This People and Landscapes Photo tour of Romania is centered on uncovering the charm of Transylvania and Maramures, historical regions that offer plenty of photo opportunities.
As you’ll photograph your way around Romania you’ll come across majestic mountains peaks, imposing castles and fortified churches, picturesque villages and beautiful architectural monuments. During fascinating meetings with locals you’ll get to capture ancient crafts and unique moments of people’s daily lives.
Optional, you can explore the Danube Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and amongst the richest areas in biodiversity.
- Photograph beautiful landscapes of mountains, forests and villages
- Get acquainted with the rural life of Romania – visit a sheepfold and learn about hay making
- Meet craftsmen and capture them at work: a woodcarver, a blacksmith, a glass factory and a family of coppersmith Gypsies
- Capture bears in the wild
- Explore UNESCO World Heritage sites and learn about the rich culture of Romania
- Optional, explore the dreamlike landscapes and pristine wilderness of the Danube Delta
Day 1 Saturday
Welcome to Romania! You’ll arrive in Bucharest, the country’s capital and be transferred directly from the airport to the hotel. You’ll have dinner and relax or, if the time permits, you can get out to explore the city.
Overnight in Bucharest.
Transfer time: 30’
Day 2 Sunday
The Old Town of Bucharest is an architectural gem, where all the narrow cobbled streets are lined up with impressive French-style buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th century. To start your People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania you’ll have a guided photo walk, after which you will head towards Transylvania.
On the way you will stop to shoot the magnificent Peles Castle, worthy of its Royal origins. The Castle is beautifully decorated with hand-painted murals and ornate fachwerk and stands out against the dense forests in the background.
Overnight in Bran.
Drive time: 3h
Day 3 Monday
You will start the day with a sunrise shoot in the mountains to capture the undulating hills, the silhouetted wooden barns and the high peaks of the mountains in the distance. It will be a good opportunity to practice your composition skills as there are many elements in sight.
Following that, you will head towards the famous Bran Castle, which gained its reputation as the home of Dracula. This cannot be farther from the truth, but we will let you find this out on your own during the guided tour. Due to its spectacular appearance and location, you will also shoot Bran Castle from a distance.
The second part of the day will be spent photographing wild bears. We will visit an observatory and shoot them as they come out of the forest to eat.
Overnight in Bran.
Drive time: 1h
Day 4 Tuesday
This day is dedicated to exploring Viscri, a well-preserved Saxon village and a favorite of HRH Prince Charles of Wales, who contributed extensively to its conservation and restauration.
First on the itinerary is the Fortified Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that catches the eye of all passersby with its imposing countenance. It is also home to a small museum, where you can learn more about the history and way of life of the Saxons.
Next, you will meet the local blacksmith and photograph him at work, after which you will head to a sheepfold, travelling by horse-cart, the way people still do. Shepherding has been part of Romania’s history since centuries ago and it is still done the traditional way. You’ll be able the photograph the shepherds as they milk the sheep, see the way they make cheese and how they live.
Overnight in Biertan.
Drive time: 3h
Day 5 Wednesday
On the fifth day of your People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania you’ll wake up early once again and travel to one of the nearby hills for a sunrise shoot in one of the most spectacular locations in Transylvania. Biertan Fortified Church is a majestic monument of Romanesque appearance that makes for a perfect photography subject as it sits in a valley, on a hilltop and overlooks the entire multicolored village.
Later in the day you’ll meet a family of Gypsy coppersmiths. They are proud of their craft, which they passed down from generation to generation. You’ll be able to watch the men of the family as they ply their craft using traditional methods, while the women dressed in colorful skirts will share with you stories about their traditions and customs.
Just before arriving in Sibiu, where you will have a photo walk just as the city begins to light up, you’ll stop for a visit at a glass factory. There you’ll be able to capture the craftsmen as they work their way through all stages of the process, from the glass in its raw form until they obtain the delicate and shiny objects.
Overnight in Sibiu.
Drive time: 2h 30’
Day 6 Thursday
Today there will be a long drive as you’ll head towards Maramures, a region “where everyday life still feels like an open-air folk museum”, as said by Rick Steves.
There will be various stops along the way. First of all, you will visit Alba-Iulia, a small town but of a great historical importance to Romanians as it was here where in 1918 Transylvania was united with the rest of Romania to form the current territory of the country. You’ll photograph the Vauban-style fortress and have a walk to admire the remains of the Romans and the beautiful Baroque gates.
Then, you’ll stop at Turda Salt Mine, an otherworldly place with an exotic appearance that will create some unique shots! The underground mine has a lake where you can row a boat, a Ferris wheel and even an amphitheater.
Overnight in Maramures.
Drive time: 5h
Day 7 Friday
For this day’s sunrise shoot you’ll get to capture a traditional village set in a valley. The silhouetted wooden monastery, the picturesque rolling hills that abound in the area and the unspoiled landscape make it a great spot to photograph.Next you’ll visit the Wooden Church in Ieud, a UNESCO World Heritage site and thought to be the oldest wooden church of Maramures. You’ll also have a walk through the village to witness the everyday life of the locals, hopefully taking advantage of interesting photo opportunities!
A most-do in Maramures – the land of wood – is meet a woodcarver. You’ll capture him at work, after which you will travel through the countryside hoping to see people working in the fields and making hay. Although early into the year, you might encounter locals mowing the hay, gathering it and making hay stacks, a very interesting process!
Overnight in Maramures.
Drive time: 2h
Day 8 Saturday
You’ll start the day with a shoot of Mocanita, one of the last fully-functional narrow-gauge steam trains in Europe. You’ll shoot it as it travels through Vaser Valley, along the winding river and the vivid forest.
Later in the day you will vist the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. It will be a unique photo experience as all the crosses are lively decorated in shades of blue, red, yellow and green. They depict scenes of the lives of those who passed away and there is also an amusing poem about them.
Another worth-visiting place during this People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania is the Memorial of the Victims of Communism, located in nearby Sighet. Through your pictures you’ll try to capture the dark atmosphere that envelops the place, characteristic to a former prison where communists detained their political opponents.
Overnight in Maramures.
Drive time: 3h
Day 9 Sunday
On the last day of your tour you’ll attend the service of the Orthodox Pentecost. It’s an important religious holiday for the locals in Maramures, so they dress in their best traditional clothes and go to church. You’ll be able to photograph the proceedings.
After that you will head towards Cluj-Napoca, where your People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania will end. You will be transferred to the airport and take your flight back home, hopefully with some amazing pictures on your camera!
Drive time: 3h
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.
This People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania is a cultural tour which focuses on photography by putting you in contact with interesting 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.
People and Landscapes Photo Tour of Romania: Included Services
- Trip planning and assistance before and during the tour by email and phone
- English speaking tour guide services throughout the program (accommodation and meals are included)
- Accommodation for 8 nights in standard double rooms with breakfast (B) included
- Transfer by sedan car (Ford Mondeo or similar) for 1-3 people or 8+1 minivan (Opel Vivaro or similar) for 4-7 people on the above itinerary. Fuel, taxes and parking fees are included.
- 3 dinners (D): in Maramures
- Visits to craftsmen, workshops and communities mentioned in the itinerary
Services which are not included in the tour price
- Entrance tickets to tourist sites. Per person you are likely to spend up to 50-70 USD
- Meals, except those included above. On average you can pay for a meal 10-15 USD
For prices, please contact us for details.
Gianni from Italy
“I took part in a photography tour Daniel organized in rural Romania. Excellent knowledge of local history and culture! We visited off-the-beaten path places with practically no tourists around. Daniel certainly knows some of the best view points in the country, and he tailored the tour since we were a group of photographers seeking for some good landscape views, as well as people photography. Highly recommended if you want to see real Romania!”
“I can’t say enough good things about the two weeks I spent with Daniel and a small group of photographers in Sept. 2016! He is probably one of the best guides I’ve ever had anywhere. Not only is he a walking encyclopedia about everything Romanian, he went out of his way to be helpful even when he should have been taking a break! He was totally adaptable to our wandering ways as photographers, giving us all the time we needed.”