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 buzzing Bucharest 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

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.

    Jemma, April 2022

    First trip with MBA and couldn't fault it. Marius was the perfect knowledgeable guide. The hotels were great, as were the restaurants and Marius's food choice recommendations were spot on every time. Unfortunately the bears did not want to make an appearance on this trip, but the visit to Libearty Sanctuary was so moving to see the work being done to rescue these animals. We had a lovely small group and the trip flowed really well, with plenty of time at both Peles & Bran Castle. Would definitely recommend this trip as a taster of what Romania has to offer.

    Michelle, April 2022

    This is a fantastic trip. It’s really well organised and the local guides were really knowledgeable as well as friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this trip.

    Leah, May 2022

    An incredible weekend in Romania. Packed a lot in in a short space of time. The castles were stunning from the neo-Renaissance Peles Castle to the famous Bran Castle. We didn’t see bears in the wild but was still a great experience with the knowledgeable Simba. The visit to Libearty Bear Sanctuary is a must. They are doing amazing work saving bears. Our guides Marius and Alin made the trip. Very professional and made the trip flawless.

    Alison, May 2022

    Local guides were excellent in all manners. Knowledge, flexibility and sense of humour. Despite not seeing bears at the hide the guide made the experience memorable. Lots of bears seen at the sanctuary, be prepared for an hours walks and lots of uphill bits. Dracula’s castle stunning! The food and restaurants chosen were superb. You will NOT go hungry!

    Rosa, April 2022

    A good way to see a lot of Romania in a weekend. Double check timings of itinerary if booking flights (was left with a 5hr wait at Bucharest airport at the end!). Peles Castle was a bit underwhelming without a proper tour and the local guide left a few small elements out of the itinerary. More historical context would’ve been great in Bucharest and Peles to get the most out of the trip, but overall it was fun!

    Clare, April 2022

    Fantastic trip! Wonderful guide, and we covered a lot over just a few days. Everything was well organised and fun. Highly recommend.

    Emma, April 2022

    Brilliant trip, sad that we didnt see the bears in the wild

    Julie Winslow, April 2022

    Trip was well thought out and planned to perfection. Castles were as expected. Local guide amazing and attentive. Accommodation was in superb locations. Great weekend away!

    Sameeah, April 2022

    A good trip overall, a few things could have been different but I met some lovely people and liked getting to know them. Overall a nice experience.

    Stephen, April 2022

    It was a great trip giving a lovely introduction to Romania. It's really worth arriving a day early to see a bit more of Bucharest - MBA booked us an extra night in the same hotel and arranged the airport transfer for the day before. Our group leader (Christina) was wonderful and pulled the small group together. The mountains in the snow were breathtaking. Bran Castle was really interesting and the bear sanctuary was a great part of the trip. The meals were typically Romanian but Christina made sure all dietary requirements and preferences were accommodated - she also told us about the history and culture of the country (recent as well as older). The bears were the highlight. You do need warm and robust walking kit (proper walking shoes) for the hike to the bear viewing platform. The Bucharest hotel (Hilton Garden) was very good and the staff there were very friendly and helped us learn some Romanian. Brashov is very pretty.

    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 19:45. 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 4-star 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 4-star 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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