Beyond the Black Sea is a wonderful tour to a corner of Europe that is little-visited but no less fascinating or beautiful than other parts of the continent. Our 28-day itinerary takes us to Western Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, before finishing in the exotic Turkish city of Istanbul.

The journey begins in Ukraine’s capital Kiev before moving 132 kilometers north to the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, Chernobyl. Twenty-five years on, with radiation levels normalised, we visit the infamous plant and the abandoned town of Pripyat. We then travel west to the historic city of Kamyanets-Podilsky, stopping at Chernivtsy en route before heading to the lovely city of Lviv, then south to Odessa. We then cross the border into mysterious Moldova and the breakaway republic known as Transnistria. There, in the only unrecognised country in Europe, lie the last vestiges in the world of a Soviet-style system. Moldova is also home to Europe’s largest winery, Milestii Mici, with 250 kms of limestone tunnels forming underground streets. Next stop is Romania and it is here, deep in the Transylvanian Alps, that we visit Dracula’s castle. Everything in this pocket of Romania is interwoven with truth and legend and the perpetuation of mystery. Romania and Bulgaria have some of the most remarkable fairy tale towns in the world – without the tourist hordes found in more mainstream European cities. This is a journey that is a heady mix of contemporary and ancient history, rustic medieval settlements, myths and legends, set against the backdrop of the Black Sea, Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. This is undiscovered Europe with a capital U!

  • Ukraine

    • Visit the fascinating cave complex at Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev
    • Extraordinary full-day visit to Chernobyl
    • Walk through the deserted village of Pripyat near Chernobyl
    • Travel by train from Kiev to Kamyanets-Podilsky
    • See the magnificent Kamanyets Fortress
    • Explore the stunning city of Lviv
    • Walk up the famous Potemkin Steps and take in the magnificent city of Odessa
    • Explore the labyrinth of catacombs under the city of Odessa that were used by the resistance during World War II
    • Cross through the incredibly isolated breakaway republic of Transnistria, Europe’s ‘North Korea’


    • Visit the ancient cave monastery of Orheiul Vechi
    • Enjoy a traditional picnic on a riverbank with a Moldovan family
    • Exclusive Travel Directors’ tour of Europe’s largest underground winery, Milestii Mici


    • Visit Dracula’s Castle and enjoy an exclusive Travel Directors’ party and dinner inside the castle
    • Enjoy a typical organic lunch with local family in a remote Romanian village
    • Dine in the house where Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) was born and where he grew up
    • Marvel at the beautiful architecture of Romania’s walled Saxon villages and towns of Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu
    • Stay in beautiful and cosy ‘Casa’ accommodation
    • Participate in a Romanian wedding
    • Drive along the road that TV’s ‘Top Gear’ describes as the world’s most stunning – The Transfagarasan
    • Have dinner in the wonderfully historic Caru Cu Bere restaurant in Bucharest’s old city


    • Cross the river Danube between Romania and Bulgaria
    • Visit the ancient cultural capital of the Balkans, Veliko Tarnovo
    • Explore the fantastic open-air ‘museum’village of Etara
    • Walk through Europe’s oldest city, Plovdiv, and visit its extraordinary Roman theatre


    • Drive the short but spectacular journey to Istanbul and spend three nights in this vibrant Turkish city
    • Visit the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace
    • Magnificent cruise along the Bosphorus to Yoros Castle

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Products are subject to availability of the tour operator.

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