further explore on own. 
B Accommodation in Sighisoara
 
Day 10:
Sighisoara - The Saxon Trail - Dracula's Castle in Bran - Cheese Sampling - Brasov Tour
rhapsody6Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel. Leave Sighisoara in the morning. Continue your Romania private trip with a drive through the picturesque Transylvanian Plateau with a brief stop at Saschiz (UNESCO Site). Next, as a cultural connection, enjoy an exclusively organized tasting of old Saxon home-mad recipes.   Later tour of the Gothic Bran Castle also known as Dracula Castle. This medieval structure was built in 1377 to safeguard the trading route between Transylvania and Wallachia, and has been enlarged and restored a few times to become a royal residence in the 1920s under Queen Marie of Romania. After the visit enjoy cheese sampling in Bran. Spend the remainder of the day with a private tour of Brasov, another of  the important Saxon town with a rich heritage.  The tour of Brasov will reveal the Old Town with the late Gothic Black Church featuring a collection of precious Anatolian rugs, the Council Square, Catherine’s Gate, the Guild Towers, Schei Quarter with the First School in Romanian language, the narrow Rope Street as well as a view of the impressive 1901 synagogue. Hotel check in with the remainder of the Day in the lovely pedestrian area of the Old Town with its many restaurants and outdoor cafes.

B Accommodation in the Old Town of Brasov at Hotel Bella Muzica ***  OR Hotel Casa Wagner ***

 
Day 11: 
Brasov - Sinaia: Peles Castle - Bucharest Airport
Hot and cold buffet breakfast at hotel.  Morning scenic drive to Sinaia mountain town. Named after St. Catherine Monastery on Mount Sinai, Sinaia became the unofficial capital of the Kingdom of Romania towards the end of the 19th century. The orientation tour of the resort includes a view of the famous Casino building, with its architecture inspired by the one in Monte Carlo. Then 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. End your Romania tour with a drive to Bucharest Coanda International Airport for your afternoon return flight or take our BULGARIA EXTENSION OR THE BLACK SEA & DANUBE DELTA EXTENSION
The tour is further customizable on requestIf your flight is in the early morning, the tour program will be adjusted accordingly.
 

         Included Features:

  • 8 nights at three and four star hotels, all centrally located and full of character
  • 2 nights home stay in Maramures (or three/four star hotel on request, surcharge applies)
  • fully insured sedan / minivan with climate control, for the entire distance
  • fuel & parking fees
  • all sightseeing tours & cultural connections
  • informal talks on: Vlad the Impaler - Dracula, Ceausescu and His Times, The Gypsies and Their Journey (all by the tour guide)
  • 13 meals:     10 breakfasts, 1 Bucovina lunch,  2 home hosted dinners
  • cheese tasting in Bran 
  • a professional English speaking tour guide (driving) to accompany you throughout
  • an exclusively organized folklore music show in Maramures
  • an egg painting demonstration in Bucovina
  • exclusive Gypsy home visit & interaction
  • Bucharest city tour, including a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament
  • all transfers
  • admissions to museums and sites as per itinerary
  • porterage (except for Customs Areas)
  • map of Romania.

         

        Freestyle Add - Ons:

  • three hour excursion into the Ukraine to the villages of Solotvina and Apsha (from Maramures)
  • Transylvanian wine tasting in a 500-year old cellar
  • full day trip to Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi, Bulgaria (from Bucharest, requires extra day)
  • two day Black Sea & Danube Delta Extension with private delta cruise accompanied by certified skipper ( from Bucharest, requires extra two days)
  • three day Bulgaria Highlights Tour Extension (from Bucharest, requires an extra three days; flight out of Sofia, Bulgaria)

 

         You'll Visit 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

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

 

         Not Included:

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