No special skills are required nor are there significant ascents, but expect hikes over fresh snow of around 3 to 7 hours
Snowshoe your way along pristine trails through untouched landscapes and snow-laden forests
Explore Vârtop Cave, where Neanderthals once trod, and delve into a spectacular network of karstic caverns
Enjoy warm Romanian hospitality in a traditional guesthouse, nestled in a remote mountain hamlet
Featured as one of the '20 best activity holidays in Europe' by The Guardian
Welcome to Casa de Piatra!
Meet your host at the airport and drive to the small town of Turda for a late lunch. Next, continue to the village of Garda de Sus and then on to the Apuseni Mountains in the Western Carpathians. These secluded mountains comprise impressive karstic peaks up to 1800m, dotted with forests, prehistoric caves, deep gorges and picturesque villages. You'll stay in the remote hamlet of Casa de Piatra, where you’ll be welcomed by a local family in their simple, cosy guesthouse – a unique opportunity to experience traditional Romanian hospitality in a remote spot, away from the tourist hotspots of Transylvania. Enjoy a hot drink followed by a briefing with your guide and, time permitting, head out to explore the surrounding area by snowshoe before dinner.
The heart of the Apuseni Mountains
Don your snowshoes and head deep into the Romanian wilderness across pristine snow. Stop for tea with a local family and learn about their life in the mountains, then follow narrow trails lined with wild animal tracks to return to your guesthouse in time for dinner.
Explore Transylvania's underground wonderland
This morning you'll hike to the Vârtop Cave, famous for the unreal beauty of its rock formations. Dripping with imposing stalagmites and stalactites, this fascinating site used to house fossilised footprints made by a Neanderthal about 67,800 years ago. You'll then head to Coiba Mare, the largest cave portal in Romania, to explore this unique system of caverns. After lunch back at your guesthouse, head out onto the snow once again to visit the Tauz karstic spring, the deepest underwater cave in Romania. With its blue-green eye of water at the foot of an impressive rock wall, it is without doubt the most beautiful spring in the Romanian karst landscape.
One last hike
Enjoy some final time on the pristine powder, then after a spot of lunch, head back to the airport in time for your flight home.
Local, English-speaking fully-certified guides
3 nights in a family-run guesthouse
Munch on tasty food throughout
To and from the airport and everything in-between
All your snowshoe equipment
All permits and licenses
Flights to and from the meeting point
Tips for your guides
Visas where required
Day 2 – Day 3
What is the food like?
You'll eat delicious local food made with ingredients straight from the guesthouse farm. Usually this is a combination of vegetables, meat, home-produced dairy products and freshly baked bread. Warm soups are usually served as a starter and meals finish with herbal teas (mainly blueberry) and coffee.
Most dietary requirements can be accommodated, including vegan, vegetarian and dairy free, just let your host know beforehand.
What is the accommodation like?
Casa de Piatra
You’ll stay in a local guesthouse in the remote and beautiful hamlet of Casa de Piatra. The guesthouse offers comfortable twin- or triple-share rooms (same gender), on a full-board basis.
Due to the nature of the accommodation, private rooms are not available on this trip.
13:45 on Day 1
15:00 on Day 4
Your adventure begins at Cluj-Napoca Airport (CLJ) with your transfer departing at 13:45. Please schedule your flight to arrive more than 30 minutes before this time, your host will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. As it is a 3-hour drive to the guesthouse, your host is unable to organise a private transfer; if you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, you will need to hire a car.
At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Cluj-Napoca Airport at 15:00. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 17:00.
There are regular flights to Cluj-Napoca Airport from airports across the UK and Europe.
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.
- Hiking poles
What do I need to bring?
- 20 to 35 litre: you should be able to carry your hiking gear comfortably so a bag with a waist strap is suggested
- Dry bag to keep things dry in the backpack
- Sun cap/warm hat/headband
- One pair of synthetic underwear (top and bottom)
- One functional shirt for the hike (we recommend merino or synthetic)
- One or two layers of socks (merino or synthetic)
- One fleece or merino pullover/sweater
- Rain/windproof (Gore-Tex) jacket with hood
- Rain/windproof (Gore-Tex) trousers (we recommend either a combination of a thermal layer and a waterproof hard shell trouser, or insulated waterproof skiing pants)
- Comfortable, 3-season, waterproof hiking boots (above ankle and not rigid boots)
Extra night in Garda de Sus (Single, Twin or Double)
Payable Before Departure
Extra night in Garda de Sus (Single, Twin or Double)
Really fantastic experience. The mountains are stunning and the routes through the snow were tough but not too challenging. Our guide Mihai was really friendly and helpful making sure everyone in the group were comfortable at all times, making sure the pace suited everyone in the group.
We were all taken good care of us with some very tasty homecooking from the local hosts to warm us up after a day out in the snow.
We had a good group and met some fun people through the adventure. Overall I thought this trip was great value and would absolutely recommend it. I will book through Much Better again.
Mostly good - hard work, basic and clean accommodation but this was as expected. Views were amazing - loved the cave which was totally unexpected. The host at the accommodation was lovely - real family feel to the place. Not for the faint hearted - you need to be physically fit to do this trip! The guide worked hard to keep us on track and together.
Great trip. Excellent host and local guide.
This is an incredible place to go to switch off and be in nature. The guest house we stayed in was on a small farm in the mountains and much of the food was made by the family. The landscape really is untouched. Physically it was a bit more demanding than I was expecting. Snow shoeing is very different to hiking and requires decent fitness. More than worth it though, a beautiful and peaceful place.
Wonderful experience with excellent host, beautiful scenery and fantastic food. Would 100% recommend!
I am fortunate enough to have been on a few MBA trips now, but this was by far my favourite. The scenery in the Carpathian Mountains is stunning and the experience of snow shoeing over fresh, unbroken snow was truly unforgettable (finding fresh brown bear tracks was also something I will never forget). Thanks to our fantastic, friendly and extremely knowledgeable guides (thanks in particular to Mihai), we learned loads about the area and were made to feel very welcome indeed. I would recommend this trip to anyone - it was brilliant.
Can’t recommend this trip enough, the hosts are amazing (knowledgable, friendly and extremely helpful), food and accommodation also top knotch.
An incredible trip from start to finish! The hiking was wonderful and the views were insane. Topped off by seeing fresh bear tracks on our final day!! Mihai, our guide, was a complete legend and always ensured we were having the best time. The lodgings were perfect and the hosts amazing. It was honestly the best weekend and there’s nothing I could say to make it better than it already was.
Very good and enjoyable trip, great guides with an indescribably good hostess. The main walk through the mountains is even better than the images lead you to believe!
A beautiful and cultural experience in a great area of the mountains.
I recommend spending a few days in Cluj, it's a lovely city.
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 118kg 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 2023 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.
No special skills are required, just a good fitness level and the ability to handle three to seven hours of hiking or snowshoeing. There will be some some short uphill sections to climb, but overall no significant elevation gain. Prior hiking experience is recommended as it will make your experience more enjoyable.
This will very much depend on the snow conditions at time of travel. Between January and March, the Apuseni mountains are is usually covered in snow. If snow is present, all hikes will take place using snowshoes and poles (these are included in the trip price and provided locally).
Snowshoes are a special type of footwear that enables you to spread your weight over a larger area, allowing you to move easily across powdery snow-covered terrain. If you have never tried this activity before, don't worry! Snowshoeing is incredibly easy, comfortable and safe. You simply clip your snowshoe to the outside of your hiking boot and off you go. You'll be in the hands of experienced and trained local guides who know the area intimately, who will guide you safely throughout the hike. You'll also have the opportunity to test the snowshoes on Day 1, before you head out on longer excursions on Days 2 and 3.
Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
Temperatures drop below zero during the night and down to zero during the daytime. It's usually colder in the mornings but warms up around noon.
Most foreign nationalities entering Egypt require a valid visa. Some, including UK and US citizens, can get a full Egyptian visa on arrival at Sharm el Sheikh or Cairo airports. A single entry visa is US$25 and it's advisable to have the correct change in USD. You will see visa kiosks on entry to the terminal: line up and buy your visa stamps, then join the passport control queue.
If arriving into Egypt via the Israel/Taba border, if you are not eligible for a visa on arrival or if you would prefer to organise this in advance and avoid the queues at the airport, it is also possible to get an e-visa in advance from the official Egypt e-Visa portal here.
If travelling into Sharm el Sheikh Airport, you may receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival for stays within Sharm el Sheikh resort, however, travel to the eastern section of the trekking area on this trip requires a full Egyptian visa.
The local tap water is safe to drink. Please bring along your own reusable water bottles (at least 1.5L) to fill up to avoid buying single-use plastic bottles.
Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.
Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.
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.
You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.
Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.
Pay In Installments
You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.
Full Financial Protection
Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.