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Transylvania Short Break - Private Tour

Romania - Trip code PTBU Discovery
Days 5
Deposit From £90
Price from £895
Flights not included

Why book this trip?

The very word 'Transylvania' conjures up images of a mystic land steeped in history, the home of Dracula and eerie legends. This Romanian short break gives you a taster of this magical place, capturing wildlife, mountains and castles over a long weekend.

  • Transylvanian castles - Visit the opulent Peles and Pelisor Castles and the renowned Bran Castle
  • Bear watching - In season see brown bears emerge from the thick forests at a local reserve
  • Bucharest - Explore the capital city including the huge marbled interiors of the Palace of Parliament
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 4

    Dinner: 1

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader / Driver

  • Transport


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    3 nights comfortable guesthouse

    1 nights comfortable hotel

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    Trip pace:



Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip begins in Bucharest

Arrive in Bucharest, Romania's largest city that became its capital in 1832. It has gone through a period of urban renewal and modernisation and it is now a bustling city, at the centre of Romanian culture, art and media.

You will be met on arrival at Bucharest's Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP) by a local guide, and driven to your centrally located hotel, around 30 minutes away. There are no planned activities today so you are free to arrive in Bucharest at any time. For those booking their own flights, you will just need to let us know your flight details no later than three weeks prior to departure, in order to be met on arrival.

Your guide will be with you throughout the trip, so you have the opportunity today to ask any questions you wish about the itinerary. The luxury of having the same guide throughout is that you can make this itinerary flexible if you want to - if you want more time at a particular site, for example, or conversely if you want to skip a city tour and do some solo exploration that's fine too.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Tour of Bucharest and evening bear watching

Bucharest is situated on the Danube Plain and set amid a series of lakes and spacious gardens, which showcase a remarkable blend of turn of the century elegance and communist excess. With a guided tour, discover the architecture that earned it the reputation as the 'Paris of Eastern Europe', including the beautiful columned facade of the Romanian Atheneum concert hall and the Royal Palace of Bucharest. Visit also the Palace of Parliament; the magnificent but excessive and controversial palace of ex-President Ceausescu.

After the tour, head off to the observatory for bear watching (in season - year round aside from when the bears hibernate over Winter). The Romanian bear population is one of the few strong and healthy populations remaining in Europe and the Carpathian Mountains are home to about 43% of all European bears (approximately 6,000 individuals). This region is therefore of key international importance in the conservation of brown bears and due to increasing human-bear interactions, it's also the focus of much research into the effective management of bears and their habitats. Bears may be active at any time of the day, but generally they forage in the morning and evening and rest in dense woodland cover by day. Try to spot these bears from a hide at dusk when they come out to feed. From here, drive to the Transylvanian village of Moieciu and stay in a local guesthouse for the next three nights.

Please note, that the bear watching from the observatory may take place on day four depending on the local forestry department's advice. Also, since the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is still an active government building that it might not always be open to visitors or possible for to go inside. If this is the case then the itinerary can be amended to visit Sinaia Monastery on day three.


Grade: Comfortable Guesthouse

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Visit to Peles and Pelisor Castles; chance for further bear watching

Start this morning with a walk in the Bucegi Mountains surrounding Moieciu. The surrounding forest and woodland are protected as a nature reserve. After the walk, drive to nearby Sinaia, known as the 'Pearl of the Carpathians' because of its stunning scenery. The first port of call is the wonderful Peles Castle. Built for the imported Hohenzollern monarch Carol I, Peles resembles a Bavarian chateau and is richly decorated with stained glass, Persian carpets, Renaissance weapons, ebony and mother of pearl. Then visit the adjacent Pelisor Castle, largely the creation of Queen Marie of Romania, with a fine Art Deco and Art Nouveau interior. Returning to Moieciu this afternoon, there will be the opportunity for you to choose to spend more time bear watching at the observatory. A late dinner is included this evening - an opportunity to enjoy a traditional home cooked meal.


Grade: Comfortable Guesthouse

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4 - Visit to Bran Castle; Brasov walking tour including the Black Church

Visit the castle at Bran today. The truth behind Dracula's Castle is even more fascinating than its myths. In the early 20th century it was the home of the remarkable British born Queen Marie of Romania, granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Vlad the Impaler, the infamous 15th century ruler of Wallachia, never actually lived here and Bram Stoker never came near Transylvania! Perched on a crag in a valley between two high mountain ranges, the castle controlled an international trade route, but is now a rural backwater. Exploring the village, the castle and the museum gives you a chance to unravel fact from fiction.

Later this morning, drive to the Medieval city of Brasov. Brasov is one of the most historic cities in Transylvania, and you'll spend the rest of the day exploring with your guide. The town is a gem of old buildings, cobbled streets and local atmosphere all clustered within the Medieval fortifications and overlooked by a magnificent 15th century Gothic cathedral. Founded by German settlers to protect the routes that made their way up to the high passes over the Carpathians, Brasov is an architectural delight. There are several churches dating from the 14th through to the 18th century.

Later this afternoon you may like to visit one of the museums, the First Romanian School or Saint Nicolas Church in the Scheii area (the old Romanian district of Brasov). In the evening you have an option of returning to the observatory for more bear watching.


Grade: Comfortable Guesthouse

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Drive to Bucharest Airport where the trip ends

Departing Moieciu this morning, drive for around three hours to Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP), where the trip ends. We recommend not booking any flights to depart before 12.30pm, due to the length of the drive to the airport.

If your flight is departing later in the day then you may choose to return to Bucharest city centre to visit some of the historic buildings or museums. If you wish to be dropped off in the city centre then this can be arranged with your guide. In this case, you will be taken to the hotel in Bucharest where you can store your luggage. To get back to the airport you will need to take a public bus or taxi.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information



Romania's climate is continental, temperatures being strongly influenced by the physical features of the Carpathians. Temperatures will fall from highs of 18°C (by day) to lows of 6°C (at night) in October; by January they will hover around freezing during the day and go down to -10°C at night.They will then rise to reach October temperatures again by April. Temperatures will generally be lower in the mountains than in Bucharest. Snowfall may occur at any time.

Time difference to GMT



2 Pin Round


Eastern Orthodox



Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.

On day five depending on your flight departure time, you might have the opportunity to go into the city centre after your trip ends at the airport. If you wish to be dropped off in the city centre, discuss this with your guide. You can be taken to the hotel in Bucharest where you can store your luggage. To get back to the airport you will need to take a public bus for approximately 7 RON per person or the hotel can book a taxi for you.

Please note many of the castles charge a photography fee. Accordingly you should allow approximately £10.

Additional nights bear watching in the observatory cost approximately €50 per person per night.


The weather in Romania is very seasonal. In summer, we recommend lightweight clothing in the days, and during spring and autumn, you should bring layers as the weather can get cold. Rain and windproof jackets are essential throughout the year, particularly for your hike near Bucegi.

For the nights of bear spotting, we recommend a warm fleece or sweater, woolly hat or balaclava, gloves, and even thermal underwear and thick socks. It's unlikely to get that cold in summer, but its better safe than sorry, particularly if you feel the cold.

During winter, you could take it a step further by packing a well insulated jacket (like a ski jacket) and a good pair of ski trousers, or any trousers with good insulation that are waterproof. Gaiters may be useful for walking in the snow during winter.


Comfortable walking boots and trainers or other shoes. If travelling in winter, waterproof hiking boots are essential.



Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your luggage so
don't overload yourself.


We also recommend taking a water bottle, insect repellent, torch, sunglasses, camera and binoculars.


Explore leader
On this private journey, you will be accompanied by a driver-guide throughout the trip, who fills very much the same role as the Explore Tour Leader on our group tours. Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our guides receive a fair wage. You may however, want to recognise a guide that has done a great job or really added to your trip, by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It is a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we would recommend £20 to £25 per person per week as a guideline.

Local crew
Although voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow approximately £15 of local currency for tipping.

In order to make things easier for you, your driver-guide may organise a tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the trip.


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Lunch price
Dinner price
Beer price
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Romanian Leu.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Sterling Pounds, US Dollars and Euros cash can all be exchanged for local currency. Old style £10 and £20 notes are not accepted.
Where To Exchange
Please note that the exchange rates at the airport on arrival are particularly low.
ATM Availability
In most towns, your tour leader will advise you.
Credit Card Acceptance
Major stores and restaurants only.
Travellers Cheques
It is not possible to exchange Travellers Cheques on the tour.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information


Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.


Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Visas are not required by UK, EU nationalities, Australian, New Zealand US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Included activities

During the stay in Moieciu you will visit a bear observatory and spend an evening in a hide to try spotting these impressive wild animals. Our local agent is in regular contact with the wildlife authorities to find out which hides offer the best chance of seeing bears depending on the areas where they have been most recently spotted. There are 22 hides in the area and they accommodate 5 to 15 people at a time. The transfer from the guesthouse to the hides will take between 20 minutes to one hour depending which ones we will be using.

You will either have an early dinner before or a late dinner after the bear watching excursion. Depending on the time of year you will be in the hides for two to four hours - generally entering them between 16.00 to 18.00 and leaving between 19.00 to 22.00, so that you hopefully see the bears when they come out to feed. Once in the hides you must remain inside until the end of the excursion. There are no toilet facilities within the hides, but there will be the opportunity to stop at a service station for a bathroom break before arriving. Generally outdoor shoes aren't permitted to be warn inside the hides (in order to keep them clean and noise to a minimum), so you might want to wear soft slippers or thick socks when inside. It is advisable to bring insect repellent with you.

In Bucharest when visiting the Palace of Parliament or Casa Poporului as it's also known, you must take your passport with you to be permitted entry.

Ability to swim




Nothing compulsory, although we recommend vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. The Foreign Office currently recommend considerations of vaccination against rabies if travelling in rural areas of Romania. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Additional Information

Tour Staff

Your trip will be led by one of our experienced driver-guides who is passionate about Romania and bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. All the planning and organisation throughout your journey will be taken care of by your guide, and their dynamic approach will make this trip fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Dates, prices and booking

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
Mon 17 May 2021 - Fri 31 Dec 2021 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
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Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
Sat 1 Jan 2022 - Sat 31 Dec 2022 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
was Save

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
Sun 1 Jan 2023 - Sun 31 Dec 2023 Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. A solo traveller supplement applies, contact us for prices.
was Save

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee


Price Guarantee Promise
Find out more
Airport Transfers
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