Transylvania and beyound – 8 riding days – 1870 km
Day 1: Meeting
We meet in Cluj Napoca , then we go to the hotel and them we go together to a pub to know each other.
Highlights: Beliș Lake – Arieș River Valley- 260 km
Beliș Lake is a beautiful man-made lake. When the summer season is very dry and the water level decreases a lot, you can see the abandoned houses and the churches towers of what was a village decades ago.
Scărișoara Cave shelters the biggest underground glacier in Romania. It is a very spectacular cave, with an abrupt entrance: you go down in a big pothole and as you descend you can feel the temperature lowering. The glacier was found in 1847 and gave the scientists lots of information about the past, by the examination on the ice. The oldest ice in the glacier is 4000 years old. Inside the cave you will see the beautiful ice formations, and the rich imagination of the locals gave them very inspired names.
Vârtop Glacier Cave is another beautiful icy cave in Romania. Locals know this cave for hundreds of years, but it was scientifically mentioned only in 1955. They found inside petrified pieces of an antique human species (Neanderthal), which lived in this cave 62.000 years ago. The cave has many spectacular and tall rooms, where you can see incredibly beautiful speleothems: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, curtains and lots of other calcite formations. It is a small cave, but one of the most beautiful because of the well preserved speleothems inside.
Arieș River flows through a beautiful valley which spreads 164 km from Bihor Mountains to Luduș city, in Cluj and Alba counties. The name of the river is a derived word from ”gold” (”aur” in Romanian), because in the past people were exploiting gold from its water bed. Arieș River Valley is appreciated because it flows through beautiful touristic areas and every years many people come here to enjoy the beauty of the landscapes.
Highlights: Sarmisegetuza Regia, Semenic Park Road, Bigăr Waterfall – 250 km
Sarmisegetuza Regia was the capital of our ancestors (the Dacian people), which had interesting citadels and bravely fought with the Roman Empire to be free and keep their dignity. It was the most important military, strategic and political center during the Roman emperor Traian (98-117 AD) and forgot in time and buried in the ground for many decades, being discovered again in 1923. You can see here the past evidences and hear many interesting and intriguing legends about mystified people from our past. You can also see a round stone sanctuary resembling very well with the well-known Stonehenge. This sanctuary is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Semenic National Park is a protected area in the south-western part of the country in Caraș-Severin county. Inside this National Park there are 10 natural reserves, consisting in river sources, river gorges, caves and fauna and flora biodiversity areas. There are many protected species here: bear, lynx, fox, wolf, deer, squirrels, weasels, bats, snakes and lizards, birds, but also lots of trees and endemic species of plants.
Bigăr Waterfall is located in this beautiful and raw protected area. It is very spectacular by its look, and lots of people say it’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls around the world: it reached the first place in The World Geography top in 2015! Legend says that once upon a time a couple couldn’t have a child. A witch showed in the woman’s dream and told her to drink the water from a small river (called “the land between the two worlds”) and she will have a baby. The only problem was that if the baby was a girl, she wouldn’t be allowed to fall in love, or else she will lose her life. The woman drank from the little river’s water and gave birth to a girl. When she grew up, she fell in love with a young boy named Bigăr. The girl’s father locked her in a small cave to save her life, but the witch heard her crying in pain and turned her into a stunning waterfall, resembling to her beautiful hair. The young boy drowned himself in the waterfall and he met the girl on the other world where they could finally share their love.
Highlights: Danube Canyon, Decebal rock sculpture – the Romanian ”Rushmore”- 210 km
Danube Canyon is simply fascinating. Being the longest in Europe (144 km), it is a mix of larger and narrower areas. There are two very large areas, as known as the two “caldrons”. The karst helped a lot the awesomeness of the landscapes: you can see here abrupt slopes and vertical stone walls and also lots of caves.
Here you can also visit the great statue of Decebal (king of the Romanian ancestors). If you know how Rushmore mount sculptures look like, well, you have the occasion to visit something similar. It is 40 meters high and it’s the biggest mountain wall statue in Europe. Twelve people worked for ten years, using classic weapons, in very bag conditions. The statue was ready in 2004 and it’s one of the main attractions in the area.
Highlights: Băile Herculane SPA town, Brâncuși Sculptures in Târgu-Jiu, Transalpina Highway, Vidra Lake- 230 km
Băile Herculane is a small town between Cerna and Mehedinți mountains. It is known as a SPA resort from old times and legend says that even Hercules itself stopped here to bathe and rest. Unearthed stone carvings show that visiting Roman aristocrats turned this town into a Roman leisure center. Six statues of Hercules from those times were discovered. The Austrians turned it into a modern spa resort and repaired the roads, the pools which collected the thermal spring waters, built guest houses etc. During the communist years, there were built some mass-tourism facilities such as big hotels. It was a popular holiday place for the old and retiree people, which came here in order to improve their health. Today, this SPA resort and its surroundings still attract many tourists which come here to relax, to improve their health and visit the beautiful mountain trails that this area have.
In Târgu Jiu we will visit some of the most known, appreciated and disputed pieces of art: the sculptures of Brâncuși: the Infinity Column, the Gate of kiss, the Table of Silence. Some people love them and others don’t understand its style. Constantin Brâncuși is known as one of the sculpture pioneers in Romania, and his unique style has been appreciated around the world. He refused fitting the regular sculpture style by imitating the natural form of its subjects and representing reality. Instead he stylized his pieces of art and gave the world a whole new generation of sculptures. He lived many years of his life in France, where he died with the regret that he cannot come back to die in his beloved home-country.
Transalpina Highway is another altitude road in Romania, crossing 5 protected areas, very appreciated and loved by tourists and very impressive. Violent abrupt and great mountainscapes – this is what you will see and live! Some people say that it was built by Roman legions during Daco-Roman wars, as a strategic road. It was also known as “The Devil’s trail” and used by shepherds to cross the mountains with their sheep to another region – Oltenia. It was used again as a strategic road during both World Wars (I and II) and then restored again during the communist years, when it became a touristic attraction. Many years after the fall of communism and political instability in Romania, this road was closed because its deplorable conditions. In 2015 it was opened again and it is now one of the most beautiful mountain roads in Europe.
Vidra Lake (the Romanian word for “otter”) is one of the most impressive and beautiful of the lakes on Lotru River Valley. Clear waters reflecting the deep blue skies, framed by smooth mountain peaks…
Highlights: Lotru River Valley, Transfăgărășan Highway- 230 km
Lotru River Valley is a very pitoresque and beautiful area in Vâlcea county, passing through many touristic places, having on its flow many lakes and waterfalls, but also some hydroelectric dams. In Romanian language, ”lotru” means ”thief” or ”outlaw”. There are some legends about 4 outlaws who took money from the rich people and gave them to the poor ones. They eventually fell in love and sattled, and the villages where they made their familyes took their names.
Transfăgărășan Highway is one of the most spectacular roads in Europe, reaching the altitude of 2042 m. It connects the historical regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. Despite of its stunning beautiful landscapes, this road is a witness of pain and suffering. It is also a communist construction where lots of people worked in extremely hard conditions and some of them even died. Nowadays, the road gained a lot of popularity after the guys from Top Gear show visited it, totally loved it and described it as the most impressive road they’ve ever been on. It is definitely a wonderful place to visit. You will love its serpentines and landscapes.
Highlights: Prahova River Valley, Peleș Castle, Brașov city- 210 km
Situated in a very spectacular mountain area, Prahova Valley is definitely the most appreciated touristic area in Romania, thanks to its beautiful landscapes and touristic facilities and also to its proximity to the capital city – Bucharest. There are many touristic resorts here and people enjoy spending weekends here. These resorts also have ski slopes, so even in the winter this area is very populated by both Romanian and foreign people.
Peleș Castle is a jewel, a piece of art and one of the most beautiful castles in Romania and maybe Europe. Built in 1874 by King Carol the 1st, now it is a well-known and appreciated museum where you can see many interesting exhibits and collections. You can also enjoy some stories and legends about the castle.
Brașov city (Kronstadt in the past) is one of the most big and beautiful cities in Romania, thanks to its position, powerful industry, architectural style and old buildings. Between 1950 and 1960, in the communist regime, Brașov was renamed as “The city of Stalin”, after the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Communists increased the industrial activity in this city, but also destroyed antique human settlements and archaeological sites to build blocks of flats and factories. However, the center of the city wasn’t affected and today you can admire it and have a nice walk through the beautiful medieval buildings and have a stop in one of the many history museums. It is very possible that you will fall in love with this city, especially if you are a history and culture lover.
Highlights: Bran Castle, Viscri Old Church- 240 km
Who has not heard of Dracula’s Castle in Romania? It is a great mix of architecture and history, thrill and excitement, myth and reality. It was built in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights, but it is known more because of Vlad the Impaler, our ”local Dracula”, famous for its cruelty and tyranny. There are many things to say about him, but romanian people „recall” him as a man who hated laziness and theft. He easily killed the people who didn’t want to work by impaling them or burning them alive. There are many legends and stories about him.
Many people heard about Viscri Village after Prince Charles itself fell in love with and bought a house here. It’s a place where the time froze; you will feel like in the Middle Ages. You can visit the Citadel Church an old Lutheran fortified church, built by the ethnic German Transylvanian Saxon community at a time when the area belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary, sometime around 1141 and 1162, and fortified around 1500. It was reconditioned and now it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Highlights: Sighișoara City, Turda Salt Mine – 240 km
Sighișoara citadel city (UNESCO) is a timeless place where you can feel, see and taste history. What’s unique about it is that is the only medieval citadel still inhabited. Take a walk along the colorful streets and enjoy! There are also many museums that you can visit: the most popular of them is the big tower where you can go to the top and see the surroundings.
Turda Salt Mine is a real museum of the salt exploiting history in Romania. The mining work and machinery are very well preserved. The salt deposit is 13.5 million years old, and it is 1200 m thick in some places! The salt rock is 99% pure and has very little dirt on it. During the war years it was used as a bombproof. In 1952 it was opened for public and one of its galleries was used as cheese storage. Today there are no more salt exploitation works in here, but the salt mine was turned into a touristic point and a health center. The salt mine is very well equipped and decorated for the large number of tourists, having glass elevators (and also the original abrupt stairs for the ones that want to skip the gym), a salt lake with boats where you can take a ride, benches, ferris wheel, sport fields, an amphitheater for concerts, playground for kids, shops.
8 driving days / 1870 km
Price/person based on 2 people sharing the same room:
– 800 euro driving your own motorcycle
– 800 euro + rent a bike
Single room supliment : 190 euro
Passenger price : 650 euro
8 accommodation nights with breakfast in 3-4 stars hotel/guest house
Assistance car if you are renting bike from us
Motorcycle Guide/ English speaker
Carpathian Trails gift (surprize)
Price does not include: Insurances, Entrance fees at the tourist spots we visit,Gas,road taxes, parking, lunches and dinners, beverages, individual activities, plane ticket, airport fees, photo, video tax and other not mentioned.
Available periods: 7-15 June, 5 – 13 July, 3-11 August, 1-9 September