winter hiking  
 

When:

starting 1 November, ending 30 April

 

 

Active winter holidays in the Apuseni Mountains.

The Apuseni Mountains are the ideal region for winter eco-tourism.
Lovely authentic villages are linked by hundreds of kilometers of forestry roads. These roads and tracks are used since ancient times by the local population and they are leading you over the main ridges of the mountains. They bring you sometimes through dense forest, other times over open plains from where you have superb panoramas.
During your trip you will meet the local people and enjoy the warm hospitality so typical for Transylvania.  Your luggage will be transported.

You will have a lot of time to get to know your guest families and you will see how people in the mountains get through the long and sometimes harsh winters.
Every evening you’ll enjoy a typical warm meal, prepared with biologic local products. In the morning you’ll have a rich breakfast and you will be provided with a lunch packet with warm tea or soup.

 

Weather and Snow conditions:

The trip is offered over a period of 6 months, this means almost all kinds of weather conditions are possible. Mountain regions in Romania get in normal winters lots of snow. The country has a continental climate with Atlantic influence. The Apuseni Mountains are the first barrier after the Hungarian plains and fresh snow falls about every week in January and Februari. It can start to snow as early as October and sometimes even in May the higher peaks are still covered with fresh snow. 

General weather conditions: 

Trees start to shed their leaves normally from half October till half November. The nicest colors appear generally after the first night frost, means from half October on. The last part of November and December will be generally cold, (rarely under zero at noon) but rarely with snow. Snow starts to appear over the whole county only the last part of December, and stays January and February also in the lower hills. Late winter and early spring might have all kind of weather conditions. March can be cold and humid, but can be also dry and warm. Some years we had temperatures of 15-20 degrees C. around noon in March. Other years an abundant snowfall might appear even in the second half of April, but this snow doesn't stay long.

Of course winter hiking is more risky then during the rest of the year and you should be very well prepared for all kinds of weather.

During the months with snow, snow rackets (snowshoes) are recommended. although you will rarely have to use them all day long, as many trails go over country roads used by the local population. beside snowshoes you should also hike ice pikes to bind under your normal hiking shoes. As snow often melts during daytime, it freezes up during the night and a descend on an icy surface is never easy.

You can bring your own snow rackets with or rent them by us.

Safety

We daily monitor weather conditions and stay in touch on a daily base during your stay. We recommend for all hikers to have a mobile phone active during the trips. All the daily tracks are marked by GPS and a GPS device is a very helpful tool as some tracks might be covered with snow and hard to be recognized under a layer of 20 cm of snow. 

In case a snow storm is active or announced, we might consider it to be safer to bring you by car to the next destination and you get this service at no extra cost. Really adverse weather conditions rarely last for more then 2 days and all country roads are generally open for traffic during the winter. A blizzard might stop traffic for one, maximum 2 days, never longer. Blizzard-conditions are rare in the mountains and more typical for the huge plains in the east and south of Romania.

All hiking trails are reachable within a few kilometers from a country road, except one day. (see further below in the day by day program)

You physical condition:

The trips are not long, but especially during the colder months the trips are more demanding then in the summer. The trips are made for the general public and are certainly not extreme.  

The one before last day you will be picked up and brought back to Cluj Napoca. This is important for those travelers who have to catch a plane right after the trip. The town which host annually about hundred thousand of students has a lot to offer and you can spend your last days visiting a cultural event, the several museums in town, or may be enjoy an opera (see opera program at http://www.operacluj.ro/program.html#), there is the symphonic orchestra (each Friday) or a film in one of the 2 new movie theatres. (all films in Romania are in the original language and subtitled in Romanian)

Accommodation:

You stay in comfortable guestrooms with private bathrooms except at one accommodation (Rachitele) where you have shared bathrooms.

 

How to get in Romania:
Check our page Travel-info 


The trip

Day 1: The trip starts in the village Risca, a typical mountain village in the Western Carpathians at 950m altitude. We provide the transfer (1 hour driving) between the airport (or train station) and Risca. You stay overnight with the family Matis at a typical farm. 

Day 2: You walk from Risca to Belis. It is a gentle walk along small dwellings, through small valleys and patches of forest. You certainly see horse and carts or sledges depending the time of the year. The village Belis lies at the border of 25km long Fintinele lake that often freezes up in January or February.

 

Day 3: Hike from Belis to Rachitele. May the most challenging hike during the coldest months. The first and easy part goes to the village Balcesti and then comes the more challenging part of about 8km through a huge forest along the northern border of lake Fintinele till the mountain village Dealu Botii. From there it descends to the village Rachitele where you stay overnight. The village Rachitele is located at the confluence of the Rachitele and Stanciu River at about 1100m altitude.

 

Day 4: Trip to the waterfall in Rachitele and further to the village Scrind. A very rewarding first part along the Stanciu Valley where the seeping water creates all kind of ice formations between - and hanging from the rocks. The waterfall rarely freezes up completely, but there are all kind of ice formations on both sides of the water stream. From there it goes up along the Lepezi rocks and the 1221m high Sulitei mountain to Scrind.

waterfall with beautiful ice formations where each year an ice climbing contest takes place.

 

Day 5: Hike on the flanks of the 1200m Ruginoasa Mountain to the villages Margau and Bociu till Sancraiu, an ethnic Hungarian village from the Kalotaszeg region. You certainly enjoy the superb panorama's from the Ruginoasa hill. The Kalotaszeg region is an ethnic Hungarian region where the customs from the Hungarian population are often better preserved then in Hungary.

 

Day 6: Trip through the Kalotaszeg region with as cultural highlight the superb fortified church in Valeni. The second part of the day, you climb again back to the village Risca, from where the trip started.

fortified church in Valeni

detail from the valuable cassette ceiling

 

Day 7: Transfer to the town Cluj Napoca, where you sleep the last night. Downtown Cluj-Napoca looks like a typical Hungarian provincial town with many baroque and classicism buildings. In Cluj you can make a short city trip  (we provide description and map) or visit the art, history or ethnographic museum. In the evening you can see a movie, enjoy the symphonic orchestra (only on Fridays) or an opera (there is an opera about 10 times each month)
You sleep in a comfortable pension downtown.

 

Day 8: Return home.

 

 

Price: 
445 Euro pro person in a double room. Price isncludes accommodation in full board for 6 nights and once bed and breakfast in Cluj Napoca. Further included are luggage transport and retour transfer between Cluj Napoca and hiking area. You get form us road description, maps and GPS tracks. 

Supplement single room: 45 Euro p/p

There are special rates for larger groups

Single traveler: During the months with snow we don't recommend to travel alone. The supplement for single travelers is 95 Euro

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

map of the trip

Charms and highlights of each season.

Autumn (November - half December)

Winter (half December -  March)

Spring (April)

Cluj Napoca