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Painted Monasteries of Romania

The Painted Monasteries of Romania

Overview

Discover the Monastic Archipelago of the old Romanian principality Moldavia – one of the most unique cultural landscapes in Europe. Covered in brightly coloured frescoes dating from as far back as the 15th century, the eight painted churches are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Their exterior walls are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th-century frescoes featuring portraits of saints and prophets. Deemed masterpieces of Byzantine art, the murals represent complete cycles of religious events. Their outstanding composition, elegant outline and harmonious colours blend perfectly with the surrounding landscape where you will enjoy some rewarding walks.

Highlights:

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Bucharest

Arrival and overnight in a four star hotel in Bucharest. Depending on your arrival time, you may have a chance to explore the beautiful capital of Romania.

Day 2: Train to Suceava and transfer to Putna Monastery

After breakfast, you take a train to Suceava (approx. 5 hours), followed by a transfer to Putna (1 hour). Visit Putna Monastery, built by Ştefan cel Mare, following his victory over the Turks at Chilia. It is also one of the most important cultural and religious centres of medieval Moldavia. Enjoy the next two nights in a cosy guesthouse in Putna with dinner included.

Day 3: Putna Circular walk

Today you will visit the small Sihastru monastery. On your way to the monastery, about 2 km from Putna, you will come across the hermitage Chilia lui Daniil. This cave contains a memorial plaque to the 15th-century hermit and seer Daniel Dimitru. A monk from age 16, Daniel later dug and inhabited this rock cave. Visit the museum in Putna, with priceless artefacts and treasures like the embroidered medieval shroud of the Tartarian princess Maria Mangob.

Day 4: Putna – Suceviţa

From Putna you take the old monastery path to Suceviţa monastery. In summer, the forest is full of berries and wild mushrooms. Suceviţa Monastery (built 1582–1601) is the largest Bucovina monastery, and some regard it as the finest. It’s perhaps best known for its exterior Ladder of Virtues fresco, with its 32 steps to heaven, near the main entry. It exhorts priests to righteous behaviour and to avoid the unfortunate fate of the clerics depicted tumbling from the ladder due to sins such as greed or vanity. Suceviţa was the last painted monastery built. The monastery’s museum exhibits various treasures and art pieces. Spend the next two nights in a welcoming guesthouse in Suceviţa with dinner included.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 17.5 km, ↑180 m ↓250 m
  • Accommodation: Felicia Guesthouse (or similar) 

Day 5: Moldoviţa and circular walk Suceviţa

After breakfast, a short transfer will take you to the Ciumirna pass where you can enjoy the astounding panoramic mountain views. Visit Moldoviţa Monastery, built in 1532. The monastery occupies a fortified quadrangular enclosure with tower, gates and well-tended lawns. The central painted church has been partly restored and features impressive frescoes from 1537. The southern exterior wall depicts the siege of Constantinople in 626, under a combined Persian-Avar attack. Interestingly, the besiegers are depicted in Turkish dress – keeping parishioners concentrated on the contemporary enemy. Inside the sanctuary, on a wall facing the carved iconostasis, a pious Prince Petru Rareş offers the church to Christ. The monastery’s small museum displays Rareş’ original throne.

  • Walking for the day: 3 hours, 8 km, ↑110 m ↓110 m
  • Accommodation: Felicia Guesthouse (or similar) 

Day 6: Suceviţa – Humor

Leaving Suceviţa, the transfer will take you to Solca village. An old cart path leads to the Polish village of Solonet, then to the Humor monastery from the 16th century. Built in 1530, Humor Monastery kept its religious function until Bucovina became part of the Habsburg Empire at the end of the 18th century. The Austrian authorities put an end to the monachal life from Humor, and only the church was allowed to continue with its religious functions. The monastery was only restored more than 200 years later, in 1991. The chromatic unity of the paintings of the church is still visible, the main colours being various shades of red. Their quality and importance were the main criteria for adding Humor Monastery on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spend the next two nights in Humor with your evening meal included.

Day 7: Voronet – Humor

Short transfer in the morning to Voronet monastery. Built in just three months and three weeks by Ştefan cel Mare following a key 1488 victory over the Turks, Voroneţ Monastery is the only painted monastery that has had an internationally recognised colour associated with it. ‘Voroneţ Blue’, a vibrant cerulean hue created from lapis lazuli and other ingredients, is prominent in its frescoes. A 2011 restoration of frescoes in the entryway revealed the incredible quality of these paintings even more clearly. Continue your walk up to Objina with good views over a valley and villages scattered around until you reach Humor.

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

After breakfast we will transfer you to Suceava train station where you can get the train to Bucharest. Individual stay extensions available upon request.

Hotels

One night in a 4-star hotel, two nights in 3-star guesthouse and 4 nights in family-run guesthouses, as indicated in the itinerary. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour

Sample hotels: Hotel Minerva, Guesthouse Cabana Putna Dorina, Felicia Guesthouse, Guesthouse Pensiunea Maridor Manastirea Humorului

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast on all mornings and 6 evening meals are included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your accommodation the night before.

Travel

Flights

Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Bucharest.

Flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Baggage Transfers

Luggage transfer is included, and your bags will be transferred by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next hotel. Baggage limit 25 kg per bag. 

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance WorldNomads

We strongly recommend protecting the cost of your trip and other non-refundable travel expenses with travel insurance. Our Signature Travel Insurance allows you to insure all of your expenses. While a Signature Travel Insurance policy can be purchased at any time, purchasing a policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit gives you the widest range of policy options, including a Cancel for Any Reason coverage. For complete peace of mind, we also recommend enrolling with Global Rescue, the worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation and security extraction services.

Read more and get a quote online

Country Info

  • Language: Romanian. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are in the Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.
  • Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
  • Currency: Romanian New Leu (RON) is the official currency in Romania (1 Euro equals 4.84 RON). We strongly advise taking adequate cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and in big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.

Up-to-date FCO travel advice on Romania is available here.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Easy to Moderate

This tour would suit a moderately experienced walker (no high mountain experience required) and requires a minimal level of fitness. The walks have a relaxed pace with enough time to take in the views and surroundings (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from April until November. Weather is best in June – September. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season.

View climate and weather info

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your daily essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact us or a reputable outdoor retailer.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable Waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included

  • Holiday information pack including regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • Accommodation for 7 nights in hand-picked hotels or family-run guest-houses as listed in itinerary
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 6 Evening meals
  • Transfer Suceava airport or train station – Putna
  • Moldovita excursion
  • Transfer Manastirea Humorului – Voronet
  • Transfer Manastirea Humorului – Suceava train station or airport
  • Daily luggage transport to next hotel
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost.

Options and Extras

  • Extra nights before of after the tour

Excluded

  • Bucharest airport transfers
  • Entrance tickets
  • Lunch meals and evening meal on Day 1
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
  • Travel insurance

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Painted Monasteries of Romania
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by Chester on King Ludwig Way

Delightful moderate walk building up slowly to an interesting climax over the days. Varied and friendly hotels. Kirchberger in Wildsteig deseerves... Read full review

We are a retired couple of 73 and 70 years old. We enjoyed the trip very much. The trip was well organised; all went smooth, the accommodation... Read full review

This holiday not only had erupting volcanoes, fabulous hospitality and a plethora of dramatic landscapes to walk in, it also featured gorgeous... Read full review

We had a really great holiday and appreciated the good organisation from your company. Everything went to plan, very well organised and good... Read full review

We just completed the Catalan Coast and Mountain week-long self-guided walking tour. February was perfect in the off-season! [The] itinerary... Read full review

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