Sleep in an Ice Hotel and Explore Dracula's Castle
Explore Romania’s most picturesque medieval towns, it's snowy winter landscapes and experience a night on a bed of ice. 3 days off work.
Henri Coandă International Airport
If you’re happy in the cold and are looking for a unique experience, this is the trip for you. With no taxing activities, all are welcome on this trip.
Enjoy a once in a lifetime stay at Transylvania’s Ice Hotel and absorb some of Romania’s most ancient town and architecture. This whirlwind few days will take you through Bucharest, Brasov and Transylvania discovering Peles Castle, Dracula’s Castle and the wild Carpathian Mountains along the way.
- 1 night in the Ice Hotel
- 3 nights boutique B&B accommodation
- Local, certified guide
- Breakfast each day
- A guided hike in the Făgăraș Mountains
- Castle entrance fees
- Local transfers
- Airport transfers
- All taxes, insurances and licenses relative to the trip
Featured as one of the 'Top 25 life-changing solo holidays for 2019' by The Telegraph.
Day 1: Explore Lipscani District
On your arrival in Bucharest, you'll be met by your host at the airport and transferred to your boutique accommodation in the Lipscani district. You'll be greeted with a coffee or glass of wine before you head out to explore the old town.
This area has maintained its old-town charm whilst being modernised with a plethora of lively restaurants and bars. As you walk the cobbled streets you won't know where to look next with antique markets and bric-a-brac spilling out in every corner.
Feeling at home with Lipscani, you'll head back to the hotel; if you've not already eaten in one of Lipscani's many restaurants, you may enjoy dinner, or simply relax ahead of another day of discovery tomorrow.
Day 2: Peles Castle And Brasov
After breakfast this morning, you'll be transferred to Transylvania, with a visit to the magnificent Peles Castle on-route.
Located in the mountain town of Sinaia and built in the late 1800's, this castle is one of Romania's must-sees. Take a stroll around the grounds with the stunning alpine backdrop before heading inside to explore the ancient interior.
From here, you'll continue your transfer to the medieval town of Brasov. Spend the afternoon exploring Brasov’s charming old town, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains and its medieval Saxon walls.
Day 3: Alpine Hike And The Ice Hotel Experience
Today, you'll travel to Balea Lake. Hiking through the mountain tunnel, you'll witness some spectacular views of the wild Carpathian Mountains and glimpses of alpine wildlife. If you're feeling adventurous, you have the option to join a range of snow-based activities on the mountains, including snowmobiling, tubing or ice-rafting (not included).
At the end of the hike, you'll make your way to the Ice Hotel; hand carved each winter from blocks of ice taken from the frozen Balea Lake, the hotel consists of 14 rooms, countless intricate ice sculptures, an ice restaurant and Sub-Zero Ice Bar. Your evening will kick off with the Ice Hotel dining experience followed by drinks in the Sub-Zero Ice Bar.
Although temperatures in the hotel waver between -2 and 2 degrees, you're in for a surprisingly cosy night's sleep when you do decide to retire; your ice bed is covered with insulating fur and topped with a mattress for extra comfort, with more furs provided for bedding. With coloured lights embedded into the ice, you're in for a magical night's sleep.
Day 4: Visit Dracula's Castle
You'll say farewell to the ice experience this morning and head back through Transylvania for a visit to the 13th-century Bran Castle, known to many as Dracula’s Castle.
Explore the dark, narrow stairways that wind through the castles eery turrets, and the 57 rooms of Gothic furniture, weapons and armour dating back to the 14th century.
Suitably spooked, you'll continue your journey back to Bucharest for your final evening. Dine at your boutique hotel or choose from the many bustling eateries on the cobbled streets, before getting some much-needed rest.
Day 5: Time to Head Home
It's time to say goodbye to Bucharest. As your host will arrange your transfer back to the airport at a time to suit you, there may still be time to finish rummaging through the intriguing bric-a-brac of Lipscani, and if not, there's always next time.
*Please note that this trip does not have the usual social nature as other experiences on Much Better Adventures. This trip takes care of all the logistics and hassles throughout the journey. Your guide will be available throughout the entire length of the trip, however there are moments when the group may decide to split up for a few hours to follow their own agenda if they like to. Yet, for most of the time, the group travels together.*
All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.
The remote Ice Hotel sits between the peaks of the Fagaras Mountains and stands 2000m above sea level and can only be accessed via cable car. Each winter, the locals cut and drag blocks of ice from the frozen Balea Lake for carving. Hand carved by local craftsmen using traditional techniques, the frozen Balea Lake is transformed into the beautifully intricate structures of the Ice Hotel and its magical Ice Church, the theme of which changes each and every year.
With 14 beautifully lit bedrooms carved from ice, no two rooms are the same but will always feature ornately carved statues, and impressive sculptures.
Although temperatures in the Ice Hotel typically waver between -2 and +2 degrees, guests find themselves enjoying a surprisingly cosy night’s sleep; ice beds are covered with insulating fur then topped with mattresses for extra comfort. They also have coloured lights embedded into the ice creating a stunning, magical atmosphere when lit up at night. Bedding, further furs and specialist sleeping bags are all provided with storage and bathroom facilities located nearby in the Balea Lake Chalet.
During your stay in Lipscani and Brasov, you will stay at a 4-star boutique B&B. You can expect stylish, comfortable rooms with spacious en-suite bathrooms.
All rooms are based on a 2-person or 3-person twin sharing basis. For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for £75 per person (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking.
Brasov sits nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and is known as the gateway into Transylvania. A world away from the lively buzz of the capital city, Brasov provides the perfect base for exploring the Transylvanian countryside with its rural villages, fortified churches and thick forests as well as the infamous Bran Castle, would-be residence of mysterious Count Dracula.
The pace of life in Brasov’s Old Town is noticeably slower and more relaxed than in Bucharest and is the ideal location for those who prefer to take in the atmosphere at a leisurely pace, ambling around the cobbled streets, stopping for a hot drink in one of the clusters of quaint cafes or heading to a cosy restaurant for lunch or dinner.
Balea Lake and the Ice Hotel sit perched high up in Transylvania’s Fagaras Mountains at an altitude of 2,034 meters. As winter arrives and temperatures in the mountains begin to plummet, the lake gradually freezes over and turns into thick ice which is then used to build the hotel.
Bucharest Airport - anytime
Your adventure begins at Bucharest Airport (OTP) with your private airport transfer.Your host and driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. To make the most of your time away your host recommends getting an early morning flight. You’ll meet your fellow adventurers the next morning for your transfer to Transylvania.
Bucharest Airport - anytime
At the end of your adventure, you will be transferred back at Bucharest airport in time to make your flight. To make the most of your time away your host recommends booking an afternoon/evening flight.
The following are not included in the trip price:
- Travel Insurance
- Tips for your guides (optional)
- Drink in the Ice-Bar
- Meals except for breakfasts
- Additional activities
This trip will run with a maximum of 18.
Your host recommends to pack:
Alongside standard luggage, a smaller bag to transfer essential items into for your overnight stay at the Ice Hotel. However, should you with to take all of your luggage, there is a secure room in the Balea lake Cabana where you can store your belongings.
Balea Lake and the Ice Hotel are not generally as cold as people might imagine but it is safer to prepare for very cold temperatures, as it is not uncommon for the temperatures outside the Ice Hotel to hit -20 degrees. Your host recommends bringing some good waterproof shoes, a warm hat and some gloves to keep yourself warm. You might prefer to wear waterproof trousers or a ski suit to protect you from the snow and ice; however, aside from technical wear, layering your clothes is just as effective.
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Waterproof shoes
- Pair of gloves
- A Warm Hat
- A thick pair of socks
- Sun cream and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harsh sunlight
- Lip balm
- Mobile phone
- Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)
Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP) is served by flights from all over Europe. You’re free to book whichever flights you like and you host will fit your transfer times to meet. Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.
Bucharest is especially well connected to most airports in the UK including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Doncaster, Glasgow.
If you're travelling from London, your host suggests booking the following flights to make the most of your time away:
Outbound flight: Wednesday at 08:35 from London Stansted to Bucharest Otopeni (OTP).
Inbound flight: Sunday at 16:40 from Bucharest Otopeni to London Stansted.
Yes, children from the age of 6 are welcome to join this trip.
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The Ice Hotel season runs throughout the winter and during the initial part of the spring, with the official opening date set on Christmas Day, the 25th of December, each year. The Ice Hotel stays open to guests all the way up until the end of April after which time the warm weather sets in and the frozen structures of the hotel begin to melt. However, each year the Ice Hotel has been forced to close earlier and earlier as a result of global warming which is why bookings in April are no longer available to avoid disappointment.
The construction of the Ice Hotel can only begin once the Balea Lake completely freezes over, which usually occurs right at the beginning of December after which point the building, sculpting and carving commences. However, the unpredictable nature of the weather has an impact on the Ice Hotel season, making it difficult for us to predict the exact date the hotel, church and igloos will be completed and the precise moment that the ice starts to melt. The season up at the Ice Hotel changes month on month, the finer details of which are outlined below. Each month is different but equally special.
December: The festive season offers a truly magical experience up at the Ice Hotel, with Christmas and New Year celebrations in full swing. The New Year’s Eve party at the Ice Hotel is particularly special, complete with fireworks and bubbles when the clock strikes 12. You’ll also be the very first visitors to sleep in the ice-suites and eat at the Ice Restaurant at Christmas.
January: January is a great time to visit the Ice Hotel because the vast majority of the structures will have been built and all the ice sculptures and decorations are brand new and polished.
February: This is the prime time to visit the Ice Hotel. The Ice Church and Igloos will almost certainly have been completely constructed and the weather is usually sunny and crisp. February also plays host to Valentine’s Day on the 14th which is celebrated in style at the Ice Hotel.
March: March affords visitors to the Ice Hotel almost guaranteed blue skies and sunshine. There’s still lots of snow but you get the best of both worlds. In fact, it’s not unusual to find yourself enjoying a coffee outside in a Transylvanian town’s café with the sun beating down with surprising strength onto both your face and the snow-covered streets.
Temperatures typically range from -2 to 0 degrees, although it is much colder outside. However the professional sleeping bag and bedding provided ensure you kept warm.
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