Discover Your Roots - Jewish Heritage in Romania - Private Tour in 2 weeks
Embark on a journey to reconnect with your roots. Step on the history side following in the footsteps of your ancestors. Unveil the lost Jewish heritage, reflect upon the dark past, but rejoice with the good memories.
The history of the Jewish people in Romania dates as far back as the country’s own population conception. Having arrived in 101 AD right when the Romans invaded the then land of Dacia, the Jewish past follows Romania’s history closely. From the very beginnings, they were there in both good and troubled times, trading and fighting alongside the Romanian people against the ever-growing Ottoman Empire.
With tax exemptions and a relative friendliness from the Romanian people, the Jewish population grew and grew, reaching its peak with the union between Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia. Right then, the population was at 800,000 people, roughly 4% of the country’s total population.
But a dark cloud hovered above… With anti-Semitic sentiment lingering ever since the 16th century, the fascist influence of the 20th century had a strong impact on the Jewish population in Romania as well. The Holocaust in Romania claimed close to 45% of the Jewish population at the time.
Mirroring the complex relationship between the Jews in Romania and the local people, the tour will highlight the best of both worlds, weaving the Jewish legacy with the Romanian landmarks. The tour will thus be sprinkled with bits and pieces of tradition and folklore, creating a full, enriching experience.
Join us on a 13-night private tour and learn all there is to know about the Jewish heritage in Romania. Still not convinced? Check out the itinerary below:
Day 1: As soon as you land and have collected your luggage, head over to the arrivals lounge where our representative will be waiting for you for your private transfer to the hotel. Depending on traffic, it’s a journey of 30 minutes to the Bucharest city center where your hotel is located. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. If you arrive early enough in the day, there will be some time for a short wander around the old town and its cobbled streets. In the evening, it is time for your first encounter with the rich, flavorsome Romanian food. Welcome! OVERNIGHT IN BUCHAREST
Day 2: Today is the day your adventure officially begins. You will get to know Bucharest with all its quirks. A product of a plethora of influences, from the chic Paris to the remains of the Communism Era, Bucharest presents a mix of architectures and styles, and will surely keep you entertained. We will start by visiting the Great Synagogue, a Polish-Jewish landmark dating back to 1845. In the 1900s it has received a Rococo makeover, being fully restored in 1945. Not to be missed is the Choral Temple, designed after Vienna’s Great Synagogue. The temple fell victim to the far-right Legionaries, but was restored in 1945 and can be visited today.
The old town awaits for lunchtime, an opportunity to taste even more Romanian food. Then, afterwards, it is time to shift towards another troubled era in Romania’s history: Communism. We will visit the opulent Primaverii Palace, the former residence of Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist leader. Learn all about the rise and fall of communism in Romania. The communist tour will end with a visit to the Revolution Square, built in the very place that sparked the revolution of December 1989 which ended the Communist rule. OVERNIGHT IN BUCHAREST
Day 3: After breakfast, we will leave Bucharest behind and venture into Transylvanian lands. We will travel towards the charming town of Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007. Travelling alongside the Olt Valley, you will catch a glimpse of Romania’s landscapes, passing through villages and imposing mountains.
Once in Sibiu, you’ll settle in your hotel and then we’ll explore the town by foot. First stop is the Great Synagogue in Sibiu, a remnant of the Jewish heritage in Transylvania. Then, the Sibiu Old Town will reveal itself to us with its two squares, Clock Tower and overall charm. After a full day learning about the Jews and the Saxons of old, it’s time to settle down for dinner at one of the quaint restaurants in the main square. You’ll be getting ready for a long day tomorrow, full to the brim with history, facts and breathtaking sceneries. OVERNIGHT IN SIBIU
Day 4: Today we’re traveling to the fairytale land of Maramures. Not to rush into things, though, we will take it slowly with some good old sightseeing. First on the list is Alba Iulia and its star-shaped citadel. An important piece in both the 1918 Great Union and 1989 Revolution, Alba Iulia now sits quietly, telling her story to all those who want to hear. Travelling onwards, the next stop will take us all the way underground in the mines of Turda. The grand, spacious halls carved in salt host numerous attractions, from concert halls, boats on the underground lake and even a ferris wheel.
After Turda, we will arrive in Cluj right on time for lunch. Bohemian and full of charm, you can’t miss out on a walk through the old town to bask in the quaint architecture. In the evening, the youthful spirit of the town comes alive, so you will get to experience Cluj in its full splendor. OVERNIGHT IN CLUJ NAPOCA
Day 5: After breakfast, we’ll take one of the most scenic rides of the trip. Leaving Cluj behind, nature takes over the scenery, rolling hills and pastures coming into view. Going deeper will feel like going back in time. Here, deep into the heart of the rural landscapes, time stands still.
In the afternoon, we will reach the village of Breb, a picturesque place that will be your home for the next few days. Here, you will learn the secrets of simple life straight from the locals, help with the daily activities and dine with them. The hearty meals are prepared by the local ladies and are filled with flavour, love and tradition. OVERNIGHT IN MARAMURES
Day 6: Today will be filled with a little bit of everything. Learning more about the turbulent history of Jews in Romania, we will visit the Elie Wiesel Memorial House, an important piece of Jewish heritage, along with the Jewish Memorial in Sighetul Marmatiei.
After quite a heavy trip through history, we will brighten the spirits up with a visit to the Merry Cemetery. Unique in Romania, the concept takes a light-hearted view on death, translated into the bright blue headstones and humorous epitaphs.
Lastly, before getting back to Breb, you will stop by the Desesti Wooden Church, part of the Unesco patrimony and an important symbol of religion and folklore in Romania. OVERNIGHT IN MARAMURES
Day 7: An early start today, but all worth it. You’ll be travelling deep into the enchanting green forests of Maramures and not any way, but with a steam train. As the Mocanita snakes away along the valleys and forests, take this time to breathe in and admire the scenery.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to Breb, but not before stopping by Barsana, perhaps one of the most impressive wooden churches you will find in Maramures. Back in Breb, get to know the locals, get involved in some rustic activities or simply sit back and enjoy the simple life. OVERNIGHT IN MARAMURES
Day 8: We’ll start the day with a visit to the neighboring village of Sarbi. Here, spot traditional, yet still functioning tools, such as the loom, or the traditional “washing machine” in the form of a mill and whirpool.
We’ll then leave Maramures behind as we will make our way towards an equally breathtaking region: Bucovina. The transfer will last for approximately four hours, broken down with pit stops and filled with greenery, stunning landscapes with hills, forests and alpine peaks in the background. In Bucovina, we’ll trade the wooden churches for the fascinating Painted Monasteries of Moldova. Today, you will be visiting two: Voronet (with its mesmerizing blue hues) and Humor. OVERNIGHT IN BUCOVINA.
Day 9: Today we’ll travel to one of the northernmost cities in Romania: Iasi, which was in 1941 the place where more than 13.000 jews were killed. An important university center, Iasi also houses a Synagogue which you will visit as well. Take the time to wander around the city center, sightsee and perhaps take a break in the Botanical Garden as well. OVERNIGHT IN IASI
Day 10: Following the trail of your Jewish Heritage, the first stop of the day will be Targu Frumos, one of the stops of the so-called “death trains” carrying hundreds of people from Iasi. In Targu Frumos, you will be visiting the Jewish Cemetery, the final resting place for over 5,000 Jewish people. Inside the cemetery there is also a mass grave for the victims of the death trains, an unforgiving reminder of the crimes of the past.
In the afternoon, you will witness one of the most spectacular views on this trip. Follow the road as it slithers through the narrow walls of the Bicaz Gorge, in between imposing peaks and hanging rocks. Arrive at Red Lake, which will be the final stop of the day. Take a boat ride over the lake, rowing in between the stumps of the old sunken forest that peak above the surface of the water. OVERNIGHT AT RED LAKE
Day 11: Making our way back to Transylvania, it will be a travel-heavy day, but full of more of Romania’s picturesque sceneries. The medieval citadel of Sighisoara will be the first stop of the day. Here, ramble around the narrow, cobbled streets and by the colourful houses, and take the Covered Stairs all the way up to the Saxon church and cemetery – here, you can find tombs dating back to the 1300s. After Sighisoara, the tiny village of Viscri awaits. The Saxon spirit lives freely here, as the village encompasses all that is pure about the Transylvanian countryside. Tuck in a gorgeous traditional lunch before making your way to Brasov.
Upon reaching Brasov, you will check in to your hotel and have the rest of the day to yourself. You may take the cable car up Tampa Mountain for some gorgeous views over the city, or simply wander around the charming old town. OVERNIGHT IN BRASOV
Day 12: After a full day spent in this lovely place, you may never want to leave. Start with a walking tour to check off the town’s main attractions, from the narrowest street in Europe to the Black & White Towers, which also offer some pretty views. Stop by the Beth Israel Synagogue, the neological Synagogue in the center of Brasov.
In the afternoon, visit the infamous Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle, due to its resemblance to the count’s abode in Bram Stoker’s novel. Then, return to Brasov to take in more of the town’s delightful atmosphere. OVERNIGHT IN BRASOV
Day 13: Sadly, the tour is coming to an end. Today we will be going back to Bucharest, but not before stopping by the fairytale Peles Castle. You will surely be mesmerized by the exterior architecture, and even more so by the decorations and furniture inside. Take a walk in the gardens and enjoy a delicious cake on the terrace overlooking the castle. With the alpine backdrop, the views are nothing short of enchanting.
Back in Bucharest, it’s time at your leisure. Enjoy one last traditional dinner in the old town before your flight back home tomorrow. OVERNIGHT IN BUCHAREST
Day 14: Depending on the time of your flight, you might have a bit more time to explore the capital city. You will be then transferred to the airport, just in time for your flight.
|2 persons *||2200|
|4 persons *||1400|
|6 persons *||1200|
|8 persons *||1400|
|10 persons *||1250|
|12 persons *||1150|
|14 persons *||1075|
• Price per person in a double room
• For single accommodation: plus 300 euro
• For 4 star accommodation (10 nights in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Cluj, Bucovina, Iasi, Red Lake): plus 200 euro per person in a double room
- 13 nights accommodation – breakfast included
- Private guide in English
- All transport costs – private car / minibus AC
- All entry fees for all sites
- All guide / driver expenses
- 4 traditional meals included
- Other meals than mentioned
- Photo fees where needed
For inquiries you may use this form and we will answer immediately
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Simone - London, UK" “Fantastic guide, knowledgeable, personable and proffesional”
As he has spent time as a journalist too his knowledge in other areas is extensive making interesting conversation. [...]