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Explore Banat Beauties - 8 days

Duration 8
days
Difficulty Moderate

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Admire the charming old buildings in centre of Timisoara

Enjoy breathtaking views in the Banat Mountains

Venture to have a ride on the 'Semmering of Banat' mountain rail

Discover the the unique wonder of Bigar Waterfall

Stop to see the fascinating outdoor Steam Engine Museum in Resita

Be inspired by the enormous outdoors museum of Danube Gorges

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Starting point:

Timisoara International Airport, Romania

Duration:

8 days/7 nights
  • 2 days inbound/outbound flights into Romania
  • 3 days of sightseeing and visiting touristic objectives
  • 3 days of moderate - strenuous in places trekking; maximum 5-6 hours per day

Level of difficulty:

Moderate - Strenuous in places

Meals:

Accommodation:

Hotel/ Bed and Breakfast

Description of the trip:

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There is a small corner of Romania that remains still wild and tranquil in all its extraordinary varied scenery. Banat Mountains have much to offer to walkers of all abilities. The classic routes for this trip are in autumn when the leaves are in multicolour shades or in the spring when the orchids and lilac are in bloom over the valleys.

Renowned for its spectacular spring and autumn colours from rare trees, it draws walkers and visitors to the area with its collection of European beech (Fagus sylvatica), various oak species (Quercus sessilis) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) trees and provides a habitat for populations of brown bear, grey wolf, lynx, wildcat and eagles. The underground rivers are part of a karst landscape, where eroded limestone created numerous caves in the area. This part of the nature boasts its wildly differing landscapes which have been designated as outstanding.

This trip starts in Timisoara International Airport. This trip is graded as Moderate, however for the more adventurous ones it could be tailored into a more Challenging level of difficulty. The gorges are used by the sport lovers for rafting and canyoning and the area has many wild caves (so-called Non-commercial caves) which can be accessed via our Speleological partner clubs (please see Explore Wild Caves in Romania section for more details). If you are interested in more than trekking, please let us know and we are happy to help in making arrangements.

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This trip is accessible to all those in good health, who are doing some sport regularly, and who are used to all-terrain walks.

On the trekking days you will carry a day pack with the sandwiches for lunch. The weather conditions may be unpredictable, therefore it is advisable to have a waterproof jacket with you at all the times.


View detailed itinerary

Day 1 - After flying into Timisoara International Airport you will spend the night in a local hotel.
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Timisoara)
Day 2 - A short walk along the 12th century strengthen fortress walls of Tmisoara with the only one bastion still standing today for us to be admired will delight your sight taking you in the centre of the city where the old houses expose their beauty in different architectural styles. Amongst them you may consider to visit the Baroque Palace, a Turkish house built in its characteristic style, the Franciscan Monastery, the Serbian Orthodox Churches and the Palace in a byzantine style, the Lutheran church and many more other charming buildings with their typical ages and architecture featuring every historical period.

The Synagogue Citadel is an impressive building worth visiting for its original 1866s organ. This has now been lovingly restored and currently accommodates a concert hall which helps to sustain the survival of the building. Timisoara is also well known for its international art exhibitions and its multicultural theatres which are running performances in 3 different languages: Romanian, Hungarian and German. On your way you can stop for a drink at the oldest beer factory in Romania which was attested in 1718.

Part of Timisoara’s early educational development is proved through the first primary school in the country being established in 1718, the first community hospital run since 1745. Later in 1847 Johann Straus, the son, held in Timisoara his first concert outside the Viennese gates. Timisoara was also the first monarchic town to have all the streets illuminated by gas lamps in 1855. You could see as well the electric tram still running on the first tram rail build in Romania in 1899.

Leaving Timisoara you will be transferred by car to The Semenic and Caransebes Natural Park. The journey it takes about 2 hours with a short stop to see the outdoor Steam Engine Museum in Resita. From there passing the countryside roads you will get to the natural reserve with its unspoiled forests, stunning lakes and mountains backdrops where you will spend a second night. The beautifully carved landscape is sheltered on either side by leafy canopies or a variety of art sculptures perfect for an evening walk. You will sleep in a hotel in Valiug resort surrounded by hanging beech woods at the heart of which lies a large artificial lake.
Timisoara historical centre; Steam Engine Museum
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Valiug)
Day 3 - This morning you will get ready for the first trekking day in the Semenic - Carasului Gorges Nature Park. The beginning of the trek is gentle from Valiug resort to Gozna Peak (1446m) and follow on to Semenic Plateau.
Gozna Peak; Garana Village; Semenic Plateau
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Valiug)
Day 4 - Today is a longer trekking day. Passing a complex of caves you will head the route towards Comarnic Cave where you can stop for lunch after visiting it. The second part of the day you will follow the trail to Liliecilor Cave. This part of the trek starts getting more strenuous as the trail winds its way along Carasului Gorges going down the path through the trees crossing the river on two cables. The trail runs parallel with the Caras River. You will then arrive to Carasova village along a winding road where you can be picked up and taken back to the hotel. Before returning for your dinner you can visit shortly the village with its distinct Croatian culture due to its inhabitants living on this territory starting from the XII-th century.
Carasului Gorges, Carasova Village
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Valiug)
Day 5 - Leaving your hotel you make your way towards the next hotel in Sasca Montana. On your route you can opt to have a ride on the mountain railway between Anina and Oravita, or to have a short drive to see the water mills from Rudaria Gorges and view the Bigar Waterfall (or both if time permits). In the afternoon the group will be transferred to The Nera Gorges – Beusnita National Park which is Southern way down of Semenic - Carasului Gorges Natural Park.

The mineral rich valleys in Banat Mountains have teemed with industrial activity for long time. Oravita was a target for industrial investment by the late 18th century, so soon furnaces and pits were running all along the river valleys in Semenic Mountains. It was in Oravita that steam driven transport had an early breakout, when a locomotive made his first trip between Oravita and Anina on the first mountain railway built in Romania in the 19th century. This line traces the major artery for the transportation of coal and people at that time. Since the decline of the industry the area changed from black to grassy green, the scenery regaining some of its pre-industrial beauty. Completed in 1863, Anina - Oravita rail had 14 tunnels and 10 soaring viaducts along 34 km, breaching the mountain barrier between the mining area in Anina and the port at Bazias. The line was conceived as an extension to the industrial railway Bazias – Oravita which was intended to move coal from Anina mines to Bazias Port on Danube.

Once arrived in Oravita you can visit as well the Old Theatre. The first theatre in Romania which was also the first building in Europe to be lighted with special lamps is the Old Theatre in Oravita, built in 1817. The interior is the copy of the Burgtheater from Vienne painted by the Austrian painter Ieronimus Platzger, The ornaments are in style rococo, being either red or gold and the building was built in the honour of the royal emperor Francis I of Austria and the princess Augusta Carolina of Bavaria.

If you choose the other optional activities you will drive straight on the Minis Valley to see the Bigar Waterfall, a natural wonder of cascading surrounded by leafy green deciduous trees and moss. Continuing driving on you will take a short walk to the picturesque village of Eftimie Murgu in Rudaria Gorges. This is famous for the water mills valley. Few mills are still in use being operated by the water stream with a hydraulic system using a rotation on a vertical axis which makes them propel and grind the grains, thus producing flour.
'Semmering of Banat'; 'The Old Theatre' Oravita Bigar Waterfall; Rudaria Gorges (optional)
Bed and Breakfast (Sasca Montana)
Day 6 - This is the hardest day of trekking, but most rewarding. It is essential to get up early. At the point where Nera River enters Anina Mountains, the water flow has carved out a breathtaking landscape, whose most attractive point is the Nera Gorges. The trail takes you into the gorges following the riverside downstream. You will need to cross narrow sections of the river 7 times. Nera Gorges are longer, deeper and wilder than Caras Gorges. At various point along the gorge are meadows overlooked by crags. The path through the gorge is occasionally steep and tricky in parts, especially the section north-west of Lacul Dracului. At the western end by Cotul la Carlige you have to wade. This is not possible in the spring when the water level is high. Staying in a small hotel will give you a taste of authentic local life.
Nera Gorges; Dracului Lake;
Bed and Breakfast (Sasca Montana)
Day 7 - After breakfast an hour drive takes you to the Danube Gorges, an enormous outdoor geological museum which is represented by formations of Early Palaeozoic-Mesozoic age. From here you continue your way to Orsova for another 50 min driving. Along the Danube Gorges, the river runs for over 100 m between the hills with varied parts of landscape, river valleys, estuaries (especially that of the Danube) and coasts. The legend says that roman fleets could not overcome whirlpools and cataracts of the Danube Gorges, those notorious barriers to navigation, until around the year 100, when Trajan’s engineers hacked out a road along the rock face of the lower gorges and the following year cut a 3 mile canal to bypass the rapids of the Iron Gates below the exit from the gorges. These vast public works were undertaken in part because of the profits from mining which the Romans extracted in the area.

An optional short boat trip upstream or downstream on Danube will reveal the roman history of the surroundings including a series of caves which were first inhabited by man during the Neolithic period. It is widely claimed by archaeologists that Danube Gorges area has a long history within the pre-Neolithic occupation of the region. Vestiges of domestic dwellings and several sites known as sacred points were discovered, including prehistoric well-built stone hearths. Burials have been found quite commonly for the Neolithic period. This ancient landscape is a great place to get a glimpse of thousands of years of human endeavour.

Heading towards Dubova you pass Mraconia Monastery dated in the middle of XV-th century. After the boat trip an hour walk from Dubova on a small path through woods filled with lilac and orchids brings you to this magnificent panorama of the Danube at Cazanele Mici. At the end of the walk you head back towards Timisoara for a well deserved vibrant urban life atmosphere.
Danube Gorges; Mraconia Monastery
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Timisoara)
Day 8 - Return flight

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