Hidden in Romania’s forested and wild interior lies the land of Transylvania. Known by many outsiders as the inspiration for Dracula, it is in fact a peaceful but stunningly beautiful part of Europe that receives relatively few visitors. The region is inhabited by many traditional communities who practise a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. We will explore the hills, mountains and valleys both on two feet as well as by horse, and spend time working on an important community project in one of the poorer communities of the area. Nature, history and adventure all combine to make this a memorable trip into one of Europe’s few forgotten frontiers.
THIS IS A SAMPLE ITINERARY WHICH CAN BE AMENDED TO SUIT THE GOALS, DATES AND BUDGET OF YOUR TRIP.
Our adventure in Eastern Europe begins today as we meet at the airport for our flight to Bucharest. Upon arrival our friendly local team will greet you and drive you privately into the heart of Transylvania, to the medieval city of Sighisoara. A stunning way to begin the trip, we will have a quick walk around before having a meeting with our guide to discuss the trip and enjoy some traditional Romanian food.
The city is one of the most dramatic and fairytale settlements in Eastern Europe. We will enjoy a guided walk around the city, visiting its many cobbled lanes, towers and churches, learning about the history of the region and its proud people. We will then drive a short distance into rural Transylvania, past haystacks and ancient settlements where shepherds graze their sheep on the hillsides and time seems to have stopped in its tracks long ago! Here we will meet our horse riding guides who will give a lesson in how to control the horse. The animals are used to tourists and are safe to ride. After the lesson and instructions, we will head out of the village up a short forest track
that takes us over verdant rolling hills and down to a long valley flanked by ash, pine and beech trees. From the valley we will slowly start to climb up through an untouched mysterious forest where we can, if we are lucky, meet a deer or two. We will spend the night at a local guest house.
This morning after breakfast we will get back in the saddle and follow a route that will take us after a small climb to a very beautiful plateau looking down on the valleys below. We will ride across the plateau and stop to enjoy the stunning views as we go. We will ride next to wine yards and farms, slowly descending via an ancient forest and head back to the farm for lunch. In the afternoon we will have a private transfer to Zarnesti, our start point for walking in the National park of Piatra Craiului (Prince’s Stone). On our route we will stop in Viscri village that shelters one of the Transylvanian “pearls” - the Viscri’s fortified church, which has just celebrated its 700th anniversary. Overnight at local guesthouse with home cooked dinners.
This morning we will take a short drive for a really special experience, to meet some of
Transylvania’s most secretive but significant inhabitants. We will visit a bear sanctuary that has helped create better awareness of the issues affecting these amazing animals in Romania by protecting their habitats and educating local people about their behaviour. We can see some of the bears up close and have a guided tour to learn about their lives. We will continue on with a walk through beautiful oak forests before continuing to the 13th century Saxon town of Vulcan. In the village we will have a surprising encounter with the pastor of this old church, an enthusiastic and intelligent young man who will explain us the story of the church and will offer us the chance to taste some local specialities. After that we will meet our vehicle and transfer to our next guesthouse in Magura village. In this area we will have our accommodation for the next 6 nights, depending on our activities. Optional stop to visit the Rasnov fortress if we will have time.
We will have a chance today to visit the dramatic Zarnesti Gorges, named by the locals as ‘The Abysses’, they are a set 200m vertical rock walls bursting from the earth, and surrounded by beautiful scenery. We could try our hands at basic rock climbing if we wished, before heading into the stunning Piatra Craiului National Park close by. Our walk starts with a nice steady climb following woodland trails that are picturesque and rich in birdsong. We end up to our lovely lunch spot at Cabana Curmatura, where we can take-in the views of the Valley and Canyon surrounding us. Lunch will be a real delight today with local soup and an amazing apple pie. Full up from lunch we make our way downhill through open hills before entering a large wooded area along the river on an old track to The Jurassic Zarnesti Canyon. (Walking - 4-5 hours)
Today we will begin our community project in the local village. Depending on the current requirements of the community, the work could involve repairing of the local school or medical post, English teaching, or also some improvements to the infrastructure of the national park which is often in need of help. Our guide will work with us along with some local tradesmen and we will be divided into teams and designated work each day. We will be living and working with the local people and
will learn some very valuable skills as well as making a genuine difference to the lives of the people that live here. All accommodation and meals will be provided in the village.
After saying goodbye to our new friends in the village we will don our walking boots again and trek up into the deeper sections of the National park of Piatra Craiului through pastures, sheepfolds, woods and scattered villages. We will arrive in a Romanian mountain village late afternoon to relax, enjoy our surroundings and then have some hearty dinner after all the fresh air! (Walking around 4-5
We will leave the Piatra Craiului Mountains today following an easy walk with picture postcard landscapes through scattered villages and small and ancient houses, at the foot of Bucegi Mountains. The inhabitants are livestock breeders; therefore the village has a long time tradition in cheese preparing which we can sample. Today will provide some amazing photo opportunities so make sure you have a spare memory card in your camera! We will arrive at our guesthouse to freshen up and enjoy some dinner.
We will begin today’s trek with a slow, steady ascent through forest, following a trail used by local shepherds and farmers. We will reach the top of a spectacular ridge to a small settlement known as La Bisericuta with outstanding views of the surrounding Bucehi Mountains, and down into the sweeping Bangaleasa valley below. We will continue from here down into the valley for a picnic, before continuing some more walking this afternoon along a trail. We will pass some traditional houses and likely meet some local shepherds tending their flocks. Tonight we can relax after all the
hiking and fresh mountain air in our local guesthouse, and enjoy some delicious home cookning, Romanian style!
We we will leave the rural countryside today as we head towards Brasov and if time allows us we will have a stop to visit Bran castle. Most people know Bran Castle as “Dracula’s Castle”, from Bram Stoker’s world famous novel. The castle is an amazing example of 14th century Gothic architecture and is striking when first viewed, perched about the mountain surrounded by dark pine. As you wander through the mazes of rooms, stairways, secret passages and levels connected with wooden ladders, it’s easy to imagine the history and secrets hidden there. It’s on mountaintops, so you can
walk around outside for great views and fresh Carpathian Mountain air. In the late afternoon we will have time to explore the old city of Brasov. Brasov is one of the seven cities founded by the Saxons in Transylvania in the 12th century when they were invited to Transylvania to guard the mountain passes. We will enjoy some dinner in a local restaurant before going back to the hotel through the picturesque streets.
After breakfast we will leave Brasov and head back to the capital Bucharest. On the way we will pay a visit to the former summer residency of the Romanian King, the Castle of Peles in Sinaia, a remarkable example of late medieval style with many furnished rooms and set in a spectacular setting in thick, green forest. In the afternoon we will head out to discover Bucharest, known between the 2 words wars as “the Eastern Paris”. There is a lot to see in the city, and we will learn about its turbulent history through successive Ottoman and Communist leaderships. We can hopefully include a visit to Ceaucescu’s palace, the second biggest building in the world and a mind-boggling as well as eye-opening experience. We will finish today with a celebratory meal together to discuss what we have learn and our favourite memories from this trip into deepest Transylvania.
Our adventure will come to an end today as we pack our bags and drive to the airport for our flight back home.
Per Person, Twin Share