Discover the unique colors of Bucovina
Bucovina - Romania
Round trip, Breakfast
Availability: 05.01.2012 - 30.12.2012
7 days / 6 nights
- Euro / PersonBook this offer
Arrival at Bucharest airport and departure to Sighisoara via Brasov. Optional visit at Peles Castle – one of the most beautiful castles in Romania and Pelisor Castle, the art-nouveau style masterpiece. Overnight in Sighisoara 3*- 4 * hotel. Evening free. (300 km)
Breakfast. Visit of Sighisoara fortress (UNESCO) – the most beautiful and best preserved complex of medieval architecture in the Central and SE Europe. Departure to Tihuta Pass for a face to face meeting with Count Dracula at the Castle Dracula Hotel, built at the approximate site of the fictional Count’s castle. Overnight in Tihuta Pass area 3 *- 4 *. (195 km)
After breakfast leave for Gura Humorului. On the way visit a workshop for hand-painted eggs – an Easter tradition very well preserved in Bucovina. Upon arrival in Gura Humorului visit to the Museum of Folk Traditions in Bucovina. Free time for a short walk in the Arinis Complex (a beautiful forest park with a bridge over the river, a swimming pool). Overnight in Gura Humorului 3*- 4 *. (115 km)
Traditional Romanian dinner with folkloric show included.
Breakfast. Leave for the painted monasteries of Bucovina, some of the greatest artistic monuments in Europe with beautiful exterior frescoes: Arbore (UNESCO site, famous in the world for its green color), Sucevita (UNESCO site) and Moldovita (UNESCO site). On the way, stop in Solca – Marginea to admire the ceramics and pottery made by traditional methods. Stop at "The Palm"(1.100 m altitude) for a spectacular view of Bucovina region. Overnight in Gura Humorului 3*- 4 *. (110 km)
After breakfast, trip to the monasteries Humor (UNESCO site, unique in the world for its special red color) and Voronet (UNESCO site, famous in the world for its special blue color) and departure to Targu Neamt. Visit the Neamt Fortress (built in the 14th century), among the most representative historical monuments from Romania. Along the centuries, the history of the fortress has been tidely combined with the history of the whole Moldavia, for the fortress marked some important moments of this history, keeping on its walls the traces of the days of glory or those of sorrow of the past times. Overnight in Piatra Neamt area 3*- 4 *. (135 km)
Breakfast. Departure to Bran and visit at the Bran Castle, also known as Dracula Castle. Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Although Stoker never visited Transylvania, the Irish author relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark and intimidating stomping ground of Count Dracula, leading to persistent myths that it was once the home of Vlad Tepes, ruler of Walachia. While the association with Dracula is sketchy at best, the castle continues to hold a strong attraction for all fans of the Count. Overnight in Bran 3* - 4 *. Optional – traditional dinner at the tourist sheepfold. (275 km)
After breakfast transfer to Bucharest. Panoramic city tour and optional visit at the Village Museum, an open door exposition with traditional buildings from all over the country, at the House of Parliament, the world’s most expensive office building and the second largest civilian administrative building in the world or at Cotroceni Palace (the residence of our President). Transfer to the airport. (175 km)
The price will be calculated according to the group size.
Services included6 nights accommodation in a 4* hotel
1 traditional dinner
Services not includedentrance fees at the touristic attractions
other personal expenses
other meals not mentioned in the program
Atractions in Bucovina
Location: Northeastern Romania - between the Carpathian Mountains and the Prut River. Bucovina is situated in the northern part of the region of Moldova, bordering with Ukraine.
Note: The region of Moldova (often referred to in the Western press as Moldavia) is not to be confused with the Republic of Moldova, its eastern neighbor.
Moldova rivals Transylvania when it comes to rich folklore, natural beauty and astonishing history. Nestled in the rolling hills of northern Moldova is the region of Bucovina, home to one of the world’s greatest art treasures: the UNESCO World heritage sites of the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries and featuring colorful exterior frescoes depicting dramatic religious scenes, these richly decorated houses of worships are unique in the world.
The most famous of these, often called “the Sistine Chapel of the East”, is Voronet Monastery. Erected in 1438 by Stefan the Great, Voronet’s most stunning feature is a Last Judgment fresco painted – as at all the churches – on the exterior façade. The blue paint that has miraculously never faded is known throughout the world as ‘Voronet blue’. The artists here worked in isolation, guarding their trade secrets and to this day, the composition of the paint remains a mystery.
Other painted churches not to be missed include Sucevita, with its distinctive greens, and Humor, where the frescoes are predominantly red. Also nearby are Arbore, Dragomirna, Moldovita and Putna monasteries.
Sucevita is surrounded by high walls and defensive towers, giving it the appearance of a fortress. It has the largest number of painted images. The western exterior wall of the church is not painted. Legend has it that work stopped after one of the painters fell from the scaffolding and died. Today, the thick walls shelter a museum presenting an outstanding collection of historical and art objects.
Humor is rather small physically, but looms large among Bucovina’s treasures with a variety of frescoes dating from 1535, including one illustrating the Return of the Prodigal Son and one with a “humorous” depiction of the devil as a woman. The predominant hues of the frescoes are reddish brown with some rich blues and green infusions. An extremely valuable collection of icons from the 16th century is displayed in the monastery.
Arbore - the highlight of the small church is a scene from Genesis, which adorns the western wall. The only church in the region with no belfry towers, because it was not built by a prince, the monastery was founded in 1503 by Luca Arbore, the advisor of Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare). It was painted four decades later by Dragos Coman, one of the greatest 16th century mural painters of Romania.
The Monastery of Moldovita, located in the village of Vatra Moldovitei, was built by Petru Rares in 1532. The predominantly gold and deep blue paintings on the exterior walls were completed in 1537. The large and vivid Siege of Constantinople highlights the frescoes. Another stunning representation depicts the Tree of Jesse, representing Christ’s genealogy, a wide-spread iconographical theme in Europe during the Middle Ages.
The town of Suceava may be the best starting point for a trip to the monasteries. Once the capital of Moldavia (from 1375 until 1565), it has some noteworthy attractions of its own, such as the remains of the Fortress of Suceava built in 1388. Today, visitors can tour the remains of the impressive fortifications and take in a great view of the city. Other sights in Suceava include the St. George Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mirauti Church, the Zamca Monastery and a number of museums dedicated to woodcraft, ethnography, history and folk art. The Bucovina History Museum displays medieval armor, coins, tools and ancient documents. Its Hall of Throne is a re-creation of Stephen the Great’s court with furniture, weapons and costumes.
A visit to Bucovina would not be complete without some stunning nature walks through Ceahlau National Park, Romania’s Olympus – the sacred mountain of the Dacians, the forefathers of the Romanian people. Make sure you bring binoculars as some 90 species of birds can be seen in the park area. Hikers won’t want to pass up taking a crack at the Bicaz Gorges, a steep, twisting-and-turning climb more than three miles long.
Food & Wine
Bean soup, stewed sauerkraut, parjoale (the local version of meatballs) or iahnie (a dish made of beans), are some of Moldavians’ favorite dishes. Standing out among the soups and broths is ciorba de potroace, made with chicken entrails boiled with carrots, onions, parsley, a spoonful or two of rice and flavored with bors.
The Moldavian sarmale (meat rolls in sauerkraut leaves) are not only very popular in Romania but are also a famous dish served in Romanian restaurants around the world. These meatballs, rolled in cabbage or vine leaves, are made from minced pork mixed with rice, salt, pepper, chopped dill and parsley as well as chopped onion; small portions of this mixture are then rolled in cabbage or vine leaves and boiled. The sarmale are always accompanied by polenta, a finely ground yellow cornmeal. Local deserts include papanasi – cottage cheese dumplings (boiled or fried) and Poale in Brau (sweet cheese pie).
Other local specialties:
Poale-n brau - small pies made from dough, eggs and cheese and fried in oil
Pasca - a sweet cheesecake
For centuries, Moldova has been renowned for its vineyards and wines. One third of the wine growing surface of Romania is to be found in this part of the country.
Located in the small village of Cotnari, the Cotnari vineyards are famous for their delicious sweet white wines made of grapes rich in sugar and harvested in late autumn following the first frost. The quality of these wines relies on a combination of rich soil, the late harvest and the presence of a special mold (Botritis cinerea). The vineyards have a long history, spanning over seven centuries, dating from the time of Stephan the Great (1457 - 1504). The winery’s most popular wines include Francusa (dry), Feteasca Alba (semi-sweet) - highly appreciated for preserving the flavor and freshness of the grape; and the sweet, golden Grasa and Tamaioasa dessert wines. Grasa de Cotnari – A naturally sweet wine with a delicate fragrance and a smooth interplay of fruitiness and acidity. Tamaioasa Romaneasca - A naturally sweet or semi-sweet white wine with subtle honey and basil aromas, an exquisite amber color and a persistent rich taste. Its sweet taste may also suggest a blend of rose petals and wild berries.
Moldova is also home to another well-know vineyard, Odobesti, one of largest and oldest in Romania. There are written references to the Odobesti wine growing region dating from the 17th century. The wide variety of wines produced by the Odobesti includes six traditional sorts of Romanian wine, namely: Galbena de Odobesti, Plavaie, Feteasca Alba, and Feteasca Regala (white wines) and Babeasca Neagra (red wine).
Galbena de Odobesti – A light white wine with a delicate bouquet that preserves the fragrance of the mellow grape. Babeasca Neagra - A traditional full-bodied red wine with a delicate bouquet and a slight taste of clove.
Other vineyards in the region include: Bucium, Cotesti, Husi and Panciu.
Places to explore:
· The monasteries and churches with painted exterior frescos of Bucovina: Voronet (‘the Sistine Chapel of the East’), Moldovita, Sucevita, Humor, Probota, Arbore, Rasca
· The old monasteries and convents of: Putna, Dragomirna, Bogdana-Radauti, Neamt, Agapia (one of the largest nun monasteries in the Orthodox world) and Varatec
· Trei Ierarahi Church in Iasi - built in 1635, its walls, real stone embroidery
· The Neamt Fortress (Cetatea Neamtului) in Targu Neamt
· The natural scenery of the Bicaz Gorges – one of the most spectacular road passes in Romania
· The Ceahlau, Romania’s Olympus – sacred mountain of Dacians, the forefathers of the Romanian people, where Zamolxes, their supreme god, had his temple.
· Take a wine tasting tour and try some of Romania’s finest sweet wines at Cotnari Vineyards, established in1448
· Bucovina History Museum in Suceava
· Etnographic Museum in Suceava
· Art Museums in Iasi and Piatra Neamt
· Ethnographic Museums in Iasi and Piatra Neamt
· Jewish History Museum and Great Synagogue in Iasi
· Moldavian History Museum in Iasi
· Ion Creanga Memorial House (Targu Neamt) - the house where the greatest storyteller of Romania was born is located at the entrance in Targu Neamt and represents a symbol of the Romanian traditional architecture
· Cucuteni Culture Museum (Piatra Neamt) - a museum that displays an impressive collection of painted ceramics
Outdoor Adventures & Parks in the region:
· Calimani National Park - volcanic plateau dominated by the Calimani caldera
· Vanatori Neamt Nature Park – home of the Dragos Voda bison and Carpathian wildlife reserve
· Ceahlau National Park – the Olympus of Romania
· Hasmas-Cheile Bicazului National Park – spectacular gorges and the Red Lake natural reservoir
Activities: Biking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Nature walks, Skiing, Wildlife and bird watching.