hiking with donkeys  

Dates can be chosen free between 1 May and 31 October

The Kalotaszeg region is an ethnic Hungarian region with beautiful fortified churches

The "wedding veil waterfall" in the village Rachitele

farm in Rusesti

view over the village Rusesti

guesthouse in Poiana Horea

guestroom in Poiana Horea

along all trails you'll enjoy beautiful views, here the village Valeni

The lake in Belis

view from the farm in Marisel

church in Rachitele
the guesthouse in Risca

 

This is an individual hiking trip. You go by yourself and will have a fully detailed road book with you. Groups can vary between 2 and 8 persons. The hiking trip takes place in the Apuseni Mountains. The donkeys will take care of your luggage. Especially families with children and seniors will enjoy the formula. We provide one donkey per adult person. They carry special bags, mounted on a wooden frame. You don't need backpacks. Your entire luggage will be stored in the special bags. The donkey is not the stubborn animal as mostly said. On the contrary, they like company and are very sweet. If you treat your donkey well, you will have in him or her a helpful partner to make your trip.
It’s a round trip, that means that you sleep most of the time at different places, mainly at farms. You'll sleep in guestrooms. At all places you'll have full sanitary conditions, the houses in Risca, Belis, Scrind and Sancraiu even have private bathrooms. Every night you'll enjoy the typical meals from the country. The Apuseni Mountains offer the tourist a fantastic nature scattered with lovely villages. During your trip you walk over forestry tracks or secondary roads.
The first day of your trip we will instruct you very well how to deal with your donkey, how to store the luggage, what he or she needs. The next day you make a short round-trip around the farm to see if everything goes well and the 3rd day starts your real trip. The farmers at all the locations are well instructed and will help you out in the beginning.

The donkeys are since a few years rented by the local shepherds. This proves to be a better method then keeping donkeys at a certain farm only for tourists, as these donkeys hardly work during the low season and have the tendency to become very fast fat.
The donkeys in Romania don't see as many tourists as in France and have to be "guided" along the trails, this means you have to "control" the donkey. You more or less can compare it as walking with the dog from a friend or neighbor. If you don't control the dog, he walks with you, similar with the donkeys. This doesn't mean that children can't guide a donkey. Once the donkeys know who is in control, they behave friendly and calm and walk long distances without any problems.

New for 2011

We have a special version of the 2-week trip for families with small children where you stay each time several days at one location and don't have to walk long distances daily. See further down: "15 day program: family trip"
 

 

You can watch a short video clip by clicking the link:

 

 

We've included a special page about the Apuseni Mountains:    

click here

 

We offer 3 different trips, a 7- day trip, a 9- day trip and a 15-day trip.

 

 

 

 

THE 7-DAY PROGRAM:  "The Somesu Cald trail"

 

Day 1
Arrival, acquaintance, introduction in the village Risca where you sleep the first night in guestrooms. The village is located at 1000m altitude. If there is some time left we introduce you the donkey and give you instructions.

 

Day 2
Instructions and you make your first trip with the donkey. Itís a short round trip in the village as a test to see if everything goes well. You return to the same guest family for the night. Distance 15-km, level difference 300m, 4-5 hours hiking.

 

Day 3

Hiking trip to the village Rusesti. You leave your guesthouse and walk between small farms on the plateau near the Somesu Cald Gorge. From the settlement Lapustesti (church has a nice painted interior). You descend a 7 km long winding road to the village Rosesti. From here itís just a few km to the village Rusesti where you stay in guestrooms. Distance 16-km., level difference 120m climbing, 500m descending, 6 hours hiking.

 

Day 4
From Rusesti you have to climb to one of the highest settlements of the Apuseni Mountains, the village Marisel at 1200m. Youíll have beautiful panoramas. There is an altitude difference of 600m between the 2 villages. You sleep in the village Marisel at a local farm. Distance 12 km, level difference 650m climbing, 100m descending. 5 hours hiking.

 

 

Day 5

Hiking trip to the village Belis. You walk between the farms in the widespread village Marisel. After that you descend to the lake Fintinele, a large hydro lake built on the confluence of the Somesu Cald en Belis Rivers.  Distance 15 km, level difference 315m climbing and 345m descending , 5-6 hours hiking

 

 

Day 6

Hiking trip to Risca. You walk between little farms, hay and grassland. You walk over the settlement Risca-Plej and back to your guesthouse. Distance 12,5 km. Level difference: 170m climbing, 340m descending, , 4-5 hours hiking.

 

Day 7

The trip ends after breakfast.

 


 

 

 

 

THE 9-DAY PROGRAM: "the wedding veil trail"

 

 

Day 1
Arrival, acquaintance, introduction in the village Risca where you sleep the first night in guestrooms. The village is located at 1000m altitude. If there is some time left we introduce you the donkey and give you instructions.

 

Day 2
Instructions and you make your first trip with the donkey. Itís a short round trip in the village as a test to see if everything goes well. You return to the same guest family for the night. Distance 12-km, level difference 300m (climbing and descending), 4-5 hours hiking.

 

Day 3

Hiking trip to the village Belis, It is a trip between small farms, between farmland, hay land and small patches of forest. Distance 12,5km, level difference 170m climbing and 340m descending), 4 hours hiking

 

Day 4

Hiking trip to Scrind. A trip through the huge evergreen forest at the north side of lake Fintinele. You stay overnight in the pension Dariana, Distance 20 km, Level difference 360m climbing and 640m descending), 7 hours hiking

 

Day 5

Roundtrip to the wedding veil waterfall. the 30m high waterfall was named after a girl throw her form the waterfall after her fiancť left here the night before the wedding. The waterfall lies in the Stanciu valley, you walk back along little farms spread out over the hills. Distance 20km, 730m climbing and 730m descending. About 8 hours hiking.

 

Day 6

Hiking trip to the village Sancraiu, It is a trip over the 1200m high Ruginoasa hill, with a long descend with very rewarding panorama's over the Calata valley. You cross the villages Margau and Bociu. Distance 20km, Level difference 405m climbing, 600m descending,  7 hours hiking.

 

Day 7 

Hiking trip to Manastireni, It is a trip over open grassland in the heart of the kalotaszeg region, homeland of the ethnic Hungarians. There are some beautiful churches along the trail. The reformed medieval fortified church in Valeni and the wooden Orthodox church in Bica. Distance 15,4km,  Level difference 390m climbing, 290m descending, 5-6 hours hiking.

 

Day 8

Hiking trip to Risca. You leave the plans and walk back to the village Risca where your trip started. It is a hike over a huge open plateau and a decent along the Risca River, Distance 12km, Level difference: 350m climbing, 120m descending, 4-5 hours hiking.

 

Day 9 

The trip ends after breakfast.

 

 

 


 

 

   

 

THE 15 DAY PROGRAM: "the mountain trail"

 

Day 1
Arrival, acquaintance, introduction in the village Risca where you sleep the first night in guestrooms. The village is located at 1000m altitude. If there is some time left we introduce you the donkey and give you instructions.

 

Day 2
Instructions and you make your first trip with the donkey. Itís a short round trip to the surrounding villages Risca de Sus and Risca Ples as a test to see if everything goes well. You return to the same guest family for the night. Distance 12-km, level difference 300m, 4-5 hours hiking.

 

Day 3
Your first big trip. You leave the village Risca to Dealu Mare and Lapustesti (church has a nice painted interior) from where we descend a 7 km long winding road to the village Rosesti. From here itís just a few km to the village Rusesti where you stay in guestrooms.
Distance 16-km., level difference 120m climbing, 500m descending, 6 hours hiking.  

 

 

Day 4
From Rusesti you have to climb to one of the highest settlements of the Apuseni Mountains, the village Marisel at 1200m. Youíll have beautiful panoramas. There is an altitude difference of 600m between the 2 villages. You sleep in the village Marisel at a local farm.
Distance 12 km, level difference 620m climbing, 100m descending. 5 hours hiking.

 

 

Day 5

Roundtrip in Marisel or day of rest. You can make a nice trip in the village to the Racatau valley. Marisel is a very long village with farms built all  over the huge plateau. Distance 14,5 km, 5-6 hours hiking , level difference 500m climbing and descending.

 

Day 6
From Marisel the road goes over the ridge to Poiana Horea. Just by leaving the village you arrive at the battleground from the anti Hungarian revolution of 1848 and youíll see the cross of Avram Iancu, placed there as a monument for the local hero of that revolution. From here you enter the forest and you'll have a splendid trip over open grassland and dark forest till the village Poiana Horea where you stay in guestrooms for two nights.
Distance 23 km, level difference 450m, mostly descending, 7-8 hours hiking.

 

Day 7
Day of rest or hiking trip to the mountain ridge with the Petreasa Mountain (1564m) south of Poiana Horea (trip about 12km, 460m climbing and as much descending.)

 

Day 8
Trip to the settlement Doda Pilii. The trip brings you over the ridge to the Lake Fintinele. You arrive there near the village Giurcuta de Sus, a small settlement at the border of the Lake. From here it goes through the forest again to Doda Pilii where you sleep at the guesthouse of Dan and Carmen Tripon for 2 nights.  Distance 14km, 6 hours hiking.
Level difference: 350m climbing, descending 500m.

 

Day 9
Day of rest or roundtrip to the Somesu cald canyon and back to Doda Pilii or rest day. The spectacular Somesu Cald canyon lies in the center area of the Padis nature reserve.

 

Day 10
Trip to Scrind. You climb first to the settlement Dealu Botii from where you have superb views over the Fintinele Lake. You walk  further to the Ruginoasa hill from where you descend to Scind. You walk over open grassland and through the forest. You stay overnight in the pension Dariana for 2 nights. Distance 23,5km, 7h hiking, level difference 250m climbing 590m descending.

 

Day 11
Roundtrip to the Rachitele Waterfall. The waterfall is an impressive 35m high and lies about 6km out the village in the Stanciu Valley. It's a nice trip along the Stanciu Valley and back along small farms and through the forest. 
Distance 20km, 730m climbing and 730m descending. About 8 hours hiking.

 

Day 12
Hiking trip to Sancraiu. You leave Rachitele over the Ruginoasa mountain. You pass the villages Margau and Bociu. You walk to Sancraiu, an ethnic Hungarian village where you sleep in guestrooms.
Distance 20km, Level difference 405m climbing, 600m descending,  7 hours hiking.

 

Day 13

Trip in the ethnic Hungarian region Kalotaszeg to the village  Manastireni. You walk through the village Valeni is just as Sancraiu an ethnic Hungarian village. There is a lovely fortified reformed church dating back to the 13th c. From Valeni it goes over Bica with its historic wooden orthodox church with painted frescoes to Manastireni, another ethnic Hungarian village, again with a famous church from the 18th century. You sleep in guestrooms. Distance 15,4km,  Level difference 390m climbing, 290m descending, 5-6 hours hiking.

  

Day 14
Hike to RiscaFrom here the road climbs to Risca, where you meat again your guest family from the beginning of the trip.
Distance 12 km, level difference 500m mostly climbing, 5-6 hours hiking.

 

Day 15
The trip ends after breakfast.

 

 

 

THE 15 DAY PROGRAM: "family trail"

 

Day 1, 2, 3  
Arrival, acquaintance, introduction in the village Risca where you sleep the first nights at the farm from the family Matis. in guestrooms. The village is located at 1000m altitude.

In Risca you can walk with the children to a small river, let them play in the forest, at the farm are cows, pigs, chickens and of course donkeys.

 

Day 4, 5, 6
Walk to the village Rusesti where you stay for the next 3 nights. the walk brings you through the settlements Dealu Negru and Lapustesti and down to the Somesu Cald river along a 6km winding road. the farm in Rusesti is located at the border of a small river. On the farm are cows, pigs, chickens and a horse.

The children can play in and around the river or in the forest. Further upstream, before the river enters the village, is a wild fascinating narrow gorge

Distance 15km.100m climbing, 500m descending

 

Day 7, 8, 9
Walk to the village Marisel. A short walk, but with a healthy climb of about 600m. in the beginning you walk along a mountain ridge to Marisel. The second part brings you between houses and farms of the village. Marisel is one of the highest settlements in the West Carpatians. You can make a trip to a mountain river, walk in the woods, or just stay at the farm. There are pigs, cows and chickens.  Distance 10,5 km, level difference 630m climbing, 100m descending, 6-7 hours hiking.

 

Day 10, 11, 12
From Marisel you walk to Belis. First part brings you along small farms, then follows a descend through the forest till the spectacular dam on lake Fintinele. From the lake follows an easy hike to the village Belis where you stay overnight in a guesthouse. You can walk with the children to the lake, although the lake is generally cold, during the summer months the water warms nicely up in the inlets. To the north of Belis lies a large forest where you can search with the children for berries. Distance 15 km, level difference 250m climbing, 300m descending. 6-7 hours hiking.

 

Day 13, 14

Trip back to Risca.

Roundtrip in Marisel. You make a nice trip in the village. Marisel is a very long village with farms built all  over the huge plateau. It is an easy hike which gives you lots of time to see the people in their daily chores. Back at the farm in Risca you can let the children play at the farm. Distance 12 km, 300m climbing, 100m descending, 4 hours hiking

 

Day 15
The trip ends after breakfast.

 

 

 

blue trail = 7 days 

yellow trail = 9 days

red trail = 15 days

Price: 

 

7-day program (6 nights)

490  Euro/person (min 2 persons) Children below 12: 245 Euro, Children below 3: free

 

9-day program (8 nights)

590 Euro/ person (min 2 persons) Children below 12: 295 Euro, Children below 3: free

 

2 week program (14 nights) 
785 Euro per person (min 2 persons) Children below 12: 390 Euro, Children below 3: free

 

Price includes: accommodation in full board (breakfast, lunch packet, warm dinner), 1 donkey pro adult person, special bags, description, tourist info.

Extra donkey: 5 Euro/day. (this for families with children that want to ride on the donkey. A special helmet  mountain bike type- for children might be useful)

 

Extra night: 45 Euro/person in full board, children < 12: 15 Euro (including donkey)

Extra night in Risca (without donkey) 35 Euro/person in full board, children < 12: 15 Euro

 

Single travller: a supplement has to be paid for single room occupancy.

 

How to get there: (for links to airliners etc, click here)

Direct flights from London Luton, Paris-Beauvais and Dortmund to Cluj Napoca with Wizz Air. 

There are also direct flights between Paris-Beauvais or Rome and Cluj Napoca. (Blue Air)

Lufthansa operates a direct flight between Munchen and Cluj Napoca.

We arrange further transport.

Or:

Flights to Budapest (regular airlines and low-cost) and train to Huedin: there are trains departing the airport Ferihegy at 08.43 (arrival Huedin at 15.47) and 13.43 (arrival Huedin at 20.39) 

(The trains depart at new trainstation at airport terminal 1 and you have to change trains in Szolnok, time between trains is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes)

Train connections: see at http://www.mav-start.hu/english/index.php  

We arrange transfer Huedin-Risca

 

Back to Budapest: train leaving Huedin at 07.16 arrives at 12.16 and train leaving Huedin 11.24 arrives 16.16

Back to Cluj Napoca: There are hourly trains between Huedin and Cluj Napoca, or we arrange transport by car.