Carpathians sunset, Transylvania, Romania

Transylvania Winter Walk & Snowshoe

8 days
from
£999
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4.3 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
CVE
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Snowshoeing
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Mountains, woodlands, pastures and villages all covered in snow and waiting to be explored in Romania.

Transylvania - the name alone conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic castles, horse drawn carts and forests filled with hibernating bears. The reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this small corner of Europe as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and woodlands. Spend a week exploring this region, hiking or snowshoeing to small villages, into gorges, through valleys and up mountains and wandering through castles and a bear sanctuary along the way.


From our comfortable guesthouse in the small village of Magura, we head out to uncover the region’s treasures on foot. Snow conditions will dictate whether we hike or snowshoe but, either way, we get into the wilderness. Along the way we meet locals who still live a traditional lifestyle, learn about the region’s rich folklore and history, admire stunning mountain scenery and, with a bit of luck, see traces of the local wildlife including wolf or bear paw prints in the snow.

Highlights

  • The serene beauty of the Carpathian Mountains in Winter
  • Looking for wolf and bear tracks in the snow
  • Visiting Bran Castle, Dracula's home
  • Warm hospitality of the local people
  • Walking through the Prapastiile Zarnestilor Canyon, formed during the Jurassic Period.

Key information

  • 7 nights at the comfortable Villa Hermani guesthouse with twin and single rooms; most rooms are en suite
  • 6 days guided snowshoeing and winter walking
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Sightseeing visits to castles and villages

 

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights
  • Snowshoes and poles provided

 

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

6

Pace:

The walks will vary from 2 to 7 hours, however, with most being around 4-5 hours long. 

Day by day breakdown
Day 26.0km/3.0miles
Day 38.0km/4.0miles
Day 45.0km/3.0miles
Day 520.0km/12.0miles
Day 612.0km/7.0miles
Day 715.0km/9.0miles
Carpathians sunset, Transylvania, Romania

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Bucharest, transfer to Magura, Transylvania.

    Upon arrival in Bucharest we will be picked up and transferred to our comfortable guesthouse in Transylvania, approximately 3.5hrs drive from Bucharest. The guesthouse is located in the village of Magura at about 1040m, within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park.

    Our hosts at our guesthouse, the Villa Hermani, are very hospitable and enjoy stopping to chat over a glass of local plum brandy. 

    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Explore Kalibash villages.

    Magura is one of a number of villages known as the Kalibash villages. The Kalibash once fled Walachia to this remote area which, at the time, was under Austro-Hungarian rule. Here houses stretch along hilltops like pearls on a string.

    Starting right at our guesthouse we hike up to Dealul Magurice (1300m) where we may spot wolf, lynx and bear prints in the snow in the forest. Later, as we make our way back to Magura, we stop by a local farm to share a hot ‘tuica’ (home-made plum brandy) with the farmer.
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Walk to a local bat cave and the village of Pestera.

    Heading out on foot again, our first destination today is a local cave which is a hibernation roost for a number of bats including lesser and greater horseshoe bats. Remember to bring a torch with you for the cave visit.

    We then continue on our way to the nearby village of Pestera (which translates as ‘the cave’) witnessing the winter rural life of these mountain communities.

    After lunch at a local pension we return to Magura.
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Visit Libearty bear sanctuary, the village of Vulcan and Brasov.

    Driving down into the valley we make our way to Europe’s largest rescue facility for brown bears: Libearty. Founded in 2005, the rescue centre is home to nearly 100 bears, most of whom suffered over many years in captivity as dancing bears or in circuses.

    We drive on to the village of Vulcan, which derives its name from the Slavonic word ‘Valc’ meaning wolf. This region is closely related to the history of Transylvanian Saxons who immigrated here 800 years ago from the Rhine-Moselle valleys. They built fortified churches, some of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Upon arrival in Vulcan we are greeted by warm coffee and traditional cake in the yard of the fortified church.

    From Vulcan we drive to Brasov and do a tour around town. We get some free time to explore the town. We will then take our evening meal in a traditional Romanian restaurant and later we return to Magura by minibus.
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Snowshoe or walk through Prapastiile Zarnestilor Canyon.

    This morning we walk through the spectacular Prapastiile Zarnestilor Canyon, a gorge formed during the Jurassic Period. From here we climb through forests onto a high plateau between the Piatra Craiului and Bucegi mountains. During this time of year everything is still and a quiet serenity permeates the air giving a sense of truly being in a remote and special area.

    We descend back into the valley and hike back to Magura.
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Walk to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's castle.

    Today we hike from tranquil Magura towards busy Bran where we visit Bran Castle. It’s easy to see why Bram Stolker picked this castle to be the residence of the infamous vampire, Count Dracula. The character himself was based on Vlad Tepes, AKA Vlad the Impaler, Duke of Walachia and a brutal tyrant. Though Vlad himself never went to Bran, Bram Stolker saw an image of the castle and thought it the perfect setting for his dark tale.

    After visiting the castle we stop by Dracula’s market where we can pick up some vampire-inspired souvenirs. Later we will be picked up by the minibus and return to Magura.
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Head out to Curmatura cabin (1,470m), in the Piatra Craiului Mountains.

    From Magura we hike down into the valley once more before continuing up towards Curmatura Cabin, just beneath the rocks of Piatra Craiului Mountain. The cabin is open year-round and we can relax here before going back to our guesthouse.

    Please note: This hike can be replaced by an alternative hike in case the trail conditions are too difficult (e.g ice)
    Villa Hermani

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Bucharest Airport, fly to London.

     Clients booked on the group flight or group flight transfers will be transferred (3.5 hours) back to Bucharest Airport in time for the group flight departure.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Romania

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Romania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included during our stay.

Meals are a mixture of local produce and Romanian/Transylvanian specialties.

Breakfasts usually consist of a small buffet including an egg dish, cold cuts, cheeses, boiled eggs, vegetables, spreads, bread, yoghurt, cereals, jam, juice, herbal teas and coffee.

Lunches included on this trip will include the following -a picnic lunch provided by a local farmer on one day, traditional soups,  and self-made sandwiches that you can choose your own fillings from the buffet in the mornings.

Each evening there is a choice of a meat dish or vegetarian option.

If you are vegetarian or have special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of booking.

One night we will have dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant in Brasov, this meal is not included and you should allow approx. €20 (without drinks) for this.

Weather

Romania enjoys a continental weather pattern. Winter is normally cold but crisp with clear skies, though heavy snowfalls are common. Skies tend to be clearer in the mountains whilst in valleys and cities it may take a little longer, usually until lunch time, for the fog to clear. Generally, as long you dress for cold weather, winter is a nice time to visit the region.

Brasov

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded 3 for moderate.

Snow conditions dictate whether we will hike with snowshoes or hiking boots along with the duration of walks. Exact walks will be selected by the leader at the time to best fit current weather conditions and safety requirements.The walks will vary from 2 to 7hrs, however, with most being around 4-5hrs long.


Temperatures are generally quite cold, averaging 0°C in the valleys, though blue skies are common in winter, especially in the mountains. In the valleys mornings tend to be a little more foggy and nicer in the afternoon. Snowfall can happen any time between December and April.


Walking distances and hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group. Please note that the leader has the right to adapt the trail according to the weather conditions and the physical condition of the group.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

We will spend 7 nights in the comfortable private guesthouse, Villa Hermani that offers twin and single rooms.

Villa Hermani is situated in the remote and beautiful village of Magura at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, located within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park. Our friendly hosts at the Villa Hermani possess a wealth of knowledge on Transylvania, wildlife conservation and serve delicious homemade food.

Almost all rooms have private facilities but some do have shared bathrooms. In such cases, however, there are never more than two rooms sharing one bathroom.

There is Wi-Fi available at the guesthouse, however, due to the weak internet lines in this remote location and the need to go via satellite which is provided by an external provider, the hosts of the guesthouse kindly request guests to pay a small fee of €5 for 750MB which should be enough for a week with checking emails. 

Single supplements are available on request.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Gillian Helme

    Snowshoeing in Romania

    A really good, interesting holiday. Rather more moderate than leisurely but very enjoyable. The group had a good age range and we all got along very well. The weather was glorious for all but one day and the guest house was lovely. The food was very good and the staff were all very friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the bear sanctuary was the highlight but the whole trip was quite something. The scenery is breathtaking and the mix of ancient and modern is really interesting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Traian was very engaged with the group, friendly and entertaining. He was very knowledgeable about the history of Romania and was a good guide on the visit to Brasov.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think we all agreed that this was a more moderate than leisurely trip. We didn't always need the snowshoes and YakTraks were very useful. You do need a decent torch for the bat cave.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Dave Butterworth

    Stunningly beautiful

    From start to finish the trip was great. Overnighted at a hotel just outside Heathrow. British Airways flight from Terminal 5 couldn't have been better. BA really efficient and comfortable; Terminal 5 speedy, efficient and without hassle. Thomas, the group leader met us in Bucharest airport and the first clue about what was to come came when he announced we transfer from the mini coach to two 4x4 minibuses to ascend to the hotel. Katharine, the owner/manager of the hotel was superb. All staff were very friendly, serving excellent food and the accommodation was nice and cosily comfortable. The snowshoeing was lovely, we were blessed with good weather and in the first part of the week temperatures of about -10C/-15C which meant light fluffy snow. The walking was at times quite demanding and having undertaken the Finland trip previously (moderate) I felt Transylvania was a good moderate. I'd never visited Romania before nor the Carpathian mountains. Romania was unspoiled, "untouristy" and the mountains were beautiful. I'd happily return to the area in the Spring or Autumn to see another season. There were some serious climbers in our group, a number of whom were eager to come back and "do" some of the peaks/ridges. The whole group, which had quite an age range, got on well together with no awkward moments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    More than one: The bear and wolf sanctuary. The ice stalagmites inside a cave. The overall "wow factor". Seeing a wall creeper which I understand is rare.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was very knowledgable about wildlife and local history. He was the sort of person one could rely upon in a crisis. His estimates of difficulty and distance/time seemed a trifle optimistic sometimes!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it - you'll be glad you did. The Romanian currency is the Leu with an exchange rate of a little less than 6 to the UK pound, but Euros are also accepted in some places. Consider getting yourself a pair of Yaktrax (Pro preferably) before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the equipment could have been better
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Elizabeth Jeffery

    Snowshoeing Transylvania

    I thought this was generally an excellent holiday. I loved Transylvania, the countryside, and mountain views and being able to walk and snowshoe in such a beautiful area. The hotel was excellent and Katharina was a very generous and involved hostess. The food was always wonderful. We were also lucky to have such a friendly and happy group. Everyone got on well and there was no-one left out and no awkward moments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears and wolves in the sanctuary and Dracula's castle at Bran - but I also loved the walking and snow shoeing - and in fact everything!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was OK as a group leader but if I have any criticism at all about the holiday, it was that he didn't always seem very engaged with or interested in the group - and on occasion we could have done with more information about the activity. He was very well-informed about local history however.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No. Just go. You will love it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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