From Bucharest to Brasov—Romania’s National Parks and Historic Landmarks
Follow Sobek founder and resident explorer, John Yost, on this ten-day excursion through Romania’s unforgettable countryside. Six days of hiking on moderate terrain and two days of touring the country’s famous, historical landmarks create the perfect recipe for a European adventure that’s sure to please both trekkers and history buffs alike! With postcard-perfect views of snowcapped mountains, verdant hills, and majestic castles, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations in all of Eastern Europe. Get acquainted with Romania’s powerful mystique as you visit the famous hotspots of its most legendary icon, Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Count Dracula. They’re not to be missed! Trek into the mountains to traverse two of Romania’s national parks, Bucegi and Piatra Craiului, filled with fairytale villages, idyllic farmland, and imposing, jagged peaks. Go back in time visiting Bucharest, the romantic city of Brasov (a target of Turkish, Tartar, and Mongol invasions), the medieval fortress of Sighisoara and the church of Biertan—two UNESCO World Heritage Sites! This itinerary promises yet another outstanding MTS trip off the beaten path with the legendary John Yost. Vampire-repellant garlic not required.
6 Days of moderate hiking on uneven terrain; and 2 Days easy cultural touring.
- Follow Sobek founder and adventure pioneer John Yost through unforgettable landscapes of fairytale villages, medieval castles, snowcapped peaks, and old-world charm
- Traverse the two national parks of Bucegi and Piatra Craiului, both known for their unusual geologic features
- Go back in time while visiting historic Bucharest, the romantic city of Brasov, and the UNESCO World Heritages sites, Sighisoara fortress and the church of Biertan
- Immerse yourself in the lore around Transylvania’s most mythic icon—Dracula!
Duration: 10 days Start Location: Bucharest, Romania End Location: Bucharest, RomaniaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Bucharest, Romania
Arrive in Bucharest, Romania and transfer to your our hotel in Bucharest. We'll explore the city this evening, before our welcome dinner.
Day 2 : Bucharest – Sinaia
This morning, we'll visit the ruins of the Old Court of Bucharest, the real residence of our famous prince Vlad Dracula, who was the first to set the capital to Bucharest in 1457. We'll then go see the Parliament Palace, the second-largest building in the world, erected by the former Communist leader Ceausescu, one of history's most notorious megalomaniacs.
We'll then drive to Sinaia, at the foot of Bucegi National Park. While this national park was only recently created in 2003 to offset the growing pressures of tourism in the Transylvanian Alps, Sinaia has long been appreciated as one of the region's most scenic mountain resorts, giving it the nickname "the Carpathian Pearl." We'll take a short hike to the Royal Palace at Sinaia, the Peles Castle, which is considered one of the most beautiful castles in all Europe--a masterpiece of German new-Renaissance architecture. We'll return to Sinaia for the night.
Day 3 : Caraiman Peak – Pestera
Today, we'll take a scenic cable car ride up to Babele Chalet (7200'), enjoying marvelous views as we rise just over the tall pines of a deep valley up into the heights of Romania's high alpine peaks. Above treeline, we'll visit the Romanian Sphinx-- a rock shaped by wind and erosion resembling the human face and lion-like body of the legendary sphinx. We'll begin our hike up on a very easy trail to Caraiman Peak (7,500') and enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley below. We'll slowly descend 1,960-feet, again on a fairly easy trail, into the superb Lalomita Valley. We'll spend the night at Pestera Hotel, one of Romania's highest elevation hotels.
Day 4 : Lalomita Cave – Moeciu
After checking out of the hotel, we will visit the Lalomita Cave and the tiny, 16th-century monastery at the cave's entrance. From there, we'll continue walking on an old sheep trail up to the ridge until we reach the Strunga saddle. From this point the downhill takes about 2 hours until we get to the forestry road of Moeciu and back to our lodge.
Day 5 : Moeciu – Pestera Village
This is one of the most photographed areas in Romania. This hilly plateau located between two stunning National Parks--Bucegi and Piatra Craiului-- is a fantastic hiking area. You will explore fairy tale villages, real farm land, and tough mountain people. We'll spend tonight in the quaint village of Pestera.
Day 6 : Piatra Craiului National Park – Bran
Today we will plunge deeper into Piatra Craiului National Park – one of the most dramatic terrains in Romania. Dominated by a jagged limestone ridge, its name means "the rock of the King." We will hike on the eastern slope of the park, somehow milder but still extremely rewarding. Our highest point will be the Curmatura Chalet at 4,900-feet elevation. We'll then descend back into civilization through the narrow and superbly stunning Zarnesti Canyon. We'll spend tonight in the historic town of Bran.
Day 7 : Dracula’s Castle – Brasov
Today, we'll visit Bran's famous castle, built in 1377 as part of the Transylvanian defense system, and home to Romania's most infamous character, Count Dracula. We'll then take a 20-minute hike up to the impressive Rasnov Fortress, founded around 1225 by the Teutonic Knights.
We'll transfer to Poiana Brasov (one of the best ski areas in Romania at 3,900-feet in altitude). There will be a 4-hour hike, mostly downhill, to Brasov. Along the way, we'll stop on Tampa Peak for a glorious view over the medieval walled city of Brasov 650-feet below. Tonight will be spent in the architecturally splendid town of Brasov, which boasts edifices built in the gothic, baroque, and renaissance styles.
Day 8 : Explore Brasov
We'll then transfer to Sighisoara,a UNESCO World Heritage Site known to be the most well-preserved medieval town in Europe with its magnificent living medieval fortress. This is where Vlad Dracula was born in 1431. There will be a guided walk round the old walled Sighisoara. The town is still very real, very genuine, and is often compared to Prague in its pre-touristy era. Furthermore it offers the chance to spend the night inside the walled city in a very romantic setting.
We'll see the Clock Tower, climb the dark, Covered Stairs built in 1642 to the 900-year-old Hill Church. We'll spend the night in the old citadel of Sighisoara at a medieval hotel across the street from the very house where Vlad Dracula was born in 1431. Tonight, we'll dine in Prince Dracula's birthplace.
Day 9 : Church of Biertan – Copsa Mare
On our last full day in Romania, we'll visit the fortified Church of Biertan - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Biertan was the Evangelic Episcopal See for 300 years (1572 - 1867). The church holds an impressive door of the vestry, built in 1515 and awarded in 1900 at the Paris World Exhibition.
We'll explore this remote countryside in the heart of Transylvania. This will be an easy round trip along mild hills with old woods and pastureland to the tiny village of Copsa Mare and its 500 year-old church fortress. We'll return to Brasov for the night.
Day 10 : Transfer to Bucharest - Depart
After breakfast, we'll return to the Bucharest Airport for departure flights home.
DATES: Best time to go: August Departures: Aug 3 - 12, 2013 Sep 15 - 24, 2013 Revised Date
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
John is the Co-founder of Sobek Expeditions (now Mountain Travel Sobek) which became the largest international rafting company in the world. He has run over 30 international river exploratories, has run all but a couple of rivers Sobek runs or at one time ran commercially, and has boated most of the rivers in the western US. He has been a consultant with international “eco” lodges around the globe and was recently named a member of the board of directors with Friends of the River, a non-profit organization working to protect California rivers. John is known for his culinary skills in the kitchen, and will make his famous Omo Chicken Curry for you on the trip, which was named during the first descent of the Omo River in Ethiopia in 1973.