DAMBOVICIOARA CANYON ~ CURTEA DE ARGES MONASTERY ~ TRANSFAGARASAN HIGHWAY
* Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride through Wine and Fruit-Growing Museum
* Explore the largest gorges complex of the country – Dambovicioara Canyon
* Taste and shop for traditional homemade delicacies in Rucar-Bran Couloir
* Be awestruck by the strange architectural design of Curtea de Arges monastery’s columns and Master Manole’s legend
* Have lunch in the village where Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia filmed in 2012 scenes from “What About Love”
* Stop on Vidraru Dam to take some amazing photos of Vidraru Lake
* Transfagarasan Highway takes you on top of the majestic Carpathian Mountains
* Dine at a trout farm
Welcome and greetings at Bucharest airport.
Drive towards Pitesti.
Horse drawn carriage ride through Wine and Fruit-Growing Museum
Golescu family played an important role in Romanian history.
Find out about their good deeds while wondering through the family’s lordly mansion. Built in 1640, this is the only laic medieval fortified building in the country.
On the same estate you will discover a traditional village from mid 19th century. It is the most important sector of Dinicu Golescu Museum, founded in 1939 by the order of King Charles II. Organized in open air, the 35 households here were brought from the main fruit-growing and wine-growing areas of the country.
After you listened and saw all details about the history and civilization of Arges county, relax with a ride by a horse drawn carriage.
Dinner and overnight in Pitesti.
The Fortress Black Prince Monastery
Secluded away from the world, lost among secular forests and steep cliffs there is a place with unequalled beauties.
Here, on the peak of a mountain, at an altitude of 881 m from the sea level, people eager for introspection in the silent shadow of the caves, placed the harshest Romanian hermitage.
The prepared traveler who steps among the silvery rocks and reaches near the Saint Sanctuary is surprised by the striking resemblance to the Meteora Skete in Greece.
The 2300 year old rupestral (cave) church presents footsteps in stone leading to the Cross of Wishes.
The view from there reveals the Carpathian ridges from above.
And what a view !…
In Dambovicioara village's area your sight is caught by the houses ornated with sculpted wooden pillars and multicolored tall roses.
Romanians don’t spend too much of their time wetting them. Nature takes care of roses to have flowers as big as the head of a new born. From the comfortable sedan the villages veiled among mountain ridges gently reveal to your eyes. The landscape looks as if a child drew here and there on a piece of green paper some trees, stones, small houses and a winding asphalt ribbon among them.
Explore the largest gorges complex of the country
You are heading to the largest gorges complex of the country: Dambovicioara Canyon, within Piatra Craiului National Park. Exploring its outstanding part you will be astonished by its monumentality. Vertical calcareous walls or even leaning over the 1 to 2 m wide bed of Dambovicioara gill (sometimes with heights exceeding 200 m), imposing towers and sharp cliffs… About 50 caves lies underground Dambovicioara hydrographic pond. But happily, the most attractive and important one is right nearby the canyon with the same name. And the locals know it before 1579 !
The climax is when, following the road, a straight domineering mountain suddenly arise in front of you like an impetuous wall as if the world ends here. You shyly approach and at the turn, amid two edgy cliffs, the deep and narrow entrance inside the mountain opens. It’s chill. You have the sensation that you feel the breath of the mountain and even hear it. Daring to look up you are shivery by the bouncers of cliffs hung by the canyon walls. They look like wild beast lying in ambush to hurtle on you.
Traditional homemade delicacies from Rucar-Bran Couloir
After Dambovicioara Canyon, before leaving the Rucar – Bran Couloir you notice, on both sides of the road, tables with traditional Romanian delicacies.
Stop at the penultimate on the right. Here an over 70 years old lady with clear blue eyes and 3 children – a priest, a Romanian language teacher and the other daughter working for European Funds – will welcome you. Then she will kindly invite you to taste for free all the products. The old lady herself makes them, right in the house behind the temptress table.
“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.”
Curtea de Arges monastery
One of the most famous Romanian legends relates to the monastery from Curtea de Arges.
It serves as necropolis of the Romanian Royal Family. Here Kings Carol I, Ferdinand and Carol II, as well as Queen Ana rest. In the 16th century (1514) the Prince Neagoe Basarab founded a halidom of unmatched beauty, with some Georgian and Armenian architectural elements. After studying in Italy and Constantinople he administrated the construction of a mosque ordered by the sultan Bayezid II. The chief-builder of the mosque was the Armenian master Manoli from Niaesia.
Master Manole’s legend
The legend says Manole built his wife in one of the monastery’s walls to succeed finishing the impressive construction and in the place where he fell off the roof a source appeared. Look for the fountain built on that source (across the street in front of the monastery) and also for the red text marking the wall. But don’t let yourself charmed to marry here because the locals say that all marriages officiated at the monastery end with a divorce.
Movie destination: Arefu village
Do you remember the movie “What about Love” from 2012 featuring Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia ?
They were playing the roles of the parents of a young girl who travels with her boyfriend through Europe…
Well, this was filmed in Bucharest city center, at Ravens Castle and on Transfagarasan (in the area of Arefu village).
Placed at the foot of Vidraru hydropower plant, Arefu is a beautiful village.
And here you can receive the real traditional experience.
So come to lunch !
Drive on Transfagarasan Highway
Stop on Vidraru Dam to take some amazing photos of Vidraru Lake
Absolutely superb, Vidraru Lake is an accumulation lake created in 1965 by the Vidraru Dam in Arges County, on Arges River, for the production of electricity, irrigations and floods prevention.
Also, the lake and adjacent facilities are used for recreation, tourism and sports.
With a length of 10,3 km and a width of 2,2 km, the lake reaches a total area of 870 hectares and a maximum depth of 155 meters, accumulating 465 million cubic meters of water.
Visit Prometheus Statue
The metal man who holds his hands raised above his head, with lightnings in his hands placed in the area of Vidraru Dam on Pleasa Mountain was realized by sculptor Constantin Popovici in 1965 and represents Prometheus with the thunder in his hands as symbol of electricity.
Take your photos at Gout Waterfall & Lake and Balea Lake & Waterfall.
Dinner and overnight atop Southern Carpathian Mountains.
Drive to Sibiu for drop off at Sibiu airport.
* What to expect: highly customized itinerary planning & travel arrangements with 10% discount for travel planning services for tours longer than 7 days, upscale / luxury rooms and suites recommendations, traditional / fine dining top restaurants recommendations, all in city private transfers by chauffeured car, entrance fees.
* Base price (itinerary planning & all inclusive car rental services): from 640 Euro per tour per 1-6 guests
* Tour type: escorted
* Departures: all year round. Transfagarasan highway is open only from July to October.
* Interests: family, gourmet / wine tasting, culture / art / museums, movie buffs, churches, nature, photography, relaxing.
* Personal tour manager available on request.
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