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Snowshoe the Carpathian Mountains in Romania
5.0
| 40 reviews

Hike Romania's Carpathian Mountains in Winter

Head to the Apuseni Mountains to crunch through untouched powder and explore a mysterious network of ancient caves

Duration

3 nights

Annual Leave

2 days off work

Group Size

Up to 8 people

Season

Dec-Mar

Location

Romania

Meeting Point

Cluj-Napoca International Airport

Classic Accommodation

Guesthouse

Customer Reviews

(40)

5.0

Difficulty

Moderate

From

From

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

Day 1

Welcome to Casa de Piatra!

Casa di Piatra, Romania. Photo: Guesthouse/Casa di 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.

Day 2

The heart of the Apuseni Mountains

Snowshoeing

6-7hrs · 14km · 540m up · 540m down

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.

Day 3

Explore Transylvania's underground wonderland

Vartop Cave, Carpathian Mountains, Romania. Photo: Customer/Jasmine Baird

Snowshoeing

5-6hrs · 11km · 340m up · 300m down

Caving

1hr

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.

Day 4

One last hike

Snowshoeing

2-3hrs · 5km · 100m up · 60m down

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.

Included

Guides

Local, English-speaking fully-certified guides

Accommodation

3 nights in a family-run guesthouse

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Equipment

All your snowshoe equipment

Permits

All permits and licenses

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Tips for your guides

Visas where required

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Guesthouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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 Pietra pension - Photo: client sandy,mason
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.

Upgrades

Due to the nature of the accommodation, private rooms are not available on this trip.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Cluj-Napoca Airport

13:45 on Day 1

Ends

Cluj-Napoca Airport

15:00 on Day 4

Transfers

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.

Travel options

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.

What's included?

  • Snowshoes
  • Hiking poles

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • 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

Clothing

  • Sun cap/warm hat/headband
  • Gloves
  • 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)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Extra night in Garda de Sus (Single, Twin or Double)

Payable Before Departure

Extra night in Garda de Sus (Single, Twin or Double)

Ellen H.(March 2024)
Nice, healthy mini break

Really enjoyed this short getaway to a country I know very little about. It was a unique way to meet real people and learn about Romania. Mihai was great fun to be with and his enthusiasm for hiking was contagious.

Really nice group as well. We laughed a lot, had mountains of food cooked for us and caught the last bit of the winters snow.

It’s a long drive from the airport to the mountains but besides that, a great experience.

Angharad O.(March 2024)
A great trip to switch off and reset!

I've just returned from a much-needed break in the beautiful Romanian wilderness to recover from an incredibly stressful few months – teetering on the edge of burnout. This was my fourth MBA trip, and I am forever for the opportunity to meet new people. Our guide, Mihai, shared his passion and knowledge of the area, teaching us how to identify animal tracks in the snow and sharing local history. My companions' advice, stories, and jokes will stay with me for a long time. The group makes or breaks a trip, and I could not have wished for a better group of people to share these experiences with.

The food is delicious – seamlessly catering to my dietary requirements without making me feel like an awkward weirdo. The blueberry liquor is plentiful and delicious, and a welcome lunchtime warmer. The views are breathtaking, and the hikes are just the right balance of challenging and manageable, leaving us feel satisfied and happy-tired at the end of a long day out and about. And the family cat even graced us with his presence!

I am terrified of small, dark spaces, so going caving was up there as one of my worst nightmares. Although a relatively insignificant thing, pushing myself to be uncomfortable, surrounded by a supportive group, proved when we do hard things, we are rewarded with unbelievable beauty - a nice metaphor for life!

I highly recommend this trip if you need to switch off and/or are keen to learn about a new culture.

Alex B.(March 2024)
Epic weekend in the wilderness

What an epic winter weekend in the wild.

Great views, great food & great company.

To see wolf tracks in the snow but to feel mega safe at the same (if this makes sense) time was amazing.

Daniel P.(February 2024)
Snow Shoeing and so much more

A great chance to try snow shoeing in the Carpathian Mountains. There was a long bus drive from Cluj Airport to the final destination but lunch was arranged enroute to break up the journey and give us our first taste of Romanian food. Our guide Mihai ensured that we were well looked after on (and in) the mountains and he had plenty of stories to tell of growing up in Romania. Mihai was very knowledgeable about the area and he clearly has a love of mountaineering of the environment, he is a fantastic ambassador for MBA.

Laura B.(February 2024)
Fabulous weekend in beautiful mountains

Just finished a wonderful weekend in the mountains snowshoeing and exploring caves. The guest house was wonderful, food was divine, the rooms were clean and comfy and our guide Michel was so knowledgable and wanted to ensure we were all really well looked after.

Shababa S.(February 2024)
A great winter experience!

My first trip with Much Better Adventures and it did not disappoint! The trip was excellent from start to finish. Our guide, Mihai was fantastic and had a wealth of knowledge about the history and surroundings. The guesthouse is located in a beautiful location with delicious, locally sourced home cooked meals. Overall, had a brilliant time meeting new people, snowshoeing in the Carpathian Mountains with stunning views, and exploring local caves.

Nicholas L.(February 2024)
Epic weekend

This was my first trip with much better adventures but certainly won’t be my last. Everything was spot on, food, scenery, difficulty, organisation and accommodation. Mihai, our guide, was great throughout being approachable, friendly and helpful. The food was all traditional, locally sourced and the accommodation was very comfortable. The first day and slightly harder walking but very pleasant for anyone with a decent level was of fitness, while the second day was flatter and easier with the added bonus of caves. I’d definitely recommend to anyone considering.

Gillian B.(February 2024)
Enjoyable trip

Really enjoyed this experience. Everything was really well organised and our guide Mihai was excellent. The accommodation was warm and our hosts welcoming. The food was plentiful and delicious and as a vegetarian I was well catered for. I read a comment before the trip that if you can walk, you can snowshoe and that's definitely true. I would highly recommend this trip.

Linda B.(February 2024)
Fantastic trip to Romania

Fantastic trip to Romania. Everything was great from the delicious local home-cooked foods, comfortable accommodation, welcoming host family, Mihai the excellent guide and amazing scenery to snowshoe in. Definitely book this trip!

Hazel(February 2024)
A holiday everyone should have in their lifetime

What can I say except if you're thinking whether to book or not then there's no question that you just should. From start to finish it was by far one of the most memorable and fun holidays I've had in an awful long time. The driver who collected us from the airport and took us to lunch in a local restaurant was amazing and well knowledged. The food was traditional and a true insight into Romanian culture. And then he drove us up into the mountains to our accommodation. The chalet there was perfect for what we needed for the long weekend with towels, hair dryer, and linen all provided in each room to make for a comfortable stay. We were greeted by our guide kn arrival who helped with our bags and then once settled in we sat down for a home made meal from the family who own the chalet. Mihai was everything you could ask of a guide and host too, and he accommodated to the group like an old friend who knew us all from the get go. There was plenty of time to get to know the group over the few days there and we had laughs and talks over all of the meals and more. The food was all traditional and home cooked. Breakfast included jams, bread, meats, cheeses, and of course their incredible blueberry tea. Lunches were packed by us all and consisted of left overs from the previous dinner as well as fresh fruit and blueberry liquor to help warm through while out. Dinners began with soup and bread, and then went onto meats and potato and vegetables for mains, and oh my days ended on cake to die for. Each evening seemed to get better than the last and we all were taken aback by the quality and taste of everything we ate. The experience itself with the snow shoes and crampons which fit all boots was amazing. Something I'd never done before but will certainly want to do again. Both easy to get to grasps with and plenty of time to practice while out walking on the mountains. There were caves that we were treated too as well, and we certainly needed our head torches and helmets to go in and explore as the spaces inside got smaller to get through before seeing the gallery halls open up. Isn't like any other cave experience I've ever seen, and when we all turned off our lights and stood in utter darkness listening to the water drops, it's a memory that won't leave me for a long time to come. The hiking was so much fun and although we had to turn back due to a white out on our larger hiking day, we didn't let it dampen our spirits, as we got back early and then went on to build snowmen (and dog), as well as having a snowball fight with the group and the hosts family of two children too. It was a very humble and enjoyable afternoon to be children and all enjoy the snow as it should be too. The whole weekend felt like nothing but joy and smiles from the beginning to the end, with plenty of self alone time if you choose to relax with or without the rest of the group. I couldn't recommend highly enough and to spend the weekend with like minded people who we all just gelled with straight away and an amazing guide, what wasn't to love about the Romanian hiking adventure. 😊❄️

Helen B.(February 2024)
The Best Ever Winter Experience

This is the most fantastic winter adventure experience. The hikes to the caves and across the snowy meadows were magical. Quite physical, and I would say more challenging than moderate, but we did have extremely snowy conditions. Our guide Mihai, was just wonderful in every way. The guesthouse is extremely welcoming and the food as others described, absolutely delicious. Finally, as a solo traveller, the group was such great fun, diverse in many ways, but I am so much more richer for going on this trip and meeting so many wonderful people.

Jouke G.(February 2024)
This is my second trip

This is my second trip with MBA in Romania, and I don't know how do they do it but again it makes me love this country more and more. Our guide, the driver, and the family in whose house we stayed in are so warm and lovely. A perfect organisation with the best at heart, show us the beauty of the Apuseni region and their way of living. It makes me want to come back and explore other parts of Romania again and again. I haven't even mentioned how impressive the landscape is. Waking up and the first thing you see when opening the curtains is a winter wonderland.

JAKE W.(January 2024)
10/10

10/10 trip

From the airport pickup, the lodge we stayed in, the family who looked after us, and our guide Mihai, a truely unforgettable experience.

Alison C.(January 2024)
“Doughnut mind if I do…”

A truly fantastic trip into unspoiled mountain wilderness - perfect snow, mountain sun, pristine nature, our charming and knowledgeable guide Mihai and a great bunch of fellow travelers. And did I mention the home cooked doughnuts…?

Patrick M.(January 2024)

Everything was perfect, Transport/Guide/accommodation/Food

caroline p.(January 2024)
Simply brilliant

Just returned from a weekend in Romania. I was worried as last year I’d done the ice walking in Slovakia and had a great time… how could anything compare! Well this was also brilliant. Our guide Mihai was brilliant. Very knowledgable and always so helpful clearing up after us, helping with kit or motivating the group. Our hosts at the hotel were amazing. Multigenerational family all pulling together to make our stay authentic. If you want 5 star luxury this is not the trip for you. If you want rustic, homely, back to basics …true Romanian then this is your trip. The place and people were amazing. Book without hesitation

Irena K.(December 2023)
Fantastic trip!

Fantastic trip. The hosts were lovely and welcoming, and Mihaii was a wonderful guide- knowledgeable, friendly and helpful- and fun! The group was lovely too, and we got along brilliantly. The route was perfect- hills (and gorgeous views) on day 1, forest and a cave on day 2 and another cave on day 3. Snowshoeing was great fun and accessible for all. Highly recommend!

Simon(March 2023)

Great trip. Excellent host and local guide.

Samuel(March 2023)

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.

Gregory(March 2023)

Wonderful experience with excellent host, beautiful scenery and fantastic food. Would 100% recommend!

Georgina(March 2023)

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.

Ian(March 2023)

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.

Patrick(February 2023)