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Our trips

Celebrate spring in the mountains

download-this-itineraryA Family Programme

Dinu’s hay-covered wooden house stands on the top of the hill, pastures of wild flowers blanketing the slopes. Inside, the flavors that define the Romanian cuisine: smoked pork ham, wine, home made bread and telemea (a type of sharp sheep cheese) are ready for the quick but tasty dinner. Mancati! (Eat!), says Dinu determined, but with a kind smile on his face. Consider it just a reward after the day’s scenic walking trip in one of the typical hamlets of these mountains. This Apuseni Experience 6-day spring trip will combine moderate walks and cave visits, with samples of Romanian rural life and easy-paced hikes in the typical mountain landscapes.

 

TRIP’S HIGHLIGHTS:

  • hike and discover typical landscapes of Apuseni Mountains: forests, glades, caves, underground glaciers, karstic springs and sinkholes
  • discover and learn about the occurrence, mechanisms and the way a karst system works and interacts with the natural environment 
  • explore some of the finest natural highlights of the area: Tauz karstic spring, Coiba Mare and Coiba Mica caves, Scarisoara Ice Cave, Vartop Cave
  • discover and learn about traditional crafts, local cuisine and mountain culture
  • interact with local people, listen to their stories and learn about their lifestyle

TRIP DETAILS:

Start/end: Oradea or Cluj-Napoca (options to pick you up/drop you at Timisoara or Budapest airports are available too).
Trip length: 6 days/5 nights
Activity level: easy to moderate
Group size: min 3 – max 15

Availability for 2018:

  • 14 Apr. 2018
  • 21 Apr. 2018
  • 28 Apr. 2018
  • 05 May 2018
  • 12 May 2018


Price: 950 euros/person

Beyond walking:
Transylvanian cuisine, cave visits, traditional way of life, Easter celebration in remote mountain communities.
Trip Option: customize your trip

Day 1 & 2 |  Ponor Glade & Cetatile Ponorului karst phenomena
Enjoy a short round trip to Ponor karst spring and Ponor Glade, a typical polje (large extensive closed depression draining underground). Visit one of the high-lights of the area – Cetatile Ponorului (Fortress of Ponor) karst phenomena, the most impressive karst phenomena in Eastern Europe and admire its magnificent entrance.
Day 3 & 4 | Focul Viu ice cave & Lumea Pierduta karst plateau
Explore on ski the wilderness of Lumea Pierduta (Lost World) plateau and Groapa de la Barsa (Barsa Pit). Marvel the amazing light at noon of the Focul Viu (Living Fire) ice cave. Visit the entrances of three potholes (avenul Negru, Gemanata si avenul Acoperit), gates of a huge underground network of active galleries.
Day 5 & 6 |  Casa de Piatra hamlet & Calineasa Glade
Climb on skis to the highlands of the Moti country. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere in Casa de Piatra hamlet. Discover a summer settlement deep covered in snow on a ski trip to Calineasa Glade and delight yourself with the view of the Bihor Mountain Ridge.
Day 7 & 8 | Tauz karst spring & departure
Take a round tour along Sohodoale and Hodobana hamlets. Discover the deepest karst spring in Romania – the Tauz karst spring.

hartaDay 1 & 2 | Runc hamlet & Ghetar karst plateau
Relax in Runc hamlet, a small village hidden somewhere in the heart of the mountains. Discover the beauty and the charm of Apuseni Mountains’ landscapes in this season. Find out more about the moti and their way of living. Enjoy the local hospitality and their delicious traditional food. 

Day 3 & 4 | Scarisoara ice cave & Casa de Piatra Hamlet
Walk through meadows covered with thousands of wild flowers. Listen to the sound of tulnic (the local version of the alpenhorn). Find out how a piece of wood becomes a wooden domestic or rituals object. Enjoy the coolness of the Scarisoara ice cave, the largest underground glacier in the world. Explore traditional mountains settlements and their surroundings. 

Day 5 & 6 | Vartop ice cave, Calineasa Glade and departure
Sense the mystery of Vartop ice cave, once home of Homo Fossilis. Enjoy a picnic lunch on a meadow. Hike to Calineasa Glade, a picturesque summer settlement. Let yourself amazed by the stunning views upon the southern part of Apuseni Mountains, including the highest peak: Cucurbata Mare Peak (1848 m). Admire the nature beauties during a horse-pulled cart trip along Garda Seaca Valley.

Trip: Celebrate Spring in the Mountains

Availability for 2017:

  • 14 Apr. 2018
  • 21 Apr. 2018
  • 28 Apr. 2018
  • 05 May 2018
  • 12 May 2018

Price: 950 euros/person

Group size: min 3 – max 15

Other Options
on’t see a date that fits your schedule? Have a group of friends and the willing to make this trip a custom one? Contact us, let us know your ideas and wishes and we’ll come back to you with a confirmation.

The price includes:
  • transportation by car including transfer from and back to airport
  • 3 meals per day (starting with lunch/dinner on first day and ending with breakfast on departure day).
  • accommodation 4 nights in family run guesthouse ranked with 2** and 3*** (daisies, according to Romanian legislation for rural tourism); rooms have 2, 3 beds with ensuite or shared bathrooms
  • guidance and all expenses related with the guide
  • equipments rental and caves’ entrance fees
  • transportation by horse pulled cart
  • costs related to trip preparation
  • the knowledge, support, and camaraderie of experienced guides

The price does not include: personal drinks and refreshments, insurance, souvenirs and personal items purchased during the trip, lodging before and after the trip, gratuities for Apuseni Experience guides, other personal costs.  

Note:We are always open to our customer’s demands and needs. Therefore, the itinerary described above can be adjusted accordingly in what regards the period and the activities included. Please contact us for more details.

Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin| Padis area | Bihor Mountains
The cabin, recently restored is the only place in the area to offer a comfortable accommodation and is situated close to most of the important natural highlights from Padis area.  It has rooms with 2-4-6 beds (can host up to 60 persons) with shared or en suite bathrooms, a large dinning room and all facilities such as electricity, running cold and hot water, central heating. It also has a large terrace with nice wooden benches and tables and a place for barbeque and camp fire. But if you wish to enjoy your coffee in the morning strong fresh air, just cross the road, enter the forest and follow one of the paths. You will find a log, somewhere, where you can sit, have your coffee and hear nothing but the birds’ songs and the wind’s gentle breeze. Here at the cabin you can serve cooked meals (traditionally Romanian or Hungarian recipes) or you can have your own foods.
Gligor guesthouse | Casa de Piatra | Bihor Mountains
This family owned and operated guesthouse is located in the heart of the hamlet of Casa de Piatra. The guesthouse has simple but yet comfortable rooms decorated with wood and accented by charming details. The whole area is very romantic and picturesque; a little hamlet with just few houses spread here and there, surrounded by rocky forested mountain heights.
The food is cooked by Tanti Dorica, the landlady and the soul of the whole place – a mountain woman full of joy and energy, always kind and smiling – but the kitchen can be used also by the guest for whatever cooking needs they have.
The family’s little animal farm and wood workshop will give, to those willing, the opportunity to witness and learn about a Moţi family’s everyday life in this specific environment.
runcRunc guesthouse| Runc hamlet | Bihor Mountains 
Runc is a little hamlet situated in a typical Apuseni Mountains landscape, with spruce tree forests and large glades.  
The family run guesthouse – a wonderful place to spend a few days of your life close to the nature, somewhere in the heart of the mountains – has a room with a double bed each, a room with two single beds and a room with three beds situated at the attic; central heating, running cold and hot water, shared bathroom, a small kitchen and a terrace that is used during summer time. The food – mainly from organic ingredients (for instance most families in the area have cows and thus the delicious dairy products are home made) – is cooked by the hosts but the kitchen can be used also by the tourists.

pensiunea scarisoaraScarisoara guesthouse | Ghetar Hamlet | Bihor Mountains
Nestled in the tiny village of Ghetar, only a short distance from the famous Scarisoara Ice Cave lays Scarisoara guesthouse. A family run guesthouse recently extended, in which one can still feel the smell of the fir-tree largely used for construction. The owners, a Moţi family, are well known for their warm hospitality. 
The guesthouse has rooms with double beds and en suite bathroom, rooms with three beds with shared bathroom and an apartment with 2 rooms with en suite bathroom. It also has a terrace, a large living-room and a room for meetings and conferences. Facilities include central heating, running cold and hot water, access to the kitchen (fridge also) and wash-house.
Close to the guesthouse there is the family’s animal’s farm and a restored old traditional house while in the large, picturesque surrounding glades you can see hayricks raised by the family during summer. Iuliana is famous for the traditional cheese and blueberry-pies she makes and most of the ingredients she uses in the meals she cooks are originally from the animals they breed. 

casa_de_piatra_mai_2009_318Gligor guesthouse | Casa de Piatra | Bihor Mountains
This family owned and operated guesthouse is located in the heart of the hamlet of Casa de Piatra. The guesthouse has simple but yet comfortable rooms decorated with wood and accented by charming details. The whole area is very romantic and picturesque; a little hamlet with just few houses spread here and there, surrounded by rocky forested mountain heights. 
The food is cooked by Tanti Dorica, the landlady and the soul of the whole place – a mountain woman full of joy and energy, always kind and smiling – but the kitchen can be used also by the guest for whatever cooking needs they have.
The family’s little animal farm and wood workshop will give, to those willing, the opportunity to witness and learn about a Moţi family’s everyday life in this specific environment.
Testimonials & More
What the trip to Apuseni was like:
The nature was spectacular. The combination of mountainous winding roads, rivers, waterfalls, trees, clear blue skies with intermittent pure white clouds, caves, dwellings and churches, and sporadic sittings of hillside grazing livestock and local human inhabitants paints a vivid portrait still in my mind. I cherish the pureness of raw nature and the simplicity of life I experienced throughout the trip you and I shared in the Apuseni Mountains and various surroundings environs because I felt free from any negative affects of human intervention and violation against nature.
What I felt during our trip:
I felt an overwhelming closeness with nature and fellow human beings from any interaction i experienced be it directly in the nature or with the people we met seem to be respectful of nature, not challenging to nature or between human beings. Time seemed to gracefully grow alongside nature, not stealing from the nature.
I serenely recall the sites, sounds and smells of running water, earth's soil, vegetation and rocky cliffs. The feeling of being at one within nature, humbled and awed with and by her magnificent innocence shall live within me forever.
What I liked:
Feeling equal and yet invisible within the nature around me. I felt I was an insider simply being as the locals were: fellow human being living within nature.
What I disliked;
I prefer to replace the concept of "dislike" with awareness of things I would change;
I felt unprepared and wished I had educated myself to fully appreciate and understand the mentality and customs of the local people you and I stayed with and met. I wish I knew more about the personal and professional aspects of the people you and I stay with and that they had more knowledge of me in order to share and exchange more fully with one another. Beth Mitnick-Rayman, USA
What the trip to Apuseni was like:
The nature was spectacular. The combination of mountainous winding roads, rivers, waterfalls, trees, clear blue skies with intermittent pure white clouds, caves, dwellings and churches, and sporadic sittings of hillside grazing livestock and local human inhabitants paints a vivid portrait still in my mind. I cherish the pureness of raw nature and the simplicity of life I experienced throughout the trip you and I shared in the Apuseni Mountains and various surroundings environs because I felt free from any negative affects of human intervention and violation against nature.
What I felt during our trip:
I felt an overwhelming closeness with nature and fellow human beings from any interaction i experienced be it directly in the nature or with the people we met seem to be respectful of nature, not challenging to nature or between human beings. Time seemed to gracefully grow alongside nature, not stealing from the nature.I serenely recall the sites, sounds and smells of running water, earth's soil, vegetation and rocky cliffs. The feeling of being at one within nature, humbled and awed with and by her magnificent innocence shall live within me forever.  
What I liked:
Feeling equal and yet invisible within the nature around me. I felt I was an insider simply being as the locals were: fellow human being living within nature.
What I disliked;
I prefer to replace the concept of "dislike" with awareness of things I would change;I felt unprepared and wished I had educated myself to fully appreciate and understand the mentality and customs of the local people you and I stayed with and met. I wish I knew more about the personal and professional aspects of the people you and I stay with and that they had more knowledge of me in order to share and exchange more fully with one another. Beth Mitnick-Rayman, USA

 

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