Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Romania. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
TRAVEL TO ROMANIA: This tour is organized by our British company, Sunbird, and starts and ends in London. The cost of the group flights between London and Bucharest is included in the tour cost. You can choose, however, to make your own travel arrangements to Bucharest. You would receive a corresponding discount in the tour cost should you decide to do this. Please read the Important Travel Information for Participants on Sunbird Tours.
ENTERING ROMANIA: A valid passport is required. For US citizens, tourist visas for stays of up to thirty days are not required. Your passport should be valid for more than six months after your planned departure from Romania.
ROMANIA MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Romania in the University of Texas series here. The size of the map can be adjusted by clicking on the lower right corner of the map. You can review the U.S. Department of State background notes on Romania here.
HEALTH AND PACE OF THE TOUR: The tour is not a strenuous one: leisurely walking, occasionally over moderately rough terrain, is the only physical requirement. Some of the walks can be a mile or two long, but our transportation is never far away should anyone like to return early or sit out a particular walk. Most mornings there will be optional pre-breakfast walks, and on some days we stay out, taking a packed lunch or picnicking. On a couple of days we cover considerable distances by coach, with restroom and birding stops en route. Many smaller country roads are quite bumpy, but our driver is expert in ensuring that all our drives, short or long, are as comfortable as possible. No vaccinations are required for visitors to Romania. For further information on health matters in Romania, see the printed General Information for Tours to Romania and the website of the Centers for Disease Control.
CLIMATE: The weather can be variable in late August/early September. Expect it to be hotter than in the northeastern U.S. at the same season—but not necessarily all the time. It is possible that we may encounter some rain; however, the area is one of the driest in Europe, receiving a very low annual rainfall. It is still advisable to bring a waterproof jacket. On most days it is likely to be warm and sunny, but we may experience cloudy conditions, particularly in the mountains. Temperatures normally vary from 15°C to 28°C (60°F to 80°F) but can and do reach 40°C (100°F). Evenings tend to be warmer than in the northeastern US, though pre-breakfast birding sessions can be cool.
ACCOMMODATION: Romania, possibly the poorest country in Europe, has an infastructure more comparable to that of many third-world countries. Although the country has made great strides since the revolution and is now seeking entry into the EU, Romanian hotels are generally speaking not up to other European standards. Even so, all our hotels and the houseboat will have private facilities (toilet, shower or bath, etc.). We are confident you will enjoy the comfort and general charm of the towed (and therefore silent) houseboat. It really is very good, and everyone loves the time on board.
FOOD: Romania has a varied cuisine, with influences from France, the Balkans, Russia, and Turkey. We aim to show you this diversity, with a variety of local specialties available at our meals. Some meals may consist of simpler dishes. Vegetarians are usually well cared for.
DRESS: Dress is informal throughout the tour. It is considered disrespectful to wear shorts in the monasteries; for those who arrive unprepared, “aprons” (wrap-around skirts) are provided.
TRANSPORT: Our transport will be minibuses or small coaches with trailers for luggage. Please note that the leaders will operate a rotation system for seating in the vehicles. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.
SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away from and downwind of the group. Romania is a very smoking-friendly country, and cigarettes are very cheap. If any accommodation or site where the group is gathered has a stricter smoking policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information and Conditions. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to Romania will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Updated: September 2009