28 / 12 / 2014
www.beyondtheforest.com provides everything you need to plan your holiday - unbiased travel information based on extensive, personal travel and an unparallelled network of local specialists.
To book your perfect holiday
A quaity, personal service by
travel experts in your local area
Now for Somewhere Completely Different - when Stoker set "Dracula" in the "Borgo" Pass
he had never set a foot in Transylvania - however, he had done his homework ... !
Village of Sant, in the Somes Valley
Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds - Beds
Our personal recommendations for the best accommodation in Bistrita-Nasaud
Luxury 5-star hotels to family run guesthouses
|Bistrita Historic Bistritz
Bistrita is one of the original 'Siebenburgen' with a fine Saxon church boasting the highest spire in Romania. Despite a serious fire a couple of years ago work is going ahead to renovate this hstoric monument. Bistrita is a friendly place, a pleasant, relatively prosperous, town and a local transport hub with frequent buses to Nasaud and the Somes Valley, trains to Cluj and an overnight sleeper train to Bucharest. It is probably best known as the location chosen by Bram Stoker' for his opening scenes in Dracula. The 'Golden Krone' is reputedly the old building annexed to the modern hotel of the same name - 'Coroana de Aur' in Romania. Bistrita lies in a cradle surrounded by orchards and the foothills of the Carpahians. It suffered badly during successive Tatar raids and many of its wooden houses were destroyed by fire over the centuries. However, there are still some historic buildings around the main square, including the attractive Sugalete arcade, and a couple of fine avenues radiate out from the centre. There are also fortifications from the old citadel located near the park, by the river and a folklore museum with excellent exhibits of the rich regional folk art, and a reconstructed wooden church and villahe dwelling. Much of the remainder of the town, including the area near the station and the industrial estates was built during the Communist-era, as were the extensive residential zones of concrete apartment blocks which stretch out east and west of the centre. That said, it is a pleasant enough town for a night or two, with nice accommodation and good restaurants, and makes a very useful stopover en route to the Borgo Pass and Bucovina, the Rodnei Mountains or even Targu Mures, Sighisoara and Saxon Transylvania.
In the surrounding region, you will find the charming Saxon villages of Dumitra (Mettersdorf) and, well off the beaten track, Târpiu (Treppen), both with typical churches and brightly painted houses. Further afield are Lechinta (Lechnitz) and Herina (Mönchsdorf), the latter with an unusual Saxon church, recently renovated. Lechinta is also well known as a wine region, and wine-tasting can be organised in the town cellars.
|Somes Valley: Folklore and Culture
The Somes is known throughout Romania for its wealth of folklore - traditional costumes, dance and music have been preserved and may be seen at weddings, inpromptu celebrations or folk festivals. One of the best examples is the large, rambling village of Sant, an ideal starting point for trekking in the Rodnei Mountains: Mt. Ineu and Lala Lake. It's name, which means "trench" refers to trenches dug as a defence against Tatar incursions. It is especially known for its weddings, and the traditional costumes worn with pride for celebrations and dances. Almost every home is decorated with weavings, embroidered towels and hand-painted ceramics, the fruit of many winters of work on the loom, and part of the dowry for the daughters of the family, togther with quilt covers, pillow cases and intricate costumes. Other communities in this lengthy valley are also known for the wealth of folklore, the costumes differing from village to village, and also their dance troupes and traditional folk songs. There is a folklore museum at Maieru (see below), a village museum in Bistrita while the homes of the poet Cosbuc and writer Rebreanu are open to the public.
The forested slopes around the Rotunda Pass are rich in wildlife and offer endless opportunities for rambling or simply relaxing with a picnic in a flower-filled meadow beside a stream, or one of many mineral water springs("borcut") in the valley. There is also the spa of Sangeorz-Bai with a wide range of natural mineral waters and you will find Romania's deepest cave system near the remote village of Parva.
Maieru Folklore Museum The Folklore museum was set up in 1959 by a group of school children inspired and lead by Sever Ursa, a teacher of Romanian, whose lifelong preoccupation with Rebreanu's work determined him to organize a small exhibition displaying some of Rebreanu's personal objects in the school; the museum has significantly grown as a result of the dedication of its initiator (who had also been in charge of setting up Rebreanu's memorial house in Prislop) combined with the contribution of the local schoolchildren and teachers. Nowadays, it has over 3000 pieces on display and has gained a well-deserved prestige as a touristic attraction as well as a place where the cultural heritage is preserved - the museum's name, "Cuibul Visurilor" or Dreams' Nest, relates back to the metaphorical name Rebreanu used to refer to Maieru, the village where he "spent the happiest moments of his life"; There are no fixed opening times. The museum is open on request but it is preferable to announce the director by telephone about your planned visit (Mr. Sever Ursa, tel. 0263-372031).
Love at First Bite: Brief Encounters with Count Dracula 2011
Short break Dracula tours to squeeze into your itinerary
BeyondtheForest has been researching, designing and even organising Dracula themed holidays for groups and individuals for more than twelve years. The following short breaks have been designed to be incorporated into your Romania holiday or can be taken as stand alone holidays. Prices are quoted without flights for flexibility. They can be organised as links in longer itineraries or as stand alone holidays, for example in conjunction with WIZZ flights to Cluj or Targu Mures. A typical trail visiting Bistrita, the Borgo Pass and Sighisoara would work very well with a flight to Cluj, returning from Targu Mures. Please note these are examples - they can be extended or moodified as required. They can also be tailored as group tours or even incentives or treasure trails for clubs or businesses.
All holidays shown are suggestions and prices are estimated and will vary according to actual accommodation and numbers. Please contact our recommended travel agents for your own tailor-made itinerary, quotations and to book all services You can find additional information about itineraries and background on both the real abd fictional Dracula on our dedicated 'Dracula' pages (link above)
|SAMPLE 1: Dracula: Beauty & the Beast
(Painted Monasteries + Jonathan Harker Trail)
6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS - Daily Departures from Bucharest (excludes flights)
Then amongst a chorus of screams from the peasants and universal crossing of themselves, a caleche, with four horses, drove up behind us, overtook us, and drew up beside the coach. I could see from the flash of our lamps, as the rays fell on them, that the horses were coal-black and splendid animals. They were driven by a tall man, with a long brown beard and a tall hat, which seemed to hide his face from us. I could only see the gleam of a pair of very bright eyes, which seemed red in the lamplight, as he turned to us. 'Dracula' Bram Stoker
DAY 1: Meet & Greet service from either Bucharest airport or a hotel, transfer to Bucharest Nord station; Intercity train to Suceava (1st Class) Arrives late evening
Hotel in Suceava - bed & breakfast for 1 night
DAY 2: Breakfast then personal tour of the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina (info) with a car and professional guide (full day)
Flexible itinerary - excludes entrance fees so you can choose between the Painted Monasteries - Sucevita, Moldovita, Voronet, Arbore or Humor,
or even other monasteries such as Dragomârna, Putna, Agapia or Varatec. Overnight at a private guesthouse or family-run hotel in Gura Humorului or Voronet area.
DAY 3: Jonathan Harker Trail - Transfer to station; Scenic train ride to the pretty village of Lunca Ilvei in the Bargau Mountains - the journey takes you over the Mestecanis Pass to the spa of Vatra Dornei then through the Suhard Mountains into Transylvania. On arrival at the station climb into your waiting cart for the unique journey up the Borgo Pass. The horses wear red tassles to ward off the Evil Eye while the driver will have garlic or a crucifix! The journey takes about 4 hours,as you slowly ascend the Borgo Pass by tracks winding through the wolf-infested forests to reach the plateau ringed by the rugged peaks of the Suhard, Caliman, Bargau and Rodnei Mountains. Picnic provided or lunch at a local guesthouse in Lunca Ilvei. Overnight at Hotel Castle Dracula - bed & breakfast for 1 night
DAY 4: Guided tour/ transfer by car via Bistrita (Bistritz) to Sighisoara Overnight: - bed & breakfast for 1 night
Your journey can include a stop at the Golden Krone Hotel in Bistrita for lunch.
We recommend one of the historic hotels situated in the romatic, mediaeval citadel of Sighisoara - birthplace of the real Dracula - Vlad the Impaler
DAY 5: Explore Sighisoara in the morning; train to Brasov in the afternoon
We can mane several recommendations for accommodation in Brasov; prices are based on one of the historic boutique hotels in teh old city centre. - bed & breakfast for 2 nights;
DAY 6: Free time to explore mediaeval Brasov; optional: taxi or bus to Bran Castle (45 minutes)
DAY 7: Morning Inter-city train to Bucharest; Transfer to Airport if required. Departure.
£ 700.00- £ 850.00 per person based on 2 sharing twin/ double rooms
Reductions available for larger groups
Price excludes flights (WIZZ from £ 75.00 return)
Sample 2: Dracula: Jonathan Harker Trail (ex Bucharest)
5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS - Daily Departures from Bucharest (excludes flights)
DAY 1: Meet & Greet; transfer from airport or Bucharest hotel
Overnight Sleeper train to Vatra Dornei or Cluj Napoca (1st Class Sleeper Berths - 2 per compartment)
DAY 2: Breakfast then rail connection over the Carpathians into Transylvania. Overnight at a local guesthouse (fullboard - 1 night)
DAY 3: Jonathan Harker Trail - follow in his footsteps by Horse drawn caleche - fours hours through wolf infested forests following remote tracks to reach the Borgo Pass surrounded by the peaks of the northern Carpathians. Overnight at Hotel Castel Dracula.
DAY 4: Personal tour with car and driver, first to Bistrita (Bistritz) where you can enjoy Jonathan Harker's meal at the 'Golden Krone' (optional) then onwards through the Mittel Land of the Carpathians to Targu Mures and the mediaeval walled town of Sighisoara - birthplace of Vlad the Impaler - Prince Dracula. 5 hours. Overnight in a delightful historic hotel in the heart of the old citadel.
DAY 5: Explore old Sighisoara in the morning before boarding your afternoon inter city train back to Bucharest (1st Class)
Meet & Greet Service; transfer to airport ot Bucharest hotel
£ 295.00- 370.00 per person based on 4 sharing twin/ double rooms
£ 395.00- £ 470.00 per person based on 2 sharing twin/ double rooms
Reductions available for larger groups
Price excludes flights (WIZZ from £ 75.00 return)
Images of Dracula Country: Local train to the Bargau Mountains; Bistrita (Bistritz) with Saxon church; Jonathan Harker Trail - Borgo Pass; Caliman Mountains at the Borgo Pass
Sample 3: Brief Encounter Weekend Dracula
(start and finish: Cluj-Napoca)
4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS - Daily Departures from Cluj (excludes flights)
This tour has been designed to fit in with the dauly WIZZ flights from Luton to Cluj
"My FRIEND, - Welcome to the Carpathians. I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well to night. At three tomorrow the diligence will start for the Bucovina; a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me. I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land. Your friend, DRACULA. 'Dracula' Bram Stoker
DAY 1: Transfer from Cluj city of airport to old Bistritz (Bistrita), arriving mid afternoon. Overnight in the Hotel Coroana de Aur (Golden Krone) where you could even dine on Jonathan Harker's meal (optional):
WIZZ from Luton arrives in Cluj at 12:35
"'robber steak' - bits of bacon, onion and beef, seasoned with red pepper and strung on sticks and roasted over the fire in the simple style of the London cat's-meat!
The wine was Golden Mediasch, which produces a queer sting on the tongue...
DAY 2: Follow in the footsteps of Jonathan Harker with a morning drive to the Ilva Valley. First you pass through the orchards and then the Mittel land so well described in the novel by car arriving in time for lunch at a local guesthouse. Onwards by Horse drawn caleche - 3-4 hours through wolf infested forests following remote tracks to reach the Borgo Pass surrounded by the peaks of the northern Carpathians. Overnight at Hotel Castel Dracula.
DAY 2: Continue through the orchards of the Carpathian 'Mittel Land' ever deeper into the mountains to Lunca Ilvei for lunch at a local guesthouse where your horse-drawn carriage awaits.
OPTION 1: Drive to Târgu Mures for your late afternoon flight home (WIZZ departs for Luton on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday at 19:25
CLICK HERE for our NEW 'Another Europe' HALLOWEEN adventure and 'Jonathan Harker' Trail: experience Halloween as a short break in Cisnadioara or start out with the trail to seek outthe mythical Count Dracula in mysterious northern Transylvania. A horse and cart takes you up forest and cart tracks, climbing deeper and deeper into the Carpathians, to arrive at Hotel Castel Dracula on the Borgo Pass. Risk a night in this remote place before continuing through the Transylvanian Highlands to Sighisoara, birthplace of Vald the Impaler - the real Dracula. Overnight in one of the historic hotels in the romantic walled, citadel then join our special 'Another Europe' break for a Halloween party starting with a lantern lit trail to the historic citadel then a bonfire in the orchards. Additional activities include a full day excursion to the spectacular Corvinesti fortress at Hunedoara, and a ghost walk through mediaeval Sibiu. Book now as places are limited.
Folk Costumes & Festivals
Romanian folk costumes are characterised by different regional styles
and patterns. The principal colours of the costume are black and white.
The mens shirts are generally white, whilst women wear blouses
embroidered with a profusion of fascinating motifs, abstract figures
which usually represent either flowers or animals. These motifs are
painstakingly stitched in bright colours: red, blue, yellow, orange,
silver and gold.In Maramures the red and black bands of the aprons
are very distinctive.The main materials used are of animal (wool) or
vegetal origin (flax, hemp).
Demonstrations of costumes, embroidery and even folk dance
and festivals can be inorpoarted in bespoke itineraries.
Some of the the best opportunities to observe costumes, customs
and dance are at various traditional festivals which occur throughout
Romania as the year progresses. Some relate to Christian holidays,
particularly Easter and Christmas, others to the rural calendar such as
the beginning of the agricultural year, the crop harvest, or the vintage.
The best known are 'Sâmbra Oilor' (Measurement of the Milk),
celebrating the departure of the flocks to their mountain pastures in
May or June; 'Tinjaua' (Ploughmans Festival) in May; 'Cocosul de Horezu',
one of the most important ceramics fairs (June); 'Targul de Fete', the
famous 'Maiden Fair' on Mount Gaina in the Apuseni region (June);
'Prislop Hora' a great gathering of people and folk groups from
the counties Suceava, Bistrita-Nasaud and Maramures in August,
and the Masked Winter Carnival at Sighet.
|Hotel Castel Dracula, Borgo Pass / Beekeeper, Bârgau Mtns / Lake Colibita
Old Bistrita / Sant in the Somes Valley / Red Tassles ward off the Evil Eye!
Winter, Sant village / Somes Valley costumes / Orthodox church, Bistrita
Threshing near Nasaud / Caliman Mountains / Horse plough, Somes Valley
Copyright © 2014 BeyondtheForest - the Romania Travel Specialists