Romania conjures up iconic images of Count Dracula, Transylvania, the Carpathian Mountains and old-world Eastern European culture. It's a country where Western and Byzantine influences meet, shepherds still tend their flocks, horse drawn carriages are more numerous than cars, and medieval villages retain their traditional character. On BikeHike's Transylvania Traverse, we explore the South East of Romania by mountain bike, horseback and foot. We'll show you ethnic diversity from Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons to Gypsies, Ukrainians and Poles, and we'll learn about their traditions and beliefs. We'll sample the region’s local cuisine and wines in the ambiance of a medieval castle, and hike and bike in the legendary Carpathian Mountains, the backbone of Eastern Europe. These Romania adventure tours are an artful blend of outdoor activity, traditional culture, exquisite scenery and ancient history.
- Spend a night in Prince Charles' traditional Saxon house in the town of Viscri.
- Visit Transylvania and medieval churches.
- Pass through remote traditional villages with plowing with horses, horse drawn wagons and haystacks.
- Mountain Bike across rugged terrain, steep ascents, thrilling descents and shallow river crossings.
|2||Bucharest - Carpathian Mountains - Magura||Hiking||Guesthouse||B,D|
|4||Magura - Viscri||Hiking||Guesthouse||B,L,D|
|5||Viscri - Sighisoara||Hiking||Hotel||B,L|
|7||Sighisoara - Malancrav||Horseback Riding||Guesthouse||B,L,D|
|8||Malancrav - Biertran - Sibiu||Hiking||Hotel||B,L|
|9||Sibiu - Bucharest||City Tour||Hotel||B,D|
Day 1: Arrival Bucharest
Upon arrival into the Bucharest Airport, you'll be met by your BikeHike Adventures guide and transferred to Sinaia, a beautiful mountainous resort town. Overnight in a cozy 3 star hotel.
Day 2: Bucharest - Transylvanian Castles - Carpathian Mountains - Magura (Hiking)
After a leisurely breakfast and morning, we’ll visit Peles Castle, a royal palace built as a summer residence for the first king of Romania, Carol I. The castle was built between 1875 and 1883 in a German Renaissance style. We’ll take a cable car high up into the mountains, and then set off on a hike for 3-4 hours in the surrounding mountains. We'll eventually reach our vehicle and then drive north into the southern Carpathian Mountains, to the foothills of Piatra Craiului Mountain in Magura. We'll check into our guesthouse here with panoramic views and have a traditional Romanian dinner cooked by our hosts. (B,D)
Day 3: Magura (Biking)
Today we switch gears and spend the day on mountain bikes, pedaling along quiet, hilly roads that wind along a gorgeous mountain ridge. The views over the edge are dramatic, with the rugged mountain chain of Piatra Craiului and grassy meadows. The terrain today is rugged and fun. We'll ride through remote hilly villages, alpine pastures and across rural fields. There will be steep ascents, thrilling descents and a few shallow water crossings, too. Along the way we'll visit an ancient monastic shrine built into a cave. The final descent to the Plaiul Foii valley is one of our favourite downhill sections in this region. We overnight in the same accommodation in Magura tonight. (Distance, 48 km with altitude gains of 950 meters). (B,L,D)
Day 4: Magura - Viscri (Hiking)
Today we set off on foot, hiking between mountain villages. We'll spend 6 hours traversing through Moeciu de Sus, Fundata, Sirnea, Pestera, Magura and Zarnesti. These villages will take you back into time and we're sure to have lots of cultural encounters along the way. It's very common to meet locals in their horse-drawn carriages, agricultural farmers mowing their crops or making cheese, and dairy cattle grazing in the fertile fields. We'll have a picnic for lunch and then drive to Viscri, in the heart of Transylvania, in a remote hidden valley. One of the main landmarks of Viscri is a beautiful white fortified church. It's been restored by Mihai Eminescu Trust, an English-Romanian foundation and is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Prince Charles, owns a house in this beautifully preserved village. We'll check into an 18th century house for the night, and then head to the village pub to watch the cow parade. At dusk, all the cattle and horses will be set free from the fields and will all return home waiting for their gates to open. It's quite an interesting site. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Viscri - Sighisoara (Hiking)
We'll start the day with a very typical and organic breakfast of homemade cheeses, sausages, bread and eggs, right from the chickens. Afterwards we'll bid farewell to our hosts and hike between some of the Saxon villages. We'll eventually reach a remote village where tourists and cars are a rarity. Here we'll hop on a local train where we'll have authentic cultural encounters with the local people. We'll end in Sighisoara, considered to be one the most intact and medieval architectural citadel's in Romania. The medieval citadel is perched on a hilltop and is fortified with a 14th century wall and towers. Tonight we'll overnight in a comfortable 3 star hotel right in the center of the fortress. (B,L)
Day 6: Sighisoara (Biking)
We're back on bikes today, meandering through traditional Saxon villages in the peaceful countryside. We'll pedal along hilly paved roads today, gaining about 1000 feet in altitude. We'll pass fortified churches in each of the towns and we'll make stops in some of the local grocery stores to buy a few snacks along the way. Cycling through the Romanian countryside is the perfect mode of transport to really experience the authentic way of life here. Lunch is a picnic. We'll return to the same hotel in Sighisoara. (B,L)
Day 7: Sighisoara - Malancrav (Horseback Riding)
We have a change of pace this morning. We'll head to a nearby ranch where we'll meet our Romanian horses. We'll saddle up, get some instructional riding tips and then set off for a few hours of riding. We'll meander through the countryside, exploring the lush and flowery meadows while observing the daily authentic way of life of the Saxons. We'll stop for a typical lunch in one of the villages along the way. We end in Malancrav, and overnight in a very traditional Saxon village house. Dinner is a feast of organic and home-cooked food, produced on the farm. Many of these villages homes throughout Transylvania have been restored and are run by a Romanian-English foundation called The Mihai Eminescu Trust. Overnight in Malancrav. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Malancrav - Biertran - Sibiu (Hiking)
After a hearty breakfast, we'll leave our village house on foot, for a 6 hour hike. We'll tramp along a beautiful landscape of verdant mountains, multi-coloured wildflowers and cows and sheep that graze on the hills. If we're lucky, we'll encounter some bee keepers who might offer us a taste of the honeycombs right from the hive. All the homes have a traditional look and are adorned with flower boxes of scarlet geraniums in the window sills. We'll visit a fortified church set in an apple orchard and finally we'll end in Biertran, a small village that has a the largest UNESCO Heritage fortress. We'll meet our driver and van in Biertran and drive about two hours to Sibiu, where we'll overnight in a cozy hotel. (B,L)
Day 9: Sibiu - Bucharest (City Tour)
We leave Transylvania this morning by vehicle and head to Bucharest, Romania's bustling metropolis capital city. We have a few hours in the van today, but the drive is beautiful. Once we arrive into Bucharest, we'll check into our 3-star hotel in the centre of town and then have time to explore the city on foot. Bucharest is laden with history, and is known for its wide, tree-lined streets, neoclassical buildings and fashionable parks. We'll enjoy a farewell dinner together this evening. (B,D)
Day 10: Bucharest - Departure
Transfer to the airport for international flights home. (B)
Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all accommodation (twin shared), all internal transportation, 24-speed mountain bikes, airport transfers and English-speaking guides.
Trip Does Not Include:
International airfare, airport taxes, gratuities, meals not included, and items of a personal nature.
9 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Hotel: 5 Nights
Guesthouse: 4 Night
“Saxon villages, horseback riding with locals and the cow parade made the trip to Romania a favorite. I love to be immersed In a country so deep that I don't hear English speaking voices. I found Romania to be out of the mainstream for tourists and perfect for exploring by foot, bike and horseback.”
– Susan Schamay
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Synonymous with the legends and mythology of the middle ages, Romania is a sweet country at heart. Crisp winds meander over the patchy hills of rock and mountain grass. Layers of mist coat snow-capped peaks, adding texture to the soul-shaking 360° panoramic view of the Carpathian Mountains. The humble rural lifestyle embodies Romania’s communion with farm life and nature. Though relatively untouched by mass tourism, travellers are discovering Romania’s potential as a full-blown adventure experience. By biking, hiking, and horseback riding between local communities, you are immersed in old-world Eastern European culture. Fusing high intensity outdoor activities with rural ambience and medieval castles is an experience Romania is better positioned to provide than any other country.