Spend Christmas vacation in Northern Romania, with one of the most relaxing and enjoyable Maramures tours. Here people still wear traditional clothes while caroling, wooden houses are traditionally decorated and food is home made. And for sure you’ll enjoy horse-drawn sledge or narrow gauge steam train rides in the snow and then warm up around the fireplace.
The vacation can be organized for a family or a small group and the duration is flexible.
Please find below our suggestion of how to spend the Christmas vacation in Romania. If you have other interests, please let us know and we can tailor-make a vacation plan for you.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 21st
Start your journey from Cluj and hear the first carols and see the first people dressed in traditional clothes in Baia Mare,on the way to your host village in the historic region of Maramures.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 22nd
Going to church on Sunday is a wonderful moment as some locals dress up in traditional clothes and you will experience the orthodox mass. In the afternoon you will visit the memorial of the victims of communism in Sighet and the Merry Cemetery in Săpânța.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 23rd
Guided tour of 3 of the wooden churches (UNESCO World Heritage sites) and of local craftsmen and artisans: women sewing and washing clothes at a natural whirlpool washing machine, men carving wood, making hats or running plum brandy distilleries. This way you will get to know the warm and friendly locals from the region. For 2-3 hours you will travel like many locals do, by a horse-drawn sledge if there is enough snow, if not by carriage.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 24th
You will prepare for Christmas and welcome carolers dressed up in traditional clothes; sing some of your carols and learn some local ones. A rich traditional Christmas dinner awaits.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 25th – Christmas Day
Spend the Christmas day with locals going to church and enjoying a culinary feast. Relax for the rest of the day or go to the nearby ski resort.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 26th
You will spend the day on the fairy-tale like narrow-gauge steam train leaving from Viseu and passing through the spectacular Vaser valley covered in snow.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 27th
You will attend the Winter Traditions Festival in Sighetu Marmatiei where you will hear carols and see horse-riders, carts with carolers and masked people from Maramures and other counties from all over the country.
Maramures Tours: Traditional Christmas Vacation - December 28th
Farewell your hosts and Maramures and head back to Cluj.
If interested, please send us an enquiry and we will furtherdiscuss how you wish your vacation to be tailored.
If you want to visit Romania in winter time but not for Christmas, please have a look at this suggested Winter Tour of Romania.
Maramures is a remote region in Northern Romania, on the border with Ukraine where winters are always rich in snow. Being a region surrounded by mountains, isolated and hard to access and conquer throughout history, the local culture is unique and has been preserved as centuries passed.
Wood being the most important resource, it was used to build houses, carve wonderful wooden gates and build wooden churches – now part of the UNESCO World Heritage. People are joyful here and you can tell it by the vividly decorated clothes they wear and the pleasure with which they welcome guests. Another proof is the Săpânța Merry Cementary, normally a sad place, here life is celebrated as people pass away and funny poems are written on very colorful tumbstones.
Maramureș is Romania's richest in traditions region and Christmas here is a like a fairytale.
Generally built on wooden foundations, massive and beautifully carved, the wooden churches in Maramureș are a proof of the influences exercised by the Roman and Gothic art. They delight through the shape of the eaves with shingle roofs that look like fish scales, high domes and wooden pillars on the porch adorned with numerous symbolic images of geometric, floral or zoomorphic nature. The paintings that decorate the interior of these churches illustrate religious scenes, aspects of local life or folk costumes.
These wooden jewels created by anonym artists were included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. (Bârsana, Budeşti, Deseşti, Ieud, Plopiş, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, Şurdeşti)
Many traditions and customs are still preserved here and they are passed down from generation to generation. The most important traditions are wood carving, weaving, and making hats.
Wood carving is the primary craft and occupation for men, as we are in the land of wood. It is practiced by many peasants who not only carve wooden gates and other wood objects but they also build wooden churches and even their own houses.
Women are mainly busy with making woven textiles for their families, houses and churches. They make carpets, towels and bed throws in vivid colors. Every respectable house in Maramures has a guestroom where they keep the daughter’s dowry.
The hats that complete the folk costumes are manufactured by traditional hat makers from straw and wood shavings. Every hat is differently decorated; there are those with colorful beads and flowers for the weddings and those simple and sober for funerals.
The Christmas traditions are very much alive in Maramures; here the traditions and customs are still well preserved not only in the villages but in towns as well. Starting from the youngest child to the oldest person, everybody participates in Christmas preparations.
The holiday has three steps: first is the preparation time, the one where the people clean their houses, the yard and the graves. The second step is the Christmas Eve and the days after it until the last day of December, followed by the last stage which is the New Year (named also as the Little Christmas) and the Epiphany (Boboteaza).
A wide-spread winter tradition in Maramures is pig slaughtering, normally done on the 20th of December; Christmas meals are largely prepared at home from pork meat and you will be able to try delicious sausages, lard or sarmale. Also, you will have the opportunity to listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, dressed in traditional costumes who visit every house in the village; they receive gifts such as coils, nuts and apples. After learning how to carol, you can go caroling yourself with your host family.
Maramureș is located in northern Romania, on the border with Ukraine. The airport that serves Maramureș is Baia Mare where Tarom flies from Bucharet. Through Bucharest you can connect with any SkyTeam Alliance airline (KLM, Air-France, Alitalia, Air Europa, Czech Airlines) or other airlines flying there.
Cluj-Napoca airport is 4 hours drive from Maramureș and there are more flights to this airport than to Baia Mare. Here there are also car rental companies so it is more convenient from these 2 perspectives. Cluj itself is worth visiting.
|Price per person
|4, 5, 6
The above price is for people over 10 years old and linked to the tour presented on this page. However, we can easily adjust it to your preferences so the price might change as well. Single room supplement is 90 EUR.
To confirm your reservation 100EUR per person should be paid in advance. 4 weeks before the tour start date, the full amount should be paid. Payments are done through bank transfer upon receiving an invoice. Payment by credit card is possible through PayPal (no account needed) in which case a 5% transaction fee will be added.
Winter clothes such as boots, jacket, sweaters, thick pants.
In a welcoming rural guesthouse owned by locals, each room has private bathroom. Depending on the language your speaks and availability, you will stay in Breb, Vadu Izei or Botiza. Staying in family rooms for 3 or 4 persons is also possible.
Meals are cooked by traditional recipes and most ingredients are grown by traditional farming methods.
Christmas time is filled with delicious food such as sausages, lard, sarmale, soups, cakes.
From Cluj Napoca, as there are several flight options and a car rental company from you can pick up the car. It is possible to start from Bucharest or Baia Mare with extra costs.
Please read the "How to get to Maramureș" section on this page.
We have included a 4 wheel drive rented car (locally produced Dacia Duster) in this package so you can comfortably travel between locations even when if it will be snowing which is very likely. Weekend and airport pick up and drop off fees are not included; 800 EUR/car will need to be blocked on the card.
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