Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania
Capture Romania under an explosion of colors
Fall brings wonderful displays of color to the diverse landscapes of Romania. During this 11-day Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania you’ll journey through Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina in pursuit of great mountain vistas, foggy sunrises, charming medieval buildings and farmers gathering their late harvest.
The great variety of scenes and subjects will afford you countless opportunities to explore creative landscapes and inspiring compositions.
2022 dates are October 12-22.
Highlights of the Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania
- Sunrise & sunset shoots of the most picturesque landscapes in the country
- Photograph coppersmiths, blacksmiths and shepherds
- Drive on the scenic Transfagarsan road
- Get immersed into the local culture in Viscri and Maramures
- Visit beautiful medieval settlements
- Capture a narrow-gauge steam train traveling through the colorful forests
Day 1 Wednesday – October 12, 2022
Upon arrival in Cluj-Napoca we will check-in at the hotel and have a walk through the lively old center so we can get a feel for the place and see its beautiful architecture.
Cluj-Napoca is the largest city in Transylvania and offers an interesting combination of Romanian, Hungarian and German culture.
Dinner in the city will give us an opportunity to sample some of Romania’s Balkan cuisine.
Overnight in Cluj-Napoca.
In the morning we will head towards Sibiu, former European Capital of Culture. As soon as we arrive in the area, we will have time to enjoy wonderful views of the mountains and the forests on our way up to the nearby Carpathian Mountains.
In the late afternoon, as the light improves, we will photograph Cisnadioara Fortress and hopefully the snowcapped peaks of the Carpathian Mountains in the distance. It is built in the 13th century, it is the oldest Roman basilica from Romania, and it sits on the top of Saint Michael’s Hill.
In Sibiu you can photograph the charming squares, churches, and towers after sunset during the magical blue hour.
Overnight in Sibiu.
Drive time 3h 30′
On the third day of the Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania we will drive on the famous Transfagarasan Road, chosen by Top Gear as “the World’s Best Road Trip”.
We will go up and down the northern side, the most spectacular part of the road, with many sharp turns. From the highest point of the road, Balea Lake (2000m altitude) we will have incredible views of the winding valley and surrounding mountains, as the deep blue skies compete for attention with the jagged, snowcapped peaks. The colors, shapes, and patterns we will be able to observe are particularly interesting.
We will continue our journey with a stop at a bear observatory, given the fact that Romania is home to the largest population of bears in Europe. Deep in the forest, we will have the opportunity to see them in the wild and to photograph them.
Overnight in Pestera.
Drive time: 3h
We will wake up early for a sunrise shoot in the mountains in one of the most beautiful regions of Romania, between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains. The photo opportunities are remarkable: the Carpathian Mountains offer a great variety of scenes and subjects, including plunging valleys, mountain vistas, wooden barns, and pastoral scenes. Their usual beauty is enhanced by the spectacular colors of nature in fall.
Later that day we will shoot from a distance the famous Bran Castle, of which is believed that it matches the description of the Dracula Castle in the novel. Although it has no real ties to the vampire character, it looks imposing and mysterious sitting atop a rock a couple of hundred feet high.
Optional: At the end of the day we can have a shoot with the castle during the blue hour.
Overnight in Pestera.
Drive time: 2h
Optional, we can go out early for another sunrise shoot. There is the chance to capture some very interesting images, as the fog layer mixes with the early morning sun and the autumn colors of the trees.
Next on our itinerary is Brasov, a charming medieval town enjoying a great location between the mountains. We will have a photo walk and try to capture the cobbled streets of the old town, the architecture of the German and Romanian quarters and the old historic buildings, defensive walls and towers.
If the weather is favorable, we will take a step back in time by traveling to a nearby sheepfold. We will travel by horse cart, the way the locals do. If you’ve never been to a sheepfold before, you’ll find the experience fascinating: you will see how shepherds live, how they take care of the sheep and how they prepare the milk products. With a little bit of luck, we might also see how they milk the sheep.
Traditional dinner. Overnight in the village of Viscri.
Drive time: 2h 30′
One of the most interesting experiences you’ll have during this Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania will be a sunrise shoot in the village of Viscri, a place where the old day of life and traditions are still kept. We will be able to photograph the village waking up to life: hundreds of cows leaving to the nearby pastures to graze and villagers going to the milk collection center to leave the milk they’ve just milked from their cows.
Then, we’ll head to the beautiful fortified church. It is proof of the rich culture of the Transylvanian Saxons, who used to inhabit this area before they moved back to Germany in the second half of the 20th century. We will also explore the streets of Viscri, lined with German-style colorful houses and we will go to a blacksmith to see him working the steel.
After leaving Viscri behind, we will stop at a winery set up in a beautiful hilly region. Following lunch and wine tasting, we can also take some pictures as the leaves in the vineyard will have changed colors by then.
We will head towards our final destination of the day, the Bucovina region. As we cross the Carpathian Mountains through Tihuta Pass we’ll encounter spectacular scenery, with valleys and majestic mountains and small farms with haystacks in their yards.
Overnight in Bucovina.
Drive time: 5h 30′
We will start the day with a sunrise shoot in the countryside to capture the autumn foliage. The landscapes in Bucovina are dominated by small wooden cottages and hay stacks, which will provide plenty of creative perspectives.
A very interesting and well-preserved craft here in Bucovina is the tradition of painting eggs, so we will visit a lady who paints eggs and photograph her at work. It will be a good opportunity both to learn about the rich local culture and to practice your people photography techniques.
Another thing for which Bucovina is known is its painted monasteries, so in the afternoon we will visit some of them, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage. We will start with Moldovita Monastery, one of the tallest churches in the region. It has predominantly gold and deep blue paintings on the exterior while the frescoes feature strikingly bright colors and show saint figures and Biblical scenes.
Then we will visit Voronet Monastery, which is the most famous of all monasteries from Bucovina due to its blue paintings. The composition of the paint continues to remain a mystery even now, more than 500 years after the church was built.
Traditional dinner. Overnight in Bucovina.
Drive time: 2h
Today we will head west towards Maramures region, crossing once again the mountains, this time through Prislop Pass. We will make stops along the way to photograph the beautiful forests covered in yellow, copper, and brown hues.
The first attraction we’ll visit in Maramures is the Wooden Church in Ieud. As wood was found in abundance in this part of the country, locals would use it to build houses, churches, and tall entrance gates. They also became very skillful in sculpting beautiful decorations, so it’s no surprise that the wooden churches became a symbol of Maramures, some of them even being included on UNESCO’ World Heritage Sites list.
The church we’ll visit today is placed in a cemetery and with good light, we can compose very interesting scenes.
Traditional dinner. Overnight in Maramures.
Drive time: 5h
On the ninth day of the Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania we will travel to Viseu where we will get to capture one of the last fully functional narrow-gauge steam trains in Europe. If we are lucky we will see 2 or 3 trains passing by so we can change locations as they travel through the valley, next to the river and surrounded by multicolored forests.
Following that, we will visit the Wooden Monastic Complex in Barsana from where we will be able to admire and photograph the surrounding countryside dressed in the colors of fall, as well as the specific wooden buildings from the complex.
We will continue our day with a stop at the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, which is probably the only “happy” cemetery in the world as the crosses are decorated with vivid colors and funny poems about the lives of the deceased. We will also head to the workshop of the man that makes the crosses from the cemetery to find out about his craft and photograph him at work.
Traditional dinner. Overnight in Maramures.
Drive time: 2h 30′
We will wake up early for one last sunrise shoot. If we are lucky with the weather we might capture the landscape with haystacks and tall wooden church steeples surrounded by the misty fog.
Next, we will learn a little bit about the authentic way of life of people in Maramures. We will go to a brandy distillery so we can see how locals prepare “palinca”, a strong local brandy that can never miss from locals’ table at a feast or important event.
In the second part of the day we will travel to Cluj-Napoca, where we will end with a blue hour session in the city center and a farewell dinner.
Overnight in Cluj-Napoca.
Drive time: 3h
This marks the last day of your Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania. You will be transferred to the airport so you can catch your flight back home.
We hope you leave with unforgettable memories, enhanced landscape photography skills, and digital cards full of stunning images!
Suggested Itinerary Viewed On Map
About The Tour Guide
Daniel is a Romanian tour guide since 2011 and the very first tour he organized was for photographers. Since then he ran tours for several international photo tour leaders including a Pulitzer Prize winner so he became very aware of the specific needs of photographers.
He really loves the rural areas and people practicing traditional occupations and helps photographers interact with them. Previously he worked for Microsoft, Soros Foundation, Ecosistemi, Deloitte and AIESEC, lived in 4 different countries and traveled to another 30 on 4 continents.
About The Tour
This is a cultural tour which will provide additional opportunities for photography by putting you in contact with interesting locals and also planning visits around the good times of the days 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.
Since we include visits to people’s houses and their schedule is not totally predictable there might be cases when the people are not at home or cannot confirm being at home on the day for our visit.
Fall Colors Photo Tour of Romania: Included Services
- Trip planning and assistance
- Local tour guide services of English speaking licensed guide for 11 days. The guide has good knowledge of photography but he is not a photography teacher.
- Accommodation for 10 nights in double room (with private bathroom), breakfast included.
- Meals: 9 lunches and 10 dinners. Meals would normally include a soup or a starter, a main dish, a dessert, water, and coffee. Some meals will be set menus, for others we will order from the menu.
- Transfer along the itinerary by sedan car (Ford Mondeo or similar) for up to 3 people, by 8+1 minivan (Opel Vivaro or similar) for 4-5 people or by 19+1 minibus (Mercedes Sprinter, VW Crafter or similar) for more than 6 people. Road taxes, fuel, and parking fees are included.
- Private transfers from the airport to the hotel on the first and last day
- Visits to craftsmen, workshops and communities mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance tickets to tourist sites, including camera fees
- Meals except the ones included (you will probably spend on average 10-15 EUR/meal, in some places it will be more and in others less.)
- Other services not mentioned in the above sections
For prices, please contact us for details.
Julie from Florida, USA
“Besides being extremely knowledgeable about “everything Romania”, our guide did an outstanding job of taking care of each person’s needs and desires. Because of his unique contacts, we were able to experience meeting a wonderful gypsy family who made a living as coppersmiths as well as enjoy a real farm to table breakfast with a most interesting family in a small Romanian town. Both of these examples made our visit to Romania that much more interesting and fun.
Linda from Canada
“Travelled for a little over two weeks, from the northernmost mountain villages, zigzagging south to Bucharest. Our guide was a wonderful ambassador for his country as he showed us the everyday life of the colorful Romanian people. He brought the country to life with his insights into daily life and the places he arranged for us to stay and eat. What a fantastic experience awaits you if you book with this company! ”