This tour is first about Romania. It is about discovering Romania by climbing her most beautiful mountains, by experiencing the rural richness of Romania and by experiencing several of the old historical provinces of Romania: Muntenia from the old kingdom of Romania, Banat and Transylvania. All these by striking the right balance of physical effort during the outdoor hikes followed by cultural sightseeing dedicated days.
So why take such a long tour? Here are some reasons:
- The Iron Gates of the Danube,
- The best thermal resort of the Romans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
- Gorges, Remote villages reachable only by foot,
- Retezat – the mountain of the glacier lakes,
- Transylvania with its old Saxon burgs,
- The highest mountains of Romania – Transylvanian Alps,
- Alba-Iulia – the citadel with three ages blended into one,
- the King’s Rock – the most beautiful ridgeline in Romania and much more.
All this in just two weeks. Romania is bigger than you thought. But we think this tour manages to make a wonderful selection of some of the most beautiful natural and cultural objectives of Romania. These are two weeks right in the heart of Romania. It is not a complete tour of Romania but it is as complete as it can be in two weeks, while carefully mixing outdoor activity and cultural sightseeing.
|DEPARTURE TIME||7.00 the first day|
|ARRIVAL TIME||21.00 at the end of the tour|
|Estimated duration of hikes||around 5-6 hours|
|Maximum height||2507 m|
|Elevation gained||more than 1200 m in each of the three hikes|
|Individual equipment needed||
|Accommodation||1st night – guesthouse near Orsova, on the banks of the Danube, near the entrance in the Iron Gates.
2nd night – Baile Herculane mountain resort
3nd night – Gura Zlata cabin
4th night – Gura Zlata cabin
5th night – Alba Iulia
6th night – Alba Iulia
7th night – Sibiu
8th night – Sibiu
9th night – Sighisoara
10th night – Magura
11th night – Magura
12th night – Rasnov
13th night – Sinaia
|Meals||Breakfast and dinners will be eaten where we will stay overnight or in the cities we will visit. During the hikes, some sandwiches and a couple of chocolate bars and/or biscuits will help.|
|INCLUDED|| Transport from and to Bucharest by car
13 Dinners, Breakfasts, 13 Lunches
13 nights’ accommodation
Professional Mountain Guide
Entrance fees to museums
|NOT INCLUDED|| Other meals
Pieces of individual equipment
|Discount policy||For group bookings we apply a discount based on the number of the participants. Please book the tour and/or contact us to negotiate the discount.|
Other good to know issues:
- During summer months the heat may be a problem so having a hat and lotion protection against sun is mandatory.
- The program of the tour is adjustable based on the weather. If some days are less good for hiking, we will exchange them for the cultural parts of the tour and the other way around.
- The hikes are generally easy.
Our objective for the day are the Danube narrows known as the Iron Gates. These spectacular narrows are to be found in South-West of Romania where the Danube separates Romania and Serbia. At this point, the river separates the southern Carpathians from the northwestern foothills of the Balkans.
It is a long way from Bucharest so we need to leave the capital city of Romania early in the morning. We drive for about 5 hours following the Bucharest – Pitesti – Craiova – Drobeta – Orsova route. After a well deserved lunch in the port city of Orsova, we head for the narrows by car.
We are going to leave the car at some point and walk along the steep river banks. The view there is gorgeous. But not more so than from above the gorges. Yes, we are going to hike the highest point above the narrows (Peak Ciucaru – 318 m) and see it all from above.
The hike is easy and re-comforting, but the drops to the Danube are quite vertical. This an unique landscape in Europe.
Objectives for the day: Baile Herculane thermal bath resort and the remote villages of the Cernei Mountains. Romans, Turks, Austrians they all used the baths. The center of the resort is Austrian style. It could be, if restored, the best thermal resort in Europe.
As for the villages…well, they are truly special. There is no car road reaching them on top of the mountain. Nor they have electric light. The elders are still wearing centuries old types of garments and shoes. Unfortunately, the younger generation, out of economic reasons is leaving the birth place. This is something unique which should be seen while still there is something left of the old ways.
One hour by car and we are in Herculane but we are not going to visit the resort, but only in the evening. We are going to hike first to Inelet and Scarisoara villages in a round circuit. In order to reach the first village, we need to climb some wooden ladders. Remember, the villagers do it too. Up there is another epoch. The whole hike takes about 4-5 easy hours.
Late evening we are back in Herculane and enjoy the resort.
This day, we are going to be on our way to Retezat, but not before seeing some of the most beautiful places of Banat: the water mills from Rudaria, the Nerei gorges and the Waterfall of Beusnita.
We will pass the old mining city of Anina, the city of Caransebes and then we will reach the site of the capital city of the Roman province of Dacia – Sarmizegetusa Ulpia. From there we will enter the kingdom of Retezat.
The evening will find us at a guesthouse at the foot of Retezat mountains
The biggest glacier lake of Romania – Bucura – is the objective for the day. And not only this: jagged peaks, lots of glacier lakes, river valleys, juniper forests, etc. What a hike this will be in the oldest national park of Romania.
For this we need to drive 30 km on a gravel road and enter the heart of the mountain. After two hours we will step with our bare feet in the cold water of Bucura lake. It is a wonderful camping site. Not for us this time. We climb a little more following the lake trail: Lia, Viorica…all lakes with girl names, flowing one into another.
We will come back spellbound to the same guesthouse.
After the physically taxing previous day, this day is about discovering Sureanu mountains and its villages and caves. We will go to Cioclovina protected area and let us drifted by the river meanders and the limestone landscape. This is one of the areas that were the power basis of the Dacians, the ancient people who fought (and lost with dire consequences) against the Romans.
In the evening we will move to Alba Iulia city.
It is time for a city. But not any city. It is a symbol of Romania. It is here that the great union of Transylvania and the old kingdom of Romania was made in 1918. The marvel is that you can see at once several layers of history at the same time: this was the Roman castrum of Apulum, this was also the medieval city of Alba Iulia with its wall still standing but this was as well where a modern fortification cannon resistant was build in the eighteen century. Its three histories into one. We will actually take a very relaxing walk into the moat of the citadel.
From Alba Iulia, we will go to Rimetea village and hike upon the Piatra Secuiului Peak. And not only, we will also have time for some gorges: Ampoita, Rimetului.
It is time to get higher. Higher mountains we mean. And not any mountain but he Transylvanian Alps, the highest in Romania. This is a 2500 m hike. This is the home of fog, glacier lakes and of the most beautiful road in the word as labelled by the former Top Gear show.
We will drive on this road up to Bilea lake at 2000m where a tunnel cuts the mountain and gets on the South side. We will have a wonderfull hike towards lake Capra and see both sides of the mountain: old Romania in the South and Transylvania in the North. If the weather is on our side, we get to see the highest peaks of Romania, Moldoveanu and Negoiu.
Sibiu was in 2007 the Cultural Capital City of Europe. This day is dedicated to this city. Our objectives or choice are the Museum of Village – a must see for the old houses which were build en purpose for preservation, and the old town of Sibiu, a wonderful Saxon imprint.
This day we will enter the heart of Transylvania. We head for the city of Sighisoara.
Central Sighișoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval fortified city. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Each year, a Medieval Festival takes place in the old citadel in July.
The medieval citadel of Sighisoara is one of a must see places in Transylvania. With its walls, churches, guild towers, restaurants this city is made to charm. Just keep in mind that the old medieval houses in the citadel are still inhabited. Every year here a medieval festival takes place.
On the way back to Brasov we pass to Viscri and other Saxon villages where we will visit the fortified old medieval churches. You know, here is where Pince Charles of England bought a farm and spends summers.
After the highest range of Romania (Transylvanian Alps), we aim for perhaps the most beautiful: Piatra Craiului.
We reach Zarnesti, the main city at the foot of Piatra Craiului, we take a Western country road which follows the river Barsa. In about 10 km we will be at the start of our hiking route. Almost all the West side of Piatra Craiului is visible from this spot offering us a continuous unbroken vertical wall of more than 1000m. It is breathtaking! And we shall go right at it, underneath it.