A pack, a trail and yourself is everything you need. Think of it as Zen on foot: you eat when you’re hungry, you trek and you sleep when it’s time to rest. Despite the effort, roaming freely on the trail is satisfying in a way few things in our normally hectic lives can be. Crafted for the avid trekkers, the itinerary follows an imaginary line from north to south of the Apuseni Mountains, passing through forests, deep gorges, mountain pastures and karst plateaus, all in one: a true lost world. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views; gentle winds and great mountain people who live close to Mother Earth and always happy to share their view upon life with you, without asking you: “Why on Earth are you climbing the mountains?”
Start/end: Oradea or Cluj-Napoca (options to pick you up/drop you at Timisoara or Budapest airports are available too).
Trip length: 8 days/7 nights,
Activity level: moderate,
Group size: min 4-max 15,
Availability for 2018:
Price: 1045 euros/person
Beyond trekking: traditional way of life, mountain culture, traditional crafts, cave visits
Trip Option: customize your trip
Enjoy a trail along the mountain ridge to reach the central part of Apuseni Mountains, Padis karst plateau. This is the ideal destination for backpackers willing to discover the exceptional natural attractions of the area.
Day 3 & 4 |Padis karst plateau
Discover the famous Padis plateau and its highlights: Varasoaia Glade and its lake – a typical karst lake; Padis Plain; Balileasa Glade (a karstic depression shaped like a valley formed by the unification of several sinkholes); Ponor Glade and the impressive karst phenomena, Cetatile Ponorului (Fortress of Ponor).
Day 5 & 6 | Casa de Piatra hamlet- Ghetar plateau
Explore the wilderness of the Lumea Pierduta (Lost World) plateau and discover its iconic attractions. Relax in Casa de Piatra hamlet, a typical mountain settlement. Visit Calineasa Glade, a place where hundreds of moti people meet in summer while they bring their animals for pasturing.
Day 7 & 8 | Ghetar plateau – Arieseni & departure
Visit Scarisoara ice cave, the largest underground glacier in the world. Enjoy the sound of tulnic (a local version of alpenhorn) and a farewell dinner.
Trip: Trekking the Lost World
Availability for 2018:
Price: 1045 euros/person
Group size: min 4-max 15,
Don’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:
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.
Scarisoara 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.
"Arriving way after midnight in Oradea instead of early in the evening we found a smiling and welcoming Paul waiting for us at the guesthouse. The warm welcoming and the cold peaches and watermelon Paul put in the fridge for us made us quickly forget about cheap flight delays. After a short but refreshing sleep we went to vad Suncuius by train where we were welcomed in the guesthouse for the next two days. We could then choose between a short hike and visiting a traditional pottery workshop. We chose for the latter as we would have many hikes in the coming days.
The pottery workshop was very special because among other steps in making jars we could watch how mother at the age of at least 70 drew intricate patterns on the jars with an incredible steady hand, meanwhile explaining about pigments, clay preparation and the challenges of the potters’ everyday life in these modern times. We bought some small items that could survive the days to come and would not increase the weight of our backpacks too much.
For the next day we had planned a canoe trip on the Crisul Repede. Early in the morning Salvamont Bihor arrived with the rescuing car and two inflatable canoes inside. After the drive to the starting point we put on the wetsuits life jackets and helmets and received explanation on how to handle the waterfalls etc and learned how incredibly lucky we were that there was a fair amount of water in the river because there was a great demand for electricity that day. For most of the day we enjoyed the white water with all its currents, waterfalls, rocks etc and had a lot of fun. We arrived quite close to the guesthouse where we decided to go into the village once more to get some more delicious watermelon and other vegetables.
The day after that was our first real hiking day. First a visit to the show cave where both humans and cave bears must have lived (together?) in ancient times. Next a steep climb to the karstic plateau accompanied by Mr. Dog who had introduced himself to our party and who would be a team member until we were collected by our next host in a car. For most of the day we shared magnificent views of the plateau and the mountains beyond. We watched a stunning sunset at our guesthouse in the Rosia area, tasted palinka, the traditional way to eat “speck” and choose to sleep outside because of the temperature.
When morning came again we had the pleasure of going by horse cart to several places of interest, including a fully functioning water mill. The miller opened his Bible at random pages and had Paul translate the indicated verses to us. Another hike brought us near Remetea where we asked to be collected by car instead of visiting another cave because of an urgent “leaking poo” problem. One of Paul’s key organization properties is flexibility, when it became clear that the leaking p. problem would immobilize one of us for the next day it was no problem at all to arrange for a one day longer stay in the guesthouse of Ishtvan and Terry, where the special care with herb tea for the immobilized and very interesting cultural information for the mobile made this day well remembered.
When intestines returned to more or less normal duty the next day we went to Boga where we made camp and talked in the shadows about every imaginable aspect of Romania and Holland, waiting for health and energy to return. A good night’s sleep did its best to restore spirits and the next morning we started ascending to the Padis plateau. A rather heavy day was planned but good fortune brought us a timber truck on which we could lift to our next camp. Andrei was our next well informed guide. In this camp we met a group of nature oriented young people with whom we spent the next four days hiking on the Padis plateau, viewing sights, caves and descending a running river with lots of fun. Their knowledge of herbs became invaluable to us when the next person in our company suffered the leaking p. problem and had to spend a day in the tent.
Together with the young people we went to Casa de Piatra where we met Paul again, who had left us for a few days to attend some urgent business in Oradea. Our parting with the young people was kind of difficult because we grew very fond of them. The guesthouse in Casa de Piatra was still under construction but who cares about that when the hospitality of our hosts more than makes up for the missing warm shower? Sitting with grandfather under the plum tree and eating the most delicious dishes made by grandmother made me think that the proverb “living like God in France” is quite inaccurate, it should be “in Romania” instead.
We then left for Ghetar which we reached after a steep climb and a visit to the Scarisoara ice cave. A good shower, nice dinner and comfortable beds made us awaken refreshed the next day, ready for some more cave viewing and again more climbing. When that day was over the end of our Apuseni experience drew near; the next day brought us back to Oradea by bus.
To summarize our stay in Romania as guided by Apuseni Experience:
Well planned though flexible when wanted or needed. With Paul and Andrei as our personal guides we had the opportunity to learn all we wanted about the geography, history and culture of the area. The Apuseni.Mountains are not yet spoiled by mass tourism and we sincerely hope it will remain like this for many years to come. We have experienced the welcome for guests of local people instead of being a number in a larger organisation." Janine and Mart, the Netherlands