BRASOV ~ COVASNA ~ HARGHITA ~ BISTRITA
Nature lover’s dream is to hop on a plane and retreat in Carpathian Mountains’ wilderness. Well, Azzurytt takes you off the beaten path to picturesque and hidden places that few travelers ever reach. Layer upon layer of intense beauty awaits, and we’ll unveil it all. Few journeys offer such an inspiring blend of adventure, beauty and elegance.
- Visit the most expensive estate in Europe and second most expensive one in the world
- Dine at one of the Artist Queen’s dream castles
- Meet some European Brown Bears
- Wonder through Brasov medieval city
- Visit the Wood Money Fortress, one of the largest and best preserved in Romania
- Unwind on the estates of the most hidden castles
DAY 1 – BRAN VILLAGE
- Welcome and greetings at Bucharest airport.
- Private car transfer to Bran village via Dambovicioara Canyon.
Traditional homemade delicacies from Rucar-Bran Couloir
Despite the rain outside, under the large umbrella, the flavours of smoked sausages and forest fruits syrups tantalize your senses.
Bear, deer, and boar dry sausages, wild strawberry, raspberry, underbrush, fir buds and fir cones thick syrups, cheese in fir tree bark, smoked cheese, forest fruits sherbet, honey, blueberry brandy… The driver is quite passionate about homemade drinks. He prepares his own elder juice, so he asks about the quantities in the recipe of this amazing blueberry brandy. The answer surprise and make us all laughing: as many ripe blueberries and some palinca (traditional local brandy), no sugar, no any other add-ons. Honey is another local delicacy you don’t wish to miss. Especially the one made of acacia. Some says in Romania you find the most flavored and tasty one. Maybe because of the unknown natural mix of fertile soil, clean air and weather conditions.
Bran ~ One of the Artist Queen’s dream castles
Grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, Queen Elisabeth was the most fascinating personality of her time.
Painter, garden and furniture designer, interior decorator and photographer, Her Majesty was most of all writer, inclusively for prestigious American magazines.
The 2 castles very dear to her soul were Pelisor and Bran.
Last one, famous medieval fortified castle from 14th century, dominates Bran village, an old settlement of shepherds.
Mysterious gloomy edifice with mock-Gothic towers the castle hides a labyrinth of winding corridors, narrow passages and secret staircases.
The truth behind it is even more fascinating than its myths.
Bram Stoker never came near Transylvania and it is uncertain if he knew anything about this castle that controlled an international trade route.
In the early 20th century, bran Castle was home of remarkable British born Queen Marie of Romania, granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
One of the 10 most beautiful medieval castles in the world this is also:
– the most expensive estate in Europe (~ 120 mil. Euro) and
– the second most expensive one in the world, according to Forbes (2012).
The property built in 1926 in Beverly Hills – setting of “Godfather” movie – is the world’s most expensive estate.
Walk among traditional Romanian peasant cottages and barns set in the castle’s park to buy themed souvenirs of the open-air ethnographic museum.
Then check the castle’s well-preserved architecture, weaponry, armours, costumes, furniture and feudal art.
Once you get in the highest white rooms, admire Bran village as young princesses used to do it !
- Relax with good traditional food on the lake shore, where “Queen Mary” Tea House (1920) is.
Visit Princess Ileana’s House (Bran Medieval Custom Museum)
Since Bran Castle's retro-cession to Archduke Dominic Habsburg-Lothringen (son of Princess Ileana), Princess Ileana’s House hosts its original collections.
Found at Bran Castle’s feet, this medieval custom brought the highest takings to Transylvania’s king.
Residence of Princess Ileana between 1944-48, now it hosts Bran Medieval Custom Museum.
- Dinner and overnight in Bran village area.
DAY 2 – ZARNESTI – BRASOV
Imagine 60 acres of lush forest, rivulets and ponds located at the Carpathians' feet.
Can you believe these became probably the largest in Europe and the world’s best sanctuary for bears ? It has lairs, naturally feed pool and special clinic. For curious visitors, it features alleys between reservations as well as observation points in trees. You can safely move between these on high bridges. European brown bears (protected specie) and an Asiatic black bear in-dwell here. Dislodged from their natural environment, their return in the wilderness could harm them.
- Drive to Brasov medieval city.
Brasov old city center tour
Whet your appetite with an impressive experience at one of the most picturesque backdrops in Eastern Europe.
The gateway to Transylvania, Brasov was first documentary certified in the year 1234 A.D. under the name of Corona. Fortunately it still shows to its guests well preserved edifices with Old Saxon architecture. You can take a walk along the old city walls. And either walk up or drive around to the old towers guarding the medieval citadel.
- Dinner and overnight in Brasov.
DAY 3 – TRANSYLVANIAN FORTRESSES
Documents attest Rupea fortress as Transylvanian ensemble of military architecture since 1342.
Saxons revolted against King Charles Robert of Anjou of Hungary found refuged here. Located atop of the Cohalm Hill, this is one of the most beautiful citadels in Transylvania. With 7 towers, guarded by thick strong walls, it offers to the traveler’s eye breathtaking views of green surroundings. Historians believe they built the fortress on the old ruins of a very important Dacian settlement. They also say last King of Dacians – Decebal – after long exhausting battles, cut his throat here. This in order to not fall prisoner to the Romans led by Emperor Trajan. In the 15th century the Turks conquered and robbed the fortress. Two centuries later it was burned down.
Finally in the 18th century, following a strong storm that flew away the roofs, it was forever abandoned. But now, despite its troubled past you feel so peaceful here. And the mountain air is so refreshing. You can easily spend more than half day taking strolls along the stoned paths. And trying to imagine how over 400 people lived within these walls. Visit the cottages where the inhabitants of the villages around took refuge in during hard times. Pass through the Middle Fortress Gate and look for the Military Storeroom… The Servants, Pentagonal and Gate Towers or the Chapel and the Fountain are equally appealing !
One of the largest and best preserved fortresses in Romania and even in Europe is Fagaras Fortress.
Its name seems to mean “wood money”. Local legends say that peasants who built received as payment money made of wood. At the end of 12th century this wooden fortification had surrounding ditch and remblai. But the conflagration from the middle of the 13th century destroyed it. Reinforced in the next century, it became a stone fortification. And another hundred years later it transformed into a defense military fortress. By the 16th century it already was an unattackable medieval fortified castle.
Being the most imposing monument of the great land of Fagaras, this was also its political and administrative center. But the apogee period of the fortress came only in the 17th century. Then the imposing medieval ensemble became a fastuos Transylvanian princely residence. The Italian architects brought by Prince Gabriel Bethlen imprinted the Renaissance aestethics to the construction. Thus stucco, blazons, floral motives and loggias open in arches appeared. The 4 bastions added at the fortress corners complemented the Italian style casemate look.
Prince Gheorghe Rackoczi I doubled the northern and southern exterior walls on the inside. Filling the created spaces with soil they obtained an 8 m thick resistance. They also enlarged, deepened and filled the defense ditch around the fortress with water from Olt River. Thus they made it a real lake. During the 1950s the fortress served as prison for communism opponents and dissidents. Restored after the 1989 revolution, Fagaras fortress awaits you today with a museum and a library. Let’s step inside and explore its Turnul Pestrit (Variegated Tower), Turnul Negru (Black Tower) and Salii Dietei (Diet Hall).
- Dinner and overnight in Brasov area.
DAY 4-5-6-7 ~ TRANSYLVANIAN HIDDEN CASTLES
- Day 4. Drive to Covasna County.. Be guest of the same count that hosts the heir of the royal crown of Great Britain. Dine at Count Kalnoky’s Boardinghouse
- Day 5. Leisure day in Zalan Valley village. Take an evening ride amidst Transylvanian wildlife and rural paradise. Dinner and overnight at Prince of Wales’ Guesthouse.
- Day 6. Feel like being part of a counts family on a magnificent castle estate. Dinner and overnight at a secluded Transylvanian hideaway.
- Day 7. Drive to Talisoara. From the first moment you step inside Talisoara Castle the fairy tale atmosphere mantles you. Dinner and overnight at Daniel Castle.
DAY 8-9-10 ~ HARGHITA & BISTRITA COUNTIES
Darjiu Fortified Church
In 1274, a rare example of typical Saxon fortified church replaced the Romanesque chapel found here.
Then, Tatars invasion from 14th century put Darjiu village on documents for the first time. Inhabitants were Szeklers, descendants of colonist who defended eastern borders of Hungarian kingdom since 11th century. Even today over 90% of inhabitants are Hungarian. After colonisation, Darjiu divided in free Szeklers and serfs (social structure kept until 19th century). The free prosperous community had its own guilds and neighborhoods.
In 16th century a defense parapet floor pierced by shooting holes with reversed keyholes shape heightened the fortification. Church configuration dates from the same century. The important fortifying restoration made then in Gothic style gave it: – ample windows, – arcades in broken arches and – consoles supporting network vaults’ stone ribs. Also in 16th century Szeklers adopted Unitarianism, an official religion in Transylvania. Symbols of it appear on the Baroque pulpit, eastern stand and organ dating from 18th and 19th century.
The village entirely preserved its 18th and 19th century structure. Since 18th century inhabitants have been keeping grains within ensemble and bacon, ham and sausages in bastions’ larders. During 19th century restoration, under the painting imposed by 16th century Reformation, workers discovered large mural paintings showing: – Saint Ladislau legend, – saint bishops pictures, – Michael Archangel and – Apostle Paul.
Since ‘99, Darjiu fortified Unitarian Church is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Horseback riding through Rodna Mountains National Park
Romania's second largest national park, Rodnei Mountains National Park ranks first as regards flora and fauna species diversity.
Its mountains geology and numerous glacial relics are also important. Biosphere reserve since 1979 this was proposed to be part of world heritage for nature. The best way to discover the park’s gems is in July or August riding a horse from one of Romania’s oldest stud farms.
Beclean stallion inventory was established in 1970 but the actual stud farm was founded only in 1978. Initially they raised the Medium heavy Romanian workhorse breed, but since 1993 they started to also grow Lipizzaner breed. In 2011, Furioso North Star breed kernel came from Slatina stud farm, making them famous for the black Lipizzaner. Only 8-10% of these remain black, the rest becoming white over time.
Go see their 200 horses in stables or during their daily training. Then take a ride by carriage or, in the winter, by sleigh. Over several days, you will ride on the horseback on forest roads and pasture accompanied by authorized guides. Admire the beauty of Daffodils Glade, Lala Lake and 3 mountain peaks, have lunch at sheepfolds and observe Rodna Mountains specific flora and fauna.
- Dinner and overnight at Metropolis Hotel.
DAY 11 ~ BISTRITA COUNTY
Let your skin pampered by caviar, gold and pearls
Trained in the traditional art of massage, Metropolis Spa practitioners help soothe you while balancing your body’s energy.
Enjoy an extensive therapeutic massage with bamboo sticks. Or a honey relaxing massage to calm both your body and mind. Mixing precious ingredients – caviar, gold, pearls – with Anubis and Rejuvi products they perfect your skin beauty. In the end extend relaxation throughout evening at their in-house cinema with 12 leather Reclyner type armchairs !
- Private car transfer to Bucharest airport and fly back home.
This tour is completely tailor made to best fit all your own preferences. Kindly contact us for pricing and availability.