Towns & Villages Tour
The Dacians ruled the highlands, the Romans came along and defeated them, the Roman Empire weakened and the Roman rulers left while from the Dacian – Roman melting pot Romanians arguably emerged, then migratory people passed through, the Huns settled, but the Ottomans and Tartars poured in, so the Hungarian King called upon Germans from Saxony to settle and defeat the kingdom border in exchange for free land and tax free activity, so the Germans came and settled, hence creating a network of villages set around seven major towns that acted as independent entities within the kingdom: the Siebenburgen; they went so far as fortifying their churches and storing their ham in there facing the many invasions from the South. Huh, dazzled and confused? Breathe in, breathe out: this is the history of lower Transylvania in a nutshell. A forcedly dried one, for one could otherwise write tome upon tome of literature and history on its ups and downs. But, instead of writing history books, we shall take you across the maze of old Saxon villages, having a close look at well-preserved habits and crafts of a population that crisply preserved its identity for nearly 800 years. And all that in a bucolic natural scenery of rolling hills upon rolling hills and cattle-dotted pastures upon pastures that hardly find anything similar in terms of remoteness and beauty.
Type: private tour, cultural tour
Distance: 2200km / 1367mi
Accommodation: 3-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.
What the Ottomans and Tartars did not manage to complete, i.e. kicking out or penetrating the protective German shield the Hungarian King set upon his border, the fall of Communism did. Once the self-imposed travel ban was levied and Romanian citizens could once again travel abroad, disillusioned with the previous half a century of ruthless rule, most ethnic Germans left the country to Germany and entire villages remained abandoned. Such was the case of Viscri, where only a handful of Germans remained, with some houses being taken over by Romanian and Gypsy families, while others remained abandoned. Enters Caroline Fernolend, born and raised in this remote Transylvanian village. Very fond of her village and seeing her neighbours leave one by one to Germany, Caroline and her family decided to stay. They felt it as a duty, so Caroline’s parents – Sara and Walter Dootz – became the church caretakers, while Caroline got involved with the County Council and then became manager to Mihai Eminescu Trust, an organization founded by Prince Charles, meant at restoring the Saxon heritage in this part of Transylvania. Apart from helping locals retore their properties and keeping old traditions alive, the trust also assisted local enterprises to open and create employment in the area, hence keeping young people from leaving and abandoning their home villages. The old mansion in Malancrav, the apple juice plant in the same village, the restoration of old houses in Viscri or Alma Vii, these are just a few samples of the many activities the trust and Caroline Fernolend herself got involved in. As her mother, Sara Dootz, says:
‘Turn whatever (little) you have into a heavenly wonder.’
– Arrival at Cluj CLJ Airport
– Transfer to the city
– Walking tour of the downtown area including St. Michael’s Church, Eroilor Avenue, the
Orthodox Cathedral and the Hungarian Opera House, Banffy Palace, the short
Accommodation in a 3* inn-like hotel preserving a great period atmosphere
OF MANSIONS AND MOUNTAIN CLIFFS
– Transfer to Turda and visit to Turda Salt Mine
– Optional (instead of the salt mine visit or a 2 hour addition): side trip to Turda Gorges and walk up the gorges (easy trail, partly endowed with railings and paved in steeper spots)
– Transfer to two beautifully preserved Hungarian villages: Remetea and Coltesti
– Optional: traditional Hungarian dinner
Accommodation in a traditional 3* mansion turned into a guesthouse in Coltesti, providing great views towards the Szekely-ko, the impressive Szekler’s Cliffs
SHAPE-STAR FORTRESS AND SMOKED CHEESE
– Optional: hike up the Szekely-ko (allow 3-4 hours for the full tour) or walk up to the Coltesti ortress ruins (1-2 hours return)
– Transfer South along the scenic Aiud Gorges
– Tour to Alba Iulia (the fortress of Alba Carolina)
– Transfer on to Sibiu
– Drive through the countryside set by shepherds settling in while coming down the mountains above Sibiu: the Marginimea Sibiului
– Optional: shepherd style dinner in a small Sibiu restaurant
Accommodation, 3* guesthouse in the Piata Mare or in the very house where the city foundations were laid
– Walk through the three main squares in town and tour: the Piata Mare, Piata Mica and Piata Huet
– Optional: horse-pulled cart ride across the extensive Astra Folk Technology Museum in Dumbrava Forest off Sibiu, exploring genuine households from all over the country (allow 1 to 2 hours according to time and will)
– Transfer into the countryside and drive across beautiful landscapes into Agnita
– Side trip to Richis and Biertan, visit to the largest fortified church in the region
– Transfer back to Agnita and on to Veseud
Accommodation in a Saxon house turned into a lovely 3* countryside ethnic German-run
ROLLING HILLS AND COLOURFUL HOUSES
– Transfer to the South-East via a local road plied with old German fortified churches and picturesque villages
– Mountain road ride into Bran
– Visit to Bran Castle
– Visit to the hilltop Rasnov Fortress, the so-called Rose Fortress, complete with its stories about Turkish prisoners
– Transfer to Brasov
– Walking tour of the town, taking in the pedestrian street, the Council Square, the Black Church (outside visit only), the Schei Gate
Accommodation, period 3* guesthouse set in a quiet residential district just above the old town
THE OLD LADY AND HER BELOVED CHURCH
– Transfer to Viscri, an excellently preserved German village with one of the most picturesque fortified churches in Transylvania; Prince Charles runs a trust aimed at helping locals restore their houses and preserve their traditions here and in the villages around
– Transfer on to Sighisoara
– Walking tour of the still inhabited fortress, including the Clock Tower, the Monastery Church, the Covered Stairway, the Church on the Hill (all exterior visits)
Accommodation in Sighisoara, 4* guesthouse set in a genuine German house, with impressive interiors and a beautiful small yard
AND SOME MOUTH-WATERING, HOMEY POTATO PIE WITH GARLIC SAUCE
– Transfer to Targu Mures
– Walking tour of the city including the Great Temple, the fortress, Teleki Library, the Culture Palace (all exterior visits)
– Optional: inside visit to the Culture Palace including the exquisite Mirror Hall
– Optional: traditional, down on earth lunch in a traditional Hungarian csarda
Transfer to Targu Mures TGM Airport for flight out
- Airport pick-up and drop-off (one per group)
- Transport by modern car
- Accommodation, 6 nights, 3* hotels and guesthouses
- Licensed English-speaking tour guide/driver
- Entrance fees to sites included in the program
- Road, bridge and ferry charges according to route
- Flight ticket
- Hotel extras (telephone, mini bar, etc)
- Other meals except breakfast
- Photographing or filming fees at the visited sites
- Travel insurance