In this first day we drive to Tulcea, the gate of Danube Delta. After almost 3000 Km between the Black Forest and the Black Sea the river Danube splits into three arms and a whole labyrinth of channels, lakes, reed islands and willow forests. Accommodation at Guesthouse 4* in Tulcea.
Day 2 – 4:
After breakfast we will begin our boat journey traveling on secondary branches into the heart of the delta. The daily itinerary shown here should be considered as an example of what we might do as local conditions (e.g. weather, water depth in the channels) will determine our exact course. The Delta is incredibly rich in breeding birds, and the outline given below is merely a sampler; no doubt we will encounter additional surprises. The Danube Delta comprises a vast complex of reed beds, willow forest, and wetland, crossed by an intricate network of channels. We shall explore a wide variety of habitats, both on foot and on a motorboat. Typical sights include feeding Glossy Ibis, Egrets, Herons, and Cormorants, which can gather in impressive numbers where the water levels are low. Large flocks of White Pelicans glide serenely overhead whilst in the shallower channels Kingfishers are ubiquitous and Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers and Greenshanks feed along the banks. The reeds fringing the waterways contain families of Penduline Tits and other reed bed species (including Little Bittern). Raptors will include frequent sightings of Marsh Harriers whilst the Red-footed Falcons will be seen in small groups hunting insects. The White-tailed Eagles can also be seen either gliding in the air or perched on branches. All those species might be observed while travelling by boat towards Letea forest, a virgin forest with some oaks dating over 800 years. Before reaching the forest we will leave the boat in Letea village, the oldest one in the delta with typical houses with thatched roofs and blue painted windows. The life style of the delta’s residents is fascinating to see, with waterborne transport the only viable way of getting around and fishing as the predominant source of income. A visit to the delta is an unforgettable experience in every aspect. The accommodation during these days will be on a floating hotel 4* for groups over 12 or guesthouses 3-4* in the scarce Danube delta villages for smaller groups.
Today we leave the Danube Delta behind and we head towards the Moldavian region-a landscape, architecture and traditions change. Located on the northern border of Romania, Bucovina, a part of the old province of Moldavia that was also included in the Habsburg Empire for a time, is a mountainous region whose peaks and forests of beech and pine shelter gently sloping valleys. Here, during the short period of a quarter of a century, between 1522 and 1547, a group of churches sprang up, frescoed with a liberality and magnificence, not found in any other country, some of them being included in the UNESCO Heritge. Accommodation at Guesthouse 3-4* near the painted Voronet Monastery- (Gura Humorului).
We visit the painted monasteries of Voronet, Moldovita, Sucevita and Humor, all of them under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage program. The Voronet Monastery is one of the most beautiful orthodox monasteries in Europe, also being called the Sixtine of the East. It impresses through the famous Voronet blue, and the dramatic fresco of the western wall. The painted monasteries are covered within and without in vivid, minutely detailed frescoes whose colors remain fresh and strong after centuries. They have been compared to Persian carpets or to jewels set in cases of green grass and flowers within their severe enclosures. That they have survived to this day, despite the passage of time, wars, invasions, and the vandalism of rival religions or ideologies, is little sort of miraculous. Accommodation at Guesthouse 3-4*.
Transfer over the Tihuta Pass towards Sighisoara.The city of Sighisoara played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe for several centuries. Sighisoara became one of the most important cities of Transylvania, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. The German artisans and craftsmen dominated the urban economy, and also built the fortifications to protect it. Accommodation at a Guesthouse 3-4*.
One of the main attractions of the day is the fortified church of Biertan which together with Sighisoara are also included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Throughout the centuries Biertan played an important role in the history of Transylvania. The Biertan fortified church was the see of the Lutheran Evangelical Bishop inTransylvania between 1572 and 1867. We’ll then travel further towards Sibiu through the Hartibaciu Valley-the second largest Natura2000 Site after Danube Delta, home of many old saxon villages each guarded by it’s own fortified church. Here many of the traditional crafts are still being practiced. In the evening we’ll arive in Sibiu where we’ll have dinner and accommodation at a Guesthouse 3-4*.
Today we’ll visit the old town of Sibiu which alongside Luxembourg was the European cultural capital in 2007- one of the 7 fortified citadels(“Siebenburgen”) built by the German Saxons – a medieval city dating since 1191. It’s 4 walls of fortifications can still be seen today and withing them, narrow streets surrounded by Gothic houses lead toward the “Upper Town” to the baroque buildings bordering the famous squares where most of the landmarks and monuments are. After lunch we depart to Zarnesti, at the edge of the Piatra Craiului National Park. Accommodation and dinner at Guesthouse 3*.
In the first part of the day we visit the Gorges of Zarnesti, Magura village and the surrounding National Park’s forests, the places where “Large Carnivores Project” took place. In the evening: bear observation in a bear hide in the depths of the Transylvanian woods. Accommodation and dinner at Guesthouse 3*.
Today we leave for Bucharest but on our way we stop to visit the Bran and Rasnov castles, which are watching over the Transylvanian border. Bucharest became the state capital of Romania in 1862 and steadily consolidated its position as the centre of the Romanian mass media, culture and arts. Its eclectic architecture is a mix of historical, interbellic, Communist-era, and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of the “Paris of the East” or “Little Paris” (Micul Paris). Although many buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Ceausescu’s program of systematization, much survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom. After the city tour we’ll have dinner and accommodation in Bucharest.
Transfer to the airport.