Easter Holidays in Romania
Christmas Tour of Romania – self-drive tour

Enjoy the magic of Christmas traditions, carols and markets

11 Days

Christmas is probably the most loved holiday for many people across the world and when the country boasts with unique traditions as well, higher are the chances to experience an unforgettable Christmas. This tour will take you the regions of Transylvania and Maramures where you will be immersed into the rich traditions of people from Romania. Besides spending the Christmas with locals, you will be able to discover some of the most beautiful sites from these two regions.

Highlights of the Christmas Tour of Romania

  • Spend the Christmas with local people from Maramures and get involved into their traditions and customs
  • Explore the Christmas markets of some of the most beautiful towns in Romania
  • Discover the castles and medieval towns of Transylvania in winter
  • Enjoy a ride with a steam train through the picturesque Vaser Valley
Suggested Itinerary
This is a private and self-drive tour. It will be organized for you only, so you will not be part of a larger group.
Day 1  18th of December, 2019 – Wednesday

Welcome to Romania! Upon arrival in Bucharest, you will take the rented car from the airport and you will drive in the center of Bucharest where you will spend the first night of your Christmas Tour of Romania. If your flight arrives earlier on the day, today you can explore the city capital of Romania and its Christmas market.

Accommodation in Bucharest.

Drive time: 30′

 

Day 2  19th of December, 2019 – Thursday

It is time to hit the road and start discovering Romania and its hopefully snowy beauties. You will start your self-drive tour with Peles castle, a charming 19th-century castle located in the mountainous resort of Sinaia. It is the former summer residence of the Romanian kings and distinguished between the castles of the country by its stunning blend of architectural styles.

Then you will visit Bran castle. Overlooking a narrow valley, the castle was used both for defense and as residence for the royal family. While crossing the tortuous rooms you will be introduced to the medieval times and learn about the royal family of Romania.

Bran Castle in winter

In the afternoon you will arrive in the town of Brasov (Transylvania region). Here you can wander through the cobbled streets so you can discover its beautiful medieval architecture. The main square of the old town is also home to a Christmas market in this period of year, therefore, be sure that you make time to explore it as well.

Accommodation in Brasov.

Drive time:  3 h 30′

 

Day 3  20th of December, 2019 – Friday

Today you will visit one of the largest bear sanctuaries in the world, Libearty sanctuary from Zarnesti. It provides a natural and safe shelter for bears who were rescued from cruel and improper living conditions. While visiting the sanctuary, you will also get to hear some of the moving stories of the bears.

Next on the itinerary is the medieval town of Sibiu, considered by many the most beautiful town in Romania. For the rest of the day, you will have the chance to explore its old town together with its defensive walls and towers, visit the Clock Tower and Evangelical and Catholic churches and cross the Liar’s Bridge – without saying a lie while on it as it is believed that it will crack.

During Christmas holidays, Sibiu is also home to a vivid Christmas market, where you can enjoy traditional and international snacks and drinks, buy gifts for your loved ones and participate to the Christmas events that take place during your stay. If you are a skating lover you don’t have to miss the ice skating ring.

Brasov Christmas market during new year eve

Accommodation in Sibiu.

Drive time: 3 h

 

Day 4  21st of December, 2019 – Saturday

Today you will be introduced to the Christmas traditions of Romania as you will participate to a Country Christmas Market in the open-air Village Museum. Pass by the culinary workshops and savor Christmas traditional dishes, witness the old Christmas customs of Romanians and let you be animated by the groups of carolers attending the event. You will also have the chance to witness the custom of slaughtering a pig which people from Romania do before Christmas in order to have rich dishes during the holiday.

People dresses in traditional clothes at a winter festival

Optional: As the trip is designed as a self-drive tour, in the second part of the day you can choose to go to Paltinis, a nearby winter resort where you can ski and enjoy other winter activities. Otherwise, you can choose to spend some more time in Sibiu and visit one or two of the many museums of the town.

Accommodation in Sibiu.

Drive time: 1 h 30′ if going to Paltinis

 

Day 5  22nd of December, 2019 – Sunday

You will start the day with a visit to Corvin castle, a medieval castle having a fairy-tale appearance. As you cross the entrance bridge and you enter into the rooms of the castle you will be introduced to medieval times and you will learn about the life of John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara), an important Romanian ruler from the 15th century and the one who built the castle.

Next on your Christmas Tour of Romania is the town of Alba Iulia, one of the most important towns in Romanian history as it was here where the main regions of Romania united 100 years ago to form the country we know today. You will have a walk through the citadel which is one of the largest and best-preserved Vauban-style shape citadels in Europe.

You will end the day with a walk in the nature in Coltesti village and surroundings. Coltesti is a charming village featuring small white houses of Hungarian heritage and is surrounded by picturesque hills and mountains. If there is snow, the landscape is even more beautiful.

Accommodation in Coltesti.

Drive time: 3h

 

Day 6  23rd of December, 2019 – Monday

It is time to leave the old and immerse into the future! You will travel to Turda where you will go down into a beautiful salt mine decorated in a futuristic style. The place is very huge, it holds a Ferry wheel, places for playing soft sports and, at the bottom of the mine, a lake where you can row a boat.

Then you will travel to Maramures region, the best place where you can witness the Christmas traditions of Romania, and on your way you will have a stop at Surdesti. Here you will visit one of the wooden churches specific to the region and also part of UNESCO heritage.

Optional: On your way to Maramures, you can have a stop at Cavnic, a winter resort popular among the locals of the region.

Winter landscape in Romania

Accommodation in Maramures region.

Drive time: 4 h

 

Day 7  24th of December, 2019 – Tuesday

Starting with today, you will spend three entire days in Maramures, one of the last regions of Romania where the village has preserved its identity and people live like hundreds of years ago, still keeping old traditions and preserving traditional crafts.

First, you will discover the Merry Cemetery from Sapanta, unique in the world because of the bright decorated crosses and the funny poems written on them. The cemetery is an exhibition of the traditional heritage of the region as its roots are placed in an ancient belief that see death rather as a celebration than as a tragic event.

The Memorial of the Victims of Communism is one of the most interesting museums in Romania as it is located in a former prison where the communists detained their political opponents. While entering into the former cells you will learn about the Communist times and how they impacted the country and its culture.

Then you will return to the guesthouse where the Christmas holiday starts to be announced by the carolers who wander from one house to another singing and reciting about the birth of Jesus Christ. You will receive the carolers dressed in traditional clothes and singing old carols specific to the region.

Optional: Attending church during holiday season is a very well kept custom in Maramures, therefore, in the evening you can accompany the locals at the Christmas Eve mass.

Accommodation in Maramures region.

Drive time: 2 h 30′

 

Day 8  25th of December, 2019 – Wednesday

On Christmas Day you will enjoy a ride with a narrow-gauge steam train in the mountains located in Western Maramures. The train is still fully functional and passes through the picturesque Vaser valley. The trip takes around 6 hours and at the middle of the route you will have a break so you can enjoy a drink and a meal and to explore the surrounding nature.

Mocanita train in winter

Accommodation in Maramures region.

Drive time: 1 h

 

Day 9  26th of December, 2019 – Thursday

Today you will go to church together with the villagers who, young and old, are gathering to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. They participate to the Orthodox mass dressed in traditional clothes.

People going to church in Maramures

Optional: In the second part of the day you have various options of things you can do. If you would like to enjoy more of the snow and winter landscape, you could have a horse-sledge ride. Or if you want to get involved into the local traditional entertainment, you could participate to a concert, religious theater or local party having the Christmas theme. If you would prefer to explore more of the heritage of Maramures, you could visit more of the wooden churches specific to the region, some of them being UNESCO sites.

Accommodation in Maramures region.

Drive time: depends on what you prefer to do in the second part of the day

 

Day 10  27th of December, 2019 – Friday

Today this self-drive tour will take you to Sighet where it takes place the Festival of Customs and Traditions. You will be introduced to the Christmas traditions from all across Romania, you will able to observe the colorful traditional costumes of people from different regions and you will enjoy different shows where the participants make known their customs and traditional heritage.

Then you will head towards Transylvania region. After your arrival in Cluj-Napoca, you can have a walk though the center of the city so you can explore the lively Christmas market.

Accommodation in Cluj-Napoca.

Drive time: 4 h

 

Day 11  28th of December, 2019 – Saturday

Your Christmas tour of Romania ends here, therefore you will travel to the airport where you will drop off the car and you will take the flight back home.

Since this is a private tour, the start and end days, the locations and duration of the tour are flexible, just let us know your preferences. As presented here, this is a self-drive tour but we can also organize it as a guided tour. 

 

Why travel with us

Suggested Itinerary Viewed On Map
Suggested Accommodation

Bella Muzica 3* – Brasov

Located in the Old Town of Brasov, the building which hosts the hotel dates back to  the XVIth century and has elegant interior decorations that help conserve the charm of old times. The hotel features 34 rooms, beautifully furnished, each one of them having a private bathroom. Guests can also enjoy spending time outside in a little, peaceful courtyard or eating at the hotel’s restaurant, which offers traditional and international...

Casa Luxemburg 3* – Sibiu

Casa Luxemburg is one of the oldest buildings in Sibiu, with a rich history and beautiful 13th century architecture. Its privileged location, in the heart of the old town of Sibiu makes it a perfect choice if you are eager to explore the town just as you step out of the hotel door. Each of the 8 rooms has its own design and unique view, from your window you may see some of the most important attractions such as the Liar’s Bridge or the Council Tower. The quality of the accommodation together with the diversity of dishes will complete your stay in this unique boutique...

Hotel Capitol 3* – Bucharest

Located in the heart of Bucharest and keeping the same appearance that had in the early 1900s, Hotel Capitol is known for its excellent services and comfort and for its long history in the capital. The 79 rooms are spacious and elegant and the perfect location will allow you to easily get to the main attractions of Bucharest. The hotel has also a restaurant providing different specialties of food from traditional Romanian dishes to classic international...

House of Traditions 3* – Ieud

Located in Ieud village, the “House of Traditions (Casa Traditiilor)” guesthouse is the best place to spend a relaxing time in the picturesque Maramures and to be introduced to the traditions of the place as well. The hosts will provide you with comfortable rooms traditionally decorated and will serve you delicious home-cooked meals made with natural ingredients from their own...

Christmas Tour of Romania: Included Services

  • Trip planning. This will include a personalized self-drive booklet with vouchers for accommodation, detailed information about the places you are visiting, directions, useful contacts and recommended things to see and do along the way
  • Accommodation for 10 nights in standard double rooms with breakfast included (if by the time you book the tour there aren’t available rooms at the proposed hotels, we will book rooms at hotels similar in terms of comfort and price)
  • Rented car on the above itinerary: Dacia Duster or similar (4x4, manual transmission)
  • 4 dinners in Maramures
  • Steam train ride (Mocanita)

Services which are not included in the tour package price:

  • Entrance tickets to tourist sites, except those mentioned above. Per person you are likely to spend up to 30-50 EUR/person
  • Meals, except those included above. On average you can pay for a meal 10-12 EUR/person
Prices

The prices are calculated for a self-drive private tour for groups of the sizes mentioned below. If you are interested in a guided tour, please send an inquiry for the prices. 

Group Size
Price per person – EUR
Price per person – USD

16 persons

14 persons

12 persons

10 persons

8 persons

6 persons

4 persons

2 persons

800 EUR

825 EUR

800 EUR

875 EUR

825 EUR

900 EUR

850 EUR

1200 EUR

910 USD

940 USD

910 USD

995 USD

940 USD

1025 USD

965 USD

1365 USD

Traveler’s Reviews

Caroline from UK
“My student daughter and I enjoyed 12 days in Romania organized by True Romania Tours. We had a wonderful time. Everything was really well organized – train tickets, taxis, hotels and suggestions for restaurants. It was a good combination of independent travel with professional back-up. Everybody dressing up for church in the villages on Sunday was an unexpected delight. It was a really varied and interesting holiday.”

Monique from Australia
“From setting up the trip, True Romania Tours team was an absolute pleasure to deal with; nothing too hard to change/add to ensure we had the best experience! Everything was provided that we needed well ahead of time and during the trip. This was the best of both worlds – the flexibility to do a self guided exploration of this beautiful country with the backing of this fantastic company to pre-book all of the basic logistics for us – allowing us to truly enjoy every part of the trip! Thank you again to the team – I would highly recommend to anyone wanting an unforgettable experience to see the ‘true Romania’”