WHY IT'S DIFFERENT?
Delve into the wintery Transylvanian landscapes, from charming Saxon towns, a countryside rich in folklore to Husky sledding.
Based on two people sharing, not including flights learn more
Visit Dracula's Castle
Perched up tall and ominous, with narrow corridors and hidden staircases, the Bran Castle certainly fits as home to the legend of Dracula. It also offering some stunning views of the surrounding area.
Brasov's old town offers snow-dusted, cobbled streets, sleepy houses and the crisp, wintery mountain air in what is a truly a fairy tale like setting. It also has several very good restaurants recommended in our booklet.
After a short introduction you'll have the opportunity to sled yourself. Feel the wind rush past you as you're pulled by your team of huskies pull you through the snow. An exhilarating and surreal experience you'll never forget.
As you take the cable car up the mountain to Balea Lake, you will find a heavenly corner. Take in the scenery, get your heart racing with winter activities and enjoy a once in a lifetime sleep in the Hotel of Ice.
"Our trip to Transylvania with was very well organized and our guide, Christina, was extremely friendly & welcoming. There was an interesting mix of castles and beautiful medieval towns. On our way back to the airport, we all participated in a snowball fight - a very nice touch at the end of our holiday."
NEED TO KNOW
|SEASON||December 29 2019 - Jan 2 2020|
|GROUP SIZE||16 people|
|FLIGHTS||For more information on flights from the UK please refer to the Trip Details section.|
|VISA||UK, EU & US not required|
Arrival in Bucharest followed by a transfer to your boutique accommodation in the Lipscani district where you will be greeted with a coffee or glass of wine before you head out into the old town to explore and discover the plethora of restaurants and bars.
Morning transfer into Transylvania, stopping for a tour around the divine Peles Castle before checking in to your hotel in Brasov. Enjoy the rest of the day exploring the charming medieval Saxon town of Brasov.
Spend the morning at Transylvania’s wonderful Libearty Bear Sanctuary meeting their growing family of rescued bears.
Travel back to Brasov to spend some quality free time or add one of our day trips to extend your exploration of the Transylvanian countryside and culture.
After you have had breakfast and checked out of your hotel, head down to the reception area with your luggage to meet your guide for the start of your journey deep in the Szekely land, the border of Transylvania and Moldova. Here is where you will enjoy a full Husky Sledding Experience. In the afternoon, visit the Csiki Sor Beer Factory for a tour and tasting.
Travel and visit the medieval citadel of Sighisoara for lunch and then wander before transferring to the beautiful town of Sibiu and checking in to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day to enjoy the medieval town.
Morning visit to the outstanding ASTRA Outdoor Folk Museum, which is the biggest in Europe and gives you a fantastic insight into traditional rural Romania from around the country.
Travel through the Fagaras Mountains to the cable car which will transport you up to Balea Lake and the Ice Hotel. Enjoy the afternoon on the mountain with a range of snow-based activities such as the unmissable Tunnel Trek before getting ready for your big night in the Ice Hotel, which kicks off with the Ice Hotel Dining Experience and drinks at the Sub Zero Ice Bar.
Head back through Transylvania stopping for a visit at Bran Castle, known to many as Dracula’s Castle before travelling back to Bucharest for the final night.
Transfer back to the airport in time for the flight home.
With all our hotels located in or near the Old Town of Lipscani, you will be right by amongst the hustle and bustle of the heart to the city.
Typical Accommodation: The Rembrandt, Grand Boutique or similar
All our hotels are located a stone's throw from Brasov's Old Town Square so you'll easily be able to explore Brasov's quaint, cobbled streets.
Typical Accommodation: Bella Muzica, Casa Wagner or similar
No trip to Transylvania would be complete without experiencing the stunning countryside and we use some of the most picturesque. Your accommodation close to Miercurea Ciuc will provide nothing else
With all our hotels located in Sibiu's majestic old town, you'll be able to visit all the sights, cafes and restaurants on foot.
Typical Accommodation: Casa Luxemburg, The Council or similar
Hotel of Ice
The Hotel of Ice has two different room grades, the standard Ice Hotel room or you can upgrade to an igloo room (subject to availability) which is bigger and more private. Let our team know if you are interested in upgrading.
WHERE YOU'RE GOING
Ask most people what comes to mind when they think of Romania and you’re likely to hear something along the lines of Dracula, vampires and gypsies. Yes, the spooky castles pitched on rocky hilltops are certainly vampire-worthy but the only real fangs you’re likely to be exposed to here are those belonging to the wild bears, wolves and lynx that roam the Carpathian Mountains. Once you place the stereotypes aside for a moment, you’ll soon understand how misunderstood, overlooked and vastly underestimated this country is.
"For those who would prefer to visit the Hotel of Ice, enjoy the stunning scenery and the winter park but prefer not to sleep in the Ice Hotel, there is warm accommodation available at the nearby chalet"
Marius G - Untravelled Paths
For some the Husky beginner lesson isn't long enough so if you're likely to want to spend more time Husky sledging then you should upgrade to the Intermediate husky lesson.
Thermals, a fleece, warm hat, scarf to cover your nose, gloves and thick socks will keep you nice and warm. The wind while driving the huskies really bites so be prepared.
Nothing better to keep the cold at bay than a good shot of the Romanian firewater. Be careful, though, it's strong stuff. As they would toast in Romania "Noroc!"
Sensible footwear with good grip is essential as unsurprisingly there is a lot of ice around! For the husky sledding, moon boots are not suitable. Opt for waterproof boots instead.
As a tour operator we are not able to offer inclusive flights as part of our experiences however we are more than happy to help you find the most appropriate incoming and outgoing flights for you. All the listed airports fly directly in and out of Bucharest with multiple different airlines to choose from. We highly recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
If you wish we can also organise extra nights at either end of your trip for you.
Book your trip in five easy steps.
BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS
PAY FOR YOUR TRIP
Although Romania is a member of the European Union, it does not use the euro (€) but has its own currency - the RON / Leu. The official currency is most commonly referred to as the plural ‘lei’ although some banks and exchange offices list it as the RON. One leu divides into 100 bani with banknotes coming in various denominations normally 1 leu, 5 lei, 10 lei, 50 lei and 100 lei and less commonly, 200 and 500 lei notes. Coins come in 50 bani and 10 bani pieces, which can be useful for small tips or donations.
The easiest option is to head to a cash machine once you’ve checked into your hotel in Bucharest to withdraw funds. There are plenty of ATMs around so it’s quick and convenient to get hold of your holiday cash
If you want to come prepared beforehand, the Bureau de Change in M&S is, strangely, one of the only places that dispenses the local currency. You can also purchase currency online and collect it from your local post office or even have it delivered straight to your door. Ordering currency online with the Post Office is commission-free and available for next day delivery. Obviously the more you buy the better rate you’ll receive.
However you choose to get hold of your spending money, just make sure you either spend or convert your RON before you leave.
Most major credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted throughout Romania’s main towns and cities. You’ll have no problem using your card to pay for drinks or dinner in Bucharest or Brasov using your card however you may like to carry some cash on you for smaller purchases and any activities taking place away. Ensure you have plenty of cash on you for the night at the Ice Hotel for activities and other expenses. It is always advisable to inform your bank that you’re travelling abroad in order to avoid the frustration of having your card blocked.
As a general rule, you’ll be able to have a good lunch for around £10 a head and will pay around £15 a head for a nice evening meal. Naturally, the type of establishment you choose to eat in and what you order will dictate the cost of your meals. Be aware that ordering imported wines can cause your bill to sky-rocket so drinking local wines is advisable. We reckon around £70 for lunch, dinner and drinks for two people is plenty per day. Please note that these are rough estimates and you can always choose to spend more or less depending on your budget and preferences.
Tipping is not obligatory in Romania although rounding up taxi fares and adding 10% in restaurants is polite and common practice. If the service has been poor please don’t feel obligated to leave a tip.
The average temperature during the winter hovers around -3 degrees although temperatures in rural areas and up in the mountains can drop well below -15 degrees so it’s best to prepare for the worst. That said, it’s not unusual to find yourself enjoying a coffee outside in a Transylvanian town’s café with the sun beating down with surprising strength onto both your face and the snow-covered streets. So wrap up warm but don’t forget sun cream!
Balea Lake and the Ice Hotel, where you should encounter the lowest temperatures throughout the trip, are not generally as cold as people might imagine but we do believe that it’s safer to prepare for very cold temperatures, as it is not uncommon for the temperatures outside the Ice Hotel to hit -20 degrees. We would recommend bringing some good waterproof shoes, a warm hat and some gloves to keep yourself warm. Some clients prefer to wear waterproof trousers or a ski suit to protect them from the snow and ice; however aside from technical wear, layering your clothes is just as effective. It’s worth noting that moon boots aren’t effective on the Husky sled and cannot be worn. Do pack a scarf for the Husky sledding as the wind can be quite chilly during this activity.
Alongside standard luggage, we recommend clients bring a smaller bag and transfer essential items into it for the overnight stay at the Ice Hotel, as it can be awkward lugging bulky suitcases around on the mountain. The big suitcases will remain locked in the car overnight, so ensure you take any valuables with you up the mountain.
The temperature inside the Ice Hotel isn’t actually as cold as you might think. It usually wavers between -2 and +2 degrees although the temperature outside can sink well below freezing. The Balea Lake Chalet is super warm and toasty though so you can always make your way over there to defrost between courses or before bed.
Before you tuck in for the night, your guide will give you pointers and tips on how to keep warm. Most of our guests feel quite toasty in the sleeping bag they receive before going to bed. However, there is always the option to book an additional room in the warm chalet in case you fear you won't make it through the night.
While there are no toilet facilities inside the Ice Hotel, the guests can use those in the cable car building just behind the Ice Hotel. We do recommend using them before going to sleep to avoid having to get out of your cosy sleeping bag overnight. In the morning, showers will also be available in the chalet.
First you will have a small "get to know" with the dogs and then you’ll learn about the daily lives of these and you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Then you will have a theoretical lesson before driving your own husky sled with typically 4-5 dogs (this may vary depending on the conditions and the size/weight of the driver) which lasts about 15 minutes (3 km beginner's track).
If you do want to spend more time with the huskies, it is possible to book an extended session involving a longer route, subject to availability.
Of course! The dogs are being well taken care of, and this will be apparent from the enthusiastic way they interact with people. While they are eager to take you on a ride across the plateau, they are not machines and do tire. This is one of the main reasons for the timing of the experience as the sledding takes into consideration their well-being as well.
Tap water is safe to drink practically everywhere, but most people stick to bottled water to be on the safe side.