A 5-day Itinerary – ultimate Romanian Road Trip Holiday

 

The ideal 5-day itinerary for visiting Romania: discover Bucharest and the southern part of Transylvania, a land full of history and fairy tales, castles and medieval cities. This ultimate itinerary for a trip to Romania includes all the must-see places, both on and off the beaten track! So, grab your luggage and get ready for some serious sightseeing!

 

Day 1: Arrival in Bucharest & city tour

Romania Bucharest tour

 

Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is bursting with life, offering diversity and contrasts: glorious Belle Époque buildings, communist giants like the Palace of Parliament, the 18th century architecture of the Old Town or glass towers topped by sky bars.

 

Bucharest is the European capital with the largest number (per square mile) of clubs, bars and lounges. The Old City in particular teems with life from early in the afternoon until sunrise. In the last years, this area was fully restored and it once again looks and feels like it did between the World Wars when Bucharest had earned a new nickname – “The Paris of the East”.

 

You can either explore the city with the hop on/hop off sightseeing bus or you can opt for a private city tour. Time Travel Tourism is our specialty, that’s why we’ve designed our day tours based on certain historical themes. You can choose the Ashes of Communism Tour (visit the Palace of Parliament, learn about the last European dictator, see massive structures and unhealed scars) or the Charm of the Belle Époque Tour (Golden age, 19th century, beautiful architecture & palaces). If time allows it, you can delve into Bucharest’s traditions and enjoy a visit at the Village Museum and a wine tasting session.

 

Day 2: Bucharest – Peles Palace – Bran Castle – Brasov

Transylvania Tour form Bucharest

 

The 2nd day is about castles and medieval cities. Take a ride to Sinaia and visit the gorgeous Peles Palace, former private retreat of Romania’s royal family and currently one of the greatest art collections in Eastern Europe.

 

Next, go to Bran Castle and discover a stone giant guarding the passageway to Transylvania. While exploring the mighty castle, learn about the myth of Dracula, the stories of Vlad the Impaler and the iconic figure of Queen Mary. After having lunch, go to Brasov, a medieval gem resting at the feet of Mount Tampa and founded by the Teutonic knights in the 12th century. In Brasov, visit the Old Town with its charming streets and feasts your eyes with a breathtaking view over the entire city from atop of the White Tower.

 

Day 3: Brasov – Rasnov Citadel – Viscri – Sighisoara

Transylvania Sighisoara Viscri

 

This day is more relaxing (less driving) but with beautiful attractions nevertheless. First, stop at Rasnov Citadel, a superb medieval fortification placed on top of a hill.

 

Next, go to Viscri’s Fortified Church (UNESCO monument). Discover a village where traditions are still intact, where you can feel like you’re travelling back in time. Continue on the path of discovering local traditions and stop in Saschiz (UNESCO) to have a traditional Romanian lunch in a beautifully decorated guesthouse. The last stop of the day is Sighisoara (UNESCO), one of the best preserved medieval citadels in Europe. There are a few hotels & guesthouses right within the citadel, among the colorful streets, old workshops, fortifications, gatehouses or Boehme cafes. In a few words, Sighisoara is a medieval fairy tale.

 

Day 4: Sighisoara – Biertan – Sibiu

Sibiu Biertan Transylvania

 

The first stop of the day is at Biertan (UNESCO) and its Fortified Church. Biertan is probably one of the most beautiful Saxon villages in Transylvania. Next, head to Sibiu – another medieval marvel of Transylvania and the European capital of culture in 2007. Founded over 800 years ago by German settlers, the old city is surrounded by well-preserved 15th century fortifications. With a mix of Gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, the pedestrian free Old Town looks like medieval Vienna and was ranked as Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live by Forbes.

 

Day 5: Sibiu – Transfagarasan – Bucharest

Transfagarasan day trip

 

This day is about incredible scenery. On your way to Bucharest, cross the Carpathians on the Transfagarasan, “the best road in the world” (by Top Gear). From the highest point, near the shore of a glacier lake, you can see the entire Transylvanian Plateau (if sunny). Please keep in mind that the Transfagarasan road is open between June and October. If you’re planning your trip during November and May, you can always return to Bucharest by passing through Olt’s Valley – another amazing road that crosses the southern Carpathian Mountains.

 

 

Request form - Unveil RomaniaDo you need help in organizing a customized, self-driven trip to Romania or would you rather rely on the assistance of a local guide to lead you?

Let us know of your travel plans by filling in our Request Form and one of our travel consultants will help you make the best decision!

 

Itinerary details & map

Overall itinerary: Bucharest – Brasov – Sighisoara – Sibiu – Bucharest

Number of days: 5

Distance covered: approx. 800 km

Suggested type of transportation: car

 

Romania itinerary 5 days

 

 

 

Top 5 Christmas Markets in Romania

Top 5 Christmas Markets in Romania

Transylvania’s cities lead the way

Christmas decorations RomaniaThere are many beautiful Christmas markets in Romania, but just a few have a bit of everything: historical buildings, beautiful architecture mixed with unique decorations, lots of activities and, naturally, a wide range of Christmas gifts, ornaments and culinary delights.

 

Here’s our selection of the 5 best Christmas markets in Romania. Do you have a different opinion? Please leave a comment and tell us of your favorite.

 

 

1. Sibiu – Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live (Forbes magazine)

 

City highlights: European capital of culture in 2007. Initially called Hermannstadt, the city was founded over 800 years ago by German settlers (Transylvanian Saxons) and it’s surrounded by well-preserved 15th century fortifications. With a mix of gothic, baroque and renaissance architecture, the pedestrian free Old Town was ranked as Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live by Forbes.

 

Christmas Market: Upper town, Great Square (18 Nov – 03 Jan). Intact medieval architecture? Checked. Synergy of cultures? Do 3 completely different types of cathedrals sound good? Blazing lights? Last year they took street decorations to a new level with a crazy “cathedral of light”, hanging above an entire boulevard. The race will be tough this year, but Sibiu’s Christmas Market remains the most popular in Romania.

 

Features: 70 fair huts, merchants from over 20 counties, traditional cuisine, children’s fair park, gospel concerts, carol singing contests, light shows etc.

Christmas Markets in Romania - Sibiu
Sibiu Christmas Market – The Great Square. Credits Ovidiu Matiu

 

2. Brasov – jewel of Transylvania & stronghold of the Teutonic Knights

 

City highlights: most visited city in Romania, after the capital. Founded in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights on top of a Dacian site, the city was initially called Kronstadt (German) or Corona (Latin), meaning Crown City. Dramatically overlooked by Mount Tampa, the huge old city is a myriad of cobblestoned streets, craft guilds, fortified towers, gatehouses, cathedrals, medieval decorated inns and bohemian cafes.

 

Christmas Market: Council Square (6 Dec – 31 Dec). The distinct medieval ambiance coupled with the stunning scenery (a city under a mountain) turn Brasov into a winter fairytale. The Council Square will be the definition of enchantment and the nearby Black Church, the largest Gothic cathedral in Romania, will host major thematic concerts.

 

Features: Christmas tree (28m high, 67 years old) decorated with 3D light spheres, 25m long garlands, 100 light bulbs etc. A network of light strands will cover the square, overlooking 40 fair huts and a theme park.

Christmas Markets in Romania Brasov
Brasov Christmas Market – The Council Square. Credits George Nutulescu

 

3. Alba Iulia – a 2000 year old citadel, reborn from its ashes

 

City highlights: Considered “the spiritual capital” by many Romanians. Why? First off – it’s ancient. Literally. Built by the Dacians over 2000 years ago and conquered by Romans, it became capital of Roman Dacia and seat of the XIII Gemina Legion. Second – it was the medieval capital of Transylvania. Third – it’s the birthplace of modern Romania, symbolizing the Great Union of Transylvania, Moldova and Wallachia.

 

Christmas Market: Union Square, Alba Carolina Citadel (5 Dec – 15 Jan). You don’t have to be a local to sense the powerful emotions generated by this citadel. There’s a vibration in the air as you walk through a tunnel of Christmas lights, connecting The Onyx Obelisk and The 3rd Inner Gate. Beyond, the Union Square is covered by a huge net of lights and packed with Christmas decorated royal statues, monuments, palaces etc.

 

Features: 600 sq meters ice rink, Santa’s house, fair huts, shows for children, concerts, mulled wine etc.

Christmas Markets in Romania - Alba Iulia
Alba Iulia Citadel. Credits Ion Baltean

 

4. Bucharest – between Belle Époque buildings, communist palaces or sky bars

 

City highlights: although lacking the medieval charm of Transylvanian cities, the capital of Romania is bursting with life, offering diversity and contrasts: glorious Belle Époque buildings, communist giants like the House of Parliament, the 18th century architecture of the Old Town or glass towers topped by sky bars.

 

Christmas Markets: Constitution Square (1 Dec – 30 Dec). There are several markets, but the main one is located in the heart of Bucharest, in front of the Palace of Parliament, the 2nd largest building in the world.

 

Features: 60 fair huts, traditional music & dances, Christmas Choirs, Elven workshop, Santa’s House, intriguing Christmas decorations and local cuisine including various types of sausages, syrups, drinks etc.

Christmas Markets in Romania - Bucharest
Bucharest Christmas Market

 

5. Timisoara – an exciting mix of cultures

 

City highlights: The largest city in western Romania, dating back to 1212. It has a cultural & architectural diversity, being influenced by several cultures: Austrian, German, Hungarian, Turkish and Serbian. Timisoara was the 1st city in Europe and 2nd in the world after New York to use electricity to illuminate its public streets.

 

Christmas Market: Victory Plaza (1 Dec – 8 Jan). The market is located within a large pedestrian plaza, over an area that stretches from the Opera House to the large Orthodox Cathedral. The plaza is surrounded by historical palaces and theaters, displaying a baroque architecture. Everything is illuminated and decorated, from rooftops to fountains and from statues to proud standing trees.

 

Features: A 23 meter high dome made out of 60.000 lights, 100 fair-huts, The Chocolate House, Santa’s workshop where children can design their own toys, handmade products, cuisine goodies from Banat.

Christmas Markets in Romania - Timisoara
Timisoara Christmas Market – Opera House view.

That was it folks – the 5 best Christmas markets in Romania. Did we miss anything? Do you have a different selection in mind? Please leave a comment and tell us of your favorite.

 

Thinking about planning a trip to Romania?

 

Most likely, you’ve never considered planning a trip to Romania, but if you’re reading this then you’ve surely tempted to try something new. Still, which places would you choose? Can you have a bit of all? A tailor-made itinerary could be the best choice, especially if you’re tired of predefined tours & agency fees.

 

Take the first step towards a tailor-made trip!

 

Request a tailor-made tinerary

Design your own journey! 

 

The Story of Unveil Romania

Riding against the wind

Every child has a dream. Ours was about the power to inspire, but we never thought of it literally. It was about the desire to create, to break barriers of thinking, to do something meaningful to ourselves and ultimately to others. To grow up and be able to work with a child’s passion.

 

The story of Unveil Romania
Original photo by George Nutulescu, www.flickr.com/nutulescug

 

This kind of dream seemed impossible and foolish in today’s society or, at least, this is what you are lead to believe when looking around you. Do you want to ride against the wind and take on a different path? Why would you? School – college – university – corporate career. This looks like a healthy, reasonable way to go with and you should be fine by following this “path”. But what if you really want to do more, be different and do something that matters? Where to start?

 

In a country where everyone complains that the values you had been taught of are being lost. Where actually the act of complaining became a sad sport. Where a great bastion – the educational system – is crumbling. A system that often spits poorly educated individuals with shallow desires and who randomly emigrate, most of the time giving a bad name to your country. A country where some of the best among you also emigrate only to be underpaid and confronted with a stigma caused by the aforementioned. Finally, in a country where those who can really make a difference end up being overwhelmed, complacent, bought over by cheap mentalities or promises and ultimately become ignorant. In this rotten environment, one usually thinks like this: “Looking around, I see that there’s a greater chance to achieve your goal by finding a safe way to steal rather than doing an honest work. Those who cheat are glorified instead of being punished, the media doesn’t mind to promote cheap characters as models and all the while competent people are struggling to make a decent living. So why should I be the loser?” You can’t fight the tide. This is the place where we were born.

 

Born in a struggle to undo the plague of 45 years of communism without anyone having a clue on what is going on. Without any of the leaders or great people from before the regime still left alive or able to do something anymore. The golden age of which we had heard from our grandfathers seemed a utopic story, a silly fairy tale. Those who had quickly became rich after the revolution were obviously not from the elites because the elites were dead. It took many years for the cultural wheel to start spinning again. This is the place where we grew up.

 

Yet, hope is not lost. Gradually you see your generation maturing. You see young people willing to start from scratch, willing to do things without any significant gain. Or with no gain at all. This is something born out of pride, out of feelings transcribed as “the hell with itI had enough!” or “it will get worse only if I allow it”. These kind of people give you hope and they make you smile.

 

One day, it strikes you. Violently. You quit your corporate job and start a new life. You begin to study like you never did before. You’ve heard this story over and over but never believed in it. Do you still believe in something other than family and friends? Yes – you do! Why waste so many years of education and an undeveloped potential? Use it for something great.

 

Why go with the flow and be ignorant? If you explain yourself too much it could sound like an excuse. It may be too obvious or even pathetic these days, but why not focus on the incredible riches your country still has to offer? Focus on the positive side. Leave the complaining to others.

 

This simple inspiration gave us huge motivation. The motivation to inspire others. Inspiration moves people. It gives them hope, vitality, desires and dreams. It’s not much but we really feel we are doing something, the least we can. This makes us feel more alive than we could have ever imagined. Typically, we have good days and great days. During the bad ones, we think at our vision and ultimately smile. Genuinely. It feels like we are not living in vain, allowing the values to slowly sink around us as we pass by. It makes us sleep better. Or even smile when working, sometimes late at night.

 

Because you see, it’s not only about Romania. It’s about a deeper need we all have. The feelings generated by Time Travel Tourism, our trademark, are a rare breed, as they make you want to share the thrill. The goal beyond The Quest to unveil Romania is that you attain inner balance by preserving the natural wonders, traditions and historical sites. Attain a balance between heart and mind. A balance needed to responsibly shape the modern society we live in, creating a better and lasting world for all of us.

 

From our inspiration, passion came to life. This lead to motivation. Thus, we built a Vessel so that we can share all of this with you. We built it for you to take the experience back home or wherever you go and even share it if you wish. We named this vessel Unveil Romania. And we poured our very souls into it. Come aboard! Keep it alive!