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Adventures / Sub Zero

Snowshoe the Carpathian Mountains in Romania

Hike through the untouched snow and explore the karst caves of the Apuseni Mountains during this weekend adventure in Romania. 2 days off work.


Trip Ref #9871

Adventures / Sub Zero

Snowshoe the Carpathian Mountains in Romania

Hike through the untouched snow and explore the karst caves of the Apuseni Mountains during this weekend adventure in Romania. 2 days off work.

3 nights
Cluj-Napoca International Airport
Perfect for

Those looking to experience a landscape that feels like a whole new world. You should be fit enough for 2 days of moderate hiking.

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


This trip has all the ingredients of a winter getaway; in the highlands of the Apuseni Mountains, you’ll snowshoe for 2.5 days through spruce forest to a backdrop of winter wonderland panoramas, stopping along the way to hear stories from the natives and witness tradition life. Leaving no part untouched, you’ll even explore underground of this karstic landscape, through the many caves, including the famous Vartop Ice Cave.

  • 2.5 days snowshoeing
  • 3 nights guesthouse accommodation
  • Local, certified guide
  • All snowshoe equipment
  • All meals during the trip
  • Local transfers
  • Airport transfers
  • All taxes, insurances and licenses relative to the trip

Day 1: Travel to Casa de Piatra Hamlet

You’ll meet your guide at Cluj-Napoca Airport and head for a late lunch at a local restaurant in the old but vibrant city of Cluj-Napoca.

You’ll then take the 3-hour drive to Garda de Sus village in the mountains and on to Casa de Piatra hamlet by car or horse-pulled sledge. You will stay here during the entire trip at a local guesthouse.

When you arrive at the guesthouse, you’ll be welcomed with a warm drink and have a briefing with your guide. You may even have time for a light hike to explore the area before dinner.

1-1.5 hours snowshoeing

Day 2: Hike Through the Heart of the Mountains

After breakfast at the guesthouse, you’ll don your snowshoes in preparation for a 6-7-hour hike; expect deep forests and large silky meadows.

As you begin to tire, you‘ll stop for a warming tea with a local family at their shelter and learn about traditional living in the mountains.

You’ll begin your hike back to the guesthouse through spruce forest and follow the narrow trail lined with wild animal tracks. You’ll arrive back at the guesthouse before sunset for dinner and a good night’s rest.

6-7 hours snowshoeing

Day 3: Explore the Underground Wonderland

After breakfast this morning, it’s time to explore beneath the snow; you’ll hike in your snowshoes to the Vartop Cave, famous for its limestone jewels and popular for the beauty of its natural rock formations.

On your way back to the guesthouse for lunch, you’ll stop off at the Coiba Mare caves and explore the karstic system, understanding its form and function.

After lunch at the guesthouse, you’ll head back out in the snow to the Tauz karstic spring, the deepest underwater cave in Romania.

You’ll return for your final evening at the guesthouse. Enjoy dinner and recall stories of your trip with the group.

approx 7 hours snowshoeing

Day 4: One last hike then time to head home

There is time for one final hike this morning, before a quick lunch and packing your bags ahead of your transfer back to the airport.

approx 3 hours snowshoeing

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

You’ll stay at the local guesthouse in the remote and beautiful hamlet of Casa de Piatra throughout the duration of your trip. The guesthouse offers comfortable rooms and full board meals. Rooms are allocated on a twin or triple room based, same gender sharing.

Solo private rooms are not available on this trip unfortunately.

The Apuseni Mountains, also known as the Western Carpathians, are not the highest mountain range (the highest peak is Cucurbata Mare Peak at 1849 m) but offers breathtaking landscapes and traditional living. Hosting a rich fauna and flora, the Apuseni Mountains are unique in Romania and, in many respects, in Europe.

This world of deep forests and large silky meadows, impressive gorges and canyons, legendary waterfalls and fascinating caves is also home to an abundant variety of animals and plants.

You will meet people and communities whose unique way of life is still a long row of traditions and customs and with stories as old as the mountains.

Start Point

Cluj-Napoca Airport - 13:45
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.

3 hours transfer to Garda de Sus village & 30-minute transfer to Casa de Piatra hamlet

Finish Point

Cluj-Napoca Airport - 18:00
At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Cluj-Napoca Airport (CLJ) at 18:00. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 20:00.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for your guides (optional)

Unfortunately not. Due to a few steeper ascents and long hiking days, the minimum age for this trip is 18.

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it's a great way to meet like-minded people.

You need to be reasonably fit to manage moderate hikes from 3 to 7 hours long, however are no significant ascends or descends so no special skills are required

Vartop Ice Cave is a tourist cave but not a show one. Therefore, please inform your host in advance, if you are claustrophobic.

Temperatures drop below zero during the night and around zero during the daytime. Light winds, sometimes. It is usually colder in the mornings and then warmer around noon.

Local food cooked with local ingredients from the guesthouse farm; usually it's vegetables, meat, home dairy products, homemade bread, homemade drinks. Warm soups are usually served as a starter. Herbal teas (mainly blueberry) and coffee.

If you have any special requests, let us know. We can accommodate a wide range of diets including vegan, vegetarian and dairy free diets.

  • Snowshoes
  • Hiking poles

Your host recommends to pack:

  • Sun glasses
  • Sun cap/hat
  • Warm hat/headband
  • Gloves
  • One pair of synthetic underwear (top & bottom)
  • One functional shirt for the hike (we recommend merino or synthetic)
  • One or 2 layers of socks (merino wool or synthetic)
  • One fleece or merino pullover/sweater
  • Rain/windproof (Gore-Tex) jacket with hood
  • Rain/windproof (Gore-Tex) pant / rain-pants (we recommend either a combination of a thermal layer and a waterproof hard shell trouser or an insulated waterproof skiing pants)
  • 15 to 35 liter/around 1500 cubic inch backpack (you should be able to carry your gear comfortably, we recommend a backpack with a good waist belt)
  • Dry bag or plastic bag to keep the most necessary things dry in the backpack
  • Mountain boots
  • Snow gaiters
  • Minimum 1.5-liter bottle (thermos bottle recommended)

Other recommendations are:

  • Sun cream at least SPF 20
  • Lip balm
  • Camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)

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