Romania Winter Photo Tour during Christmas and NY holidays
Romania Winter Photo Tour during Christmas and NY holidays
Christian and pagan traditions and snowy landscapes
11 Days

Capture the joyful atmosphere of the winter holidays during this Winter Photo Tour of Romania during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

In Maramures you will see people practicing centuries old traditions, caroling and going to church in traditional clothes. While in Moldova you will see the locals dressed in bear costumes caroling and sending away the bad spirits of winter. Furthermore, you will photograph castles, wooden churches and medieval towns covered with snow which makes the compositions even more interesting.

The yearly dates are December 23 – January 2.

Highlights of the Romania Winter Photo Tour
  • Photograph people getting ready for Christmas
  • Attend the Christmas Mass in a traditional village
  • Shoot the only narrow-gauge steam train in Europe still fully functional today
  • Attend local festivals and witness interesting customs
  • Capture the architecture specific to Maramures, Bucovina and Transylvania
  • Celebrate the New Year’s Eve with a fireworks show
  • Photograph Romania’s most picturesque landscapes in a magical snowy setting


Suggested Itinerary

Day 1  23rd of December

Welcome to Romania!

You will meet your guide in Cluj-Napoca and then travel towards Maramures, one of the most authentic regions of Romania where you will spend the first days of your Romania Winter Photo Tour.

Beautiful winter scenary - Romania winter photo tour

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 4 h


Day 2  24th of December

Get yourself ready for a busy day! In Maramures, the day of Christmas Eve is full of wonderful traditions and well-kept customs and you will be right there to experience it.

Start the morning by witnessing how people around the village get ready for the Holy Celebration and cook delicious local foods, followed by a visit to the Merry Cemetery, a one-of-a-kind place.

In the afternoon you will meet with carolers wandering from house to house dressed in traditional clothes. Caroling is a fascinating custom, recently listed as part of Romania’s UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. Later that evening you will also attend Christmas Mass and observe the religious proceedings.

People going to church in Maramures

Accommodation in Maramures.


Day 3  25th of December

The first part of the day will be spent capturing the magical atmosphere of Christmas as villagers go once again to church for the Christmas Mass, this time wearing their best traditional clothes.

You will then have the opportunity to discover why Maramures is called “the land of wooden churches”. The churches are made entirely out of wood, using traditional building techniques and some of them are even UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So we will look at creating interesting composition with the wooden churches, the villages, valleys and mountains hopefully covered in snow.

Barsana Wooden Monastery in winter

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 2h


Day 4  26h of December

Today you will take part in one of the highlights of your Romania Winter Photo Tour, namely shooting the only narrow-gauge steam train in Europe which is still functional today, Mocanita. The train passes though a spectacular landscape of mountains and valleys and with the winter snow adding a touch of magic, you will be sure to get some beautiful photos.

Mocanita train in winter

Later that day you will enjoy a ride through the village with a horse drawn carriage, followed by a sunset shoot in the nature. 

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 2h


Day 5  27th of December

Each year in the nearby town of Sighetu-Marmatiei the local customs come to life as part of a festival, which you will attend. People from villages all around Maramures gather to display their unique Christmas traditions, by way of caroling, dancing and putting on interesting performances.

Winter festival

There will be lots of people photography opportunities, you just need to be quick and position yourself in the right place. The guide will provide tips on how to best capture the event.

People dresses in traditional clothes at a winter festival

Then you will leave Maramures behind and head to Bucovina.

Accommodation in Bucovina.

Drive time: 5h


Day 6  28th of December

Start the day with a sunrise shoot in the mountains, in a picturesque landscape dotted with haystacks, barns and lined with fences.

You will then explore the Painted Monasteries for which Bucovina is so famous. Most of them date from the 15th and 16th centuries and are majestic examples of Byzantine art. You will visit two of the most famous ones, also UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Moldovita Monastery and Sucevita Monastery. Not only will you be able to capture the impressive architecture and colorful exterior frescoes of the churches, but also the beautiful natural settings in which they are located.

Boy in traditional clothes

In the last part of the day you will have a shoot of Mocanita Hutulca, another of Romania’s steam trains. As the train travels through villages, forests and by the river you can capture it in motion.

Accommodation in Bucovina.

Drive time: 2h


Day 7  29th of December

Amongst Bucovina’s Painted Monasteries the most famous one is Voronet Monastery, known for its unique shade of blue. Worth-admiring are also the stunning paintings, which gave the monastery the nickname of “the Sistine Chapel of the East”.

Winter in Romania - tress covered in snow

Next, you will stop for a visit at the Neamt Citadel, a massive medieval fortress located in the heart of the nature. Optional, we can also include Pangarati Lake, a place where hundreds of birds live during the cold winters. You can photograph swans and wild ducks and other birds as they glide across the clear surface of the water.

Accommodation in Piatra Neamt.

Drive time: 2h 30’



Day 8  30th of December

You will leave Piatra Neamt and head towards Brasov, stopping on the way in Comanesti, where you will attend one of the most interesting Winter Festivals of Customs and Traditions.

Bears costumes - Romania winter photo tour

You will be able to witness and photograph people bringing to life customs from all regions across of the country, amongst which “The dance of the Bear” is the most impressive. During the bear dance both men and women, young and old put on bear skins, dance and stroll through the town in an impressive and surreal display of color and liveliness. This will offer abundant opportunities for taking really unique shots and at the same time learning about this very special custom.

Bears festival

In the afternoon we will travel to Brasov over a mountain pass and as we will find interesting landscapes or situation one the way we will make one or two stops.

Accommodation in Brasov.

Drive time: 4h



Day 9  31st of December

This day will be fully dedicated to discovering Brasov, a captivating city surrounded by the Carpathians. You can stroll through the Old Town, hike to the nearby Tampa Mountains (also reachable by cable car) for a great panorama or spend a few hours exploring and photographing the Christmas Market.

You will also have a blue hour shoot in the city, the perfect opportunity for capturing the beautiful architecture and festive atmosphere.

Brasov Christmas market during new year eve

At night you can gather in the main square and count down to the New Year, welcoming 2019 with a fireworks show!

Accommodation in Brasov.


Day 10  1st of January

What a better way to start the New Year than by visiting the famous Bran Castle, known for its association with Dracula. You will now have the chance to learn its true story and uncover its mysteries. Due to its location, perched on top of rocks and surrounded by the forest, you will also photograph the imposing medieval monument from a distance.

Bran Castle in winter

In the second part of the day you will have the opportunity to capture the picturesque natural landscape in the vicinity of Bran and Brasov, an area which has many traditional houses scattered around the hills and country roads bordered by wooden fences.

Wooden house in Bran area - Romania winter photo tour

Accommodation in Brasov.

Drive time: 2h 30’


Day 11  2nd of January

On the last day of your Romania Winter Photo Tour during Christmas and New Year holidays you will be transferred to Bucharest, from where you will take the flight back home.

Mountain peak covered in snow

We hope you had a wonderful holiday in Romania!

Drive time: 3h


This winter photo tour of Romania is designed to start from Maramures (Cluj Napoca airport is the closest) and to end in Bucharest, but we can adapt the tour to other places of arrival and departure as well.

This photo tour can be organized for you and your family or group only if you wish. When contacting us please let us know if you want it private or if you are ok with sharing it with other people (this way the price/person will be lower).



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 dishes.

Bucovina Lodge 4* – Vama

Located in a beautiful location, on a hill, near the forest and overlooking the Vama village, Bucovina Lodge is a 10-room charming hotel. It is very well positioned for visiting the famous painted churches of Bucovina, the mountains and traditional villages from this part of the country. The coziness of the rooms, the quality of the service and the warmth of the host will make you feel just like home.
Teleptean Guesthouse

Teleptean Guesthouse 3* – Vadu Izei

This rural guesthouse set in the village of Vadu Izei is decorated in a rustic style, specific to the region of Maramures. Each of the 10 rooms is large, with wooden traditional adornments on the walls and a private bathroom. The delicious homemade food and the hospitality of the owner are the guesthouse’s greatest treasure!
About The Tour Guide
Daniel is a Romanian tour guide since 2011 and the very first tour he organized was for photographers. Since then he ran tours for several international photo tour leaders including a Pulitzer Prize winner so he became very aware of the specific needs of photographers.

He really loves the rural areas and people practicing traditional occupations and helps photographers interact with them. Previously he worked for Microsoft, Soros Foundation, Ecosistemi, Deloitte and AIESEC, lived in 4 different countries and traveled to another 30 on 4 continents.

About The Tour 
This is a cultural tour which focuses on photography by putting you in contact with interesting locals and also planning visits around interesting events and the good times of the day to take pictures. This means that on some days you might wake up early for sunrise or stay up late for sunsets and the blue hour, it is up to each participant though.

It also means that the tour plan is flexible and can be changed depending on weather conditions and photography opportunities found on the way.

Besides the planned visits at places of interest and people we’ve also planned time for 2-3 stops/day as we drive around the countryside as there are always unplanned very interesting photo opportunities, especially focused on people. It will be the tour guide who will make the call where and when to make those additional stops.

This tour is not meant to be an intense photography workshop with non-stop shooting, editing and image reviewing. The pace will be moderate so you can actually enjoy it as a holiday and learn about the culture you are visiting.

The tour guide leading this photo tour has good knowledge of photography but he is not a professional photographer or teacher. So you will be able to have interesting discussions about composition and some technical aspects but you will not be able to have very in-depth technical discussions.

Romania Winter Photo Tour during Christmas and NY holidays: Included Services
  • Trip planning and assistance before and during the tour by email and phone
  • English speaking tour guide services throughout the program (accommodation and meals are included)
  • Accommodation for 10 nights in standard double rooms with breakfast (B) included
  • Transfer by 4 wheel drive car on the itinerary mentioned above (for up to 3 people we will use one car for 4 to 6 people we will use 2 cars for 7 to 9 people we will use 3 cars)
  • 1 lunch (on Christmas day in Maramures)
  • 6 dinners (D): 4 in Maramures and 2 in Bucovina

Services which are not included in the tour price

  • Entrance tickets to tourist sites. Per person you are likely to spend up to 50-70 USD
  • Meals, except those included above. On average you can pay for a meal 10-15 USD

For prices, please contact us for details.

Traveler’s Reviews
Gianni from Italy
“I took part in a photography tour Daniel organized in rural Romania. Excellent knowledge of local history and culture! We visited off-the-beaten path places with practically no tourists around. Daniel certainly knows some of the best view points in the country, and he tailored the tour since we were a group of photographers seeking for some good landscape views, as well as people photography. Highly recommended if you want to see real Romania!”


Nina from Michigan, USA
“I can’t say enough good things about the two weeks I spent with Daniel and a small group of photographers in Sept. 2016! He is probably one of the best guides I’ve ever had anywhere. Not only is he a walking encyclopedia about everything Romanian, he went out of his way to be helpful even when he should have been taking a break! He was totally adaptable to our wandering ways as photographers, giving us all the time we needed.”


Are you looking for something else? Check our other suggested photography tours.