A journey of discovering the deepest secrets of Romanian forests
July 10-16th 2016
The south Carpathians are a classic, but if you've already seen them, you'll want something different. And western Carpathians are different indeed. There you don't get the endless 2000+ m ridge journeys, but instead you dive into the enchanting, rich forests, that hold a lot of mystery, surprises and serious offroad challenges, making it a daily randezvous with the unknown. From the forests, rivers and waterfalls of Cheile-Nerei national park and Anina mountains in the south, to the enchanting rocky peaks and caves of divine beauty in the Apuseni nature park. Western Carpathians are the hidden gem of Romania, waiting to be revealed!
Duration - 7 days (Sunday, July 10th to Saturday, July 16th)
Price - 560 € per vehicle
Wild camping (your own camping gear)
Approximate length - 1200 km (incl. pavement)
Technical difficulty - moderate with occasional hard elements
MT class tyres recommended
Syllicone protective sheets highly recommended (we'll drive on many grown-in trails)
Taking registrations now!
Approximate area of the tour(precise tracks available to participants)
Take a peek at the magical world of the Carpathians!
Cheile Nerei-Beusnita and Anina mountains
The meeting point for the group will be at 10:00 h on July 10th in the restaurant of the Cheile Nerei pansion, in the small village Sasca Romana, in the southwest corner of the Cheile Nerei-Beusnita national park. After visiting the rivers and waterfalls that make up the most famous landmarks of the NP, we’ll proceed northwards towards the Anina mountains, passing by several lakes and caves as we approach Semenic mountain and cross to the other side towards Brebu Neu.
The mountains in this area aren’t high – reaching just little above 1400 m, but they’re up to 90% covered with rich, enchanting forests, some of the most beautiful in Romania, thriving with different species of plant life. So no wonder that this territory hold as many of three adjecent national parks. We will be travelling through the heart of that territory, reaching some of the most beautiful places, but we’ll obey the rules, and stretch our legs for shorter hikes in areas where driving is forbidden (it will all be carefully tailored to the preferences and fitness capabilities of participants of the tour – we won’t exceed comfort levels and expectations of a dominantly 4×4 exploration tour). We’ll mostly use the main forest roads, but be ready for some muddy surprises, that often arise in the area!
Days three and four – Ruskai mountains and Alba county
On day three we’ll get our first chance to refuel and resupply in Caransebes, before we commence our journey over Ruskai mountains. They are a huge, heavily forested territory, dominated by the Pades and Ruska peaks. They can offer a serious, quite technical adventure, while venturing through the several tens of kilometres long river valleys. Rustic mountain villages, picturesque camping spots and ridges covered by blueberries will make the slicing of Ruskai mountains a day to remember.
Further north we enter the mountainous area of Alba county, a very diverse territory with a number of interesting nature parks. Picturesque gorges, lakes, solitary rocky peaks, will slowly transform into the gorgeous Apuseni mountains…
Days 5-7 – Apuseni mountains (the grand finale)
Finally we arrive in the western Carpathian dreamland – the majestic Apuseni mountains, which bring you every kind of sensation which the Carpathians can offer – the high ridges (more than 1800 m high), the most beautiful pine forests, flabergasting caves, and vertical canyons that render you speachless. And, of course, one shouldn’t forget the picturesque villages with wooden houses and churches in the traditional style, where the locals still keep the ancient way of life vital. Apusenis will simply bring true enchantment, and we’re sure you’d want to stay for a few days longer, to prolong the magic!
We will visit a few of the most famous caves in the Apusenis, such as the Fortress of Ponor (Cetatile Ponorului), or the Scarisoara. Or the Izbucul Galbenei, and maybe even the Valea Tiganului gorge. But it will not only be pure sightseeing, rather a demanding and dynamic 4×4 tour too. The Vladeasa peak ridge will present us with a quite technical mud challenge, for a memorable ending of the tour!
During the tour we’ll be sleeping on nice natural campsites in total wilderness, often near rivers, streams or lakes. Our average time of arrival to campsite is between 17:00 and 18:00, and morning departure time is usually between 8:30 and 9:30. Romania is the country known by brown bears – it has the largest bear population in Europe – but meeting bears while camping is close to impossible (we haven’t had any close encounters for the past 5 seasons). So there’s no need to fear wildlife in the Carpathians. You’re advised to have warm clothing and good quality sleeping bags, because even in mid summer it can be quite chilly at higher altitudes. To make camping more comfortable, you should have folding tables and chairs, as well as cooking equipment for food, mobile refrigerator (12 V), etc. In case of bad weather, or if the mood of the group calls for it, there will be possibilities on some days to break the camping routine by renting rooms in some discrete, out of the way mountain hotels – we’ll consult the participants of the tour about it (not included in the base price of tour).
Tour preparation and execution
We shall travel during the tour in a convoy. We’ll timely supply you with a GPX track to the meeting point, as well as numeric coordinates, and the phone number of your guide. Please secure that you have your travel insurance before starting the tour. We expect you to arrive with a vehicle in good technical conditon, which can endure a week of demanding offroading. In case of a serious melfunction which renders the vehicle stationary, we’ll organize the handling of the problem with the nearest repair shop, and go on with the tour programme as soon as possible. You can rejoin us as soon as the defect has been repaired. This tour will require at least average offroad experience and skills. During the tour a chance to refuel will be available each 200-300 km (petrol, diesel, LPG). All major credit cards (Visa, Master, Maestro, etc.) work in Romania (both on ATM machines and for paying goods), but it’s advisable to have a small amount of cash for small expenses in the mountainous areas. Romanian supermarkets are well supplied, but you’re expected to reach the starting point of the tour with supplies for the first 3 days, and with full fuel tanks (there aren’t any supermarkets near the starting point, or petrol stations).
Average tour difficulty is medium to hard. Although we will be travelling on decent quality dirt roads for most of the time, we will occasionally encounter challenges such as mud, deep tire tracks, serious rocky terrain, extreme ascents and descents, uneven or slippery terrain, tricky river crossings, stronger side angle, etc. We will handle every problem systematically and with minimum risk. We will not invent problems that are not already present on the track just for fun, or to show off. If we conclude that some problem is too risky, after consultation with the participants we may decide to make a detour (the guide vehicle always goes first to check out the problem difficulty). Our operational communication during the tour will be on CB radios (we mostly use channels 5 or 16 FM). Please make sure to use a CB radio with EU frequencies, since in some countries national frequencies are used, which have a shift compared to EU standards (just enough to make the communication incomprehensible).
Equipment of your vehicle for Transylvania tour should include
- MT tyres (we have very varying terrain)
- a shovel
- a compact axe, and a saw
- 1 or more dynamic ropes for recovery
- complete personal camping equipment
- 12 V fridge and additonal equipment for preparing food
- additional fuel can with 10-20 l of fuel reserve
- CB radio
You should also consider
- Winch (may speed up recovery in case of problems)
- A moderate lift – at least 2″
- Protective sheets over your paint (if you mind scratching)
(vehicles with low gear are mandatory for the Carpathians )
Tour price covers
- one adequately equipped guide vehicle with our guide
- all fuel and other expenses for the guide vehicle
- personal counceling before and during the tour
- appropriate GPS maps and data, that can be made available to the participants, if they have compatible hardware
Tour price does not cover
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses
- servicing expenses by third parties
- individual accomodation expenses before and after the tour (on your way to Romania and back)
- optional sleeping in hotels during the tour (if the group decides to)
- other individual expenses