All the tours described bellow are private, offer unique experiences and encounters with friendly locals and can be tailored and/or converted to multi-day tours. On request, if is possible, we can arrange transportation and transfers, in order to meet the client’s specifications.
New! 5 days walking tour of Maramures for very small groups. Departures in June 2020 and October 2020. Please ask for price, itinerary and other details.
New! The Golden Triangle: 7-9 days tailored tour of Maramures, Bucovina and Southern Transylvania for very small groups. Please ask for price, itinerary and other details.
“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), Sighetu-Marmaţiei town (see the food market or visit quickly the Memorial of the Victims of the Communism), visit Bârsana Monastery (the largest and most beautiful in Northern Transylvania), stop at a wooden gates carver, see a beautiful painted medieval wooden church and end seeing a group of water powered mills and other machines (or, skip the mills and take a short tour around a traditional village). Also, you will experience a local taste like “plăcinta” and, maybe, drink a shot of local spirit, “horinca” (or, have a traditional lunch).
“Maramureş’s Top attractions” (2,3, 4 or 5 days): See “the most do” list: The Merry Cemetery of Săpânţa, Săpânţa-Peri Monastery, the Memorial of the Victims of the Communism and of the Resistance and other museums from Sighet, Vaser Valley steam train, UNESCO’s wooden churches, Bârsana Convent, but also Cosău and Iza Valley villages, food and livestock markets, traditional craftsmen and farmers…
“Following Traditional way of life“: The tour takes you inside several traditional farms, where the locals are still working their land like long time ago, making hay by hand, breeding cattle for their use, in a self-sufficient subsistence economy. Their food, dairy or drinks are organic, even if the locals does not care much about it! You will visit also a weaver (many women are still loom knitting blankets, rugs or clothes fabric), and some laundries – where the people still wash or press their rugs and carpets. If is the right season, we will visit a cheese making sheep fold and a blacksmith. You can also choose to visit the Hemp and the Peasant Woman Museums.
“The UNESCO trail“: a number of 8 Maramures wooden churches out of 90 existing in the area, some of them erected in XIV-XV centuries, are inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage list. They are filled with 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). At many churches is hard to get in, because they are locked at all time. During an average day, you can visit five UNESCO churches.
“Half day in Ukraine”: cross slowly, by foot, the outside border of European Union and NATO into Ukraine, where, just 1 km away from Sighetu Marmatiei, in the little town Solotvyno, you can feel the atmosphere of a former salt mining Soviet town. There are salt lakes where people are bathing during hot summer days. You can also drink a beer (Lvivske or Chernihivske, better than Romanian beers!), or eat a Borscht or Pierogi, the national dishes of Poland which are originated in Galicia (a historical Polish province which today is part of Ukraine).
“Jewish Maramures tour“: see the most important landmarks of the Jewish community of Maramures, almost decimated at Auschwitz and reduced today at just a few dozens people: Elie Wiesel Memorial House, the active Synagogue (early 20 century, with displays about Jews’s history), the Jewish Cemetery (opened in 18 century, with 4000 tombs), the Holocaust Monument (near a new Hasidic Synagogue under construction) and the Drimer House at the Village Museum (a former Jewish butcher shop and a room sheltering the furniture from a village Synagogue). Outside Sighet, you can visit the village where the Seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz were born, or Elefant House from Viseu de Sus (with displays about Viseu Jews), or the ruins of a village Synagogue and of a “Mikveh”. Also, you should try some “latkas” (potato pancakes), a typical Jew dish appreciated by many.
“Maramureş walking/hiking tour“: one or more days long flexible tours, due to the weather conditions and your personal preferences. It can combine walks and hikes on hills and crests which separate the villages, or along tiny valleys (following small footpaths, horse cart roads or track beds of disused railways), bird or flowers watching, points of view, remote waterfalls, primeval forests, mineral springs and alpine meadows, but also human attractions (like churches, crafts and farms). Hikes on Volcanic Mountains (Mara-Cosău-Creasta Cocoşului’s eco-region), Maramureş Mountains Natural Park or Rodna National Park (hosting one of the most famous Romanian waterfall, Cascada Cailor) are also available.
“Ancient crafts” (some of them are seasonal or temporary): woodworking (carving and carpentering starting from small objects up 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…
In 2016 I have published a book about over 60 Maramures traditional crafts and jobs, still performed today by about 700 genuine artisans, working for community (not just for tourists, like in other parts of the world).
“One day riding the Vaser Valley train“: follow the Vaser River along 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 book a much longer ride, with the real logging train (the only one still working across Europe), usually hauled by Diesel engines, which carry forest workers and materials and departs at a very early hour.
“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 colorful food market, and some of the following landmarks: the Calvinist church (14-19 century), the Roman Catholic church (18 century), the Orthodox Ukrainian church (18 century), the Orthodox wooden church (20 century), the Orthodox Cathedral (20-21 centuries), the Synagogue or the Jewish Cemetery.
“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, about 50 degrees proof, made by plums, apples, pears or cherries. You are invited during the 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“: includes the most scenic people, landscapes and human settlements of the region. It can be tailored depending on your interests.
The best way to understand the secrets of Maramureş is to book a “Tailor-made tour“, in the search of isolated mountain hamlets or temporary villages without electricity or road access, private art collections which normally are not open to the public, ancient customs, traditional healing and other things not mentioned above.