Authentic and Vibrant Tour in Romania, Moldova & Ukraine 02 – 22 July 2017
03 July Bucharest – Brasov
Visit Bucharest (1/2 day with lunch) and continue to Brasov.
In the morning a panoramic city tour of Bucharest with the main points of interest: Government Palace, House of Free Press, Royal Palace, Revolution Square, and Parliament House (former Palace of Socialism during Ceausescu’s dictatorship – second biggest building worldwide after the Pentagon), the Patriarchal church etc. Lunch in the old center at Caru cu Bere Restaurant
Around 14.00 we start the route to Brasov via Sinaia, where we will visit the famous Peles Castle, the residence of Romanian Royal Family. Check-in at the local hotel Casa Wagner in the downtown of Brasov. Free dinner.
04 July Brasov-Dracula Castle – Prejmer – Brasov
In the morning departure to Bran Castle, also famous as Dracula Castle. Visit the castle, the nice market next to it and continue to Tartlau (Prejmer). Here we will find out the history of the Saxon villages of Transylvania that appeared in the 13th century when the Kings of Hungary settled German colonists in the area. They had a special status among nations in the province and their civilization managed to survive and thrive, forming a very strong community of farmers, artisans and merchants. Being situated in a region constantly under the threat of the Ottoman and Tatar invasions, they built fortifications of different sizes. The most important towns were fully fortified, and the smaller communities created fortifications centered on the church, where they added defensive towers and storehouses to keep their most valuable goods and to help them withstand long sieges. The Prejmer Fortified Church is one of the best preserved of its kind fortified Saxon church in Eastern Europe. The church is modeled after churches of Jerusalem, built in the style of Late Gothic churches from the Rhineland. Lunch near the fortress.
Afternoon we continue by discovering Brasov with a visit in the Old City Centre. The main attractions are: Black Church – a major symbol of Brasov, Weaver’s Bastion, Black and White Towers, Ekaterina’s Gate, Council Square etc. Free Dinner. Same accommodation.
05 July Brasov – Sambata de Sus Monastery – Sibiu
Check-out. Drive to Sibiu, on the way visit to the “Brancoveanu” Monastery from Sambata de Sus – famous for being a place of recovery, comfort and spiritual balm for visitors who halt or pray in this sacred dwelling. Saxon Lunch in Cisnadioara. City tour of Sibiu – the European Capital of Culture in 2007. The Big Square, the Small Square, the Ursuline Church, The Franciscan Church, The staircase Tower, the Tanners Tower, the Lier’s Bridge, and Bruckenthal Museum are the most important sights. Dinner in the house of a farmer family outside Sibiu in a small village. Check-in Hotel Forum 4* local hotel.
06 July DAY 5 Sibiu – Biertan – Malincrav – Sighisoara
Continue our route to Medias and visit the beautiful Margareta church from XIV century and the main tower with 47m high slant. This tower was included in top 10 the most slanted towers in the world. Then visit Biertan fortified church (included in the UNESCO Heritage List), a fortified medieval church, one of the biggest from Transylvania with three defensive inner walls. Lunch near Biertan . Next – Visit Malincrav fortified church with its special interior paintings.
Late in the afternoon arriving in Sighisoara and city tour. The citadel of Sighisoara, one of the best preserved medieval cities from Europe is also called “the pearl of Transylvania”. It was founded by the German immigrants in the second half of the 12th century and it was turned into a city in 1407. Its medieval aspect may be found both in the center of the city and inside the Fortress of Sighisoara. In this area, houses are built very close to one another, giving a sense of “crowdedness” (in order to occupy the least space possible). Free Dinner and Overnight to Hotel Froenius a 300+ years old house.
07 July Sighisoara – Murder Lake – Bucovina
Departure to Bucovina. We will drive through the Hungarian counties of Romania. First stop in Corund village, where we will see the art of (Tzekely) pottery. Drive further through the most wonderful Gorge in Romania – Bicaz, stop at the “Red Lake” for visit and Hungarian lunch, later crossing Eastern Carpathian Mountains towards Gura Humorului. Accommodation in a 300+ house at Roata Hotel Traditional dinner. Among the most picturesque treasures of Romania are the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. Their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of angels and demons, of heaven and hell.
08 July Bucovina painted monasteries
Day dedicated to the famous painted monasteries. We will depart after breakfast and visit a local artist who paints the Easter eggs. She will demonstrate us the technique she uses and anyone can try its first steps in this art. We continue to Moldovita monastery and here we will meet Sister Tatiana who will present us the paintings. Free lunch near the Moldovita monastery. Afternoon we depart towards Sucevita Monastery. Sucevita was the last of the 22 painted churches of Bucovina and has the largest number of painted images. Sucevita boasts a magnificent depiction of the Ladder to Paradise. Red-winged angels in orderly rows attend the righteous on a slanting ladder to the heavens, each rung inscribed with one of the monastic virtues.
Voronet would be the last to visit, around 16.00, when we can have the full sun light on the main painting – The Last Judgement, comparable with Sixtine Chapel from Vatican. Voronet Monastery (as well as Humor, Arbore, Sucevita and Moldovita) are UNESCO patrimony and preserve great outside and inside frescoes from XVI century. Traditional dinner. Same accommodation.
09 July Bucovina – Maramures
After breakfast we depart to another interesting zone, Maramures. The drive will take us all day but we will also see and visit many sites. First we see the village of Ciocanesti with their interesting painted houses, than we go over Prislop pass (1400m) to Maramures and enjoy the wooden culture they have. Lunch on the way. First we will visit Bogdana church, a wooden church dated from 1710, then Birsana Monastery and the highlight of today will be the Happy Cemetery from Sapinta. Finally we arrive in a place called Bella Doina, a piece of Paradise, not only from the landscape point of view, but also from the services, food, and entertainment. Traditional dinner and accommodation to a 4* Bella Doina pension.
10 July Maramures
Today we continue to explore the Maramures region, not only the wooden churches, but also meeting a local hat – and plum brandy – maker, local artists etc. We will see a traditional wash machine, a mill and many other interesting things. One of the most beautiful and complete mural painting entities is found here in the church of St. Parasceva of Desesti. The church was built in 1770 in traditional style with a very slender tower. The inside paintings were realized by the local painter Radu Munteanu. The church displays a collection of 14 wooden painted icons of great artistic value. Due to the harmonious whole and the well-preserved paintings, the church has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is called the wooden cathedral of Gothic style and is the most beautiful one of the 31 old wooden churches of the Maramures area. Traditional dinner with local music and dance where you will be invited to take part. Same accommodation.
11 July Maramures – Mukacevo – Ushgorod
Departure to Ukraine – from Romania (Sighetu Marmatiei).
In the first part of the day we will visit Mucachevo and Ushgord cities . Sightseeing Tour of both towns, lunch in Mukachevo. Afternoon continue to Lviv. Dinner in the old city to a local restaurant. Accommodation to a 4* Hotel downtown.
12 July Lviv
Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour: with lunch included in the old city. We will visit the Cathedral of St. George-masterpiece of Baroque architecture, Ukrainian-Catholic Metropolitanate of Western Ukraine, The High Castle Hill – place of Lviv foundation, from where one can enjoy magnificent view of the city, Lviv National Ivan Franko University, Polytechnic University, Old Tram Depot, Lychakiv Cemetery – one of the most ancient landscape cemeteries of Europe, where you will be introduced to Art of famous Lviv sculptors of various styles and epochs, monuments of an epoch of classicism of such masters as Antony Shimzer, Pol Evtel, Vitver and many other are widely presented. This necropolis is known also as place where Polish, German, Ukrainian, Armenian art workers were buried (poets, writers, artists, scientists, military). Next – the “Medieval Town” City introduction with architecture and way of life during XIV-XX centuries; taking a view of Jesuit Church of St. Peter and Paul (XVII century), Roman Catholic Cathedral (XIV-XVIII centuries), Uspenskaya Church (XVI century), Bell Tower “Kornyakta” (XVI century), Municipal and Royal Arsenal (XVI-XVII century), Jewish Quarter, Ruins of Synagogue “Golden Rose”, defensive walls, Dominican Cathedral (its history dates back to the beginning of the XIV century, current building has been built in the XVIII century; at the moment there is a Museum of the History of Religion in this building), Pharmacy Museum, Kornyakt’s House or the Residence of Polish King, Jan Sobieski III (Historical Museum), Armenian quarter and Cathedral (XIV-XVI centuries), Market Square (unique museum in the open air – all 45 buildings on the square are considered to be architectural monuments of XVI-XX centuries), Italian Patio (courtyard), Town Hall, Ivan Pidkova Monument, Taras Shevchenko Monument, Freedom Boulevard, Lviv Opera Theatre (which is viewed as one of the three most beautiful theatres of Europe), Boimov and Kampianov Monuments (XVII century), Boim’s and Kampian’s chapels (XVII century), Bernardin Monastery of XVII century (today in the former monastery there is Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church of St. Andrew, however the building of the Monastery is partially occupied by archives, where huge collection of autographs is being preserved of Peter I, Charles XII and others). Visit to a real Lviv coffee house, where one can hear History of Coffee, indulging oneself with ethnic coffee ceremony. Free Dinner. Same accommodation.
13 July Lviv – day trip around – Lviv
Breakfast at the Hotel. Transfer to the Town of Zhovkva and half day Sightseeing Tour. Zhovkva is a unique Renaissance town in Western Ukraine with lots of monuments of architecture of XVII-XX centuries. Next – the Ukrainian-Catholic monastery in the village of Krekhiv (11 km away from Zhovkva). The monastery in Krekhiv is an interesting sample of a fortified monastery construction of XVII c. Located in the woods, it represents a very quiet and peaceful place. Lunch near the monastery. Return to Lviv. Excursion to Lviv Brewery Museum, first one in Ukraine with a total area of 500 sq.m. Main purpose of the Museum is to perform to every single visitor an unquenchable deepness of the BEER WORLD. To visit the Museum means to approach the mystery of the beer birth, learn by experience the History of its genesis, meet with the tradition of the production & consumption of “Lvivske» brew and to feel deeply its great taste! Dinner with Ukrainian music and national performances. Restaurant is located not far from Lviv center, where the owner Oxana personally prepares the national Ukrainian meals. Overnight in the same hotel.
14 July Lviv – Kolomya (the capital of Easter painted eggs) – Chernivtsi
Breakfast in the Hotel. Check-out. On the way stop to visit the Easter Painted Egg Pysanka Museum from Kolomya. Lunch in Kolomya and continue to Cernowitz former capital of Bucovina, part of Moldova and later Romania, taken by Stalin in 1945.
Full Guided Sightseeing Chernivtsi Tour. Six hundred years old in October 2008, Chernivtsi was once the chief city of Bukovina (Beech Tree Land) in old Moldavia (now Moldova). It belonged to the Habsburg Empire in the 19th century. After WWI, it rested temporarily within Romania. Today, the city remains the ‘capital’ of the unofficial Bukovina region, but its past Jewish, Armenian, and German communities are now just ghostly presences. Visiting Central Square, Turkish Square, theater, “ship-house”, “Gentlemen-street”, cathedrals. Excursion to Chernivtsi national university (former residence of metropolis of Bukovyna). Free Dinner. Optional: Visiting “Holos” theater, or organ music concert at Armenian Church. Overnight in a 4* Hotel in the main square.
15 July Chernivtsi – Hotin – Kamenetz Podolski
On the way Guided Tour to Khotyn Fort – a massive fort overlooking the Dniester River is a site of epic proportions. This 12th-16th century structure rests a top a man-made platform 33 feet deep, a remarkable example of ancient engineering genius. Its 50 meter walls are still the tallest in all of Europe.
Arrival to Medieval Kamenetz’-Podilsky. Lunch and afternoon, half day guided sightseeing tour at Kamenetz’-Podilsky Fort. Excursion down the old town visiting the Aarchaeological Museum with pagan idols exhibition. From the Old Fortress, the Russian and Polish estates, the Cathedral and Dominican Catholic churches to the unique Town Hall and the Armenian wall and Bastion, St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic church with minaret – this city eats, sleeps, and breathes history…Free time. Free Dinner in the restaurant of the hotel. Accommodation in a 4* Hotel.
16 July Kamenetz Podolski – cross border to Rep of Moldova- Taul Manor– Pocrovca village (lunch) – Soroca
After we cross the border at Briceni we will stop on the way and visit an impressive Manor located in the village of Taul. We continue by visiting and have lunch with the old believers in the village of Pocrovca, where they do an impressive raspberry jam, and continue to Soroca, not before having dinner with one of the local gypsies’ leader. If dinner cannot be arranged, we will have a coffee there, and a very interesting chat with his family. Dinner included. Accommodation in 3* Hotel Central in Soroca.
17 July Soroca – Japca Monastery – Tipova Lunch – Old Orhei
We will visit the only Russian orthodox monastery – Japca, which was not closed during communist times. Extremely interesting, may be even a chat with the chief nun.
Lunch in a very special place in Tipova, with local wine and drinks
At the end of the day we’ll stop in Old Orhei. You’ll visit the most fantastic sight” in Moldova – an Orthodox cave monastery called “St. Maria Dormata” expanded and modified inside the cliffs by the monks over the centuries ago and preserved in a functional state. Dinner accompanied with Moldovan folk music will be served in Trebujeni village in a local house. Overnight in Old Orhei to a private 4* pension.
18 July Old Orhei – Transnistria – Tiraspol – Chisinau
Today you’ll visit Transnistria – the State that doesn’t exist. Explore TIRASPOL (capital of Transnistria and the second biggest city in Moldova after Chisinau) – where the old USSR is still alive. Here you’ll see the symbols of Soviet times – hammer, sickle and red star reflected on the coat of arms of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic. City tour includes: Supreme Soviet Building (Parliament), V. Lenin monument, Square of Soviet Constitution, walk down the main avenue, World War II & Afghanistan War Memorial, etc. For lunch, let’s go to the Noul Neamt Monastery, quite an experience. A local monk will guide us around, showing the monastery library, give us wine from the Monastery Cellars and explain us how religion survives in the Last Soviet Frontier of Europe.
Optional: You may visit the world famous Moldovan Cellars – Milestii Mici, mentioned in the Guinness Records Book. The length of the winery is 200 km at a depth of 40-85 meters. The constant temperature of 12-14ºC and the humidity of 85–95 % of this „kingdom of wine” ideally contribute to the full revelation of natural characteristics of elite wines. Return to our 4* hotel and free dinner.
19 July Chisinau – Mimi castle visit – Et Cetera winery
Check-out. Chisinau city tour – The capital city of Moldova will surprise you with a lot of green spaces and trees, giving you a feeling that you are not in a capital city but in a resort. The city tour includes: visit to the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography, the Central Park and the Alley of Moldovan literature classics, the monument of Steven the Great and Saint, Great National Assembly Square, the Triumph Arch, the “Nativity” Cathedral, the Organ Hall, the Market of souvenirs, etc.
Departure to MIMI Castle, which is currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years. The area of Codru, where the winery is placed, has a unique microclimate and a very good terroir, as a result having intense and aromatic wines. Excursion, wine tasting and lunch in the castle.
In the evening we shall arrive to Et Cetera Winery, where we will get also accommodated. The winery was built in 2009 and at the moment it is surrounded by 50 ha of vineyards, giving a picturesque view to the visitors. Etcetera is one of the best wineries in Moldova, if not the best one, as in 2016 they won second price at Decanter with their Chardonnay. Traditional dinner, wine tasting and accommodation at Et Cetera vinery.
20 July Et Cetera – White Fortress – Shabo – Odessa
Check-out. Departure to Odessa. On the way we will stop to the last fortress that Stephen the Great from Moldova built in 15th century along the Dniestr River, the White Fortress.
Let’s recap: Hotin, Soroca, Tighina in Bender and now this one. Than we continue to a winery build by French speaking Swiss in 1830!!!! An entire village left Switzerland to come in Shabo, and they were prosperous, till the Red Revolution came and they had to run away from the communist paradise!!! Visit this special, now reborn winery, and have a great Georgian lunch nearby. Afternoon we will drive on a nice road to Odessa, a piece of land which is the border between Dniestr lagoon and Black sea.
Around 4 PM we will arrive in Odessa. Check-in at the local 4* hotel in the downtown of Odessa. Free Time. Free Dinner.
21 July Odessa
Full Guided Sightseeing Odessa Tour. Odessa is acknowledged Ukrainian intersection point of diverse cultures, languages and trades. You will be able to witness masterpieces of architecture, such as famous Opera and Ballet theater, designed by Viennese architects, Potiomkin Stairs, Primorskiy boulevard, the One-wall building. You will also enjoy the view of Sea Port Terminal, get acquainted with Odessa Port’s history, its present life and prospects from the upside, and see the Monument to Duke De Richelieu – the founder of Odessa, Catherine the Great empress-the founder of Odessa etc. Farewell dinner. Overnight in the same Hotel.
Guided Tour to Odessa Catacombs. Odessa underground tunnels (catacombs) were created nearly 200 years ago during mining of building materials that were used to build the city. Currently it is the maze of 2,500 km (4000 km according to some records) underground, in a real parallel world, with hundreds of entrances, exits, caves, and tunnels. During the World War II, in 1941, when German and Romanian army occupied Odessa during the war, the Soviet Military headquarters gave the order to organize the partisan resistance. And Odessa catacombs were chosen as the camp for the unit of partisans. The provisions and weapons was enough there so the unit could stay underground for half a year. The partisan unit was fighting with Nazi and Romanian army during all the period of occupation.
22 July – Departure
Check-out. Transfer to the airport.
• Pulmino con aria condizionata e bar
• Guida che parla in italiano
• Cibo e degustazioni di vino secondo il programma
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