Romania and Bulgaria are home to a range of historic sites that have been honored as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This 15-day itinerary takes you to see many of them, starting in Romania with the uninhabited citadel of Sighisoara and the fortified churches of Transylvania, then moving on to the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina and the diverse wildlife habitats of the Danube Delta. Cross the border to Bulgaria for the last few days of the trip to see Nessebar (“the pearl of the Black Sea"), and various historic churches, a Roman amphitheater, and a clifftop citadel.

Highlights

  • See the gorgeous Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
  • Boat around wildlife habitats in the Danube Delta
  • Go underground at a UNESCO-honored salt mine
  • Explore the cultural wonders of Transylvania
  • Spend several days in the Bulgarian city of Sofia
  • Day-trip to Rila Monastery, surrounded by striking scenery

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bucharest Bucharest
Day 2 Get to Know Sibiu Sibiu
Day 3 Day-trip to Sighisoara & Biertan Sibiu
Day 4 Visit Turda Salt Mine Cluj
Day 5 See Wooden Churches & Merry Cemetery Sighetu Marmatiei
Day 6 Go for a Steam Train Ride Gura Humorului
Day 7 Explore the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina Gura Humorului
Day 8 Travel to the Danube Delta Tulcea
Day 9 Discover the Danube Delta Tulcea
Day 10 Experience the Magic of Nessebar Nessebar
Day 11 See the Roman Amphitheater in Plovdiv Sofia
Day 12 Tour Historic Sofia Sofia
Day 13 Day-trip to Rila Monastery Sofia
Day 14 Marvel at the Citadel of Veliko Tarnovo Veliko Tarnovo
Day 15 Depart Romania - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bucharest

Romanian Atheneum
Bucharest's Romanian Atheneum

Welcome to Romania! Begin your trip in Bucharest, the capital. After settling into your hotel, take some time to explore this interesting and complex city. Make the most of your first day by taking a walk around the newly-preserved Old Town, enjoying a stroll through the city's oldest and most charming park, Cișmigiu Park, or enjoying the impressive National Museum of Art. Then take a coffee break in one of the many specialty cafés that have popped all over the city.

Day 2: Get to Know Sibiu

Sibiu

Looking down over Sibiu

Take the whole day to enjoy Sibiu, one of the most beautiful cities in Romania. Fortified walls, old houses from the 17th century, a central square bordered by an art museum and Town Hall, a bridge where lovers make vows for eternity – you will find all these here, and more! Wander around, take photos, stop in cafés, and simply appreciate the charm of this medieval gem.

Day 3: Day-trip to Sighisoara & Biertan

Dracula birth place, Sighisoara
Dracula's birthplace of Sighisoara

On your third day, you will visit two UNESCO heritage sites in Romania: Sighisoara and Biertan. Sighisoara is the only inhabited citadel in Eastern Europe; it will charm you with its colorful houses and pebble stone alleys. Biertan's fortified church is the largest of the seven UNESCO-honored fortified churches in Transylvania. In the evening, return to Sibiu and enjoy a delicious dinner in one of its restaurants.

Day 4: Visit Turda Salt Mine

Turda salt mine
Salina Turda salt mine

Say goodbye to Sibiu — the northern part of the country awaits you! Your next stop will be Salina Turda (the Turda salt mine), a natural underground wonder with healthy properties. In the afternoon, explore Cluj Napoca, the most modern city in Romania. You'll spend the night here. 

Day 5: See Wooden Churches & Merry Cemetery

Barsana Maramures
Barsana Monastery in Maramures

The second complex of churches that you'll see — also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is in Maramures. Tour the picturesque Barsana Monastery, then take some time to visit the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. This unusual cemetery, featuring colorful gravestones with rhyming poems and lively imagery, is a unique attraction in the world.

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Day 6: Go for a Steam Train Ride

Steam train in Maramures
Steam train in Maramures

Start your day early in the morning, boarding a 100-year-old steam train for a ride into the wild forest of Vaserului Valley. This half-day trip will show you an unspoiled corner of nature. In the afternoon, continue to Bucovina, another region with well-kept traditions. Relax this evening before doing some sightseeing tomorrow. 

Day 7: Explore the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Voronet Monastery
Voronet Monastery

The UNESCO-honored Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, considered masterpieces of Byzantine art, are the highlight of today's itinerary. You'll visit these landmarks in Voronet, Moldovita, and Sucevita to see the monasteries' exterior walls vibrantly painted with frescoes that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Your guide will point out portrayals of saints and scenes from the Bible. Enjoy views of the lovely surrounding scenery while traveling around the area. 

Day 8: Travel to the Danube Delta

Narrow cobblestone streets in a Romanian village

After breakfast, it's time to hit the road again. The ride from Gura Humor to Tulcea is long, but if you depart early in the morning, you will have time to stop and visit other attractions on the way, including the spectacular Neamt Fortress. In the evening, after checking into your hotel, go out for a walk around Danube's port.

Day 9: Discover the Danube Delta

Danube Delta Pelicans
Pelicans in the Danube Delta

Today you will have the pleasure of touring the Danube Delta. This delta, formed by the waters of the Danube — which flows into the Black Sea — is Europe's largest and best-preserved. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's home to hundreds of species of birds and fish. Your boat trip will take you through the delta's numerous lakes, marshes, and channels to observe this rich wildlife.

Day 10: Experience the Magic of Nessebar

Nessebar Bulgaria
An aerial view of Nessebar

It’s time to leave Romania behind and discover Bulgaria and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites! The first one you'll see is Nessebar, a medieval citadel built on an island that's connected to the shore by a manmade isthmus. The old town of Nessebar is filled with traditional old houses and historic churches. Wandering around these streets, you will understand why it's called “the pearl of the Black Sea”.

Day 11: See the Roman Amphitheater in Plovdiv

Plovdiv Roman Theatre
Plovdiv Roman Theatre

After Nessebar, you will explore Central Bulgaria and visit an ancient city, the UNESCO-honored Plovdiv. It's famous for its well-preserved Roman amphitheater, which you'll tour with a private guide. In the evening you will travel onward to Sofia, where you'll spend the last few nights of the trip. 

Day 12: Tour Historic Sofia

Sofia
The streets of Sofia

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, takes its name from Saint Sofia Church. On a guided tour, you will discover the main buildings of the city. After a traditional Bulgarian lunch, you will visit a small church built in the 11th century, another UNESCO World Heritage Site — Boyana Church.

Day 13: Day-trip to Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery, the best-known monastery in Bulgaria and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built up in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Explore the site on a day trip from Sofia. Then return to town for dinner and some free time to relax. 

Day 14: Marvel at the Citadel of Veliko Tarnovo 

Tsaravets Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo, once the capital of Bulgaria

Welcome to the last full day of the trip. On the way back to Romania, you will stop to visit the last UNESCO site of the tour: Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of Bulgaria. The old city, built on the edge of a cliff, features a beautiful citadel called Tsarevets. You'll stay overnight nearby on the last night of the itinerary.

Day 15: Depart Romania - End of Trip

Back to Bucharest
Driving back to Bucharest

Today the trip comes to an end. You'll head to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Romania? Check out these other Romania itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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