Romania: Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania - 17th to 25th June 2018

Romanian fields

Considered by many as the most beautiful country in Eastern-Europe, Romania’s collection of fortresses and castles are a bastion of Europe’s medieval past, long since lost elsewhere. We will be travelling through wild pastoral countryside to discover Transylvania’s surviving traditions, Saxon villages lost in time, magnificent fortified churches and fairytale castles.

The guided walking programme includes some of the most beautiful parts of the Carpathian Mountains - a walker’s paradise, with woodland trails, stunning gorges and flower-filled meadows dotted with remote villages and farms. Stunning panoramic views at Piatra Craiului National Park and the Bucegi Mountains make the perfect combination for a holiday rich in delightful walks and an opportunity to discover Romania’s rich culture and history.

  • Visit Bucharest, Romania's capital city
  • Explore Sibiu, arguably Romania’s most beautiful medieval city
  • Stay in rural family-run guesthouses in mountain villages
  • Carpathian, Cindrel, Bucegi and Fagarar Mountains
  • Fairy-tale Transylvanian castles and fortified churches
  • National Park of Piatra
  • Bucegi National Park
  • Bran Castle
  • Guided walks through some of Romania’s most attractive countryside
  • Sinaia and Peles Castle

After a night in Bucharest, we set off in comfortable minibuses for the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania. Here, we stay in charming guest houses where you can expect a warm welcome and excellent service. We visit the regions national parks, home to spectacular landscapes where the rural way of life in local villages and farms remains very much rooted in tradition.

Bucharest

Bucharest, Romania’s capital city bears the mark of competing histories in its eclectic mix of architecture and style. Having suffered some of the worst circumstances of Balkan states, from bombing in WWII, life under communism to violent revolution – the city is very much a success story, integrated into Europe and boasting elegant neoclassical buildings and parks. The historic Old Town beckons at night, with visitors attracted by its many restaurants, cafes and old-world charm. We spend the night in the capital, setting out in the morning for Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains.

Romanian countryside

DAY 1: MONDAY 17 JUNE - BUCHAREST (D)

Arrive at the airport, Manchester or London Heathrow, under your own arrangements for the flight to Bucharest.

Met on arrival at the airport in Bucharest by our local agents - Romania Active - before transferred by private coach to the hotel in the city centre. Explore Bucharest, known as "the Eastern Paris". We can see a multitude of influences, from The Medieval period with its Ottoman occupation, to the modern period (influenced by neoclassical French architecture) and the communist period.

Dinner will be at a local restaurant called Vatra, a traditional restaurant in the heart of the city.

Overnight at Hotel Berthelot, Bucharest.

 

DAY 2: TUESDAY 18 JUNE - SIBIU and SIBIEL VILLAGE (BD)

Depart Bucharest, where we begin our 290km journey north to Sibiu. This should take around four to five hours, allowing for stops. Sibiu is regarded as the most beautiful medieval city in Romania - a maze of cobbled streets and picturesque courtyards that give the city such a romantic atmosphere. Chosen as the European City of Culture in 2007 and previously developed by the Saxons from a Roman village, Sibiu was a former residence of the Austrian government in Transylvania.

If there is time permitting, we may also visit the fortified church of Cisnadie in a nearby village before making our way to Sibiel Village where we check into our hotel and stay for two nights.

The delightful Saxon village of Sibiel has a rural atmosphere and is surrounded by neighbouring forest, quaint streets traditional houses and an 18th Century church. The town is right on the edges of the forest, where wolf and even bear sightings are not unusual.

Check in at the peaceful family-run guesthouse called Pensiunea Lunca with comfortable rooms and a quiet garden. We are here for two nights.

Dinner and overnight at Pensiunea Lunca in the village of Sibiu. 

 

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY 19 JUNE – CINDREL MOUNTAINS (BLD

he day begins with a hike through the rolling Cindrel Mountains surrounding Sibiel. It’s here that we come across the rural way of life enjoyed by the local community and farmers throughout summer. This walk is around 12km, and should take around four hours. The trail takes us through an impressive forest, where after a short stop at a chapel we join the ascent out into the fields. In summer, the fields are flowering and the meadows are scattered with cowsheds and small houses where the villagers take their farming duties outside for the season.

4 hour walk, 12 km, +/-500m

Dinner and overnight at Pensiunea Lunca, in the village of Sibiu. 

 

DAY 4: THURSDAY 20 JUNE- FAGARAR MOUNTAINS and TRANSFAGARAN (BLD)

Check out of the guesthouse and drive to the Fagaras Mountains (150km). Allowing for stops, this should take around two hours. There are two options today.

The first is to travel by local bus to the start point, resting at an altitude of 2000m. From there we enjoy a four-hour walk in the highest mountains of Romania. From Balea Lake we follow a narrow path up onto Fagaras ridge, at 2200 m. We go down to Doamna Valley, passing close to a glacial lake and dropping to 1400m near Balea Waterfall. Shorter options (2-3 hours) are another possibility, depending on the wishes of the group.

The second option is a more leisurely walk through local villages along the river, calling at Carta to see the ruins of the Cistercian monastery where hopefully we will have the opportunity to meet the pastor and hear some of his beautiful stories. We then visit Lisa, where a 100 years old machine used for tailoring thick woollen blankets is still in working order, before stopping off at Ohaba to see the oldest mill in Fagaras County.

The first option is a four-hour walk. The second is a one-hour journey, following a dirt track along the river.

Our accommodation for the next three nights is a charming guesthouse called Pensiunea Pepino in the village of Magura, located in the National Parc of Piatra Craiului,

Dinner and overnight at Pensiunea Pepino in the village of Magura

 

Carpathian Mountains

DAY 5: FRIDAY 21 JUNE - PIATRA CRAIULUI NATIONAL PARK (BLD)

Today we head into the Piatra Craiului National Park. Our walk starts with a steady climb following trails through picturesque woodland, rich in birdsong. We soon approach a sheepfold where hopefully we can stop and taste the traditional cheese “burduf” being made here at this remote Cheese house. Our guide will give us a talk on cheese making, before we continue to a picturesque lunch spot at Cabana Curmatura, where we can take in the views of the valley and canyon surrounding us.  Lunch should be a real delight today with local soup and pie! We make our way downhill through open countryside before entering a large wooded area along the river. From there we follow an old track to The Jurassic Zarnesti Canyon.

5-6 hour walk. 16km. The walk is mainly along canyons and forest trail.

Diner and overnight at the guesthouse in Magura.

 

DAY 6: SATURDAY 22 JUNE – MOUNTAIN VILLAGES (BLD)

Today, we continue our journey at the foot of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. This walk is one of the most beautiful sites in the Carpathians, a bucolic landscape of breath-taking mountain scenery, deep gorges and caves. The route takes us across pastures, sheepfolds and forest terrain. We plan to stop and sample the local produce, as well as learning the processes behind their production. We end the walk in a remote village, where local people still enjoy a traditional way of life - quite removed from the rush of towns and cities.

5 hour walk. 18km Elevation +/- 750m.

Dinner and overnight at Pensiunea Pepino in the village of Magura

 

DAY 7: SUNDAY 23 JUNE - BRAN CASTLE (BLD)

Check out of the guesthouse and drive to the village of Magura where we start the day’s walk.

Starting with a slow ascent through green pastures and traditional farmland, we take a gradual ascent through shaded forest track, whereupon we reach a clearing. Here the forest opens to reveal a magnificent hill top from where we can take a moment to admire the wonderful views below. After our picnic, we follow the ridge trail downhill until we approach Bran Castle, giving us a far reaching views over the landscape.

Located on a rocky bluff, Bran Castle and its mass of turrets were built by the Saxons in 1382 to defend the Bran Pass against the Turks. Today it is a major tourist attraction and best viewed from a distance, as it does tend to get crowded.

4 hours walk. 11 km, +350m, -600m of elevation along footpaths through forest and field, with some rocky areas.

Transfer time from Bran back to the village ~1h.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is Pensiunea Branden, in a neighbouring hamlet close to Moieciu. This is a lovely place to stay where the farming family owners have a reputation for providing excellent home-cooked produce.

Dinner and overnight Pensiunea Branden, Moieciu.

 

DAY 8: MONDAY 24 JUNE – BUCEGI MOUNTAINS (BLD)

Make our way up to the Northern ridge of Bucegi along forest tracks and field, with some rocky areas, but the going is generally easy underfoot. There is a 30-minute steady climb through the forest, but the views over the ridge are more than worth the effort. We continue walking along the foot of the ridge, setting time aside to stop for a well-deserved rest and packed lunch with a beautiful landscape of meadows before us. Continue the descent onto a smaller ridge, where from our vantage point we have a complete panorama over the area below.

5 hours walk. 18km. +/-850m.

Dinner and overnight at Pensiunea Branden, Moieciu.

 

DAY 9: TUESDAY 25 JUNE – SINAIA and PELES CASTLE (BD)

Check out of the hotel in the morning and head for Sinaia, a pretty town nestled within a slender fir-clad valley, against a backdrop of the Bucegi Mountains’ imposing crags. Here, we take a walk through a melange of crayon-coloured wooden houses and grand 19th Century buildings.

From the town, we take a 20-minute walk uphill to one of the most magical castles in Transylvania, a grand structure with fairy-tale turrets towering over the countryside. Originally built as the summer residence for Romania’s longest serving monarch, King Carol 1, It took 39 years to build and was completed just months before the King died.

Next, we head back to Bucharest, a 190km drive that should take three to four hours - allowing for stops.

 Transfer to the airport for the return flight to UK

For reasons of safety, weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to make changes to the programme without advance notice.  Every effort will be made to avoid this if at all possible.

 

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

In Bucharest, we stay at the Hotel Berthelot - a 4* accommodation in the city centre. Most of our holiday is spent exploring the countryside, and the accommodation we stay in is in good quality attractive family-run village guesthouses. Here, we are assured of a good welcome as well as delicious home cooking (sourced from local ingredients).

Romanian valleys
Inclusive price per person sharing a twin/double room departing from Heathrow £1,550
Price per person, sharing a twin/double room excluding flights £1,400
Single person supplement occupying a double room £160
Supplement for departure from Manchester £75

What The Price Includes

  • Return flights from UK to Bucharest
  • Private airport transfers
  • Welcome reception
  • Accommodation and all meals shown in the itinerary
  • Guided walking programme
  • Private minibuses travel throughout the tour with drivers
  • Entrance fees to all places of interest including national parks
  • Support of our local agents, Romania Active
  • Accompanying tour leader

 

What is not included

  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities to guides, which are optional

Please Note: For reasons of safety, weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to make changes to the programme without advance notice. Every effort will be made to avoid this if at all possible.

Arrival

 

Arrive at the airport, Manchester or London Heathrow, under your own arrangements for the flight to Bucharest. Please check-in at least two hours before departure time. British Airways flight times are the latest known and subject to confirmation by the airline. Romania is in the Eastern European Time Zone. BST+2.

 

Depart Manchester                   BA1385            06:45    Arrive London Heathrow            07:55                        Flight time 1:10

 

Depart London Heathrow           BA886              11:00    Arrive Bucharest                       16:20                        Flight time 3:20

 

Departure

 

Depart Bucharest                       BA887              17:15    Arrive London Heathrow            18:45                         Flight time 3:30

 

Depart London Heathrow           BA1404            20:30    Arrive Manchester                     21:30                         Flight time 1:00

Map

Weather

Romania has a temperate continental climate, typical of central Europe where there are hot summer and long, cold winters. Our route is through mountainous regions - generally cooler than lower-lying parts of the country

Find more about Weather in Bucharest, RO
Click for weather forecast

E&OE

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