For all travellers joining an Odyssey small group tour we ask for respect for all member of the group and yourself and the communities we are visiting and that:
If requested by Odyssey Traveller you will undertake to take a Covid-19 test and share the result with Odyssey no more than 72 hours before a tour commences.
You respect the communities you are visiting and the Covid-19 directions issued including social distancing.
You will advise your program leader/Odyssey of any underlying change in your health whilst on tour and up to 14 days after the tour.
Odyssey and its suppliers will observe as a minimum the WTTC guidelines and those of the region you are visiting their Covid-19 requirements, the higher standard of the two instructions will be applied for a small group tour.
We remain aware, vigilant and empathetic to the need to change arrangements in response to the challenges of managing Covid-19 before and during a small group tour for the benefit of all in the internal and external Odyssey Traveller community.
Travellers should also familiarise themselves with our Peace of mind travel policy for Covid-19 as well as the terms and conditions applicable at the time of booking.
Romania Walking Tour
Our Romania small group walking tour for seniors explores the magnificent landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains and, additionally, takes in the vibrant culture and rich heritage of Romanian village life.
The tour is particular noteworthy for the country's breathtaking natural wonders, and the beautiful architecture and villages we encounter throughout.
Highlights of the Romania Walking Tour
The small group tour begins in Cluj Napoca, a vibrant town in the Transylvania region of Romania. We walk through several picturesque Romanian villages, including Ieud and Sarbi, with local guides explaining historical and cultural landmarks.
Stopping in the city of Sapanta, we visit the Merry Cemetery (a national tourist attraction, due to the colourful paintings on tombstones, which depict the lives of those interred there) and the Peri Monastery Church (the tallest wooden structure in Romania). We also take a coach through the gorgeous Moldovita Valley, where we tour the village and monastery where monks and hermits have lived since the 14th Century.
Our Romania small group walking tour is the perfect way to comprehend the country's natural beauty. During the tour we witness the Cascada Cailor, a stunning 90m waterfall with an altitude of 1300m. Especially memorable is the National Park at Hasmas, where we climb the Hasmaul Pass. The Park incorporates the Harghita and Neamty counties, and covers some 6,800 hectares. Home to a vast number of rare birds and plants, it also contains one of the only barrier lakes in Eastern Europe, towering limestone gorges, as well as flower-laden meadows.
The name Romania is derived from the Romanian Român, which in turn is derived from the Latin Romanus. Romanians believe that they are the descendants of ancient Romans who conquered southern Transylvania under the Emperor Trajan in 105 CE. The Romans withdrew under Aurelian in 271, but many Roman settlers had intermarried with the local Dacian people, creating a new nation. This Latin-speaking Daco-Roman culture survived both folk migrations of Slavic peoples, and the rule of a succession of outside empires.
Today, this Roman heritage is at the core of Romanian cultural and national identity. Most prominently, the Romanian language is a Romance language descended from Latin, more closely related to French, Italian, and Spanish than to the Slavic languages that surround it.
Romanian food tends to be hearty and home-style, with many dishes derived from peasant cooking. The national dish is sarmale, cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, meat and herbs. Equally common is mămăligă, a maize mush akin to polenta, usually served with sour cream. Soups and stews are also central to the Romanian menu, including garlicy tripe soup, fish soup, and tochitură, a stew of fried pork, mămăligă and cheese, topped with a fried egg.
Local desserts include papanaşi, fried dough stuffed with sweet cheese and topped with jam and cream. The Turkish influence means that Middle Eastern sweets such as baklava are also common.
Romania’s national drink is ţuică, a brandy made from fermented plums. Most ţuică is home distilled, and can be very alcoholic (about 50 to 60% alcohol). Romania is also the world’s tenth biggest wine producer, with many excellent local wines.
A Short History of Transylvania Once a province of the Roman Empire, Romania has three historic principalities–Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia–which were briefly reunited in the 16th century before splintering again when Transylvania was recaptured by…
Overview: We meet at Cluj Napoca, where we take a coach tour to Ocna Sugatag, heading towards Northern Transylvania. On the way, we have spectacular views of the Pasul Gutai Mountain, before arriving in Ocna Sugatag for free time and dinner. We stay overnight at the Pensiuna Cristal or a similar hotel.
Overview: This morning we take a walk to Breb, exploring the lush countryside, before we board the coach and head for Sapanta. We have lunch at a local restaurant on the way, before exploring Sapanta with a city tour, as well as visiting the Merry Cemetery (a national tourist attraction, due to the colourful paintings on tombstones, which depict the lives of those interred there) and the Peri Monastery Church (the tallest wooden structure in Romania).
Overview: After breakfast, we take a coach to Ieud. First stop is Hoteni, where we have a local guide to show us the main sights of the Iza Valley. We vist a local mill in Sarbi, and take a walk through the religious commune of Barasana. We stop to view the wooden church at Poinile Izei, where we enjoy a picnic lunch. From there, we travel into Ieud, where we tour the main sights, visit the second oldest church in Romania, and enjoy a 3-course dinner at a local guesthouse.
Overview: Today we take a more in-depth tour of Ieud, taking the chair lift to Borsa and exploring the Rodna Mountain. Along the way, we stop to see the Cascada Cailor, a stunning 90m waterfall that has an altitude of 1300m. We enjoy a picnic lunch on Rodna Mountain, before touring the Golden Bistrita valley and returning to the hotel for dinner.
Overview: Following breakfast, we take the coach to the breathtaking Moldovita Valley, where we tour the village and monastery, where monks and hermits have lived since the 14th Century. We explore the beautiful wooden church, and view the ruins of the original monastery. We then travel to Runc Village, where we see the main sights, before heading to Sucevita for dinner.
Overview: After breakfast, we travel to the National Park at Hasmas, where we climb the Hasmaul Pass. The Park incorporates the Harghita and Neamty counties, and covers some 6,800 hectares. Home to a vast number of rare birds and plants, it also contains one of the only barrier lakes in Eastern Europe, towering limestone gorges, as well as flower-laden meadows. In the afternoon, we travel on to Viscri, where we see the main sights via coach, before heading to our hotel for dinner.
Overview: This morning we tour the city in horse-drawn carriage, before stopping for a two-course lunch. There’s free time to explore the city in the early afternoon, before we regroup to see the beautiful Viscri Monastery.
Overview: After breakfast, we travel to Sighisoara, where a local guides gives an in-depth tour of the picturesque medieval village of Cris. Settled by German Craftsman and merchants known as the Transylvanian Saxons during the 12th Century, the village has a rich culture and history. We take a tour of the village, before taking a walking tour of Malancrav. Later on, we head to a hotel in Cluj-Napoca, where we enjoy a three-course dinner.
Along the Enchanted Way: A Story of Love and Life in Romania
by William Blacker
Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker's adventures will soon be part of its history. From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania to the book's poignant ending, 'Along the Enchanted Way' transports us back to a magical world most of us thought had vanished long ago.
Romania since the Second World War: A Political, Social and Economic History
by Florin Abraham
Romania since the Second World War is the first book about Romania designed to chart the progress of the nation under the communist regime as well as the transition period that followed, providing detailed analysis of the aspects of continuity and change that can be identified over the period as a whole.The book begins with Romania's involvement in the Second World War, looking at the communist regime in depth. It examines how communism took hold and the elimination of traditional elites took place, before discussing the impact of Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Caeusescu, the two most important leaders of the communist era. The following chapters cover the main social and economic changes during the communist regime. The second part of the book explores the transition period following the end of communism in 1989, with special attention given to international relations and Romania's drive for inclusion in NATO and the EU. Romania since the Second World War assesses socio-demographic trends across the postwar period before concluding with some thoughts on the nation's development during this time.The book includes a useful appendix covering the key figures in Romania's recent history and a helpful bibliography, making this a key text for anyone interested in the modern history of Eastern Europe.
Spanning a period of 2000 years from the Roman conquest of Dacia to the present day, A Concise History of Romania traces the development of a unique nation situated on the border between East and West. In this illuminating new history, Keith Hitchins explores Romania's struggle to find its place amidst two diverse societies: one governed by Eastern orthodox tradition, spirituality and agriculture and the other by Western rationalism, experimentation and capitalism. The book charts Romania's advancement through five significant phases of its history: medieval, early modern, modern and finally the nation's 'return to Europe'; evaluating all the while Romania's part in European politics, economic and social change, intellectual and cultural renewals and international entanglements. This is a fascinating history of an East European nation; one which sheds new light on the complex evolution of the Romanians and the identity they have successfully crafted from a unique synthesis of traditions.
'Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania' has been described as one of the best guide books on Romania. If you want to discover Romania with someone who knows it well, Mike Ormsby's travel writing is for you.Whilst the average Romania travel guide provides details of places to visit, this writer takes a different approach. Ormsby gets up close and personal, blending journalistic objectivity with dry wit to craft true-life stories about the people who live in Romania: from friendly hikers and shepherds in Transylvania, to exasperated taxi drivers and bossy bureaucrats in Bucharest.Ormsby's bittersweet short stories are a quick and easy read yet offer fascinating glimpses of an enthralling land that Vlad 'The Impaler' Tepes - real life inspiration for gothic legend Dracula - once ruled with an iron fist.Mike Ormsby's first visited Romania in spring 1994 as a BBC reporter. Touched by the hospitality and wry humour of the local people, he soon returned to teach journalism at BBC World Service School in Bucharest, and remained in that post for several years, writing in his spare time.Published in 2008, 'Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania', was well received by Romania's literary critics, several of whom dubbed Ormsby 'The British Caragiale', in deference to their beloved fin-de-siècle satirist and playwright. Ion Luca Caragiale shone a humorous and affectionate light on Romania in his era, and Mike Ormsby does the same in ours.Numerous expats and visitors have also welcomed the book as a unique and modern variation on the more conventional Romania travel guide.
On this small group Rural France tour, we spend 24 days exploring France beyond its bustling cities, travelling off the beaten track. We will explore the pastoral and provincial splendour of French rural towns which have resisted the dual siege of the automobile and the property developer. Our small group will visit many of France’s beautiful towns where within their walls the villagers conduct their daily lives much as they have done since Napoleonic times.
For centuries Malta, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica held the key to the Mediterranean. Unlike other European tour companies, Odyssey provides a tour leader and local guides to share detailed itineraries about the destinations on these small group journeys. This escorted tour explores the geography, history, culture and peoples of these 4 islands. For mature couples and solo travellers. A reasonable single supplement is charged.
Taken as a whole, Italian Civilization (which includes, of course, the splendid inheritance of Ancient Rome) is absolutely foundational to Western culture. Music, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Literature, Philosophy, Law and Politics all derive from Italy or were adapted and transformed through the medium of Italy.