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TRIPS - Transylvania


Our 7 day (6 night) DRACULA TOUR is considered by specialists - tour operators and foreign journalists - as the best and most original ever!

Our presentation is a subtle blend of fact and fiction as we seek out the haunts of Count Dracula. It starts in the realm of Vlad the Impaler in the historic Southern Romanian province of Wallachia, and then travels deeper into the remoter parts of Northern Transylvania.

Highlights include a horse and cart journey up the “Borgo Pass” and along forest tracks up into the mountains. We follow in the footsteps of Jonathan Harker, ever deeper, into the forests - where bears and wolves still roam. Then we pause at a friendly woodcutters hut for a picnic, before finally reaching the summit as the day draws to a close.

Our tour also includes a stunning “Vampire’s Ball” in the bowels of the fortified citadel of Targu-Mures - where you can be sure of a visit from the Count himself.

We will visit the historic domains of Vlad the Impaler, which include Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov, his castle at Poienari. We also explore his castle capitals at Curtea de Arges, Tirgoviste and Bucharest. Finally, we take a boat out to the island beside Snagov monastery, where his headless corpse is reputedly buried.

This trip includes quality accommodation with plentiful meals and warm, traditional hospitality throughout. The itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 “Settling In”
Arriving at Bucharest Otopeni airport, transfer to your city center hotel. Dinner at the excellent Pescarus restaurant on the shore of one of the city’s lakes. Live folk music.

Day 2 “Refuge of the Impaler”
There is a brief sightseeing tour of Bucharest before crossing over to Wallachia - the former Principality of Vlad the Impaler - otherwise known as Dracula. We visit the lovely town of Curtea de Arges, a former capital of Wallachia, where you will see the spectacular Episcopal church and hear of the legend of Manole, the mason. Next we ascend the valley of the River Arges to reach the real castle of Dracula - Poienari. There are 1,456 steps up to the ruins of the fortress, perched high on a crag above the dramatic Arges Gorge. You will hear the legends of the Impaler and learn how his wife threw herself from the castle ramparts rather than face the wrath of the advancing Turks. In the afternoon we cross the foothills of the Carpathians to reach the pretty spa town of Baile Govora. Here you will enjoy a peaceful night in a comfortable, very nicely renovated hotel.

Day 3 “Medieval Transylvania”
Today we follow the Olt valley past the Cozia monastery and through the fortified Red Tower into Transylvania. Then we reach the former capital of “Saxon Transylvania” - Sibiu (known to the saxons as Hermannstadt). This is one of the most beautiful and best preserved townscapes in Eastern or Central Europe. Sibiu was declared European Capital of Culture for 2007. Sightseeing includes the Piata Mica and Piata Mare squares - watched by the famous “Eyes of Sibiu” - the unsual dormer windows in the roofs of the historic town houses. After lunch at the acclaimed Sibiul Veche restaurant, we continue to the fortress church of Biertan- one of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Romania. You will earn about the culture and history of the Saxon Transylvanians - especially their churches and villages which were fortified against Tatar marauders. We continue to the romantic, medieval walled-town of Sighisoara (Schassburg) - one of the best preserved in all of Europe. We will explore the cobbled alleyways, and the pretty squares and ramparts of this fascinating citadel. You will overnight in one of the historic citadel hotels, and dine in the very house where Vlad Dracula was allegedly born in the year 1431.

Day 4 “In the footsteps of Jonathan Harker
(We strongly recommend you read the first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s before taking this journey)
Leaving behind us the domains of Vlad Dracula and the plateau of central Transylvania, we head into the remote borderlands of Northern Transylvania - a land of dark wolf-invested forests and pastoral mountain meadows. It’s also a land of great superstition, and myths and legends. Over a 100 years ago, in Bram Stoker’s novel, the unsuspecting solicitor Jonathan Harker arrived here to finalise a property deal with Count Dracula. His first stop was the Golden Krone hotel in the town of Bistritz- Bistrita where he dined on “Robbe steak” and supped “Golden Mediasch” wine. As everybody who has watched a dracula movie knows, he was warned against travelling up the Borgo Pass to Castle Dracula.
“Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things of the world will have full sway? Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?” - the landlord’s wife begged of him.
You will also pass through Bistrita as you climb ever deeper into the mountains. However you will not take the main road through the pass, but instead will be dropped in the logging village of Lunca Ilvei from where you will travel by horse and cart deep into those dark forests - following cart tracks as you climb ever higher. There will be time for a picnic lunch in a woodcutters hut - but you must take care not to waste time, since the journey is a long one, and you will want to arrive at the Borgo pass summit before sunset! On the way, please note the red tassels worn by all horses - to ward off the Evil Eye! Tonight you will stay at the hotel Castel Dracula - which commands staggering views over the pass, with a vista stretching from the Caliman mountains, across the Suhard mountains, and beyond to the towering Rodnei Mountains. You will dine in the hotel restaurant, but beware of straying after darkness - the hotel has its own crypt - and even a cemetery!

Day 5 “Ball of the Vampires”
Today we will descend the pass, pausing for lunch at the Golden Krone in Bistrita, before crossing the highlands to the old Hungarian-speaking stronghold of Targu-Mures. Here you will be treated to a Vampire Ball in the historic fortified bastion of the town - which lasts for up to 6 hours! There will be wine, song, feasting and dance, with medieval music, actors, minstrels, strange rituals, and all kinds of fun and games. And of course, there will be an appearance by the old Count Himself! After this extravagant evening you will stay secure and safe in the 3-Star Continental Hotel in Targu-Mures.

Day 6 “The High Moutains”
Today we return to Saxon Transylvania with its characteristic architecture and fortified churches. You will explore the old city of Brasov, often raided by Vlad Dracula, who impaled some of the city merchants on stakes which he ranged across the Tampa Hill. Afterwards Brasov we pass by the Saxon fortress of Rasnov, and visit the famous Bran Castle - which every tourist believes to be the home of Dracula. It certainly looks the archetypal Transylvanian spooky castle, but any Dracula connections are very tentative. We continue into the beautiful settlement of Moeciu - set between the dramatic Bucegi, and the Piatra Craiului Mountains. It was here that Vlad Dracula sought a hiding place from two enemies - the Sultan on one side, and the Christian King Matei Corvin on the other. Tonight we dine and spend the night in the splendid rustic Casa Daniela - which is located in a pastoral “alpine” valley.

Day 6 “Final Resting Place”
Our final day takes us out of Transylvania via the beautiful Bran-Rucar pass to Targoviste, the former capital of Wallachia under Vlad Dracula. We visit the ruins of his Princely Court, before setting out to Lake Snagov. A boat will take us to the island where the headless body of Vlad Dracula was reputedly buried in front of Snagov Monastery. It was once heavily fortified, and a torture chamber was established here by Vlad to use on his political foes. Afterwards, we will head back into Bucharest, making a detour to see the famous Ghencea Cemetery with its vast array of fascinating Gothic tombs. We will enjoy an evening meal in the city, and then overnight in a quality central hotel.

Day 7 “Home Sweet Home”
There’s free time after breakfast for you to do some last-minute shopping or sightseeing. Then everyone transfers to the airport for the return flight home.
This has to be the most in-depth Dracula experience available - offering a subtle blend of history and mythology, coupled with good food and comfortable accommodation - plus plenty of excitement!

All services included: full board, visits, English speaking guide, shows, transport (up to 8 persons, guide/driver, minibus, A/C; for more participants 16 seater or similar, A/C with driver)

Base 10 persons: 862 euros/person in DBL room
Base 8, 9 pers: 879 euros/person in DBL room
Base 7 pers: 925 euros/person in DBL room
Base 6 pers: 1017 euros/person in DBL room
SGL room supplement: 121 euros.