The following itinerary can be adapted according to your preferences. For example, you can skip the Delta, or Maramures, if you'd prefer just exploring Romania's cities and medieval towns.
Days 1-2: Bucharest
Arrange for your hotel to have a taxi pick you up at the airport and then experience the intoxicating energy of this heady, combustible capital: It's a city on the move. Make time for the Cotroceni Palace (call ahead to book a tour), the National Museum of Art, and the small but gorgeous Stavreolpolous Church, where it's also worth calling ahead if you'd prefer to learn something meaningful about Romanian Orthodox faith. It's also worth checking out the world's biggest example of architectural excess, Ceausescu's megalithic Parliamentary Palace, but you'll probably need to devote an entire morning or afternoon, thanks to a rather annoying queuing-and-waiting procedure. Try to stay at the Rembrandt, a fabulous little hotel in the midst of the historic Lipscani District, or -- if you don't mind forking out considerably more -- check into the friendly, plush, no-nonsense K+K Elisabeta, right near the National Theater. At night, you'll be spoiled for choice -- classy restaurants are opening faster than it's possible to keep track of, and there are dozens of bars that stay open until the wee hours. Start the night in the vicinity of the Romanian Athenaeum; if there's a concert on there, try to catch it.
Day 3: Sinaia & Brasov
You can save time by catching the early morning train to Sinaia, where you can leave your luggage at the station before setting off for the guided tour of Peles Castle, a fantastic introduction to modern Romanian history and a splendid example of just how far interior design can go with a big enough budget. After the castle, you can visit the local monastery before collecting your luggage and hopping on the first available train to Brasov, about an hour away. Brasov is centered on a wide-open medieval public square, surrounded by lovely architecture. You can view the whole historic center from Mount Tampa, getting to the top in a cable car. Visit the world-famous Black Church; in summer, you might catch a concert showcasing the brilliant acoustics and showing off the church's massive organ. But Brasov is great for just wandering around; there are lovely antiques stores, several fantastic restaurants, and great hidden alleyways. Don't miss the historic Schei neighborhood. Be sure to reserve a room in one of the small hotels recommended in the Brasov section.
Day 4: Brasov to Sighisoara
Once you've had your fill of Brasov, take the train to the World Heritage citadel of Sighisoara. There's not much to do, except soak up the ambience of a walled, cobblestone, hilltop city. Explore its Church on the Hill, and climb to the top of the Clock Tower above the museum. Taste tuica (fruit brandy) made by Teo Coroian, and eat in the restaurant occupying the house where the real Count Dracula was born.
Day 5: Sighisoara to Sibiu
Sibiu shared the title of European City of Culture in 2007 and got a thorough make-over in preparation -- it's a beautiful mélange of medieval and baroque monuments, with churches, museums and pedestrian squares galore. Take your time exploring, and don't miss the great Transylvanian food at Crama Sibiul Vechi, which occupies a 500-year-old cellar.
Days 6-7: Maramures
If you don't fancy spending 6 hours in a train, you can break the journey between Sibiu and Baia Mare -- the main city in Maramures -- with a stopover in Cluj-Napoca, a prosperous city with a large student population and modern aspirations; explore the cafes around the lively town square, and visit the church lording over it.
The trip into Maramures will take you back a hundred years or so. Arrange to stay with a local family for 1 or 2 nights to experience village life; with advance planning, DiscoveRomania will organize a driver to pick you up at the train station (or the airport) and can ensure that you have a guide throughout your stay in this, Romania's most bucolic region. Explore some of the gorgeous wooden churches scattered throughout the region, then visit the Merry Cemetery at Sapânta and the anti-Communist museum in nearby Sighet.
Days 8-9: Moldavia's painted monasteries
From Maramures, arrange to be driven all the way to Gura Humorului in the neighboring province of Moldavia, beyond the northern edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Spend what's left of the day exploring a few of the best of the painted monasteries of southern Bucovina -- Voronet, Moldovita, Sucevita, and Humor. Do whatever you can to spend the night at the beautiful green guesthouse, Casa cu Cerbi, in the tiny village of Voievodeasa, near Sucevita. The following day, spend time idling in the villages, and catch up with more of the monasteries.
Days 10-12: Danube Delta
End your Romanian tour by getting back to nature. The Danube Delta is now home to the smartest resort in the whole country: Organize well in advance for staff at the Delta Nature Resort to arrange the long road transfer from Suceava. A day spent exploring the Delta will charge your batteries and prepare you for the trip back to Bucharest and then home.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.