Siebenburgen is the name the Saxon settlers gave to the region between Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu. They came in the region in the early Middle Ages. The first colonists should have been Flemish, Walloon, French and Dutch farmers. They most likely remained behind during or after the first crusade in the 11th century. The Saxons, invited by the Hungarian king, came later and were the biggest group, absorbing the others. They constructed and organized the country. This is clearly visible in the beautiful medieval towns Brasov. The old medieval town was an impressive fortified bastion against Ottoman and Tartar invasions. Even the small villages had their fortified churches. All this can still be seen today. You can visit several museums.
The trip brings you further at the edges of the mysterious Carpathian Mountains. You walk at the western flanks of the Bucegi Mountains and the eastern flanks of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. The wildlife is very divers and there is still chamois, brown bear, wolf and even lynx. Wild brown bear can often easy be seen because they like the garbage bins of the tourist resort Poiana Brasov. The Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains are further known for the abundance and diversity of flowers and plants. The villages you hike through start to change. The region is near Bucharest and tourism, especially rural tourism, is very well developed. This has advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that tourism infrastructure is here far more developed and modernized then in the rest of the country. Rooms have private bathrooms, there are restaurants, shops. The disadvantage is that the region looses bit by bit its authenticity. Still the mountain villages keep to their traditions, there are still shepherds and agriculture is still done as it was 50 years ago. The region around Brasov is way more frequented by tourists then other mountain regions in Romania, but still far below the crowded Tartar Mountains or Alps. And if you don't come in July and August you might be the only hikers on the trails we described.
Accommodation is provided in double rooms with private bathrooms. The meals are included and you have breakfast, lunch packet and warm dinner. You get from us a very detailed description and several good maps for the hikes.
Luggage transport is provided.
Day 1: Arrival. The trip starts in Brasov. Brasov was built at the foot of the Carpathian Mountain ridge to protect the fertile Burzenland from the east. The unique location at the foot of the mountains and the short distance to the ski resort Poiana Brasov just 10km away made from Brasov a fascinating tourist attraction year round. A part of the old fortifications can still be seen and visited today. There is a funicular running up the Tampa hill from where you have superb views over the town. There is the magnificent Black church (the biggest Gothic building that far east) and there are several museums.
Day 2: You walk from Brasov to Risnov. It is a beautiful hike through the mountains towards Poiana Brasov and then descending through evergreen forest in Risnov. In the beginning of the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights were invited to organize the defense of the Saxon colonists. They did that by building in an amazing short time 5 fortresses in the region of which one was Rosenau. The fortress is ideally located a few hundred meters above the village on a rock. In years of war the whole population of Rosenau found shelter in the big fortress. For many years the fortress was in ruins, but a couple of years ago the restoration started in earnest and about half of the fortress looks again as it was during the Middle Ages. You stay overnight in Risnov. Hiking: 5-6 hours, climbing: 520m, descending: 480m
Day 3: Trip from Risnov to Bran. The level hike brings you in the fertile land at the foot of the 2000m high Bucegi Massif. You have superb views over the mountain range. Bran is worldwide known for its "Dracula castle" The novel that Bram Stoker wrote had nothing to do with the real Dracula. There was never such a thing as the Vampire Dracula. Furthermore, there was also no castle available where he could have lived, so wrongly Bran castle was promoted as Dracula castle. The only relation between the real Dracula and Bran castle is that he might have attacked it. Vlad Dracula was a Wallachian cruel ruler and had many problems with the Saxons. He made several raids into Burzenland from his fortress in Poienari. Once he impaled several hundreds of Saxons on stakes nearby Brasov. Bran Castle was built by Saxon merchants at the mountain passage to protect the town Brasov and Burzenland. In the beginning of the 20th century, Queen Elisabeth choose it as her living quarters and restored and modernized the castle. It can be visited and it looks as it was during her reign. Below the rock on which the castle is built there is a small open-air museum with several farms and a watermill. There is further a permanent artisan market with products from all over the country. You stay in Bran for the night. Hiking: 5 hours, climbing: 450m, descending: 350m
Day 4: Hike to Moieciu de Sus. You leave Bran and climb the Balaban ridge. From the ridge you have beautiful views over the region and the limestone massif Piatra Craiului. You descend to the settlement Simon, known for it's special smoked cheese. You climb the 1200m high Secatura ridge. You come along small mountain alms and wooden huts and descend in the Bangaleasca valley to the village Moieciu de Sus where you stay for two nights. Hiking: 6,5 hours, climbing: 550m, descending: 340m
Day 5: Hiking trip on the western slopes of the Bucegi Mountains. the trip brings you through a dense evergreen forest and to the sub alpine region with the saddle Batrîna at 2000m. From here you have superb views over Bran country and the surrounding Mountains. You follow the hiking trail to the Strunga saddle at 1909 m, from where you leave the main ridge and hike to the Grohotis meadow with huge limestone rocks. You descend further through the forest and arrive again in Moieciu de Sus. Hiking: 8-9 hours, climbing: 1250m, descending: 1250m
Day 6: Moieciu de Sus - Sirnea. You leave the village by the Moeiciu cald River and climb towards the ridge of the Fundatica Mountains. You descend in the small settlement and further to the village Fundata. You hike further through the superb karst mountains to the village Sirnea. The village differs in this way that the farms are scattered over the mountains. You stay here for the next night. Hiking: 5-6 hours, climbing: 550m, descending: 280m
Day 7: Sirnea - Zarnesti. The hike brings you into the national Park Piatra Craiului. It is the region with the largest biodiversity of the Carpathian Mountains. On the high cliffs there is the black chamois and in the forest is brown bear, wolf, wild boar, deer and stag, foxes and even lynx. You leave the village and walk to the Coja ridge from where you descend in the Seaca Pietrelor valley at the foot of the ridge. You walk further to the cabana Curmatura at 1400m. The whole time you will have fascinating views over the limestone rocks of the Piatra Craiului ridge. You walk to Zarnesti by the spectacular canyon Prapastiilor Zarnestii, with 250m high vertical walls. You stay overnight in Zarnesti. Hiking: 7-8 hours, climbing: 800m, descending: 1050m.
Day 8: Trip to the village Magura at 1000m altitude and further to Bran. Magura is a picturesque village with wooden farms scattered over the hills, deep valleys, patches of forest, small hay fields. You cross the village and hike to the Magura Mica ridge at 1375 m, from where you descend to Bran to the former medieval border between the countries Wallachia and Transylvania. The old border building are nowadays a museum. Hiking: 6-7 hours, climbing: 570m, descending: 500m.
Day 9: Breakfast and transfer back to Brasov, end of program.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Romania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey
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