Brașov - Bran - Sinai - Bucharest (Total Travel Distance: 220 km)
Your guide will meet you at your hotel to lead a walking tour of Brașov’s many historically significant sites. Brașov is located in the heart of Romania, encircled by the Southern Carpathian Mountains. As a significant stop along historic trade routes between Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire, Brașov is widely regarded as the capital for the region’s Transylvanian Saxons, who were highly involved in crafts and trading.
Archaeologists in Brașov have unearthed evidence of advanced civilizations dating back to 9500 BCE, the Neolithic Age, and this region holds some of Romania’s earliest artifacts. After hearing more about the rich history of Council Square--which includes public humiliation of accused witches and the late 17th-century beheading of a guild leader, you’ll see the city’s famous Biserica Neagră. Named after Saint Mary, the celebrated church became known as The Black Church as a result of smoke damage sustained in The Great Fire of 1689. The original church was built in 94 years (between 1383 and 1477) and was the biggest church between Vienna and Constantinople.
Your walking tour will take you down Rope Street, the narrowest passageway in Romania--and possibly all of Europe: Strada Sforii’s width varies between just 111 and 135 centimetres and continues 80 metres. You will see both Black Tower and White Tower, two of the city’s Old City Watch Towers, as well as Brașov’s only original city gate that has remained intact since the Middle Ages. Catherine’s Gate, aka Șchei Gate, sits immediately beside Poarta Ecaterinei.
You will also visit nearby Bran Castle. Just a short drive (25 km.) from Brașov, this landmark is a favorite among visitors because of its inaccurate association with Vlad Țepeș, aka Vlad Dracula. In reality, there is no evidence that Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, was influenced by Bran Castle, and the fortress has no proven associations with Vlad the Impaler. Despite the Bran Castle’s questionable connection with the literary legend, the historic castle remains a worthwhile destination. In fact, the original fortress on this site dates back to the early 13th century; however, Mongols destroyed the first wooden castle in 1242. Louis I of Hungary granted local Saxons authority to build the stone castle at their own expense and labour in 1377. Now a museum housing Queen Marie of Romania’s furniture and art collection.
As you begin your journey south, you will also visit Sinaia, a mountain resort town located in the historical region of Muntenia. Named after Sinaia Monastery, the picturesque town is nestled between the Danube, the Carpathians (aka Transylvanian Alps), Moldavia and the Olt River. You will visit King Carol I’s stunning Peleș Castle. This landmark palace dates back to 1873 and blends Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival architecture, with a heavily Baroque-influenced interior loaded with luxurious linens and intricately carved woodwork.
After a full day of sightseeing, your guide will drive you the approximate 2-1/2 hour distance to return to Romania’s capital to prepare for your departure.