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Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains 58

Walking in Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains

Overview

Explore the villages of rural Transylvania and the high trails and valleys of Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains. Discover some of Romania’s most stunning mountain landscapes and soak up Transylvania’s unique culture on this inspiring self guided walk. Visit the legendary home of Count Dracula, the Carpathian Mountains, with their breathtaking alpine scenery, charming mountain villages and hospitable people. Piatra Craiului, meaning royal stone, is a dramatic limestone ridge rising sharply from the forests and plains below, offering one of the most beautiful ridge walks in Europe. Bucegi Natural Park is Romania’s best-kept secret, rivalling Slovakia’s Tatra Mountains and the Alps when it comes to walking. Its glacial valleys offer a wealth of natural beauty, history and adventure. For a glimpse into medieval Transylvania and its towns with narrow, winding streets, you take a stroll around the stunning city of Brasov.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Bucharest – Brașov

Arrive in and explore Brasov on your own. If you fly to Bucharest, Brașov is accessible via a 2-hour train ride or a private transfer. Founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and settled by the Saxons as one of the seven walled citadels, Brașov exudes a distinct medieval ambience. Visit the medieval fortress, the Black Church and stroll the beautiful streets of the old town. Optional visit of Rhein Azuga Cellar 1892, former Supplier of Romania’s Royal Court. Here you can discover the story of an exceptional sparkling wine that holds the secrets of the traditional method and will impress you with quality and freshness (wine tasting not included, Euro 8 pp). Overnight in a boutique hotel, located in the very heart of the old city of Brașov, in the pedestrian area of the Council Square, with views of the Black Church and Mount Tampa.

Day 2: Brașov – Mount Tampa – Bran | 7 km

After breakfast, start your hike in the Tampa mountain (960 m) overlooking Brașov. The view from the summit is spectacular, offering a panoramic view of the city. The route is easy; you can take the cable car to the top and go down on foot (round trip about 2 hours). Transfer to Bran (40 min, 30 km), where you can visit Bran Castle, a.k.a. Dracula’s Castle (entrance fee not included, EUR 10 pp). You will spend the night in a 3-star hotel located downtown, less than a 5-minute walk from Bran Castle.

Day 3: Bran – Moieciu de Sus | 18 km

After breakfast, walk to the shepherd village of Simon, known for its special smoked cheese. The sheep are milked twice into wooden buckets, ready to be coagulated with lamb rennet and cut into curds with rustic wooden tools. After forming balls of curd, the shepherds slice them into pieces and knead them back together. Wheels of finished cheese, ranging in size from softballs to beach balls, hang in canvas cloths outside. They are ready to eat after three or four days but can be aged weeks longer on wooden planks. The path is of easy to medium difficulty, through forest and meadows, with great views of both the mountains and the Bran area with its mountain villages. Continue to Moieciu de Sus, where you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel, set at the foothills of Bucegi Mountains.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hours, ↑790 m ↓620 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel Crăiasa Munților or similar

Day 4: Moieciu de Sus – Măgura | 22 km

Today’s trek takes you deep into the Piatra Craiului mountain with its jagged ridges, spectacular views, the variety of trails and sights, and the silence that reigns in this stone fortress of the Carpathians. Visit Fundata – the highest village in Romania (1304 m). It is said that the cheese made in fir bark was invented in Fundata and that here is where you can find the best smoked cheese in Romania. Travel back in time while passing the village of Sirnea, where less than 300 people live in old homes wrapped with shingles, over which reigns a divine silence. At the end of the day reach Măgura village, located at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, right in the middle of Piatra Craiului national park. Spend the next two nights in a charming guesthouse in Măgura with the beautiful landscape right at your fingertips.

  • Walking for the day: 22 km, 6-7 hours, ↑760 m ↓690 m
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse Samedru or similar

Day 5: Circular walk Măgura | 5 to 10 km

Do your first warm-up walk in Piatra Craiului National Park. It is a gentle and nice route, crossing the beautiful mountain village of Pestera. On your way, you can explore the Pestera Lilecilor (Bats cave). Access to the cave is through a small passageway, after which you will reach a small grotto that continues with a 15 m long corridor. The cave reaches 162 m in length and consists of several rooms with diversely coloured ceilings and where one can encounter calcareous formations (which are known as ‘tears of the earth’). Your next walk brings you high up the Piatra Craiului massif, where you can enjoy its narrow ridge, shaped like a spine of a gigantic dragon.

  • Walking for the day (walk 1): 10 km, 3 hours, ↑430 m ↓440 m
  • Walking for the day (walk 2): 5 km, 2 hours, ↑360 m ↓360 m
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse Samedru or similar

Day 6: Măgura – Zărnești | 15 km

Today you will walk through Piatra Craiului National Park. Start the trek from the guesthouse by crossing the impressive Zărnești Gorges up to Curmatura hut (where you can have lunch) and then continue to your guesthouse in Zărnești.

  • Walking for the day: 15 km, 5-6 hours, ↑620 m ↓840 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star Guesthouses Hora cu Brazi, Aliart or similar

Day 7: Rasnov – Brașov | 16 km

Short transfer (15 min.) to Rasnov Fortress (Rosenau in German), located on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, 650 ft. above the town of Rasnov. First mentioned in an official document in 1331, the fortress was built by Teutonic Knights as protection against invading Tartars and was later enlarged by the local Saxon population. Strategically located on the commercial route linking the provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, Rasnov differs from other Saxon fortresses in that it was designed as a place of refuge over extended periods of time. As such, it had at least 30 houses, a school, a chapel and other buildings more commonly associated with a village. From there you cross the Postavarul Mountains, walk to up to Poiana and then you descend to Rasnov, Overnight in Brașov.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 5 hours, ↑580 m ↓600 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel Casa Wagner or similar

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, take the train to Bucharest or book your private transfer directly to the Bucharest airport.

What to Expect

Accommodation

3-star hotels or family-run guesthouses, as indicated in the itinerary. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Casa WagnerCasa Din BranCrăiasa MunțilorSamedruHora cu Brazi, Aliart 

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.

Meals

Breakfast on all mornings and 2 evening meals are included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your accommodation the night before.

Difficulty & terrain

This tour would suit moderately experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires an average level of fitness. The longest day is 22 km (read more about difficulty grades). 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 middle May until early October. The weather is best in June – 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Bucharest.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation for 7 nights in hand-picked hotels or family-run guest-houses as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 2 evening meals
  • Transfer Brasov – Bran
  • Transfer Zarnesti – Rasnov
  • Daily luggage transport to the next hotel
  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 5 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
  • Private airport transfers

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