Cultural Hiking Tour through the Carpathian Mountains of Romania

Tour ID: 1017
Tour Theme: Active, Adventure and Wildlife Tours
Countries: Romania
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
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Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1:
- Arrive to Bucharest airport and meet with our tour leader.
- Transfer (approx 120kms / 2hrs) by car/minibus via Prahova Valley to Busteni resort, situated at the foot of Bucegi Mountains, high compact blocks, edged by steep slopes, some of the highest mountains in Romania – 2509 m at Omu Peak.
- Dinner at accommodation
- Overnight in Busteni

Day 2:
ROUTING: BUSTENI - BABELE - OMU - BRAN (7 – 8 hours trekking, 300m climb, 1600m descent)
- Breakfast
- In the morning we take the cable car up to 2206 m and reach Babele (The Old Ladies) peak.
In front of us strange stone sculptures -a huge block of stone shaped like a human head with deep orbits and a mysterious smile -the Sphinx. Near it a cluster of gigantic stone mushrooms, nicknamed Babele. Creations of wind and rain? Ancient Dacian temples? There are lots of theories, but no one can tell for sure.
- We continue trekking on the plateau, 307m climb, towards the highest peak of the mountains, called Omu (The Human Being) at 2509 m altitude. From here we start descending towards Transylvania and Bran village, situated at about 800 m altitude.
- On the way -picnic lunch.
- In the evening we arrive in Bran, where we have dinner
- Overnight in Bran
B, L, D

Day 3:
ROUTING: BALEA LAC - SIGHISOARA - LACU ROSU (5-6 hours trekking, 900m climb, 800m descent)
- Breakfast
- In the morning we visit Bran Castle (also known as Dracula's Castle), a beautiful 14th century castle, restored in the 19th century to its former glory, by the royal family of Romania.
- We drive towards Brasov (Kronstadt), one of Transylvania's major cities. We walk the medieval centre, one of the best preserved in Romania, housing The Black Church, the biggest church between Vienna and Constantinople, the City Council Square, the ramparts erected in medieval times by the Saxon colonists, and one of the narrowest streets in Europe, The Binder Street. We have lunch in a Romanian restaurant and then head north towards The Eastern Carpathians.
- We pass by some of the coldest inhabited places in Romania, then, in Balan, we start our trek in Hasmas National Park, mountains with a special charm due to the pastoral life and the ancient rituals surviving here. We climb to the meadows at the feet of the Lonely Stone, then, through vast open spaces, to the top, where we reach an altitude of 1797m. White limestone crags, green flat meadows bordered by dark conifer forests surround us.
- Numerous sheepfolds shelter at night the semi wild horses and flocks of sheep which roam this land by daylight.
- In late afternoon we arrive in Lacu Rosu (The Red Lake) resort, where we have dinner
- Overnight in Lacu Rosu
B, L, D

Day 4:
- Breakfast
- In the morning transfer by car (30min), through the impressive Bicaz Gorges, featuring vertical and overhanging limestone walls as high as 350m, to Izvorul Muntelui resort, where we start trekking in Ceahlau Mountains (National Park and High Importance Natural Reserve). These mountains were held sacred by Romanians due to their deep religious meaning (they are said to have been the home of the most important Dacian God, called Zamolxis). Although they cover a small area, they consist in spectacular relief formations, most of them having their own legend and being an example of beauty and grandeur.
- We reach the plateau at an altitude of 1750m and after lunch at Dochia Chalet (or a picnic in a nice spot), we start a short circuit that will take us to the second highest peak in these mountains, Toaca (1904m), a very mystic and mysterious spot -in the month of August its shadow has the exact form of a pyramid. In late afternoon we return to the plateau to have a beer and watch the sunset.
- In the evening we return to Dochia Chalet, where we enjoy the delicious local blueberry tea and a tasteful dinner.
- Overnight in Dochia
B, L, D

Day 5:
ROUTING: DOCHIA - CHEAHLAU MOUNTAINS - SUCEVITA (3h trekking, 200m climb, 1100m descent)
- Breakfast
- After breakfast we start walking towards the highest part of Ceahlau Mountains.
- We traverse a long section of wild undisturbed mountain landscape, under the big conglomerate walls of Ocolasu Mare, where we have a pretty good chance of spotting chamois and edelweiss.
- Our route reaches The Dacian Table with a great 360 degrees view over the Eastern Carpathians, then starts descending towards Izvoru Muntelui. Here, the car is waiting to transfer us, following the shores of the largest mountain reservoir in  Romania, to Tarpesti village. It is one of the cultural highlights of our trip, as we have the chance to visit the vast collection of popular artefacts belonging to Mr Popa, to see the archaeological finds that he personally uncovered in more than 20 sites he explored personally, to see his collection of wooden and stone sculptures he permanently enriches, to meet the man himself (he is 89 years old) and his family and also have a tasty lunch in the laidback atmosphere of his garden.
- We continue our route through the rounded Moldavian landscape and arrive in the afternoon at Sucevita, a specific village in Northern Moldavia-better known as Bucovina. Sucevita houses one of the five exterior painted monasteries included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Dinner and accommodation in a traditional wooden house.
- Overnight in Sucevita
B, L, D

Day 6:
ROUTING: SUCEVITA - OBCINA MARE - LA TOANTE - MOLDOVITA - SUCEVITA (700m climb, 600m descent, 7h trekking)
- Breakfast
- In the morning we leave towards southwest, through the dense fir tree forests of Bucovina. - We climb to the main ridge of Obcina Mare where we find The Bear’s Clearing, then we continue to the altitude scattered village of La Toante (1141m). The landscape is shaped here by hundreds of years of pastoral life.
- After stopping in a nice place to have a picnic lunch, our route follows a ridge footpath to the village and Monastery of Moldovita, also housing an exterior painted church, 500 years old. In the afternoon light, the vibrant colours are very much alive after all this time.
- We pay a visit to a peasant workshop, where we are initiated in the centuries old tradition of painted eggs.
- In late afternoon the car takes us back to Sucevita (20 min transfer).
- Dinner and accommodation.
- Overnight in Sucevita
B, L, D

Day 7:
ROUTING: SUCEVITA - SUCEAVA (400m climb, 4-5 hours walking)
- Breakfast
- After breakfast we climb the round mountains of Bucovina, covered in forests interrupted only by green meadows and haystacks, to arrive after about 2h of gentle walking to a sheepfold. Here we get acquainted with the process of cheese making, see how every day life is in a temporary settlement and get to understand the fragile truce between the Romanian shepherds and their fierce dogs, and the 7000 bears and 3000 wolfs inhabiting the Romanian Forest, the largest system of unbroken forests in Europe. We have a tasty lunch made of mamaliga – the Romanian polenta and cheese, in these places that seem to escape the passing of time.
- In the afternoon we return to Sucevita and spend a few more hours in the tranquillity of Mr Cazac’s – our host – orchard.
- Dinner.
- In the evening, transfer to Suceava – the county’s capital, to catch the night train to Bucharest.
B, L, D

Day 8:
- Arrival in Bucharest.
- Transfer to the old centre.
- After breakfast we walk the winding streets of this 3 million inhabitants city, once known as Little Paris. It is a dynamic metropolis, full of contrasts, sitting  at the crossroads of Oriental and Western Cultures. Lunch. Transfer to the airport for flying back home

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