Romanian photographer Mihnea Turcu is located in Bucharest and has traveled extensively both in Romania and around the world. His work is based around capturing the essence of humanity in the most traditional corners of his country.
Romania is the gem of eastern Europe. Stunning mountain landscapes, traditional rural life and some of the most hospitable people in Europe. Despite its often damaging stereotypes, Romania is a country that will tug on your heartstrings and make you want to come back. With good accessibility and accommodation across the country this will be an incredible adventure without losing too much comfort.
Why is now the best time to visit Romania? Due to Romania’s underdeveloped road infrastructure, its continuous oscillation between East and West and the lack of regional investments, most of the country has been kept back developmentally. Uniquely for most of Europe, in Romania you can still find patches of traditional, untouched life, a way of living in connection with nature and old people with a heart full of spirituality. Economic conditions, globalization and modernization have washed away the rural civilizations in many parts of Western Europe. Romania gives a unique opportunity to explore a European culture still in parts totally dependent on the people and their land. Romania has such richness waiting to be discovered in the souls of the rural people.
We keep our tours very intimate and off the beaten track. Max 4 participants and the chance to truly explore rural Romania. No stiff setups for taking photos: what you get is a real glimpse into the life of Europe’s last true peasants.
Some places and some of the scenes need to be treated with a gentle touch, in such a way that we do not interfere with the natural vibe of the scene. We document life and observe its finest reactions and subtle expressions. This is why we never stage shots and we never interfere with the story. It either happens and we catch it naturally, or it doesn't and we shall be on our way to the next possible scene.
Mihnea will be your trusted guide, translating, explaining and joining you in the photographic process. We shall close each day with evening discussions. We consider it very important to share ideas, think of improvements, pass over cultural blockages and comment on the best photos. All this end of day information will help you notice little improvements in the next day. By the end of the 13th day, you will belong to a group of friends with wonderful memories and great photographs. After all, this adventure is all about an amazing life experience and getting to know Romania’s warm heart.
The 4 tours we are currently running in Romania have been perfectly spread across the four seasons as we want to witness the life cycle across the year. Each single tour is built around a very important religious ceremony in such a way that we get access to the locals’ most personal religious behaviors.
Adventurer by name, adventurous by nature. Our Adventurer tours are for those of you who love to take the path less beaten, to explore beneath the skin of a country and to find those magical moments of authenticity. To hear stories from those who live the wonderful cultures of this planet and to photograph real life, as we find it, wherever that may be.
Prepare yourself for a very dense calendar of events happening right after Christmas and lasting until the 3rd of January the following year. During this period of time we will be attending many New Year’s Eve traditional festivities in the historical part of northern Romania (Moldova and Maramures regions).
Discover the bear and goat dance traditions, some of the best preserved masked dances, archaic habits that have transcended time and are still practiced nowadays in the northern country-side villages.
Meet and accompany groups of singers and children who carol sing in the Moldavian villages for days in a row. Join them for a few hours for a unique photographic adventure.
Passing the mountains from Moldova to Maramures we will be experiencing and capturing into beautiful photographs the unbelievable cultural difference between the two regions. We’ll be photographing the most spectacular winter landscapes and we’ll have the privilege of meeting with the local people in their traditional houses. Get to know their life stories and observe the most expressive environmental portraits.
Day 1 - Bucharest (Arrival)
Bună Ziua! and Welcome to Romania! If you plan to arrive into Bucharest, the capital of Romania, prior to Day 1, we will be happy to make all the arrangements for you. No worries about the airport hustle, as Mihnea will be there waiting for you. During the ‘meet and greet’ dinner we can get to know each other and discuss the next days of our Romania photography tour.
Depending on your arrival time into Bucharest, there may be an opportunity for you to explore the city during the afternoon and see the famous sites such as the Ceausescu Palace, Bucharest’s historical center (where you will be located) or Obor, one of the oldest and largest open markets in Eastern Europe. In case you are into street photography and want to have 1 or 2 days in Bucharest only for that, Mihnea can help you design a good itinerary of the city’s most interesting parts.
During Day 1 we will pick up the latest arriving participants (if that is the case) and will be on a 6 to 7 hours drive deep into the Moldavian regions, which is one of the richest in winter traditions.
Day 2 to 7 – Moldavian winter traditions
We will start our New Year Traditions Photography Tour in Romania with one of the most photogenic winter festivals - the ancient bear dance custom. Hundreds of masked people, using their old, inherited bear costumes will gather for a half-day march. Depending on the weather conditions, if there will be snow this event alone can make for an unforgettable photographic experience. We will capture not only the masked dancers, but also the people behind their masks, taking a documentary approach from the entire event.
After this extraordinary experience, we will continue our photography tour adventure by going further north in even more remote and archaic areas. We will be accompanying the bands of masked people and singers as they visit other villages. Prepare yourself for a unique chance of entering into local people’s houses, one by one, together with the dancers, in one of Romania’s most traditional preserved customs. There will be no time to stop from photographing the events and the days will quickly pass by very intensely. Depending on where we will be on the 31st of December, we may have access to one of the local New Year’s Eve parties.
On the 2nd of January, after having explored even the last moments of New Year’s traditions in Moldova, we will be heading to Maramures, another historic and special region of Romania, to capture a glimpse of the way they celebrate the winter traditions.
There are two ways to pass from Bucovina to Maramures: the long, usual and boring path everybody takes and, of course, the more remote, longer, but also more stunning road that passes through the Carpathian mountains. We will spend most of our transition day on the second one, stopping by for the breathtaking scenery.
Days 8 to 11 – Winter in Maramures
Maramures is the jewel of rural Romania. Said to be home to the last remaining peasant culture in Europe, Maramures is a wonderful region that is famous for its wooden churches and hay bales that cover the landscape.
If traditional wooden houses and churches weren’t enough to wet your appetite then hopefully the epic mountain scenery, incredible hospitality and photogenic locals should do it. Maramures is a look back into time where people still cut hay by hand and transport their goods by horse and cart. Of course, having such a rich rural spectacle of life will be delightful, but getting inside the old houses and photographing the portraits of those inhabitants will be the true joy of this tour. Those walls are still traditionally painted, the wood has its undoubted charm, while the stories on their faces really reflect the richness within their souls.
Having the freedom of an open schedule means we don't have to keep any strict timings. As we wander through the villages, stopping for food and palinka on the way, you'll soon discover what makes Romania so special. You'll also find that the best images of these regions aren’t set up, they are often the ones we will find by wandering and listening to the stories of locals.
In the evenings, Mihnea will be on hand to discuss and critique images, helping you develop your people photography and gain a greater understanding of Romanian culture.
Day 12 - Bucharest
On our final full day of the Romania photography tour, we will make the journey back to Bucharest. This will give us plenty of time to relax and discuss the adventure we've had. There will be an opportunity to do a portfolio review and some post processing advice too.
We'll end the New Year Traditions in Romania Photography Tour with some drinks and food before you depart the following day - hopefully with a hard drive full of amazing photos and wonderful life memories!
Day 13 - Farewell
La revedere! Hope to see you soon!
After our incredible photography tour adventure through rural Romania, it will be time to head to the airport for your return home. Thank you for your wonderful company!
Of course! If your partner in crime wants to join our adventure they’re more than welcome. All our tours are designed to immerse you fully into the culture of the destinations that we visit. We think even non-photographers would find this pretty fascinating. The only caveat we have is that this is first and foremost a photography adventure and any accompanying non-photographers would be required to stay with us at all times throughout the tour.
Yes. It is a mandatory requirement on all of our tours that each participant has their own travel insurance policy. We highly recommend a travel insurance policy that not only covers medical expenses and repatriation but also covers your personal belongings and liability. For more information on travel insurance and our suggested providers please visit our travel services section.
Also, as a traveller with Intrepid Exposures, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visas and travel documents. Despite the fact we can’t sell you visas directly, we work with a number of partners who can find you the best solution to match your needs. If you need help arranging visas for any of our tours, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
We will try our very best to cater to any dietary needs, that being said we cannot always guarantee it due to the remoteness of some of the places we stay. We will notify you if this is the case and work with you to come up with a fair solution. As long as you notify us of any requirements or allergies when booking your trip we will do our best to accommodate any needs you have.
Yes, of course! Unfortunately our website doesn't offer this functionality yet. If you wish to pay the deposit and then the remainder in one instalment you can do so using the website. If you would instead like to pay for the trip in its entirety in one payment, please contact us directly and we can advise you on the best way to do this.
We do, but on a trip by trip basis. Some tours naturally lend themselves to extensions, others not so much. Please consult the individual tour pages for more details on the extensions offered. If you would like to create your own personal tour extension, please contact us directly for assistance in doing so.
We do everything in our power to make sure out tours run smoothly, that being said there’s certain things we can’t control. Natural disaster or conflicts in the areas we travel may mean that we have to rearrange our plans and itineraries. However, we will keep a close eye on developments in the areas we travel and notify you if there are any issues or doubts.
In a word, Yes. All our tours are covered by Protected Travel Insurance (PTS). This means that your money goes into a protected bank account and can’t be accessed by us until you get back from your trip, so should anything happen your money is 100% protected. Find out more