Beauty of Yesterday

[Small Group Tour or Private Journey].

About Beauty of Yesterday

Summary

Rediscover traditional countryside & folklore, experience wild Maramures & dramatic gorges, unique painted monasteries & Transylvania.

START - Bacau [or Bucharest] / FINISH - Bucharest

Activity code: ROBOY01

Duration: 10 Days

Our popular small group guided tour to many of the lesser-visited parts of Romania's historic landscape will leave you wanting to see much more and wondering, perhaps, why you had not experienced Romania before. A holiday in Romania conjures up a heady mix of culture, history, natural beauty, legends, adventure, traditional food and fun…. come and see, taste, hear and rediscover Romania!

Romania is one of the most unexplored parts of Europe, tucked away in a remote corner where few visit and about which fewer still have much knowledge, beyond the connection with the myth of Dracula. Much of Romania is virtually untouched countryside and follows a way of life that has long been extinguished, or at the very least diminished into very small pockets, elsewhere in Europe; the centuries old folklore and traditions still thrive in its picturesque villages.

This tour, with our superb Romanian guide, takes you back in time, allows you to meet some of the friendliest people in Europe, many following traditional ways of life untouched by the modern world. Whilst you will cover a lot of the country the tour is relatively relaxed in its pace, helped by the small numbers and the knowledge, experience and flexibility of your guide. It is suitable for all ages and most ability types; much of the sightseeing is done on foot but we are able to use the transport effectively for those less able to walk long distances and there is time available for others who prefer to explore a little more.

Highlights of the BEAUTY of YESTERDAY in ROMANIA Tour:

  • Painted monasteries of Bucovina
  • Landscape of living history in Maramures
  • Fabulous wooden churches of Maramures
  • Forestry steam train ride and picnic lunch in Vaser Valley
  • Carpathian mountain Scenery, gorges & traditional villages throughout
  • Iconic Transylvanian castles, fortified churches & Gothic towns
  • Opportunity to extend stay in a boutique hotel in Bucharest

DEPARTURES:

  • September 9th, 2019 - Guaranteed
  • June 1st, 2020 - Guaranteed
  • September 14th - Available

2021 departures - on request.

The above departures are small group tours but we can arrange this holiday for any reasonable date between April and end of October as a Private Journey for a minimum of 2 persons.

The Beauty of Yesterday is our most popular small group tour; it has a well thought through itinerary and a superb local guide. Let us take you right into the heart of this fascinating country by sharing our knowledge and experience to offer not just important cultural sights, dramatic scenery and historic locations but the opportunity to spend quality time in the villages, often staying in rural communities as guests of local families, where local culture is at its strongest.

REDISCOVER TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 9 nights accommodation in 3 & 4 star hotels/guest houses
  • Full board throughout (including lunch with show in Tarpestri)
  • All transport during tour provided in comfortable modern vehicles with a/c
  • Professional English-speaking guide and assistance throughout
  • Admission fees to museums, monasteries and castles
  • Round trip tickets for steam train and horse carriage ride in Viscri
  • All local taxes

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT TOUR PRICE:

  • NO compulsory single supplement, we offer [same sex] twin share
  • Optional single supplement (for guaranteed single room) - £ 180
  • 3rd person sharing room (over 12yrs) - on request
  • Child (under 12yrs) sharing room - on request
  • NO meal kitty, NO hidden extras, NO local payments (except gratuity)

FLIGHTS:

Flights can be booked to match exactly with this tour, please contact us for best current prices and full details or, of course, to arrive early or extend your stay. If you prefer to arrive into Bucharest we can arrange an overnight hotel and/or onward train or flights to the starting point of this tour.

Note on Rediscover Group Tours: Rediscover the World is committed to providing unique and carefully thought out small group tours that combine the highlights of the country together with some of the lesser-known wonders. Running a limited number of departures a year, we opt for quality rather than quantity. Our guides think about the whole experience and will use their experience to allow you into the homes of the locals and many of the lesser-known places that will make your trip unique. We believe that a small group size is imperative for this kind of travel and we therefore keep our maximum number to 12.

Contact us now to book this Small Group or a Private Tour for any dates.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Bacau - Piatra Neamt (62 km)

    Arrival in Bacau [direct from London Luton] *. On arrival you will be accompanied by our professional English speaking guide and transferred to Piatra Neamt, the capital of Neamt County, which due to its architectural and natural beauty earned the nickname 'Pearl of Moldova'. Dinner with traditional Romanian dishes at a guest house in Piatra Neamt.

    * suggested alternative - arrival in Bucharest a day (or two) earlier and we will pre-book a train or private transfer to Bacau for you to meet up with the main group (available on request).

    • Accommodation at a wonderful Guest House or small hotel in Piatra Neamt.

  • Day 2: Piatra Neamt - Vama (126 km)

    After breakfast the tour starts with a departure through the beautiful Moldavian countryside en route to Bucovina, the "Monastic Archipelago", housing the painted churches, a quite unique experience (protected by UNESCO as part of humankind's world heritage). On the way there will be also be stops to visit Agapia and Varatec monasteries. Agapia is one of Romania's largest convents with 350 nuns, well known thanks to its carpet and embroidery workshops (included in the visit). The Varatec Monastery is a rather new monastic settlement, which has a museum that hosts many valuable religious objects and books mostly made by the nuns. The tour will continue its journey to Tarpesti, where you will visit the house of the popular artist Nicolae Popa, author of the famous ceremonial masks and enjoy a traditional lunch [with folklore for groups].

    In the afternoon you will arrive in Bucovina and visit Voronet Monastery (UNESCO), founded in 1488 by Stephen the Great. It is the most accomplished sample of artistic achievement in Moldavian architecture and painting, known as the oriental Sistine Chapel.

    • Home-made dinner and accommodation in Vama at Guest House Casa Elvira.

  • Day 3: Vama - Moldovita and Sucevita Monasteries - Viseu de Sus (150 km)

    Today you will visit more of the world-famous painted monasteries: Moldovita (UNESCO) dates back to 1532 and has the aspect of a fortress with imposing towers and high, thick walls. Sucevita, the last and the most magnificent monastic achievement among the painted monasteries in Bucovina, looks like a real fortress with towers, buttresses and watch roads. Paintings on the Sucevita monastery have been well preserved both on the outside and on the inside. Your morning ends with a traditional lunch in Sucevita.

    In the afternoon you will witness the dramatic changes between Moldavia and the next region of Romania - Maramures, the land of traditions and wooden churches travelling via the stunning, remote and beautiful Prislop Pass.

    • Dinner and accommodation in Hotel Montana in Viseu de Sus.

  • Day 4: Foresty train - Sighetu Marmatiei (70 km)

    A fun day at a slower pace; you will experience the raw power of the steam train taking you from Viseu de Sus to Paltin Station up through the Vaser Valley. The railway line passes through the most spectacular landscape of the whole route, narrow, rock lined canyons, fast-flowing, sparkling mountain brooks and the colourful wildlife of the mixed forests. A picnic / BBQ lunch is laid on at Paltin (included).

    On your return to Viseu, later in the afternoon, there is a drive to Sighetu Marmatiei. Free time in Sighet where you may wish to visit the Museum to the Victims of Communism, located in the town centre at the former prison.

    • Dinner and accommodation at Casa Iurca Guest House in Sighetu Marmatiei.

  • Day 5: Sighet - Iza Valley - Bistrita (135 km)

    After breakfast leave for a visit to the little village of Sapanta with its unique Merry Cemetery, famous for its colourful tombstones with paintings describing the deceased. Much of the day will then be devoted to the traditional villages, rural scenery and wooden architecture of the Iza Valley, home to villages known for their historical significance and their wooden churches. The history of Maramures is told through the wood of their churches - through the centuries, the area's foreign rulers did not allow the people living here to build long-lasting stone churches, so instead, the local carpenters raised beautiful wooden churches to communicate with God. The visit begins with Ieud and Rozavlea Churches, then Barsana Monastery, known as the "Holy Mother's Entrance". Lunch at Barsana Monastery or in a traditional guesthouse.

    The day concludes with a drive through southern Maramures via Nasaud and through the mountain pass to Bistrita. You will have a short visit of Bistrita before dinner (landmarks are the Coopers' Tower, the Orthodox Church, the Saxon Evangelical Church, Bistrita's main square, the Sugalete Medieval Buildings and the Silversmith's House).

    • In the evening arrive in Bistrita for dinner & accommodation at Coroana de Aur hotel.

  • Day 6: Bistrita - Targu Mures - Sighisoara (145 km)

    After breakfast drive to Targu Mures, the city of roses, which enjoys the best of both Romanian and Hungarian cultures. Lunch is taken at a Hungarian speciality restaurant in the city centre. Targu Mures' top attraction is located at the south end of the main square: the Culture Palace, a flamboyant early 20th-century city hall, with an outstanding stained-glass window, housing some of the city's main local museums.

    In the afternoon a gentle drive south to the incomparable Sighisoara, that most unique but typical, in the mind's eye, of Transylvania towns. After check-in at your hotel in the old town a walking visit to Sighisoara, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved mediaeval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th Century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation, Count Dracula. Landmarks of Sighisoara are the famous Clock Tower, hosting the History Museum and the Torture Chamber with its impressive mediaeval arms collection; the Church on the Hill is a beautiful Gothic building which dominates the hill at the southern end of the citadel.

    Dinner in a restaurant in the old town.

    • Accommodation at Casa Wagner Hotel in the mediaeval town centre.

  • Day 7: Sighisoara - Sibiu - Sighisoara (185 km)

    After breakfast it is time for a day excursion to the imposing city of Sibiu. A brief visit to the village of Biertan with its impressive fortifed church is included en route. Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of seven walled citadels built in the 12th Century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. Riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of impressive buildings and fortifications to protect them. Sibiu's old town retains its grandeur of yesteryear when these rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade.

    A visit of the mediaeval centre of Sibiu: the Great Square is the site of the Roman-Catholic church and the Brukenthal Palace, where you will find one of Romania's most important art collections. The square is linked to the Little Square by a passage beneath the Council Tower. The third square, Huet Square, is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral.

    Return to Sighisoara for dinner in a local restaurant.

    • Accommodation at Casa Wagner Hotel in Sighisoara.

  • Day 8: Sighisoara - Brasov - Bran (135 km)

    After breakfast it is a short drive to the UNESCO protected village of Viscri; not only is Viscri renowned for its cultural heritage and natural beauty it also caught the eye of Prince Charles who now owns one of the 18th century Saxon cottages in the village. Further investigation of Viscri reveals an ancient fortified church and an array of pastel shaded houses that add to the artisan and scenic ambience of rural Transylvania. Further agricultural scenes come in the form of a horse drawn carriage ride before an organic lunch which you're invited to take at a family house within the village.

    In the afternoon you continue your tour with a visit of Brasov (100 km away), considered the heart of Romania, one of the most secure fortresses in Europe, the architectural defensive pile being made of massive stone walls, 32 defence towers and 4 fortified gates. During your Brasov tour you will visit the magnificent Black Church - the largest Gothic-style church between Vienna and Istanbul, and stroll around the old Council Square, lined with beautiful red roofed merchant houses. You can also admire the Black and White Towers, the Ekaterina's Gate, the Schei Gate and Rope Street - the narrowest street in Europe.

    • Dinner and accommodation in Zarnesti (near Bran) at Hora cu Brazi Guest House.

  • Day 9: Bran - Sinaia - Azuga (55kms)

    After a substantial buffet breakfast of delicious home produce you will visit the famous Bran Castle [Draculas Castle] where, along the dark corridors and in the inner gardens one can still hear the steps of the "Prince of Darkness". Continue your trip through the Bucegi Mountains to the highest town in Romanaia, Predeal and then on to Sinaia. Lunch at Vanatorul restaurant.

    After lunch, visit Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance, once the summer residence of the Romanian king. It is considered by many to be one of the most stunning castles in Europe. Dinner at Rhein cellars, former Champagne "Supplier of Romania's Royal Court", and since April 2006 designated "Supplier of His Majesty King Michael the First".

    • Acommodation at the Rhein Pension.

  • Day 10: Azuga - Bucharest (145 km)

    Transfer to Bucharest International Airport (145 km) for your flight home or to Bucharest city centre for an extra night and more time* in this fascinating country.

    * optional add-on stays in Bucharest or at the Black Sea coast, e.g. Constanta, or even a few days hiking in the nearby Carpathian Mountains.

Prices

The Beauty of Yesterday

Fully-inclusive small Group Tour - land-only price.

  • Add-on for arrival one day early in Bucharest (includes private airport transfer, one night on B&B basis, 1st class train tickets for Bacau): £ 129 per person

  • Option for single-sex room share: £ 0 per person

  • Single Supplement: £ 186 per person

Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 9/9/19

1 to 12 people
£ 1319

Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 1/6/20

1 to 12 people
£ 1357

Beauty of Yesterday - small group departure - available on 14/09/2020

1 to 12 people
£ 1405

All prices are per person

Reviews

"The flights, transport and accommodation were satisfactory. Hotel breakfasts ranged from excellent to sparse. All other meals (lunch and dinner in restaurants and hotels) ranged from good to excellent (the best, overall, I've ever had on a group tour, and everything was included). The itinerary made the most of the available sights and the pace was right. The tour leader was exceptionally good, in every way. The minibus was comfortable though lacking in legroom. The driver was excellent. Quite a few interesting sights were seen, and the scenery was wonderful in places. "

H Somerville, UK, Oct 2018

"Very good trip. Alexandra our guide was excellent, her knowledge was amazing! Bit of a mix up with one of the hotels but she did rectify it very quickly. Meals were a big surprise, so much of it a really good standard, enjoyed local wine and schnapps. Enjoyed the meals in local houses. For a poor country and relatively new to tourism they do very well. A few too many churches for us but enjoyed the visit to the village where Prince Charles bought a house, the train ride well all of it really."

S Beckingham, UK, Oct 2018

"As I sit in Bucharest airport waiting to return to London (and Spain) I want to say how much I enjoyed the Beauty of Yesterday Romania trip with your company. The very comfortable Mercedes bus with Christi as a very safe and competent driver who was so helpful and I personally very much appreciated him carrying the cases upstairs in the hotels.I was struck with the beauty, simplicity and generosity of Romania. The hospitality of Aldo Travel was amazing and very generous. Every lunch and dinner we had the most delicious food. There was nothing we extra that we needed. Alexandra was a totally delightful and very well informed guide, generous with her care and time to see that everyone was happy all the time.She had an amazing knowledge of not just Romania and the Orthodox Church and history of Romania but world history as well. Alexandra did ask us what we liked or did not like about the trip and I gave her my views which I think she agreed with. The hotel in Sighisoara was not to the standard of the other hotels and pensions and the Bran Castle had so many tourists it was an unpleasant visit. We all would have loved the opportunity to visit the Bear Sanctuary and I believe Alexandra is thinking about this for future tours.I absolutely loved Maremores area, and of course the amazing Bukovina. I would love to come back to Romania one day to see these remote and beautiful places again."

P Steele, UK, Sept 2018

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

M Sutton, UK, May 2014

"Just to give some quick feedback: I absolutely loved my Romania holiday. Hold on to Aldo travel, you couldn't find a better partner in Romania! Rediscover did a great job, you were always quick to reply on any question and provided detailed information. There just isn't much to say when everything runs smoothly :-)    "

G Kordmann, UK, Oct 2018

"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. 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. 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. A thoroughly memorable and enjoyable experience."

J Stokes, UK, October 2014

"I really enjoyed the Romania trip last year, one of the best trips I have done; Alexandra, our guide, was excellent and the two ladies from Peteborough good company; a fascinating country to visit."

R Salisbury, UK, June, 2015

"The actual tour, Alexandra the tour leader, the itinerary, and the "worry free" aspects were all excellent. So much so that we have recommended this tour to our friends by email (over 60 of them) plus to those we met on our subsequent trip around Ancient Macedonia. As well as the itinerary, Alexandra looked after the details when we arrived at hotels, arranged help with luggage etc. so with all this we were 100% satisfied. However there are some adverse comments as follows:- 1. The tour really started at Piatra Neamt. For us to get to Piatra Neamt from New Zealand is really difficult. It would be much better if the tour actually started in Bucharest, which is a proper international airport, accessible from anywhere in the world. 2. When you asked us if we wanted you arrange flights we said no because we are on a complicated itinerary involving many flights around the world. But you did not tell us was that a tour of Bucharest was also involved on the day of arrival. So we were annoyed to find when we met up with our tour in Bucharest, that our Australian travelling companions on this tour who had flights booked through you had been met and taken on a tour of Bucharest by Alexandra on the day of arrival. We would have liked to have been included on that tour of Bucharest. 3. In our dealings with you when booking the tour originally we felt quite frustrated by delays in getting information or replies, being asked the same question several times even though we kept replying, being told things were on the www under our password but when we checked they were not. In summary, communication needs to be improved. 4. The tour was advertised as " all inclusive - no extras", but the itinerary received shortly before we set out said we had an independent lunch one day. We actually all went to the same place that day for lunch as usual, but we had to pay for lunch. So this was an extra."

P Hartnall, New Zealand, June, 2015

"Our 'Beauty of Yesteryear' holiday tour of Romania was outstanding - made more so by our wonderful guide, Doina. We were very fortunate with the weather and our travel group was very agreeable."

J Wotherspoon, Australia, July 2016

"Suffice to say we had a really great week...Alexandra looked after us really well.The program and accommodation was mostly great, especially the more traditional places. We'll certainly look at your website again when we plan our next holiday. Many thanks for a great service."

D Czaczkes, UK, June, 2017

Gallery

Independent Holidays for all budgets since 1998