self-guided hiking trip between Brasov and Bran

 

dates can be chosen free between 1 May and 31 October

the Ecatherina gate in Brasov
the main square in Brasov
around Bran
the Bucegi Mountains in the background
Risnov fortress from a distance and within the walls
Risnov seen from the fortress
Bran castle exterior and interior
Moieciu de Sus with the Bucegi Mountains
The Bucegi Mountains
The Piatra Craiului Mountains
Near Sirnea
Nearby Pestera
nearby Magura
dianthus

Siebenburgen is the name the Saxon settlers gave to the region between Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu. They came in the region in the early Middle Ages. The first colonists should have been Flemish, Walloon, French and Dutch farmers. They most likely remained behind during or after the first crusade in the 11th century. The  Saxons, invited by the Hungarian king, came later and were the biggest group, absorbing the others. They constructed and organized the country. This is clearly visible in the beautiful medieval towns Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara. These old medieval towns were impressive fortified bastions against Ottoman and Tartar invasions. Even the small villages had their fortified churches. All this can still be seen today.

Brasov is built at the foot of the Carpathian Mountain ridge to protect the fertile Burzenland from the east. Nearby other fortifications were built at Risnov (Rosenau), Rupea (Reps) and Bran. The unique location at the foot of the mountains and the short distance to the ski resort Poiana Brasov just 10km away made from Brasov a fascinating tourist attraction year round. A part of the old fortifications can still be seen and visited today. There is a funicular running up the Tampa hill from where you have superb views over the town. There is the magnificent Black church (the biggest Gothic building that far east) and there are several museums. 

Risnov. The original fortress was built by the Teutonic knights in wood. They were demanded by the Hungarian king to protect the country against invading Tartars and migrating people. The oldest parts of the medieval fortress are built in the beginning of the 14th century.   It is  very large fortress and the whole village could find shelter within the walls in around 30 small houses. The fortress got in decline but is being restored since a couple of years and looks again as it was in the middle ages.

Bran is worldwide known because its medieval castle was a long time promoted as Dracula castle. The original fortress was built by the Brasov merchants to protect them against invading Tartars, Turks and migrating people (1377). Once was here the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. Later the fortress was transformed to a castle and in the beginning of the 20th century Queen Elisabeth lived in the castle. You can visit the castle and it looks as it was during the reign of king Carol and Queen Elisabet. 

The trip brings you further at the edges of the mysterious Carpathian Mountains. You walk at the western flanks of the Bucegi Mountains and the eastern flanks of the Piatra Craiului Mountains.   The wildlife is very divers and there is still chamois, brown bear, wolf and even lynx.  Wild brown bear can often easy be seen because they like the garbage bins of the tourist resort Poiana Brasov...The Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains are further known for the abundance and diversity of flowers and plants. The villages you hike through start to change. The region is near Bucharest and tourism, especially rural tourism, is very well developed. This has advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that tourism infrastructure is here far more developed and modernized then in the rest of the country. Rooms have private bathrooms, there are restaurants, shops. The disadvantage is that the region looses bit by bit its authenticity. Still the mountain villages keep to their traditions, there are still shepherds and agriculture is still done as it was 50 years ago. The region around Brasov is way more frequented by tourists then other mountain regions in Romania, but still far below the crowded Tartar Mountains or Alps. And if you don't come in July and August you might be the only hikers on the trails we described. 

Accommodation is provided in double rooms with private bathrooms. We selected only the best small private owned guesthouses in each region. The meals are included and you have a large breakfast, lunch packet and warm typical dinner. You get from us a very detailed description and several good maps for the hikes.

You can visit a special page about Brasov:

Click here

 

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

 

The program:

Day 1: Arrival. The trip starts in Brasov. It might be worth considering extending your stay in Brasov to visit the Prahova valley and Sinaia. The region can easy be reached by one of the many trains that go towards Bucharest. Sinaia is known its most beautiful castle in Romania: Peles Castle, the former Royal residence of the Hohenzollern family. Also the medieval towns Sighisoara and Sibiu can be reached by train. 

 

 

Day 2: You walk the next day from Brasov to Risnov (by the Saxons named Rosenau) It is a beautiful hike through the mountains towards Poiana Brasov and then descending through evergreen forest  to Risnov. In the beginning of the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights were invited to organize the defense of the Saxon colonists. They did that by building in an amazing short time 5 fortresses in the region of which one was Rosenau. The fortress is ideally located a few hundred meters above the village on a rock. In years of war the whole population of Rosenau found shelter in the big fortress. For many years the fortress was in ruins, but a couple of years ago the restoration started in earnest and about half of the fortress looks again as it was during the Middle Ages. You stay overnight in Risnov. Hiking: 5-6 hours, climbing: 520m, descending: 480m

 

 

Day 3: Trip from Risnov to Bran. The level hike brings you in the fertile land at the foot of the 2000m high Bucegi Massif. You have superb views over the mountain range. You pass the little village Sohodol and walk to the village Bran. Bran is worldwide known for its "Dracula castle" The novel that Bram Stoker wrote had nothing to do with the real Dracula. There was never such a thing as the Vampire Dracula. Furthermore, there was also no castle available where he could have lived, so wrongly Bran castle was promoted as Dracula castle... The only relation between the real Dracula and Bran castle is that he might have attacked it.  Vlad Dracula was a Wallachian cruel ruler and had many problems with the Saxons. He made several raids into Burzenland from his fortress in Poienari (at the other side of the Carpathian ridge - unfortunately now in ruins) Once he impaled several hundreds of Saxons on stakes nearby Brasov. Bran Castle was built by Saxon merchants at the mountain passage to protect the town Brasov and Burzenland against invaders from the east. In the beginning of the 20th century, Queen Elisabeth choose it as her living quarters and restored and modernized the castle. It can be visited and it looks as it was during her reign. Below the rock on which the castle is built there is a small open-air museum with several farms and a watermill. There is further a permanent artisan market with products from all over the country. You stay in Bran for the night. Hiking: 5 hours, climbing: 450m, descending: 350m

 

 

Day 4: Hike to Moieciu de Sus. You leave Bran and climb the Balaban ridge. From the ridge you have beautiful views over the region and the limestone massif Piatra Craiului. You descend to the settlement Simon, known for it's special smoked cheese. You climb the  1200m high Secatura ridge. You come along small mountain alms and wooden huts and descend in the Bangaleasca valley to the village Moieciu de Sus where you stay for two nights. Hiking: 6,5 hours, climbing:  550 m, descending: 340m

 

 

Day 5: Hiking trip on the western slopes of the Bucegi Mountains. The trip brings you through a dense evergreen forest and to the sub alpine region with the saddle Batrina at 2000 m. From here you have superb views over Bran country  and the surrounding Mountains.  You follow the hiking trail to the Strunga saddle at 1909 m, from where you leave the main ridge and hike to the Grohotis meadow with huge limestone rocks. You descend further through the forest and arrive again in Moieciu de Sus. Hiking: 8-9 hours, climbing:  1250m, descending: 1250m

In some rare occasions there might be snow in the beginning of May or end of September and October in the Bucegi Mountains. The proposed trip on day 5 becomes then too dangerous. There is a shorter trip provided where you walk at the base of the Bucegi Mountains.

 

 

Day 6: Moieciu de Sus - Sirnea. You leave the village by the Moeiciu cald River and climb towards the ridge of the Fundatica Mountains. You descend in the small settlement and further to the village Fundata. You hike further through the superb karst mountains to the village Sirnea. The village differs in this way that the farms are scattered over the mountains. You stay here for the next night. Hiking: 5-6 hours, climbing:  550m, descending: 280m

 

 

Day 7: Sirnea  - Magura. The hike brings you into the national Park Piatra Craiului. It is the region with the largest biodiversity of the Carpathian Mountains. On the high cliffs there is the black chamois and in the forest is brown bear, wolf, wild boar, deer and stag, foxes and even lynx. You leave the village and walk to the Coja ridge from where you descend in the Seaca Pietrelor valley at the foot of the ridge. The whole time you will have fascinating views over the limestone rocks of the Piatra Craiului ridge. You walk to Magura by the spectacular canyon Prapastiilor Zarnestii, with 250m high vertical walls. You stay overnight in Magura. Hiking: 6 hours, climbing:  570m, descending: 500m.

Optional, the really fit hikers can make optional a roundtrip to the Curmatura cabana at 1400m.  

Optional an extra day can be booked in Magura to make a roundtrip tot the Curnatura Cabana and the Crapatura saddle at 1600m. Back via the Zanoaga meadow. Total trip: 6 hours hiking, about 800m climbing and as much descending

 

Day 8: Trip to Bran. You leave Magura, a picturesque village with wooden farms scattered over the hills, deep valleys, patches of forest, small hayfields. You hike to the Magura Mica ridge at 1375 m, from where you descend to Bran to the former medieval border between the countries Wallachia and Transylvania. The old border building are nowadays a museum. Hiking: 4 hours, climbing:  350m, descending: 560m.

 

Day 9: Breakfast and transfer back to Brasov, end of program.

Map of the trip

 

Some of the guesthouses you'll stay during the trip

Guesthouse Bangala, Moieciu de Sus Guesthouse Iulia, Bran

 

How to get in Brasov:

 

By plane to Bucharest or Sibiu or Cluj Napoca, then by train

By plane to Bucharest further by private transport to the first guesthouse (75 Euro one way)

By car: Budapest - Oradea - Sebes - Sibiu - Brasov

Price: (9 day program - 8 nights)

 

485 Euro pro person in full board, (minimum 2 persons.) Price includes all transfers (start and ends in Brasov), luggage transport, description and maps.

Accommodation in guestrooms with private bathroom.

 

Single traveler: 95 Euro supplement

 

4th and more persons 455 Euro/person

 

Everywhere you can book a night extra:  Price: 35 Euro/person