Witness Europe’s last remaining peasant culture in medieval Maramures
Criss-crossing northern Romania this itinerary focuses on the quieter corners of this vast and varied country. Villages such as Breb in the heart of the Maramures are as traditional as they come in today’s Europe. The painted monasteries of Bucovina are another big draw, as are the eerie, intricate wooden churches visited on this trip.
Witness Europe’s last remaining peasant culture in medieval Maramures
Travel by bike through the rolling hills and forests of the Viseului Valley.
Visit churches that are architectural masterpieces showcasing superb wood carving.
Sample a shot of homemade plum brandy (palinca) with a friendly villager.
Steppes Travel emphatically believes that travel in Romania is best in the company of a good guide. To that end, we have hand-picked the very best guides to ensure you get the most out of your visit to Romania. Our guides know the must-see sights, the off the beaten path gems, the hiking trails, the best places to eat, and also, more importantly, know the right people.
Satu Mare - Botiza
Botiza - Sucevita
Satu Mare - Botiza
Botiza is nestled in amongst vast stretches of unspoiled forests, home to wolves and bears, and is a sleepy, traditional village with lovingly restored houses.
Botiza - Sucevita
Sucevita is a small village in Bucovina, and a convenient jumping-off point for the region’s beautiful painted monasteries, many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Botiza is nestled in amongst vast stretches of unspoiled forests, home to wolves and bears, and is a sleepy, traditional village with lovingly restored houses. Ideally serving as your base, explore the timeless Maramures region. Highlights include Breb, a village almost frozen in time holding on to the last vestiges of peasant culture, and Barsana monastery, a UNESCO listed wooden structure. Also nearby is Sighetu Marmatiei, home to the compelling Memorial Museum of Communism, and The Merry Cemetery at Sapanta, where the locals are talented craftspeople and often invite guests into their homes to try their home-made plum brandy.
Sucevita is a small village in Bucovina, and a convenient jumping off point for the region’s beautiful painted monasteries, many UNESCO World Heritage Sites celebrated for their intricately painted frescoes. Visit also the Lucia Condrea Museum of Decorated Eggs and see for yourself how these traditional eggs are painted, meeting with a village elder, experienced in this traditional art. Enjoy lunch at a local farm or picnic with ingredients from the local village markets.
Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.
Originally built as an Arabic farmhouse in the 12th century, Son Brull became a Jesuit monastery in the 18th century before undergoing an impressive transformation into the boutique, luxury hotel it is today. The building’s beautiful stone and atmospheric former olive mill are just a few of the traces of Son Brull’s rich heritage. The hotel comprises of 23 rooms and suites and has four two-bedroom villa suites with separate pools which are ideal for families. Why we like it. The team at Son Brull have created an environment which is wholly conducive to relaxation. The spa has all-natural treatments and provides unspoilt views across the valley while the infinity pool overlooks the hotel’s ancient olive grove. In the evening, choose from the award-winning Restaurant 365, renowned for its tasting menus, or grab a cocktail and some tapas in the relaxed bistro located in the hotel’s historic olive mill.
Situated on 23,000 acres of wild, highland terrain, the main house of Alladale offers the perfect base for lovers of unspoiled wilderness. There are three well-appointed houses on the reserve offering fully catered accommodation on an exclusive basis. The reserve is owned by conservationist and champion of re-wilding, Paul Lister. Since he has owned the reserve, 900,000 trees have been planted and red squirrels have been successfully reintroduced. Lister is keen to re-introduce wolf and bear to Alladale – an ambitious and controversial project that will likely take many years to be realised.
Surrounded by mesmerising Icelandic wilderness, the 25 turf covered houses of Torfhus Retreat blend beautifully into their environment. Each of the traditional style houses has exclusive or shared use of a basalt hot tub – surrounded by great slabs of lava, these geothermal baths are both relaxing and rejuvenating. Interiors of the wooden retreat are cosy and welcoming with open plan layouts, underfloor heating and furnishings showcasing a sense of history and fun. Swords and shields adorn the walls of the viking inspired Langhaus where the lobby and dining room are lit by wagon wheel chandeliers and guests can relax on the fishing boat sofa.
Hotel Alhambra Palace dominates the hillside of Sabika, a lofty position with great views overlooking the city of Granada.Being just a stroll away from the Alhambra Palace and Gardens makes for a perfect base. With an old-world feel and traditional Moorish architecture, it oozes charm.
Located in the prestigious Sariyer district of Istanbul, the new Six Senses is a converted historic mansion that offers remarkable views over the Bosphorus. Look further beyond the mansion and discover a spa and wellness experience set within lush landscaping that provides the perfect antidote to city life. All three restaurants are headed up by celebrity chefs, so expect some exciting dining. When exploring downtown Istanbul jump on the complimentary hotel shuttle boat, a smart and eco way to avoid the traffic and noise of the city at a relaxing pace.
Protecting and standing tall over the town of Ugento for over 1,000 years, the 17th-century castle turned palazzo is now the home to a luxury boutique hotel and the cutting-edge Puglia Culinary Centre.
The luxury sailing yacht MS Fortuna is designed to sleep a maximum of 14 passengers. Her traditional design is complemented by spacious fore, side and aft decks, modern nautical equipment, outdoor dining facilities and cushioned lounging areas.
Nikola is a fully-crewed luxury sailing gulet cruising along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. This is a fantastic opportunity for any first-time sailors to test the water in the world of cruising holidays.
The Alexa J is a classic schooner that has undergone a refit as a superyacht and offering the service to match with six world-class crew to look after you. A single cabin schooner, it is perfect for well-heeled families of four or a couple wanting freedom and luxury as they island-hop through the Ionian Islands.
The Golden Eagle Train embarks on the worlds longest train journey from Moscow. This rail adventure is a must-do for any train aficionados. The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian chugs past Lake Baikal before reaching Vladivostok via Ulan Bataar (Mongolia). Alternatively, board the Trans-Mongolian journey arriving into Ulaan Baatar in time to celebrate the Naadam Festival. The Golden Eagle plays host to many interesting Guest Speakers who travel on board delivering a series of informed lectures.
Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.
From January to March, winter months can be harsh, with heavy snowfall and temperatures reaching below freezing in January. Conditions are ideal for winter sports in Romania’s mountainous regions but may be particularly cold for sightseeing activities.
During the winter months, it can be difficult to travel around Romania with some of its towns and cities blocked by snowfall or have other issues due to the adverse weather conditions. Therefore, it is best to travel to Romania’s mountain resorts for winter sports rather than travelling around the country.
March can be quite an unpredictable month as winter draws to a close, snow many still be present in some regions yet with temperatures rising, Romania may experience sunshine and the first signs of spring.
From the beginning of April, spring arrives in Romania and temperatures gradually increase. This can be an ideal time to visit Romania when there are fewer crowds than during the summer months with warmer temperatures than during the winter months.
The best time to travel to Romania is typically from May to September, when warmer weather is likely, and rainfall is very infrequent. Temperatures may reach highs of 24°C in May, which will keep increasing within the summer months.
From June to August, it is the most popular time to travel to Romania with temperatures at their highest and fewer chances or rainfall, meaning it is advised to book as far in advance as possible if travelling during summer.
July is one of the warmest months in Romania with average temperatures of 22°C. Destinations will become marginally more crowded, yet good weather is more likely during the peak of summer, rather than during the summer months.
During July and August, temperatures will be at their hottest and so ideal for coastal resorts but also for sightseeing in Romania’s towns and cities, with the occasional shower possible, yet unlikely.
As it is the beginning of Autumn, travelling during September is ideal for photographers with the autumn leaves forming and creating some vibrant countryside landscapes. After the summer months, attractions will be much quieter and with temperatures averaging 19°C, makes September a great time for sightseeing in pleasant conditions.
From October onwards, Romania will experience its off-peak season. With four very distinctive seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter, the best time to travel to Romania will be dependent on your what you wish to do whilst in the country.
The first signs of winter begin to appear as temperatures can fall to 7°C at the end of the month. Like March, November can be quite unpredictable between the summer and winter months with chances of snowfall yet also the possibility of warm temperatures at the beginning of the month.
With snowfall likely and colder temperatures, December can be a great time for outdoor pursuits and winter sports, including skiing.
Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.
These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.
Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?