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Main travel focus
Incredible Capitals of Eastern Europe Tour
- the fortified churches at Harman
- The 15th-century Corvinesti Castle
- Walachian Prince Vlad Tepes castle
- Prejmer - the largest fortified church in Southeastern Europe
Transylvania, originates from Latin and means “the land beyond the forest”. This is the home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns, most notably of them Brasov, featuring Old Saxon architecture and citadel ruins; Sibiu with its cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses, and Sighisoara, adorned with a hilltop citadel, secret passageways and a 14th century clock tower. In Transylvania you will enjoy tiny shops, that offer antiques and fine hand-made products by local artisans and artists. The region is surrounded by the arc of the amazing Carpathian mountain chain.
We begin in Istanbul, proceed with Bulgaria and then we cross the border and travel through Transylvania. You will enjoy the scenery changing around you from citadels and mosques to churches and cathedrals as you head further towards Budapest, following the steps of the old Austrio-Hungarian Empire.
- Personal guide/driver throughout the tour
- Comfortable car
- Road taxes & VAT
- Entrance fees in places of interest
- Accommodation in 3-star hotels on BB board
- 3 folklore dinners in every country with traditional local food
- Alcoholic drinks
- Extra charges of hotel
- Personal insurance
Example Trip to customize
Istanbul - the pearl of the East and the jewel of the West
Welcome to Turkey, Istanbul Airport. You shall be received by your local guide and transfered to your hotel for your first night. Transfer from airport & check in to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Istanbul is considered the pearl of the East and the jewel of the West. The city stands on the divide between two very different cultures, religions and society. Historically and geographically this amazing city has the weight of a nation behind it and a country that still claims several of the wonders of the world.
Istanbul City Tour
Today we start with our sightseeing tour of Istanbul! Pick up at 09:00am from your hotel for the a day tour of old Istanbul city. Visit to St. Sophia basilica, the ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL MOSQUE, which is right across from St. Sophia and was built in the 16th century by the architect Mehmet, is known as the BLUE MOSQUE due to its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. TOPKAPI PALACE, the great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries, houses an exquisite collection of cyrstal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. HIPPODROME, an ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races, with the three monuments; the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. The tour will then take you to the GRAND COVERED BAZAAR In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more then 4,000 shops with each trade having its own area: the goldsmiths' street, the carpet sellers, Turkish arts and crafts, such as handpainted ceramic plates, hand-honed copperware, brassware and trays, water ewers, onyx-ware and meerschaum pipes. After the tour, transfer back to your hotel. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise incluing traditional Turkish entertainment and dinner. Overnight in Istanbul.
Unknown Ancient Bulgaria
After a refreshing breakfast, we leave Turkey and head to Bulgaria. You shall cross the border in the morning and make the first stop is the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon. It is thought that the famous Temple of Dionysius is located at this location. Then go on to visit Tatul - an ancient Thracian surface tomb and sanctuary. We expect arrival in Plovdiv late in the afternoon, said to be the second largest city of Bulgaria. You shall be droped off at your hotel for a deserving rest.
Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria
After breakfast you will continue your journey to Sofia - the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. The city is located at the foot of Mount Vitosha in the western part of the country. It occupies a strategic position at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula. Sofia's history spans 2,400 years. Its ancient name Serdica derives from the local Celtic tribe of the Serdi who established the town in the 5th century BC. It remained a relatively small settlement until 1879, when it was declared the new capital of Bulgaria. Sofia preserves many valuable monuments to its long and storied past. We'll explore the biggest Orthodox cathedral in Bulgaria - St. Alexander Nevsky, the basilica St. Sofia, the church from Roman times St. George, the National Theatre "Ivan Vazov" and many other interesting places in Sofia. In the afternoon our trip proceeds to the old capital of Bulgaria - the city of Veliko Turnovo. Arrival and accommodation in hotel. In the evening we'll have the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor night show, called Sound and Light visual show!
Bucharest - the capital of Romania
Today we shall leave Bulgaria in the morning and head to Romania's Capital city, Bucharest. Here you will get to visit all the sites of interest; including The House of Parliament; the 2nd largest building in the world, next to the Pentagon. Other sites include The Revolution Square, the Romanian Athenaeum; the Royal Palace; the building of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (the well-known balcony, was where the Romanian Revolution started). The afternoon will be free time for you to wander the city or relax at your hotel. In the evening you will be able to enjoy a folklore show with dinner before going back to your hotel for a goodnights sleep.
Tour of Transylvanian Ancient Cities
Today we will go to Sibiu; en route a visit to the Orthodox Monastery of Cozia, located on the beautiful valley of the River Olt. The church was built between 1387 - 1391 by Prince Mircea; grandfather to Vlad Tepes Dracula. In the evening you will be taken on a tour of Sibiu: including the Tower of the Council, the Liars Bridge, The Protestant Church (dated 1321), the Old Town Hall, the Bruckental Museum, and the Jesuit Baroque Church. You will spend the night in Sibiu, in your hotel of choice.
Routing Sibiu - Sighisoara
The first part of the day is dedicated to explore the old fortresses built by saxons in the south of Transylvania. You'll visit three of the most important fortresses from Slimnic, Alma Vii, Biertan which are included in the Unesco Heritages list. Slimnic rural fortress named Stolzemburg built in 14 century by German community. A part of the fortress is ruins. Alma Vii, fortified church since 15 century, is an example of Saxon construction which can be seen through-out Transylvania. In Medias is the beautiful Margareta church from XIV century and the main tower with 47m high slant. This tower was included in top 10 the most slanted towers in the world. In Biertan village is a fortified medieval church, one of the biggest in Transylvania with three defensive inner walls.
Ending the day in Sighisoara, one of the most preserved medieval city in Europe. Situated in Mures County, on the valley of the Tarnava Mare river, Sighisoara (former Dacian settlement and also called the pearl of Transylvania) was founded by the German immigrants in the second half of the 12th century and it was turned into a city in 1407. Its medieval aspect may be found both in the centre of the city and inside the Fortress of Sighisoara. In this area, houses are built very close to one another, giving a sense of crowdedness (in order to occupy the least space possible). In the evening you'll take a tour of Sighisoara, the best preserved medieval fortress in Europe.
Main sights today: Clock Tower and History Museum, Birth place of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), Covered stairs, Church on the Hill.
Sighisoara - Bran - Rasnov - Brasov
Continue your journey to Bran with its famous Bran castle. Also known Dracula's Castle, it is situated not far from Brasov (25 kilometers), at the entrance in the Bran - Rucar passage. The castle got its fame from Bram Stoker's legendary Dracula novel written in 1897, and later made into a film by Francis Ford Coppola. The first documents about the Bran Castle appeared in 1377. History shows that the castle held a strategic mission on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. First it was under the rule of the King of Hungary Sigismund of Luxemburg, than under the Romanian voievodes Mircea cel Batran and Vlad Tepes, and later on it came under the jurisdiction of the City of Brasov. In 1912 it was donated by the municipality of Brasov to the Romanian royal family, in order to became their residence
If time will allows (depending of the season), you'll stop at Rasnov to visit the old citadel. Built in 1331, this fortress was a shelter for the inhabitants of Rasnov in times of enemy attacks. In the middle of the courtyard there is a well 146 metres deep and the ruins of an 11th - 12th century - Orthodox church that were discovered here. Nowadays the fortress houses an interesting museum.
You will then go on to Brasov and visit the historical center, where you can admire Concil Square, Black Church, Weavers Bastion, Ecaterinas Gate, Black and White Tower. On this evening you will enjoy a delicious dinner at the famous Serbians Tavern before going to your hotel.
Sinaia and Peles Castle
In the morning you'll visit the Peles Castle, former summer residence of the kings of Romania. Situated about 44 kilometres far from Brasov, in Sinaia, the castle is well-known as a mountain resort. Nowadays it houses one of the most important museums in Transylvania, containing an impressive collection of furniture and ornamental objects, carpets, tapestry, sculptures, paintings, collections of weapons from the 15th up to the 19th centuries. After this visit you will have free time before heading back to Brasov to spend another night in this enchanting town.
Maramuresh - the land of traditions and wooden churches
In the morning your journey will take you to Cluj-Napoca and take a tour of one of the oldest cities of Romania, whose origins come from the ancient times of Roman Empire when the city was named "Napoca". Visit the center of the city with the St Michael's Cathedral, The Orthodox Cathedral, Romanian Opera, Born House of Matei Corvin (Mathias Corvinus) the former king of Hungary, the "Cetăţuia" with its wonderful panorama of the city.
After Cluj you head futher north to visit Maramures County, the land of traditions and wooden churches. First stop is Desesti to visit the local, UNESCO-listed, wooden church. Then go to Sapanta and visit the famous Merry Cemetery, truly one of the most unique sites in Europe. It is famous for its colourful tombstones with native paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there, as well as scenes from their lives. The Merry Cemetery became an open-air museum and a national tourist attraction.
Next stop will be the Birsana church. Built in 1720, and listed by UNESCO, this church showcases amazing florid paintings, the best in Maramures, as well as the Birsana Monastery, a large monastic complex comprising of several wooden buildings, all constructed in the local style, including the wooden church. The Gate Tower here is the highest wooden building in Europe.
You'll then head on to Ieud to visit the oldest wodden church made in to the 14th century (UNESCO). Don’t miss the The Maramures’s Woman Museum from Dragomiresti, where you can learn about maramuresean traditions and way of live.
Finally, after all this, you will head to Baia Mare to spend the night.
Budapest - the capital of Hungary
Today you shall travel to Budapest, capital of Hungry, and be taken first to your hotel. After, you will be taken on a 3 hour city tour, including a visit to the House of Parliament: first outside then inside the impressive building with its magnificent neogothic chambers and staircases, the home of the Hungarian Holy Crown. The program ends in front of the House of Parliament. (Note: this tour maybe changed to a city tour by boat, simply inquire for details)
In the evening you'll visit a folklore show and enjoy a typical dinner, before heading back to spend the night at your hotel.
After breakfast you'll start the journey to Herend and Lake Balaton. Starting from Erzsebet square this is an excursion to the Herend porcelain art that is famous throughout Europe. After a guided tour in the world largest porcelain factory (founded in 1826), take a coffee-break in the Porcelanium. You'll have the opportunity to do some shopping, before driving to Lake Balaton to enjoy the beautiful nature of Tihany Peninsula, and visit the charming abbey, which dates back to 1051. After a 3 course lunch in a csarda, you'll drive to Balatonfured for a walk around the nice spa-centre. Finally, it's back to Budapest, where you'll have the rest of the day at your leisure.
Danube Bend tour
Today you're in for an amazing Danube Bend tour, including Esztergom-Visegrad-Szentendre (9 - 10 hours approx.). Starting from Erzsebet square visit three towns of archbishops, kings and artists. Esztergom: the oldest Hungarian Royal Residence and ecclesiastic centre. Visegrad: with its unique panorama view from the Citadel. Here you'll have a 3 course lunch in a nice restaurant. Finally, Szentendre: where you'll walk round the Mediterranean-like town and visit the Caprice Hungarian jewellery museum, factory and exhibition. Finally, it's back to Budapest late in the afternoon.
Szentendre is located along the River Danube with hills in the background it has attracted residents and visitors for ages. Thanks to the Serb settlement in the past it still retains the Mediterranean townscape, Orthodox churches and Cyrillic-inscribed monuments. The town's baroque appearance has been very well preserved. Artists discovered this picturesque village in the 1920s and turned it into an art colony. You'll visit the unique museums of the town: Margit Ceramic Museum and Marcipan Museum, and can enjoy a cup of coffee and biscuits a nice confectionery. Afterwards, you will have free time for shopping, before heading back to Budapest.