0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258


Our holidays in Maramures
support local communities and
crafts through local
tourism initiatives


HIGHLIGHTS



Villages of Mara & Iza valleys
Surdesti - Wooden Church
Creasta Cocosului mountain
Budesti village
Memorial Sighet
(
Prison of the Ministers)

Sighet village museum
Barsana Monastery
Merry Cemetery, Sapanta
Botiza - Weaving
Poienile Izei - frescoes
Ieud - churches
Forestry railway - Viseu
Rodnei Mountains



TRAVEL


Infrequent flights available from
Bucharest to Baia Mare

Most convenient route is the sleeper
train Bucharest Nord - Sighet;
also Bucharest - Baia Mare;
trains from Cluj and connections
from Salva to Suceava
for the Painted Monasteries

Buses from Sighet to Baia Mare,
Satu Mare & Vatra Dornei

Wide range of inexpensive transfers
& tours available on Maramures
SEE BELOW


Visit Caroline Juler's
excellent website
for the best indepth tours
of the region:
www.mamaliga.co.uk


An excellent selection of photographs
of the villages, traditions and other
aspects of Maramures can be found
on the website:
Karpaten Willi
NB: German Text
All Maramures galleries under
"Speziellle-Maramures-Bildarchiv"


Maramures - Land that Time Forgot


This page has been updated. Please CLICK HERE for the new page


...

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu ACCOMMODATION

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu GUIDED TOURS

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu GALLERY

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu LOCATION MAP


Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu FLIGHTS

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu GETTING ABOUT

Maramures - the Land that Time Forgot; accommodation, bed & breakfast, pensions, hotels - Sighet, Botiza,Budesti, Sapanta, Borsa, Viseu CAR HIRE


CONTACT US (Transylvania Uncovered - Romania Travel Specialists) CONTACT US


Rush Hour in the Iza Valley of Maramures

0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258

Maramures

You will be welcomed to this beautiful land with open arms by people fiercely proud of their history and traditions. In the shadows of the majestic Rodnei, Tibles and Maramures mountains you will find an enchanting landscape of rolling hills with clumps of beech and oak where villages, nestled in the valleys, retain a forgotten lifestyle, almost preserved in mediaeval isolation.
Traditional costumes, blankets and carpets are woven by hand, waterwheels still power flour and fulling mills, and threshing machines, and shepherds tend their flocks in the high pastures. Above all, this is the realm of the woodcraftsman - everywhere there is wooden architecture of the highest quality imaginable, from inticately carved gateways bearing symbols of aspiration and continuity, eaves and verandas, to the famous churches constructed entirely of wood. Although many date from the last Tatar raids in the 18th century this is not a forgotten craft - the new monastery complex at Bârsana is and excellent example of a recent construction. Don't miss other, historic wooden churches such as Rozavlea, Ieud and Bogdan Voda in the Iza valley, or those at Plopis and Surdesti with slender spires (Surdesti being the tallest wooden structure in Europe), the traditional villages of Budesti, Sirbi and Calinesti in the Cosau valley, and Desesti, Harnicesti and Sat-Sugatag in the Mara valley, all noted for their wooden architecture. Other attractions include the famous "Merry Cemetery" at Sapinta, the fascinating "Prison of the Ministers"dedicated to victims of communism, in the regional town of Sighetu Marmatiei ("simply "Sighet" to most), the last working forestry railway with steam locomotives climbing the remote Vaser valley almost to the Ukrainian border, and the wilderness of the Rodnei mountains - a natural paradise for hiking and climbing. Most of all this is a land for strolling, there is no hurry - everybody has their own favourite place here, perhaps a viewpoint between valleys, or a spot beneath an apple tree or in a flower-filled meadow.



THE VILLAGE: Experience the Romanian Village. Here, the natural and cultural wealth of the countryside has been combined with genuine hospitality to provide a unique insight into a way of life long lost in many parts of the modern world. More and more people are turning their backs on purpose-built resorts for the simple life of the village,to encounter age-old traditions and customs, and beautiful landscapes which have evolved gradually over centuries, free from the blight of modern agricultural practices. Here, the visitor can discover at first hand the colourful diversity of folk costumes and dance, traditional skills and crafts and even participate in daily activities and customs, take a jaunt in an ox-cart or a horse-drawn carriage, or stroll through meadows and orchards infused with birdsong, filled with the scent of countless wild flowers, a kaleidoscope of colour. The rural environment is unspoilt and unpolluted, a far cry from the eyesores of the modern, post-industrial age. In the Romanian village you really can escape the hustle and bustle, the constant roar of traffic, the crowds and congestion, the pressures of the workplace, and see for yourself the therapeutic quality of this peaceful, rural environment.

MEALTIME: Your meals will be freshly prepared, the ingredients invariably organically grown or produced, without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides, often in the hosts' garden. Experience a tantalising array of specialities, perhaps including ‘sarmale’ - rolls of soured cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with rice andminced pork flavoured with herbs such as dill, lovage and savory, ‘mititei’ - charcoal-grilled meat rolls spiced with garlic and served with mustard, 'ciorba' - soured soups, or ‘tocanite’ - meat stews, usually of pork with paprika in the style of a goulash. Perhaps the best known dish is the staple of rural Romania, ‘mamaliga’ - polenta served with yoghurt, cheese or soured cream, one of many dishes suitable for vegetarians. For dessert, you can choose from doughnuts, pancakes or ‘cozonac’ - cake baked especially at Easter or Christmas, or maybe you would prefer raspberries or wild strawberries gathered fresh from the forest?

BOTIZA: We organise village homestays throughout Romania but one of our favourite and most popular is in the traditional Maramures village of Botiza. The village itself is renowned for its woven rugs and carpets; you can observe villagers making these on wooden looms and note the techniques for dying them using only natural vegetal dyes - greens, browns and greys. There are plenty of other examples of crafts such as blacksmiths, millers, shepherds - even a tiny ‘distillery’ producing horinca (double-distilled plum brandy). You will also find plenty of typical wooden architecture including the church which formerly stood in Viseu de Jos. Accommodation is in comfortable private homes with modern facilities, some of them with en suite bathrooms. A substantial breakfast and evening meal are provided, and a packed picnic lunch during the day. In most cases your hosts speak English and with our preferred hosts you will experience some of the best home cooking in all Romania! A car and driver, minibus and guides are all on hand to transfer you to and from the station (if you are arriving on the overnght train from Bucharest) and to make excursions throughout the Maramures, to the Vaser Valley railway or trekking in the Rodnei mountains. Alternatively the fascinating villages of Poienile Izei and Ieud may be reached easily on foot or by horse and cart. These are idyllic walks through meadows with far reaching views and a myriad of wild flowers such as crested cow-wheat, green-winged and butterfly orchids, and a host of pinks, bellflowers, daisies and clovers. There are plenty of birds too including shrikes, stonechats and larks, and butterflies including swallowtails, and in the woodland glades, Camberwell beauties. The old wooden church in the first mentioned village has fantastic frescoies in the nave depicting the Devil and what happens to sinners in the after life - they leave little to the imagination! You need to ask for the key from the house above the new church. You can also walk beyond Poienile Izei to the next village, a little place called Glod, which is very traditional. It is worth the extra distance for the tranquillity of the meadows and the far-reaching panoramas embracing the Rodnei and Maramures mountains. All activities and transfers are payable locally and are excellent value.

SIGHET: We have recently added a second programme to our portfolio, based on the exceptional Casa Iurca de Calinesti pension in the bustling market town of Sighetu Marmatiei. Sighet, as it is known colloquially is a fascinating place located on the border of the Ukraine (the region of Ruthenia) beside the Tisa River. Sighet is famed for its winter carnival when local people wear bizarre costumes and masks. It has several museums including a very good village museum and the excellent Sighet Memorial housed in the Prison of the Ministers. The prison achieved notoriety in the 1950s when former Government Ministers, generals, bishops and academics were held here as they could easily be spirited away into the Soviet Union if the communist regime was threatened It is now a very moving museum dedicated to the victims of communism. There was once a thriving Jewish community here. The synagogue survives as does the childhood home of the holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, which has become an impressive memorial. Sighet is well situated near the confluence of several valleys as a centre for visiting the Maramures. The Viseu, Iza, Mara and Cosau valleys are within easy reach,
as is the Merry Cemetery of Sapinta and the natural reservation of the Gutai Mountains.

Casa Iurca de Calinesti is a very comfortable 4-star family pension with a traditional restaurant. There are three en suite bedrooms and an apartment comprising two rooms and a bathroom. All rooms are air-conditioned with TV, minibar, telephone and free Internet access. A wide range of activities is available including transfers and day excursions with a professional guide,including tours of the Maramures or a day on the Vaser valley forestry railway.


THE MOUNTAINS: This corner of northern Transylvania is one of the most rugged and scenic. The Rodnei, Suhard and Maramures mountains are ideal for walking whilst the dense forests are a haven for bears, wolves, red deer and chamois and the high meadows are home to rare and endemic plants. It is also the point at which three major regions come together - Maramures, Bistrita-Nasaud and Bucovina. The folk culture and dance of the region is celebrated when dance and folk troupes from all three counties converge on the Prislop Pass in mid-August for the famous Prislop Hora, or 'Round Dance'. We can organise a visit from Botiza together with trips further afield. The regions are very distinctive - the wood crafts and architecture of the Maramures to the west, the folk costumes and dance of the Somes valley of Bistrita-Nasaud to the south, and the pretty Bistrita Aurie valley flowing east into Bucovina, via the delightful village of Ciocanesti, best known for its decorated folk architecture. All provide access to the mountains, though the Rodnei are best reached from the Prislop Pass summit or from Borsa Complex, a small resort with a chair lift and a small selection of hotels. Treks up to the summit of Pietrosul (2303 m.) or a simple walk to the 'Horse Tail' waterful or high meadows start from here. A longer trek through the massif to Ineu (2279 m.) is possible during the summer when snow has melted from the ridge. Ineu and the Lala lake are also accessible from the Somes valley. Mountain refuges enable a two day trek to form part of a holiday in Botiza. We offer a wide range of accommodation hotels in Viseu de Sus and Borsa Complex.

XSAMPLE PRICES - 2006
MARAMURES UNCOVERED - 8 days / 7 nights - daily departures throughout 2006

A simple package comprising British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Bucharest Otopeni, meet & greet services and transfers, overnight sleeper trains (1st class - 2 berths per compartment) to and from Sighetu Marmatiei or Viseu de Jos, and 6 nights full-board accommodation in Botiza (breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal) or bed and breakfast at Casa Iurca de Calinesti in Sighet, or finally a combination of 3 nights in Botiza followed by 2 nights at Hotel Cerbul in Borsa Complex, allowing you the opportunity of hiking in the Rodnei Mountains.

Flight: British Airways BA886 London Heathrow 09:45 Bucharest Otopeni 15:00
Meet & Greet Service/ Transfer (guide will remain with you until the train departs)
Train: A1643 Bucharest Nord 17:48; Sighetu Marmatiei 07:15 (2006 times to be confirmed)

Train: A1644 Sighetu Marmatiei at 16:59 or Viseu de Jos 19:05 Bucharest Nord 06:55 (2006 times to be confirmed)
Meet & Greet Service, transfer to Athenee Palace Hilton for Breakfast (included), baggage taken care of to allow free time to explore, transfer to airport
Flight: British Airways BA887 Bucharest Otopeni 15:50 London Heathrow 17:15

Prices include:

  • Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow
  • Airport taxes and passenger facility charges
  • Personal transfer and escort to Bucharest Nord station
  • 1st Class Sleeper berths on night trains to and from Sighet or Viseu de Jos (2 berths per compartment)
  • 5 nights accommodation as below (full-board or bed & breakfast)
  • Meet & Greet service on return to Bucharest; breakfast at Athenee Palace Hilton, baggage service enabling free time for shopping/ sightseeing
  • Personal transfer to station

Prices exclude
  • Transfers, excursion and guide services in Maramures (payable locally in Euros and excellent value - see below)
  • Travel Insurance

SAMPLE MARAMURES HOLIDAY PRICES FOR 2006
>ACCOMMODATION PACKAGE
AIRLINE
ADULT PRICE
EXTRA NIGHT
Twin/Double
Single
Twin/Double
Single
>Botiza - 5 nights full-board
British Airways
425.00
469.00
21.00
25.00
>Casa Iurca - 5 nights bed & breakfast
British Airways
410.00
494.00
17.00
30.00
>Botiza - 3 nights FB/ Cerbul - 2 nights B&B
British Airways
428.00
472.00
22.00
26.00

Adult Prices are per person in £ Sterling (GBP)
All prices are valid until further notice and subject to availability
These are examples only; a wide range of alternative accommodation and airlines, including regional departures, are also available
Indirect flights can save up to £ 40.00 per person but care should be taken to ensure an early afternoon arrival in Bucharest

Please refer to our separate ACCOMMODATION page for further information

ADDITIONAL SERVICES payable locally in Botiza (similar prices apply for Sighet)

Transfers and excursions with a professional english-speaking guide:
Euro 0.30 per km - by car
Euro 0.40 per km - by VW minibus


For example:
Sighet - Botiza transfer: Euro 35.00 per car; Euro 45.00 per minibus
Viseu de Jos - Sighet transfer: approx.Euro 25.00 per car; Euro 35.00 per minibus
Full day Maramures tour with guide: Euro 60.00 - 80.00 per car; Euro 80.00 - 100.00 per minibus - plus guide charges
Full day on the Vaser Valley Forestry Railway at Viseu de Sus: approx. Euro 30.00 - 40.00 per car (2 people) - plus guide charges
Full day walking in the Rodnei Mountains from Prislop Pass or Borsa Complex: Euro 55.00 per car; Euro 75.00 per minibus - plus guide charges
Guide Services (professional, licenced english-speaking guide): Euro 20.00 per day (car); Euro 25.00 per day (minibus)
For guests staying in Borsa, a taxi can be arranged by Hotel Cerbul to take them back to Viseu de Jos station (approx. Euro 40-50)

NEW FOR 2006
NORTHERN ROMANIA - HIDDEN VILLAGES & HEAVENLY PLACES

Join Caroline Juler, author of Blue Guide Romania, and her charismatic friend, local ethnographer, Georgeta Iuga,
on an expedition to the heart of northern Romania. This will not be a frantic dash around the well-known tourist sites,
rather a gentle journey through the villages of Maramures and the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.

10 days/ 9 nights - departures in May & September 2006



VASER VALLEY FORESTRY RAILWAY
The narrow gauge Vaser Valley Railway is one of the last remaining
forestry railways in Romania, and the only one still hauling timber down
from the forests. However, it's also the subject of a preservation project
so a trip up the line is not to be missed.
The journey begins in a woodyard at
Viseu de Sus very early. There is
steam-hauled, are likely to leave one afte
the other for the lumberjack camps deep
in the forest. The track follows ledges
high above the cascading river and
runs through tunnels. It is spectacular
but can take all day as this is a working train
dropping off trucks as it ascends for up to
40km into the Maramures mountains, picking
up timber on the return. It is also useful for
hikers. We can organise accommodation
in Viseu, a day trip on the train with our
Botiza holidays, and even special trains.

Please refer to our Forestry Railway Pages
for details of Photo weeks for 2006





Resita steam locomotive
shunts at Stavioara

Wooden church at Poienile Izei (1604) / Haystack near Botiza / Setref Pass

Rodnei Mountains / Maramures Violinist / Nightmarish frescoes, Poienile Izei

Botiza / Croci in Rodnei Mountains / Wooden church at Ieud

Transylvania uncovered
i

1 Atkinson Court, Fell Foot, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, United Kingdom LA12 8NW
Tel. +44 (0)1539 531258 or UK local rate: 0845 3000 247; Email. travel@beyondtheforest.com

ATOL 3319 - IATA 91267691


The air holidays and flights shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL nrmber is ATOL 3319.
ATOL protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.
Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.


Copyright © 2006 Transylvania Uncovered - the Romania Travel Specialists
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service
Transylvania Uncovered Romania Travel Service - Maramures Holidays 2006 Botiza Ieud Sapanta Budesti Sirbi Surdesti Sighet Viseu Borsa Walking Hiking Folklore Weaving Nature Landscapes Wooden Architecture Churches Responsible Tourism Flights Transfers Trains Hotels Pensions Excursions Guides Rodnei Mountains Iza Valley Romania Travel Service