Looking for a hiking and cycling tour in Transylvania? This region of Romania is perfect for those who seek quiet roads and beautiful trails in nature.
The area of Brasov is by far one of the main destinations for tourists who choose to visit Romania. Thanks to its proximity to the Carpathian Mountains, this region is rich in wild forests, hiking and biking trails and routes, natural attractions as well as historical ones, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. And most important, Romania has the biggest population of brown bears in Europe, making it one of the most important destinations for bear watching enthusiasts from the world.
We created a 10 day active schedule which includes a cycling tour in Transylvania and a couple of hiking days that will surely be interesting for a lot of tourists who want to visit Romania.
Day 1: Arrival in Romania
You will arrive at Otopeni International Airport in Bucharest and you will be transferred to Brasov. After about 3 hours, you will arrive at your hotel. Depending on the time of your flight, it’s possible to meet your guide later in the evening or early in the morning, the next day. If you have time, you can visit the beautiful city center of Brasov, discover its secret pubs, cafes and restaurants or you can choose to take a walk under the Tampa hill and admire the panorama of the old town.
Day 2: Cycling day: Brasov – Cristian – Rasnov – Valea Cetatii cave – Rasnoavei Gorge (B/L/-)
What a better way to start the cycling tour in Transylvania! Because it is your first day in Brasov it’s better to ride on an easy route so we chose an accessible itinerary for today.
After breakfast, you will begin riding through the city streets until the edge of the town, go around a military base and follow a country road until your reach an industrial area. You will then go near a forest, where you will have a little bit of uphill – nothing too difficult, just 200 meters of easy uphill gradient. You will then descend to the nearby village of Cristian, one of the richest in Romania. You will visit the fortified Evangelical Church of St. Nicholas, built in 1270 by the German colonists.
From here, you will return near the forest, go through the ruins of an old brick factory and continue your ride to the town of Rasnov. After a short break in its beautiful center, you will continue your ride to the Valea Cetatii cave, where you will have the chance to go on a 40 minutes tour of the cavern. Bring warm clothing, as it is quite chilly inside. Also, wear comfortable hiking shoes because you will have to walk for about 10 minutes up to the entrance.
After visiting the cave, you will go back to Rasnov for lunch, then continue on the main road. After about 6 kilometers, you will turn left on a country road and after another 2 kilometers you will reach to Rasnoavei Gorge, one of the most important geological formations in Brasov. Make sure you look up. The cliffs are incredibly high and also here, you can find one of the highest bungee jumping installations in Europe. After admiring the canyon, you will be transferred back to Brasov.
37 km, 440m uphill, 330m downhill. Paved & country roads.
Day 3: Cycling day: Zarnesti – Poiana Marului – Sinca Noua – Sinca Veche cave – Ohaba water mill (B/L/-)
Today you will continue the cycling tour in Transylvania by cycling mainly on paved roads, with few areas consisting of gravel roads.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the nearby town of Zarnesti. After about 30 minutes, you will get on your bikes and start the tour with a 2 kilometers ascent. From there, it’s only down to the village of Poiana Marului. We can take a coffee break nearby and continue our ride to Sinca Noua. Here, we will leave the paved road and take a short detour to see the Podu Ilii viaduct, now abandoned after the railway passing the area had to be closed in 1940. It has a length of 167 meters and at its time, it was the biggest arched concrete bridge in Romania, as locals say.
Back on the paved road, our next stop will be in the village of Sinca Veche, where we will visit a mysterious cave temple that is said to have magic powers. Go inside, make a wish and see if it comes true. If not, just relax on an easy walk in the forest nearby.
After this mystical experience, back on Earth. In 3 kilometers we will be in the small village of Ohaba, where we will visit an old water powered mill which still works nowadays. Our host will present the mechanism and will make a demonstration. You will see how our ancestors used water to grind the wheat to produce flour. After a delicious lunch you will be transferred back to Brasov.
37 km, 170m uphill, 340m downhill. Mostly paved roads.
Day 4: Hiking day: Seven Ladders canyon – Piatra Mare hut (opt. Piatra Mare peak – 1844 m) (B/-/-)
After breakfast you will be transferred to Dambu Morii and begin an easy hike to the Seven Ladders canyon. Here, you will be instructed to watch your step and will begin this fantastic experience. You will climb on seven almost vertical ladders, with the raging river flowing under you.
Please wear sturdy hiking shoes, as this is a slippery experience. Once out, you will continue your hike through the forest until you reach the Piatra Mare hut for a well-deserved lunch break. Depending on weather conditions and group experience, we can go further, up the the Piatra Mare peak, at an altitude of 1844 meters or we can return. Make sure to explore the plateau where the hut is situated because there are a couple of spots where you can take fabulous photos of the surrounding mountains.
Once back, we will quench our thirst with a well-deserved beer and will be transferred to Brasov.
Day 5: Cycling day: Turia – Balvanyos Baths – St. Anna lake – Bear watching (B/L/-)
Day 5 of the cycling tour in Transylvania will begin with a transfer to the town of Targu Secuiesc. On the way you will take a short break to serve a delicious Kurtos Kalacs, a traditional Szekler pastry. Once in Targu Secuiesc, you will visit a local terracotta factory which recreates traditional clay stoves out of old or damaged terracotta pieces. Then back in the car and after 10 minutes, you will reach the village of Turia. Here, hop on you bike and begin the tour. It will be an easy 15 kilometer uphill paved road. But nothing too difficult. Once in Balvanyos Baths, you should really try and taste the cold mineral water that comes straight out of the ground. This area is famous for its multitude of natural mineral springs. Once you reach the highest point, you will leave your bikes and begin a 15 minutes hike up a nearby hill to see the Stinky Cave, a natural grotto that is still used by locals for healing purposes. The gas emanations here are the biggest in Europe for a cave of this size.
After getting back, you will have lunch at the nearby restaurant and continue your bike ride with a more difficult uphill road until you reach the St. Anna lake, the only volcanic lake in Romania. Here, you can admire the scenery and breathe one of the purest air in Europe. Take a walk around the lake, make pictures or just relax sitting in the grass.
Just before darkness falls, you will have the most amazing wildlife experience in your life. You will be taken to a nearby bear hide and see the Carpathian Brown Bear in its natural habitat. After about 2 hours, you will be transferred back to Brasov.
28 km, 530m uphill, 160m downhill. Paved roads.
Day 6: Hiking day: Zarnesti Gorges and Curmatura hut in the Piatra Craiului Mountains (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Zarnesti and begin your hike up. After about 30 minutes, you will enter the Zarnesti Gorges, with high cliffs reaching up to 200 meters. The gorge is 2 kilometers long so you will have plenty of time to take photos on our way up.
After leaving the area, we will continue to climb until we reach the Curmatura hut, situated in one of the most picturesque mountains in Romania. We will have lunch here and free time to relax and watch the mountains from the terrace. From here, we will return to Zarnesti. Please wear comfortable hiking shoes and dress according to weather conditions.
Day 7: Sightseeing: Prejmer citadel, Feldioara citadel, Miclosoara Castle (B/-/-)
After 5 hard days it’s time for a break. On this day we will visit three important objectives and find out interesting facts about the area’s history.
After breakfast, you will be taken to Prejmer to see the Prejmer Fortified Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the Teutonic knights in 1211-1213. It is currently the largest fortified church in southeastern Europe and one of the most visited in Romania.
After the visit, you will be taken to Feldioara, the oldest fortress in Brasov area. It was founded by the Teutonic knights between 1211-1225 and transformed into a peasant citadel in 1457. Recently renovated, it is now a major attraction for tourists who choose to visit Brasov.
After a tour of the citadel, you will get back to the car and will be transferred to the village of Miclosoara. Here, you will visit the XVII century Kalnoky Manor and find many interesting things about this family’s history. After lunch, you will be taken back to Brasov and enjoy the rest of the day discovering the pubs and restaurants and their delicious food.
Day 8: Cycling day: Sacele – Garciniului valley – Azuga pass – Azuga Wine Cellars (B/L/-)
This is the last day of this cycling tour in Transylvania. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the town of Sacele and start the day with a short tour of a local bakery. After tasting its delicious products, hop on your bike and start pedalling through the city. There will be a pretty difficult 3 kilometer climb up to an altitude of 900 meters but the view from up there will surely worth it. After a break, we will descent on a sinuous 2 kilometer gravel road and reach the Garciniului valley. From here, it’s almost 10 kilometers of uphill gravel road behind the Piatra Mare Mountains.
On our way up, we will take a break at a nearby water spring. Once we reach the Azuga pass, at 1300 meters, we will begin a long but demanding descent on a gravel road that will take us to Azuga. Here, we will take a tour of the Halewood wine cellars and of course, taste its sparkling wines. We will also have lunch here. In the end, we will be transferred back to Brasov.
34 km, 810m uphill, 510m downhill. Mostly gravel road.
Day 9: Free day in Brasov (B/-/-)
On this day you can choose to discover the town of Brasov, visit the famous Black Church or take a hike up to the Tampa mountain. Or you can choose an optional trip to the village of Viscri, famous for its houses that were renovated by Prince Charles’ Foundation. Take a ride in a horse-drawn cart, have a delicious lunch in the village and then, continue to the Racos geological complex, where you will have the chance to see a unique landscape of a volcanic crater and the Emerald lake, named like this thanks to the color of its waters.
Day 10: Leaving Brasov (B/-/-)
After breakfast, you will say goodbye to your guide and head back to Bucharest for your flight home. Depending on the flight schedule, you can visit the Peles Castle in Sinaia.