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Transylvania Nature Trails Escape - 8 days

Duration 8
days
Difficulty Moderate

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Be surprised by the unique 19th century architecture in Rimetea, one of the most beautiful villages in Romania

Enjoy breathtaking views in the Apuseni Mountains with its unspoiled beech forests and hidden caves

Venture to the most spectacular gold mine in Rosia Montana

Visit Alba Iulia town the most representative star fortification in Romania

Stop to see the enormous underground salt mine in Turda

Be inspired by the history of Corvin Castle or historical centre of Sibiu (optional objectives)

Discover the fascinating historical centre of Cluj-Napoca dominated by St. Michael's Church and Banffy Palace


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Starting point:

Cluj-Napoca International Airport, Romania

Duration:

8 days/7 nights
  • 2 days inbound/outbound flights into Romania
  • 4 days of Moderate difficulty trekking; maximum 5-6 hours per day
  • 2 days visiting main towns/touristic objectives in the area

Level of difficulty:

Moderate - Strenuous in places

Meals options:

The meals will be a mix of traditional Romanian or Szekely meals and more 'westernised' food. Lunches during the trekking days will be mostly picnics, but this will depend on the weather, and you may opt for an indoor meal on occasions.

Accommodation:

Hotel/ Bed and Breakfast

Description of the trip:

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Apuseni Mountains is one of the best places for those looking for adventure and also try to get a taste of this culturally exciting and vibrant part of Romania. This trip gives options for everyone regardless of age, experience or skill levels, however you do need to be of a physical condition to be able to pass narrow sections between rocks and have a reasonable sense of risk at high altitude.

Transylvania's rolling hills are home to many unspoilt medieval towns rich with history, art and architecture. The best months to visit are April and May when all the wildflowers are booming, although September and October are equally stunning and pleasantly warm.

This trip starts in Cluj-Napoca International Airport.

Depending on your ability you can venture onto an easy walk or go for a challenging scramble. There are endless routes to choose from and your guide will be there to find the best route for you up the rocky terraces of the mountain.

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This area is well known for climbing and other mountaineering sports, though if you are an adventure lover you can get kitted up and embark on an intrepid tour in the surroundings of Apuseni Mountains where you have as well the option to learn how to ascend and descend on a rock face using the single rope technique, to venture in a wild cave or get a scramble on the local canyons (optional activities are operated on prior arrangement/ full gear provided/full or half day arrangements possible).

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

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 - Arrive in Cluj-Napoca International Airport and drive to the hotel in Rimetea, located in a beautiful mountainous region, at the foothills of the Trascau Mountains, about 60km from Cluj-Napoca Town. Rimetea Village is one of the most beautiful villages in Romania with a unique 19th century architecture set in a valley surrounded by Trascau Mountains which is of an outstanding beauty. The village was populated since the roman times and was famous for its iron production from the medieval times. The village was mainly populated by Szekely starting with the 11th century and had a mixed population after the arrival of the Transylvanian Saxons in the late 12th century.
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Rimetea)
Day 2 - Today you will have a nice walk in Rimetea Village in the morning followed by a short trekking trail through the Trascau Mountains which are part of the southern Carpathians. The walk takes approximately 3 hours gaining about 800 meters in elevation up to the Piatra Secuiului peak (1128m). From here you continue the walk for another 2 hours to visit Coltesti fortress ruins.
Rimetea Village, Piatra Secuiului Peak, Coltesti fortress
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Rimetea)
Day 3 - After a short driving to the starting point you will take on a circuit trail in Scarita – Belioara Nature Reserve. The paths in Scarita Belioara Nature Reserve take their trekkers on a wonderful journey through thick woods dominated by beech forests but also including other species of tree such as conifers and wild flowers. In the spring thick carpets of bluebells can be found, flourishing before the beech leafs out and shading the forest floor. The trail is winding up on a strenuous climb bypassing abysses and hidden caves. At times the walking is very steep and the drops can be sheer. The reserve is known for its unique butterflies and countless protected species that live here in this absolute paradise.

Accommodation:

Scarita-Belioara Nature Reserve
Bed and Breakfast/Chalet (Salciua de Jos)
Day 4 - Today you will spend the day in the beauty of the charming Rosia Montana village, making your way to the Alburnus Maior gold mine, deemed to be one of the most spectacular monument in Europe, the only in the world that can be visited in its natural environment. This is the place to trace gold, then relax within its beautiful natural surroundings in the hills of Rosia Montana area. Such a landscape is a comfort to man, yet the countryside has not abandoned all of its ancient savagery and power. Set in the shadow of the glorious Rosia Montana Valley, these ancient mines provide a unique insight into Roman gold mining methods 2,000 years ago. Guided tours inside Alburnus Maior galleries will tell you the story of the 20th century workers in these underground galleries where you will find out how the ores were processed during the roman, medieval and modern times. Chambers, disused machinery and even personal items left behind by the workers give this place a real sense of history.
Optional objective: As you make your way back to the hotel you should not miss the 3000 years old ice deposit in Scarisoara Cave that was used for centuries by local inhabitants as a source of water melting ice for domestic purposes during periods when water was not available. To get there you will be diverted 30km drive from the planned route taking you through woodlands with a spectacular scenery crossing colourful meadows and charming villages.
Alburnus Maior Gold Mine, Rosia Montana Village; Scarisoara Ice Cave (optional)
Bed and Breakfast/Chalet (Salciua de Jos)
Day 5 - Today we take a longer walk from our mountain chalet to the Ramet Monastery taking you trough superb views over the surrounding country. The walk today is challenging in parts with the odd sections where you may need to scramble over rocks or walk on the river bed. After around six hours of trekking we will arrive to our hotel for a well deserved hot meal and refreshments. Note: During the walk on the river there is a section approximately few metres which will require holding on to a chain/cable fixed in the gorges wall to cross. Alternative route may be used with a less level of difficulty. Today's trek will not operate if it is raining or if there is a threat of rain. If this is the case an alternative walk in the area will be arranged.
Ramet Gorges; Ramet Monastery
Bed and Breakfast/Chalet (Ramet)
Day 6 - After the rigours of the previous day you will be transferred to Alba-Iulia town spending a relaxing day exploring the most impressive and representative Vauban type bastioned fortification in Romania (Alba Carolina) where Ferdinand of Romania was symbolically crowned as a king. It is worth taking a little time to explore some of Alba Iulia's churches and historical buildings before heading out over to another attraction.
Optional objectives: In the afternoon you can choose an optional trip to wander around the attractive town of Sibiu with its wealth of impressive churches, museums, schools and other objectives which stand before you to visit. The Astra Village Museum in Sibiu is worth visiting as a nice walk introducing you into the lives of Romania’s inhabitants over the centuries.
An alternative may be to visit Corvin Castle in Hunedoara. The castle is a mixture of architectural elements that belong to the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-gothic styles and it prides itself as being during the years the host for many prestigious cinema productions such as Henry VIII, Michelangelo Buonarroti or Martin Luther.
A third optional objective of great importance is Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital and the most important military, religious and political centre of the Dacians prior to the wars with the Roman Empire. Erected on top of a 1200 m high mountain, the fortress, comprising six citadels, was the core of a strategic defensive system in the Orăştie Mountains.
In the evening you will have plenty of time to explore further the bastioned fortification Alba Carolina before you sample some of the area’s delicacies in a medieval restaurant.
Alba Carolina Bastioned fortification; Sibiu historical centre (optional); Corvin Castle (optional); Sarmizegetusa Regia (optional)
Hotel/Bed and breakfast (Alba-Iulia)
Day 7 - This morning you will drive to Cluj-Napoca town with a short stop to visit Turda Salt Mine, an enormous underground salt mine one of the oldest mines in the world where salt was extracted here during the antiquity. The underground tour reveals the mine history and how the salt was extracted. It is presently being modernised and transformed into a theme park with lots of leisure activities inside.

In the afternoon you will discover the fascinating historical centre of Cluj-Napoca with 18th and 19th century buildings dominated by the 15th century St. Michael's Church, one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in Romania. Equally impressive monuments worth seeing include Banffy Palace which houses the weaponry and the collection of the art museum, and the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, a veritable display of folk architecture. After spending the afternoon exploring the exquisite monuments in the surroundings you will be more than ready to head for some well-earned rest and friendly urban atmosphere. There is a broad range of places where you can eat traditional meals as a final stop before your departure.
Turda Salt Mine; Cluj-Napoca historical centre
Hotel/Bed and Breakfast (Cluj-Napoca)
Day 8 - Return flight

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