Szekely people, Transylvania, Romania

The Szekely Tour

7-day tour

With their roots probably going all the way back to the 5th century Attila the Hun, the Székelys (also referred to as the Szeklers, following the German term) have a very strong cultural identity of their own, in certain aspects different from the main Hungarian one, and, differently from the latter, some of them still use, aside with the Latin script, the rovásírás, the alphabet of old Hungarian. Their name literally means ‘border guards’, as they, just like the Germans in Southern Transylvania later on, acted as a shield against the often invasions from the East. Nowadays located mostly in Eastern Transylvania, at the foothills and up the mineral water-rich Eastern Carpathians, they are very skilled traditionally with timberwork, horse breeding, pottery and, nonetheless, cuisine. A highly overlooked region by many tourists apart from those in Hungary and Eastern Transylvania finding it easy to travel there due to the common language and culture pattern, the Székelyföld (En. Land of the Székelys) is one of the best preserved traditional parts of the country, all that in a magnificently rich natural background. With an extension meant to include the Csángó, a specifically different ethnic Hungarian group living on the Transylvanian-Moldavian border up the mountains, this tour means to show you a different, yet captivating face of this part of the world.

Type: private tour, cultural tour
Distance: 2200km / 1367mi
Country: Romania
Accommodation: 3- and 4-star hotels and superior B&Bs

Note: where mentioned, hotels and guesthouses are samples. They can be replaced with similar comfort ones according to availability and itinerary changes (if such changes are agreed upon).

 

As a private tour, this tour is available at any moment. We kindly inform you that you have to take in consideration the schedule of the sights included in the program and the official national vacations. Please, contact us for more details.

How large the group is?

Our groups are never larger than 7 people.

How can I book a tour?

You just send us an email, tell us which tour you want to book, the period and the number of people in your group.

How can I pay?

We will send you a secure payment link. You can use your card, Visa or MasterCard only.

Do all the rooms have private bathrooms?

Yes, all the time. We use only clean hotels or superior B&Bs.

Is a Schengen visa available in Romania and Bulgaria?

Yes, a Schengen visa can be available.

Páll Ágoston
The Korond (Ro. Corund) pottery was recorded for the first time back in 1613 and evolution-wise it was initially plain red, unpainted and unglazed until 1887. Only then did local craftsmen start decorating them, as the demand turned more rigorous and complex.
Motives include realistically-depicted (as opposed to the patterns in South Romania, which
are more stylized) flowers in white and blue (the finest contrast and a Korond leitmotif), or in
a mixture of green, red and white (also the national colours of the Hungarian Kingdom and
actual coat of arms of Hungary).
The Páll family traces its pottery making roots there back to 1717. They have been pottery makers ever since, with skills being taught from father to son. Páll Ágoston was born in 1946, he was leader of the local pottery co-operative and then a pottery plant manager in his home village. His wife Veronika painted and decorated pottery products. In his turn, Ágoston taught his children the technique so that they carry on the long family tradition in the years to come; they nowadays have separate workshops of their own in the same village. In a captivating blend of typical patient Székelyföld pace and an inborn vitality, Páll Ágoston still processes his beloved clay with a steady hand for his age while eagerly explaining the technique to visitors and nevertheless sticking to his identity:
‘Ceramic tiles do not burn down, and nor does water go through them; they instead carry on a piece of our culture’

Day 1
LAND OF CSÁNGÓ

– Arrival at Bacău BAC Airport (program based on morning or noon arrival; otherwise allow a night extra in Bacău)
– Transfer into town and brief walk
– Transfer across the Csángó (old Hungarian branch of people speaking a Hungarian dialect) region in Eastern Carpathians: the Comănești – Ghimeș Pass

Accommodation in the region, in a mini-village: an engineer that, out of respect for his roots and the Csángó tradition, started buying and restoring old houses from families moving out or inheritors of deceased owners: he has got 13 so far, all different and set in a unique, fairy tale scenery

Horse Drawn Cart, Romania

Day 2
INTO THE SZEKELY AND SPA LAND

– Transfer to Csíkszereda / Miercurea Ciuc; visit to the 17th century Mikó Fortress currently hosting the Csík County Székely Museum
– Optional: side trip to Csíksomlyó / Șumuleu Ciuc and the pilgrimage site set in memory of the Székely resistance against being converted to Protestantism
– Transfer and visit to the 16th century Csíkménaság / Armășeni Church with its picturesque frescoes covering the Gothic ceiling
– Transfer South, down Olt Valley with the scenic Tusnád / Tușnad Spa leg with its elegant villas in what was once nicked as the Transylvanian Switzerland; mineral water tasting from the springs in the spa
– Side trip up the Nagy-Csomád / Ciomatul Mare Mountain, to visit the crater-hosted St. Ann Lake and have a short and easy walk through the nature reserve of Mohos / Mohoș Bog

Drive on to Zabola / Zăbala and accommodation in the Mikes Estate founded back in
the 15th century, with its vast legendary grounds

Day 3
OF COUNTRYSIDE, HAM-PRESERVING CHURCHES AND FOLK TALES 

– Transfer on across Barót / Baraolt Mountains
– Visit to the small, 150 inhabitant strong Zalánpatak / Valea Zălanului Village, with its many old traditional houses and Medieval atmosphere, including 3 old houses bought over by Prince Charles
– Transfer on across the low reaches of the Eastern Carpathians and many traditional villages to Székelyderzs / Dârjiu to visit the 13th century, UNESCO-listed fortified church where locals used to have cells meant to host both them and ham at invasion time
– Walk across Székelyudvarhely / Odorheiul Secuiesc with its quiet old town
– Transfer to the countryside North-East, at the foothills of the long Hargita / Harghita Mountains

Accommodation in a log house, one of a small cluster set at the timberline off the village of Ivó / Izvoare

Zalan Patak village, Transylvania, Romania
Zalan Patak village, Transylvania

Day 4
WILDLIFE AND MOUNTAINS

– Short transfer to visit the 320 Hectare Ivó Wildlife Park, spotting deers, muflons, goats, boars (2 hour walk)
– Optional: game meat product tasting at Honor Villa nearby
– Transfer up the mountain dirt road to the 1941 Madarasi Menedékház at about 1700 m.a.s.l. Easy hike up the Madaras / Mădăraș Peak (1800 m.a.s.l.), allowing for great panoramas around the Hargita / Harghita Mountains
> Note: in winter time, depending on weather, the road up might not be doable.
– Transfer back to Ivó / Izvoare

Accommodation in a log house, one of a small cluster set at the timberline off the village of Ivó / Izvoare

Transylvania, Romania
Transylvania, Romania

Day 5
COUNTRYSIDE TALES

– Transfer back to Székelyudvarhely / Odorheiul Secuiesc
– Optional: stop at a Góbé store (local brand putting together traditional craftsmen and producers in the Székelyföld) and explanations regarding the different products, with the possibility to buy and taste them; products range from many cheeses and meats to mountain honey or local sweets)
– Side trip Westwards to Szentábrahám / Avrămești and visit to the tea and herb farm started by a family out of their deep love and interest in the natural resources of their beloved land
– Transfer on to Énlaka / Inlăceni and visit to the 15th century church set of stones from old Roman buildings; the church bears evocative painted wood panels complete with rovásírás script on the ceiling
– Countryside afternoon in Firtosváralja / Firtușu or Székelypálfalva / Păuleni, East of Énlaka / Inlăceni

Accommodation in one of the two villages, in a traditional guesthouse

Day 6
OF CLAY, SALT AND WATER

– Transfer to Korond / Corund and visit to a potter family; explanations on the local pottery
– Transfer on to Parajd / Praid and visit to the impressive salt mine (bus access, followed by several stairs to go up and down)
– Drive on to Szováta / Sovata and walk around the Bear Lake, in this elegant, relaxed resort
– Drive through the countryside, along less traveled roads, through Nyárádremete / Eremitu and Nyárádszereda / Miercurea Nirajului into Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureș
– Optional: farewell dinner in a lively local csárda in town

Accommodation in a 4* hotel located in the very central Rose Square

Korund Ceramic, Transylvania, Romania
Korund Ceramic, Transylvania

Day 7
SZERVUSZTOK!

– Optional (time allowing): detour to Mezőcsávás / Ceuașul de Câmpie, to visit the symbolic wooden church on the hill, with its wide clock panel
– Tour of the town in Marosvásárhely / Târgu Mureș, including the fortress (nowadays a park), the Teleki–Bolyai Library (exterior view), the Great Temple, the Secession style Palace of Culture (recommended visit inside for the Mirror Hall, allow 30 minutes or more, opening times apply) and the City Hall (visit inside not possible).

Transfer to Târgu Mureș TGM Airport for flight out

Targu Mures, Transylvania, Romania
Targu Mures, Transylvania

Included

 
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off (one per group)
  • Transport by modern car
  • Accommodation, 6 nights, 3* hotels and guesthouses
  • Breakfast
  • Licensed English-speaking tour guide/driver
  • Entrance fees to sites included in the program
  • Road, bridge and ferry charges according to route

 

  • Not Included

     
    • Flight ticket
    • Hotel extras (telephone, mini bar, etc)
    • Drinks
    • Other meals except breakfast
    • Photographing or filming fees at the visited sites
    • Tips
    • Travel insurance