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Experience warm rural hospitality and discover the unspoilt beautiful countryside of Romania on this satisfying trekking holiday in the Transylvanian Alps. Overnight in mountain huts and a local guesthouse in Moieciu and enjoy walks through pine forests and flowered meadows.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights simple guesthouse
2 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights simple hut
Moderate and Challenging
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins at Bucharest Airport at 8.45pm, the latest your flight can arrive is 8.15pm. You will need to arrive by this time to join the airport transfer today. We will travel together as a group to our hotel in Sinaia which will take approximately 2 hours.
This is a beautiful mountainous region, at the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains in the Prahova Valley. Sinaia is one of the oldest and most famous mountain resorts, often referred to as 'The Pearl of the Carpathians'.
Hotel Roberto (or similar)
After breakfast we visit in the Peles Castle (optional) which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful castles in all of Europe. It was the final resting place for several Romanian monarchs including King Carol I, who died here in 1914. Then we take a short cable car ride to the Bucegi Plateau. From here we start our walk through the Bucegi mountains which make up part of the southern Carpathians and walk for approximately 4 hours gaining about 500 meters/1640 feet in elevation to the highest peak, Omu Peak 2505metres/8218feet. Wind and rain have turned some rocks in to spectacular figures such as the Sphinx.
We will finish the walk at the Omu Mountain Hut where we spend the night. The dorm rooms in the hut are communal with a stove in the centre, we are allocated two beds per person to allow for extra space. The simple toilets are located just outside of the main building, there is no running water and no washing facilities, although its possible to buy drinks. Although very basic the location at 2,505 metres/8218 feet on top of Bucegi Mountains in the Carpathian Range makes it worth it for one night. Our main luggage is transferred by road and will not be with us so we have to carry what we need for the night.
Note that if early season snow makes overnighting in the Omu Hut impossible, we will stay at the lower elevation Padina hut. There will be less of an ascent today but more on day 3.
Today's Moderate grade 13 kilometre/8.0 miles trek is expected to take around four hours with 775 metres/2542 feet of ascent and 320 metres/1049 feet of descent. If we arrive early enough at Omu Hut there is the option to extend this walk with an additional one and a half hours trek to summit Bucsoiu a nearby peak (2498metres/8195feet).
Omu Hut (or similar)
We start our descent, including 50metres/164feet on a scree path, to the Bran Valley with some stunning views of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. Today we walk from the peak of the Bucegi range to Moieciu and on our way will see natural monuments, various alpine flora and fauna, which could include the edelweiss, mountain wild rose, capercaillie and chamois. This area is also home to the European brown bear but a sighting would be rare. The wild beauty of this area is truly special. Today we walk with some steep sections and rough terrain, good walking boots are essential. The last part of the trail leads us to the guest house through their orchard. Here after a long day we will be welcomed with hot delicious food, locally brewed alcohol and a well deserved hot shower.
Today's Challenging grade 20 kilometre/12.43 miles trek is expected to take around 6 hours with 350 metres/1148 feet of ascent and 2000 metres/6562 feet of descent.
Casa Zada Guest House (or similar)
Today we start our day with an optional trip to the castle at Bran. The truth behind 'Dracula's Castle' is even more fascinating than its myths! Earlier this century it was the home of the remarkable British born Queen Marie of Romania, grand daughter of Queen Victoria. Vlad the Impaler, the heroic 15th century ruler of Wallachia never lived here and there is no connection with the excellent novel by Bram Stoker - who never came near Transylvania. Perched on a crag in a valley between two high mountain ranges, it controlled an international trade route, but is now a rural back-water. From here we start our walk to the Piatra Craiului mountains. Piatra Craiului (The Royal Rock) is probably Romania's most loved mountain especially by hikers and nature lovers. The shining glow of this huge white limestone ridge can be seen from afar and it is probably the source of its unusual name. The mountain ridge has the biggest bio-diversity of the country. Not surprisingly, it is a national park. The wildlife is very diverse and there are still black chamois on the high cliffs and brown bear, wild boar, deer and stag, foxes, wolf and even lynx in the forests. The Piatra Craiului Mountains are further known for the abundance and diversity of flowers and plants. We walk today for between five and 7 hours and end at a mountain hut where we spend the next 2 nights.
The wooden Curmatura hut is located at 1,470 metres/4823 feet in Piatra Craiului national park. There is more space in this hut, with dorms rooms solely for the group and a large outdoor terrace. Washing facilities are limited as there is no running water, but a fresh water spring nearby, the toilet is located outside of the main building. For the 2 nights staying in Curmatura Hut the main luggage will be stored at the guesthouse in Moieciu, we have to carry what we need for theese two night in a smaller bag.
Today's Challenging grade 18 kilometre/11.18 miles trek is expected to take around 5 hours with 1,340 metres/4396 feet of ascent and 660 metres/2165 feet of descent.
Curmatura Hut (or similar)
Today we take a circular walk from our mountain hut to the Piatra Craiului's beautiful limestone ridge, which is about 25kilometres/15.53 miles long, from where we have superb views over the surrounding country. The walk today is challenging in parts with the odd section where you may need to scramble over rocks or through dense forest. Once we are up on the ridge the views of the southern Carpathians are spectacular. After around 6 hours of walking we will return to our mountain hut for a well deserved hot meal and refreshments. Note: During the walk on the ridge there is a section approximately 2 metres/6.6 feet in length which will require holding on to a chain to cross. Vertigo sufferers may wish to opt out of this walk. There will also be a descent of 300metres/984feet on a scree path. Besides this, today's walk will not operate if it is raining or if there is a threat of rain. If this is the case an alternative walk in the area will be arranged.
Today's Challenging grade 7.5 kilometre/4.66 miles trek is expected to take around 4 hours with 800 metres/2624 feet of ascent and descent.
Today we leave the mountain hut behind and walk to our guesthouse in Moeciu. Today's walk takes us through more beautiful countryside including the Zarnesti Gorge which has been used as a filming location for a number of movies including Cold Mountain.
Today's Moderate grade 18 kilometre/11.18 miles trek is expected to take around 5 hours with 470 metres/1542 feet of ascent and 1,100 metres/3609 feet of descent.
This morning we drive to Romania's capital, a remarkable blend of turn of the century elegance and communist excess. Situated on the Danube plain and set amid a series of lakes and spacious gardens, remnants of more gracious days still exist to charm the visitor. We visit many of the older parts of the city to see some of the buildings that have earned it the reputation as the Paris of Eastern Europe. After the city tour we have free time for shopping, relaxing or more sightseeing.
Hotel Minerva (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Bucharest.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bucharest at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP) which is around 20 minutes' drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 83.5 kilometres
Romania's climate is continental, temperatures being strongly influenced by the physical features of the Carpathians. Temperatures will fall from highs of 18°C (by day) to lows of 6°C (at night) in October; by January they will hover around freezing during the day and go down to -10°C at night.They will then rise to reach October temperatures again by April. Temperatures will generally be lower in the mountains than in Bucharest. Snowfall may occur at any time.
2 Pin Round
Bran Castle - Entrance fee £7.5 Peles Castle - Entrance fee £6 Village Museum in Bucharest - Entrance fee £3.5
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable, and it can become cool, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. It can get as cold as -5°C during the night and can still be in the minuses the next morning, there may also still be snow on the ground in spring and autumn in the mountains. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and warmer are recommended as a base layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. A waterproof jacket is essential at all times in case of rain and wind. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof trousers) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair) -Insulated jacket -Hat -Gloves
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Bring one main piece of luggage and a day pack. A capacity of 40 litres for the latter is recommended as you will need to carry enough clothes (spare underwear, T shirt and toiletries etc) for the nights in the mountain huts when you will not have access to your main luggage (days 2,4 and 5). On any day walking you will also need to carry a raincoat, fleece, camera, sun-cream, water and picnic lunch. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water. For the two nights staying in Curmatura Hut (days 4 and 5) your main luggage will be stored at our accommodation in Moieciu ready for your return on day 6.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles highly recommended -Personal toiletries (there are limited washing facilities in the mountian huts, so hand sanitiser may be useful) -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch bag/Tupperware (for packed lunches) -Gaiters (if you usually use them) -Sleeping bag liner will be needed for the nights in mountain huts, blankets and pillows are provided
On this tour we spend three nights in very simple mountain huts, allowing us to stay well off the beaten track. The two mountain huts that we stay in are well located in the mountains, with fantastic views and meals provided but please be prepared for very basic conditions. The Omu hut on day two is located at 2,505 metres on top of Bucegi Mountains in the Carpathian Range. The hut is the highest in Romania and also acts as a mountain refuge. There is no running water and no washing facilities, although there is bottled water for sale along with other drinks - beer, mulled wine, some soft drinks. The dorm rooms are communal with a stove in the centre; we are allocated two beds per person to allow for extra space (unless they are needed for people to take shelter). Sheets, blankets and pillows are provided and bringing a sleeping bag liner is recommended. The toilets are located just outside of the main building, a long drop outhouse. The wooden Curmatura hut on days four and five is located at 1,470 metres in Piatra Craiului national park. Washing facilities are limited as there is no running water, although there is a fresh water spring thirty metres from the hut. The toilet is outside the main building. There is more space in this hut, with dorms rooms solely for the group and a large outdoor terrace.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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Romania: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationalities, Australian, New Zealand US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
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You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
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It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
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Nothing compulsory, although we recommend vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. The Foreign Office currently recommend considerations of vaccination against rabies if travelling in rural areas of Romania. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.