Day 1. Sun. En Route.
Day 2. Mon. Bucharest-Romania
Clear immigration and collect your luggage and proceed through customs to the arrivals and here you will meet your representatives as we load our coach and transfer to downtown. Our first stop in the city centre will be to visit the Arc De Triumph for photo’s and then continue to Revolution Square for pictures of the Athenaeum and the Royal Palace. We also have some time to walk around the square.
Next up we continue to Stavropoulos Church which is the oldest building in Bucharest.
From the church it is just a short walk to Caru Cu Bere where we enjoy a hearty lunch for hungry travellers. After a refreshing lunch, we continue to the Parliament Building known as the House of the People. At the end of a fascinating afternoon, now it’s time to check in to our hotel. Settle in and freshen up.
Overnight: The Intercontinental Hotel – Bucharest. (LD)
Day 3. Tue. Bucharest / Curtea de Arges / Cozia / Sibiu.
This morning after a hearty breakfast we load up and depart Bucharest at 08:00. Before leaving Bucharest, a photo stop at Parliament buildings in the morning light. From here, we set out on a fascinating 3 hour drive through magnificent scenery of Transylvania to the world famous Curtea de Arges Monastery. Curtea de Arges Monastery is the most important pilgrimage and prayer place in the county of Arges, with the “Assumption of the Virgin” as its dedication day.
During afternoon we continue on another spectacular drive of about 2 hours through the picturesque Romanian Mountains to the Cozia Monastery. Known as the oldest and most complex historical and art monuments from Romania, Cozia Monastery is situated on the right bank of the river Olt, 22 km away from Ramnicu Valcea and 75 km away from Sibiu.
After our visit to the Cozia Monastery, we continue by our luxury coach to the town of Sibiu.
Overnight: The Ramada Hotel Sibiu. (BLD)
Day 4. Wed. Sibiu / Sibiel / Sibiu.
We will now board our coach and drive to ASTRA, the open air Museum where we have 1/2 hour tour with our guide and one hour free time with your teacher to walk around and enjoy this amazing place. We then set out with our guide at 10:30am on a walking tour of Sibiu. The original town was protected by walls and brick towers. The buildings were joined by tunnels and narrow passageways with heavily gated windows to cover the stairways and corners where intruders might be ambushed. Everywhere you look; there is evidence of Sibiu’s historical past. Later, we will sit on a horse drawn cart and visit a farm and learn to milk the cows. Return to town and we proceed to a Romanian Wedding. You are guests of honour as we participate with in an elaborate ceremony. You will also participate in traditional music and dances and enjoy a wonderful dinner with the villagers.
Overnight: The Ramada Hotel Sibiu. (BLD)
Day 5. Thu. Sibiu / Sighisoara / Busteni / Brasov.
We will drive to Sighisoara. Upon arrival at Sighisoara, we enjoy a tour of another UNESCO destination. Begin a fascinating sightseeing tour of the medieval complex. Sighisoara in Romania is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, (also known as Vlad III the Impaler, Vlad Dracul, and Dracula). See the house where Vlad Tepes was allegedly born. Vlad Dracula also lived for a certain period of time in Sighisoara. The fans of this exciting myth always stop in front of this building (also where we will have lunch). Close to it, the visitor can admire other famous buildings… the “Venetian House” and Stag House. Late morning we will have free time with our teachers for shopping and wandering this quaint town.
Leaving Sighisoara, we drive a short distance to Busteni, where we board cable cars for spectacular and beautiful views of the mountains and the area below including the rock formation called the Sphinx at the top.
Leaving Busteni, we continue on as we drive to Brasov, the city built by Knights and early merchants in the 12th Century. Stop at a look out before entering Brasov for a photograph of the town and church steeples. From here we walk nearby and visit St. Nicholas Church in Brasov and the cemetery. Saint Nicholas Church dominates the oldest part of the city, Scheii Brasovului. Like other medieval churches it is surrounded by protective walls with large wooden gates.
Overnight: The Cubix Hotel – Brasov. (BLD)
Day 6. Fri. Brasov.
we board our coach and drive to the local High School where we are enrolled for the morning with local Romanian students at Andrei Saguna High School in Brasov. We will start with Introductions of Romanian teachers and students, later proceed with your Romanian teacher to learn some studies this morning. During afternoon Egg Painting workshop at the High School. In the world of traditional artistic handicraft, egg-painting requires special attention because of their fragility and because of the difficulties imposed by the narrow decoration space. This handicraft has become a real art, through the drawing and coloristic pattern, through the delicate but abundant ornaments.
At the end of our school visit, we say goodbye to all the new friends you made and then
proceed to the only open Synagogue in Brasov. The first Jews established themselves around 1807 and in 1826 formed the first Jewish community in this area. Their numbers kept increasing and during the 1930’s it became an important community representing almost 4% of the population of Brasov.
Overnight: The Cubix Hotel Brasov. (BLD)
Day 7. Sat. Brasov & Bran.
This morning after breakfast, your guide will escort you on a tour of Brasov, a city built by the Teutonic Knights and the Transylvanian Saxon merchants in the early 12th century. Enjoy a tour in the old part of the town, through the beautiful narrow streets and visit the Black Church – the largest gothic style edifice in Eastern Europe which also houses an impressive collection of Persian carpets.
After a hearty Romanian lunch at a typical restaurant, we will set out for a short drive to the rural commune of Bran where we visit the local castle. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot-high rock, Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Time free for an hour walk around with your guide.
Weather permitting; some fun awaits us at Adventure Park. This is a good time to unwind and play with your your family. All the activities are safe; however, each teacher will let you know which activities you can participate in based on your own abilities. 19:00, we drive back to our hotel and freshen up for dinner.
Overnight: The Cubix Hotel Brasov. (BLD)
Day 8. Sun. Brasov / Sinaia / Mogosaia / Bucharest.
At approximately 09:00am, we re-board our coach and continue our drive to Sinaia. This is the famous winter resort, also known as the Pearl of the Carpathian Mountains. Before arrival, a quick stop at the Monastery for a brief walk around. Then continue to Peles.
On arrival we visit the Peles Castle and the nearby Pelisor Castle, the most magnificent of castles in Romania.
Visit the Peles Castle, (and Pelisor Castle) which is without a doubt the most magnificent castle in Romania. It was the former summer residence of King Carol the 1st of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen, built in the late 19th century.
This afternoon at 13:00pm we continue our coach trip back to the capital city of Bucharest and proceed to Mogosaia Palace. We tour the Palace which was built between 1698-1702, by Constantin Bracoveanu in what is called Romanian Renaissance Style. Spend the balance of the afternoon visiting the palace. After we conclude our day at Mogosaia Palace, we drive to the Herastrau Park where we take a refreshing walk through the park with stops at the handicraft stalls before ending at our venue for dinner.
The Intercontinental Hotel – Bucharest. (BLD)
Day 9. Mon. Bucharest / Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria.
TRAVEL DAY-CROSS THE BORDER / PASSPORT CHECKS & THEN TRAVEL TO BULGARIA.
This morning board our coach and drive to Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria and proceed to the restaurant in Veliko for a sumptuous Bulgarian lunch. After lunch, we will have a weaving and wood carving lesson. Later this afternoon, it’s time for some refreshing exercise after our bus trip this morning. We walk to nearby Tsarevets Hill to enjoy the scenery and valley scenes we see from the top. The Tsarevets Hill was the main fortress of the medieval Bulgarian capital Veliko Tarnovo. During the period (1185 – 1395) of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom Bulgaria were the largest and the most powerful state in South-eastern Europe.
During night, We are treated to a spectacular sound & light show. The light show called “Sound and Light” (Zvuk i Svetlina) on the Tsarevets Hill is the most impressive attraction for the tourists. The audio visual programme dating from 1985 combines sound and light effects to reproduce the history of the ancient Bulgarian capital.
Overnight: The Yantra Hotel – Veliko Tarnovo. (BLD)
Day 10. Tue. Veliko Tarnovo / Tryavna / SOS Children’s Village / Arbanasi
This morning we depart at 08:00 for our community service at the Children’s SOS village at Tryavna. Together with the children from the village we will construct directional signs and build bridges for a small rural stream and nearby cave. After a good work out this morning, now it is time for a barbecue lunch with the children of the orphanage. An hour to also play Frisbee or some games with the children.
This afternoon around 1430hrs we will proceed to Arbanasi, the picturesque village originally founded by Albanians. This town at one time grew rich after Sultan Suleyan give it to one of his sons in law in early 1538, thus exempting the town from the harsh taxes of the Ottoman’s. In the town of Arbanasi the churches built long ago were hidden from the occupying Turks. We will also visit one of the local houses that show the Bulgarian style evident during the turn of the century.
As the end of the afternoon and a complete day of community service and touring behind us, we return to Veliko Tarnovo where we will be dropped near the tourist office, with an hour free time to wander the colourful streets, shop for some souvenirs, or just enjoy an ice cream before returning to the hotel.
Overnight: The Yantra Hotel – Veliko Tarnovo. (BLD)
Day 11. Wed. Veliko Tarnovo / Kazanlak / Plovdiv.
This morning we set out around 08:00am for a quick visit in Veliko Tarnovo to see the statue of the three brothers on horseback. Continue our drive to the next town of Kazanlak, where we will stop an enjoy a tour of a Yogurt. Now we set off for the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv. On our arrival by 11:00am, enjoy an atmosphere of the Millennial town with its roman ruins. In Plovdiv we start out with a visit the Forum and the Theatre.
This afternoon at 14:30 we stop at Bachovo Monastery with an ossuary decorated with the 11th century Byzantine period frescoes and a refectory with elaborate 27th century murals.
Continue to the Friday Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the Balkans also dating to the 16th Century. Finally a visit to the Plovdiv Synagogue ends our day’s activities.
Overnight: The Trimontium Hotel. (BLD)
Day 12. Thu. Plovdiv / Sofia.
Sofia is a city that grows but never ages. Founded over 7,000 years ago, Bulgaria’s modern capital testifies to the country’s eternal bond between past and present. Monuments to its rich Thracian, Roman, Bulgar and Ottoman history rub shoulders with modem-day edifices of cosmopolitan city life. At our first stop in town, we visit the Changing of the guard. Next on our list in the capital city is the Church of St. George which is the best preserved Byzantine building, followed by the fortress walls of ancient Serdica. Continue to the National Theatre built in Venetian Secession. The Ivan Vazov National Theatre is Bulgaria’s national theatre, as well as the oldest and most authoritative theatre in the country and one of the important landmarks of Sofia.
After lunch at 13:30 we continue to visit the monuments of both Bulgarian and Ottoman times which gives evidence of its rich and turbulent history. Our next stop is the most impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral which dominates the city. we continue to another famous Church – Church of St. Nicholas, the miracle maker. The church was built on the site of the Saray Mosque, which was destroyed in 1882, after the liberation of Bulgaria by Russia from the Ottoman Empire. It was built as the official church of the Russian Embassy, which was located next door, and of the Russian community in Sofia, and was named, as was the tradition for diplomatic churches, for the patron saint of the Emperor who ruled Russia at the time, Nicholas II of Russia. Next up on the agenda, everyone gets to learn how to dance – Bulgarian style. These dances are world famous and you will enjoy the lessons in Bulgarian Dances.
Overnight: The Greenville Hotel. (BLD)
Day 13. Fri. Sofia / Rila Monastery / Sofia.
This morning we drive south from Sofia at 09:00am to the amazing Rila Monastery which is one of the greatest centres of scholarship and religion in Bulgaria during the National Revival period. En route we will stop for photographs of the lush green forests with rivers and waterfalls.
Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritual and social life of medieval Bulgaria.
Late lunch will be near the Monastery during the day. Later, visit to Monastery Church with its amazing frescoes and art painted by the finest Bulgarian artists from the 16th Century. Also visit the Monastery Museum.
At 15:00, all packed up, our coach continues out to Sofia airport, where you will say goodbye to your Bulgarian hosts and proceed into the airport and check in for your flight back home.
Overnight: En Route. (BL)