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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

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Trip Ref #9871

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
LOCATION
Romania
ANNUAL LEAVE
2 days off work
SEASON
Dec-Mar
GROUP SIZE
Up to 8 people
MEETING POINT
Cluj-Napoca International Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Guesthouse

OVERALL RATING

4.9

Based on 37 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

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

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)

Daniel P.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

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 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. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

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.

For current advice about travelling in Romania, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

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 always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

March 2024

Thursday • 7th March 2024

to Sunday • 10th March 2024
Fully Booked
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 12th December 2024

to Sunday • 15th December 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 19th December 2024

to Sunday • 22nd December 2024
1 Booked • 7 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 9th January 2025

to Sunday • 12th January 2025
3 Booked • 5 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 16th January 2025

to Sunday • 19th January 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 23rd January 2025

to Sunday • 26th January 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 30th January 2025

to Sunday • 2nd February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 6th February 2025

to Sunday • 9th February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 13th February 2025

to Sunday • 16th February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 20th February 2025

to Sunday • 23rd February 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 27th February 2025

to Sunday • 2nd March 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Thursday • 6th March 2025

to Sunday • 9th March 2025
8 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

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.

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