Wander through the mountains and forests of wintery Transylvania.
Transylvania – the name alone conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic
castles, horse drawn carts and forests filled with hibernating bears. The
reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this
small corner of Europe as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and
woodlands. Spend a week exploring this region, hiking or snowshoeing to small
villages, into gorges, through valleys and up mountains and wandering through
castles and a bear sanctuary along the way.
From our comfortable guesthouse in the small village of Magura, we head out
to uncover the regions treasures on foot. Snow conditions will dictate
whether we hike or snowshoe but, either way, we get into the wilderness.
Along the way we meet locals who still live a traditional lifestyle, learn
about the regions rich folklore and history, admire stunning mountain
scenery and, with a bit of luck, see traces of the local wildlife including
wolf or bear paw prints in the snow.
* The serene beauty of the Carpathian Mountains in Winter
* Looking for wolf and bear tracks in the snow
* Visiting Bran Castle, Dracula’s home
* Warm hospitality of the local people
* Walking through the Prapastiile Zarnestilor Canyon, formed during the
Fly to Bucharest, transfer to Magura, Transylvania..
Upon arrival in Bucharest we will be picked up and transferred to our
comfortable guesthouse in Transylvania, approximately 3.5hrs drive from
Bucharest. The guesthouse is located in thevillage of Magura at about
1040m, within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park.
Our hosts at our guesthouse, the Villa Hermani, are very hospitable and enjoy
stopping to chat over a glass of local plum brandy.
Walk to a local bat cave and the village of Pestera.
Heading out on foot again, our first destination today is a local cave which
is a hibernation roost for a number of bats including lesser and greater
horseshoe bats. Remember to bring a torch with you for the cave visit.
We then continue on our way to the nearby village of Pestera (which
translates as the cave) witnessing the winter rural life of these
After lunch at a local pub we return to Magura.
Explore Kalibash villages.
Magura is one of a number of villages known as the Kalibash villages. The
Kalibash once fled Walachia to this remote area which, at the time, was under
Austro-Hungarian rule. Here houses stretch along hilltops like pearls on a
Starting right at our guesthouse we hike up to Dealul Magurice (1300m) where
we may spot wolf, lynx and bear prints in the snow in the forest. Later, as
we make our way back to Magura, we stop by a local farm to share a hot
tuica (home-made plum brandy) with the farmer.
Snowshoe or walkbetween Piatra Craiului and Bucegi mountain.
This morning we walk up to a high plateau between Piatra Craiului and Bucegi
mountain. In winter time this plateau is completely uninhabited, everything
is still and a quiet serenity permeates the air giving a sense of truly being
in a remote and special area.
In the afternoon you will return to the guesthouse.
Visit Libearty bear sanctuary, the village of Vulcan and Brasov.
Driving down into the valley we make our way to Europes largest rescue
facility for brown bears: Libearty. Founded in 2005, the rescue centre is
home to nearly 100 bears, most of whom suffered over many years in captivity
as dancing bears or in circuses. The walk around the bear sanctuary will last
approximately one hour.
We drive on to the village of Vulcan, which derives its name from the
Slavonic word Valc meaning wolf. This region is closely related to the
history of Transylvanian Saxons who immigrated here 800 years ago from the
Rhine-Moselle valleys. They built fortified churches, some of which have been
designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Upon arrival in Vulcan we are greeted by warm coffee and traditional cake in
the yard of the fortified church.
From Vulcan we drive to Brasov and do a tour around town. We get some free
time to explore the town. We will then take our evening meal in a traditional
Romanian restaurant and later we return to Magura by minibus.
Walk to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s castle.
Today we hike from tranquil Magura towards busy Bran where we visit Bran
Castle. Its easy to see why Bram Stoker picked this castle to be the
residence of the infamous vampire, Count Dracula. The character himself was
based on Vlad Tepes, AKA Vlad the Impaler, Duke of Walachia and a brutal
tyrant. Though Vlad himself never went to Bran, Bram Stoker saw an image of
the castle and thought it the perfect setting for his dark tale.
After visiting the castle we stop by Draculas market where we can pick up
some vampire-inspired souvenirs. Later we will be picked up by the minibus
and return to Magura.
Snowshoe through Zarnesti Canyon to Piatra Craiului Mountains.
This morning we walk through a spectacular canyon, a gorge formed during the
Jurassic Period. We continue towards Curmatura Cabin just beneath the rocks
of Piatra Craiului Mountain. The cabin is open year-round and we can relax
here before going back to our guesthouse.
Altitude gain: We first walk down to the gorge 200m, then hike up 700m to
Cabana Curmatura, walk down again 700m and hike up to Magura 200m.
Transfer to Bucharest Airport, fly to London.
Clients booked on the group flight or group flight transfers will be
transferred (3.5 hours) back to Bucharest Airport in time for the group