Traditional scenes in Piatra Craiului
Vera Aurbach is a 29-year-old passionate traveller who was born in Germany and currently lives in southern France. For more than 10 years now she has been travelling regularly especially countries and continents far away from home. With this latest trip she did with UTracks, Vera was able to have two ‘firsts’ experiences in one holiday: hiking and discovering Romania – a country she, until recently, only connected with Dracula and Bran Castle. Read on for a travel review of Vera’s Transylvania holiday – hiking the hills of Romania.
The scenery when hiking in Romania's Transylvania region
How did you prepare for this Transylvania holiday?
I have to admit that I did not follow a strict program but I did go for longer walks, weekly running and swimming. In my opinion, it was sufficient. However, going uphill was something I had to get used to again. In some parts, the path was particularly steep (going downhill). Maybe this is something that I could have practised more before going on the trip.
What was the weather in Romania?
The weather was perfect - sunshine together with clear blue skies! What more can you ask for? In the evenings/nights it got a bit chilly but by we were ready to relax by then anyway.
I remember the wide and calm green forests and meadows, as well as the very friendly and helpful inhabitants of Romania.
One of the pensions on our Transylvania holiday Hiking towards Bran Castle
What is special about hiking in Romania?
What I enjoyed most was the fact that the trails were not too touristy. Our route notes clearly marked which direction we had to take. And this was very useful. Not many other hikers frequented those paths which added to the flair and allowed ourselves to fully relax.
Is it easy to communicate with the local people?
It helps to know French but even without there were not many difficulties, in the end people can always rely on the good old sign language which makes for a lot of laughs!
Are there enough places on the route to have a drink or a snack?
Not all places we stayed at had a bar or similar available. But around Bran Castle there were many offerings - great local beer, bakeries and snacks! I have a feeling that many people will also enjoy the comparatively cheap prices. It is hard to describe the atmosphere you experience there, which is a great reason for everyone to find out for themselves.
Was it easy to navigate?
We were equipped with a map of the whole region and our hiking route was marked out well. Additionally, we were given a booklet with very a detailed description including minutes and meters. We only got slightly lost on one of the trekking days – perhaps we were distracted by the beautiful scenery? However, we met a friendly local by chance who helped us getting back on the right track. A little adventure is part of the game I would say!
What was the accommodation like?
The accommodation was spacious and warm. In all places people were friendly and we were served great, locally grown, home cooked food! Some rooms were basic but all of our needs were catered for.
What 3 items should others definitely pack for this holiday in Transylvania?
I recommend bringing blister plasters, hand sanitizer and a good book. First item in case you are not used to going for long hikes, the second one in case you do not find a toilet, and the third item to make a deserved quiet evening even more comfortable.
Did you encounter many other walkers in this part of Romania?
Not at all. The first day we had a little dog following us for half an hour which was really cute. After this, we in total saw a shepherd with his herd and around five other hikers. Around Bran Castle, of course, there were many other tourists, waiting to see everything about Dracula’s Bran Castle! Picturesque churches along the trail in Romania Looking out over the Piatra Craiului Mountains
To what other region in the world can you compare the landscape?
We encountered a lot of rolling green hills and huge, thick forests. It reminded me a lot like south-east Bavaria in Germany. The Romanian cities, however, have their own charm, something I had not seen elsewhere in the world until then.
What was the food like?
The food was delicious! In the evenings, we were always served three courses and there was plenty of food. Our meals always including vegetables or/and salads. In the mornings, there was either bread with meat, cheese or jam, omelette or fruit. If you have any dietary requirements the hosts will do their best to cater for you. Each morning, we were also provided with all the necessary foods in order to prepare for our own picnic lunch.
What extra costs did you make on this trip?
There was an additional cost for a taxi/bus between the airport and the train station and this cost us less than €15. Other additional costs were also very low due to the good exchange rate between the Euro and the Romanian leu. I think I spent around €50, which included my souvenir shopping.
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