This 10-day tour will leave you wondering why you waited to explore Europe’s roads less travelled. Ride the rails from Budapest to Sofia and experience Eastern Europe’s charm firsthand. Soak in a thermal bath in Budapest or opt to visit Buda Castle, Hungary’s royal palace. Discover Romania’s countryside while visiting Sighișoara or marvel at the baroque architecture of Brasov. (Better yet, enjoy the contrast by seeing them both.) You’ll also have time to sample Bulgarian cuisine that’ll give you the energy you need to cycle your way through Veliko Tarnovo, one of the oldest cities in the world.
Arrive in Budapest at any time. Check into our hotel any time after 3:00 p.m. and enjoy Hungary’s capital city. We recommended arriving a day or two early to better explore this charming old city. With the Danube River dividing old town, Buda, from the newer area, Pest, there is plenty to see and do. Opt to visit Buda Castle, window shop in Pest, or soak in the city’s famous thermal baths.
Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting, typically 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions.
Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
Enjoy a brief orientation walk of Budapest to get a feel for this charming city. Then have the rest of your day free for visiting Buda Castle, wandering the streets of Pest, or soaking in a thermal bath. For a taste of everyday Hungary, opt for a guided walk that ends at Great Market Hall, a food lovers’ paradise.
This evening, stop for a refreshment at Nem Adom Fel Café and Bar, whose proceeds help fund a non-profit by the same name, which means “Never Give Up.” Most of the employees at this social enterprise café are living with a disability, and the charity advocates for rights for the disabled all over Hungary. Your meal helps this café to invest in the charity’s efforts, which also includes supporting rural Roma communities through much-needed social programs.
We then board an overnight train to Sighișoara. The train is typically three beds to a cabin, with a shower and toilet available in each car.
Approximate travel time: 12 hrs by overnight train
Enjoy a free day to explore the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture of Sighișoara. Visit the walled citadel with its cultural attractions and great restaurants and bars.
There two great free attractions everyone should see. The Clock Tower, also known as the Council Tower is considered one of Sighisoara’s main sights. It was built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century. After a fire in 1676 when the town’s gunpowder deposits located in the Tailors’ Tower exploded, Austrian artists rebuilt the roof of the tower in its present baroque style and, in 1894, colourful tiles were added.
You should also visit the Church of the Dominican Monastery. Built in the late Gothic style, it was last repaired in 1929, quite some time after it was first attested in a document back in 1298.
For dinner we recommend sampling some Romanian cuisine at the Casa Dracula. Once the original home for Vlad the Impaler, who was the model for Count Dracula, it is now a restaurant specialising in the hearty meat and game dishes of the region.
Enjoy a half-day guided tour of Sighisoara and nearby countryside. Take in the beautiful rolling scenery and visit medieval villages and fortified churches. Learn about the life and folklore of olden times from our expert local guide.
In the early evening, transfer to the city of Brasov, the best preserved medieval city in Romania.
Approximate travel time: 1.5 hrs by private vehicle
Today we will visit the picturesque Bran Castle, impressively situated on a rock outcrop and dominating the valley. This 14th century castle is steeped in history and folklore and is an unmissable highlight. Sometimes called “Dracula’s Castle”, it served as a defense point to protect the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. Rumours abound regarding Dracula’s interaction with the castle. You’ll have to visit to find out the truth.
You’ll have the afternoon free to explore Brasov on your own. We recommend visiting the Scheil District. During the Saxon rule of Brasov, from the 13th to the 17th century, Romanians were forbidden from owning property inside the citadel walls and so they settled in the southwestern Schei district. Walk up Strada Prundului to Piata Unirii and the beautiful St. Nicholas Church; then, wander around the small curving streets that gradually slope upwards against the hill. Continue to the southern end of Schei and you’ll end up on the gravel road to the impressive Solomon’s Rocks (Pietrele lui Solomon), a popular picnic area for locals during the weekend but relatively quiet all other times.
We also recommend a visit to the Black Church (8 RON), which is the biggest church between Vienna and Istanbul. It’s a famous landmark of the town of Brasov, is Romania’s leading Gothic church, and has the largest church bell in the country, weighing a hefty 7 tons (6,350 kg)! Explore its beautiful interior, including stained glass windows and its collection of 119 Turkish carpets, the largest in Europe.
Travel to Bucharest and enjoy an orientation walk. Take time to explore the Soviet-esque architecture, the beautiful cathedral, or indulge in Bucharest’s international cuisine. There is a lot to see and do in Bucharest. Here are some recommendations:
Palace of the Parliament- Enjoy a visit to the Palace of the Parliament, which contains both chambers of the Romanian parliament as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC). It’s the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function, according to the World Records Academy; it’s also the most expensive administrative building.
National History Museum- Boasting more than 650,000 items, the museum, inaugurated in 1972, gives visitors a true understanding of Romanian culture. Housed in the former historic monument once known as the Palace of the Post, it is situated in the old historical centre of Bucharest.
National Village Museum- Check out examples of Romanian rural architecture at this outdoor museum that’s literally a park 10 hectares large. It boasts rural homes built in the styles throughout Romania as well as churches, outhouses, and mills — you’ll really feel like you’re walking through a Romanian village. To give an even more authentic feel to things, many structures are filled with furniture and pieces from the eras they replicate.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant- Visit the Museum of the Romanian Peasant for a interesting look inside the rural culture of Romania. The museum displays a collection of costumes, artifacts of Romanian peasant life, and religious icons.
Approximate travel time: 4 hrs by train
Enjoy some free time to explore more of Bucharest in the morning before travelling to Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in the world, Veliko Tarnovo. Wander the medieval town, visit the museums, or sample your first taste of Bulgarian cuisine. Enjoy this charming town and opt to visit the Tsarevets Fortress just outside the city.
Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by private vehicle
Enjoy the morning in the medieval town of Veliko Tarnovo. In the afternoon, visit the hilltop village of Arbanasi. This hilltop village was the residence of choice for the wealthy Roman elite and is still a country haven for the high-flyers of modern Bulgaria. The views all around and down to Veliko Tarnovo are amazing. You’ll want to visit the 16th-century Church of the Nativity (6 BGN) to see the amazing murals.
Today we travel to Sofia and take an orientation walk of the capital city. Later, wander down the pedestrian street or visit the eclectic Ladies’ Market – Sofia’s biggest market for fresh produce, meats, fish, cheeses and spices.
Don’t miss the stunning gold-domed Alexander Nevsky church, honoring the Russian liberators whose contribution saw the end of Ottoman rule in Bulgaria.
Sample modern takes on Bulgarian and international food, with some great trendy dining opportunities.
Approximate travel time: 3-4 hrs by local bus
Our program ends in Sofia this morning. You may depart at any time.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations. Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
This trip includes light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels. In the cities, you can split apart from the group to go your own pace. Getting on and off trains and walking with luggage requires some physical effort.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Day 2 (overnight train).
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning.
When you arrive at the airport, you can either take a taxi or use public transportation.
For getting to Budapest center city from the airport:
By Taxi: A metered taxi will cost approximately 25 to 30 EUR.
By Public Transportation: Bus 100E (airport to Deák Ferenc tér central metro station) departs from the airport every 30 minutes and the trip takes approximately 35 minutes.
Regular tickets for the airport shuttle bus 100E cost 3€ (900 HUF) per person and can be purchased from the customer service centres, newsagents, ticket offices or ticket vending machine in the arrivals hall.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Berlin office: +4915203076785
If you are unable for any reason to contact the local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with the 24-hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, from calls within North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from within UK: 0844 272 0000
Outside North America and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
For absolute emergencies after office hours please contact +44 7817 262559
If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Americans do not need a visa for travel in any of the countries we visit on this trip. Non-American participants should check with their government or nearest embassies of the countries to which we are traveling to find out if they need a visa.
As currency exchange rates fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency, and this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if you are carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in good condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2 for snacks or 10% of a meal bill). Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. As a budgeting guideline, $35-$45 USD per person per week can be used.
Please do check with your doctor to see if you will need any vaccinations for this program.
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins in Budapest and ends in Sofia. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Budapest. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose, but we strongly urge you to arrive by 6:00 p.m. on Day 1 for our group meeting. You can depart from Sofia any time on the final day of the trip.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
All of the countries visited on this trip primarily use a European-style two circular prong plug, either the type C “Euro” plug or the type F “Schuko” plug. The C and F tend be interchangeable. Their voltage is 230 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Weather in all of these countries is similar. Summer is hot with daily highs regularly in the 80’s and 90’s F.
Please keep in mind that this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Breakfasts are included in this trip other than day 3, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See price in top right corner
Roughly $1,000-$1,700 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $50-$70 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $25 for tipping local guides on additional activities.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Variable. At your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip. The prices below are in Hungarian Forints (HUF), Romanian New Lei (RON) and Bulgarian Lev (BGN).
– Budapest Morning Walking Tour
– Buda Castle Visit (1500 HUF per person)
– Budapest Bike Tour (28 EUR per person)
– Thermal Baths Visit (4200-5000 HUF per person)
– Clock Tower Visit (Free)
– Casa Dracula (Vlad Dracul Restaurant) (10-50 RON per person)
– The History Museum (Muzeul de Istorie) (5 RON per person)
– The Church of the Dominican Monastery Visit (Free)
– Catherine’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei) Visit
– Schei District Visit
– Black Church (Biserica Neagră) Visit (8 RON per person)
– Arch of Triumph Visit (Free)
– National Village Museum Visit
– National History Museum Visit
– Palace of the Parliament Visit
– Bucharest Bike Tour (20 RON per person)
– Museum of the Romanian Peasant
– Nativity Church Visit (6 BGN per person)
– Ladies’ Market Visit (Free)
– St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Visit (Free-6 BGN per person)
– Vitosha Boulevard Visit (Free)