October 7th - 18th, 2019
Romania—it’s a land of intricately painted monasteries and the home of Dracula. It’s Belle Époque buildings and the Arc de Triumph in Bucharest. It’s pastoral countryside, Balkan cuisine, and the Carpathian Mountains. The brilliant fall foliage is the perfect backdrop for a wealth of castles, fortified churches, and centuries-old houses. Go back in time to the little villages in the countryside where horse and buggies are still a way of life.
Join us as we explore the many facets of Romania on this autumn excursion. We’ll follow Dracula’s trail and explore Romania’s history, culture, and scenic beauty..
2019 Romania Autumn Photography Tour Travel Plans
Monday, October 7
Fly from the U.S. to Romania.
Tuesday, October 8
Welcome to Eastern Europe! Today we arrive in Bucharest and check into the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. Private transfers from the airport to the hotel provided.
Depending on arrival time, there is a lot to do and see in Romania’s capital. You may want to take a Hop On/Hop Off sightseeing bus tour to check out the wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings, and other highlights of the city known as “Little Paris” in the 1900s. You’ll get familiar with the city’s central neighborhoods and places of interest.
Bucharest is packed with museums such as the National Art Museum, Bucharest History & Arts Museum, Natural History Museum, Cotroceni Palace and Museum, and Museum of the Romanian Peasant, featuring the richest folk art collection in the country.
Stroll through Cismigiu Park, Bucharest’s oldest park, or Herastrau Park, spread over 400 acres from the Arc de Triumph to the Baneasa Bridge.
Wednesday, October 9 (B, L, D)
We’ll spend a day exploring fascinating Bucharest with our guide and shooting photos of some of its most interesting architecture and landmarks. We’ll drop by the Palace of Parliament (the second largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon, built by Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu), Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse (a fork-shaped, yellow, glass-covered arcaded street), the Arc de Triumph, and historic buildings and churches in the old part of town.
Lunch and dinner in the city give us an opportunity to sample some of Romania’s Balkan cuisine. Tonight we fly to the Bucovina region. Overnight at Bucovina Lodge for three nights
Thursday, October 10 (B, L, D)
Exploring the Bucovina region is on the agenda for today. We’ll take in the picturesque painted monasteries: Sucevița, Moldovița, and Voroneț. Their painted exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets, scenes from the life of Jesus, images of angels and demons, and heaven and hell. We’ll also see painting in progress when we check in with local women elaborately painting eggs.
Overnight Bucovina Lodge
Friday, October 11 (B, L, D)
On this day, we’ll focus more on the countryside and nature, capturing fall colors and the locals at work, either in their homes or in the field. We’ll also visit the Lucina Horse Farm, one of Romania’s twelve national stud farms.
The Bucovina region is one of the most appreciated for its food among Romanians, so we’ll spend a couple of hours with the local ladies as they teach us how to cook the region’s traditional dishes.
Overnight Bucovina Lodge
Saturday, October 12 (B, L, D)
We say goodbye to Bucovina today and take a picturesque drive to Sighișoara. One of the most spectacular drives in the country, the road runs through the Bicaz Gorge with steep cliffs on one side of the road and deep drops on the other. The colors should be spectacular through this region! We’ll keep an eye out for the chamois, a species of goat-antelope native to mountains in Europe, on this five to six hour trip.
There will be time to look around the medieval town of Sighișoara in the historic region of Transylvania. The city played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe for several centuries. Sighișoara became one of the most important cities of Transylvania, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. We’ll spend the next two nights at Casa Georgius Krauss.
Sunday, October 13 (B, L, D)
It’s an early morning as we rise in time to shoot the sunrise at the fortified church in Biertan. We’ll snap away as the sun illuminates the Gothic-style building sitting on a low hill. This Saxon village has one of the most important fortified churches in Transylvania, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. It was the seat of the Lutheran Evangelical Bishop in Transylvania between 1572 and 1867. One of our favorite stops is a local organic farm for breakfast.
With the sun high in the sky, we’ll move on to visit a coppersmith gypsy family. As we learn about these age-old crafts, we’ll have an opportunity to take interesting cultural photos.
We’ll return to Sighișoara so you have some more time to explore the town. We’ll dine under the arches of stone and brick in the fine restaurant of our hotel, Casa Georgius Krauss, and taste some of the best Romanian wines certified by the Sommeliers Association of Romania.
Monday, October 14 (B, L, D)
From Sighișoara we’ll head to Bran, but first we will stop by the wonderfully preserved, centuries-old village of Viscri. Here we will visit the quaint 13th century white fortified church which gives the town its German name. In the village we will meet the local blacksmith—who usually makes horseshoes but can do almost anything from metal, to scissors, to gutters—and get to see him at work. The second stop before Bran will be Brașov, one of the seven fortified towns of Transylvania established by the German Saxon settlers. We’ll spend three nights in Bran at the Inn on Balaban where we’ll discover Transylvania’s dramatic and calming colorful mountainous beauty.
Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16 (B, L, D)
Two full days of photography is on tap in a landscape dominated by mountains, forests, quaint villages, and flocks of sheep. This region is stunning!
This will include a trip to the famous Bran castle, imposingly situated on a rock in a valley. This charming 14th century castle is associated with Dracula and vampire stories, but it’s really a cozy fairytale castle decorated by Queen Marie more than 90 years ago.
We’ll enjoy our final Romanian dinner (and Romanian cooking class and wine tasting!) while appreciating the locals in traditional clothing and indigenous music. Overnight at Inn on Balaban
Thursday, October 17 (B)
We’ll take a morning drive from Bran to Bucharest, stopping along the way to photograph the sights. The drive takes about three hours not including any stops. Then it’s time to head home; our flights leave in the evening (please book your flight for 4:00pm or later).
Friday, October 18
Tour Extensions Available
September 24th - October 5th, 2019
9 Guests Maximum
5,300 per person, based on double occupancy
ADD 200 per person, based on double occupancy
Single supplement: 550
Pricing in USD
$750 Per person due at time of booking
Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, or check accepted
Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.
October 1, 2018: $2500 per person first installment
May 1, 2019: Final payment
Check only for first and final installments. Please make checks payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:
810 N. Wallace, Suite E
Bozeman, MT 59715
- Private small group travel with professional photographer Daniel J. Cox
- Transfers in Bucharest on scheduled itinerary arrival and departure days
- Internal domestic flight Bucharest to Suceava
- Entrance fees for various locations visited including Palace of Parliament, Viscri fortified church, Bran castle, and painted monasteries Sucevița, Moldovița, and Voroneț
- Accommodations for 9 nights
- Private 19-seat coach for travel
- Local English-speaking guide and coach driver
- Meals where indicated on itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- 2 wine tastings – one in Sighișoara and one in Bran
- 2 cooking classes – one in Vama and one in Bran
- Bottled water throughout tour
- Visits to craftsmen, workshops, and communities as mentioned in itinerary
- International airfares
- Transfers pre/post tour
- Laundry, misc. expenses, Internet charges, some beverages not included
- Any attractions/optional activities not listed in itinerary
- Travel insurance/emergency evacuation insurance
- Gratuities for guide/bus driver
Flights to Book
October 8, 2019
Arrive in Bucharest (OTP) any time of day.
October 17, 2019
Depart Bucharest (OTP) on an evening flight. We suggest booking your flight no earlier than 4:00pm as we’ll be driving from Bran to Bucharest this day.
Travel/emergency evacuation insurance is not required for this photo tour, but we always recommend purchasing it for any trip. We recommend one or more of the following, depending on your needs:
(use code natexp)
Allianz Global Assistance
(use travel agency ID F203564)
Terms & Conditions
Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.
By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY
Accommodations for 2019 Romania Autumn Photography Tour
Accommodations will vary, but we’ll be staying in the nicest hotels available in the areas, boutique-type hotels.
October 8, 1 Night
JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, Bucharest
With historic elegance and refined luxury, the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel inspires extraordinary experiences in Romania. Their staff is dedicated to providing every visitor with first-class service. They’re a short distance away from the city’s famed Old Town, next to Parliament Palace and easy access to Bucharest’s most popular attractions. Recently renovated executive rooms and suites feature deluxe bedding, high-speed Internet, large flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms. Elsewhere within the hotel, dine at one of their onsite restaurants, enjoy a swim in the heated indoor pool, or indulge in a massage at the spa. And be sure to visit the casino and a shopping gallery onsite! Experience why the luxury JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel has been dubbed a “city within a city.”
October 9-11, 3 Nights
Bucovina Lodge, Bucovina
Bucovina Lodge is not just an accommodating place. Its service and people reflect the Moldavian way of life: great respect for traditions, enormous attention to detail, and warmth and hospitality offered in modern comfort.
October 12 and 13, 2 Nights
Casa Georgius Krauss, Sighișoara
Dating back to 1600, this boutique-hotel was the house of chronicler and historian Georgius Krauss. Original fresco, medieval-style Italian furniture, and hand-carved decorations are apropos for the medieval citadel of Sighișoara. Each room has its own different decor, character, and uniqueness.
October 14-16, 3 Nights
Inn on Balaban, Bran
From its hilltop location, you’ll enjoy the inn’s local home cooking, the best of Romanian wines, and television-free quiet (Wi-Fi is available). The inn’s three handcrafted houses are comprised of antique furniture, traditional peasant-styled architecture, and local folklore that will take you back to the heart of old Romania. The views are stunning!
Helpful Information for 2019 Romania Autumn Photography Tour
Foreign visitors consider Romanians among the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. Romanians are by nature fun-loving, warm, and playful with an innate sense of humor. Romania is considered one of the safest European countries to visit.
- This trip will be low to moderate activity level.
- Food varies from pizza to schnitzel—there is a wide variety of options.
- Romania is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
- Daytime highs in October are typically 45 – 55 °F.
We’ll be flying north from Bucharest and working our way down the country on a private 19-seater vehicle. We are able to experience true Romania by traveling with a smaller group.
Romania is situated in the southeastern part of Central Europe and shares borders with Hungary to the northwest, Serbia to the southwest, Bulgaria to the south, the Black Sea to the southeast, Ukraine to the east and north, and the Republic of Moldova to the east. Roughly the size of Oregon, Romania is the second largest country in the area, after Poland.
PASSPORT and VISA
Your passport should have six months validity, and one blank page is required for the entry stamp.
A visa is not needed to enter Romania for residents of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most European countries.
For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Romania’s currency is Leu (plural “Lei” – pronunciation: lay)
ATM machines are available at main banks, airports, and shopping centers. There are very few ATMs in remote areas or villages. ATMs that have symbols for international networks such as STAR and PLUS will accept U.S./Canadian banking cards.
Major credit cards including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies, and stores in the main cities; however, credit cards are unlikely to prove useful in small towns or away from tourist areas.
Contrary to practice in the United States, a PIN is usually required to make credit card purchases. Many American banks allow cardholders to establish such a PIN prior to travel in case one is needed. Regardless, you should notify your bank of your international travel, and the potential legitimate use of your card abroad prior to leaving the U.S.
Cash (US dollars) can be easily exchanged at any bank or Currency Exchange Office (Casa de Schimb).
US dollars are as good and popular as the Euro; you do not need to buy Euros before you leave the USA as you will have to change the Euros into Lei anyways.
Electricity: 230v – dual round European plug
SALES TAX / VAT
VAT – A sales tax of 19 % is added to all retail sales, hotel stays, and meals served in restaurants. It is usually included in the prices posted in stores, hotels, and restaurants.
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Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers
"If you ever want to travel to another country and you want to go first class, travel with Natural Exposures. They are number one in showing their guests the best time ever in the classiest way. I would recommend Natural Exposures Tours to everyone. If you want to go in style, go with NE!"
Michelle Duggan, Massachusetts
"Tanya and Dan’s logistic skills provide a seamless photo tour where one can truly enjoy the experience. With unlimited photographic opportunities Dan’s instruction has taken my photography to a higher level."
Linda Henry, Oregon
"What a trip
What a group
What a fabulous everything
To our next encounters with nature"
Maud and Leon Soriano, Florida
"I just wanted to again thank you for a wonderful week of photography and relaxation away from the office. It was a really a good group."
Sue Wolfe, Texas