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Carpathian Walking & Bears

From £1199 for 8 days
Trip Overview
History and geography conspired to make Transylvania in central Romania one of Europe’s most beautifully wild and fascinating regions. For centuries the locals have existed in harmony with a variety of wildlife, including Europe’s highest concentration of wolves, lynx and bears – almost half the European population of Brown bears is recorded in the Carpathian Mountains. Meanwhile, dense forests have remained largely untouched. Our days are spent on walks through spectacular canyons, virgin forests and Saxon villages. We go in search of Brown bears and explore the mediaeval town of Brasov as well as Bran castle, best known as the residence of Count Dracula.
Essential Info
Starts: Start Bucharest; transfer to Magura in the Carpathian Mountains
Ends: To Bucharest Airport; end
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Discovery, Walking, Wildlife
Trip Code: EWVR
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: Romania
What's Included


All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included during our stay


7 nights at the Villa Hermani Guesthouse  5 centre-based day walks 


Trip Highlights

•    See Brown bears from a hide

•    Discover one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Europe

•    Have a unique opportunity to observe a great variety of wildlife in its natural environment

•    Hike through meadows, forests and along mountain trails

•    Stay in comfortable private guesthouse providing an authentic Carpathian experience and a very warm welcome

Itinerary & Notes
The start hotel is approximately 165km from the airport and will take around three hours to reach by road. Therefore, we highly recommend you wait for the group at the airport and join the group transfer. On arrival of the group flight at Bucharest Airport we are transferred by minibus to our private guesthouse at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Food and refreshments will be served during the transfer. Our guesthouse is situated in the quaint village of Magura at 1020m and within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park. *Villa Hermani Guesthouse*
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Waking up every morning to the glorious Autumn colours of the Carpathians is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The beauty of the forests, the splendour of the mountains and the simplicity of the life there is something I never imagined. Granted, I was initially inspired by my interest in the Dracula legend to go but after experiencing the wilderness there, I can honestly say that I fell in love with “the land beyond the forest”.
A well paced hiking tour with free time to relax in the remote alpine accommodation, in the mountains of Transylvania. This is certainly the place time forgot with small farming communities farming sheep and cattle, and small orchards aplenty. Dogs are tied up or in the fields protecting the livestock from the bears and other predators. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. We went when the weather was getting cooler and at times it was a little cold in the room. We had to remind the owners to put the heating on, which they did! There were 3 course set meals in the evening that were hearty and consisted of local produce but possibly limited if you are vegetarian/vegan. Don't expect there to be snacks like crisps and chocolate to be available, expect local fruits instead! The guide kept us updated on the itinerary during the week and gave a very informative tour of Brasov and Bran. All in all - a place to get away from it all and enjoy a slower pace of life! It was a very noncommercial region to visit and very refreshing in that sense!
I enjoyed the walks although quite a proportion of the walking was on dirt tracks ( Romania doesn't appear to have much in the way of public rights of way over farm land)
Having been on several Exodus trips before I was unsure of what to expect as I not done any trips as remote as this. Not removed from civilisation but bit on the verge of wilderness. The walks produced breathtaking scenery of the mountains and forests, all conducted at a leisurely pace mainly over unmade paths, meadows or very easy woodland walks, which posed no problems for any of the group. Although not able to see every animal that inhabits the forest there presence was evident. The added option to under the guidance of a local ranger, see the brown bears in the wild is something that should not be missed. This was defiantly a highlight of the trip.
We were extremely lucky with the weather (Aug), however, this did result in some of the hiking being rather more strenuous than anticipated as it was really warm most days - take lots of water! The trip was brilliant, highlights every day, but the bears (in the wild and at the sanctuary) definitely made the trip!!! Our guide, Thomas, couldn't have been more interesting (and funny) and extremely knowledgeable about the fauna, flora and history - simply the best! Villa Hermani was a hit too; friendly & helpful, good food and very reasonably priced drinks. Highly recommended trip.
This was an interesting and varied holiday with excellent trips, varied walks and an excellent guide. Some of the days were long and involved a fair amount of time in a transit or small bus which was not always comfortable especially when it was hot. However , it wasn’t overly arduous and added to the overall interest of the week.
A great way to spend the week, walking in the countryside, seeing many sites with fantastic architecture and cute bears doing their thing in the wild.
I booked this trip primarily to see the bears and enjoy some leisurely walks through the meadows and forests. It exceeded my expectations, mainly due to our guide Thomas, the lovely hosts Herman and Katerina at Villa Hermani and the variety of local experiences from the ride in a horse cart, tea at a hilltop monastery, dinner at a restaurant specialising in game meats, harvesting mushrooms after the rain, and schnapps and cake at a fortified church with an intriguing priest! Transylvania is a beautiful part of the world, still in a time when we were closer to nature where animals are respected and in proximity, shepherds tend the flocks, and the landscape provides a bounty of wildflowers, fruit, hay and mushrooms.
This was a very well thought out holiday with an excellent mixture of walks and visits designed to give us an insight into the local way of life that fell exactly into the leisurely/moderate grading.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. I was not expecting the Carpathian mountains to be so beautiful or there to be such an abundance of wild flowers. The accommodation was very good quality and the hosts Katarina and Herman, very welcoming and helpful. It was particularly good that several of the walks started directly from the Villa Hermanii and we enjoyed being accompanied by the resident dogs. The visit to Castle Bran and Brasov were also very good and well organised as was the evening spent at the bear hide where we were fortunate to see several bears.
Really good mix of culture, wildlife and walking. Clean and comfortable hotel and all the meals were excellent.
A great trip that was as described in the trip notes, I felt the most relaxed I have felt on holiday. September is a good time to go as there is still some sun during the day & the leaves are starting to change. A great trip with a variety of walks and activities. The long hike through Coja & Pestara is particularly nice. The beech and pine forests were beautiful.
Magura was a lovely base from which to explore this beautiful part of Romania, and a good variety of walks and activities were offered during the week. The walking was mostly fairly easy going.
This holiday is a great mix of mountains walks, wildlife encounters ( Bear hide and Sanctuary, Bird lakes ) , historic towns (Brasov) and visits ( Bran Castle, Byzantine monastery, churches and cathedral )
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