Visit UNESCO Painted Monasteries and Wooden Churches of Maramures
Find out more about the fascinating background
Have a complete Romanian experience
Visit Marginea Black Pottery Workshop
Discover interesting facts about Romania
Explore Bucovina villlages
Welcome to Romania!
Cluj-Napoca, the so-called “treasure town of the Middle-Ages,” is the unofficial capital of Transylvania. With one of the most vibrant economies in the country and a population of around 330,000, Cluj is today one of the most important Romanian cities: both as a cultural and educational center.
Your tour guide will pick you up from the airport, and throughout the city tour, you will visit some of the best landmarks in the city, such as St. Michael’s Church, the Banffy Palace and its Museum of Arts, the Mirror Street, and the Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden.
Overnight in Cluj-Napoca.
Today you are going to discover the beautiful region of Maramureş, rich in terms of both traditions and cultural life. After two hours driving the Maramures, tours begin with a visit of the Wooden Churches from Surdesti, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
A narrow road will then lead us to Breb, a village lost among the hills, with traditional wooden houses lined along the river. The surrounding area is delightful, and it is dominated by the gripping Rooster Crest Peak, part of the volcanic mountains of Gutai.
In Breb, you will catch a glimpse of the famous wooden gates of Maramures, carefully carved and decorated by local craftsmen. We will then take a walk through the quiet streets of the village, and we will meet some of the locals that preserve the crafts such as woodworking for hundreds of years, passing them from generation to generation.
Lunch will be served in the most traditional way, in a household with delicious dishes freshly taken out from the oven.
Next, we will be heading to the Memorial of the Victims of Communism, where we will get acquainted with the dark side of the Romanian communist regime. After 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the repatriation of Romanians who had been prisoners of war and deportees in the Soviet Union was done through Sighet.
In August 1948, once the communist party consolidated its power in Romania, the Sighet prison was transformed into a prison for the political opponents of the regime. At first, it held a group of students, pupils, and peasants from the Maramureş region. Many of the surviving prisoners are still living in Sighet to this very day.
Our next destination is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta. Craftsman and artist Dumitru Pop, internationally renowned for his work, will introduce us to the Romanian art of wood carving.
Overnight in Sighetu Marmatiei.
How about a chance to discover the scenic landscape of northern Romania on a delightful ride with a small steam train called the shepherdess? The small steam train, known in the area under the name of “mocanita”, has been used since 1932 for transporting timber, this being the last forestry railway in Europe.
Nowadays the train no longer carries timber, but it is instead taking tourists through the Wasser Valley, on the Northern Romanian border, through a barely accessible area. The steam locomotive pulls the train along the banks of a mountain river, through an untamed landscape, where there are no hints of the modern life.
After riding the steam train, we will make a short stop for lunch in the middle of nature.
Next, your day tour continues with a visit two of the famous Wooden Churches of Maramures, included in the UNESCO Heritage Patrimony: Ieud and Poienile Izei.
You will spend the afternoon with one of the most famous sculptors in Maramures. You will visit the workshop where Mr. Barsan breathes life into his work and discover the home-like museum filled with family trophies, photos, and sculptures of all kinds.
The last landmark of the day is one of the most famous religious sites in Maramures, the Barsana Monastery. The holy monastery of Barsana was built as a sign of recognition to thank God for protecting the people from the 1710 Plague. All the churches are made out of wood, a traditional craft in Maramures.
Overnight in Sighetu Marmatiei.
Our journey around northern Romania continues early in the morning with a trip through the Carpathian Mountains to the historical region of Bukovina.
Here, you'll find out more about the local traditions of Romania, and you'll discover one of Romania's national heritage sites, the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, that combine Romanian art with the Byzantine spirit. On your first day in Bukovina, you will visit the Moldovita Monastery, included on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1993.
For hundreds of years, the murals of the monastery were the only means of presenting the teaching of the Bible to those living in the countryside. The frescoes are an immense color illustration of Biblical scenes, adapted to the history of the place, and to the critical moments in the life of the community. Before we are going to accommodation, we will visit the Humor monastery, like other monasteries of Bucovina become famous for the painted walls where the predominant color is red.
After the monastery tour, we will head to Gura Humorului for hotel check-in.
Dinner and overnight in Gura Humorului.
The first visit of the day will be at the Sucevita Monastery. The murals of Sucevita are dominated by a shade of green obtained from natural pigments through an ancient technique. Big walls surround the 16th-century monastery: 6 meters tall and 3 meters thick, surprising the defensive role played over the centuries.
Your guided tour in Bukovina continues with a visit to the last and most beautiful of Bucovina's painted monasteries, Voronet. Voronet Monastery is a jewel of Romania's heritage, whose frescoes - featuring an intense shade of blue - have become famous throughout the world. The scenes in the murals depict, like a movie, the history of Christianity presented in an original manner, influenced by folk beliefs, by the Eastern culture, and by the Orthodox thought. At the Voronet Monastery, more than any other painted churches, the painting is, first of all, a prayer for the defeat of the invaders and for saving Moldavia from Turks invasions. These exterior frescoes are dating from the first half of the 16th century and excepting the north wall are still very well preserved, making the painted monasteries of Bukovina a witness of exceptional Byzantine art.
Your Bukovina's painted monasteries tour will come to an end, and we will drive to Gura Humorului, where we will visit one of the best craftsmen in the production of traditional clothing from the region. Ms. Andronic will present us 'ia,' our traditional Romanian blouse, and her workshop.
Overnight in Gura Humorului.
Your tour in Bucovina and the exploration of the Bukovina monasteries together with Maramures local life will come to an end, and we will cross the mountains and head for the airport in Cluj-Napoca or Suceava, depends on your flight details.
Once in Bucovina, we can explore the eastern part of Romania with a tour of Iasi or a tour of the Moldova Republic.