The 10 Best Guided Tours in Romania

Romania's wonders © Giuseppe Milo / Flickr
Romania's wonders © Giuseppe Milo / Flickr
Photo of Roxana Coman
11 October 2017

Romania is a country full of wonders, a surprising destination even for seasoned travellers. Located in the Eastern part of Europe, Romania is the land where you will be amazed by breathtaking landscapes, profound folk culture, rich gastronomy and effervescent cities. There are so many places to see and activities to do, that it might be difficult to decide where to start. Therefore, we’ve prepared a list of the best guided tours in the country. Allow the local specialists to introduce you to Romania’s varied heritage.

Medieval Transylvania Tour

The most famous region of Romania, Transylvania is home to millennia-old citadels, immortal Dracula myth and fairytale castles. Starting in the country’s capital, Bucharest, this tour will take you on a three-day trip of the most remarkable landmarks of the region: the Saxon fortified churches of Cisnadie and Biertan, Peles Palace – a former royal residence, centuries-old towns like Brasov and Sibiu and the only inhabited medieval-era citadel of Europe. Go beyond the Dracula legend and discover the authentic, charming Transylvania.

Overview of Brasov I | © Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

Traditional Romania short tour

Located in the north-western part of Romania, Maramures is a region where the locals live following secular customs, a part of the country where the daily life archaic rules have won over modernism. Starting from Cluj-Napoca, this three-day travel will disconnect you from your daily rhythm, slowing you down while showing you another way of living.

On the first day, you will meet the locals that will host you for the next two nights and taste their homemade traditional dishes. During the second day, your guide will take you on a ride with the oldest industrial train of Europe, followed by an afternoon visit to the UNESCO heritage wooden churches of Maramures. The evening will be about weaving demonstrations in a local woman’s house, great food and the local brandy – horinca.

The last day is dedicated to spirituality and communism. You will discover a wood-carving artisan, the orthodox monastery of Barsana and the unique Merry Cemetery, where painted crosses and funny poems define death. Another visit will be to a former political prison, today a communist resistance museum. In the evening, you will return to Cluj.

Rural Romania | © Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

A Peregrination into the Heart of Romanian Spirituality

In Romania, religion and spirituality are of great value for the locals. In Bucovina, the churches are standing like bastions of Christianism. During this tour, old beliefs and customs will be revealed and you will experience Romanian hospitality at its best.

The first day in Bucovina will be dedicated to the UNESCO monasteries, famous for the wall paintings of the churches. Both indoor and outdoor frescoes depict popular interpretations of the Bible. Each monastery has a representative frescoe and a different colour, the most curious one being the season-changing ‘blue of Voronet’. In Moldovita, one of the monasteries’ villages, egg decoration is considered an art and is made with bee’s wax and painted with natural ingredients and colours.

The second day is about spectacular landscapes and legends at the Bicaz Gorges and Lacul Rosu and learning about national art in Agapia, where the church’s icons were drawn by classic painter Nicolae Grigorescu. At Agapia, the sisters spend their day working and praying, while living in a small community of nuns. In the evening, your guide will take you back to Cluj.

Romania for Bike & Food Lovers

Tasting the local Romanian dishes is a must for every trip to Romania. And in the south of Transylvania, food is what brings people together all summer long, Transylvanian villages are home to gastronomical events: dinners in the middle of nature, picnics in the mountains, Transylvanian brunches, workshops around traditional plates. The local communities work together to prepare wonderful tables with organic food, using ingredients from their own gardens.

If you enjoy bike rides and food altogether, then this tour is perfect for discovering the rural side of Romania. Don’t worry if you can’t take your bike with you to Romania, as fully equipped bikes are included and they come together with a friendly guide.

Take a look at the events calendar on the tour’s website and pick the one that you don’t want to miss.

Flavours and Sounds of Transylvania | Courtesy of Emil Mesesan

Unveil the Legacy of Wine

This is a one-day trip following the wine road built 2,000 years ago by the Romans towards one of Romania’s distinguished wine regions, Dealu Mare. Starting in Bucharest, the tour will introduce you to the local winemaking tradition.

First stop: an 18th-century wine museum, a formed winery filled with ancient instruments and old wine-storing barrels. The lesson continues in an old manor, where you can admire the oldest wine press in the region and primaeval winemaking tools. As there is no better way to appreciate the local wine than by tasting it, in the afternoon several Romanian wines will delight your taste buds. A traditional lunch and landscapes of the endless vineyards of the Dealu Mare region are part of your experience, one that you will surely not forget.

Wine tasting | © Kumweni / Flickr

Communist Tour of Bucharest

For a period of almost 50 years, communism has shaped Romania’s evolution. But today, the Romanians find themselves shifting between rejection and identification. Some just want to forget and build a modern, pro-European country which has recovered from the ‘communist disease’ while others are ready to assume the past and valorize the communist era heritage by speaking about it and promoting it.

The walking tour of the communist monuments are a storytelling of the events and personalities that built the city of Bucharest as we know it today. Your guide will share with you the communist history and together, you will explore both the landmarks of communism and the lesser-known areas of Bucharest. You will learn about the consequences of this period on the population and what brought the fall of the regime.

Communist building | © Les Haines / Flickr

Birdwatching tour

This trip will take you to the Danube Delta, a paradise for birdwatchers and photographs. Each year, the best-preserved delta in Europe is attracting 350 bird species that live on its lakes during the whole summer. From Bucharest, you will drive to Tulcea, where a boat will take you to a traditional village in a remote area of the delta.

Over the next two days, your guide will take you on the Danube’s lakes and channels where cormorants, pelicans, egrets, flamingos, swans and other beautiful birds will colour your days and be the subject for great pictures. The second day will be an occasion to delve deeper into the delta’s wonders in the Caraorman Forest, surrounded by black and white poplars, oak trees, falcons and sandbanks. And if you wake up early, you will enjoy the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen.

The last day, after a breakfast made with fresh local products, will see you take the road back to Bucharest.

Birdwatching in Danube Delta | © the_quick_nick / Flickr

Horseback riding in the Apuseni Mountains

Every weekend, TerraMont Carpati is preparing an escapade in the Cluj’s surroundings. But you will not be walking too much, as your horse will carry you through the Apuseni Mountains, where forested valleys shaped in limestone will make you fall in love with the area.

The trip includes the transport, an instructor for riding and archery, the horses and a local guide to make sure you will live an unforgettable experience. TerraMont Carpati is organizing the tours on weekend days but, depending on the weather, it may be replaced with another activity.

The association organizes different excursions in Cluj’s surroundings, including hiking, camping, horse riding, archery.

Trekking tour in the Carpathians

Spread on 1/3 of the country’s surface, the Carpathians offer breathtaking landscapes and an extraordinary wildlife. There is no better way to travel around than a trekking tour. You can opt for a one or two-day trip in the Piatra Craiului mountains, close to the Brasov area and you will be amazed at every step. You have several options to choose from, depending on the altitude difference, the difficulty of the route and the mileage. Just ask your guide for help.

But if you feel like two days is not enough, book a one-week tour in the mountains and enjoy the nature, away from technology, noisy cities and pollution. Recharge yourself by breathing fresh air daily, taking long walks and spending quality time with nature lovers.

Piatra Craiului Mountains | © Giuseppe Milo / Flickr

Carpathian off-road tour

One day, four natural wonders and a lot of horsepower. If you think that a hike in the Carpathians is too mainstream, then maybe an off-road tour will suit you better. Discover the wilderness of Bucegi Mountains in a 4×4 vehicle.

Cross the mountains taking the TransBucegi alpine road and stop for a striking panoramic view. On the road, you will stop at Zanoagei Gorge for a little hike and at the ‘Sea of Bucegi’ for a short break, before taking the real off-road trail towards the ‘Bridge of Flowers’ plateau. After a visit to a local sheepfold, you will continue towards the Ialomita cave, where a monastery has been erected between the mountain’s walls. Last stop at Padina plateau for a lunch in the middle of nature.

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