Overview of our Romania, Moldova & Ukraine Escorted Tour
What an insightful tour of Romania, Moldova & Ukraine, full of sightseeing, local experiences and in the safe hands of our wonderful guides! This is a long tour, for those really wanting to explore the region and with some unforgettable highlights. The aim of this tour is to meet real local people, experience local culture and understand it by learning the history that has shaped the region. Our warm, friendly guides bring personal insights and flexibility to the tour, making it comfortable and thoroughly entertaining.
Transylvania, painted monasteries, wineries, local dinners and entertainment, Transnistria (that doesn't officially exist), border crossing from Moldova to Ukraine, Lviv & Odessa architecture; you will feel well and truly welcomed to these three diverse and fascinating countries!
Itinerary for our Romania, Moldova & Ukraine Escorted Tour
2nd July - Day 1 - Bucharest
Arrival in Bucharest and transfer to your hotel 4* central hotel. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant specialising in Romanian cuisine.
3rd July - Day 2 - Bucharest - Brasov
After breakfast, 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 centre 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. Evening is free and accommodation in 4* hotel in Brasov.
4th July - Day 3 - Brasov-Dracula Castle - Prejmer - Brasov
In the morning departure to Bran Castle, famously known as Dracula's Castle. Visit the castle and the nice market next to it and continue to Tartlau (Prejmer). Here we explore the Saxon villages of Transylvania that appeared in the 13th century, becoming very strong communities of farmers, artisans and merchants. This is a favourite area of Prince chares who visits every year and has been very proactive in the area. We visit the Prejmer Fortified Church, one of the best preserved fortified Saxon churches in Eastern Europe. Lunch near the fortress.
After lunch 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. Evening is free and overnight at the same 4* hotel in Brasov.
5th July - Day 4 - Brasov - Sambata de Sus Monastery - Sibiu
After breakfast, we check out and drive to Sibiu, visiting the "Brancoveanu" Monastery from Sambata de Sus enroute - famous for being a place of recovery, comfort and spiritual balm for visitors who halt or pray in this sacred dwelling. Enjoy a 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. Enjoy a group dinner in the house of a farmer family outside Sibiu in a small village. Accommodation at the 4* Hotel Forum in Sibiu.
6th July - Day 5 - Sibiu - Biertan - Malincrav - Sighisoara
Continue our route to Medias and visit the beautiful Margareta church from XIV century, followed by a visit to Biertan fortified church (on the UNESCO Heritage List). Lunch near Biertan. Next we visit Malincrav fortified church with its special interior paintings. Afternoon arrival to Sighisoara and a city tour to get our bearings. Sighisoara, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe is also called "the pearl of Transylvania". Evening is free, and accommodation is at Hotel Froenius a 300+ years old house.
7th July - Day 6 - 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 the Eastern Carpathian Mountains towards Gura Humorului. Accommodation in a 300+ house at Roata Hotel. Enjoy a traditional group 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.
8th July - Day 7 - Bucovina painted monasteries
Day dedicated to the famous painted monasteries. We will depart after breakfast and visit a local artist who paints traditional Easter eggs. She will demonstrate the technique she uses and you are welcome to have a go! 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.
Voronet is the last to visit, around 16.00, when we can have the full sun light on the main painting – The Last Judgement, comparable with Sistine Chapel from Vatican. Voronet Monastery (as well as Humor, Arbore, Sucevita and Moldovita) are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Traditional evening dinner, and accommodation at the same hotel.
9th July - Day 8 - Bucovina - Maramures
After breakfast we depart to another interesting area; Maramures. Along the way we will 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 at a 4* Bella Doina pension.
10th July - Day 9 - 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 Deseşti. 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 can choose to take part. Accommodation at same accommodation.
11th July - Day 10 - Maramures - Mukacevo - Ushgorod
Departure from Romania to Ukraine. In the first part of the day we will visit Mucachevo and Ushgor, with a sightseeing tour in both towns, lunch will be in Mukachevo. Afternoon continue to Lviv. Dinner in the old city at a local restaurant. Accommodation at 4* hotel downtown.
12th July - Day 11 - Lviv
Full day guided sightseeing tour of Lviv: 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 an ethnic coffee ceremony. Free Dinner. Same accommodation in Lviv.
13th July - Day 12 - Lviv environs
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. Evening dinner with Ukrainian music and national performances. Restaurant is located not far from Lviv center, where the owner Oksana personally prepares the national Ukrainian meals. Overnight in the same hotel.
14th July - Day 13 - Lviv – Kolomya (the capital of Easter painted eggs) – Chernivtsi
Breakfast in the hotel and check-out. Enroute to Chernivtsi we stop to visit the Easter Painted Egg Pysanka Museum at 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, 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 visit to "Holos" theater, or organ music concert at Armenian Church. Overnight in a 4* hotel in the main square.
15th July - Day 14 - Chernivtsi - Hotin - Kamenetz Podolski
On the way to Kamenetz Podolski we visit Khotyn Fort; a massive fort overlooking the Dniester River. This 12th-16th century structure rests a top a man-made platform 33 feet deep, a remarkable example of ancient engineering genius. Arrival to medieval Kamenetz-Podolski. After lunch, we have a half day guided sightseeing tour at Kamenetz-Podolski fort. Excursion down the old town visiting the Archeological 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 4* hotel where we are staying.
16th July - Day 15 - 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 house 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 gypsy leaders. 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
17th July - Day 16 - Soroca - Japca Monastery - Tipova Lunch - Old Orhei
We will visit the only Russian orthodox monastery which was not closed during communist times – Japca. Extremely interesting, maybe 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 at a private 4* pension.
18th July - Day 17 - 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.
19th July - Day 18 - Chisinau - Mimi castle visit - Etcetera winery
Check-out from hotel. Enjoy a 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 Etcetera 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 Etcetera winery.
20th July - Day 19 - Etcetera – White Fortress – Shabo - Odessa
Check-out from the winery. 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. Than we continue to a winery built by French speaking Swiss in 1830!!!! An entire village left Switzerland to come to 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 our local 4* hotel in downtown Odessa. Free time to get dinner and explore.
21st July - Day 20 - Odessa
Spend an unforgettable day discovering Odessa. Odessa is a diverse city of cultures, languages and trades. You will be able to witness masterpieces of architecture, such as the famous Opera and Ballet theatre, Potiomkinskaya Stairs, Primorskiy boulevard, the One-wall building, get acquainted with Odessa's maritime history, and see the Monument to Duke De Richelieu - the founder of Odessa, Catherine the Great empress-the founder of Odessa etc. Enjoy a farewell group 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 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.
22nd July - Day 21- Departure
Check-out from your hotel and transfer to Odessa airport for your flight home.
* * We can arrange for you to continue on to Kiev in a private tour if you wish! Just ask us for details and a quote.* *
(Please note that 'free dinner' means you are free to dine where you choose independently of the tour, these are NOT included in the tour.)
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