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Day 1 Cluj Napoca – Dracula’s castle
You land in Cluj Napoca around 1.00pm. Your met at the airport with a sign showing your family name and helped with your bags to the jeep or car depending on how many of you are in your group. Cluj Napoca Airport is brand new and easy to use. The car is 50 meters from where you leave air side and it takes no more than half an hour to clear your bags and be on your way. As Romania is now in the EU passport control is simple and quick.
You drive out into the Transylvanian countryside and head for Bistrita, the town where Jonathan Hawker stayed the night before heading up into the Borgo pass to meet Count Dracula.
You have lunch along the way and start to climb the pass in the early evening arriving in time to meet the Count before dinner in the Hotel Castle Dracula. The hotel is located exactly where Count Dracula’s Castle is located in the book. There are many arguments as to which castle is the real Count Dracula’s castle, but the fact remains that this is the location described in Bran Stokers book and the only castle you can sleep in and meet the Count in person. You have dinner in the hotel and stay the night and you all get a stamp in your passport confirming your have slept in the Count Dracula’s home, a must have souvenir for any kid with his new passport.
Day 2 Dracula’s Castle – Maramures
After breakfast in Count Dracula’s castle you your driver take you off to the remote villages of Maramures driving through some stunning country side where you will see a completely different way of life. You arrive in the village of Breb where we live in time for lunch and your bags are taken to the Village Hotel. After lunch you can take a walk around Breb or just relax and and take it all in. You are now on holiday after all. Dinner is in the villa or out at one of the many local restaurants that we use. The choice is yours. Alcohol is included with the meals in Breb. We have a simple drinks cabinet of beer, sometimes some local wine and a collection of spirits and always a good supply of G&T’s. We have started to make our own Apple brandy in Breb and so you will be able to try our various mixtures of apple branding in pine syrup, blueberries, and various other cocktails Penny is experimenting with.
Day 3 Breb Salbatory and Church
They say if you work on the one day a week that your not supposed to work ( and go to church instead) you will get struck by lighting or… worse. If you fly out on a Friday which is what most people do so you get two weekends away, on day three it will be Sunday. Every one in the village gets dressed up and goes to church. Some don’t go to church, but they still get dressed up. After church it is the one day where young respectable girls can be seen down in the village bar. Every one is on parade and you get the feeling the camera crews will arrive soon to make the movie. When you realise they are all dressed in traditional cloths, not for show, not for you, they just dress that way you realise you are somewhere different. Breb is one of the most traditional villages in Maramures, which is the most traditional area left in Romania. Hence why we live here. It’s a great day for mingling with the locals and playing cards in the bar. Breakfast lunch and dinner are served in the villa on this day.
Day 4 Sighetu and Sapanta (The Merry Cemetery)
Now you’ve had a good rest and met half the village if your the sociable type, it’s time to go out and explore Maramures. Sighetu is the ‘capital city’ for Maramures. It’s officially Baia Mare but Sighetu is right in the middle of the zone and is far more traditional than Bia Mare which is a large city. We take a walk around the town and go to the peasant museum.
After lunch we head out to the Merry Cemetery at Sapanta. It’s about as touristy as it gets in Maramures and you might even see a coach full of package holiday tourist here, but it’s worth the trip to explore the cemetery and read all the gory stories of how people died and the funny stories as well. There are a good selection of souvenir shops here that sell traditional crafts but we recommend, if you don’t mind to buy goods from Breb, direct from the locals. Hard currency is scarce in Breb and so any money the locals can earn to buy the few things they need on market day that they cannot make them selves goes a long way. After the Merry Cemetery we visit the tallest wooden structure in Europe. A new monastery that is being built a few miles away. It’s a great place to relax and let the kids charge around playing hide and seek in the huge wooden structure or to just sit and take it all in. Dinner is at the villa in Breb.
Day 5 to 6 Day off days
As we are a small family business, we can be very flexible on what we do with our guest; by now we will have an idea of what you like to do and depending if your a family or a couple of serious mountain hikers we will have a load of ideas for you to do… or you can sit in the hammock all day and do nothing. It’s up to you. There is a small tourist resort for Romanians 7kms away where there are salt pools and a swimming pool. Children love going here on hot summer days and so this can become a daily event if want. There is the whole village of Breb to explore and the mountain that rises up and beyond the village. We can take you on walks around the village, introduce you to the local sculptor our just let leave you to do your own exploring. We can take you anywhere you want on day off days but any entrance fees for any activities are not included in the all inclusive price. Breakfast lunch and dinner and alcohol are all included on these day but only in the village.
Day 7 Market day and a walk to Serb and Budesti
We leave the village as early as we can, it’s market day and the earlier we get up the better the experience. We drive into Ocna Sugatag and have a look around the market stalls, see what animals are for sale and say hello to people from the Breb and the surrounding villages. On the way back from the market you are dropped off by the road side and you walk with the villages across the fields and down into the village of Serb. Here you will see the old wash house were people still wash their rugs in the stream. There is a wool threshing machine that is sometimes in used depending if any one has any wool that needs cleaning. It has wooden pistons and is prehistoric, but still somehow working. You then carry on your walk to Budesti and back round to Breb in time for dinner at the villa depending on how many times Penny has stopped to say hello to someone she knows and how much Holinca ( apple brandy) you are offered by them.
Day 8 Memorial Museum for the victims of Communism and the Ukraine
We head off around 10.00am to the museum. It is billed by the Romanian tourist authority as an equal experience to visiting Halfwits in poland or Check point Charlie in Berlin. It is an old prison and was where people who where convicted of being against communism where sent. May died in appalling conditions through torture and mal nutrition Each prison cell is dedicated to a different them around the struggle to overcome Communism in Romania from the second world war up until 1989. What fascinated me is the ‘bad guys’ mentioned in the exhibitions are still alive…and still run the town hall. The room with chains in the middle where people were tortured with water can be disturbing but as a whole it is an interesting few hours spent learning all about what happened here over the last 60 years. It is a great history lesson for children and adults Lunch in David’s Pub in the center of Sighetu and then off we go to the Ukraine. As Romania is now in the EU this is a major border crossing from Europe to Russia. We queue with the locals and our passports are checked with detail. We when walk across a bridge from one continent to another and enter the Ukraine. There not a huge amount of things to do here, but it’s an interesting experience entering the former USSR and its the best place to buy vodka. You have every kind you can image, in every time of bottle ever thought of. An hour or two in the shops and we then head back to Romania and dinner in the villa.
Day 9 Say good bye and on to Cluj
It’s your last day in the village, you need to be out of your villa by 10.00am to let the cleaners get in and do their thing. You have lunch in Breb and then head off through the Carpathian mountains with your driver to back to Cluj for a night on the town or a good nights sleep, it’s up to you. Dinner is included in the hotel that your staying in, right in the center of Cluj. We can provide you with details on where to go out in Cluj or you can go to the theater, but these are not included in the all inclusive.
Day 10 Back to Blighty
The wizzair flights leave at 8.00am so it’s an early start. We will take you at 5.00am directly to the airport so make sure you have breakfast before you leave they taxi will drop you outside of the departure hall and off you go.
The cost of this tour including three meals a day and alcohol whilst in the village of Breb, all entrance fees for exertions shown in the itinerary above and all transfers and hotels including dinner in the hotels is
800 euro per person
based on a minim of 4 people travelling. As there are fixed costs for the transfers and guides, if your group is three people we need to charge you and extra 10% per person, if two %20 and if your travelling on your own it is 50% extra. Unfortunately we cannot give discounts for children who need their own bed and who will eat a meal at the dinner table. Very young children who don’t need a bed or won’t eat a normal dinner can travel at half the quoted price as long as the group size is 4 or over. To make a booking enquiry for this tour or any of the others please go to the Transylvania tours booking form. If you compare out costs with other tours we will look more expensive. But when you have read the small print you will see a lot of things are not included in other tours and you will be travelling with other people in your group. At the Village Hotel we only have your group on the tour with us. We look forward to seeing you in Breb 🙂