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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 2,720

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Transylvanian Backwaters BU

Visiting: Romania
Tour Duration 5 Days
Reviews for Transylvanian Backwaters 4.5 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Transylvanian Backwaters tour available at present.

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4 Elaine, 19/07/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

Romania is a beautiful and interesting country and the tour packed quite a lot in. Ceaușescus' palace was fascinating and Peles castle and Pelisor Castle were like something out of a fairy tale! The guesthouse had great views and the lady who ran it was lovely.

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5 Linda, 09/06/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

Romania was a very pleasant surprise, it's a country that is very misunderstood. The scenery and sites were amazing, I'd recommend the Pelisor palace for it's unique and startling collection of Arts Nouveaux. Brassov medieval town is simply stunning. There isn't enough money to get to all the antiquities and buildings they want to show off. Visit before the character of the place changes.

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1.5 HJ, 25/05/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

Not the best organised Explore trip I've been on, but nevertheless I liked Romania and was glad to visit. The Transylvanian countryside is beautiful and I enjoyed all three castles, which are different but beautiful in their own ways. The bear watching is very disappointing. My low score below is based on the poor organisation of the trip rather than the destination, which is great.

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Our Response

We’re sorry to hear that you were a little disappointed with your tour leader, especially as you felt he was unorganised. Marian was new to the tour and finding his feet regarding free time and allowing you the opportunity to explore on their own, but I’m sorry this impacted your overall experience.  As food cannot be consumed in the hide it can be some time between meals and this should have also been advised by the Tour Leader. We have addressed your points with our local agent and Marian directly.

5 Malcolm A, 15/04/15

Please review your overall experience and what your highlights were

Tour leader/Guide Tudor ensured that the group had plenty to keep them occupied, his in depth knowledge of the regions history was particularly good. He had the knack of explaining things in an interesting way, not always easy with historical subjects. He went 'the extra mile' to include some sites of interest that were not on the itinerary that he wanted us to see, partly because he seemed proud of the heritage of Romania.

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5 Elspeth , 15/08/13



What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Bran (Dracula's) castle

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Excellent - highly recommended.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

An enjoyable trip but double check with Explore in advance whether the time of year means that bear watching will not be offered (it wasn't when went) and, if you are going at Xmas or New Year, whether the People's Palace will be open (again, not when we went - so we couldn't view the famous interior). Still a decent trip - but not what we had expected.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Don't trust the trip notes (or even, unfortunately, email/phonecalls to Explore to double check them).

5 , 15/08/13


Michael Ratcliffe

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Bram Castle really has next to no connection with Dracula. It's a Royal/stately home and pretty distinguished too. However, as we came down dozens of German Hells Angels roared in to the car park, one wearing a teeshirt just like mine. As we posed for a photo together Dracula joined us - she's a female Hells Angel!

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

I may not have his name exactly right but he's a great character ("That's my office up there" - it's a mountain where he ski-instructs in the winter). He loves his country and its history. His English is a bit 'home-made' at times but in less than 3 days he melded together our group of 12 into one big happy family.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

"Take an umbrella! If the bears don't show up on the first night give them another go - we did and were treated to a great show. Don't expect Dracula to show up every time"

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

"I hadn't done much homework before I went and had very little knowledge of Romania apart from the fact that it was Hitler's source of petroleum during WW II. But if you get a leader lake ours you won't be ignorant for long. I was taken by surprise by the rain (It was much worse in Germany & Czech R. at the same time) but apart from making photography difficult it didn't dampen our spirits."

0 Alan Marsden, 29/12/10
The Guest-house was fantastic and the surrounding scenery stunning. Sinaia is definitely one of the more charming places I've been to of recent, and Brasov, while significantly bigger, was also a pleasure. I wish I had added an extra day myself in Bucharest as it surpassed any of my expectations; it's not a large city and the day we had to explore was a lot, but not quite enough. Unfortunately one of the castles was closed for cleaning(?), but we visited the house of a composer whose name I can remember (I'm not musically minded), and despite the initial disappointment I enjoyed this. The two castles we visited were stunning and couldn't be more of a contrast. From the extravagance of Peles Castle to the old charm of Bram Castle, I don't think anybody could not be overwhelmed by either (obviously, but providing you like castles!) However, one thing that did leave a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth was the 'Bear Watching'. Espicially the Brasov Walk (which as far as I'm aware wasn't optional). Following a walk along a road in a forest we stepped aside into a small clearing where bears are spotted in the late evening, but we were there mid afternoon and were categorically told by the forester there was no chance of seeing any; he almost seemed a bit miffed as to why we would think we would be seeing any. I would still highly recommend this tour as it was excellent, but it's a shame the Itinerary is a little misleading and if one of the main reasons you are considering this tour is to see the Brown Bear then I would look elsewhere. (BU - 21st October 2010)
0 Nicola Cowan, 19/10/10
The trip is not a cheap one, but what you see and experience is worth it. There is quite alot of bus travel involved but the contrast between the mountain region and the city is awesome. The guesthouse we stayed in is lovely with great hospitality, but the castles and surrounding region is what you go for...and you won't be disappointed. The Explore guide for pricing things is totally wrong though, Romania is so cheap you will find it hard to spend your money (food, drink,souvenirs, everything). You can get a 2 course meal with at least one glass of wine/beer for less than a tenner, and the food is great. I only wish it were a day longer so we weren't so rushed, and could relax and enjoy the destination. (BU - 16th September 2010)
0 Helen, 20/09/10
Really lovely guesthouse and fantastic home cooked food. However, I would advise people that there is no guarantee of seeing wild animals including bears, in fact this was quite disappointing. (BU- 1st May 2009)
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