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Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

Details

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Trails of the Apuseni Mountains
Rating
Average rating:   0,  0 reviews
Country
Romania
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
9 days & 8 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Various
Availability
April - October

Itinerary

Day 1: Bucharest – Brasov
Day 2: Bran Castle and Magura
Day 3: Bat Cave or Zarnesti Gorges
Day 4: Magura Village – Fundata
Day 5: Fundata Circular Walk
Day 6: Bucegi Mountain
Day 7: Seven Ladders Canyon
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

On this holiday you will explore the western part of Transylvania and one of the most spectacular national parks out there – Apuseni National Park. The Western Carpathians, also known as the Apuseni Mountains (the ”mountains of the sunset”), with their breathtaking karst landscapes and traditional villages are unique in Romania and Europe.

Your trip starts in Cluj Napoca, a landmark city in Transylvania where you have the chance to visit its beautiful cultural and historical sites. You’ll spend the following days exploring the Apuseni National Park where you’ll come across spectacular caves, gorges and breathtaking natural and rural landscapes.

Highlights


Itinerary for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

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Day 1: Cluj-Napoca

Arrive in Cluj Napoca, one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania that traces its origins back to the Dacian settlement of Napuca in the 2-nd century A.D. Here you can visit the Union Square, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Banffy Palace and the Fortress Hill.

Accommodation: a hand-picked 3-star guesthouse (Casa Boca) or hotel (Lola et Lola) close to the main square and the old town of Cluj

Day 2: Stana de Vale

Breakfast. Transfer to Stana de Vale mountain resort town (170 km / 3 hours). After check-in and short rest, take a moderate circular walk to Poieni Peak (1,627 m).

Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 14 km, 500 m elevation gain, 500 m elevation loss.

Accommodation in Iadolina Hotel (sauna and fitness available)

Day 3: Padis Karst Plateau

Reach the Bohodei Peak (1,650 m), hike along the Carligate mountain ridge and cross Varasoaia karst plateau. Hike through Balileasa karst glade and finally reach Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin.

Walking for the day: 8-9 hours, 26 km, 1,100 m elevation gain, 800 m elevation loss.

Accommodation in Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin (double/twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms)

Day 4: Ponor Glade and Ponor Fortresses

Hike from the chalet to Ponor Glade (about 3 hours circular walk). In Ponor Glade, the waters from Padis, collected in underground galleries, come to light through a karst spring and form a creek of approximately 800 m length which disappears underground to come out in Cetatile Ponorului cave. Leave Ponor Glade and then visit the most spectacular karst phenomena in Eastern Europe: Cetatile Ponorului (the Ponor Fortresses). Three huge sinkholes, with depths around 200 m and diameters over 100 m, a cave portal 70 m high and a wild creek passing through create a fabulous karst landscape. About 3.5 hours circular walk.

Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 15 km, 200 m elevation gain, 200 m elevation loss.

Accommodation in Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin (double/twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms)

Day 5: Galbenei Gorges, Bortig Pothole, Flowers’ Glade

The impressive Galbena Valley and Gorges hike circular walk requires approximately 8 to 9 hours. On your way to Galbena Valley, you will pass by the spectacular Avenul Bortig (Bortig Pothole) with its 35 m diameter entrance. At the basis of the vertical entrance, there is a large block of permanent ice. Descend to Galbena Valley. Pass through the breathtaking  Galbena Gorges. On your return walk through the Flowers’ Glade, where thousands of many-coloured flowers decorate the sunny slopes delighting the eye and the heart.

Walking for the day: 8-9 hours, 13 km, 650 m elevation gain, 650 m elevation loss.

Accommodation in Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin (double/twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms)

Day 6: Vartop and Rusty Pit

From Cetatile Ponorului chalet take a 3.5 hours hike to Vartop, in the Ariesului Valley. Check-in at the guesthouse and then hike to Groapa Ruginoasa (Rusty Pit) (3 hours circular walk). The Rusty Pit is an extraordinary erosion phenomenon, 100 m deep and 600 m wide, yellowish ravine.

Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, 14 km, 550 m elevation gain, 350 m elevation loss.

Accommodation: Skipass Guesthouse, a 3-star guesthouse with an indoor swimming pool

Day 7: Cucurbata Mare Peak

Hike towards the central ridge of the Bihor Mountains following centuries-old trails. At the end of the 800 m ascent, the summit of Curcubata Peak will reveal panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and tiny traditional villages scattered in the valleys below. Walk back to the guesthouse.

Walking for the day: 8-9 hours, 11 km, 800 m elevation gain, 800 m elevation loss.

Accommodation: Skipass Guesthouse, a 3-star guesthouse with an indoor swimming pool

Day 8: Vartop Waterfall and Cluj

Today you will make a pleasant circular walk to Vartop waterfall (15 m).Transfer to Cluj-Napoca in the afternoon.

Walking for the day: 18 km (of which 8 km on asphalt road), 5 hours, 60 m elevation gain, 60 m elevation loss.

Accommodation: a hand-picked 3-star guesthouse (Casa Boca) or hotel (Lola et Lola) close to the main square and the old town of Cluj

Day 9: Departure or Onward Travel

Hotels for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

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2 and 3-star hotels or family-run guesthouses, as indicated in the itinerary. Three nights in a mountain cabin with twin/double rooms with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Sample hotels: Casa Boca, Lola et Lola, Skipass Guesthouse, Iadolina Hotel, Cetatile Ponorului

Meals

Breakfast is included, as well as all lunches and dinners in the mountains. In Cluj-Napoca, accommodation is on a B&B basis.

Travel for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Cluj-Napoca.

Flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking. 

Transfers to/from Airports

Day 1- From Bucharest Airport To Brasov

  • Advised latest time arrival is 17.00
  • Alternative 1: Take a taxi from the airport to the train station (Gara de Nord), takes 20 minutes, 25-30 LEU (£5)
  • Alternative 2: Take bus 780 from the airport to the train station (Gara de Nord), takes about 60 minutes
  • Take the train to Brasov; you can travel by either Intercity or Eurocities. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours, and the price range is from 100 LEU to 500 LEU depending on the ticket range and time of the train (£18-70)
  • Take a taxi from Brasov Train Station to the hotel – 15 minutes

Day 8 – From Brasov Hotel to Bucharest Airport

  • Advised earliest flight departure is 14.00
  • Take a taxi from the hotel to Brasov Train Station – 15 minutes
  • Take the train to Bucharest (Gara de Nord), and journey takes 2.5 hours and costs from 100 LEU to 500 LEU depending on the ticket range and time of the train (£18-70)
  • Alternative 1: Take bus 780 to the airport, journey is about 60 minutes 
  • Alternative 2: Take a taxi to the airport, 20 minutes, 25-30 LEU (£5)

Private Transfers

They offer a very economical alternative to public transport in Romania in some cases equivalent to the cost of public transportation in the UK. They can be arranged from/to airport to hotel for arrival and departure upon request (please indicate when completing the online booking form). Please note that only one airport transfer per party is included, though additional transfers can be arranged. It is advisable therefore that all party members arrive on the same flight or at least at a similar time. Night transfer extra charges may be applicable on private transfers in case of late night arrivals.

Romania: Country Info

Language: Romanian. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where we stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are in Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 help line if there are any problems.

Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.

Currency: Romanian New Leu (RON) is the official currency in Romania (1 Euro equals 4.45 RON). We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages we visit.

Cost of living: in Romania is cheaper than in the UK or Western Europe. Some sample prices follow:
• a 3-course meal in a standard restaurant: RON 25-45 pp (£5-10)
• A flask of mineral water from a street shop: RON 3 (40 p)
• A cup of coffee: RON 5 –10 (£1 – 2)

Up-to-date travel advice on Romania is available here.

Detailed up-to-date travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

Appropriate for regular walkers. Requires a reasonable level of fitness. May include 8-9 hours of walking per day (up to 18 km of walking, 16 km on average per walking day). Total elevation gain is 3,300 m, average daily elevation gain is 480 m (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from April until October. Weather is best in July – September.

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.

Late spring, the whole summer and early autumn are beautiful in the Carpathian Mountains with colourful foliage in late spring, gorgeous sunsets in summer and warm panoramas in autumn.

Weather

The climate in the Carpathian Mountains is continental with sub-polar aspects. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but generally, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cold with cool nights and occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 25 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your daily essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact us or a reputable outdoor retailer.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable Waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Trails of the Apuseni Mountains

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes, as well as maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • 2 nights in a 3-star hotel in Cluj-Napoca
  • 1 night in a 3-star mountain hotel with sauna and fitness
  • 3 nights in a mountain cabin (rooms have 2 to 4 beds and en-suite facilities)
  • 2 nights in a 3-star mountain guesthouse with an indoor pool
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • 6 Dinners
  • 6 Lunches (some of them packed)
  • All internal ground transfers and baggage transfers as listed in itinerary
  • Arrival meeting and 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement: where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost.

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates

Options and Extras

  • Private transfers to/from airport on first and last day

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Taxi from Cluj Napoca Airport to hotel on Day 1 and from hotel to Cluj Napoca Airport on Day 9

Excluded

  • Flights and connecting land transfers to first / from last accommodation from/to airport
  • Lunches and dinners in Cluj-Napoca
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, drinks, snacks, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extensions

  • One extra night in Cluj-Napoca before or after the holiday

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