Carpathian Mountains, Villages, & Castles

From 995 € pp

  • Duration

    8 days
  • Departure Date

    May 11, 2024
  • Trip Style

    Small Group
  • Country

    Romania
  • Physical Rating

    Average

Overview

Travel back in time to appreciate movie-like castles, quaint villages, and stunning views on this small-group walking tour through the Carpathian Mountains.

Local meals, cozy nights at guesthouses, and walks through traditional villages, all to fully immerse yourself in ancient customs that are still vibrantly alive. See fortresses erected in the 14th century and wander through the secret passages of the “Dracula Castle” to discover hidden mysteries! 

In this bucolic country, locals still rely on craftsmanship and have a strong link with nature, so your days here will allow you to learn about their pastoral life. Well-preserved landscapes such as the Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains provide ideal settings for hikes overlooking sheepfolds, green pastures, and woods. Our climb following woodland trails, rich in birdsong, will lull all your senses.

Highlights

  • Take a train ride through the Carpathian Mountains
  • Climb through picturesque woodlands at Piatra Craiului National Park
  • Explore the famous “Dracula Castle”
  • Visit a remote cheese house (available through mid-September)
  • Walk through quaint traditional villages
  • Walk ridge to ridge walk along the Bucegi mountains
  • Visit a bear sanctuary
  • Visit the Vulcan Fortified Church

Locally produced lunches, such as soups and apple pies, and home-cooked dinners at our guesthouse will allow you to taste traditional Romanian meals while taking in the natural, idyllic views. To engross yourself even more in Romania’s traditions, visit the Vulcan Fortified Church, an ancient building that witnessed the Saxon Empire’s colonization of Transylvania.

This trip also includes some unique experiences. For example, you can explore the alluring Bran Castle, the same castle that inspired the story of Dracula. We’ll also visit a nearby bear sanctuary, home to formerly captive bears.

Bucharest, the capital of the country, is as enchanting as Romania’s natural landscapes. Bucharest welcomingly invites you to wander and discover its eclectic style. In your free time, seize the opportunity to see this vibrant city whose architecture has French as well as Ottoman and Communist influence.

Departure Dates

  • May 11, 2024 - May 18, 2024
  • Jun 23, 2024 - Jun 30, 2024
  • Jul 13, 2024 - Jul 20, 2024
  • Aug 24, 2024 - Aug 31, 2024
  • Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 21, 2024

6 required for departure.

  • June 23rd departure: 3 more required to guarantee departure!
  • August 24th departure: 2 more required to guarantee departure!

Seasonal Notes

The country's rich history and stunning landscapes are much enjoyed if traveling in spring (March-May) or summer (June-August). Mild temperatures allow pleasant walks around the villages and hikes along breathtaking settings.
Springtime presents mild weather, but there may still be snow in higher elevations and trails may be muddy due to snowmelt and rain. Traditional cheese tasting is available through mid-September.
Trails are generally dry and the weather is favorable for hiking during summer. Temperatures range from 15-25°C (59-77°F).

Itinerary

Day 1 Bucharest [Romania] (arrival day)

Meeting your guide at the North Train Station in Bucharest.

Train transfer to Brasov where you’ll have a private transfer to your central hotel. Travelling by train will create a great opportunity to experience the stunning views from Prahova Valley where the Prahova river makes its way between the Bucegi and the Baiului Mountains, in the Carpathian Mountains.

Free time to visit Brasov.

Transfer: 2h40 by train

Meals: not included

Day 2 Piatra Craiului National Park (~5 hours | 15 km | ~ 9 miles | +750m gain | -600m descent)

After a short transfer, we head into the Piatra Craiului National Park. Our walk will start with a nice steady climb following woodland trails that are picturesque and rich in birdsong. We end up at our lovely lunch spot at Cabana Curmatura, where we can take in the views of the Valley and Canyon surrounding us. Lunch will be a real delight today with local soup and an amazing apple pie!!

Full up from lunch we make our way downhill through open hills before entering a large wooded area along the river. We will follow an old track to The Jurassic Zarnesti Canyon.

The last ascent will bring us to the fairy-tale village of Magura where we will spend our next couple of nights in a traditional and cozy guesthouse.

Meals: breakfast, picnic, dinner

Day 3 Magura to Bran Castle (~5 hours | 12 km | ~ 7 miles | +350m | -600m)

Our walk will start from Magura, and we begin with a slow ascent through green pastures and traditional farm land. We will join a shaded forest track for some time, where we will still be gradually ascending, before the forest opens up to reveal a magnificent hill top where we can stop and admire the wonderful views below!

We make our way to our hillside lunch spot with a gentle walk. Our lunch spot is picturesque as it overlooks a very remote farm house that has no electricity and no running water, and is owned by a charming local farmer herding his cattle with not a care in the world!!

After lunch we follow a good terrain before descending a very steep hill (500m). The descent is paired with fantastic views of Bran Castle so take your time, go slowly and take it all in. When we reach Bran you can choose to go inside or simply explore it from outside. Most people know Bran Castle as “Dracula’s Castle”, from Bram Stoker’s novel. This story is loosely based on Vlad Tepes who ruthlessly defended this part of Transylvania, and in the process, the legend of his rather gruesome killings inspired the story of Dracula. Bran Castle it’s an amazing example of 14th century Gothic architecture that looks like it was carefully placed on top of a mountain. Going to Bran Castle one can really experience the feeling of what it was like to live in those times and places. As you wander through the mazes of rooms, stairways, secret passages and levels connected with wooden ladders, it's easy to imagine the history and secrets hidden there. It's on mountaintops, so you can walk around outside for great views and fresh Carpathian mountain air (castle admission fee not included).

Afterwards we have had ample time to explore we will have a private transfer till our guesthouse.

Meals: breakfast, picnic, dinner

Day 4 Piatra Craiului Mountains (~5 hours | 14 km |~ 9 miles | +550m | -550m)

Today we continue the walk at the feet of the Piatra Craiului Mountains in this bucolic landscape in the middle of pastures, sheepfolds, and woods. We will approach a sheepfold where, if it’s not too late in the year (our notes: the animals are there till around the 15th of September), we can stop and taste the traditional cheese “burduf” being made here at this remote Cheese house.

Our guide will give us a talk on cheese making. We will end the stage in a scattered village which seem not to care about time passing. We will see spectacular landscapes in the surrounding mountains.

Meals: breakfast, picnic, dinner

Day 5 Bucegi Mountains (~4 hours | 13 km | ~ 8 miles | +250m | -350m)

After waking up to a picturesque setting you will enjoy a hearty breakfast before starting on your walk.

Today’s walk takes you through a mix of quaint villages where traditional customs and cultures still exist. You will pass by one of the oldest houses in this area, which is nearly 200 years old. We will stop in a lovely local house where there is a small museum about the villages you are walking through.

Depending on the time of day it may also be possible to visit two local Orthodox Churches before relaxing in your cozy guesthouse whose owner is a well-renowned cook. That’s why all our meals will be home-cooked with the owner’s own traditional agriculture..

Meals: breakfast, picnic, dinner

Day 6 Ridge to Ridge Walk (~5 hours | 18 km | ~ 11 miles | +850m | -850m)

Our walk begins with a nice slow steady climb to the top of ridge, passing many Sherpa Huts along the way to La Bisericuta, where we will have spectacular views of the Bucegi Mountains and the Valley Bangaleasa below. There will be plenty of time to take photos here and admire the scenery.

Slowly we will descend into the Valley below and enter the Bucegi National Park. From here, a longer walk is possible to a second ridge and onto our lunch spot at Poiana Gutanu Meadows, where we will have a well-deserved rest and a packed lunch.

Meals: breakfast, picnic, dinner

Day 7 Bear Sanctuary, Fortified Church of Vulcan (~4 hours | 14 km | ~ 9 miles, +250m | -350m)

After a short transfer, today we will visit the Bears Sanctuary, where you will hear plenty of interesting stories about the bears that you will see.

From there we will start a short easy hike to visit the fortified church, the witness of the Saxon heritage since they colonised Transylvania in 13th century. In the village we will have a surprising encounter with the priest of this old church an enthusiastic and intelligent young men who will explain us the story of the church and will make us taste some local specialities.

From here we will transfer back to Bucharest, with a small stop to see the magnificent castle Peles.

The evening will be free to spend some quality time in Bucharest exploring this astonishing city.

Accommodation at a 3* central hotel.
Meals: breakfast, picnic/lunch

Day 8 Bucharest (departure day)

Between the two world wars, Bucharest was known as "the Eastern Paris". Today is a very eclectic city, where you can see the influences of The Medieval period with its Ottoman occupation and of the modern period with the influence of French neoclassical architecture and of the communist period. If your flight schedule allows, you can visit the Romanian capital with the help of a road book created by us with a lot of attention.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Welcome and briefing

  • English-speaking Romanian guide from Day 1 to Day 7

  • Day 1 & 8 public/private transfers

  • All accommodations

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 picnics, 5 dinners

  • Baggage transfer

  • Guidebook & hiking maps

  • First aid kit

  • Assistance always reachable

  • Travel insurance

  • Hiking stick rental

  • Drinks other than water

  • Personal expenses

  • Site visits

  • Souvenirs

  • Entry fees to attractions

  • Articles of a personal nature

Pricing

Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

  • Deposit per person

    30% of the trip price

  • Shared Room - sleeps 2 - price per person

    995 € pp

Optional Add-ons

  • Single supplement: 125€
  • Supplement for a departure in case of 5 people (supplement - price per person: 125€
  • Supplement for a departure in case of 4 people (supplement - price per person) : 250€
  • Supplement for a departure in case of 3 people (supplement - price per person): 500€
  • Supplement for a departure in case of 2 people (supplement - price per person): 950€
  • Transfer Bucharest OTP Airport - Bucharest city center or railway station - max. 3 pax, one way: 30€
  • Extra night, Bucharest, 3-star hotel, price / DBL BB: 78€

Sustainability

We are a certified partner of the Association of Ecotourism in Romania. Our philosophy has always been to encourage traveling as much as possible by non-motorized means and mostly off the beaten path, to try and avoid the mainstream and bring out the authenticity.

Environmental Initiatives
We constantly highlight the need for recycling, the use of biodegradable or reusable objects (food boxes, water bottles, etc.), and local food supply in particular. This walking tour is a low-carbon impact activity that connects you with our nature. You will take a train from Bucharest to get closer to your starting point for the walk.

Economic Initiatives
All our partners are Romanians who work independently for the development of their country, the type of circuit that we carry gives work on average to about fifteen local providers in the region. We help you travel on less-popular roads where your presence will support local communities more.

Sociocultural Initiatives
We are committed to promoting and explaining the cultural and artisanal productions of the regions we visit. Furthermore, we only work with independent artisans & craftsmen whose respect for traditional know-how is wildly recognized.
You'll be staying primarily in guesthouses run by local families we've worked with for years, and eating homemade dishes. Tourism truly helps their families and communities to thrive. You'll also spend 1 night at a cozy 3-star hotel and 1 night at a 2-star hotel.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.

FAQs

What does the Physical Rating of "Average" mean?

A medium level of fitness is required, with the longest walking day lasting up to 6 hours. Walks may be altered based on the group's abilities or weather conditions and may be interrupted by small transfers.

What are the accommodations like?

Accommodations include 5 nights in guest houses run by local families in traditional mountain villages, 1 night in a 3-star hotel, and 1 night in a 2-star hotel. Bathrooms are private unless there's an exceptional case needed for two rooms to share one bathroom based on group size and guest house availability.

What do I need to bring?

Please bring the following for your trip:

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Gloves
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Headlamp (some rooms are not equipped with lamps close to the bed)
  • Snacks & energy bars for the day
  • Credit card & a small amount of cash

What about my luggage?

Luggage will be transferred from one guest house to the other.

What happens if our group is less than 6 people?

There is a 'small group supplement' for parties less than 6. Contact us for pricing.

Inquire Now

Departure Dates

  • May 11, 2024 - May 18, 2024
  • Jun 23, 2024 - Jun 30, 2024
  • Jul 13, 2024 - Jul 20, 2024
  • Aug 24, 2024 - Aug 31, 2024
  • Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 21, 2024

6 required for departure.

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