5 Senses Romania – Travelling Artisans

Every month Travel Begins at 40 will take a closer look at organizations that share our ethos, we start with 5 Senses Romania that believes cultural tourism is embedded in the local community.

Europe, Gastronomy, Lifestyle, Sustainable / Eco

Independent travel company 5 Senses Romania, was started by Alexandra Duta five years ago with the concept of travelling using all five senses, in order to reveal the most thrilling and authentic travel destinations in the Central European country.

Alexandra refers to herself as a travel artisan. “I travel all around the country to discover amazing places which usually don’t make your standard guide to Romania, such as wine and gourmet, 17th-18th century mansions, boutique locations, and authentic heritage guest houses in Transylvania, Maramures, and Bucovina, or across the many wine routes that we have here.

“Afterwards I create story-like holiday experiences which indulge all five senses; more exactly tailored travel stories which best suit each client’s travel appetite.”

Trips range from a one-day tour around Bucharest with a meal to week tours visiting largely neglected parts of the country, with its monasteries, castles and vineyards. Clearly, gastronomy is a key element of any travelling experience for Alexandra.

Throughout the years, 5 Senses Romania has worked with both British and American expat communities in Bucharest, and the US and the South African Embassies in Romania to arrange leisure travel, as well as welcoming incoming groups with fully customized trips around Romania.

“We have also organized special trips and events such as mountain adventure tours, marriage proposals and wedding receptions at a 19th century mansion,” says Alexandra. Presumably, the receptions involved plenty of Romanian wine.

“We also partner environmentalist agencies like Agent Green when organizing trips to the Retezat Mountains where you can find the last virgin forests in Europe

For Alexandra, it is very important that 5 Senses works closely with local communities.

“We work with various partners around the country who invest in the local communities, especially in the Transylvanian area,” she says. “Ever since we started the business, we have been trying to avoid working with hotels, hotel chains and other big tourism companies as we preferred guesthouses and small family businesses that employ locals.”

Instead of investing directly, 5 Senses collaborates with organizations, such as the Kalnoky Conservation Trust in Miclosoara or the Mihai Eminescu Trust in Viscri, that re-invest their profit in restoring heritage buildings and preserving old traditions in small dying villages, through assisting local children to go to school, and encouraging the use of local skills.

winter horses 5 senses

“We also partner environmentalist agencies like Agent Green when organizing trips to the Retezat Mountains where you can find the last virgin forests in Europe.

“Otherwise, all our guesthouses around the country offer guided and traditional experiences employing only skilled locals in hiking, horse riding, truffle hunting, horse sleigh riding, egg painting, folklore, pottery making and blacksmithing.”

For more details about 5 Senses Romania and its Autumn and Winter itinerary, visit its website.

If you are thinking of a trip to another off-the-beaten-track destination, how about staying in a ger in Mongolia, or trekking in the Tajikistan Alps.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

Read more posts by Mark Bibby Jackson →

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