Rocks in Rachitele, day 2
veil waterfall in Rachitele, day 3
|Hibernating lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros )
in a small cave near Rachitele
Cetatile Ponor Cave, Padis, day 5
albus (White butterbur)
of the balconies at doline 3, Padis, day 5
Calineasa Meadow, day 6
70m wide entrance of the Coiba Mare cave, Padis,
spring Tauz, day 7
2 in Padis, day 5
formation in the Scarisoara cave, day 8
Ghetarul de la Virtop cave, day 7
Belioara nature reserve, day 11
|the Scarce Swallowtail
Turda canyon, day 12
in the Turda canyon, day 12
Snake in the Turda Canyon
with Piatra Secuiului rock, day 12
autumnale or autumn crocus
tower, Cluj Napcoa
trip is made for all ages. It is a hiking trip that
brings you through the most exciting nature reserves
of the Western Carpathians. You visit the
volcanic Vladeasa Mountain ridge, you hike at the
of Padis with wild canyons, enormous dolines and
numerous caves. It goes further to the limestone
reserve Scarita Belioara, one of the oldest reserves
in the Western Carpathians and you visit the small but
very rich nature reserve of the Turda Canyon. The last
night you stay in the
historic town Cluj Napoca.
well selected hiking trails are going through a large
variety of landscapes. About every other day you enter
in a complete different biotope thanks to the
very complex geological diversity of the Western
Carpathians, the different altitudes and micro
climates. The hikes are not more then 4-5 hours and
you will be transferred by car.
is the time of the year when the wild crocuses color
the higher meadows purple and the time of the year
where you find an enormous variety of special flowers
in the lower and warmer valleys. It's the time of the
year when you have most chances to see the brown
As there is often snow till half May in the
mountains, the trip in June offers spring
conditions above 1000m.
is the time of the year when the meadows are
completely covered with a carpet of thousands of
flowers, the time when you can easier access the
canyons and caves. There is an abundance of
butterflies and other insects.
insects, 5 spot burnet and Dusky Large Blue
is calmer again, but after the first frost you'll
enjoy the superb gold, reds, yellows and browns of the
deciduous trees. There is an enormous variety of
mushrooms in the forest.
first frost can appear as early as 20 August above
Fly Agaric Mushroom
special page about the Apuseni Mountains:
can watch a short video clip by clicking the link:
make daily hikes in the different reserves. Transfers
are made by car.
Accommodation is provided in guestrooms and small
hotels or pensions. Every day you’ll enjoy a typical local dinner, in
the morning you’ll have a continental breakfast with lots of artisan products
and homegrown vegetables. Food will be provided to prepare your lunch-packet. Daily you only
need to take your lunch packet and some extra clothes with.
A specialized guide stays with you the
whole program and will give you all tourist information about the area and
brings you in contact with the local people.
trip is made for everybody with a normal physical
condition. For those that hesitate whether they will be
able to make this trip, just this: We always walk at
the pace of the slowest hiker. During the trip
there are several roundtrips, that means you don't
have to reach the next destination, so you can take it
easier those days.
Highlights of the trip:
- You walk on the eastern slopes of the 1835m high Vladeasa mountain. The
volcanic mountain is declared natural park.
Stanciu river and canyon with karst springs and
subterranean galleries, the cave Virfurasu
and the 25m high Rachitele waterfall.
Somesu Cald canyon: A wild 4-km long
canyon with fantastic flora. The canyon starts where the 220m long tunnel-cave
Radesei ends. The tunnel-cave has 5 natural windows in the
ceiling and you can walk through the cave without artificial
the Padis karstic plateau lies in the Bihor mountains,
declared natural park in 2004. The region is known for
the numerous caves, spectacular canyons and enormous
dolines. The most spectacular is Cetatile Ponor wih 3
enormous dolines, connected with a tunnel-cave. The
biggest doline is 180m deep and 800m wide. Nearby is
the ice cave Focul Viu.
ice cave "Scarisoara" in the village Ghetar
-Scarita Belioara: A geo-botanical reserve
with an enormous diversity of flowers and endemic plants. Alpine and Mediterranean
plants are growing close together.
-Rimetea: authentic German- Hungarian
village with lovely ethnographic museum at the foot of the Piatra Secuiului
Mountain. This is a strange naked 1128m high rock with lots of holes and
-Cheile Turzii or Turda Canyon: Beautiful
3 km long canyon carved through the rocks by the Hasdate River. There are
dozens of caves and lots of endemic plants. Vertical cliffs up to 300 m high
rise left and right from the canyon. There are still several bat colonies
in some of the caves.
Napoca: town has a typical Hapsburg look with many baroque
PROGRAM OF THE TRIP
Day 1: Arrival in Sancraiu
Arrival, acquaintance, introduction in the village Sancraiu.
Sancraiu is a well known ethnic Hungarian village with lots of guestrooms. Every
year several folk-dance camps take place here in the village. Accommodation in private
hiking trip from Rogojel to Rachitele.
will be transferred to the cabana Vladeasa at 1400m by
car. From there you make a beautiful 5 hour hike to
your guesthouse in Rachitele. You hike on the slopes
of the Vladeasa Mountain and come along the
"White Rocks", further it goes to the place
named "colibele Stanisoara" and you descend
to the guesthouse in the Stanciu valley. The
hike brings you through mixed and evergreen forest. Hiking 5 hours, climbing
250m, descending 650m.
is the highest limestone rock in the Apuseni
Mountains (1514 m). The weather conditions and
altitude are the reason that there are here
less flowers then in the other limestone
regions in the Apuseni Mountains, about 250
species. But there are some special plants
here as the Edraianthus
graminifolius subspecy. kitaibelii,
that grows here at the most northern region.
The plant blossoms in May – July together
with subalpine species as Saxifraga
adscendens, Doronicum columnae, Hieracium
villosum, Gentiana clusii. In summer there
are the endemic Carpathian plants Dianthus spiculifolius and Silene dubia. Typical limestone plants: Allium montanum, Saxifraga aizoon
and Sempervivum schlehanii. In the pine
forest you’ll find in the month May the
tender flowers of the Soldanella
hungarica subspecy major,
in July-August the Homogyne alpina, the
endemic Chrysanthemum rotundifolium and Hieracium
transsilvanicum. There are also some rare
orchids as Corallorrhiza trifida. On the grasslands there is an abundance of Crocus
Roundtrip in Rachitele
The trip goes along the
25m high impressive waterfall " the wedding veil",
further you come along the Virfurasul cave. You
climb till the Nimaeasa Meadow and walk back along the
"Burned Valley" to the guesthouse in the
Stanciu valley. Hiking
5 hours, climbing 400m, descending 400 m.
Roundtrip along the Somesu Cald Canyon
Hiking trip in the nature reserve Padis. You will be transferred to the Somesu
Cald canyon from where you hike starts. The hike brings you along the "Cerbul"
cave to the Onceasa Meadow at 1400m altitude. You come along the Dragons Cave
and descend along the Ponor valley back to the Somesu cald river.
stay in the settlement Doda Pilii in guestrooms. Hiking: 5 hours, climbing 300m,
descending 300 m.
narrow canyon is mostly covered with snow till
end May and that gives even the summer hikers
the possibility to see typical spring flowers
in early summer.
In the mixed forest (spruce and beech
trees) you’ll find after the melting of the
hungarica subsp. major,
the endemic Pulmonaria
rubra, Symphytum cordatum and Cardamine
glandulosa. In June – July there are a
lot of toxic plants as Aconitum
paniculatum and Aconitum
vulparia, the orchids Listera
ovata and Orchis maculata. On the limestone rocks you find the rare Edraianthus
graminifolius subsp. kitaibelii,
Potentilla thuringiaca, Primula columnae and
Iris aphylla. Along the rivers in
April-May there is Petasites
albus and Petasites hybridus, their place is taken in the summer by
the higher Filipendula ulmaria, Telekia speciosa and Cirsium
Nature reserve Padis
Transfer and roundtrip in Padis. You visit the "Cetatile Ponor" or "Fortress
of Ponor" This is the most spectacular site in Padis. It consist of 3
enormous dolines that are connected by tunnel caves. The entrance of the cave in
doline one is 70m high. The biggest doline is 800m wide and 180m deep. On the
borders of the dolines is a hiking trail with several balconies from where you
have superb views. You stay
again in the settlement Doda Pilii in
guestrooms. Hiking: 5 hours, climbing: 550m, descending: 550m
park Padis, Cetatile Ponorului
Padis plateau is mainly covered with spruce
and fir trees. The geo-morphic structure, the
height and some traditional human activity all
are factors that define the flora of the
Specific are the open grasslands and
silted dolines where you find a typical
wetland and swamp flora. There are several
relicts from the past.
After the snow melts in the month May
the grasslands are transformed in purple
carpets by the Crocus
In the summer their place is taken by Viola
declinata, Potentilla ternata or Ligusticum
mutellina. The acid grass land has small
bushes of Calluna
vulgaris, that colors the grassland pink in
August. Plants from the sedge family grow in
the silted dolines:There are relics from
the last Ice time as the Carex
pauciflora and Carex limnogena. In the
same region you find specific plants form the
peat-bog as Eriophorum
vaginatum and Drosera
rotundifolia, insectivore plants and also
relicts from the past. In the dense evergreen
forest there are not many plants but you find Soldanella
hungarica subsp. major,
and a lot of Vaccinium
myrtillus and V.
vitis-idaea, with tasteful berries in
Day 6: Transfer to the
village Ghetar. You travel along the village Poiana Horea and the Calineasa
Meadow to the village Ghetar. It is a long drive
completely through the mountains. We make several
stops and short hikes.
- Casa de Piatra Roundtrip
A splendid roundtrip in one of the most spectacular
karst regions of the country. You walk to
the village Casa de Piatra, one of Romania's most authentic villages. There is the karst spring "Tauz",
the cave system Coiba Mare - Coiba Mica and highlight
of the day the Ghetarul de la Virtop cave that you
visit. After that it goes back to the village
Hiking 6 hours, climbing 600m, descending 550m
8: Ghetar: Ice cave and
free afternoon for bird-watching.
of the ice cave "Scarisoara" in the morning.
The Ice cave lies at an altitude of 1165m. The impressive entrance is 48m wide
and 50m deep. In the first room is an enormous bloc of
ice of 75.000m3, of which the lower layers are 3000
years old. In the church room are many stalactites and
stalagmites, some up to 4m high. After
the visit free afternoon.
few years ago the university of Freiburg (Germany) had
here a project. One of the students Christoph
a list of the birds he observed in the village. May be
the perfect day for birdwatchers to make some unique
observations. There are in the region still some
patches of primeval forest.
observed by Christoph
Goldcrest, Firecrest, Dunnock, Alpine Accentor,
Serin, Linnet, Wryneck, Chaffinch, Crow,
Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great
Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Fieldfare, Pied
Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart, Redstart,
Treecreeper, Raven, Magpie, Cuckoo, Swift, Tree
Pipit, Greenfinch, Crossbill, Jay, Green
Oriole, Starling, Collared Dove, Tawny owl,
House Martin, Robin, Blackbird, Ring Ouzel,
Tengmalm's Owl, Bullfinch, Wren, Dipper,
Wheatear, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit,
Crested Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Warbler,
Chiffchaff, Wood Warbler, Woodpigeon,
Yellowhammer, Bee-eater, Swallow, Red-backed
Shrike, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser
Whitethroat, Woodcock, comun Buzzard, Goldfinch,
Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Goshawk,
Kestrel, House Sparrow.
- Girda de Sus and transfer to Salciua
along the Odrincusa Canyon to the village Girda de Sus. You
come along the Poarta Lui Ionel cave.
You sleep in Salciua in guestrooms
Hiking 4 hours, climbing
100 m, descending 550 m
The hiking trip starts at the monastery Sub
Piatra and you walk along the Bedeleu limestone ridge.
Near the monastery is another protected monument, the
Huda lui Papara Cave. The hike brings you along the
beautiful waterfall "Sipote"
in the guesthouse in Salciua.
hours, climbing 900m, descending 200 m
many called the „pearl of the Apuseni
mountains” It is a small reservation on a
mountain plateau. It is a very spectacular
landscape with vertical limestone rocks, caves
and grottos, open grassland and patches of
forest. There are about 450 plants species.
Interesting here is the mixture of arctic
alpine plants with sub Mediterranean -Balkan
species. The first flowers that appear after
the snow in May are Gentiana
verna and Gentiana
nivalis, both sub-alpine plants that
normally grow on higher grounds. In June there
is Daphne cneorum, Gentiana
pinnatifida and Dryas
octopetala flowering in a colorful mosaic.
In summer there is the rare Balkan plant Saponaria bellidifolia that flowers together with the arctic
Arctostaphyllos uva-ursii, a relict that
grows here at its most southern place. There
is the sub-alpine orchid Nigritella
grows further nowhere else in the Apuseni Mountains.
There are the endemic plants rubra Aquilegia subscaposa, Centaurea
reichenbachioides, Dianthus spiculifolius, and
Dianthus simonkaianus. In autumn flowers
alpinus, Sorbus dacica.
Scarita Belioara nature reserve. Transfer to the village Runc and Lunca Larga.
is one of the oldest nature reserves in the country.
The limestone plateau is 450 hectares big and lies at
an altitude of 1300m.Special about the reserve is that
plants from the last ice time survived and are growing
together with Mediterranean plants from warmer
periods. It is one of the only places where you find
the golden eagle in the Apuseni mountains.
in the guesthouse in Salciua.
Day 12: Transfer to the village Rimetea and
short visit at the ethnographic Museum. The village
Rimetea is unique in 2 ways. The typical architecture
from the village and its position at the foot of the
mighty Piatra Secuiului Rock. In the afternoon
transfer to the Turda Canyon nature reserve and hiking trip in the
and around the canyon. The Hasdate river flows through
the majestic 300m limestone cliffs in west - east
direction. Once this was different, witness the more
then 30 caves and caverns that are north - south
orientated. The gorges are
also of big scientific value for they contain more then 1000 species of plants
(greatest number in Romania per surface unit), and lots of butterflies some
typically Mediterranean and very rare or unique. The gorges are a complex
geological, biological and archeological preserve. Many of the caves were
inhabit by prehistoric man.
that transfer to the town Cluj Napoca where you sleep
in hotel rooms.
3-4 hours, climbing 300 m, descending 300 m
The Nature reserve Cheile Turzii contains more then 1000
plant species over an area of 104 hectares.
The flora is very heterogeneous because of the
geographic location of the canyon, (on the
border of the mountains and the plains), the
limestone underground and the special
microclimate. Already in April blossoms the Fritillaria
tenella. During the months May and June
you’ll see Echium rossicum and Ephedra
dystachia, rare plants that originate from
Central Asia. In July and August you’ll see
Allium obliquum a plant that grows further
only in the Tian Shan mountains in Turkestan
and the south of the Ural mountains. Another
special plant is the Ferula
sadleriana (endemic and an
inter-Carpathian relict, that grows further
only in 5 hilly regions along the Danube.)
Other interesting plants: Dianthus
aizoon, S. rocheliana, Aconitum
fissurae, Dianthus integripetalus, Hieracium
a huge limestone rock that rises above the
village Rimetea. Besides typical mountain
plants there are plants with a typical steppe
character as there is Astragalus
triumfetti, Campanula sibirica and the
joói that appears mid May. Rock plants are
Saxifraga aizoon, S. rocheliana, Centaurea
atropurpurea and mountain plants Dianthus
spiculifolius, Draba lasiocarpa, Ranunculus
oreophilus that blossom during summer. There
is the endemic Thymus comosus, species Helianthemum rupifragum and Taraxacum
hoppeanum. In the beach forest at the
southern and south western slopes you’ll
martagon and the endemic Aconitum
moldavicum. At the end of the summer there
is Aster alpinus and Seseli
End of program.
map of the
first part of the trip, red line = hikes,
purple line = transfer