Overview of the guided tour: The rural and traditional Romania
Get ready to discover Romania through some of the most beautiful highlights: Moeciu Village, Bran Castle and Piatra Craiului Mountains! Enjoy the bucolic landscapes, the hospitality of the locals and the delicious Romanian meals! Get ready for a rendez vous with the count himself, Dracula, at the legendary Bran Castle!
Where: Transylvania, Moeciu Village, Bran Castle, Piatra Craiului National Park
Highlights: castles, national parks, hiking, photography, rural experiences, food
Departure point: Bucharest
Available: all year round (special equipment is required in winter; the program might be altered in winter, due to the snowy roads)
Type of activity: cultural, hiking, sightseeing, visits in traditional mountain villages
The hikes are rated as: medium – difficult
Day 1: Early pick up from Bucharest. First, enjoy a drive on Prahova Valley, on the way to the famous Bran Castle(source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula). Take out your garlic and holly water and get ready to discover the legends and myths surrounding the castle.
After the visit at the castle we invite you to hike on the trails in Moeciu area. The landscape is very picturesque: beautiful hills, mountains, forests, animals and people roaming around. Not to mention lots of photography options along the way.
Depending on the season we might stop at a sheep farm for some beautiful polenta with cheese, prepared by the chef himself, the shepherd.
Hiking in the rural areas is a good opportunity to observe the village life. You might see people building haystacks, or feeding the animals, or doing all kinds of chores on the farm. They are usually very welcoming and love to chat. On top of this, add a visit at the village pub, for a social drink (typically, plum brandy), and the day is complete.
In the evening you will be transferred to the accommodation at a nice guesthouse.
Accommodation at a 3 star guesthouse.
Day 2: The second day will take you deeper in the heart of nature. You will explore the trails in Piatra Craiului National Park.
Piatra Craiului is a paradise for hikers, photographers, climbers, and generally for everyone who is into outdoor activities.
Our hike starts in the gorge and goes all the way up to a nice hut, at the foot of the North Ridge. There, we will stop for a snack and a drink, and to soak up the mountain air.
We will descend back to the gorge and to the car on a different trail. We say a warm GOODBYE to this beautiful National Park and make a promise to visit it again soon :).
Drive back to Bucharest and end of program.
,,As a single 20 something female wanting to explore Romania (hiking, castles, FOOD) and traveling solo I called on Outdoor Activities for some help. They customized a 2 day adventure for me return for Bucharest. My guide Dan picked me up from my hotel nice and early and we headed to Bran castle. He showed me through it’s beautiful yet haunting rooms and exterior, explaining the history and quirks as we went. We stopped off in the market on the way out and he organized through one of cheese stands to sell us a homemade bottle of plum wine to take on for our trip. Off to Pestera! We arrived in this charming village for lunch at the guest house and where we would stay over night. Surrounded by mountains, rolling green hills and a community filled with farmers stuck in time (in a good way!). Our hosts were so welcoming and the room they set for me overlooked the valley, was warm clean and filled with beautiful traditional Romanian handicraft. LUNCH: wow! We sat outside in the garden and were served the most amazing cheese platter with bread and most importantly Zacusca, an homemade homegrown vegetable dip/spread. Most of the cheeses were also homemade. This was accompanied by fresh homegrown vegetables. As a main we had ‘Dans favourite’ chicken broth with dumplings and I quickly found out why he loved it do. The dumplings were homemade and this simple dish is something you could eat every day for the rest of your life. Dan showed me how to eat the pork fat with onions and salt, the traditional way. All washed down with a few shots of plum brandy – watched closely but the farm cat.
We headed for the mountain, along a country lane and then up into the hills. We passed the local cows (with bells and all) and a few fellow hikers. We spent about 2 hours up and back, deciding not to make the summit so we could have sunset in the village. The walk was challenging enough with great views both on the way and from the top.
Back in the village I asked if we could head to the local pub. Dan had pointed out this very unassuming building on our way in and I was keen on checking it out. Dan arranged some beers and we sat out the front watching the villagers on horse and cart go by, come in and circulate around the friendly local dogs.
We headed back to the guest house (just around the corner) to share a bottle of red before dinner – again overlooking the valley. We were treated to a warming dish of polenta and cheese with some amazing pork on the side. Stuffed, we continued on with the wine.
As it turned out, there was family in town and we joined the guest house family for some folklore music and dancing way into the evening. I snuck into the kitchen to meats, cheeses and vegetable dishes being prepared for their family feast the next day. As a foodie – this was such a delight to witness!
Awoke early to the sounds of a cowbell and roosters in the yard – lovely! I was greeted by Dan with coffee and we tucked into another amazing homemade meal. Breakfast of eggs bread, more zacusca (could have eaten a kilo of it!), cheese and veg.
We headed to the gorge, parked and walked up through the cliffs with fresh water running along side. Up we went to the first landing to stop at another guest house for coffee. This was a beautiful walk, water all along the way, meadows, flowers, cows. A few hikers along the way but it felt overall very remote and calm.
After our 2 or so hour hike we headed back stopping at Brasov. Dan found a traditional restaurant (I was insistent we only eat Romania classics) and had yet another great meal of dumplings and bean soups. Oh and beer of course!
After a stroll around the square and church, we jumped back into the car for the drive back to Bucharest.
I so wish I had planned a longer trip (not just a weekend away) but I know I will be back.
To be honest I didn’t expect a lot form the food or rural areas and was absolutely blown away by the hospitality, local made produce and traditions.
Outdoor Activities made this all possible – there is no way I would have left Romania with the anywhere near the same experience without them. Huge thank you to Dan – what a legend! We had such a great time exploring and eating together. I know he must have done the same trip a 100 times but I felt like he really enjoyed the trip too. He was so accommodating to my requests for food related experience (even though he usually focuses on more outdoorsy trips).
If you are going to Romania please get in touch with this group. They will help you plan out what to do in the time you have and I promise you won’t regret it.
Oh and make sure you try zacusca!” Anne, from Australia, about this tour
IMPORTANT: The program can be altered on the spot, depending on weather conditions and other relevant aspects such as the physical condition of the participants.
Price upon request.