Opulence and Decay: Photographing Romania's Palaces and Ruins - June 30, 2019 - Atlas Obscura Trips
Photo Credit: Luca Arsinel
Photo Credit: Tao Tao Holmes / Atlas Obscura
Photo Credit: Tao Tao Holmes / Atlas Obscura
Photo Credit: Tao Tao Holmes / Atlas Obscura

Opulence and Decay: Photographing Romania's Palaces and Ruins

from $4,430 USD per person for 11 days, 10 nights
  • Max Group Size: 12
  • Moderate
  • Road Trip

On this 11-day photo tour, Led by an experienced local guide and expert photographer, we'll explore some of the country's grandest buildings and most ancient ruins, both past and present, before and after dark—from palaces and former prisons to abandoned casinos and penitentiaries. During the day, we'll wander Saxon villages and an elegant, decaying casino, and set out by boat on the Danube Delta. By night, we'll learn how to capture light trails—both from stars and cars—on the historic streets of Bucharest and lightpaint inside a dilapidated penitentiary. There will be new skills to master, unique subjects to capture, and unexpected surprises waiting around every corner.

We'll begin with a few days in and around the capital of Bucharest before heading out to the coast and spending a night along the Black Sea. From there we'll set off for two days in the Danube Delta for a chance to photograph the summer wildlife, before visits to Florești, Peleș, and Viscri. On our final day, we'll drive up Romania's tallest mountain range and experience what has been called the greatest driving road in the world, for some of the most dramatic views—and winding turns—you can get.

  • Spectacular, historic architecture
  • Expert photography instruction
  • Boat trips on the Danube
  • Local exploration


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
National Parks at Night
In Partnership with National Parks at Night

Additional Info

Arrival & Departure

For flights in and out of Bucharest's Henri Coandă International Airport, we suggest you arrive by 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 30 and depart anytime in the morning on July 10. We're happy to help arrange extra nights in Bucharest before and/or after the tour, and your guide can provide suggestions for things to do, see, and eat in the city on your own.

Activity Level

This tour is fairly active; travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking 3 to 5 miles each day and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. Many parts of the tour involve cobblestone, dirt paths, and other uneven ground, as well as tight stone stairwells in castle and church towers.

Photo Experience & Gear

This is a photo-centric tour. Our goals will be to encourage you to capture and create the best possible images while we are journeying through Romania during the day and night! Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode. To get the most out of any night photography shoots we recommend a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera. Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this adventure challenging, stimulating, and inspiring. The workshop will begin with a new moon and end with it almost full. Not only will we scout for Milky Way compositions but also strengthen our lightpainting skills and try urban star and car trails in Bucharest and beyond!

Our main goal is to push you to take full creative control over your images. For more advanced photographers, we can offer specific challenges and goals, and guidance in the field based on your areas of interest. Come ready to dive into many hours of education, exploration, feedback, and hands-on experiences.

Dates and Prices

Jun 30–Jul 10, 2019
Shared Room
$4,430 USD per person
Single Room
$5,220 USD per person
The total cost of this trip is $4,430. A $500 deposit is required to hold your space. The deposit is non-refundable after three days. The final payment of $3,930 will be due by April 2, 2019. All reservations will be final after this date and subject to our cancellation policy. By submitting your deposit, you agree to the trip's Terms & Conditions. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations during the trip, an additional $790 will be due at the time of the final payment.
  • Ten nights of accommodation in villas, guesthouses, and boutique hotels.
  • Breakfast daily at your hotel, two lunches, and four dinners.
  • The company of an experienced, bilingual guide and professional photography instructor throughout the trip.
  • Private transport throughout the trip, in a comfortable minibus.
  • Pick-up and drop-off by boat on the way to the head of the Danube Delta.
  • Two day-trips by boat to see the canals, bird colonies, and a shipwreck along the Danube.
  • Admission to all proposed activities and events, including castles and museums.
  • Photo fees for all visits and locations
  • Transportation and flights to and from Bucharest, Romania.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings; this includes most lunches and dinners.
  • If applicable, applying for a Romanian visa (not required for U.S. citizens).

Additional Dates