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4.9
| 28 reviews

Rewilding Adventure in Romania's Tarcu Mountains

Track wild bison, bears and wolves on a remote ramble in the Southern Carpathians

Duration

4 nights

Annual Leave

3 days off work

Group Size

Up to 8 people

Season

May-Oct

Location

Romania

Meeting Point

Timișoara Airport

Classic Accommodation

Guesthouse · Campsite · Cabin

Customer Reviews

(28)

4.9

Difficulty

Moderate

From

From

An incredible adventure in partnership with expert local wildlife trackers and conservationists from WWF

Follow the reintroduced herds of European Bison through a revolutionary rewilding area in a remote corner of Romania

Bunk down in wilderness cabins and safari-style camps beneath the stars and snatch wild swims in lakes and rivers

As featured in The Guardian's Where the Wild Things Are

Day 1

Road trip to the Tarcu Mountains

Meet your host at Timișoara Airport and settle into the van for a 2 hour drive deep into a rural and remote part of Romania, heading for the small community of Armeniș in the west of the country. Check into your cosy guesthouse and stretch your legs with a short walk before meeting up with your guides for dinner and a chat through the adventure to come.

Day 2

Bison tracking

Wildlife Tracking

5-6hrs

Rising before dawn often brings the best rewards, so set your alarm early and slip out into the twilight to a nearby clearing to see the wildlife, often most active at this time of the day. Grab a late breakfast and then head into the wilderness to track bison, one of the areas most impressive sights and a key driver of the positive ecological changes happening in this part of the Carpathians. Tonight you'll be staying in a safari-style camp beneath the stars and hopefully listening to the distant howling of the wolves.

*The order of the itinerary can change due to the weather and the movement of the bison and the area they are in at any time

Day 3

Deeper into the mountains

Wildlife Tracking

5-6hrs

Wake up in one of Europe's wildest places and head straight out for a morning of wildlife tracking. Your guides will fill you in on the rewilding efforts here and the cascade of ecological benefits that occur when keystone species such as bison are reintroduced into the wild. Later you'll return to the guesthouse in Armenis for a well-earned shower and a traditional Romanian dinner.

Day 4

Bear hides and wilderness cabins

Wildlife Tracking

5-6hrs

Moving deeper into the Tarcu Mountains, you'll head towards Rusca and set off for a hike, keeping a keen eye open for the region's resident Chamois. Wolves, lynx, wild boars and bears also reside in the area. Your guides are on hand to look out for signs of the animals and you'll be split into groups of no more than 4 to better your chance of seeing them. You'll ramble towards a wilderness cabin located in a magical spot with two crystal clear rivers and a lake nearby to take a dip in. Later in the evening, you'll head out to a hide to look out for European Brown Bears.

Day 5

The adventure ends

It's time to leave the Tarcu Mountains after breakfast as you hike out to the nearest road where your host will be waiting with a van to drive you back to Timișoara in time for your flight home.

Included

Guides

English-speaking, expert, wildlife tracker and rewilding guides from WWF

Accommodation

1 night camping, 1 night in a wilderness cabin, 2 nights in a guesthouse or modern cabin

Meals

All your breakfasts, lunches and dinners

Equipment

Safari-style twin tents, camp beds, blankets and pillows

Transfers

Airport transfers from Timișoara to your base in Armenis and back again

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Visas where required

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Cabin · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You'll enjoy locally sourced, traditional Romanian foods throughout the trip. Breakfasts are a fairly continental affair of cereals and breads with jam and juices. Dinners usually involve a meat or fish option alongside staples of polenta, salads, bread, hard cheese, egg and sour cream. While wildlife tracking you'll carry a packed lunch, usually sandwiches with fruit and snacks.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Safari-style camping

You'll stay in twin-share safari-style tents complete with beds, blankets and pillows and shared compost toilet facilities, though no showers! The camp location is set in a clearing surrounded by forest which makes for a wild night beneath the stars, hopefully listening to the howling of the wolves.

Armenis Village Modern Cabin
Armenis village

In the small community of Armenis you'll stay in twin-share rooms in either small, modern cabins or traditional renovated houses, making for an atmospheric experience in rural Romania.

Wilderness cabin

Your final night of the trip is spent at a wilderness cabin set far from any civilisation in a spectacular location, deep within the Tarcu Mountains. The cabin has electricity and running water, a large terrace, BBQ area and a log swing with views down to a lake and out over the rewilding area. A natural whirlpool is located 150m from the cabin, in what is known as 'The Cold River' for anyone keen for a bracing dip after a long day tracking wildlife.

Upgrades

Due to limited space in the village and cabins, private rooms are only available if the group is below the maximum size of 8. For departures with fewer than 8 guests you can request a private room at no additional cost with your local host.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Timișoara International Airport

14:00 on Day 1

Ends

Timișoara International Airport

Afternoon of Day 5

Transfers

On Day 1, your host will meet you at Timișoara International Airport and transfer you over to Armenis, your base for the adventure.

On Day 5, your host will arrange a group transfer to drop you back at the airport in Timișoara in time for your onward flight. Please arrange a flight departing after 12:00 (midday). If some of your group have afternoon flights and others have evening flights, those leaving in the evening can be dropped off in Timisoara to spend some time exploring the city before their onward flight. If you need to book an earlier flight, it will not be possible for you to join the group transfer, however, your host can arrange a private transfer for you at an additional charge (see optional extras below).

Travel options

Timișoara International Airport is well connected to the UK with direct flights with Wizz Air from Luton Airport. Travellers from the US or elsewhere in Europe can fly to Timișoara via Munich & Frankfurt which has numerous connections.

Travellers with extra time on their hands can travel to Armenis - your base for this trip - through Europe's train network. If starting from Western Europe you'll need to head to Budapest in neighbouring Hungary before connecting on to the sleeper train service called 'Ister' which will take you to Timisoara - the largest city in Western Romania. From here you can connect to the rail service to Armenis and meet up with the group on Day 1.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's Included

  • Safari-style twin-share tent
  • Camping bed
  • Blankets and pillows

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack for all your kit (this will be transported for you each day)
  • Daypack (just for carrying personal items during each day of hiking)

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight trousers for hiking
  • Lightweight shorts/skirts for hiking and/or for relaxing in
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Waterproof hiking boots, preferably with ankle support (worn-in)
  • Lightweight shoes for around camp and the wilderness cabin

OTHER

  • Binoculars
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Face mask
  • Headlamp or torch
  • Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)

OPTIONAL

  • Earplugs
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles
  • Sleeping bag for trips in September and October
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Extra night in Armenis (Full board)

Payable Before Departure

Extra night in Armenis (Full board)

Per Night

Extra night in Armenis (Room only)

Payable Before Departure

Extra night in Armenis (Room only)

Per Night

Private airport transfer Timișoara Airport to Armenis (one way)

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer Timișoara Airport to Armenis (one way)

Andrew(November 2023)

This trip is amazing. We were lucky to see both a Bison and a bear, but I would have recommended the trip anyway. The hiking is worth it alone, trails are interesting, views are incredible, and the pace and number of breaks make it accessible for most.

The food was great, and they accommodated the vegan and vegetarian in my group really well. The wine was a real highlight, and craft beer appeared as soon as we arrived.

The accommodations are surprisingly comfortable. The kit list is good, but note they supply plastic free soap, shower gel and toothpaste (but bring your own toothpaste, they need to work on that one!).

I travelled alone, and my party was a group of 4 friends and me, but no issues, a great group and we all got on really well. The hosts are lovely and really friendly. Matei is very knowledgeable, and you get a good education on tracking as you go around.

Jasper(October 2023)

This trip was an amazing experience. The moment we arrived we felt very welcome and at home. Matei and the team are very kind, and made sure we didn’t lack for anything. The local food was absolutely amazing, I’m going to miss it a lot. The views are incredible aswell, and the nature feels unspoiled in a way we could never get near to in the Netherlands.

We got lucky enough to see a bison and a bear, but even if we hadn’t I would not have minded. The whole trip was a blast, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again or to recommend it to other people. Some hiking experience is definitely required, but the kitlist is accurate and the rest is all provided for you.

We’re grateful to Matei and his team for the experience, and we’ll definitely be back!

Emma(September 2023)

A fab trip! We were really lucky to see the wildlife, but even without that the trekking was great. Loved all the accommodations, the food and the group. Our guide was amazing!

George(August 2023)

This is an absolutely fantastic trip for anyone who loves animals, the outdoors & a little bit of adventure. Our guide Mattei was absolutely brilliant, teaching us how to spot the signs of bison & bears & track their movements. It took us nearly two days to find bison in the extraordinary woodlands covering the mountains but it was all worth it when we finally found them. They swished their tails and chewed a bit before catching wind of us and setting off at a gallop - but past us, rather than away! It was like something out of the Wild West or primordial Europe! A moment of a lifetime. Going to one of the hides with Mattei and discovering a young male bear waiting for us was another incredible experience. The locals who catered for us were lovely and the whole enterprise is incredibly innovative in linking rewilding with the local community. The trekking is not for the faint hearted so bring plenty of water & good shoes but it is all worth it. Five star trip & again a special shout out for Mattei, our hero.

Alice(August 2023)

Wow! What a fabulous experience. Romania will remain at the top of my list for some time as being my favourite country visited (and I've travelled around the globe!) What am adventure into the real wilderness, where the countryside is owned my the wildlife and totally respected my the locals. I never expected it to be as wild as it was. Not a soul in sight and the Romanians are so friendly, welcoming and enjoy a good laugh. We were giving up hope on day two of tracking the Bison when we came across a herd of around 15 to 20 on the forest at around 4pm! We had to sneak up so quietly being careful not to tread on sticks and leaves so not to scare them away. It was remarkable to see them in the wild, unfortunately the spotted us and the whole herd ran away, but wow!! The following day we went tracking for other wildlife hut weren't so successful, this was the night to sit in the bear hide for a couple of hours. We walked quietly to the hide, at this point the group was split into two groups of four. We couldn't believe when we arrived that there was a huge brown bear feasting on some corn that was there for the boars. What an experience as we sat and watched him feast for around an hour and he didn't bat an eyelid at us. We snuck off quietly when he left as we lost sight of him. We were also lucky to spot some Lynx tracks in the mud. We had a swim in a lake and it was so relaxing and beautiful with no one else around. I would recommend to future trackers to wear long trousers as you will track the animals off the beaten path and into the undergrowth, it's also quite uneven and very hilly so ankle support and poles could be useful and we walked for around 9 miles on days one and 2. Definitely book this trip if you are after seeing wildlife in a really remote habitat.

Polly(August 2023)

An incredible experience. Learning about wildlife tracking and being shown the signs, which later evolved into spotting some ourselves, was an incredible immersive experience. Silent, slow hiking to not disturb the animals would not instantly appeal to me as I love a chat, but the atmosphere created in the wilderness was amazing. Also helped with some quite long, steep uphill segments! It really is remote, we saw no one else on any hikes. The group was great, similar wildlife and mountain forest enthusiasts but also just lovely people. We were lucky enough to see bison and a wolf, as an epic bison enthusiast it was a magical and emotional moment. Being in their forest and smelling them had however until that point honestly felt special enough. The logistics were smooth, the kit list perfect (do bring bug spray, a large water bottle and binoculars) food & accommodation, including the lovely hosts at each, were way above expectations. As I’m sure you can tell, I would recommend this in an instant and was so sad to leave the beautiful, special place.

Anca(July 2023)

I felt very happy on this trip. For four days, I escaped my ordinary life to turn explorer of an area of unparalleled beauty. On the first evening Matei explained us about the local rewilding project and then we embarked on bison tracking, which I found fascinating. The guides examine with almost forensic precision the bison tracks, and the route follows in the path of the animals. We went through breathtaking forests, meadows with grass reaching up to the hips, we went through mud, crossed a river and had water from the mountain springs. The unspoilt wilderness has its challenges. Although I am not an experienced trekker and this was my first adventure trip, I felt completely safe and very well looked after thanks to Matei,Otilia, Calin and the team. I was also very well fed; all the food was homemade, in an abundance of choices and incredibly tasty with deserts to die for. The accommodations were more comfortable than one would expect in wilderness. My highlight was the day in Poiana Rusca and the evening hide in the forest where we went to spot the Chamois and the brown bears. We sat there still for over two hours, in complete silence, immersing ourselves into the greatness of the forest until the night fell, shapes became shadows and the sounds of the trees and the river became far more intense than in the daylight. It was pure magic. For some reason the bisons, bears and chamonix refused to turn up despite the best efforts of our guides,which made me think maybe I should go again ? The weather was warm and humid, I had my sleeping bag with me but didn't need it. The trip was very well organised and it involved a whole team of local people who put passion and love into the rewilding project. Plans changed as we went along, because in wilderness one must consider the heavy rain , the wind and all the tantrums of the nature. I went solo on this trip and I met very interesting people who I would love to meet again. I wish the holiday was longer because the adventure ended when I was feeling most comfortable ! In summary, I would highly recommend this trip.

Tina(June 2023)

We had a fantastic time tracking and learning wildlife. We didn’t see any bison or bear but the view and the trails are amazing. Our ranger Matei is super friendly and knowledgeable. All the hosts are very friendly as well. All the home made food are delicious. We enjoyed the experience and would recommend to everyone else.

Dave(October 2022)

Stunning wild nature, awe-inspiring wild animals, exhilarating trekking, passionate, skilled, expert guides. We loved our first European Safari (and hope someday to visit all 9 of the Rewilding areas). On the first two days, we did not see any bison, but were happy to know that they were there in the forest with us somewhere, and we were, in a small way, supporting the rewilding project aiming to establish a viable population here. And the landscape itself was stunning: easily the most extensive and dense forest we have visited anywhere in the world, breathtaking in its scale. On the third day, we were rewarded with a prolonged encounter with a herd of 12-15 bison, including calves, which was a truly magical experience. On the final morning, 3 of us got up early and went for a 7am before breakfast walk, and had another 2 sightings of 2 bison close to our lodge accommodation. I would advise people to be prepared for some treks over challenging terrain (steep, muddy/slippery 'paths'; fighting through forest undergrowth or walking along quite narrow paths with steep drops) and bring a walking stick, or find a suitable one in the forest! Our guide was very good at building in enough rest stops and downtime though, and we ate VERY well, and the accommodation was lovely. The campsite was in an amazing location with wonderful views from an outside, covered dining platform on the edge of the hillside. Also, bring your own warm sleeping bag and thermals for the safari camp stay - it was VERY cold when we stayed (in late September), and there weren't quite enough spares at the campsite to go round everyone.

Ryan(September 2022)

A great trip with wonderful guides! Tony, Matei and the rest of the team were fantastic and made the trip so much better. We managed to spot some bison up close as well as a couple of chamois and lizards. Not to mention the local cats and dogs! The area is very beautiful and the trip is well organised. The food provided is great and the accomodation is fine (better than sleeping in a tent). We had access to a hot shower each day which was very welcomed after long treks. It's wonderful to see that big efforts to bring back some of the nature that was once so abundant in Romania are being made and awesome to be a tiny part of that. Unfortunately we didn't see any bears, wolves or wild boar during our stay but we did see bison up close along with chamois and other animals. Lots of bear tracks ...but sadly no bears! In short, it's a well organised trip in a beautiful part of the world with fantastic guides and at a very reasonable price!

David(September 2022)

Great hosts, great experience, great country. Highly recommend

Helen(August 2022)

A wonderful trip! Matei and the other members of the local team made us so welcome alongside a fab group of likeminded individuals! We had a special time hiking in the forests, mountains, tracking bison...it was very exciting to see bison and other wildlife in this environment, as well as opportunities to spend much-needed time in nature. Our ranger and guide brought the area to life explaining how the area was being rewilded with the local community involvement - fascinating and incredibly important for the project's long-term success. An amazing scheme that we feel very happy to support, and it was a real highlight to spend time with the local community, they welcomed us! food and plum brandy were great also!! A trip of a lifetime, would highly recommend!

Mark(August 2022)

Would recommend. Four days well spent

Mike(August 2022)

A fantastic trip from start to finish. Highlight was successfully tracking bison through the forest as you might expect. Matei was a fantastic guide and the wider team of locals provided a warm welcome with wonderful food and excellent accommodation.

Franswa(August 2022)

Really great trip with an awesome group of people. Matei was an exceptional guide with mountains of knowledge about the animals and area. We were lucky enough to see bison, bears, chamois and other smaller animals. I would recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys nature and the great outdoors.

Christopher(August 2022)

I’d thoroughly recommend this trip for anyone with an interest in the outdoors and nature. Four days in an unspoilt location on the trail of wildlife in their native environment . Expert guide Matei did all he could to ensure our group encountered both bison and bear - which we did. Daytime temperatures at more than 30c were a lot hotter than originally expected but everybody adapted well to the heatwave conditions. Would go again to experience trek in different weather conditions.

Philippa(July 2022)

Fantastic tour, I'd thoroughly recommend to anyone. As a first time solo traveller, I felt completely safe and happy the whole time. The guides were knowledgeable and fun and the landscape just beautiful. The scheme, promoting ecotourism by hiring locals and making this benefit the ecosystem in the coming generations, is really admirable. If you're wondering about booking this, not only is this a lovely trip to go on, but it actually benefits the wildlife long term!

Gemma(July 2022)

This was my best break ever. Matei and Toni were amazing guides, our group was a great bunch, the food was absolutely delicious and we saw a herd of bison with their calves! Just amazing, thank you so much.

Tim(July 2022)

Amazing trip! Unique, authentic, with such knowledgable and engaging guides - Tony and Matei. Every chance is provided to see wildlife and discover local hospitality and the sheer beauty of nature . The food was simply amazing, local hosts so generous possessing had a sense of pride and responsibility in ensuring we were cared for. Fellow travellers were great fun and supportive making this trip far better than my expectations. If I could have extended the adventure I would have done so! Enjoy, get off the beaten track, support the rewilding initiative and see breathtaking scenery.

Michael(July 2022)

A fantastic and unique experience that I would highly recommend. Both our guides Matei and Toni were amazing and created a relaxed and enjoyable environment. The treks were very off road, so I would recommend good boots and clothing for this trip. We stayed at the camp for 2 nights and the cabin for 2 nights. Both were very comfortable and clean, with incredible food and hospitality.

Lauren(July 2022)

Fantastic trip - people were lovely and we were made very comfortable for the whole trip. I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the vegan menu, really delicious home cooked food the whole time. Didn't get to see some of the "headline" animals, but don't feel like that took away from the experience overall, and the animals we did see were totally wild, which made it all the more special

Phillip(June 2022)

Exceeded my Expectations

Trystan(June 2022)

This was an incredible and unique adventure. The Tour guide Matei was wonderfully knowledgable, helpful and friendly. The trip was very well organised, with no hiccups at all. What made this adventure really unique was the relationship the organisation has with the community. Matei is part of the community himself, so he really cares about the success of the project. Lots of members of the community are involved, from the chefs to the drivers. Sustainability was at the projects heart. A trip of a lifetime and I would highly recommend.

Jouke(June 2022)

The trip exceeded my already high expectations. The area is absolutely stunning. The mountain forest and meadows are so rich in diversity you could sit down at any moment and watch the surrounding for hours. The tracking aspect gives an extra excitement to the hiking. To top it off was the heartwarming hospitality by the local community.

Daniel(May 2022)

The trip was great, the guide was really helpful and knowledgeable, and the food was fantastic. Everyone we met was really welcoming and the accommodation was lovely.

Laura(October 2021)

This was an excellent trip to a remote beautiful area of Romania. It was extremely well organised with amazing guides as well as local people involvement. The guide was extremely welcoming and knowledgeable, answering all our questions. All of the accommodation was really comfortable, staying in quaint guesthouses and a traditional safari style campsite along with delicious local food. I’d recommend this trip to anyone interested in wildlife, hiking and stunning scenery.

Daniel(September 2021)

An excellent trip to a little known part of Romania. Our guide Georg was very friendly, as well as being highly knowledgeable about the rewilding project, and on hand to share his expertise in tracking wild animals with the group. We were were lucky to see a herd of reintroduced European bison on one of our hikes. The scenery is breathtaking and it was interesting to travel between different areas in the Tarcu mountains. The accommodation and food throughout the trip was excellent, with a real focus on involving local communities. Staying in the safari style camp was a particular highlight, with local cuisine cooked and served in a beautiful setting amongst orchards.

Melissa(September 2021)