Adventures / Sub Zero

Hike Romania's Carpathian Mountains in Winter

Stomp through untouched powder, see the beautiful Apuseni Mountains and explore a mysterious network of caves and chambers

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Trip Ref #9871

Adventures / Sub Zero

Hike Romania's Carpathian Mountains in Winter

Stomp through untouched powder, see the beautiful Apuseni Mountains and explore a mysterious network of caves and chambers

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

Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No special skills are required but expect hikes of around 3 to 7 hours with no significant ascents.

Featured as, 'One of the best activity holidays in Europe' by The Guardian

Snowshoe through a winter wonderland and cross deep spruce forests and silky meadows to visit remote mountain communities

Descend the deepest cavern in Romania in search of the famous ancient Vârtop Glacier

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.

    Will, December 2021

    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!

    James, December 2021

    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.

    Kirsty, December 2021

    Amazing trip. Great fun and fantastic scenery, snow shoeing in a winter wonderland!!

    Gail, March 2020

    The trip was excellent. Accommodation clean, cosy and the family who cooked the food were excellent. Mikey was a good leader and guide.

    Titanium, February 2020

    It was amazing.

    Dominique, February 2020

    These adventures simply proved awesome on so many levels: exciting hiking paths, breathtaking scenery, very cosy and rustic accommodation in a remote hamlet, tasty homemade Romanian food and lovely hosts. Last but not least: a big thank you to Paul for organising everything so perfectly and to Mihai who is a very experienced and friendly guide. I can’t possibly think of one single negative criticism. Just go ahead and book, you won’t regret it. Wonderful time guaranteed.

    Jasmine, February 2020

    I could not recommend this trip more! It is such a beautiful area to go hiking, with a great variety of beautiful scenery. Our guide Mikey was absolutely fantastic, very knowledgeable and great fun. Everything was well organised and it was a real highlight to spend a few days feeling like you were part of a local Romanian community, living a sustainable way of life that you don’t often see. The home-cooked meals were also incredible!

    Olivia, January 2020

    The trip is a wonderful opportunity to spend a few days feeling so active in the fresh air surrounded by spectacular scenery. The highlight of the trip for me was the local guide knowledge and the guest house which represented a rare opportunity to experience traditional Romanian food and a remote self-sufficient way of life which is so precious and rare these days

    Mark, March 2019

    The guide was very knowledgable and friendly. The treks were beautiful and the host was an amazing cook!

    Nick, March 2019

    Excellent guide - Mehi was very knowledgable and good fun.

    Included

    Guides

    Local, fully-certified guides

    Accommodation

    3 nights in a 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

    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 airport transfer to Garda de Sus village 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 hours transfer 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 Romania from airports across the UK and Europe.

    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 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 room rooms based on same-gender sharing with full-board meals.

    Upgrades

    Unfortunately private rooms are not available on this trip.

    Day 1

    Casa de Piatra

    Grab a late lunch in the old but vibrant city of Cluj-Napoca and then drive to the village of Garda de Sus. From here you'll continue to the remote hamlet of Casa de Piatra by car or horse-pulled sledge. Enjoy a hot drink followed by a briefing with your guide and if time explore the area by snowshoe before dinner.

    Day 2

    Heart of the mountains

    Snowshoeing

    6-7hrs · 14km · 540m up · 540m down

    Don your snowshoes and head deep into the wilderness. Stop for tea with a local family and learn about life in the mountains, then return to your guesthouse in time for dinner by following narrow trails lined with wild animal tracks.

    Day 3

    Explore an underground wonderland

    Snowshoeing

    7hrs · 11km · 340m up · 300m down

    Hike to the Vartop Cave, famous for its limestone jewels and the unreal beauty of its rock formations. Return to your guesthouse, stopping off at the Coiba Mare caves to explore this unique cavern system. After lunch, head back out onto the snow and visit the Tauz karstic spring, the deepest underwater cave in Romania.

    Day 4

    One last hike

    Snowshoeing

    2-3hrs · 5km · 100m up · 60m down

    Enjoy some final time on the powder, then after a spot of lunch, head 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's included?

    • Snowshoes
    • Hiking poles

    What do I need to bring?

    Bags

    • 20 to 35 litre: you should be able to carry your 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 & 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)

    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 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.

    No special skills are required, just the ability to handle hikes of 3 to 7 hours with no significant ascents.

    Sure can! Over 50% 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 reviews say it all - as well as The Guardian in their piece '20 of the best activity holidays in Europe'!

    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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