Romania’s rolling green hills and deep, ancient forests hold tales of faith, love, war, knights, nymphs, and vampires. The region’s tradition of storytelling is fascinating with a long history of legends repeated across medieval villages and mysteries woven through magnificent castles. Rich Romanian folklore provides a wide backdrop for our imaginations and images in this photographic adventure led by frequent world traveler, Eddie Soloway.
We explore cities where remnants of communism are intertwined with the vibrancies of modern life and into the remote Transylvanian countryside where time has stood still for over a century. As we travel through the breathtaking landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, we experience the old-world hardiness and values of self-reliance that are still visible as we meet with the local farmers, artisans, and shepherds. Each day begins with a bit of photographic inspiration from Eddie and a review of the day’s photographic opportunities and challenges.
Romanians are welcoming people who don’t see many tourists in the more remote regions. They are often happy to sit for a portrait session and curious to have conversations about the West. Our focus is always on creating images with intention. We put aside notions of traditional travel and landscape photography and open ourselves to creating more mindful work. By genuinely connecting with local people and traveling slowly through stunning landscapes, we discover more poignant and lasting imagery.
After arriving in Bucharest and settling into our hotel, we share a welcome group dinner at one of the city’s most popular restaurants in the heart of the Old City. The next day, we explore the Old City and then Obor Market. The next morning, we depart Bucharest in our comfortable Mercedes minibus into the mountains and the friendly town of Sinaia, where we visit the impressive neo-renaissance Peles Castle, situated in the heart of the Prahova Valley and surrounded by heavily forested mountains. After lunch we continue to the medieval town of Brasov, arriving mid-afternoon in time for a walk with our cameras in the late light. The next morning, we embark on a proper walking tour of the city, visiting the Romanian, German and Hungarian neighborhoods. This afternoon we take the funicular to the top of Mount Tamps to photograph the spectacular views overlooking the town, mountains, and distant plains.
On our fifth day, we drive to the village of Bran and visit the famous Bran Castle, dramatically set on the mountainside. The near-by village of Maghura, located among rolling hills, dense forests, and traditional farms, is the perfect place to experience traditional countryside life. Known as the Swiss Alps of Romania, we take time to photograph the village, landscapes, and people who call this splendid area home before returning to Brasov in the evening.
Our next adventure is in the authentic Hungarian region of Romania called Corund. Hungarians have been living in the area for centuries and have maintained a unique culture and heritage. After checking in to our traditional guesthouse, we head off to visit local artisans who are producing their crafts using only traditional methods of production which includes a black pottery workshop, traditional weaver and a tinder craftsman (tinder is a type of forest mushroom). We learn about these crafts while photographing the people and workshops that keep these traditions alive.
For another unique local experience, we head to the remote Fantana Plateau, home to a few small villages and the southernmost peat bog in the world. Here we visit with local farm families who live on this plateau and photograph their isolated way of life. We visit a bio-mushroom farm and a family-run all-natural syrup and jam business. The beautiful surrounding landscape is a constant source of inspiration for our photographic pursuits. For lunch, we visit a local cheese farm for a freshly prepared meal where everything on the table comes straight from the farm. After making our way back down the mountain, we photograph in the village of Corund and then enjoy a home-cooked dinner prepared at by our local friends.
After breakfast the next day, we take a short drive to Sighisoara, the best-preserved medieval citadel in all of Europe and photograph the fortified village before continuing on to the village of Crit for lunch. After lunch, we continue deeper into the remote countryside to the picturesque Saxon village of Mesendorf, set among the green hills of gorgeous central Transylvania. After checking into our family-run hotel, we enjoy a relaxing afternoon and evening photographing the stunning countryside.
Our ninth day begins with a short drive to the village of Viscri, where we stop to wander through one of the best preserved medieval fortified churches in Romania, dating back to the 12th century. From here we continue through the beautiful Transylvania countryside, stopping in picturesque villages en route to the Saxon city of Sibiu. After we check in at our hotel, we head out for dinner and an evening photographic walk in this small, laid-back city.
Today we visit Corvin’s Castle in the town of Hunedoara. Considered one of the most impressive and largest castles in all of Europe, this 15th century structure is full towers, dungeons, and hidden cellars for you to explore and photograph. This is a place that foreign tourists rarely visit, creating a unique opportunity to make images of a castle that so few people know about. After lunch in the town of Hunedoara, we return to Sibiu and spend the rest of the day editing our images.
This morning we head back to Bucharest, taking a most unique route, along the Transfagrasan Highway. This mountain road is consistently rated as one of the most scenic journeys in all of Europe as it winds up and over the majestic Fagaras Mountains. We visit small villages tucked away into the nooks and crannies of the mountains, lookout points with sweeping views of the valleys below and we enjoy lunch at the summit, at a restaurant on the shores of a stunning mountain lake. After lunch, we wind back down the other side of the mountains, as the spectacular views continue to impress. We stretch our legs in several places, including a historic Orthodox monastery, the base of Dracula’s ‘real’ castle and at the impressive Vidraru Dam. We arrive in Bucharest in the evening, right in time for our farewell group dinner.
This program is open to photographers at all levels who are passionate about travel and improving their image making.
Participants should be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a program to learn how to use your gear or editing software. This a photographic experience, not a photography workshop and there isn’t daily classroom time. Eddie will be presenting daily photographic ideas and inspiration, tailored to where we will be, and the creative challenges we will encounter.
Participants should be in very good health with good stamina and mobility. While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of walking, being in the sun in potentially warm temperatures, steep stairs, uneven terrain, and early morning wake-ups. You should be able to walk comfortably for up to two miles a day, spread throughout the day, with whatever you choose to bring for the day. You should also be able to handle all your luggage, including bringing it up stairs in old country guesthouses.
Eddie Soloway is a photographer, teacher, and storyteller committed to opening our eyes to the natural world. He has taught photography and creativity for leading photographic institutions and schools around the world. He is the founder of Taproot, an online creative gathering. As an educator, Eddie has received the Excellence in Photographic Teaching Award from CENTER and been named one of America’s best photography workshop teachers by Photo District News.
A popular workshop instructor, Eddie is also part of our Mentorship Program »