Adventure Transylvania - Romania Tours

All about tourism in Transylvania, Romania - accommodation, hotels, cuisine, hiking, biking, riding etc

Monday, April 24, 2006

Transylvania Ride

Transylvania is Europe's great undiscovered trail riding destination, as well as being where “Cold Mountain” was filmed. Step back in time and visit Transylvania, the forested hills of northern Romania, where horses are still used to plough the fields, to pull hay carts in the harvest and to drag logs from the forests. The un-spoilt Rodna mountains overlook the dramatic sweep that was Dracula's domain. To the south lies the Borgo Pass, now immortalized by Bram Stoker. Close by are the historic Saxon towns and the famous painted monasteries of Moldovita, Humor and Voronet which are well worth a visit before or after the ride. The surrounding forests are home to bears, wolves, lynx and deer and the hay fields are full of wild flowers. This is beautiful, timeless riding country.
Rides take place in northern Transylvania, based at Lunca Ilvei, a remote mountain village in the Bargau region. The area is quiet and un-spoilt, with no through road, and most of the limited traffic still horse-drawn. Food is locally grown, organic and flavorsome. Meadows are scattered with wild flowers. Here horses are still used to bring hay and other supplies, to plough the land, and to travel around the local area. This is a trip back into the past, where you experience a horse-drawn rural society that has scarcely changed in generations. This is wonderful riding country with plenty of open space and varied scenery. Much of the riding is through forest, across pastures, and up and down mountains. Most of the higher ground is open rather than forested, so there are extensive views. There is much to see of cultural interest with many local people living in conditions that have changed little for hundreds of years. Overnights are in clean rural guesthouses along the way with lots of charm and local personality. The rides are run by a British couple operating a riding centre which uses fully qualified guides and actively supports the local community employing local people and buying produce from small local farms wherever possible.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Riding Tours in Romania

Riding Horses Tours in Romania

Riding horses makes you feel free like in the old times, when people could go wherever they want, without travelers checks, money, cars, buses, passports or any of these modern gadgets.

Ride up on the high hills, deep valleys and canyons, wide fields or through the dark forests of Transylvania, with no barriers at all. That’s the absolute freedom you always dreamed about. Now you can feel it in the most authentic way.

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Mountain Biking Tours in Romania

Dusty single trails and rocky forestry roads cross the Romania's mountains in all directions, creating a mountain bikers paradise, with superb landscapes.

Bucegi Mountains is one of the most spectacular mountain range in Romania. A large network of forestry roads and single trails, the superb landscapes, are making these mountains the perfect place for a unforgettable mountain bike holiday in Romania.

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Hiking Tours in Romania

Hiking Tours in Romania

The mountainous area of Bran - Moeciu provides exquisite landscapes and amazing trails.

The western ridge of Bucegi Mountains is one of the less frequented mountains.Easy or hard treks can be chosen, so that you can enjoy the best of this hiking experience.

Hiking in Bucegi

This hiking trip will take us through the scenic Batrana saddle, up to the highest chalet in Romania situated at 2507 meters high on the Omu peak. Here we can enjoy the extraordinary landscape. Than we descend to the Pestera Hotel for the night.

Hike back to Moeciu

The hike back to Moeciu climbs easily on a old sheep road up to the ridge until we reach the Strunga saddle. From this point we only descend about 2 hours until we get to the forestry road of Moeciu

Medieval Transylvania

Visit the Rasnov Fortress - founded around 1225 by German Teutonic Knights. The superb location of this fortress allows us a great view over the surrounding mountains.

Onward we reach Brasov - the most important medieval city in the area and one of the most visited cities in Romania. Great sites to visit as The Black Church, the main square, the old defense walls that are still well preserved on the south and west side of the old city the watch towers and the narrowest street in Europe are just a few points on this day's agenda.

Optionally there is a 2-hour trekking tour to the Tampa peak (the Tampa peak is located in the middle of the city and provides an amazing view over the surrounding area.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Trips in the Carpathians in Transylvania.


The Romanian Carpathians are included into the Alpino-Carpato-Hymalaian chain. They begin in the north of Bratislava and are ended on Timok Valley. The Carpathians includes also the Romanian Carpathians. They are formed from three independent groups: the Oriental Carpathians (the highest peak is Pietrosu Rodnei – 2,303m); the Meridional Carpathians (the highest peak is Moldoveanu – 2,544 m) and the Occidental Carpathians (the highest peak is Cucurbata Mare – 1,849m).

Almost all the mountainous massifs included in these three groups offer the best conditions for the active tourism : pedestrian randonee, alpinism and climbing, parachoutting, canyoning, alpine ski and ski fond, mountainbike.

Among the most important and interesting massifs are: Rodna Mountains (Pietrosu, 2,303 m), Caliman (Pietrosu, 2,100 m), Ceahlau (Ocolasu Mare, 1,907 m), Harghita (Harghita, 1,800 m), Ciucas (Ciucas, 1,964 m) in the Oriental Carpathians; Bucegi (Omu, 2,505 m), Piatra Craiului (La Om, 2,238 m), Fagaras (Moldoveanu, 2,544 m), Parang (Parangu Mare, 2,519 m), Retezat (Peleaga, 2,509 m) in the Meridional Carpathians; Bihor (Curcubata Mare, 1,849 m), Vladeasa (Vladeasa, 1,834 m), Trascau (Poienita, 1,437 m) in the Occidental Carpathians.

Usefull advices

It is higly recommanded to contact the janitor of the chalet or someone from the Mountain-rescuers, prior to begin a route.

The tourism signes in the mountainous area are separated in four categories (triangle, circle or point, ribbon and cross) and in three colours (red, yellow and blue). To be recognized, all the tourism signes have an white outline.

Try to avoid the routes without signes. If you chose such a route is better to be accompanied by someone who knows the area.

The daily duration of the trips varies from two to eight-ten hours, according to the difficulty degree of the massif and the area. The difficulty degree of these routes are also different, and it is advisable to have the newest info on the routes. Among the most dangerous and hard routes are considered those from Rodna, Bucegi, Piatra Craiului, Parang, Retezat. The routes in Ceahlau, Ciucas, Harghita, Trascau or Bihor Vladeasa are easier, but among them can be found some difficult routes.

All the chalets, the departure points (resorts, villages) have signs informing on the duration of the route and the mountain signes.

In the above-mentioned massifs you can go with no tent due to the large network of chalets or shelters, in Ceahlau, Harghita, Ciucas, Bucegi, Piatra Craiului, Fagaras, Retezat and Bihor Vladeasa. The tent is highly recommended if you chose the other mountains in order to be able to reach the most interesting routes. However, in both situations, the sleeping bag and a neopren mattress are usefull.

We suggest that when you chose the routes in the above-mentioned mountains to keep in mind the maint tourism objectives in the area :

Rodna Mountains – the area between Pietrosu Rodnei Peak and Ineu Peak, the lakes on the ridge (Pietrosu, Buhaescu, Lala Mare and Lala Mica lakes). Pay attention to the signes regarding the bad weather. No shelters are to be found on the ridge.
Calimani Mountains - Pietrosu and Iezeru Calimaniului area; 12 Apostles areas with erosion shapes. The same thing as in Rodna Mountains
Ceahlau Mountains – Dochia plateau with Toaca, Ocolasu Mic and Panaghia Peaks; Duruitoarea Waterfall, Polita cu crini Natural Reserve. In general, the routes are short with an average degree of difficulty.
Harghita Mountains – the central area of the mountains is located near Harghita Madaras chalet and resort.The routes are nice and easy.
Ciucas Mountains - Bratocei ridge with Ciucas and Tigaile Mari Peaks; Zaganul ridge with Muntele Rosu Craig. In Zaganul, narrow glades are to be found. Otherwise, the routes have a medium difficulty
Bucegi Mountains – the routes are more difficult to the east (the routes with departure from Busteni), spectacular on Urlatorilor, Jepilor, Cerbului valleys, to the north - to Bucsoiul Mare and Padina Crucii, and to the west, especially those with access from Bran to Omu Peak chalet.
Piatra Craiului Mountains – a limestone ridge oriented to the NE-SW; the ridge route from Plaiul Foii Cahalet to the ridge (La Lanturi), and the roads connecting Curmatura Chalet with the ridge. Those two segments of the ridge (the north and the south) include many exposed areas, making the climbing hard during a bad weather.
Fagaras Mountains – a ridge route (around seven days reaching all the peaks of the massif higher than 2,500 m); the galacial lakes area (Balea, Capra, Caltun, Avrig, Urlea); glacial valleys. The ridge route is very difficult due to its length and the openings. It is usefull to co-operate with the Mountain-rescue squads.
Parang Mountains – the ridge of the massif connects Jiu Valley with Capatana Mountains; the glacial lakes from Calcescu, Rosiile, Pasari, Vidal. The route is difficult due to its lenght.
Retezat Mountains - the central and northernarea with the highest peaks (Peleaga, Papusa), glacial lakes (Bucura, Ana, Lia, Florica, Viorica, Zanoaga, Galesu, Taul dintre Brazi, Taul Agatat, Taul Tapului). It is one of the most spectacular massifs in Romania, difficult due to the different altitudes, the lenghts of some routes or the bad weather.
Trascau Mountains – a spectacular massif not very difficult; the most interesting objectives are – the area of the gorge and defilees carved in limestone - Intregalde, Galda, Ramet, Turzii, and also the caves.
Bihor Mountains - Padis area with Cetatile Ponorului and Izbucul Ponor, Cetatile Radesei, Galbena and Izbucul Galbenei, Bortig Glacier, Meziad and Ursilor Caves, Focul Viu, Scarisoara glaciers etc. In general, the routes are not difficult, but pay attention to the lenght of some routes.
Vladeasa Mountains– Draganului Valley and the area neighbouring Vladeasa Peak

To cover the mountain routes the resorts from a higher altitude are used as departure points . Among the most famous are: Arieseni (Alba County), Stana de vale (Bihor County), Poiana Brasov, Predeal, (Brasov County), Semenic (Caras-Severin County), Durau (Neamt County), Busteni, Sinaia (Prahova County), Mogosa (Maramures County), Paltinis (Sibiu County), Vatra Dornei (Suceava County). A series of smaller resorts are also used for the mountain tourism - Bran (Brasov County), Sugas (Covasna County), Izvorul Muresului (Harghita County), Rausor (Hunedoara County), Cheia (Prahova County) etc.

More info on mountain tourism in Romania, ,

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vlad Tepes, Dracula form Transylvania..

An authoritarian cruel voivode, he impressed his contemporaries who gave him the nickname of Tepes (the Impaler) inspired from his torture and execution system – Teapa (the stake). However, he was not the inventor of this system, used on a large scale especially in the Ottoman Empire, and some parts of Europe.
He was also known as Dracula, a name that became due to an abundant literature the prototype of a bloody tyrant. In fact, this was his father’s name, Vlad Dracul (with the origin in the Dragons Order, a chivalrous Order of that time). As a consequence, he became the Devil’s son, Draculea, Dracula. The Saxons from Transylvania, who were menaced to lose their privileges by the protectionist policy of the Wallachia voivode, spread the tales on Tepes cruelties. We can consider, anyway, that Vlad Tepes was a man of his times, since the cruelty was one of the methods used by the rulers to rich their goals.
Regarding the internal policy, Tepes tried to eliminate the corruption and to get safety of the roads and of the goods. His political measures were oriented to strengthen the central authority, which induced the conflicts with the boyars, some of them extremely violent since the voivode killed some of his opponents. Instead of using the military support offered by the boyars, Tepes called the population under arms to fight against the Ottomans. In the Princely Council he attracted more the boyars of small or middle ranks, from less known families.
After he strengthened his internal powers, the voivode denied the payment of the tribute and started his campaign against the Ottomans in the south of Danube (1462). In response, a 100,000 people-army headed by the Sultan Mohammed the 2nd, the conqueror of Constantinople, himself, attacked Wallachia. Famous due to the courage proved by the Wallachian voivode is the night attack upon the sultan’s camp, in order to kill him. Unfortunately, the attack failed in this regard but it induced the panic. Later, Tepes retreated himself in Transylvania, waiting help from the King of Hungary Mathias Corvin.
In general, when we think of Vlad Tepes, we have in mind a few places: Bucharest, Snagov, Bran, Sighisoara. In real life, Vlad Tepes was much more dynamic, covering many areas of the country. We will try to connect these places with the main monuments seen by the voivode in his long campaigns in the coutry.

Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) was the second sun of another Wallachia Voivode, Vlad Dracul (1436-1442, 1443-1447) and Mircea the Old’s grandson. He was the Voivode of Wallachia for three times: in the autumn of 1448, between 1456 and1462, and in November – December 1476. Between 1442 and 1448, the Ottomans, on the custom of those times, kept him prisoner. The voivode on the throne had to send one of his sons in Constantinople as a warranty for his obedience. For a while, he was exiled in Moldavia and Transylvania (1449-1456), waiting for the best moment to take over the throne of Wallachia. He was related with the Voivode of Moldavia, Steven the Great, who was his cousin. When he left the throne in 1462, Tepes was caught and imprisoned in Buda, on the King of Hungary Mathias Corvin order, until 1475. His last reign in Wallachia was short, the boyars preparing a coup against him. He was 45 years old when he died killed by Turks with the help of the boyars and the future Voivode Basarab Laiota.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Legendary Land


A Legendary Land

Transylvania is by far the most romantic and inspiring of Romania's provinces. Its very name brings to mind visions of mountain peaks rising up to the sky above wooded valleys and sparkling streams, visions of high-roofed wooden churches, legendary castles and a troubled history.

But there is much more to it: ski resorts and health spas, hiking trails and the Retezat National Park, fascinating medieval towns, art museums and good hotels.

In Transylvania new vistas and leisure activities appear wherever you go.

Where Exactly is Transylvania

The answer is: it lies in the central part of the country, surrounded by the Carpathians which cross Romania. One of the main cities, Cluj-Napoca, stands on the plateau, while Brasov and Sibiu are at the foothills of the southern Carpathians.

The shepherd is honoured as a guardian of an ancestral rural heritage.

Brasov and Romania's Mountain Resorts

This medieval city, picturesquely situated nearby the Postavaru Mountain, is both fascinating in itself and is close to Transylvania's major mountain resort area, with first class hotels (see the page on the Mountains).

Look for its old Saxon architecture around the 14th century Black Church, the ruins of the citadel, and the 18th century Old Town Hall.

The Bran Castle and the Royal Resort of Sinaia

A trip to take from Brasov is to the castle of Bran, supposed to have been the home of Prince Vlad Tepes, who inspired Dracula's legend.

Beginning with the stark contours of the Bran Castle, where Prince Vlad Tepes, the legendary Dracula, is said to have lived . Also, don't miss the castle of Peles, fancifully built in 1883 at the foot of a mountain side for King Carol I, in Sinaia.
This resort was first made popular by the King and it is worth a stay either in summer for its glorious mountain scenery, hiking and riding, or in winter for skiing, not to mention health cures.

Sibiu, also Saxon in origin, is a very pretty town, with cobbled streets and pastel colored houses. The open air Museum of Folk Technology in woodland by a lake is a "must" to visit, just as the Brukenthal Art Museum.

The town is well placed for excursions to mountain villages, such as Sibiel, where there is a fascinating museum of icons.

Further away near Deva stands the Corvin Castle, rebuilt in the 15th century in Gothic style by Prince Iancu Corvin, who gave it a sumptuous Knights Hall and towers and buttresses that remind one of the Chateaux de la Loire.

This south-western corner of the country has a drier, more Mediterranean climate than most of Romania and is also slightly different from the cultural point of view.

Habsburg rule until 1918 gave it an Art Nouveau architecture, while almost 1,900 years earlier the Romans had established a spa at Baile Herculane that is still one of Romania's most fashionable ones.

Nearby Mount Domogled is a 60,000 ha protected area, while the Semenic Mountains have a few small ski resorts. Finally, the capital of Banat, Timisoara, is the city where the 1989 Revolution started.

Medieval Sighisoara

Originally a Roman town, Sighisoara is one of the greatest medieval cities left in the world.

Sighisoara, one of the great medieval cities of Europe.

The city has a walled citadel on the hilltop, secret gateways and passages, a 14th century Clock Tower and the house where Prince Vlad Tepes lived.

Festivals and Folklore

Wherever you go in Transylvania, you will discover rural traditions that are a real part of everyday life. Shepherds produce large round cheese which you will see for sale by the roadside.

The house doors are intricately carved. Colourful traditional costumes are worn on Sundays and for weddings and festivals because they have special meaning.

As to festivals, you will find them in full swing from Easter on.

An Ideal Place to Get Away

To sum it up, both in summer and winter, the valleys and mountains of Transylvania are refreshingly unspoilt and welcoming, an area where you can genuinely get away.

Timisoara a city famous throughout the world since the dramatic days of the December 89 revolution


Known as "the city of parks and gardens" and Romania's third biggest city, Timisoara became
the symbol of freedom during the 1989 revolution. Local inhabitants are immensly proud of belonging to "Primul Oras Liber" (the first free city).

This distinction adds to a history that has brought it ancient ramparts and a castle, a baroque town architecture, and famous University.