Colin Shaw of Roving Romania
is a founder member of the
Association of Ecotourism
Adventure Travel & Exploration
Roving România offers tailor-made, small group tours and expeditions, covering the whole of Romania. Our aim is to provide a highly personalised, individual service to each traveller or group, to show visitors the REAL Romania, and to support local providers (home stays, small guesthouses and pensions, craft workers, etc.) and ecology projects, around this fascinating country.
The majority of our tours are tailor-made to each individual’s or group’s requirements. This means we can undertake any tour, trek, expedition or other travel service within Romania that is legal, supports local services, and respects local culture and wildlife. This is the nearest thing to independent travel – with the added security of having your own driver, guide and translator (fluent in English and Romanian) who knows the country, the Romanian people, and their way of life. We take you to the places other tour operators have never heard of!
Tailor-made travel means we can offer you a tour or expedition designed to your specific requirements, from 1 day to 2 weeks or longer, anywhere in Romania, for groups of 1 to 6 persons (occasionally more), and to suit almost any budget. We use a wide range of home-stay, bed & breakfast and small guesthouse accommodation, which offer you a warm welcome and excellent home-made cuisine. We can also offer self-catering camping tours or more up-market small hotels if you prefer.
We travel by Land Rover, car or minibus depending on group size, and have access to horse riding, horse-drawn carts, and mountain bikes for local trips. You can walk as much as you choose – many people choose not to walk at all on our tours!
Prices for tailor-made tours depend totally upon number of people in your group, length of stay, distance to be covered, type of accommodation required, and type of tour (walking costs less than visiting palaces!). To give you an idea of the kind of tours we can offer YOU in Romania, please e-mail us direct at: [email protected] In the meantime, to give you an idea of costs and what is possible, we show here 3 sample itineraries designed for previous clients. Our prices are fully inclusive of almost everything within Romania. However we never include the following: flights, airport taxes, travel insurance, visas (not required for UK/EU passport holders), alcoholic drinks, or video permits (where applicable). Pretty much everything else IS included, so you won’t need much spending money on our tours!
Below are three sample itineraries we have designed for previous customers – these are to give you a flavour, both of what Romania has to offer and how we can fit them into a tailor-made tour.
Sample Itinerary 1: PAINTED BUCOVINA (From Brasov)
A 5-day tour by Land Rover starting and finishing in the Brasov area, showing you the best of the Eastern Carpathians, Saxon Transylvania, and the stunning “Painted Monasteries” of Bucovina.
Fresco illustrating the Siege of Constantinople,
Moldovita Painted Monastery
Day 1: We collect you at 10am from your hotel (accommodation not included) in Brasov, Moeciu, Bran, Zarnesti or nearby. Morning – choose from the following visits:
– Prejmer Citadel – the largest and most impressive fortified church in Saxon Transylvania.
– Rasnov Fort – a fascinating Saxon hilltop fort with stunning mountain views in all directions.
– Bran Castle – the famous castle mythically connected with Vlad Tepes “The Impaler”, and “Dracula”.
– Carpathian Large Carnivore Project – meet the 2 semi-tame wolves that worked as part of the former CLCP team.
UPDATE AUTUMN 2008: the visit to the ex-CLCP wolves will probably no longer be possible. Sadly, Poiana died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 12 years, and Crai is due to be moved to a new location where he will be safe with other animals. For 2009 we hope to offer truly wild tracking and sightings of bear and lynx in the Bucegi Mountains, in conjunction with a fellow member of the Association oif Ecotourism in Romania.
– Zarnesti Gorge – explore on foot the spectacular limestone canyon, made famous by the film “Cold Mountain”.
– Magura & Pestera – explore the twin villages and their outstanding scenery, on foot or by Land Rover.
Afternoon: Drive from Brasov via Sfantu Gheorghe, the interesting St. Ana volcanic lake, Miercurea Ciuc and Gheorgheni to Lazarea. Overnight with village families.
Day 2: Visit the Lazar Castle in Lazarea. Drive via the Bicaz Gorge, the pretty Lake Bicaz, a strange wooden church at Grozavesti, the Golden Bistrita river, and the Tarnita Pass, to Humor in Bucovina. Dinner and overnight with a village family or at a pine chalet guesthouse.
Day 3: A day to visit the 5 extraordinary “Painted Monasteries” of Bucovina, at Moldovita, Sucevita (photo right >), Arbore, Humor and Voronet. Together, these five monasteries combine to make a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the “Black Pottery” at Margina. Overnight as Day 2
Day 4: From Moldovita / Humor, drive west via the Mestecanis Pass, the spa town of Vatra Dornei and the Tihuta (Borgo) Pass, to the attractive market town of Bistrita. Continue via Targu Mures to Sighisoara. Overnight at a good pension in town.
Day 5: Explore on foot the fascinating medieval town centre of Sighisoara. The rooftop views from the clocktower museum must not be missed! Visit the fortified Saxon church at Apold and climb the rickety stairs to the bell-tower. Continue on gravel lanes through excellent bird watching country via Bradeni, Retis and Soars to Fagaras. Return to your hotel/guesthouse in the Brasov, Moeciu, Bran, Zarnesti area.
Tour Price: Per person for 2 people sharing a double/twin room: approx. Euro 720.
Price does not include; flights, airport taxes, travel insurance, visas (not required for UK/EU passport holders), alcoholic drinks, photo / video permits (where applicable). Pretty much everything else IS included, so you won’t need much spending money! Start dates NOT Monday or Thursday.
E-mail us at [email protected] and let us show you the REAL Romania!
Sample Itinerary 2: TRANSYLVANIAN EXPLORER
A 9-day tour by Land Rover and on foot, starting and finishing at Bucuresti Otopeni airport and exploring South Eastern Transylvania in detail – Saxon villages and fortifications, rural culture, wildlife, stunning scenery, and high mountains.
Part of the mediaeval citadel of Saxon Sighisoara
Day 1: We collect you on arrival at Otopeni airport. Drive to Campina for dinner and overnight at an excellent family-run guesthouse.
Day 2: Visit the interesting museum of paintings by Romania’s national artist: Nicolae Grigorescu. Drive up the Prahova Valley via Sinaia to Brasov. “Pied Piper” city tour of Brasov on foot, visiting Orthodox and Lutheran churches, the old fortifications, and learning about the city’s fascinating history. Dinner in town and overnight at a family-run guesthouse on the hill above the town (or similar).
Day 3: Morning visits to Rasnov Fort – a fascinating Saxon hilltop fort with stunning mountain views in all directions, and Bran Castle – the famous castle mythically connected with Vlad Tepes “The Impaler” and “Dracula”. Afternoon visit to meet the 2 semi-tame wolves that worked as part of the former Carpathian Large Carnivore Project, located in the pretty Barsa Valley (see update above). Walk in the nearby forest with a local guide, looking for tracks and markings made by wolves, lynx and bears. Overnight at guesthouse in or near Zarnesti.
Day 4: Drive over the Rucar Pass to visit the narrow Dambovicioara Gorge. Walk from Dambovicioara village via Ciocanu and Sirnea to the delightful twin villages of Pestera / Magura. This walk can be as long or short as you wish (between 4 and 16 kms)! Overnight as Day 3.
Day 5: Morning walk in the spectacular Zarnesti Gorge – made famous by the film “Cold Mountain|”. Again this walk can be as long or short as you wish. Afternoon drive from Zarnesti via Sinca and the “Fagaras Foothills Villages”, to Fagaras and the isolated Saxon village of Soars. Overnight with village family and superb local cuisine!
Day 6: Morning walk along rough country tracks between the Saxon Transylvanian villages of Barcut and Retis (or Mesendorf to Viscri). Visit the fortified Saxon churches at Apold or Viscri (as appropriate) and climb rickety stairs to view the surrounding landscape from their lofty bell towers. Drive to Sighisoara, to visit its fascinating medieval town centre. The rooftop views from the clocktower museum are not to be missed! Overnight at guesthouse on the edge of town or a small hotel within the old citadel.
Day 7: A couple of hours in the morning for a lie-in, or to continue exploring medieval Sighisoara. Later, drive via Viscri (fortified church), Prejmer (the largest and most impressive fortified citadel in Saxon Transylvania) OR Peles Castle (former summer residence of the Romanian royal family), on route to the ski resort of Busteni. Overnight at a comfortable, modern guesthouse on the edge of the forest.
Day 8: A day to explore the high Bucegi Mountains by one of several methods:
– If you are feeling fit, climb the impressive Jepilor path from Busteni to the 2200 metre peak of “Babele” (4000ft ascent in 4 to 5 hours). Visit the strange Babele and Sphinx eroded rock formations and descend by cable car.
– If you are less fit, climb Babele by cable car, and enjoy a more leisurely walk on the high plateau, again visiting the strangely eroded rock forms. Descend by cable car.
– In adverse weather or when the cable car is not running, we can drive over the southern end of the Bucegi “horseshoe”, into the Ialomita Valley. Here there is a monastery built into the entrance of a large cave. Explore on foot and return to Busteni by Land Rover.
Overnight as Day 7.
Day 9: From Busteni return to Bucuresti Otopeni airport, with a visit to Peles Castle in Sinaia if time allows.
Tour Price: Per person for 2 people sharing a double/twin room: approx. Euro 1150.
Prices do not include; flights, airport taxes, travel insurance, visas (not required for UK/EU passport holders), alcoholic drinks, photo / video permits (where applicable). Pretty much everything else IS included, so you won’t need much spending money! Start dates NOT Monday or Tuesday.
E-mail us at [email protected] and let us show you the REAL Romania!
Sample Itinerary 3: TOTAL ROMANIA
A 15-day tour by Land Rover starting and finishing at Bucuresti Otopeni airport and exploring a large part of Romania including historical Saxon Transylvania, the rural culture of Maramures, the stunning “Painted Monasteries” of Bucovina, and the extraordinary wildlife of the Danube Delta.
Day 1: We collect you on arrival at Otopeni airport. Drive up the Prahova Valley via Ploiesti and Sinaia to Brasov. Dinner in town and overnight at guesthouse on the hill above the town (or similar).
Day 2: “Three Castles Tour” including:
- Prejmer Citadel – the largest and most impressive fortified church in Saxon Transylvania.
- Rasnov Fort – a fascinating Saxon hilltop fort with stunning mountain views in all directions.
- Bran Castle – the famous castle mythically connected with Vlad Tepes “The Impaler” and “Dracula”.
Drive to nearby Zarnesti for dinner and overnight at an excellent ecotourism guesthouse.
Day 3: Drive over the Rucar Pass to visit the narrow Dambovicioara Gorge. Walk from Dambovicioara village via Ciocanu and Sirnea to the delightful twin villages of Pestera / Magura. This walk can be as long or short as you wish (between 4 and 16 kms)! Continue to visit the spectacular limestone Zarnesti Gorge if time allows. Overnight as Day 2.
Day 4: Drive from Zarnesti via Sinca and the “Fagaras Foothills Villages”, to Fagaras and the isolated Saxon village of Soars. Continue along rough country tracks through excellent bird watching country to Apold. Here you visit the fortified Saxon church and climb rickety stairs to view the surrounding landscape from its lofty bell tower. Drive to Sighisoara, to visit its fascinating medieval town centre. The rooftop views from the clocktower museum are not to be missed! Overnight at guesthouse on the edge of town or a small hotel within the old citadel.
Day 5: A longer drive today into the northern province of Maramures. From Sighisoara we drive via Targu Mures, Reghin, Bistrita, the Setref Pass, and then descend into Maramures. Dinner and overnight with a village family in Botiza – our base for the next 3 nights.
Days 6 & 7: In Maramures, choose from the following activities and visits:
- The “Merry Cemetery” at Sapanta – some years ago a local craftsman started the tradition of carving and decorating wooden gravestones with colourful and often humorous epitaphs. His apprentice continues the tradition today.
- Memorial Museum in Sighet – the prison that housed political prisoners during the former communist regime, now houses a fascinating museum to its grisly past, and the memory of famous people who were incarcerated there.
- Pipas Collection – a staggering private collection of Maramures cultural artifacts, tapestries, old icons, crafts, lace, antique furniture, etc. Visits by arrangement only (that’s why you travel with us!).
- Wooden churches – Maramures is home to many slender timber churches built entirely of wood. Some are very old like that at Ieud (1384). Try also churches at Rozvalea, Bogdan Voda, Barsana (monastery), Botiza, and Poienile Izei.
- By horse-drawn cart over the hills to Poienile Izei, visit the old wooden church and its new replacement, then walk back.
- Visits to local crafts people – in the village of Vadu Izei, a tour of craft workers can be arranged by horse and cart.
- Narrow gauge forest railway in the Vaser Valley – most days a steam-hauled logging train heads up the valley, returning later with a full load of timber. A fascinating journey into history on this working railway.
- Lots of potential for short and longer walks. The walk from Glod to Botiza via Poienile Izei is recommended. The bird watching in Maramures is superb too.
Day 8: Morning free to relax in Botiza or enjoy a short local walk. After lunch we leave Maramures and cross the 4640ft Prislop Pass through impressive forest and mountain scenery into Bucovina. Dinner and overnight at a pine chalet guesthouse in the village of Vatra Moldovitei.
Day 9: A day to visit the 5 extraordinary “Painted Monasteries” of Bucovina, at Moldovita, Sucevita, Arbore, Humor and Voronet. Together these five monasteries combine to make a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit also the “Black Pottery” at Margina. Dinner and overnight with a village family in Humor.
Day 10: Leaving Bucovina, we head south over the Tarnita Pass, and follow the Golden Bistrita river down to the pretty Lake Bicaz, visiting en route a strange wooden church at Grozavesti. From Bicaz we head southeast via Piatra Neamt, and then on country lanes via Roznov and Tazlau to Onesti. Overnight in modern hotel in Onesti.
Day 11: Now onto the eastern plain of Romanian Moldavia, we continue towards the Danube Delta via Tecuci and Tulcea. At Braila we cross the River Danube by car ferry. At Mahmudia, on the southern margin of the Delta, we book into the comfortable, air-conditioned Hotel Teo – our base for the next 3 nights.
Day 12: Our first day in the extraordinary Danube Delta. The Teo hotel hires open motor boats (with obligatory boatman) for exploring of the myriad waterways and channels in the Delta (there are no roads). This first morning we travel a short way downstream by boat to the polder on which the Cormoran hotel is situated. Then exploring on foot, we will have access to a wide range of bird life typical of the Delta. After lunch we cross the St. George arm of the Danube to explore on foot the polders, lakes and dykes across the river.
Day 13: A longer journey by boat, covering a range of Delta scenery, with opportunities for spotting a stunning array of birds – usually including the magnificent Pelicans. There will be plenty of time to meander silently in the channels to fully appreciate the sights, sounds and fragrances of the Delta.
Day 14: Leaving the Delta behind, we have a full day drive back across south eastern Romania towards Bucuresti. Initially we cross the southern Macin Hills and Dobrogea, then re-crossing the Danube by bridge at Harsova, and continuing via Slobozia and Urziceni. Dinner at a good restaurant in the capital and overnight in a modern apartment in central Bucuresti.
Day 15: Return to Otopeni airport for your flight home.
Tour Price: Per person for 2 people sharing a double/twin room: approx. Euro 1990.
Prices do not include; flights, airport taxes, travel insurance, visas (not required for UK/EU passport holders), alcoholic drinks, photo / video permits (where applicable). Pretty much everything else IS included, so you won’t need much spending money! ANY start day.
E-mail us at [email protected] and let us show you the REAL Romania!
Discover the REAL Romania with Roving Romania!
E-mail: [email protected]