WHY IT'S DIFFERENT?
A week-long escape to Transylvania, complete with experiencing the simple, rural life, visiting charming towns and spotting brown bears.
Visit to Bran Castle
Perched up tall and ominous, with narrow corridors and hidden staircases, the Bran Castle certainly fits as home to the legend of Dracula. Steeped in history and legend, there is much to take in.
Medieval saxon towns
Transylvania is famed for its beautiful, colourful, saxon towns. None more pretty than Sighisoara, the birthplace of "Dracula". With charming cobbled streets and its enchanting old town square.
Romania's famed rural villages are incredibly authentic, as if time forget them. The locals continue to live a slow and simple life like that their ancestors before them. There are plenty of local traditional activities available.
Spotting wild brown bears
Travel to a bear hide and patiently wait as the wildlife starts to appear, from wild boar to foxes and of course, the majestic brown bear and all in their natural habitat. Highly recommended and can be added as an optional extra.
"All the accommodation on this trip was first class, Untravelled Paths certainly choose interesting places to stay. The whole trip was well organised and really enjoyable and we are already trying to decide which one to do next! I can't recommend this company highly enough."
Elaine Pell - Guest
With a mixture of traditional accommodation in local villages and visits to the medieval towns of Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara where you’ll enjoy the comforts of boutique accommodation, you’ll experience the very best that Transylvania has to offer. The trip also includes entry to the impressive castles of Bran and Peles as well as the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti and we can even arrange for you to visit the bear hide and bear tracking excursions as an additional extra. Take a step back in time and get involved with local village activities in Viscri including horse and cart rides, hay-stacking and traditional bread-making along with visits to the blacksmiths, and other local crafts.
NEED TO KNOW
|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.
Day to relax and spend more time in Brasov with optional extra activities such as walking tours or even an opportunity to experience seeing wild bears in a nearby hide.
Morning transfer to Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s Castle before arriving at Inn on Balaban to enjoy the stunning rural countryside before a traditional Romanian meal in the evening.
Morning transfer to the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Zarnesti before transferring to the rural village of Viscri where HRH Prince of Wales owns a property. Enjoy a tour and an authentic lunch at a local house before travelling to a neighbouring village to check-in to your traditional Transylvanian guesthouse where you can partake in village activities.
Travel and visit the medieval citadel of Sighisoara for lunch and a 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. Transfer on the ‘best road in the world’, the Transfagarasan, up to the peace and quiet of Balea Lake* to enjoy lunch and a wander before travelling back to Bucharest where you’ll check-in to your boutique accommodation in the heart of the Lipscani district.
Please note: Those travelling in the shoulder months (May-June and November) will not be travelling on the Transfagarasan as it is closed. You will travel back to Bucharest via Olt Valley instead.
Transfer to Bucharest airport for return flight.
A selection of our accommodation, which is subject to availability, however alternatives are always of a similar price, grade and location.
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.
Typical Accommodation: Inn on Balaban, Zabola Estate or similar
Transylvania is renowned for its charming, authentic and peaceful rural villages. Our selection of guesthouses are some of the very best.
Typical Accommodation: Viscri 125, Viscri 32 or similar
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
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 the car enthusiasts eager to experience the windy turns of the Transfagarasan be sure to travel from late June to early October as it could be closed outside of this period"
Dragos - Untravelled Paths
Try traditional food
You'll have plenty of chance to try delicious home cooked local food during your visit to Romania but also be sure to visit Caru Cu Bere, Bucharest's oldest beer house.
It's always prudent to book activities in advance but this is particularly true of the rural areas as there are some logistics involved and generally the pace of life is much slower there!
Try palinka at least once
For those brave enough, there is nothing better to warm the belly than a good shot of the Romanian firewater. Be careful, though, it's strong stuff. As they would toast in Romania "Noroc!".
Cross the language barrier
Have a go at the local language, it's a romantic language so those who speak any of the other romantic languages will pick up many of the words quickly such as "salut", "merci" and "ciao".
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.
In order to be fully covered on your trip should anything happen, we suggest getting an insurance before you travel. We recommend True Traveller, designed especially for adventure travel, who will be able to tailor an insurance package based on your needs. You can find out more here.
Our prices are based on people sharing, for solo travellers who would prefer a private room the price per person will include a solo occupancy fee.
If you wish we can also organise extra nights at either end of your trip for you.
Book your trip in a few easy steps.
Once you’ve chosen the dates you’d like to travel on using our availability calendar all you need to do is head over to the booking page and fill in the enquiry form.
BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS
We will get back to you answering any questions you might have and confirming availability. If all is good, we can hold the places for you for 48 hours while you book your flights. Please note that this stage does not represent a guarantee of the booking.
Once you have made your necessary arrangements, we will send you a booking form you will need to fill in with your details and any other relevant information.
PAY FOR YOUR TRIP
As you fill in the booking form, you will also be asked to make the payment through a secure link; if you are travelling in less than 8 weeks, the payment will be paid in full, otherwise only a 35% deposit will be taken.
Shortly after you pay, you will receive a confirmation invoice, followed by a personalised itinerary and digital booklet. All you need to do now is write the dates in your diary, prepare your packing list and look forward to your next adventure!
Please note deposit is non-refundable. The balance will only be refundable if you cancel with more than 8 weeks in advance. More information about the cancellation policy can be found in our Terms & Conditions. We highly suggest getting insurance before you travel to avoid any problems. Our personal recommendation is using True Traveller.
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. While you should have no problem using your card to pay for drinks or dinner in major towns and cities using your card, some establishments accept cash only so it’s worth checking before you get settled in. It is also a good idea to carry some cash with you for smaller purchases and activities and while you're traveling in remote locations. 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. Please note that dinner at Inn on Balaban and Viscri is included.
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.
Spring: The wonderful advantage of visiting Transylvania during the spring is the presence of wildflowers and butterflies that fill the Carpathian Mountains. The weather is very pleasant although there is also a slightly higher risk of rainfall during this time.
Summer: June, July and August affords long hot sunny days and blue skies with little chance of rain. While temperatures can soar to around 40 degrees in Bucharest, the Transylvanian countryside tends to be a little cooler so you can enjoy the great outdoors.
Autumn: September and October bring with it slightly fresher temperatures but days are mostly sunny, warm and dry with increased chance of showers
You can always contact the UTP team on +44 207 101 4061 or email@example.com. Before you travel, you will also receive a personalised itinerary with the contact details of the local manager in Romania should there be any problems. Your guide will be on hand throughout the trip as well, so you're in safe hands.
Our digital booklet, which you will receive before travel, contains all the information you need about optional activities. Simply drop us an email letting us know what you'd like to do during your trip, and we'll take care of the rest. Please note that the payment for the optional activities will be taken locally in cash.
As Romania can get quite hot in summer, it's advisable to pack lighter clothing. Evenings can get a bit chillier, however, especially in Transylvania, so it's a good idea to have a hoodie or jacket on hand. If you're traveling in spring or autumn, do take your rain jacket with you. If you're opting for the Bear Hide trip, pack some dark-coloured clothing as the idea behind observing wild animals is to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Think black, navy blue and dark green attire. Remember, you want to see the bears but you don’t want them to see you! You might also want to bring a few layers as the temperature drops in the evening and you’ll be sitting still for quite a while. Please also ensure you bring a waterproof with you just in case!
While in Brasov, you will have the opportunity to head into the woods and observe the wild bears from the safety of a bear hide. Please let the team know beforehand if you're interested, and we can arrange the visit for you.
Obviously not a good idea to head into the woods with a pair of high heels or flip-flops on. Wear shoes that will be comfortable for walking like a sturdy pair of trainers or some walking boots. Again, darker colours are preferable.
Yes, there are a few things. A small backpack can be useful to carry all your essentials while keeping your hands free. A bottle of water is always practical and don’t forget your sun cream for hot days walking in the mountains and insect repellent to keep mosquitos away at dusk in the hide. Binoculars can be useful too!
When it comes to spotting bears in the wild, your best chance is at the bear hide. In ten years, there have only been a couple of very rare occasions that the bears didn’t show up at the hide so that ought to give you a good idea of how likely you are to catch a glimpse of them! You will, of course, see quite a few rescued bears at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary so you won’t go home without seeing at least one bear.
Very. With an experienced local tracker that is professionally trained in tracking and dealing with wild animals, you’re in safe hands for all of the bear tracking excursions. Typically, your tracker will carry an electric rod and/or a can of mace spray in the unlikely event that you should run into any problems. During the mating season it is common for trackers to carry a gun with them so please do not be alarmed.
Yes, of course. Although there are certain rules you’ll need to follow if you’d like to capture the experience on film. The use of flash, automatic focusing functions, continuous modes or settings that detect red eye are not permitted as the bears will be alerted by your presence and may react or vacate the area. If you are unsure about which camera settings you should use, ask your tracker. If you're planning to use your phone to take pictures, please ensure the settings comply to the regulations and that you put it on silent.
You will be travelling by car between each location, and you will be able to explore the towns and sights at your own pace. If you opt for the Bear Hide excursion, there is a moderate amount of walking involved. Depending on which location you will be visiting, it might take you between 15 minutes to 45 minutes to reach the hide. You will be following a forest trail with level terrain. There is some walking involved at the Sanctuary as well, with a small uphill portion, but all broken down with stops to hear the stories and watch the bears.
Transfagarasan, aka "the best road in the world" according to Top Gear, is only open a limited amount of time during the year. As such, to ensure you will see it, we recommend travelling between the end of June and beginning of October. During the cusp months (April-May and November), you will travel back to Bucharest via Olt Valley.