Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Bear Watching and Castle Hopping in Romania

Head into the wild Carpathian Mountains to scout for Brown Bears and explore famous castles

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Trip Ref #8798

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Bear Watching and Castle Hopping in Romania

Head into the wild Carpathian Mountains to scout for Brown Bears and explore famous castles

DURATION

2 nights

LOCATION

Romania

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 day off work

SEASON

Apr—Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Henri Coandă International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Easy

It might be out in the wild, but this trip is suitable for anyone in reasonably good condition.

Hike to an isolated hide in the Carpathian Mountains – home to 60% of Europe’s remaining Brown Bear population – and see these incredible creatures up close and in the wild

Spend a night in the bars and bohemian cafes of Romania's buzzing capital and explore two famous Transylvanian castles

Perfect for adventurous travellers who want a little bit of everything – city life, history, culture and of course, wildlife

Bed down in characterful boutique hotels, nestled in the historic hearts of Bucharest and Brasov

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.

    Tom, September 2022

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    Kate, September 2022

    First things first: Marius is always right! 😂 His recommendations for food, drink and activities were always spot-on. He and Mara were fantastic guides who delivered a well-organised and varied weekend that felt like we packed a lot in, but also got time to chill and look forward to the next activity. Both were fonts of knowledge regarding Romania’s history, culture, politics, architecture and language (naroc! 🍻). This added a valuable layer to an excellent trip.

    Luke, September 2022

    The perfect 1st ever group trip by myself. My highlight - too hard to choose loved it all. Brilliant group of people on the trip, Marius was a amazing guide for the trip, from start to finish, extremely helpful from his history knowledge to wine recommendations at dinner, right till offering advice on Romanian Christmas market whilst unloading our bags at the airport. A Very relaxed and enjoyable trip. Will definitely recommend to everyone for a trip to discover Romania.

    Andrea, September 2022

    Great trip; gave a lovely taste of what Romania has to offer

    Jodie, June 2022

    Great trip, however the climb was harder than anticipated! Definitely add on the Sahara desert trip if you have time, this was the highlight for me.

    Georgia, September 2022

    This was a truly magical trip - favourite MBA trip to-date! The guides were exceptional with a new expert each day so that we had the most insight into each different area of Romania - couldn't have learned anymore in three days! The attention to detail was so apparent, with even the restaurants offering a history lesson and beautiful aesthetic in themselves. The bear hide was magical seeing four bears, followed by the bear sanctuary on the following day which provided a different perspective - again we learned so much about the great work being done here! Couldn't recommend Romania and this trip enough - Alin, Anne, and Julian were all so great!

    Victoria, August 2022

    A great itinerary but very fast paced. You'll need another holiday to get over this one!

    Lee, August 2022

    What a wonderful experience! From the moment we met Alin at the airport we felt comfortable, relaxed and in very capable hands, he made us laugh and nothing was too much trouble. Only 3 of us made it to the group as one pulled out last minute, the dynamic was great and the small size made the trip very personable. We visited 2 beautiful castles, the weather was warm and sunny making the views spectacular and our guide was very knowledgeable and answered all our questions about both. The highlight had to be seeing bears in the wild, the first bear made his appearance five minutes after we arrived and we got to see three over the space of a couple of hours, each making several trips into the clearing in search of food. Special mention to the accommodation and restaurant choice, the hotels were clean, cosy and the service impeccable, the restaurants were traditional with Romanian dancing and singing at various intervals, the atmosphere was fantastic and I wanted to go back for more. Anyone debating this trip should take the plunge, its well worth the money and gives you a great insight into a truly remarkable country.

    Jacqueline, August 2022

    A well-organised and really enjoyable trip. Saw lots and would have loved to see a lot more but there’s only so much that can be fitted into a couple of days! Recommend adding a day at the beginning and end of the trip to explore Bucharest at more leisurely pace. Accommodation was excellent, food was good too (as a vegetarian I was well-catered for). Loved the bear-watching and sanctuary (it was an added bonus to include a charitable element into the trip). The castles were beautiful – albeit a bit overrun with tourists but guess to be expected in high summer. As both bear-watching and castles were outside Bucharest, we got to see quite a bit of the beautiful Transylvanian countryside whilst driving to our destinations. Last, but definitely not least, thanks to our brilliant hosts / guides, Christina and Marius, for whom nothing was too much trouble. They were highly professional but also friendly, informative and proud of their beautiful country. We did a lot in a short space of time and their efficient organisation ensured everything ran smoothly. This trip has a big thumbs-up from us – highly recommended!

    Catherine, September 2022

    My husband and I had a brilliant time on this trip! The bears were amazing, both wild and at the sanctuary, and we really enjoyed the trips to the castles and walking tour of Bucharest. The guides were really knowledgeable about the places we visited and the history of Romania. The group size was just right - not too big so you got to know your guides, who were really friendly. Definitely recommend this trip!

    Included

    Guides

    Professional, experienced guides

    Accommodation

    2 nights in 4-star boutique hotels

    Meals

    Munch on tasty food throughout

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in-between

    Permits

    Entrance to Peles and Bran Castles and Liberty Bear Sanctuary

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Bucharest Airport or your accommodation in Bucharest

    14:30 at the airport or 16:00 at your hotel

    Ends

    Bucharest Airport

    18:00

    Transfers

    Bucharest Airport - 14:30 or Your accommodation in Bucharest - 16:00

    Your adventure begins at Bucharest Airport with your airport transfer at 14:30. Please schedule your flight to arrive more than 30 minutes before this time, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. If you’re not able to join the transfer, you can book any flight and easily get to your accommodation via a 30-minute taxi from the airport. Your host can also organise a private taxi for you, please see Optional Extras below. You will meet your guide and fellow adventurers after you have checked in for a guided tour of the city.

    At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Bucharest Airport at 18:00. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 19:30. Alternatively If you would like to be dropped off in Bucharest city centre, please let your host know when booking.

    Travel options

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

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Hotel · Twin or triple share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Romanian food is hearty, flavourful and heavily influenced by neighbouring countries. Most meals start with a soup, often made with meat, vegetables or fish and made sour with lemon or vinegar. Sausages are also popular, as well as meat and vegetable pies, goulash, stuffed cabbage rolls and cheeses.

    Breakfasts are included at your hotels, while lunches and dinners will be eaten at restaurants along the way. 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?

    Bucharest

    You’ll stay at either the Rembrandt, Z Hotel or similar. Located in historic buildings, these boutique hotels are classy yet unpretentious, with beautiful facilities. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a delicious buffet breakfast, onsite café and excellent location.

    Brasov

    In Brasov you’ll stay in a boutique hotel right on the main square, probably Bella Muzica or Casa Wagner. Both hotels are housed in historical buildings with modern amenities, excellent service, and lots of character.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price . Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability)

    Day 1

    Bucharest

    Check into your boutique hotel in the heart of gorgeous Bucharest and join your guide for a walking tour around the city's old town. Spend the rest of the evening exploring this vibrant town. Your guide will lead you to some of its famous bohemian cafes, funky bars and top-notch restaurants.

    Day 2

    Wild bears

    Hiking

    1.5hrs

    Drive through the scenic Transylvanian countryside into the rugged Carpathian Mountains. Visit the fairy tale Peles Castle and then continue on to the Medieval town of Brasov where you’ll stay tonight. From the remote trailhead in the mountains, hike through the forest to a bear hide ethically operated by the local wildlife authority. The hide is like an elevated treehouse, with great views of the bears as they wander in for dinner. If you’re lucky you might even see cubs!

    Day 3

    Bran Castle

    Visit the highly acclaimed Libearty Sanctuary and learn more about these awesome creatures - a great way to add perspective to yesterday's experience. Head to Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s Castle, with its blood-red turrets, eerie rooms and creepy reputation. Return to Bucharest through beautiful countryside and back to the airport in time for your 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

    • A small daypack

    Clothing

    • Dark-coloured layers (thermals, jacket) for the bear hide
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Sturdy walking shoes
    • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses and sunblock)

    Other

    • Water bottle
    • Camera
    • Binoculars

    Additional Night Double Room incl Airport Transfer

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night Double Room incl Airport Transfer

    Additional Night Single Room incl Airport Transfer

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night Single Room incl Airport Transfer

    Additional Night Triple Room incl Airport Transfer

    Payable Before Departure

    Additional Night Triple Room incl Airport Transfer

    Private Room Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Private Room Upgrade

    Airport Transfer One Way

    Payable Before Departure

    Airport Transfer One Way

    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 93kg 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.

    This trip is suitable for anyone in reasonably good condition, with the bear hide accessed by an easy 40-minute hike.

    Hunting Brown Bears was outlawed in Romania in 2005, so populations are on the rise. To help reduce human-bear conflicts, wildlife officials now leave bear-appropriate foods at designated spots far away from towns. They've also set up hides near these feeding stations that allow people to view bears in their wild habitat without alerting or scaring them.

    These bears are completely wild and adults, sub-adults and cubs all visit the feeding stations regularly. They come and go as they please while you quietly observe and photograph them from above. There’s a 90% chance of seeing wild bears from the hide.

    The site is accessed via an enjoyable 40-minute hike through woods and meadows in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains.

    Along with hunting, trapping and keeping bears was also outlawed in 2005. The Libearty Bear Sanctuary was established to rescue captive bears that could not be returned to the wild as they were now too habituated to succesfully survive on their own.

    The sanctuary provides a home for more than 70 rescued Brown Bears, often saved from inhumane captivity. They roam freely on 70 hectares of land with pools, trees and natural forage. They're safe and healthy and provide an incredible learning opportunity for visitors. Knowledgeable guides at the sanctuary will teach you all about bear behavior and their history in Romania.

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

    This trip is offered from April to October (peak bear season). In Brasov the temperature ranges from 15 – 25 °C during the day and cools off to 3 – 12 °C at night. Most days are sunny with beautiful blues skies.

    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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