- Visiting the “grave” of Dracula on a mysterious island in a lake
- Visiting the remains of the Old Princely Court built by Vlad Tepes
- A Touristy but fun evening at the Count Dracula Club
- An eerie visit to Poenari Fortress said to be the “ real” Dracula’s Castle
Day 1 Depart USA
You depart on your overnight flight to Bucharest. Dinner and breakfast served on board.
Day 2 Arrive in Bucharest
Upon arrival at the airport your guide meets you and escorts you to your deluxe hotel located in the center of the city. The afternoon is free so you may want to head to one of the many parks within the city. Perhaps take a boat out on the lake? This evening you are going to one of Bucharest's favorite restaurants where the 1920's and ‘30's come alive. After dinner you are free to try one of the many jazz clubs or discotheques.
Day 3 A Walking Tour of Calea Victoriei
Bucharest is laden with historical charm; from the cobblestone streets of the old city center to the grand architecture of the Royal Palace and the lush greens of Cismigiu Park. Remodeled in the late 19th century by French architects, the city features large neo-classical buildings and even its own Arc de Triomphe on the elegant Soseaua Kiseieff, home to the city's mansion district. Today you will take a leisurely walking tour of Calea Victoriei, the oldest and, arguably, most charming street in the city. Built in 1692 to link the Old Princely Court to Mogosoaia Palace, it was initially paved with oak beams. Between the two world wars, the street developed into one of the most fashionable streets in the city. Our walking tour will begin at the Palace Square with the Romanian Athenaeum on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. The Palace has been transformed into the National Art Museum and you will have a private tour of the vast collection. In addition to the largest collection of Romanian art including sculptures by Brancusi, the museum also holds the former collection of the royal family including works by El Greco, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Breughels ( father and son) Cezanne and Rubens. After an extensive visit and further strolling we come to The Military Club built in 1912 to serve the social, cultural and educational needs of the Romanian army. While the main part of the building is off-limits to civilians, you are invited to enjoy lunch at the sumptuous officer's club. After lunch you visit the George Enescu Museum located in the Cantacuzino Palace and the repository of the works of Romania's great composer and violinist a student of Johannes Brahms and a teacher of Yehudi Menuhin. This evening you will have a pre-theatre dinner before attending a performance by the George Enescu Philharmonic at the Athenaeum or the Romanian National Ballet at the Opera House.
Day 4 Mogosoaia Palace and the “Grave” Of Dracula
After breakfast you head north from the city to the village of Mogosoaia and the palace of the same name located on a lake. Built by a Walachian prince, Constantin Brancoveanu between 1698 and 1702 as a summer residence, the palace features a beautiful Venetian-style loggia on the façade facing the lake and a balcony with intricate carvings overlooking the main courtyard. Today, the palace houses the Brancovenesc Museum with exhibits of valuable paintings, wood and stone sculptures, gold and silver embroideries, rare books and precious manuscripts. After visiting the museum your guide takes you to the village of Snagov where you have lunch. The village has a lake and on an island in the lake stands a monastery. You take a boat over to the island to the monastery. It was originally built in the 14th century and 100 years later Vlad Tepes or Dracula added the fortress walls and a dungeon. A plaque on the floor of the church marks the grave with the presumed remains of the count but who can be sure? After paying your respects you return to Bucharest where dinner awaits.
Day 5 Ceausescu’s Legacy, the Old City and Dracula’s Court
Romania has been cursed with two despotic leaders, one ancient and somewhat mythical, one more current and all too real. The first, of course was Vlad Tepes or Vlad Dracul transformed by Bram Stoker into Dracula. The other was the megalomaniacal communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who brutally ruled Romania until the collapse of Communism when he was caught trying to flee the city and shot by the people. Today you will visit the square where he made his last speech, realizing then that the tide had turned. You will also see what was called at that time the People's Palace which was built by the dictator for his personal and political use. With 1,100 rooms it is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. You will visit what is now called Parliament Palace as well as the Palace of the Patriarch, the center of the Romanian Orthodox Church. You will have lunch at Carul cu Bere (The Beer Cart) which was opened in 1879 and soon became the most popular gathering spot for Bucharest's literati. Suitably refreshed you proceed for a walking tour of the Lispscani District. At the beginning of the 1400's, most merchants and craftsmen; Romanian, Austrian, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Armenian and Jewish established their stores and shops in this section of the city. The area became known as Lispscani because of the many German traders from Lipsca or Leipzig. Today the cobblestone streets are home to many art galleries, antique shops and coffee houses. You have some time to explore before heading to the remains at the Old Princely Court built in the 15th Century by Vlad Tepes also known as Vlad Dracula. According to local lore, Vlad kept his prisoners in dungeons which commenced beneath the Princely Court and extended under the city. You conclude your day with a visit to the National History Museum. This evening you have dinner at the Count Dracula Club, a little touristy but a lot of fun.
Day 6 Curtea de Arges, the “real” Dracula’s Castle and the Citadel of Brasov
This morning you will depart Bucharest for a trip into the countryside. Your first stop will be Curtea de Arges, once the capital of Wallachia and home to a stunning architectural gem, the 16th Century Curtea de Arges Monastery. Topped by two towers spiraling in opposite direction, Romania's first two kings and queens are buried here. Your next stop is Poenari Fortress of which only the walls and towers now stand perched high above the surrounding area guarding the Transfagarasan highway over the Transylvania Alps. It is from here that Dracula's wife is said to have leaped to her death in the river below to avoid capture by enemy troops led, ironically, by Vlad's brother. As such, many people consider it to be the "real" Dracula's castle and it does have an eerie feel as you climb the steps to the ruins. Having made your descent from the castle you head to the town of Brasov with lunch en route. Founded by Teutonic knights in 1211 on an ancient Roman site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels, Brasov exudes a distinct medieval ambiance which has been the backdrop of many period films and has seen Brasov become a film making center in recent years. The countryside around Brasov was, in fact, transformed into the US South for the movie "Cold Mountain". Upon arrival at your deluxe hotel you relax before enjoying a nice dinner.
Day 7 The Black Church, Peles Castle and the Pied Piper
After breakfast you begin your personal tour of the city starting with the Council Square. The Saxons built massive stone walls and seven bastions around the city that are still visible today as well as ornate churches, elaborately trimmed buildings and one of the finest central squares in Romania and said to be the spot to which the legendary Pied Piper led the children of Hamlin. Following your own pied piper you than visit the Black Church, the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul. Its name derives from the damage caused by the great fire of 1689 when flames and smoke blackened its walls. You then leave Brasov for the village of Bran and the "other" Dracula's Castle. This castle was built in 1377 to protect Brasov from invaders and while it has a rich collection of furniture and art from the 14th and 19th centuries, its relationship with Vlad Tepes is scant indeed. It is well worth visiting however. You then proceed to the town of Sinaia nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains and home to Peles Castle considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. Its 160 rooms are adorned by the finest examples of European art including Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained glass windows, walls covered with Cordoba leather, Meissen and Sevres porcelains and Ebony and Ivory sculptures. You tour the castle with an expert guide and then return to Bucharest where you enjoy a farewell dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.
Day 8 Return to USA
After breakfast your driver is waiting to take you to the airport for your return trip.
Available Year Round
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Tour Location / Places Visiteds
Bucharest, Brasov, Bucharest
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