Expert-Led Group Tour

Romania Group Tour - Beyond the Carpathian Mountains

Register your interest for our 2020 Romania Group Tour

10 days

from £3,250pp
  • Travel during Easter, offering a truly unique experience
  • Unearth the secrets of one of Europe's most enchanting countries
  • Explore picturesque villages, UNESCO wooden churches, and the mesmerising Carpathian Mountains
  • Experience the hospitality and handiwork of the Roma people

Our Romania group tour has been created to coincide with Romanian Easter, one of the most important celebrations in the country. Visiting Romania during this holiday gives the extraordinary opportunity to experience local traditions, savoury dishes and submerge into the Romanian customs and way of life. The group will travel through Romania during the Easter week, with Orthodox Easter Day falling on Sunday 28th April in 2019, offering the opportunity to witness the full celebrations taking place from Good Friday through to Easter Monday.

Starting in Sibiu, situated in central Romania, the route taken on this small group tour moves away from the country’s more touristed areas in favour of the quieter corners where life moves slowly and in a way largely unchanged for hundreds of years. The group continues to Sighisoara, located in the Transylvania region, the city is a fairy-tale-like fortified city in the heart of Romania, with cobbled streets, colourful buildings, and a pedestrian-friendly Old Town. Continuing onto Viscri, one of the most beautiful Saxon villages in Transylvania, designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Journey onwards, visiting Botiza, one of the prettiest villages in the Maramures region of Romania. Finally, finishing in Breb, rich in tradition, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Romania.

Travel in Romania offers an opportunity to discover a country that is often misrepresented in the media and relatively unknown to all but the most curious of travellers. The scenery throughout most of Romania is wonderful with mountains, forests and large areas of rolling farmland forming the backdrop to road journeys.

Joe, our Romania Travel expert, recently travelled to Romania, read about his travels in Romania here. 

Why should I join this Group tour to Romania?

The group will be in the Maramures region during the majority of the Easter celebrations, one of the best places to really feel the Easter spirit. In rural Romania, traditions are kept in an authentic way that has nothing to do with chocolate bunnies or other imported symbols.

This is a varied tour that takes in Saxon villages and fortified churches, vibrant Roma communities, markets, and traditional villages where horse carts are the preferred method of transport and hay is cut by hand. Compared to much of Europe, Romania receives but a trickle of visitors. We think this is set to change so travel now before the word completely gets out.

In addition to the regions visited, the group will be accompanied by Romania expert, Greg Helm. Steppes Travel clients recently travelled to Romania with Greg and had this to say about him:

Greg Helm was an exceptionally gifted guide, such as we have never encountered in our many years of travelling. A feisty Englishman who, having lived in Romania for the past 25 years, was extremely knowledgeable about the country, people and history, a thoroughly entertaining companion and good connoisseur of the local food and wine. We would highly recommend him to future visitors to Romania.

What happens during Easter in Romania?

Romanian Easter starts with Holy Week, alternatively known as Passion Week, following the trials and death on the cross of Jesus. During this week, it is normal for Romanians to fast, clean and prepare their homes for the major celebrations in the coming weekend.

The most important days of the Easter week are Friday, known as Vinerea Mare in Romania, or Good Friday. This is the day that commemorates the death of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice. Romanians have a day off and avoid doing house chores. Working on such an important day is frowned upon and considered a sin.

On Saturday night, Romanians go to church to attend mass and to receive light, celebrating Jesus’ revival and his rise to the Heavens. After the ceremony streets fill with people taking their lit candles home bathing the cities or villages in warm light. It is quite a magical sight.

Is this Romania group tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

What is accommodation in Romania like?

Often hotels in Romania are not to the same standard as those of other more developed countries within Europe. However, small boutique hotels do exist and are complemented well by friendly family run guesthouses with comfortable beds and home-cooked meals. You can always expect a private en-suite room.

How fit should I be to enjoy this Romania tour?

You do not need to be particularly fit to participate, there are no long walks involved but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.

What is the food in Romania like?

For the most part, meals are simple and hearty. Breakfasts tend to focus on bread, jam, local honey and eggs. Lunches will vary between hot and cold. Dinners tend to be meat, mashed potato and vegetables. Vegetarians and vegans can be accommodated but away from the main cities, it is probably fair to say that options will be limited.

Romanians always celebrate with food. Be it Christmas, Easter, a wedding, or a burial. Romanians have a specific dish for each. On Easter Sunday, Romanians gather around the family table or go out on a picnic and enjoy traditional Romanian food.

The main meat at the Easter table is lamb. Romanians usually turn it into roast but in some parts of the country soup and stew are also delicious options. Another option is some type of haggis or meatloaf out of lamb liver mixed with condiments. Sweet bread is the traditional Romanian dessert. It is a delicious puffy dough filled with cocoa, raisins and Turkish delight and walnuts. It goes great with boiled eggs, milk or by its own. Pasca is also a type of sweet bread but with sweet cheese and raisins.

What will the weather be like in Romania in April?

Clear sunny days but not excessively hot. When travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary so best pack a waterproof. The best time to travel to Romania is generally during the months of April, May, June and September, as it is neither too hot nor too cold.

To find out more information regarding our Group tour to Romania, departing in April 2019, please enquire here. 

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Four nights accommodation in Breb
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • One nights accommodation in Sighisoara
  • Two nights accommodation in Viscri


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arriving into Romania
You will be met on arrival at Sibiu airport and transferred to your hotel. If you are flying from the UK on Saturday 20th April we recommend flying with Wizz Air. Please note this flight lands in the early hours of Sunday 21st April. Your hotel has been booked from the 20th April to allow for immediate occupancy on check-in.

Once the largest and wealthiest of the citadels, Sibiu is a lively medieval town with picturesque squares and colourful architecture.

You will be staying at Maison Elysee, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Sightseeing Tour of Sibiu
After a relaxed start to the day, you will meet your guide at the hotel at 11am. Begin to explore the beautiful squares of the Upper Town of Sibiu. Discover the Great Square (the site of the Roman-Catholic church and the Brukenthal Palace, which houses one of Romania's most important art collections), the Little Square (linked to the previous one through a passage beneath the Council Tower) and the Huet Square, dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral. Other points of interest include the Footway Ramp, built in the 14th century to connect the upper and lower part of the city, the Bridge of Lies, the oldest cast iron bridge in Romania and the Stairs Passage, connecting the Upper and Lower Town.

Today (Sunday) is the beginning of Holy Week, the week before Easter, so you can expect to witness locals preparing for this significant religious holiday. This evening you have dinner at the Kulinarium restaurant.

Breakfast and dinner included today

You will be staying at Maison Elysee, bed and breakfast

Day 3

ASTRA Museum complex
This morning you are met by your guide and driven a short distance outside Sibiu to visit Europe's largest open-air ethnographic museum. The ASTRA Museum complex showcases churches, mills, traditional homes and folk architecture exhibits in a beautiful natural environment. The perfectly preserved interiors of these buildings give a great insight into the simple life of Romanian peasants, their occupations and traditions.

Drive from Sibiu to Biertan (Road Journey)

You are driven to Biertan, a drive of approximately one hour and 20 minutes.

On arrival at Biertan, discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of a medieval Saxon fortification, considered to have the most beautiful church in Transylvania. There is also a house, where in ancient times, couples who planned to divorce were locked for two weeks to share only one bed and one set of cutlery. It is said that in 400 years, only one couple still decided to break up after this 'vacation'. Have lunch before continuing your journey to Sighisorara.

Drive from Biertan to Sighisoara (Road Journey)

You are driven to Sighisoara, a journey of approximately 30 minutes.

Sighisaora is a wonderfully preserved medieval town, and holds one of the most impressive medieval citadels in Europe. The town is made up of two component parts, the citadel which is perched on a hillock overlooking the a bend in the Trnava River and the lower town which lies in the valley below. Here you will have probably the only opportunity in Europe to walk the streets of a genuine, still inhabited, medieval town with its cobbled streets, quaint burgher houses, ornate churches and impressive clock tower. Visitors to Sighisoara will no doubt feel they have stepped back in time.

Sighisoara afternoon tour
Explore Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the few medieval citadels that is still inhabited. Visit the medieval citadel, which today only has nine towers, two artillery bulwarks and a part of the surrounding wall still preserved. Visit the Monastic Church and view some of the most important Armenian rugs (by special permission). Walk around the narrow streets, exploring the medieval fortress.

Breakfast, lunch included.

You will be staying at Fronius Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Drive from Sighisoara to Viscri (Road Journey)

After breakfast, leave Sighisoara behind and drive towards Viscri, the most visited village in Transylvania. On the way, stop in Crit and, equipped with special suits, visit the beekeeper who is the Royal Honey Provider to Prince Charles. Learn how he got this distinction and how he makes his special honey. During your sightseeing programme today, you will have a traditional farmers lunch.

Viscri lies to the south east of Cluj Napoca, and is one of five villages making up the Brunesti Commune. The village now has UNESCO heritage status, thanks to the efforts of Caroline Fernolend and the Mihai Eminescu Trust, whose President is the Prince of Wales. The village boasts a 12th century fortified church and well preserved architecture and traditions.

Orientation Tour of Viscri
After lunch take a tour of the village, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage fortified church and the local blacksmith. It is also possible to travel by traditional cart through the village.

Breakfast and dinner included.

You will be staying at Viscri 125, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Full day in Viscri
Spend the morning taking a step back in time and explore the UNESCO town of Viscri, set amongst the gentle rolling hills of Transylvania. See how the village has undergone conservation with the help of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, with its traditional white buildings and magnificent 12th century fortified church. Visit the local gypsy blacksmith, the brickmaker and possibly go for a trip by horse and cart to the nearby sheep shelter. For those wanting a more active morning, there is the chance to explore the area by bike, cycling into the forest and surrounding villages.

After lunch, enjoy a session with your tour expert on medieval history and the story of the Saxons who inhabited Transylvania for more than 800 years.

Breakfast and dinner included.

You will be staying at Viscri 125, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Viscri to Breb (Road Journey)

Have breakfast and prepare for a long drive to the Maramures region and the village of Breb.

The drive will be around six hours so the group will stop for lunch en route. This is a lovely opportunity to visit a local market or just stroll around the centre of an ordinary Romania town. Depending on how time is going, we will try and stop at Gherla, a small town know for its Armenian church, said to host a painting by Reubens.

You will arrive in Breb in the late afternoon. Take some time to discover the village and its surroundings or just relax and settle in. Breb is a beautiful and well worth spending some time.

Have dinner in Breb in the house of a local family.

Viscri to Breb via Gherla
Have breakfast and prepare for a long drive to the Maramures region and the village of Breb.

The drive will be around six hours so the group will stop for lunch en route. This is a lovely opportunity to visit a local market or just stroll around the centre of an ordinary Romania town. Depending on how time is going, we will try and stop at Gherla, a small town know for its Armenian church, said to host a painting by Reubens.

You will arrive in Breb in the late afternoon. Take some time to discover the village and its surroundings or just relax and settle in. Breb is a beautiful and well worth spending some time.

Have dinner in Breb in the house of a local family.

Breakfast and dinner included

You will be staying at The Village Hotel, As specified

Day 7

This morning drive to Sighetu Marmatiei, a short half hour drive away to view the traditional villages with their wooden churches and the amazing natural landscapes.

Visit the Memorial Museum of Communism, created in the city's old prison. The prison is famous for housing leaders and intellectuals of communist Romania. The visit can be extremely moving but a fascinating insight into Romanian history.

From Sighetu Marmatiei, continue to Sapanta, a half an hour drive, to visit the Merry Cemetery where the tombstones have quite peculiar and funny epitaphs about the deceased. Also during your visit we will meet local craftsmen, some open their houses to visitors to try on traditional costumes and offer a taste of their home-made palinca (plum brandy).

A lunch will be taken back in Sighetu Marmatiei at Casa Lurca. (Not included in price of tour).

After lunch, visit the Maramures Village Museum which showcases the ethnicity of the region.

Late this afternoon you return to Breb for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast and dinner included

You will be staying at The Village Hotel, As specified

Day 8

Spend the morning at a gentle pace. Take a walk around the village and in the nearby forest area. Make a visit to Barsana Monastery, a 30 minute drive from Breb. Visit some excellent examples of the wooden churches found in this region. Return to Breb on a different route, via Glod. The scenery is utterly stunning. Dinner and overnight in Breb. At midnight the village goes to church to celebrate the revival of Christ by walking in circles around the church holding candles. The group are more than welcome to attend this ceremony.

Breakfast and dinner included

You will be staying at The Village Hotel, As specified

Day 9

Today is Orthodox Easter Sunday. It is possible to attend the local mass in the village church to see locals dressed in typical clothes and join in the celebrations. Participate in the traditional festivities.

In the afternoon there is a celebration in the centre of the village with live music, dancing and lots of food.

Breakfast and dinner included.

You will be staying at The Village Hotel, As specified

Day 10

Breb to Satu Mare via Targu Lapus
Have breakfast at the guesthouse.

Drive to Targu Lapus (60 km, 1h), a small authentic village, in the heart of Maramures area and take some time to visit Cuza Perta, a well known traditional artist from Romania, who sculpted over 2.500 "troite" (large crosses, beautifully sculptured, that you can find near churches, at cross-roads, on top of hills). It is said that he has a "wood calling" and that every piece of wood is telling him how should he use it.

On the way from Breb, you stop and visit Rohia Monastery (10 km from Targu Lapus), located atop a hill surrounded by lush forests and stunning views, and Rogoz Monastery, a church famous for its intricate 'Horse head' consoles that support the roof and for the wood carvings on the facades. Rohia Monastery is where Nicolae Steinhardt lived and wrote many of his books; he is particularly known for his book called "The Happiness Diary".

Have lunch in Targu Lapus or somewhere on the way.

Continue driving towards Satu Mare for your flight back. (105 km, 1.5 hrs)

Drive from Targu Lapus to Satu Mare (Road Journey)

You are driven to Satu Mare, a journey of approximately one and a half hours.

You will be transferred to the airport in time for your evening flight.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Romania

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

Read More

Thomas Frost, Travel Expert

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Enquire about this holiday:

Group Size:

Min 4 / Max 10

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

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