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Moldavian Painted Monasteries

Our ten day journey begins in Bucharest, the capital, which was once known as “Little Paris” because of its stunning Belle Epoque buildings and tree lined wide streets. We will experience feudal castles and spectacularly situated monastic communities.

Our pilgrimage focuses on the unique Orthodox painted monasteries of the Moldavian region, decorated on the outside with richly coloured frescoes depicting Biblical scenes, some dating back to the 15th century. In contrast we will visit robust Saxon fortress churches. We plan to engage with the local Christian community and learn about their way of life.


  1. Fly to Bucharest

    TAROM flight is scheduled to depart Heathrow at 14:50 and arrive in Bucharest at 20:05. Transfer to central Bucharest for a two night stay.

  2. Bucharest

    A day touring Bucharest including visits to the Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral, the Old Court Church and the Antim Monastery. In the afternoon our tour includes Revolution Square, the Palace of Parliament and the Village Museum.

  3. In the mountains

    We leave Bucharest and drive across the Transylvanian Alps through the scenic Olt River valley. We visit Curtea de Arges, the first capital of Wallachia region. The Metropolitan Orthodox Church of Wallachia was founded here in 1359. We visit 14th century Cozia Monastery with its fantastic frescoes. Dinner in a farmhouse in the village of Sibiel with an opportunity to visit the unique glass icon collection. Overnight in Sibiu.

  4. Sibiu and Sighisoara

    We start the day with a walking tour of Sibiu including a visit to the baroque-style Roman Catholic Cathedral. We continue on to the Saxon village of Biertan with its fortified church. This afternoon we visit Sighisoara, the best-preserved medieval fortified town in Romania and birthplace of the infamous Vlad the Impaler. We take a walking tour of the town and visit the house in which Vlad was born in 1432. Overnight in Sighisoara.

  5. Sighisoara to Bucovina

    We drive through the Tihuta Pass, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to the Bucovina region famous for its painted monasteries. En route we visit the Art of Wood Museum and end the day Moldavita Monastery where we meet the nuns. Two night stay in Radauti.

  6. Painted monasteries

    We continue our tour of the Bucovina monasteries visiting Humor, Voronet and Sucevita monasteries to admire the exquisite interior and exterior frescoes.

  7. Neamt monastery

    We drive on to Tirgu Neamt with its medieval stronghold and then on to Neamt Monastery, the first monastery built on a huge scale by Stephen the Great and known as the Jerusalem of Romanian Orthodoxism. The church here is one of the largest ever built in the Moldavian Region. Overnight stay in Piatra Neamt.

  8. Moldavia

    We head through the scenic Bicaz Gorges and past the Red Lake back into Transylvania. We'll cross the counties of Harghita and Covasna, areas inhabited mostly by the ethnic Hungarian Szekler people. We also visit Prejmer Church, the largest Saxon fortified church in the country. Two nights in Brasov.

  9. Brasov

    We start the day with a walking tour of this Saxon city, visiting the Black Church and the Church of St Nicholas. We also visit the First Romanian School where we hope to meet the priest, Olteanu, who can explain how the Romanian language was first taught in this part of Transylvania. We leave Brasov and continue to the medieval citadel of Rasnov, the largest rural fortress in the country, built as a refuge over long periods of time. We end the day at Dracula’s Castle in Bran.

  10. Transylvania

    We drive to Bucharest airport for our TAROM flight departing at 12:20 and arriving back into London Heathrow at 14:05.

Essential Information

The price you pay is inclusive

The only extras you need to budget for are some lunches, drinks and shopping.

We include gratuities to guide, driver and hotel staff.


Flights, Hotel accommodation, Breakfast and dinner daily, One featured lunch, Sightseeing programme, Entrance fees & guiding, Gratuities

Not included

Travel Insurance, Single Room supplement, Some lunches

Touring Information

There will be a fair amount of walking involved. This said, we are planning this pilgrimage to be accessible to all reasonably able-bodied travellers. If you are worried about the fitness element, have a word with someone at the McCabe office. Drives are not long, but travelling is very slow with traffic on minor roads consisting of tractors, trailers laden with hay and horse-drawn vehicles. Please prepare to be patient and enjoy the time taking in the picturesque landscape.

Travel Insurance

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller. The premium for a Romania pilgrimage is £64. Travellers over 75 pay £113. Do feel free to shop around as there are many suitable insurance options including annual policies on the market. We do insist that all travellers take out medical insurance. A key feature of our recommended policy is that there is no requirement to call a Medical Help Line as most pre-existing conditions are covered.

You can read the full policy wording here.

Passports, visas and health

Check that your passport is valid beyond the return date of this tour. If you need a new passport apply early as there can be considerable backlogs at the passport offices. There are minimal formalities for British passport holders entering Romania. A visa is not required by citizens of EU countries, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the Romanian Embassy before travelling.

No inoculations are required. We do, however, advise you to consult your doctor regarding your own personal requirements.


Flights are from London Heathrow with Tarom.


Romanian hotels have improved in recent years and we are happy that standards are now very acceptable. You can expect comfortable, clean accommodation during your stay and all rooms have private facilities.

You can click on the hotel websites below:

Europa Royal Hotel in Bucharest

Golden Tulip Ana Tower Hotel in Sibiu

Binder Bubi Hotel in Sighisoara

Gerald’s Hotel in Radauti

Central Plaza Hotel in Piatra Neamt

Aro Palace Hotel in Brasov


A buffet breakfast with breads, meat, cheese, eggs, yoghurts, cereals and fruit well as fruit juices and tea and coffee will be served at your hotels. Dinners will generally be at the hotels or in local restaurants and will normally consist of a starter followed by a meat (usually lamb, pork or chicken: more occasionally beef) or fish course with rice or potatoes and vegetables. This will be followed by a pudding or some fruit. Coffee and tea will then be served. Vegetarian meals can be provided. Included lunches in monasteries or religious houses are likely to provide much simpler fare. Bottled water is provided at lunch and dinner.

Local beers together with wines can be ordered to accompany your meal. These are generally very reasonably priced. Usually when paying for drinks you should round up a little … say 5% or to the nearest round figure.


Practical information

Travelling Alone

Many of our passengers travel alone and object to expensive single room supplements. McCabe Pilgrimages will accept individual bookings on a 'guaranteed share' basis. We charge the basic price and accommodate you with a person of the same sex also requesting shared accommodation. If we do not find someone to share with you, you will be accommodated in a single room at only 50% of the usual single room supplement. For single travellers who do require single accommodation this should be requested when booking and, if available, the normal supplement will be payable.

The McCabe Educational Trust

For many, meeting the ‘Living Stones’ of The Land becomes a real highlight of their pilgrimage. The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on pilgrimage. On your pilgrimage you will meet some of these people. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £15 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Full Financial Security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website HERE

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Upcoming Pilgrimages

We have no tours scheduled to this destination at present.

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