Overview

Mountains, woodlands, pastures and villages all covered in snow and waiting to be explored in Romania.

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 region’s 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 region’s 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.

Key information

  • 7 nights at the comfortable Villa Hermani guesthouse with twin and single rooms; most rooms are en suite
  • 6 days guided snowshoeing and winter walking
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Sightseeing visits to castles and villages
7 Nights 8 Days Available on request
Inclusions/Exclusions

What is included in the tour

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights
  • Snowshoes and poles provided
  • Return flight to London

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • 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 Jurassic Period.

Essential Info

Romania Visa

No visa required for British passport holders.


Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included during our stay.

Meals are a mixture of local produce and Romanian/Transylvanian specialties.

Breakfasts usually consist of a small buffet including an egg dish, cold cuts, cheeses, boiled eggs, vegetables, spreads, bread, yoghurt, cereals, jam, juice, herbal teas and coffee.

Lunches included on this trip will include the following -a picnic lunch provided by a local farmer on one day, traditional soups,  and self-made sandwiches that you can choose your own fillings from the buffet in the mornings.

Each evening there is a choice of a meat dish or vegetarian option.

If you are vegetarian or have special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of booking.

One night we will have dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant in Brasov, this meal is not included and you should allow approx. €20 (without drinks) for this.


Weather

Romania enjoys a continental weather pattern. Winter is normally cold but crisp with clear skies, though heavy snowfalls are common. Skies tend to be clearer in the mountains whilst in valleys and cities it may take a little longer, usually until lunch time, for the fog to clear. Generally, as long you dress for cold weather, winter is a nice time to visit the region.

Brasov


Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded 3 for moderate.

Snow conditions dictate whether we will hike with snowshoes or hiking boots along with the duration of walks. Exact walks will be selected by the leader at the time to best fit current weather conditions and safety requirements. The walks will vary from 2 to 7hrs, however, with most being around 4-5hrs long.

Temperatures are generally quite cold, averaging 0°C in the valleys, though blue skies are common in winter, especially in the mountains. In the valleys, mornings tend to be a little foggier and nicer in the afternoon. Snowfall can happen any time between December and April.

Walking distances and hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Please note: The leader has the right to adapt the route and length of the walks according to the weather conditions and the physical condition of the group.

Itinerary

DAY 1

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 the village 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. 

Villa Hermani

Meals included: dinner


DAY 2

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 mountain communities. 

After lunch at a local pension we return to Magura.
Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 3

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 string. 

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.
Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 4

Visit Libearty bear sanctuary, the village of Vulcan and Brasov.

Driving down into the valley we make our way to Europe’s 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. 

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.
Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch


DAY 5

Snowshoe or walk between 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.

Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 6

Walk to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's castle.

Today we hike from tranquil Magura towards busy Bran where we visit Bran Castle. It’s easy to see why Bram Stolker 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 Stolker saw an image of the castle and thought it the perfect setting for his dark tale. 

After visiting the castle we stop by Dracula’s market where we can pick up some vampire-inspired souvenirs. Later we will be picked up by the minibus and return to Magura.
Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 7

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.

Villa Hermani

Meals included: breakfast  lunch  dinner


DAY 8

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 flight departure.

Meals included: breakfast

Categories
Sightseeing, Walking & Trekking