Halloween in the land of Dracula
You will have the opportunity to discover where the legend of Dracula told by Bram Stoker comes from and follow the Prince’s footsteps in Romania. Vlad Tepes was born in November or December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania.
His father, Vlad Dracul, being a military governor of Transylvania appointed by the emperor Sigismund, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order – which could be compared to the Teutonic Order of Knights – was a semi military and religious society. The main goals of such a secret fraternal order of knights was mainly to protect the interests of Catholicism, and to crusade against the Turks. There are different reasons why this society is so important to us. First, it provides an explanation for the name “Dracula;” “Dracul” in Romanian language, means “Dragon”, and the boyars of Romania, who knew of Vlad Tepes’ father induction into the Order of the Dragon, decided to call him “Dracul”. This nickname turned into surname for his descendants, Vlad, his son being known as such.
A second major role of this Order as a source of inspiration for Stoker’s evil character is the Order’s official dress – a black cape over a red garment – to be worn only on Fridays or during the commemoration of Christ’s Passion. Vlad Tepes ruled Valachia from 1456 and nowadays he is known also as Price Dracula.
The 26th of October:
Arrival in Bucharest and direct transfer to Snagov town, 40 km from the capital. Here we will first visit the church of Snagov monastery, that lies on an island on Snagov Lake. Inside the church, right in front of the altar is the tomb where rests for about 500 years, the famous Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes also known as Dracula.
We will overnight in the neighborhood, in a very special location. Free dinner.
The 27th of October:
Snagov – Peles Castle – Dracula Castle – Halloween dinner and party, overnight nearby the castle
Today we depart towards Transylvania, best known as the mysterious land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves. Some may think it’s fictional, but this central Romanian region is a really special place. Prince Charles is a big fan!!! The heir to the British throne first visited Transylvania in 1998 and has been a regular visitor ever since. The Prince of Wales is involved in conservation of rural villages and has bought and restored a handful of farmhouses.
Our first stop today will be the resort town of Sinaia, described as the “Pearl of the Carpathians” and home to the “fairy-tale” Peles castle. Peles Castle is the former summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family Sigmaringen Hohenzollern, built in 1875 and at that time considered the most beautiful castle in Eastern Europe. It has over 170 rooms plus lounges and one of the most valuable collections of art in Europe, comprising about 2000 pieces.
Arrival in Bran and check in at a Hotel nearby the Dracula Castle. Free time to prepare yourself for the big party!!! Around 9pm let’s join Dracula and Vlad the Impaler for a night tour of Bran Castle and discover all its hidden places. And off course… the Halloween After Party till dawn!!
The 28th of October:
Bran and the surroundings: we will visit the city of Brasov and Rasnov Citadel
After a late breakfast, we will discover the medieval city of Brasov. In the Middle Ages it was the richest, largest and most important city in Transylvania and had trade relations in the Western Europe and in the Middle East.
We start the tour with a visit to the Black Church, the largest and most important monument of the Gothic style in Romania. The name Black Church was given after a fire that happened in the XVIIth century and burned more than 2/3 of the city and making the walls of the Church black. The church is also famous for its collection of over 100 prayer carpets Ottoman province of Anatolia and dating back to the XVIIth century.
Next to Schei District, that is said to be the oldest part of Brasov and also in Renaissance style Catherine Gate, which dates from 16th century.
Free time for coffee in Piata Sfatului, a marvellous, theatrical space which is often used for concerts and festivals.
Continue with a tour to Rasnov Peasant Fortress, which was built between the XIVth and XVIth centuries on the top of a hill near the town. It was meant to be a place of refuge for the simple people from sieges over longer periods of time. As such it had at least 30 houses, a school, a chapel, and other buildings more commonly associated with a village.
Back to Bran and same accommodation.
The 29th of October:
Bran – Fagaras (visit the fortress ) – stop at Prince Charles house in Viscri village – Sighisoara. dinner in Dracula’s birth house
Transfer to Fagaras. Here you’ll visit the medieval fortress built in 14th century. Located not far away from the highest peaks of the Transylvanian Alps, the citadel played an important role in the military and administrative life of Transylvania.
Have an optional exquisite lunch in a small Restaurant in Fagaras owned by a famous Romanian chef ( by the way – is the same chef who cooked for you at the party in Dracula castle from Bran, and we might have the chance to meet her personally).
Further departure to Sighisoara. On the way we will stop in Viscri, the village where Prince Charles has several houses, and have coffee in one of his houses. Viscri is best known for its Saxon fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD by the Szecklers. In 1185 the church was taken over by Saxon colonists, and the Szecklers were forced to settle in southeast Transylvania.
Arrival in Sighisoara, our final destination for many days.
Possibility to have dinner in Dracula’s birth house. Accommodation in a 4* Hotel.
The 30th of October:
Sighisoara – Sibiu (short visit) – Malancrav and back in time to prepare for Miss Transylvania contest
After breakfast we drive to Sibiu and first half of the day will be dedicated to exploring this charming town, designated European Cultural Capital in 2007. We’ll have a guided walk through the old town so you get to make nice photos and find out the history and background of the place.
On the way back – let’s stop in Malancrav and visit its Fortified Church with some of the best preserved frescoes in Transylvania. Coffee break at Apafi Mansion, an another historical monument restored by the initiative of Prince Charles of Wales.
Back to Sighisoara and in the evening you will be given the chance to candidate for “Miss Transylvania” and if you win, you will be crowned “Countess Dracula”, to be the pair of the Count for one year.
The 31st of October:
Sighisoara city tour, evening the Halloween party, which is organized like a wedding between Count Dracula and Miss Transylvania.
After breakfast, start the day dedicated to visit the medieval town Sighisoara, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with all its attractions. Sighisoara is the best – preserved the 15th century-walled town in Europe, the birth-place of Prince Vlad the Impaler - Dracula, the site of many witch-trials, home to the school attended by Herman Oberth, inventor of the first modern rockets and developer of the Apollo program.
One of the most famous attractions of the fort is the Clock Tower, built in the XIV century. The clock was installed in the tower in the early seventeenth century, originally made of wood and then replaced by metal, which still functions today. Other important highlights of Sighisoara are the Venetian House (built in the thirteenth century), House of Vlad the Impaler ( Dracula ), Wooden Covered Staircase, Church on the Hill etc.
OPTIONAL: In the afternoon, lets visit a genuine Gypsy/Roma family where you will discover their culture and style of life. Traditions, music and dances – experience authentic Gypsy music. Discuss the culture behind the music and about the genre.
In the evening – THE HALLOWEEN PARTY plus the wedding of Miss Transylvania with Count Dracula. The “Halloweenest” costume and mask will also be rewarded.
The problem is to survive the night (highly unlikely) and enjoy the prizes.
Special Halloween dinner. Same accommodation in Sighisoara.
The 1st of November:
Sighisoara – drive through Saxon villages – Bran pass – Curtea de Arges – Poenari Fortress – overnight nearby.
Around 10.00 AM departure to Walachia back. We will choose this time another road, going through many old Saxon villages, and have the opportunity to see landscapes, sheep, water buffalos, real time capsules where it is ordinary of seeing cows walking freely on dirt roads, plenty of horse-drawn carts, old houses, and stunning medieval fortified churches, several of them UNESCO sites.
Return to the Bran Pass and go to Curtea de Arges, the place where the Romanian monarchy has its cathedral and all our kings are buried here. The last one, King Michael died in December 2017 at the age of 96. With him the Romanian monarchy officially ends despite the fact that he has 5 daughters.
Final destination for today is Poenari, famous for the ruins of one of Dracula’s fortresses. If it is time enough to climb to the fortress (almost 1500 steps) we will do it, otherwise we will exercise next day in the morning.
Overnight in Poenari.
The 2nd November:
Poenari – Bucharest
After we visit the citadel from Poenari (built by Dracula) we hit to Bucharest.
Upon arrival, sightseeing of the Romanian capital: a walking tour in the old part of Bucharest with the Old Court built by Vlad the Impaler and visit of the Parliament House (former Palace of Socialism during Ceausescu’s dictatorship – second biggest building worldwide after the Pentagon). With 1,000 rooms, which were once the workplace of 100,000 people in the last days of the Communist era, it is both admired and reviled by the Romanian people. The Communist dictator Ceausescu can also be called The Modern Dracula, for his cruel and abusive domination. Possible farewell dinner in a very special restaurant. Here you will enjoy the music and dances in the spirit of the 30’s, when Bucharest was called “The Little Paris”.
The 3rd November: departure.
• Double/twin room: 1900 Eur
• Single supplement: 240 Eur
• Accomodation in 3-4* hotels
• Meals according to the program
• Professional English-speaking guide services
• Entrance fees
• Printed info about the sites visited
• Luxury coach transport’ services with A/C
1. This program can be changed upon request.
2. For further information please contact: Cultural Romtour, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pleases your eyes