Cycle through the heart of the Transylvanian Alps and step back in time; exploring beautiful unspoilt countryside, medieval towns, imposing castles and warm hospitality. Bran and Peles Castles - Atmospheric medieval and neo-renaissance castles Sighisoara - Discover this beautiful UNESCO listed medieval town Bucharest - Explore Romania's capital city
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 to receive a complimentary 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP), which is 30-minute drive from the hotel.
8 Break Fast(s) 4 Dinner(s)
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