The history of Romania begins here


  • From: 2018-11-18
  • To: 2018-11-23

Oltenia is one of the oldest and the most beautiful regions of Romania; on its territory tourists can find a multitude of fascinating sightseeing options such as Roman camps, Dacian fortresses and medieval mansions.

Oltenia is also famous for its spectacular natural scenery, ancient places of worship, monasteries and convents, which have become historical monuments. Three of the many resorts of national interest provided by the Danube river are found in Oltenia. These spectacular sites are the Danube Gorge (Clisura Cunarii), Cazanele Miici (Small Cauldrons) and Cazanele Mari (Big Cauldrons).

This Oltenia region boasts of many water attractions untapped by tourists and a large number of caves, gorges and ravines that are yet to be appreciably exploited by tourism. Major tourism investments were made in spa and winter sports tourism here; Oltenia is currently one of the largest ski areas in the Romanian mountains.

  • Arrival in Craiova, the story begins.
    • Day 1

    Arrival in Craiova, the story begins.

    Arrival in Craiova, accommodation, visiting park and Craiova historical centre (downtown).

    Craiova - is the largest city in the South West of Romania and is located on the ruins of the ancient Geto-Dacian settlement, Pelendava, dating back to the period 400-350, ie.

    The most important tourist points are Nicolae Romanescu Park and Botanical Garden.

    At request of Nicolae P. Romanescu, the mayor of Craiova at that time (1898), the park was designed by the French architect Édouard Redont. In 1900, the park's plans won a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition (1900). The construction began in 1901 and was completed in 1903. The total area of the park is 96 hectares and includes, besides the ornamental plantations of trees and shrubs, a stretch of water of over 4 ha, a 20-ha hippodrome, roads, alleys and paths that stretch over 35 km. and is considered to be the largest natural park in eastern Europe.

    The park also features an amphitheatre , a small zoo, one of the oldest in the country, inaugurated in 1906 and several restaurants.

  • Ocnele Mari Saline,Horezu and Polovragi Cave
    • Day 2

    Ocnele Mari Saline,Horezu and Polovragi Cave

    Horezu - The capital of the Romanian folk pottery

    Saline Ocnele Mari, Horezu and workshops of craftsmen working with clay, Polovragi Cave.

    The town's emblematic activity is pottery. The Olari ceramic centre is the most important pottery centre in Romania. Pottery is an inherited skill in the families of the potters who have preserved and handed down from parents to children the technoques of clay handling and its metamorphosis.

    The city of Horezu is best known for the traditional pottery for its 17th century monastery.

    The town is well known for its people who make pottery and their crafts at an annual fair (see Horezu ceramics). There are special traditions which have been well preserved.
    This is an area of historical and monastic character, oriented towards Romanian handicraft activities such as pottery, weaving, religious painting and wood carving.

    Saline Ocnele Mari

    The Ocnele Mari saline is located in Ocnele Mari, in Valcea County, in the central-southern part of Romania, in the Subcarpathian region of Valcea. The Ocnele Mari Salt was recently set up for sightseeing, for tourists who want to explore this special place. It is a really special place for all those who want to explore but also looking for ways to care for their health. The viewing area is located 225 meters above sea level and stretches over a 5 hectare. The salt mine at Ocnele dates from the Dacian era. According to the archaeological finds, the Buridava tribal center was here. The exploitation of the mine continued during the Roman occupation, the proof being the Roman camp at Stolniceni, which was built precisely to control this commercial area. After the Roman conquest, the salt was extracted and sold for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area. Ocnele Mari was first mentioned in an official document in 1402. In the Middle Ages, the exploitation of salt had a special importance, and its trade became a monopoly. A special momentum was given to the mining exploitation at Ocnele Mari during St. Voivod Martir Constantin Brâncoveanu, when salt became an important source of income. The height of the rooms is 8m. Entrance to the salt mine is by bus (public transport). Salt air is very healthy and recommended for those with respiratory problems whereby 30 minutes to 60 minutes in this environment benefit those with mild asthma, emphysema, allergies, chronic rhinitis, bisinosis, silicosis, chronic tonsillitis, etc. The inner temperature is 13-15 degrees Celsius. The Ocnele Mari Saline Park has a church, a museum, a restaurant, souvenir shops, bars, a football field, basketball, tennis, billiards table, and children's playgrounds.
    Polovragi Cave is near the village of Baia de Fier, Gorj County. It is found in Capatana Mountains, on the bank of Oltet river, at an altitude of 670m and at 20 m above the level of the river, in Polovragi commune between the towns of Horezu and Baia de Fier. The entrance to the cave is on the left bank of the river. Prior to arriving here, tourists can enjoy other attractions, such as the Polovragi Monastery and the Polovragi Forest. Archaeological excavations made at Polovragi revealed evidence of a Dacian fortress and a cemetery. There are also springs of chlorosodic, sulphurous mineral water, identical to those of Pociovalistea, near Novaci, which flow abundantly. It is named after a rare plant growing in the area, used by a famous quack living in the mountain cave to heal people from diseases of the stomach and bones. Most legends surrounding the site are related to the Geto-Dacian spiritual leader Zamolxe. He would have lived in Polovragi Cave and had the power to change his appearance. In the cave, tourists will discover a specially shaped stone, which has been named Zamolxe's Throne, which is said to be loaded with some unusual energy.

     The Polovragi Monastery is situated at the entrance to the Oltet Gorge, at the foot of Piatra Polovragilor Mountain. It is a monastery of nuns built in the 17th century. A a feudal art monument built in Byzantine style is found there. The original building dates back to 1504/1505, and was rebuilt in 1643 on the foundations of the old settlement, with the help of the ruler Matei Basarab. Constantin Brancoveanu is the one who completed the construction immediately after redeeming it from the Patriarch of Jerusalem. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin and, as it is placed, gives you the impression that it is the gate of Oltet's keys.

  • Danube Clarion,boat trip, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Herculane Resort
    • Day 3

    Danube Clarion,boat trip, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Herculane Resort

    Danube Clarion, boat ride and Sf Ana Monastery from Orsova, possibly included here and Baile Herculane. Accommodation day 3 and 4 on the Danube hill.

    The Severin Water Tower, visiting the tower and the Bigar Waterfall. Also on Day 3, if time allows, a ride with the moina Oravita - Anina.

    The Danube Clarion (Serbian Banatska Klisura) is a geographic region located along the northern bank of the Danube in the south of Banat. The region’s boundaries consist of the Nera river to the west and by the Danube boilers to the east. The Clarion of the Danube is a territory full of natural history, which extends from the entrance of the Danube on the territory of Romania to Bazias, to the Gura Vaii until the Danube exit from the so-called Danube Boilers. Anywhere on the Danube's Clisura, you can stop and admire the paradise. On the one hand, rocky hills, with parks and natural reserves, with secular forests protected with plant varieties and unique birds in the world. And on the other, the lazy thread of the Danube. Nature lovers will be delighted with rare trees and shrubs and endives colonies. The largest settlements in the Danube Clisura are Orsova and Moldova Noua. Also from the Danube cluster are Socol, Pojejena, Coronini, Garnic, Sichevita, Berzasca from Caras-Severin County, as well as Svinita, Dubova, Eselnita, Ilovita and Breznita-Ocol from Mehedinti County. The region is inhabited by Romanians and Serbs, some of them having a Serbian majority. They are mostly in Socol, Pojejena and Svinita. There is also a community of Czechs, especially around the village of Garnic, more precisely in the towns of Bigar and Eibenthal. A large number of Germans can also be found in Orvova. Historically, the region was part of the Banat military border and was divided into the Wallachian (Roman) and Illyrian (Serbian) sectors.


    Bigar Waterfall and Eftimie Murgu water mills.

    The Bigar waterfall, located on the well of the same name, is located near the town of Bozovici in Caras-Severin County. It is located in the Nerei-Beusnita National Park, a park located in the southwestern part of Romania. The waterfall is one of the world's most spectacular water falls, according to The World Geography. It was ranked at the top of the cascades of the ordinary waterfalls (from all over the world) in 2013. Interestingly, the Bigar Waterfall is halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Fixed on the parallel of 45 degrees in the northern hemisphere. The natural reserve was established in 1982, and after 8 years it was declared a protected area. Its surface is over 176 hectares. The Bigar Waterfall is in the northern part of the park. The waters of the Bigar spring or the burst, as some say, flow into the Minis River. They pass over a calcareous hillock, giving the appearance of the bell. Unfortunately, I say, much of the spring waters have been captured upstream of the waterfall, by those who administer Minis pasture. That's why the water flow is very low. If many days pass without rain, you may not be able to admire the waterfall at its true value and beauty. Out of curiosity, I climbed upstream to the mouth of the spring. About 300 meters. We could admire the water course and other cataract up to one meter tall. I recommend you do the same.

    Water mills have an old history and a beautiful presence, especially after entering Unesco World Heritage, being located in Eftimie Murgu (formerly Rudaria), is a unique tourist destination in Romania as well as in Southeastern Europe. Situated on the Almaj Valley, the mulinological complex comprises today 22 mills with a hoop, comprising a horizontal wheel and radical cups, which the randasii use and maintain. Rudaria is the river that upon which, starting in 1770, such mills were built. In 1772 there were eight, and from 1874 until 1910, 51 mills were built, but the floods destroyed 28 of them. During this time, the peasants of the village milled corn in these wood mills. Just as many things have changed in the wilderness after 1989 across the country, so did these attractions in the Rudaria valley. The complex was left behind, and what had been so precious since the end of the 19th century was in danger of becoming just a page in a history book. However, in the early 2000s, specialists from the Astra Museum in Sibiu accessed European funds and renovated the mounds, and since then more and more tourists visit the area.

  • Castelul Huniazilor , Deve Castle, Fairy tale Castle
    • Day 4

    Castelul Huniazilor , Deve Castle, Fairy tale Castle

    Hunyadi Castle and Torture Museum, right at the gate of the castle, the fortress of Deva, and optionally the Zanelor Castle (Porumbacu clay pit).

    Accommodation at Cartisoara (near Fagaras) or a walk to Transfagarasan.

    The Corvin Castle, was the castle of the brightest king of medieval Hungary, Matia Corvin.

    The monument there has a special charm due to its diverse construction styles, the presence of military and civilian innovations, and the tumultuous courtyard life that animated it for over 400 years.

    The Castle of Corvinus  is truly impressive and dominates the city of Hunedoara. For those who appreciate the Middle Ages, the castle represents a unique monument in Romania and is among the most attractive in the Europe.

    Clay Castle of the Valley of the Fairies, nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in the heart of Transylvania, a tiny Romanian town is now home to a fairytale adorable 10-room hotel built from clay and sand. The hotel’s Romanian name is Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor, which translates to “Clay Castle of the Valley of the Fairies” in English. What a fitting moniker for these ancient architectural accommodations. Construction was only recently completed, and the hotel will be open to guests very soon.

    The hotel’s owners, Razvan and Gabriela Vasile, sold their home in Romania’s capital city of Bucharest in order to bring this clay fairytale castle into reality. The Valley of the Fairies, situated near the tiny village of Porumbacu De Sus, is 24 miles from the city of Sibiu.

    Its remote location and jaw-dropping views add to the hotel’s charm and mystique, effortlessly giving visitors the sense that they have travelled not only distance, but also in time.

    Besides its charming architectural design and scenic surrounding landscape, perhaps the most interesting feature of the eco-friendly hotel is how it was built. Eschewing all modern building techniques, the hotel is composed primarily of clay and sand. The 10-room chalet was designed by eco architect Ileana Mavrodin, along with the Vasiles, and built by local craftsmen. “The exterior plastering is of lime and sand and the towers are of river stone, built with lime and sand,” said Razvan Vasile. “Everything is made with natural materials, and the windows and doors are different, each room having its own separate entrance.”

    Soon, the Vasiles say the hotel will be ready to host guests for overnight visits, but little is known about when that will happen or what the accommodations will cost. We do know the hotel will have a restaurant by the end of the year, serving a menu of local organic food. The hotel’s Facebook page acts as a hub for updates (in Romanian), while the website is still under construction.


  • The Sfinx and Babele,  Bran Castle.
    • Day 5

    The Sfinx and Babele, Bran Castle.

    Babele and Sphinx, Bran Castle.

    The Sphinx and Babele, the monuments of Bucegi Mountains, remain the attraction of Romanians passionate about short mountain rides. Situated at a 2400 meters altitude.

    Bucegi Plateau is renowned for two of the most interesting natural monuments, Babele and the Sphinx, which attract hundreds of tourists daily. The landscape is breath-taking and when you step on the Bucegi Plateau, the first thing you do is take a picture of the Sphinx. Everyone who comes here promises to come back. Bucegi Plateau is easily reached by bus from Busteni (DN1), the starting point being near Hotel Silva. The cable car route is shorter by 1235 meters and a length of 4.3 km, which it takes in about ten minutes. There are theories that these formations have been carved by the Dacians, are extraterrestrial creations or the perfect "idea" of nature. The rock was named after its resemblance to the Egyptian Sphinx, and its formation is attributed to wind erosion. There are many more terrible fantasies that say the Dacians would have carved the megalith or it would be of extraterrestrial origin. Formed from a large stone block that has taken shape today in a very long time, the Bucegi Sphinx, located on Bucegi Plateau, Dâmbovita County, measures 8 meters in height and 12 meters in width. A lot of legends have been born around the Sphinx of Bucegi and Babele. Some say they are natural, others are human creation. There is a good number of testimonies that these stones set on top of the mountain emanate positive energies that defended the country from invaders. The most modern theories claims that these stones are of alien origin. There are also legends that the Atlas of Greek mythology is the top of the Bucegi or Prometheus man crowned by a cliff on the same peak, and Babele, some altars of an ancient civilization, or the Sphinx of Bucegi was modeled by the Dacians.

    Bran Castle is located between Piatra Craiului and Bucegi, on a cliff in the Turc Valley, in the central area of ??Bran, at the point where Bran-Rucar corridor meets the Barsa countryside.

    The commercial road from Bran to Campulung is certified in the oldest commercial privilege granted to the merchants of Brasov issued by Vlaicu Voda on January 20, 1368. This main artery of transcarpathian communications provided Transilvania's link with Europe's commercial roads,

    The first documentary attestation of the fortress in Bran dates back to November 19, 1377, when the Brasovians obtained the privilege of constructing with their own means the fortress for defending the border between Transylvania and Valahia.

    The rock on which the castle rises dominates the surrounding area, at a strategic point, where the valley, before being cut into the plain, narrows, offering the possibility of an efficient control.

    Due to its particular configuration, the architectural historical values and the remarkable conservation status, Bran Castle is one of the most important such fortified ensembles in the country and one of the oldest preserved medieval mountain castles.

    The particular position, raised above the valley, in a narrowing of it and flanked by a rocky coast, firmly deters it from the surrounding settlement and turns it into a defining element of the local landscape.

    The castle functions as a defensive fortress until the border was moved from Bran to Fundata in 1836, after which it was almost ruined until 1920, when the Brasov Local Council decided to offer it to the Queen Maria of Romania, in recognition of the contribution made by her Majesty to the achievement of the Great Union in 1918.

    With the arrival of the Queen, the castle is reborn, it is known for its glory, becoming the sovereignty of the sovereign, the place where it retired during the summer.

    In 1938, at the death of Queen Mary, the castle is inherited by Princess Ileana, in possession of which remains until 1948, when the royal family is forced to go into exile and the communist regime is established, and the castle is nationalized. In 1957 it became a Museum of Medieval Art and History, functioning as such until 2009, when it is returned to the heirs of the Queen, the children of Princess Ileana. The current owners are Archduke Dominic of Habsburg and his two sisters, Maria Magdalena and Elizabeth.

    Accommodation in Bucharest.

  • Bucuresti, end of a beautiful story.
    • Day 6

    Bucuresti, end of a beautiful story.

    Short visit to Bucharest until noon, ending the tour on the way to the airport.

    Bucharest (documentary certificate from 20 September 1459) is located in S-SE, on the Dambovita and Colentina rivers, is the most important urban center in Romania. Bucharest is not only the starting point for many tours by holidaymakers in the country, but it is itself a tourist area of interest as it is one of the most beautiful European capitals.
    Outdoor Village Museum (the second largest in Europe after Stockholm), the Romanian Peasant Museum, the National History Museum, the Snagov Forest and Lake (including the renovated monastery set on an island in the middle of the lake) Mogosoaia - the palace of Constantin Brancoveanu, the Pustnicu forest, the Cernica and Pasarea mansions, the Baneasa forest (with the largest zoo in Romania) the Caldarusani lake and monastery are all found in Bucharest.

    Points of interest: In Bucharest there are religious settlements of special historical significance such as:

    - The "Curtea Veche" church built between 1545-1547 by Mr. Mircea Ciobanul for the needs of the Domnesti Court.

    - "Mihai Voda" Monastery - (1589-1591), built by the great voivode Mihai Viteazul, on the site of an old church.

    - The Plumbuita Monastery, where the works began in the time of Petru Voda the Tanar (1559-1568) and ended in the time of Mihnea Turcitul.

    - The Coltea Church-built by Cantacuzino's back between 1701-1702.

    - The Stavrapoleos church (1724-1730), built by the Greek archimandrite Ioanichie

    Many and impressive cultural buildings are tourist attractions worthy of being included in tourist developments:

    Atheneul Roman - built between 1886-1888, according to the design of French architect Albert Galleron

    - National theatre

    - The National History Museum of Romania

    - The National Museum of Art of Romania

    - The Village Museum - one of the most interesting open air ethnographic parks in the world, founded in 1936 by Dimitrie Gusti

    - Museum of Natural History "Grigore Antipa"

    - The Romanian Peasant Museum

    - The Central Military Museum

    - Museum of Art Collections.

    Great for its impressive dimensions, Parliament Palace is one of the most interesting buildings you should visit when you are in Bucharest. This grand building is characterized by a special architectural melange that brings together Brancoven style, influences of Renaissance, Germanic and Baroque style. Also known as the People's House, the building captures the opulence of more than 1000 rooms. From massive wood furniture and carved doors to marble columns, crystal chandeliers, silk curtains and huge carpets, this tourist attraction boasts of luxury and extravagance worth spending a few hours exploring. It impresses anyone regardless of political, cultural or artistic orientation. The Palace of Parliament or the House of the People is one of the most impressive and imposing buildings in the world, being the second largest by the Pentagon and the toughest building in the world. For many, the People's House is a monstrous monument to communism, a mark of the black past that we will have to coexist with. The building was built in record time between 1983 and 1989, on the site of monasteries that were demolished and the Uranus Hill, which was leveled. Since its inauguration, it has remained the most controversial building in Romania. Over time, many have thought to turn the building into a museum of communism, a mall or even a huge casino. The construction was attended by 200 architects and approximately 20,000 workers who worked three overlapping shifts, 24 hours a day. Those who want to visit it can do it daily because of multiple tours a day. Guides provide visitors with information about the history and construction of the building. The guided tour of the building lasts approximately 2 hours.

    Cismigiu Park, romantic garden of the capital Cismigiu is the oldest public garden in Bucharest. The park was built with English style and was completed in 1854. Undoubtedly, the park is a place not only for Bucharest dwellers but for anyone who is here for a short time. Over time, the park became a symbol of Bucharest through its romantic air that reminds of the charm of Little Paris. It is a classic place full of love stories, no matter the generations. The attractions of the park are the lake and the pier from where you can rent pleasure boats and hydro-bicycles, the rose garden, the Roman circle and the statues or the spring of Eminescu.

    Herastrau Park, the charm of the bourgeois gardens, was built in 1936 and has long been known as Carol II National Park. It is the largest park in the capital, representing the main attraction of the old Bukarest. A quiet, reserved area for recreation and culture and an area for sports and fun, with lands and sports grounds, restaurants, cafes, a fun amusement park for children and water clubs. The main attractions of the park are the Expoflora area, the Rose Island, the Japanese Garden, the Cariatide Alley, and the Statue of General de Gaulle. The park is divided into two areas.

    Undoubtedly, the Historic Center is one of the most beautiful and chic places in Bucharest, a tumultuous place of buildings built in neo-classical and neo-baroque style. The ground floor of these buildings consist mostly of beautiful and inviting terraces, cafes, restaurants and shops. A walk on the intortocheat and crowded streets of the Historic Center gives you the impression that you have made a trip in time and that you are in Bucharest from time to time. The most famous street you have to visit is Lipscani. Here you’ll find the Inn of Tei, an impressive building that has been built in 1833.



Horezu - The capital of the Romanian folk pottery

Horezu City is best known for the traditional pottery manufactured in the area and for its 17th century monastery.
The town is well known having an Ethnographic Center and an ancient Folk Pottery Center. This area has a historical and monastic character, where you will experience various traditional Romanian handicraft activities such as pottery, weaving, religious painting and wood carving.

The town's iconic activity is that of pottery. The Olari Ceramic Center is famous and well known as a pottery center in Romania. Pottery is an inherited skill in the families of the potters who have preserved and handed down from parent to child the techniques of handling clay and creating unique Romanian ceramics styles.

Saline Ocnele Mari (Ocnele Salt Mine)

The Ocnele Salt Mine is located in Ocnele Mari, in Valcea County, in the central-southern part of Romania, in the Subcarpathian region of Valcea. The viewing area is located 225 meters above sea level and stretches over a 5-hectare area, underground in the mountain.

About the Salt Mine.

The salt mine at Ocnele Mari has been known of since the Dacian era. According to the archaeological finds, this would have been the Buridava tribal center.

The extraction of salt as a commodity continued during Roman occupation, the Roman camp at Stolniceni, was built precisely to control this commercial resource. After the Roman conquest, salt was extracted and sold for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area. Ocnele Mari was first mentioned in official documents in 1402. In the Middle Ages, the exploitation of salt had a special importance, as salt became a significant commodity and resource. During the reign of St. Voivod Martir Constantin Brâncoveanu, special momentum was given to the mining of this rich mineral at Ocnele Mari, where salt became an important source of income.

Transport into the mine is by bus. The salt air is considered very healthy and good for those with respiratory problems. Those with mild, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, allergies, chronic rhinitis, bisinosis, silicosis, chronic tonsillitis, etc. may benefit and gain some relief while exploring some of the many rooms many over 8m in height. You’ll be surprised at finding the following: An active church, museum, exhibits, restaurant, souvenir shops, full size football field, basketball court tennis court and table tennis tables, billiards table, karting circuit, children's playground and many other surprises, all underground.

The inner temperature is 13-15 degrees Celsius. It is advised to wear warm clothing.