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Cycle through the heart of the Transylvanian Alps and step back in time; exploring beautiful unspoilt countryside, medieval towns, imposing castles and warm hospitality.
Explore Tour Leader
1 nights simple guesthouse
1 nights comfortable guesthouse
6 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins in Bucharest - Romania's largest city and capital since 1832. It has gone through a period of urban renewal and modernisation and is now a bustling city, at the centre of Romanian culture, art and media.
Our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Due to a number of flights arriving into Bucharest later in the evening, our welcome meeting will take place on the morning of day two.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Bucharest at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP), which is a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
If you have free time on arrival then there's plenty to discover in the city's old town or there's a multitude of museums available to choose from including the National Museum of Romanian History, the Military Museum and the Folk Art Museum, to name but a few.
Hotel Minerva (or similar)
After breakfast our Tour Leader will conduct an introductory briefing, after which we go on a city tour of Bucharest. A remarkable blend of turn-of-the-century elegance and distinctive Communist architecture can be observed and much of the old city was destroyed in the soviet era. We visit the old quarter of the city to see some of the buildings that earned it the reputation as the Paris of Eastern Europe and see the Palace of Parliament; the magnificent but blatantly excessive palace of ex-President Ceausescu.
Leaving Bucharest we drive (3hrs) to Bran for our included visit to the castle (known as Dracula's Castle). Perched on a crag in a valley between two high mountain ranges, the castle controlled an important trade route, but it is now a rural backwater. After our tour, we make our way the short distance to our guesthouse in Moieciu, located on the eastern side of the Piatra Craiului mountains. Time permitting we plan to do the bike distribution and fitting after check in, with time to get familiar with the bike.
Casa Zada Guest House (or similar)
Today is our first full day in the saddle. We start cycling on the edge of Piatra Craiului National Park along a beautiful forest valley. Then we cycle mainly downhill with spectacular views of the Transylvanian Alps to Bucium, we were spend the night. On the way, there is the option to stop at a wooden flourmill and Roman monastery, which gives an insight of how life would have been in days gone by.
Your total cycling distance today is approximately 55km, with about 395 metres total ascent and 525 metres descent.
Casa Moga Bucium (or similar)
Today we continue cycling with great views of the Fagaras Mountains - the longest, highest ridge of the Carpathian Mountain range. Stopping for our picnic, we visit the ancient water barrel whirlpools, traditionally used for felting cloth and washing large fabrics. In the afternoon we plan to visit the Romanian Orthodox Sambata Monastery, dedicated to the Domitian of the Virgin Mary. Continuing by bike along the valley, we pass through Arpasu to our final destination in Albota set by the water at the foot of the mountains.
Your total cycling distance today is approximately 53km, with about 340 metres total ascent and 150 metres descent.
Hotel Albota (or similar)
Departing Albota on our bikes, we cross the plain to join the river and then use gravel tracks to follow the watercourse. Passing villages, dams and herds of water buffalo, we arrive in Avrig to visit the 18th century Orangerie and the park of the summer residence of the former governor of Transylvania. Today's ride ends in Talmaciu, we then drive by bus (30 minutes) to the city of Sibiu for a walking tour that takes in the 15th century city walls and bastion fortifications. Sibiu is known as the red city due to its brick construction and is the most fortified town in the Principality of Transylvania. We then check into our accommodation.
Your total cycling distance today is approximately 55km, with about 120 metres total ascent and 160 metres descent.
Hotel Roberts (or similar)
After a short drive this morning, we arrive in Carta, an area in which time seems to have stood still. The farmers here still use traditional methods including scythes and sickles to farm their land and horse drawn wagons to move their hay. We visit the ancient church and ruins of an old Cistercian Abbey. Back on the bikes, we cycle into the Hartibaciu Valley through local villages. Passing Agnita, where the fortified church still hides a few secrets from its shady past, there is a final hill climb to arrive at our accommodation for the night in a rural location some 3km outside Agnita.
Your total cycling distance today is approximately 38km, with about 385 metres total ascent and 220 metres descent.
Pensiunea Elisabeta (or similar)
For our final day on the bikes you have the option to make an early start and cycle (37km) to Biertan. The bus will drive to Biertan with those clients who prefer not to ride this section. There is time for an optional guided visit of the UNESCO-listed 15th century fortified church in Biertan. From here we ride to Sighisoara. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel and the rest of the day is left free to allow exploration of the town on foot. The UNESCO protected castle is thought to be one of the largest lived-in castle in Europe and other sites include the old town fortifications, the Church on the Hill, covered stairs and the clock tower.
Your total cycling distance today is approximately 37 km, with about 450 metres total ascent and 505 metres descent. A further 37km optional cycling is possible.
Hotel Vila Franca (or similar)
Today we drive to Bucharest, a journey of about 6 hours but we will make plenty of stops including the wonderful Peles Castle. Built for the Hohenzollern monarch Carol I, Peles resembles a Bavarian chateau and is richly decorated with stained glass, Persian carpets, Renaissance weapons, ebony and mother of pearl. Our journey ends back in the capital. We spend our last night in Romania here and reflect on a great week of cycling in Transylvania before heading home in the morning.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bucharest at any time.
If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP), which is 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 165 miles
Romania's climate is continental, temperatures being strongly influenced by the physical features of the Carpathians. Temperatures will fall from highs of 18°C (by day) to lows of 6°C (at night) in October; by January they will hover around freezing during the day and go down to -10°C at night.They will then rise to reach October temperatures again by April. Temperatures will generally be lower in the mountains than in Bucharest. Snowfall may occur at any time.
2 Pin Round
We recommend you bring padded cycle shorts and quick drying cycle shirts for the daily cycling. Soaked cotton clothes tend not to dry while cycling. Cycling gloves are strongly recommended as they will protect you from sunburn and may also help protect your hands if you fall. A jumper or fleece is also advisable for the evenings as temperatures can drop sharply. A raincoat is advisable for early spring as there may be sporadic rain showers.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trips that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. It is a legal requirement in Romania to wear a helmet that meets current safety criteria. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Romania: Visas are not required by UK, EU nationalities, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, although we recommend vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. The Foreign Office currently recommend considerations of vaccination against rabies if travelling in rural areas of Romania. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.