Explore some of Romania's most stunning mountain landscapes and soak up the unique culture of Transylvania on this inspiring self guided walk. Piatra Craiului meaning royal stone, is a dramatic limestone ridge which rises sharply from the forests and plains below, offering one of the best ridge walks in Europe. En route to the Bucegi Mountains, explore the gorges and ridgetops of Piatra Craiului to experience exceptional views of the region. The Bucegi mountains are home to a diverse range of landscapes from pine and beech forests to flower laden meadows and high limestone cliffs. It is also where you can find Bran Castle, connected through folklore to the fictitious character, Dracula. Whilst the legends of Transylvania are an enticing reason to visit this region, the walking opportunities and the friendly atmosphere in the mountain refuges guarantee this will be a unique and diverse adventure.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
The walking is moderate (3) grade with daily guided walks of around 4-6 hours. There are some more demanding stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and some sections of the trail require more care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. The planned walks may change depending on the group level of fitness or weather conditions.
On arrival at the Bucharest North train station there will be a handover of documents and a short briefing before your train to Brasov, a journey of around 2.5 hours. At Brasov, you will be met and transferred by taxi to your guesthouse set in a traditional village at the foot of Piatra Craiului National Park. This transfer takes around 1 hour. Overnight Magura.
We suggest arriving in time for one of the following trains: departing Bucharest at 10:00am, arriving in Brasov at 12.42pm; departing Bucharest at 12:15pm, arriving in Brasov at 2:58pm; or departing Bucharest at 2:00pm, arriving in Brasov at 4:23pm.
Walk along a small ridge to Bran Castle at the foot of the Bucegi mountains. The castle, which was built as a gift from Ludovic d'Anjou in the 14th century to the inhabitants of the region, had a defensive role against the migratory peoples and later it protected Transylvania from the Ottoman invasions. The castle was also associated with the prince Vlad Tepes of Walachia. Whom, it is widely thought, the fictional character 'Dracula' was based upon. Overnight Magura. (12km/7.5mi, +350m/1148ft, -600m/1969ft).
The walk continues at the base of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. It's an interesting contrast to the landscape of the previous day, as you traverse pastures, sheepfolds and woods. Scattered villages which seem to have not changed for centuries break up the landscape, while the surrounding mountains are a constant companion. Overnight Ciocanu. (14km/8.7mi, +550m/1804ft, -550m/1804ft).
This morning you leave the Piatra Craiului mountains and walk to the Bucegi Mountains. An easy walk with “picture postcard” landscapes to a traditional Romanian mountain village with small and ancient houses, at the foot of the Bucegi mountains. The inhabitants are livestock breeders and the village has a long tradition in cheese making. Overnight in Moeciu de Sus. (14km/8.7mi, -150m/492ft, +250m/820ft)
A more strenuous day today as you ascend trails into the Bucegi mountains. A longer walk is possible along the meadow of Gutana and the vertical walls of the Bucegi’s ridge, which offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes and over Piatra Craiului ridge. Overnight in Moeciu de Sus. (Approx 18km/11.2mi, +650m/2133ft, -900m/2953ft, or shorter).
Transfer to Brasov where you take the train to Bucharest. Trip concludes on arrival in Bucharest.
There are a number of trains departing between Brasov and Bucharest, and you can choose a time that best suits your onward travel plans. Some suggested train times include: departing Brasov at 7:40am, arriving in Bucharest at 10:32am; departing Brasov at 9:38am, arriving in Bucharest at 12:05pm; departing Brasov at 1:42pm, arriving in Bucharest at 4:05pm; or departing Brasov at 2:15pm, arriving in Bucharest at 5:03pm.
The people in Romania (our guides/hosts etc) were lovely and friendly and very helpful.
C & N Minogue., Sydney, Australia
The trip provides challenging and varied walks in a glorious and ancient landscape. Remote villages, simple but comfortable accommodation, welcoming people and good food.
R. Jones,, UK
Lovely hosts, surprisingly good food, beautiful scenery.The chance to see a "different" world!
R Bryce, Crafers, SA
My husband and I enjoyed Romania hiking very much. When we mentioned our destination to folks, a few eyebrows were raised, but I have to say the scenery was breathtaking, the routes were (somewhat) clear, and the price was on target. We particularly enjoyed the pensiunes; our hosts went out of their way to make us comfortable, and the food each night was outstanding!
B. Schleusener., Cary, NC, USA.
Transylvania Castles & Mountains trip is an excellent trip. Stunning scenery with different views every day. Romanian people very friendly. Guest houses were basic but very clean and comfortable. Food was was excellent. Would have no hesitation in recommending this trip.
S. Sheridan., Dublin, Ireland.
This was an amazing trip which we are not going to forget. Our hosts were very friendly and spoke either French or English. The pensions were rustic as expected. The Romanians we met on our hikes were puzzled at our presence and surprised that we were on holiday in their country. All were very friendly and waived at us when we walked past. The countryside is very beautiful, it reminded me of Europe's countryside about 40/50 years ago.
C. Weinstein., London, UK.
I loved this trip! Discovering the beauty and culture of Romania was an amazing experience and really would not have been as rich and rewarding (or even possible) without the careful, thoughtful, and accurate planning that went into the trip by UTracks. The trails were spectacular - the routes included stunning natural beauty and rural charm and the castle was so cool. We loved getting there via a great hike through the woods rather than on a tour bus. The inns we stayed at were such an amazing addition to our total experience. I cannot go on long enough about how perfect everything was. The guide materials were flawless.
T. Long,, UK
This trip exceeded expectations - in scenery, landscapes, interesting culture/village life, accommodation and hospitality. Even the weather was perfect. Also the prices in Romania were cheaper than anticipated which was an added bonus thanks so much, a great week and we were very well looked after in all respects.
C. Randell., South Fremantle, WA. Australia
We chose a self-guided walking holiday in the Romanian Carpathians. Transport is all very flexible and smooth, just whatever way you prefer. Locals and guesthouse-owners were all very friendly and happy to help us. Don't expect very modern accommodation, but it's all there. Paths are always good to find. All by all, a very good first experience with Utracks
H. van den Meijdenberg, Oxfordshire, England, 20 Oct 2016
This was a great holiday. Our hosts were welcoming and the home cooked fresh food was just what we needed. The routes provided great views and varied terrain with a few surprises . Being late September it did get a bit cold at night but was still a good day time temperature for walking. We had been anxious about the arrangements to meet the agent to receive our walk guide and maps, the train tickets and vouchers at Bucharest station, however it all went to plan, we boarded the train and started our Romanian adventure.
C. Howell-Jones, Birmingham, UK, 10 Oct 2016
This self guided walk was absolutely fantastic from start to finish and I could recommend it to anyone looking for something slightly out of the ordinary. Transylvania is a mountainous area of forests, streams, and lush meadows with people living in remote villages and carrying on a lifestyle that reminded me of England in the 1950s, cutting crops by hand and travelling by horse and cart. The ridge walks are spectacular, most of the climbs and descents are reasonable with one or two challenges, and the tracks and paths are well marked for the most part. The guesthouse accommodation and food was excellent, and the hospitality outstanding. The pre-trip information was very comprehensive, although a map of the route would have been helpful before we got there, and the travel arrangements worked as planned with our bags waiting for us each evening. The walking guide times and distances was pretty accurate, and the recommended 600 lei per person was spot on. This trip combines the challenges of walking and map reading with the excitement of seeing part of a country once under control of the old Soviet bloc. We stayed an extra night in the ancient town of Brasov - strongly recommended - as is the whole trip. Well done U-Tracks.
E. Black, Harpenden, England, 31 May 2017
This was a very picturesque walk through Romanian hills, valleys and farms. Bran Castle was a highlight but the whole walk was beautiful with many photo opportunities. Accommodation was quite rural and basic, but that only added to the experience! Organisation by UTracks was faultless.
J. Moore, Coburg, Australia, 17 Aug 2017
Per Person, Twin Share