Mystery, Legend & Tradition

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  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $5,995
  • Length: 14 days
  • Operator: Travcoa
  • 866-591-0260
    Destinations: Europe, Bulgaria, Romania
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Tour Description

Visit a land whose legends and lore have captured the imagination of the world. Its gothic fortresses and haunting landscapes inspired Bram Stoker to write his famous novel Dracula. However, Romania and Bulgaria have so much more to recommend. Beautiful Bucharest is full of neoclassical architecture and European charm. The Painted Monasteries of Southern Bucovina are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with vibrant and colorful frescoes. The architecture of stately Plovdiv ranges from the medieval town center to its almost palatial homes. Sofia boasts the soaring gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church. In between exploring the highlights of these Balkan states, enjoy morsels of its traditional culture, including a stirring folk music performance by the Cosmic Voices Choir at the National Gallery.

  • Tour Bucharest - the “Paris of the Balkans”
  • Enjoy a privately guided tour of the magnificent Painted Monasteries
  • Watch a colorful and lively private folkloric show in Bucovina
  • Visit Bran Castle and the mysterious moors of Transylvania, land of beauty and dark legends
  • Discover the lovingly restored “museum city” of Veliko Tarnovo with a “Sound and Light” performance
  • Stroll around charming Plovdiv, an ancient village of little palaces
  • Listen to a private performance of the Cosmic Voices choir at the Bulgarian National Gallery
  • Explore the Rila Monastery, Bulgaria’s majestic mountain retreat

Itinerary

DAYS 1 - 3

Bucharest, Romania

Arrive in Bucharest on Day 2. On Day 3 discover why beautiful Bucharest is called the “Paris of the Balkans.” The city’s most impressive buildings were erected at the end of the 19th century, most designed by French architects in the neoclassical style. Your morning sightseeing includes Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei) and the enormous Parliament House, the world’s second-largest building after the U.S. Pentagon. Stop at the Church of the Patriarchal and the Roman Athenaeum, with its sublime Baroque cupola. Then take a guided walk through the old town area, learning more about the centuries of history here.

Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest

DAYS 4 & 5

Cluj Napoca Gura Humorului

Depart Bucharest early this morning and fly to Cluj-Napoca, the unofficial historic capital of Transylvania. Depart Cluj-Napoca and drive along the North road, through the magnificent landscapes of the Eastern Carpathians and the plateaus of central Transylvania, bound for Gura Humorului in Moldavia. Stop for lunch in Bistrita, referenced in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Throughout your journey, your expert guide will enlighten you about the history and truth versus legend of this infamous region.

On Day 5 visit the most picturesque treasures of Romania - the Painted Monasteries of Southern Bucovina, many protected by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. They hold UNESCO’s Prix d’Or for “artistic, spiritual and cultural value.” These richly decorated houses of worship are albums of fresco art that have survived the elements since the 15th century. Visit the three best-preserved monasteries: Moldovita, Sucevita and Voronet. This evening dine at the hotel while enjoying a private folkloric show.

Best Western Bucovina Club de Munte, Gura Humorului

DAY 6

Targu Mures

Enjoy a full day admiring the unique landscapes of high peaks and fir tree forests in the Carpathian Mountains. Cross Bicaz Gorges, a spectacular narrow walled abyss in the Eastern Carpathians. Stop in Corund, a village known for its many handicrafts, then continue through the mountains to Targu Mures. One of the great ancient Magyar cities of Transylvania, this is an elegant little town, whose central architecture was strongly influenced by the “Jugendstil,” a distinctive artistic style from late 19th-century Germany. This evening take a walk to see the Palace of Culture and lovely churches and monasteries that surround the hotel.

Hotel President, Targu Mures

DAY 7

Sighisoara Brasov

A European treasure, Sighisoara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and considered one of the most beautiful citadels in all of Europe. Sighisoara is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town, and played an important strategic and commercial role it played in central Europe for several centuries. Explore the town by foot, walking along the narrow medieval streets and visiting a few of its museums. After lunch in Sighisoara, drive through the moors of Transylvania to the village of Bran, home to one of the most famous castles in the world. The Bran Castle is a medieval fortress, and easily recognized from its countless appearances in films about Count Dracula. Discover more about the history of Vlad Tepes, (“Vlad the Impaler”), the infamous prince who inspired the tale of Count Dracula.

Aro Palace Hotel, Brasov

DAY 8

Brasov, Sinaia Bucharest

This morning explore the highlights of Brasov, including the Black Church, the weaver bastion and the Schei district with its Orthodox church. Then drive back to Bucharest through the Prahova Valley, the most visited valley in the Carpathian Mountains. Cross the Southern Carpathians, passing many notable mountain resorts, stopping in Sinaia. Sinaia is one of the finest mountain resorts in Europe and boasts such historical monuments as Pelisor Castle, Foisor Castle and Park, Casino Castle and the Sinaia Monastery. Visit Pele” Castle, one of the best-preserved royal palaces in Europe.

Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest

DAY 9

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Veliko Tarnovo, one of Bulgaria’s most ancient towns, was the capital of the second Bulgarian Empire, noted for its art, literature and culture. This afternoon, your sightseeing of Veliko Tarnovo begins by visiting Tsarevets Hill, with its solid fortress walls, royal palaces, patriarchal church and Baudouin’s Tower. Then it is a short drive to the nearby museum-town of Arbanassi. This National Architectural Reserve has monasteries and churches containing unique murals and icons, and monumental houses that resemble minor fortresses. This evening attend a “Sound Light” performance on historic Tsarevets Hill.

Arbanassi Palace, Arbanassi

DAY 10

Plovdiv

Near Etara, visit the Assumption Sokolski Monastery, founded in 1833, and named after its founder Yosif Sokolski. After lunch, visit the famous Thracian tomb, where the perfectly preserved murals are a unique testimony of pictorial art during the Hellenic period. Explore the Iskra Museum of History in Kazanlak, where some of the unique Thracian golden treasures discovered in the region are on display.

Dedeman Trimontium Princess Plovdiv Hotel, Plovdiv

DAYS 11 - 14

Plovdiv, Sofia Depart for Home

Explore the original Medieval town center of Plovdiv. Visit the remains of the city’s ancient buildings. Tour Plovdiv’s well-preserved 2nd-century Roman Theatre. Then travel to Sofia, one of the oldest settlements in Europe. Tour the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church, St. Petka of the Saddlers, the rotunda St. George, St. Sofia church, the precious icon exhibition in the Crypt of the Cathedral and more.

On Day 13 visit the 10th-century Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a jewel of genuine Bulgarian architecture crowning a spectacular mountainous setting. It houses a rich museum collection of valuable old manuscripts and documents, charters and icons, an ethnographic exhibition of fabrics, jewelry, carpets and wrought iron objects. A true highlight is the library containing more than 16,000 books. This evening we celebrate our journey at a farewell cocktail and dinner party with your fellow travelers. On Day 14 you will be taken to the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination.

Arena Serdica Residence Hotel, Sofia

Departures

Pricing Information

May 4, 2012

From $5,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $890.00 single room supplement.

August 17, 2012

From $5,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $890.00 single room supplement.

August 24, 2012

From $5,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $890.00 single room supplement.

September 14, 2012

From $5,995.00 per person double occupancy.

From $890.00 single room supplement.

Journey Includes

  • Deluxe rooms in the best available hotels
  • Three meals per day, including our unique Dine-Around program that lets you enjoy any restaurant you choose with à la carte dining, or relax with room service when available*
  • A professional Travel Director as your personal concierge
  • Local sightseeing with professional English-speaking guides with unparalleled knowledge, including entrance fees for places visited
  • Active participation and up-close encounters to experience the cultures of your journey
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and tea included with meals; bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • All gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff and local guides and drivers
  • Group or individual airport transfers on arrival and departure flights
  • TheTravcoAssist Travel Protection Plan, including emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage for injury or illness, and 24-hour Worldwide Live Travel Assistance through Travel Guard Assistance

*Due to remote or undeveloped locations on some journeys, accommodations may not always meet Western standards. Dine-Around opportunities will be limited in remote or unsecured locations.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

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Tour Notes