Adventures / Wild Hikes

Adventure Hiking in Romania

Explore the gorges and plateaus of the Apuseni Mountains by trails, ladders, caves and bridges

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Trip Ref #10039

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Adventure Hiking in Romania

Explore the gorges and plateaus of the Apuseni Mountains by trails, ladders, caves and bridges

DURATION

3 nights

LOCATION

Romania

ANNUAL LEAVE

2 days off work

SEASON

Apr-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Debrecen International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

This hike can be fairly strenuous, so you'll need to have a decent level of fitness and be comfortable with heights.

Escape civilisation and stay in a rustic mountain cabin

Hike the Padis Plateau and explore the Fortress of Ponor - a spectacular karstic cave network

Climb the rocky walls of the Crisul Repede River Valley and trek through the heart of Romania's Western Carpathians

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Mary Anne, September 2022

    Definitley worth doing it - it's a good adventure, with great hosts and guides, all really well run. The information is accurate in terms of what you need in terms of clothing (essential!) as well as your level of fitness and a good head of heights, but nobody tells you exactly how beautiful this place is and that is a great bonus! I loved every second of it, even when it rained!

    Caroline, September 2022

    An incredible few days exploring the Apuseni mountains. Tic our guide safely coached us through via ferratas and hanging bridges, showed us ice caves and had patience with the group in all situations. I highly recommend the trip

    Rachel, September 2022

    If you want a change from the norm and a real sense of adventure I'd definitely recommend this trip! A baseline level of fitness is required but having such a knowledgeable guide made everything seem possible - I'd do it all over again tomorrow if I could!

    Camille, June 2022

    Romania is such a beautiful place and I would have never thought to go there if it wasn't for MBA. The scenery was amazing and each day was very different. I loved the cabin surrounded by mountains and having the local dogs running around. Andrei is an amazing guide who knows so much about the environment and flora.

    Camille, June 2022

    I loved the adventure part of this trip! Walking over water and using cable as well as scrambling. It felt really rewarding! Romania is stunning and it was such a different type of mountain/countryside. Andrei was amazing and stayed with us chatting in the evenings too with a 🍻 We took a £5 train from Budapest to get to Debrecen and it was super easy and a great way to combine city trip and hiking in the same week

    Dalen, May 2022

    BOOK. THIS. NOW! The most amazing adventure - the pictures and description doesn’t do it any justice! Each day is packed - what you see and take in is stunning. You put in the effort, and after every section you complete, the reward of accomplishment is such a high! It’s quite special that some of the paths require work to get to, such as the wall climbs and occasional scrambling, making it different from your normal hike, LOVED every minute of it. Paul made the journey memorable! He was knowledgeable about the area, and supportive throughout the hike. The effort to get to the key points is definitely worth it all.

    Alex, May 2022

    Where to start? This was an amazing trip that packed in so much. Our guide Paul was fantastic - full of knowledge, encouraging, funny and with a clear focus on sustainability. The hikes are incredible - you see so many different types of scenery, from ice caves to lush forests to beautiful mountain vistas. Crossing the Galbena Gorge using the via ferrata style hand-holds and platforms was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. The bigger via ferrata on the last day was the most exciting thing! It really got the adrenalin pumping but at all times we felt safe in the hands of Bogdan and Paul - and the sense of achievement at the top is so worth it! The mountain hut is comfy and cosy, the food was brilliant (I was well catered for as a vegetarian) and the atmosphere was friendly and exciting at all times. We also had a bonus warm-up hike on day one, and a city tour of Oradea on the last day. What more could anyone ask for? I’ll definitely be coming back. Thank you Paul & the MBA team!

    Milda, May 2022

    This was a brilliant adventure: ice caves, gorges, via ferrate, mountains, craft beer - it has it all! By the end of each day we were buzzing with excitement and memories of what we have accomplished. The guides were brilliant and make the trip wonderful.

    Included

    Guides

    Expert, English-speaking guides

    Accommodation

    3 nights in a mountain cabin

    Meals

    Munch on tasty food throughout

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Equipment

    All your equipment for the via ferrata sections

    Permits

    All permits and entry fees

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Debrecen Airport, Hungary

    13:00

    Ends

    Debrecen Airport, Hungary

    15:30

    Transfers

    You'll be picked up on arrival and dropped off in time for departure. Please schedule your flight to arrive more than 30 minutes before the scheduled time and to depart anytime after 17.45 If you are staying in Debrecen and would prefer to be collected in the city centre at the start or dropped off there at the end of the trip, just let your host know. Your host is unable to arrange a private transfer to/from the start point of the trip.

    The direct Wizz Air flight from London to Debrecen has recently been re-scheduled and now arrives at 1:15am on the day of the tour departure. We suggest that you book one night's pre-accommodation in Debrecen, so that you are well rested for the tour start. Please contact your host if you need any help with this and to arrange joining the tour from your accommodation.

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Debrecen from airports across the UK and Europe.

    Day 1

    Mountain hut · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2 – Day 3

    Mountain hut · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 4

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Romanian food is hearty, full of flavour and heavily influenced by its neighbouring countries. Most meals start with a soup, usually made with meat, vegetables or fish and made sour with lemon or vinegar. Sausages and other meats are also popular, as well as meat and vegetable pies, goulash, stuffed cabbage rolls and cheeses. Each hiking day includes a picnic lunch of sandwiches, snacks and fruits. The mountain cabin can accommodate vegans and vegetarians, just let your host know in advance.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Apuseni National Park

    You'll spend each of your 3 nights at the Cetatile Ponorului mountain cabin, situated within the Apuseni National Park. The rooms here are basic but clean and comfortable and the staff super friendly and helpful. You'll stay in your own room, or you can share a room if you are travelling as a couple or a pair. All bedding is provided, so you don't need to bring a sleeping bag.

    There is a restaurant at the cabin where you'll fuel up on traditional Romanian food. You can also wind down with a drink in the bar after long days out hiking in the mountains.

    Day 1

    The cabin

    Hiking

    2hrs

    Fly to Debrecen Airport in Hungary and cross over the border into Romania. Stop for lunch in the art nouveau town of Oradea and then continue onto the Padis Karst plateau in the heart of Apuseni Nature Park. If weather allows, you can shake up your legs with a 2-hour warm-up hike either to a viewpoint in time for sunset, or to a mysterious, densely forested karst plateau, with many caves and sinkholes. Arrive at the mountain cabin, your base for the next few days, in time for dinner and a briefing on the adventure ahead.

    Day 2

    The Fortress of Ponor

    Hiking

    5-6hrs · 12km · 400m up · 600m down

    Lace up your boots and hike to some of the Carpathian's hidden gems. The aim is to follow the water as you hike beside creeks and streams and then see them disappear into the region’s unique underground cave system. Continue hiking to Cetatile Ponorului - the Fortress of Ponor - a cave network surrounded by a forested and mountainous landscape with hidden springs, waterfalls and tunnels. Return to the cosy cabin for a night of traditional Romanian mountain food.

    Day 3

    Galbena Gorge

    Hiking

    7-8hrs · 16km · 760m up · 760m down

    Tackle the challenging route to the wild and remote Galbena Gorge, including several sections of scrambling and basic climbing (total elevation gain 1100 metres.) On the way you'll pass the Focul Viu ice cave, an underground glacier. If weather permits, hike to Galbena Rock, a viewpoint with spectacular panoramas of the Western Carpathians before returning to your cabin for a final night.

    Day 4

    Via Ferrata and then home

    Hiking

    1.5hrs · 4km · 80m up · 80m down

    Climbing

    2hrs

    Time for the final adventure of the trip - a 200 metre via ferrata network up the flank of the Padurea Craiului massif - a spectacular end to your hiking adventure. After a final picnic with your team, head back to Debrecen in time for the evening flight home.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What do I need to bring?

    Bags

    • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
    • Daypack
    • Waterproof liner (or dry bags) for kitbag or rucksack

    Clothes

    • Waterproof jacket
    • Waterproof trousers
    • Fleece jacket or similar
    • Warm hat
    • Buff or neckscarf
    • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
    • T-shirts, underwear & socks
    • Swimwear
    • Sunglasses
    • Sun hat
    • Something to sleep in
    • Hiking boots (worn-in)
    • Sandals

    Other

    • Padlock for left luggage
    • Universal travel adapter
    • Power bank or solar charger
    • Passports (and visas)
    • Travel Insurance documents
    • Earplugs
    • Insect repellent
    • Suncream
    • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
    • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
    • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry out)
    • Alcohol hand-gel
    • Headtorch or torch
    • Reusable water bottle x 2 litre
    • Energy bars and snacks
    • Water purification tablets/treatment system

    Additional Night in a single/twin/double in Oradea

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night in a single/twin/double in Oradea

    Per Night

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 66kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    Via-ferrata routes are a popular way to access the mountains without any mountaineering experience. Essentially it's a series of iron rungs, ladders and cables fixed into a steep cliff. On this trip, you'll ascend 200m using a harness that's permanently clipped into a continuous safety cable. This, combined with expert guiding, ensures that you are in the safest hands possible, allowing you to enjoy an otherwise inaccessible environment. You don't need any previous experience, just a head for heights. You should also not suffer from vertigo.

    This hike can be fairly strenuous at times, so you'll need a relatively good level of fitness and be able to hike for 7-8 hours in a single day. Being comfortable with heights is also an advantage during the via ferrata sections.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Summer is the best season to explore the area, but spring and autumn are also very pleasant, although come with a higher chances of rain. The average daily high is around 27°C in summer, but it cools down at night, so pack warmer clothes for evening hangouts at the cabin. Please note that the itinerary is subject to change depending on weather conditions, as some of the scrambling and via ferrata sections can be dangerous in bad weather.

    Yes, you can safely leave your luggage at the mountain hut and just take a daypack out for each of the hikes.

    We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

    For current advice about travelling in Romania, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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