Inala’s Romania Tour - 21 August to 2 September 2018
Birds, wildlife and culture of Transylvania and the Danube Delta
Day 1. Tue 21 Aug 2018. Arrive Bucharest and transfer to Vidraru Lake. Accom: near Vidraru Lake.
Day 2. Wed 22 Aug 2018. Vidraru Lake to Sibiu. Accom: Sibiu.
Day 3. Thu 23 Aug 2018. Sibiu-Sighisoara-Zarnesti. Accom: Zarnesti.
Day 4. Fri 24 Aug 2018. Zarnesti-Kingstone Mountains NP. Accom: Zarnesti.
Day 5. Sat 25 Aug 2018. Zarnesti to Tulcea. Accom: Floating hotel on the Danube delta.
Day 6. Sun 26 Aug 2018. Danube Delta. Accom: Floating hotel on the Danube delta.
Day 7. Mon 27 Aug 2018. Danube Delta. Accom: Floating hotel on the Danube delta.
Day 8. Tue 28 Aug 2018. Danube Delta. Accom: Floating hotel on the Danube delta.
Day 9. Wed 29 Aug 2018. Danube Delta. Accom: Floating hotel on the Danube delta.
Day 10. Thu 30 Aug 2018. Dobrogea region- Parches and Macin Mountains National Park. Accom: Tulcea.
Day 11. Fri 31 Aug 2018. Babadag- Black Sea coast. Accom: Tulcea.
Day 12. Sat 1 Sept 2018. Tulcea to Bucharest. Accom: Bucharest.
Day 13. Sun 2 Sept 2018. Depart Bucharest. Accom: none.
B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner
Day 1. Tuesday 21 August 2018. Bucharest to Vidraru Lake.
Today the group will meet at Bucharest airport (collection time depends on arrival times of participants). We will transfer from Bucharest Airport to Vidraru Lake (2.5 – 3 hours’ drive). This artificial lake was created in 1965 by the construction of the Vidraru Dam on the Argeș River. It lies in the shadow of the Făgăraș Mountains. A village lies submerged at the bottom of this lake. Accommodation: Hotel near Vidraru Lake (4 star en suite rooms). Meals included: D.
Day 2. Wednesday 22 August 2018. Vidraru Lake to Sibiu.
After breakfast, we will visit Poenari Castle (Citadel) which was one of the main fortresses of Vlad III the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation, Count Dracula. This abandoned 13th century castle was repaired in the 15th Century by Vlad, who realized the potential for a fortress perched high on a steep rock precipice. The castle once again fell into disrepair after his death and only the ruins of the walls and towers stand today. Access is by a long staircase but the view from the road should be sufficient. We will then cross the mountains to Sibiu on the Transfagarasan road, built in the early 1970s by Nicolae Ceausescu as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. The road climbs to an altitude of 2,042 metres, making it the second highest mountain pass in Romania after the Transalpina and offers great chances for wallcreeper, raptors and other mountain bird species. Mammal-wise we can observe the Marmots and Chamois at the highest altitudes. We will visit the medieval city of Sibiu on our arrival. Built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons, the riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of both impressive buildings and the fortifications required to protect them. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares. Accommodation: Guesthouse in Sibiu (3 star en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 3. Thursday 23 August 2018. Sighisoara to Zarnesti.
Today will visit Sighisoara, Vlad Dracula’s birthplace, which has its origins in Roman times and still stands as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sighisoara played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe for several centuries and became one of the most important cities of Transylvania, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. The German artisans and craftsmen dominated the urban economy, and also built the fortifications to protect it. In the afternoon we will also visit Bran Castle which has also been associated with the Dracula legend, thus completing our foray into the Transylvanian vampire mythology, before traveling to our accommodation in nearby Zarnesti. Accommodation: Guesthouse in Zarnesti (3 star en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 4. Friday 24 August 2018. Zarnesti-Kingstone Mountains NP.
After breakfast we’ll visit the Gorges of Zarnesti in the Kingstone Mts. National Park where we will spend the day tracking large carnivores and visiting the ancient Spruce, Fir and Beech woods. Bear and deer tracks are almost always seen and we are also hopeful of seeing wolf and wildcat tracks or sightings of these rarely-encountered animals. A large variety of birds are also found here, including Wall Creeper, Tree Creeper, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Serine, Crossbills, Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Honey Buzzard etc. In the evening we will visit a bear hide located in the forest where we will have the chance to watch the bears from the shelter of a small hut. Accommodation: Guesthouse in Zarnesti (3 star en suite rooms) as for last night. Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 5. Saturday 25 August 2017. Zarnesti to Tulcea.
Today is predominantly a day of travel. After breakfast we will travel to Tulcea, the gate of Danube Delta. We will then transfer to our floating hotel where we will spend the next 5 nights (we have sole use of the whole boat). Accommodation: Floating hotel on the Danube delta (cabins with en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Days 6-9. Sunday 26 to Wednesday 29 August 2017 inclusive. Danube delta.
During these days we’ll explore Danube Delta with its narrow channels and lakes, bird colonies, reed beds and large willow forests. You will have the chance to see colonies of White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican and Cormorants, also many Locustella and Acrocephalus warblers (including Savi's, Sedge, Paddyfield, Moustached, Marsh, Reed, Great Reed warbler), egrets, herons, Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers and Greenshanks, Kingfishers, Penduline Tits and other reed bed species (including Little Bittern). Raptors will include frequent sightings of Marsh Harriers whilst the Red-footed Falcons will be seen in small groups hunting insects. The White-tailed Eagles are very quiet in the summer, but there is always a chance of locating one of the ten breeding pairs that live here. On one of these days we’ll travel by boat to Letea Forest, a strictly protected area of Balkan oak woodland on maritime sand dunes. This area is the oldest natural reservation in Romania, established in 1938 and covering approximately 2,825 hectares. This forest was the initial foundation of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. It was internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program in 1992. This will be a good day for finding a variety of mammals, lizards and birds. The flora is also amazing, with many endemic species of trees and flowering plants. We will also visit a few traditional villages from the Delta, such as Letea village. Accommodation: Floating hotel on the Danube delta (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D each day.tel Danube delta. D. Petrescu
Day 10. Thursday 30 August 2018. Dobrogea region-Parches and Macin Mountains National Park.
Today we will explore the Dobrogea region (Parches and Macin Mountains National Park), having our picnic lunch in the heart of nature. In the morning we will visit Parches, a 30-minute drive from Tulcea where we will have great views over the Delta. We can expect to see a large range of migrating birds (species depending on the weather). Raptors include Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Marsh Harrier. We will then travel to the Macin Mountains (the oldest mountains in Europe) where we will look for interesting species like Long-legged Buzzard, Isabelline Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting and Hoopoe. The scenery here is also wonderful. Accommodation: Guesthouse in Tulcea (4 star en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D
Day 11. Friday 31 August 2018. Babadag- Black Sea coast.
After breakfast we will travel southwards, passing through small villages en route. On our way we will make a stop at Babadag Forest where several species of woodpeckers, Hawfinches and raptors such as Honey Buzzard, Imperial Eagle are commonly seen in addition to many rare plant species. The Sinoe-Razelm lake complex lies to the south of the Danube Delta. An extensive sand spit has isolated the area from the Black Sea and has left behind a series of shallow, brackish lakes, which are extremely rich in birds. Our main stop (for lunch) will be at Histria, where there is a large salt marsh containing scattered pools. Herons and ducks can be seen in large numbers, Acrocephalus warblers can be seen quite well here, in addition to Balkan yellow wagtail and a variety of waders. This is also the main feeding area for the small delta population of Dalmatian Pelicans. A variety of wild flowers should also be seen. We will have time to walk across the marsh to the ancient Greek-Roman port of Histria, located on the western coast of the Black Sea and the first urban settlement on Romanian territory founded in the 7th century BC. It was under Roman rule from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. Invasions during the 7th century AD rendered it indefensible, and the city was abandoned. Accommodation: Guesthouse in Tulcea (4 star en suite rooms) as for last night. Meals included: B, L, D
Day 12. Saturday 1 September 2018. Tulcea to Bucharest. We will leave early this morning after breakfast, and travel back to Bucharest (4 – 4.5 hours’ drive with coffee stop), the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. This afternoon will be spent visiting features of interest, such as a village museum and The Palace of the Parliament which is the largest administrative and also heaviest building in the world. Accommodation: Hotel in Bucharest (4 star en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.
Day 13. Sunday 2 September 2018. Depart Bucharest. We transfer to Bucharest airport this morning after breakfast for our departure flights to our various destinations. Accommodation: none. Meals included: B.
Tour Price: AU$6,500 per person sharing. Min group size: 6 people + tour leader Tonia Cochran + local guide.
Single supplement: AU$790.
Price includes: 12 nights’ accommodation at 3-4 star guesthouses and hotels at Vidraru Lake, Sibiu, Tulcea, Zarnesti, Bucharest and on the floating hotel on the Danube delta, specialist guide and transport on water and land, return transfers from/to Bucharest, all meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary.
Price does not include: International and domestic airfares, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry or other items of a personal nature or activities not mentioned in the itinerary.
Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yoghurt and tea/coffee. Full cooked breakfast is not generally offered at most locations. Lunch will generally consist of a packed lunch style meal eaten in the field, with sandwich/filled roll, fruit, and a drink. Dinner usually consists of several options for main with the choice of either an appetiser or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.
The itinerary: Whilst we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.