All the tours described bellow can be personalised and converted in multi-day tours, in order to meet the client’s specifications.
– “The UNESCO trail“: eight Maramures churches out of 90 old ones, some of them erected in XIV-XV centuries, are protected by UNESCO World Heritage. They are filled by frescoes, icons on wood and glass, rugs and aprons made by local women, each church having its own story and particularity (in some, the families have reserved the same rows, from generation to generation, for several centuries). In certain churches you need help to get in, being locked. In an average day, you can visit five UNESCO churches.
-“The best of Maramureş in one day“: the tour takes you to Săpânţa Merry Cemetery and Săpânţa-Peri Monastery (the highest wooden church in the world) – close to Ukrainian border, pass through Sighetu Marmaţiei town, visit Bârsana convent (the largest and most beautiful in Northern Transylvania), stop at a wooden gates carver, a loom weaver, two groups of water powered machines (flour mill, carding mill, fulling mills, alcohol distilleries and traditional whirlpools), and finish visiting a beautiful UNESCO medieval wooden church.
-“Maramureş’s Top Ten attractions” (need three days): The Merry Cemetery of Săpânţa, Săpânţa-Peri Monastery, Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance from Sighet, Vaser Valley steam train, Sighetu Marmatiei’s Village Museum, Wooden Churches of Maramures, Bârsana Convent, Cosău Valley villages, Iza Valley villages and a hike in Volcanic Mountains.
-“Following Traditional way of life“: The tour takes you inside several traditional wooden farms, where locals are still working their land like hundreds of years ago, making hay by hand, breeding cattle for their use, in a subsistence economy. Their food, dairy or drinks are bio, even if the locals does not care about it! We will visit also a weaver (many women still use looms for making blankets, rugs or clothes), and some laundries-where the people still wash their rugs and carpets. If is the season, we will see a sheepfold and a blacksmith. You can also choose to visit the Hemp and Peasant Woman museums.
-“One day riding the Vaser Valley train“: follow the Vaser River forms a spectacular canyon-like valley, where cliffs alternate with fir and beech forests and clearings, on a train pulled by an old steam engine nicknamed “Mocăniţa”. A journey with it is like going back in time: on the valley is not cell phone signal (there are in service only radio stations). If you are adventurous, you can have a much longer ride, with the real logging train (the only one still working in Europe), usually hauled by Diesel engines, which carry forest workers and materials and departs in the very early morning.
-“Crafts from Maramureş” (some of them are seasonal or temporary): woodworking (carving and carpentering from small objects to mighty gates and spectacular churches), weaving clothing, carpets, rugs and other textiles from wool (some with natural dyes), hemp and modern materials, operating traditional riverside installations, manufacturing straw hats, colorful leather or textile waistcoats, barrels, pine wood shingles, ritual masks, Bridal crowns, bead necklaces or traditional leather footwear, weaving hazelnut fiber and willow baskets, forging metal, carving funeral crosses, painting icons on glass and wood, burning alcohol and charcoal, beekeeping and others…
-“Maramureş walking tour“: one or more days long flexible tours, due to the weather conditions and your personal preferences. It combine easy walks and hikes on hills and crests which separate the villages, or along tiny valleys, following small footpaths, horse cart roads or trackbeds of disused railways.
-“Music, dance, food and drink“: participate at a folklore festival, like Tânjaua (agrarian customs, held in the early May in Hoteni village, where the locals celebrate the most hardworking man – the one who ploughed first his field), or Sighetu Marmaţiei’s Winter carnival (on each December 27, a huge parade where perform hundreds of costumed and masked people from different parts of the country). You have also the opportunity to join a small, local festival or party, a good occasion to hear local music, learn a traditional dance, drink and eat together with the locals.
-“Sighetu Marmaţiei’s essential tour“: visit the town’s landmarks: the Memorial of the Victims of the Communism, the Village Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, Ellie Wiesel House, the 18 century Main Square, the beautiful food market, the Calvinist church (14 century), Catholic and Orthodox Ukrainian churches (18 century), the Orthodox wooden church (Border Police), the Orthodox Cathedral (20-21 centuries) and the Synagogue (early 20 century).
-“Maramures by animal drawn cart“: the tailor-made tours have varying lengths, and combine the cart ride with walking (optional). The carts are pulled by horses, oxen and water buffaloes owned by local farmers.
-“Maramureş’s distilleries“: In the region there are in use hundreds alcohol copper stills used for making “palinca” or “horinca”-a double distilled clear and perfumed spirit, over 50 degrees proof, made by plums, apples, pears or cherries. You are invited in the working season (April-May or September-December) to visit several family owned distilleries, where can see, smell and taste the local brandy, in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
-“Maramureş photo tour“: is including the most scenic villages of the region, like: Săpânţa, Breb, Sârbi, Budeşti, Bârsana, Glod, Poienile Izei, Botiza, Ieud, Bogdan Vodă or Săcel, terraced hills, wooden houses, gates and medieval churches, sheepfolds, some nice points of view (mountain roads and hilltop view points) and several traditional farms and workshops (water mills, a wood carver, weaver, blacksmith). It can be tailored depending on your interests.
-“Great outdoors“: hikes (searching points of view, remote waterfalls, primeval forests and alpine meadows) and bird or flowers watching on Volcanic Mountains (Mara-Cosău-Creasta Cocoşului’s ecoregion), Maramureş Mountains Natural Park or Rodna Mountains National Park (hosting the most beautiful Romanian waterfall, Cascada Cailor).
-The best way to understand the secrets of Maramureş is to book a fully “Tailor-made tour of Maramureş”, in the search of isolated hamlets without electricity or road access, Pipaş family private art collection and other private collections where is hard to get in, the village where the Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz were born, little known artisans, ancient customs, traditional healing, virgin nature, mineral springs and other things not mentioned above.