East European Discovery – Romania and Moldova’s Transnistria and Gagauzia

East European Discovery – Romania and Moldova’s Transnistria and Gagauzia 980 , 10 Days

If you want to follow Count Dracula steps, uncover the secret of one of the least visited countries in Europe and face the truth about communism’s inheritance in East Europe - this trip is a chance to make it all at once. Romania and Moldova invite you to an adventure through past and present.

Romania, with its nature, preserved medieval castles, ancient churches and vivid culture is one of the most interesting countries in Europe. The beauty of the Carpathian Mountains and the ancient Dracula’s castle in Transylvania are widely known, but the country has much more to show.
Moldova is the least visited European country with less than 12 000 visitors per year.  Moldova offers also unspoiled nature and great wine for every taste.
Become one of the few travelers stepping into Transnistria - a breakaway republic in eastern Moldova, where Soviet values are still upheld and people fight for independence. 
 
Highlights: 
Dracula’s castle - the best-known castle in Transylvania and one of the most popular attractions in Europe
Peles Castle - an exquisite piece of architecture, served once as Romanian Royal family’s residence
The Black Church – the biggest church between Istanbul and Vienna
The city of Brasov – is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in Romania. It has a rich mix of history, culture, urban fun, and impressive Carpathians' surroundings. 
The Sucevita monastery - the largest of the monasteries in the Bucovina region, listed in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites
Milestii Mici - the largest wine "underground city" in Europe, which takes place in Guinness World Records
Tiraspol – the capital of Transnistria a thin strip of land wedged between Moldova and Ukraine

Itinerary:

Day 1. Bucharest - Sinaia - Brasov (Romania)
Meeting our guide in the lobby of our hotel in Bucharest at 09.00 am and drive to Sinaia. We cross the Carpathians toward Sinaia where we visit the fabulous Peles Castle, an exquisite piece of architecture and one of the most spectacular castles in Europe, with its arm and armory collection, unique for its richness and diversity. The Castle served as the summer residence of the Romanian Royal family. Continue to Brasov. Arrival at Brasov, formerly Kronstadt, founded by the Saxon colonists, as the South gate of Transylvania. Walking tour through the old town center, including the Black Church – the biggest church between Istanbul and Vienna; the Council Square, the Hirscher House/16century, - the baroque style buildings from the Austro-Hungarian time and Ekaterina Gate of the Old Citadel. It is also worth mentioning one of the oldest Orthodox Churches in Transylvania, where you can admire the beautiful frescoes of the chapel. Hotel in Brasov. -/-/-

Day 2. Brasov - Bran - Lacu Rosu
Lunch in a local restaurant in Bran and visit to the famous medieval castle (the “Dracula's" Castle) built as a fortress for the citizens of Brasov in 1377, as a defense to the city. Prince Vlad used the Castle as a general headquarters during his incursions in Transylvania. In 1922, Queen Mary of Romania changed the castle into Royal residence, the best known castle in Romania. Stop at Prejmer for visit to the fortified church, also included in the UNESCO World Heritage. B/-/-

Day 3. Lacu Rosu - Voronet
We visit the jewels of Bucovina: Voronet also called “the Sistine Chapel of the East”. Drive through the Moldavian villages, visiting Tarpesti – the home of the delightful “Neculai Popa” Museum, unique in the world, where colorful masks and folk costumes are displayed. B/-/-

Day 4. Voronet - Suceava - Iasi
Drive to Bucovina –the “upper land” with the unique painted monasteries, belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage. We include a visit to Sucevita monastery, the largest of the monasteries in the Bucovina region, with massive towers and stone walls protecting the inner buildings, which are decorated with portraits of historical legends and biblical scenes. Arrive Iasi, walking tour to Roznoveanu Palace, Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre, Saint Nicholas Church (built by Stephen the Great), Metropolitan Cathedral and Church of the Three Hierarchs/ B/-/-

Day 5. Crossing Moldova border to Chisinau (Moldova)
Drive to the border with Moldova, and continue to Chisinau. Free time to explore the city on your own. Overnight in a hotel in Chisinau. B/-/-

Day 6. Chisinau City Tour - Orheiul Vechi - Chisinau
Our day starts with a visit to the complex of Orheiul Vechi, a significant historical and archaeological site in Moldova, located about 60 kilometers north of Chișinău. Orheiul Vechi is an open-air museum that spans several centuries of Moldovan history. The site includes remnants from various eras, including Dacian, Geto-Dacian, and medieval periods. It provides a unique insight into the life and architecture of past civilizations that inhabited this region. One of the most notable features of Orheiul Vechi is the Cave Monastery, carved into the limestone cliffs by Orthodox monks. The monastery dates back to the 13th century and includes a church and several small cells where monks lived and prayed. The site also features the remains of ancient fortresses, medieval settlements, and traditional Moldovan houses. In the afternoon, we will return to Chisinau to explore the highlights od the city. As the political, economic, and cultural heart of the country, it boasts a mix of Soviet-era buildings and modern developments, reflecting its complex past and ongoing growth. The city is known for its vast green spaces, such as Ștefan cel Mare Central Park, which offer residents and visitors a serene escape. B/-/-

Day 7. Chisinau Milesti Mici Winery - Tighina Fortress - Tiraspol - Tiraspol (Transnistria)
After breakfast at the hotel, we are heading to our first stop for the day - Tighina Fortress, a historic stronghold located in the city of Bender. Built in the 15th century by the Ottoman Empire, the fortress has played a crucial role in regional military history, witnessing numerous conflicts and changing hands multiple times. Its impressive walls and towers reflect a blend of Ottoman and European architectural styles. Then, we will continue to the Milesti Mici winery, renowned for housing the world's largest wine cellar - a subterranean network stretching over 200 kilometers. This extensive labyrinth stores approximately 2 million bottles of wine, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The winery is celebrated for its high-quality red, white, and sparkling wines, produced using traditional methods and local grape varieties. In the afternoon, we will arrive in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria. Transnistria is a thin strip of land wedged between Moldova and Ukraine. It is home to more than 500,000 people and has a parliamentary government, a standing army, and its own currency. It has all the trappings of an independent nation—but isn't. You won't find it on many maps, and not a single member of the United Nations recognizes its existence. Visiting Tiraspol feels like traveling back in time to the period of the USSR. The cityscape is dominated by Soviet-era architecture, monuments, and symbols, including statues of Lenin and Soviet insignia, reflecting its complex political status and historical ties to the Soviet Union. Tiraspol's streets and public spaces are adorned with Soviet-style murals, and many public buildings maintain their original communist-era design. We will spend the night in a hotel in Tiraspol. B/-/-

Day 8. Tiraspol - Tvarditsa - Beshalma - Comrat (Gagauzia)
Today, we will explore some of the villages in the region, populated by different minority groups. We will start with a visit to the village of Tvarditsa, where the population is mostly ethnic Bulgarians who moved here in the 19th century during the wars for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. In Beshalma, we will learn more about the Gagauz community - an ethnic group with a distinct cultural and linguistic identity. They are known for their unique blend of Turkic language (Gagauz), Orthodox Christian faith, and rich traditions that reflect both their Turkic heritage and the influences of the broader Eastern European region. In the afternoon, we will arrive at Comrat - the capital of the autonomous region of Gagauzia. The region has its own assembly, executive committee, and cultural institutions to preserve and promote Gagauz's identity and heritage. Overnight in a hotel in Comrat.. B/-/-

Day 9. Comrat - Chisinau
After breakfast, we are heading back to Chisinau. Today, we will have time to continue exploring the city's historical highlights and museums. Overnight in Chisinau. B/-/-

Day 10. Departure 


Price Includes:
9 nights in standard hotels 3*** - rooms with private facilities
all transport as per program in AC coach
tour leader from Penguin Travel (at min 8 people)
local English-speaking guides
meals according to the itinerary (B-breakfast,L-lunch,D -dinner)

Not Included:
International flight tickets
travel insurance
entrance fees
tips and personal expenses
wine tastings
drinks and meals not mentioned
visa fees if applicable
airport transfers (allow 12-15 EUR per vehicle)


Gallery


East European Discovery – Romania and Moldova’s Transnistria and Gagauzia (Rated 4.81 / 5 Based on 17 Reviews.)
Price
980 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
210 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
980 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
210 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
980 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
210 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
980 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
210 EUR
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
6-16
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