Romania Winter Photo Tour during Christmas and NY holidays

Christmas Photo Tour in Romania, Maramures

Capture the magic of the white season

6 days

This Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures takes you to the best place to uncover the magic of this holy celebration – a place where people still dress in traditional clothes to go to church, where groups of carolers gather on Christmas Eve and enchant you with unforgettable performances and where you are warmly invited to immerse yourself into the local culture.

You’ll have opportunities to photograph the calming winter landscape, to capture one of the last fully-functional narrow-gauge steam trains making its way through the mountains, to learn about wooden churches and their importance to the local communities and to attend a local festival.

Yearly dates: December 22-27.

Highlights of the Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures

  • Attend the Christmas Mass in a traditional village
  • Marvel at a narrow gauge steam train as it travels through the mountains
  • Photograph intriguing costumes and performances when taking part in a local event
  • Mingle with the locals and capture their customs and traditions
  • Soak in the festive atmosphere at the Christmas Market in Cluj-Napoca
  • Visit the Wooden Churches of Maramures, UNESCO World Heritage sites

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1  22nd of December 

Cluj-Napoca, a well-connected city bustling with life is the departing place of your Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures.

Following your arrival, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to the hotel in the heart of the city. In the afternoon you will have time to explore the Christmas Market of Cluj, to photograph the thousands of lights adorning the square and the majestic church of Saint Michael in the background, the rows of houses where vendors sell their treats and the crowds of people ice skating, caroling or simply enjoying the Christmas spirit.

Accommodation in Cluj.


Day 2  23rd of December 

In the first part of the day you will have a leisurely stroll along the streets of Cluj. The city has an intriguing mix of architectural styles with imposing buildings of Gothic, Eclectic and Renaissance traits, along with historical sites and attractive cafes, the perfect scene for street photography.  

Following that, you will drive to Maramures, the region where traditions are best kept and where we will visit one of the most traditional villages with a lot of wooden houses and where we hope to find locals preparing for Christmas.

Beautiful winter scenary - Romania winter photo tour

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 4 h


Day 3  24th of December 

A fascinating day awaits for you as locals get ready for the Christmas celebration! You will witness all the wonderful traditions and well-kept Christmas customs, from delicious meals being cooked to carolers wandering around the village, dressed in traditional clothes and honoring the birth of Jesus!

Christmas traditions in Maramures

In between, you will travel to the nearby Merry Cemetery of Sapanta to see the colorful crosses decorated with paintings and poems that make the cemetery a unique place.

People going to church in Maramures

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 1 h


Day 4  25th of December 

It’s time for one of the highlights of your Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures – going to church for the mass that takes place on the first day of Christmas. For such a religious community as the one in Maramures, it is a celebration that no person in the village misses and the reason why everyone is wearing their best traditional clothes.

Children getting ready for caroling

Following a traditional Christmas meal you will travel around the region visiting some of the Wooden Churches which are UNESCO sites – they are built using traditional building techniques and local raw materials. The monuments stand tall against a hopefully white mountainous background, allowing for some interesting compositions in your photography.

Barsana Wooden Monastery in winter

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 2h


Day 5  26h of December 

You will start the day by shooting Mocanita, one of the only narrow-gauge steam trains in Europe still functional today, as it travels through the forest, through mountains and valleys covered in sparkly snow.

Mocanita in winter

The second part of the day will be dedicated to landscape photography. You will spend time in the pristine countryside of Maramures, where the rolling hills and scattered wooden structures create an ambience of purity and simplicity.

Accommodation in Maramures.

Drive time: 2h


Day 6  27th of December 

During the last day of your Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures you’ll get to enjoy one of the most captivating festivals held around the winter holidays in the town of Sighetu-Marmatiei. Get ready for some intense practice of people and event photography, as locals from the surrounding villages wear costumes and masks and put on incredible performances by way of singing or dancing in order to display their unique Christmas traditions.

Winter festival in Sighet - Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures, Romania

In the afternoon you will drive back to Cluj, where the tour will end.

Drive time: 4h

Why travel with us



Suggested Itinerary Viewed On Map

Suggested Accommodation

Hotel Beyfin 4* – Cluj-Napoca

Known for its commitment to quality and attention to details, Hotel Beyfin offer to its guests accommodation in 31 rooms and apartments decorated with charming Italian furniture and having a high level of comfort. From some of the the rooms windows you can enjoy the views over the most important attractions of the city as the hotel is located in the very center of Cluj-Napoca. The distinctive elegance of the hotel can be also found in the restaurant and the upper terrace where you can delight with dishes from the Italian cuisine accompanied by local and international wines.
Teleptean Guesthouse

Teleptean Guesthouse 3* – Vadu Izei

This rural guesthouse set in the village of Vadu Izei is decorated in a rustic style, specific to the region of Maramures. Each of the 10 rooms is large, with wooden traditional adornments on the walls and a private bathroom. The delicious homemade food and the hospitality of the owner are the guesthouse’s greatest treasure!

About The Tour 

The Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures is meant for travelers who have photography as their hobby and who are genuinely interested in other cultures and take pictures in a respectful way towards the culture and the people they photograph. So culture comes first and photography comes second and sometimes that means putting down the camera and enjoying meeting the people or the event you are attending.

This is a cultural tour which focuses on photography by putting you in contact with interesting events, locals and also planning visits around interesting events and the good times of the day to take pictures. This means that on some days you might wake up early for sunrise or stay up late for sunsets and the blue hour, it is up to each participant though.

It also means that the tour plan is flexible and can be changed depending on weather conditions and photography opportunities found on the way.

Besides the planned visits at places of interest and people we’ve also planned time for 2-3 stops/day as we drive around the countryside as there are always unplanned very interesting photo opportunities, especially focused on people. It will be the tour guide who will make the call where and when to make those additional stops.

This tour is not meant to be an intense photography workshop with non-stop shooting, editing and image reviewing. The pace will be moderate so you can actually enjoy it as a holiday and learn about the culture you are visiting.

The tour guide leading this photo tour has good knowledge of photography but he is not a professional photographer or teacher. So you will be able to have interesting discussions about composition and some technical aspects but you will not be able to have very in-depth technical discussions.


Christmas Photo Tour in Maramures: Included Services

  • Trip planning and assistance before and during the tour
  • English speaking tour guide services throughout the program (accommodation and meals are included)
  • Accommodation for 5 nights in standard double rooms with private bathroom, breakfast (B) included
  • Transfer by four wheel drive car (Dacia Duster, VW Tiguan, Honda CRV or similar). Fuel, road taxes and insurance are included.  For up to 3 people we will use one car, for 4 to 6 people we will use 2 cars and for 7 to 9 people we will use 3 cars. Acommodation, meals and service fee for driver/s are included if using more than one car.
  • Meals: 4 dinners (in Maramures) and 1 lunch on Christmas day
  • Private transfers between the airport and the hotel on arrival and departure​

Services which are not included in the tour price

  • Entrance tickets to tourist sites. Per person you are likely to spend up to 20 EUR
  • Meals, except those included above. On average you can pay for a meal 10-15 EUR

For prices, please send an inquiry for details.


Traveler’s Reviews

Chuck from USA
“I had a great  time on our trip in winter through Romania and wanted to thank you for being such a wonderful guide. The trip was informative and fun – it has left me with memories for a life time. I doubt that I will ever duplicate the experience of traveling through Romania with the 2 “Dans”.”


Tracy from Canada
“If you thought I got back home and soon forgot about Romania, you’d be WRONG! I’m still looking at the pics on a daily basis.  I know I’m definitely going to go back.”


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