Maramures is considered by many to be the heart and soul of rural Romania. With its picturesque countryside of small villages, rolling hills, pastures, and meadows full of wildflowers, Maramures epitomizes all that the rural lifestyle encompasses. Visitors to Maramures have a unique opportunity to step back in time and bear witness to simpler times and simpler lives.
Maramures is a small and unique location in the geographical heartland of Europe that has carefully and distinctively preserved the culture, traditions and lifestyle of a medieval peasant past. The region stands as a testament to tradition, to a romantic era of simplicity, pride and moral values that many of us can only now read about or hear from our grandparents.
Life in Maramures is like a mystery. Visitors to Maramures drive through mountain passes and descend into the valleys of life where the mystery of rural traditions unfolds before the visitor as a living museum that is at once within reach yet simultaneously beyond the grasp of the whimsical traveler.
* And since it is our first day together, we have prepared a surprise for you. On our way to Maramures, we will visit the famous Bran Castle, with the well-known legends of Dracula.
* We visit the most emblematic tourist symbol of Romania. Bran Castle. Bran Castle is the only castle in all of Transylvania that actually fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle, it is known throughout the world as Dracula’s Castle. Dracula – as he is perceived today – is a fictitious character whose name derives from the appellation given to Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia from 1456-1462 and 1476, and who, for largely political reasons, was depicted by some historians of that time as a blood-thirsty ruthless despot.
* Our second stop is in Sighisoara, the only inhabited fortress in Europe, where we serve lunch in a medieval restaurant that keeps alive the atmosphere of old times.
* At the end of the day, we reach the heart of Maramures, where we will be staying at a traditional inn that will host us for the following nights.
* Dinner with traditional food
* If we start from Cluj, we have a suprise program for you
Iza Valley Tour
* First place to visit is Ples Etnographic Museum, a spring of Maramures folklore
* The Ples family created its own ethnographic museum from the parental house, with traditional popular costumes and typical instruments from the Maramureş villages
* Then we will have a tour with the Romanian traditional carts among the greenest meadows of Maramures, Poienile Izei.
* Picnic with traditional Maramures dishes in a place with a lot of green grass and an incredible view over the hills in the area
* In the evening, we visit the Red Ceramic Center of Sacel, a place where the technical and aesthetic characteristics remind us of Dacian origins
* Dinner with delicious traditional meals and red wine at the guesthouse
Sapanta and Sighetul Marmatiei
* First, we start our tour with a short and relaxed walk through the Maramures Village Museum, giving us the impression of a return into the past, walking through the streets of the villages of Maramures some centuries ago.
* Next, we will visit the Merry Cemetery from Sapanta, a unique cemetery where brightly colored graves and the funny poems written on the crosses about the persons resting there are something that you will not find elsewhere in the world
* We will make a short stop in the household of Gheorghe Stan, the famous craftsman that carves and paints the Romanian unique crosses from the Merry Cemetery
* Lunch into a traditional Maramures household
* Next visit will be at Barsana Monastery, maybe the most beautiful church in Romania, build in a unique Maramures style
* Dinner in a traditional style and party with music, where each of us is welcome to dress and wear a popular costume; photo shooting included
Traditions and history
* First stop will be in Tisa, where we will discover the museum collection of the Pipas family, a vast and impressive collection of old objects of outstanding value
* Next, we go to Sighetul Marmatiei city, where we visit the Memorial of the Victims of Communism. It is the only project in Romania that offers one of the most complex and documented images on the communist regime in Romania and also one of the most visited tourist attractions.
* Lunch in a traditional husehold
* Next, we visit Sapanta Peri, the world tallest wooden church
* Photo session in Sighetul Marmatiei, in front of the monument dedicated to the famous nail in which the map of Romania hangs
* Lunch in our guesthouse
Mocanita steam train
* For the next half of the day we will admire from this tourist train the wildest landscapes of Maramures. Mocăniţa is a steam train running on a narrow-track railway used for transporting the wood from the Maramures Mountains, especially the wood removed from the forests of Vaser Valley. It has a steam locomotive, fueled with wood and coal, and has been introduced into the tourist circuit to offer a unique experience to all tourists coming to Maramures
* Lunch at the final stop of Mocanita
* Afterwards we will visit the Romanian Peasant Museum (Muzeul Tarancii Romane), a representative wooden old house, built in 1721. The best authentic museum guide, Maria Zubascu will reveal the local fantastic myths & legends.
* Special evening with campfire and cooked food in the backyard, everything blended with red wine
Churches and krafts
* We head to Budesti, where we will visit one of the oldest wooden churches in Romania, the church of an inestimable value, being introduced in the UNESCO World Heritage Site
* We continue the day with a big surprise: we will visit a traditional authentic sheepfold, where we will discover the practices of this ancient tradition. Our hosts, the shepherd and his wife will spoil us with the tastiest cooked dishes from ancient culinary recipes known only by them. (target only for summer programs)
* We end the day with a visit to the renowned handcraft manufacturer of traditional masks, Vasile Susca. Since 1991 he manufactures masks, with plenty of imagination, using goat and sheep leather. It’s a work made with abnegation. His masks are hilarious, sad, or grotesque, depending on the master’s decision. Far from being simple accessories, the folk masks made by Vasile Şuşca represent a fantastic old world dominated by spirits and traditions from Maramures. The folk masks are lost in prehistoric times where mystical characters were leading the whole society.
* In the evening dinner with traditional meals, brandy and wine
Prislop Pass and Horses Waterfall
* We try a unique experience with adrenaline at high altitude, admiring the best view of Maramures from the chairlift of Borsa
* Afterwards we walk towards the highest waterfall in Romania, Cascada Cailor
* Lunch in a traditional household
* We arrive in Bucharest
What is included in the price:
- 4 nights guesthouse accommodation (single and double rooms)
- 2 meals/day (breakfast and dinner at the guesthouse). We can also offer alternatives for other types of diet
- Lunch in traditional households
- All the activities presented above
- Two professional tour guides (fluent English speaker), rangers, local guides and support staff for the activities
- English guided tours for the entire period
- Pick up from any city in Romania
- Transfer from and to the hotel
- Transport with bus or mini-vans for the entire duration of the adventure – fuel included.
What is not included in the price:
- Extra accommodation nights. Optionally, depending on the flight schedule, we can arrange extra accommodation with extra costs regardless the city
- Entrance tickets to all touristic attractions
- Airport transfers
- Flight tickets (optionally we can reserve the flights)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Other personal spending
- Sometimes, some of the places we intend to visit may be closed at that time. But don’t worry. We have prepared tourist attractions at least as interesting as the previous ones.
- We can organize this tour all year long.
- The tour can be customized depending on the number of days you have available.