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Romania, Transylvania

The great forests of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania are amongst the best-preserved ecosystems in Europe. Around the village of Sinca Noua there are still thousands of hectares of virgin forests, the scenery is stunningly beautiful and large flocks of sheep roam free in the unfenced valleys.

Your hosts run one of Europe’s largest private conservation project, the establishment of a new 200,000 ha National Park all across the South-Central Carpathian Mountains. The area has Europe’s highest concentration of large carnivores and the centre-based rides offers the opportunity to even watch wild brown bears from a hide. The adjacent Transylvanian hills are the location of the Transylvania Trail, a fascinating ride over endless hills covered with pastureland – as if they were made for horse-back riding. In the villages inbetween time seems to stand still, not many cars visit these villages and the pace of life on the small farms is still as it used to be hundreds of years ago.

You can choose between staying on the farm all week or riding on a "real" trail ride with a variety of accommodation or combine a trail ride with local culture.

 

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Accommodation and food

Accommodation and food

The riding centre, built in 2004, combines local traditions with western standards. The centre has a new, tasteful and modern guest house with 9 double rooms and private bathrooms. Two living rooms, one with a fireplace and bar that is inviting for relaxing evenings. Downstairs there is a pleasant dining room and there is a large veranda outside where you can sit in the summer. There is free wireless internet throughout the building.

Safe deposit box: No
A/C: No
Hair Dryer: At request
Towels and sheets: Yes
Fridge: No

On the Carpathia Trail Ride you stay at the riding centre all week in double room with private bathroom and possibly one night in tents. It is possible to book a single room on request.
On Transylvania Trail Ride you stay the first and last night at the riding centre and the rest of the nights in small guest houses and farms in double- triple room with shared bathroom.

The food you will be offered is mainly organic food from the own garden, own chickens, turkeys, and pigs, or from surrounding farms.

Horses

The horses are Arabians, Shagya-Arabians, Hungarian and local half-bloods. There are about 25 horses with different temperaments and experience. Some of the horses have competed at an elite level in endurance riding. There are also some ponies. They provide saddlebags for the week ride.

Transylvania Trail Ride – Centre based

Transylvania Trail Ride – Centre based

You will be welcomed at Bucharest airport and driven to the riding center where a tasty meal awaits you. You will have a good night’s sleep in one of the farm's lovely double rooms and then head out on a test ride. You are treated to great views of the mountains and long gallops across the fields. Your English-speaking guides know the area and its history inside and out and it's fantastic to be able to benefit from their knowledge about predators and the wilderness.

The riding is varied and will be at a good pace when the terrain allows. You pass through small villages and get to see what life is like in rural areas. It is as if you have gone back in time 100 years.

You can take a trail ride where you stay on the farm all week, with the chance of one night in tents. It is possible to book a single room, EUR 70 for the week payable on site at the riding center.

Midweek the horses get a rest and you head off to visit Viscri who has many colorful stories to tell and you will be  invited to enjoy a special meal with homemade wine and plum brandy.

The last riding days will be a trail ride up into the predator-filled mountains. If weather permits, you will stay overnight in tents (sleeping bags and camping matts can be provided for 15 EUR/person) . Your food is cooked over an open campfire and it's exciting to sit in the dark and listen to the wolves howling.

This week not only gives you great riding but also a unique insight into the interactions between predators and humans.

Daily Schedule (subject to change due to local circumstances):

Day 1
Arrival at Bucharest airport where you will be picked up and driven to your guesthouse in Sinca Noua. The trip takes about 3 hours. Welcome drink and dinner is served and you spend the evening with Barbara and Christoph preparing you for your week.

Day 2
After breakfast you will be shown around the farm and introduced to the horses. Soon we take off for a first 3 h-ride passing beautiful hay meadows, ancient pastureland, and old beech forests. You will have time to get used to the horses,
the equipment and the terrain. The hills offer a fantastic view over the area and the meadows invite for some first trot or canter. Upon return, after a short lunch, we will drive up a forest road to the famous virgin forest of Stramba Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site). We will do a 2-hour hike, see these century old giant beech and fir trees (amongst them the tallest known tree of Romania), and learn about the ecosystem of the mixed mountain forests of the Carpathians.

Day 3
Today we head off for a full day-ride along the meadows and through the forests at the foot of the mountains. We will have stunning views and lots of possibilities for canters over the meadows. You will be stunned by the variety of wild flowers and we might come across tracks of bears or wild boar. We do our lunch breaks on beautiful meadows with spectacular views and return in the afternoon back to the stable. 

Day 4
Today, the horses will rest and you will instead learn about Transylvania’s exciting history. You head off from the riding center and drive for about 1½ hours to the medieval village of Viscri. Attractions here include the famous fortified church dating from the Turkish invasion. In Viscri, you will be served a traditional Saxon meal with homemade wine and plum brandy. After the visit to Viscri, you continue to the town of Sighisoara and its well-preserved medieval old town. Both Sighisoara and Viscri are listed on UNESCO’S World Heritage List.

You return to the riding center in the evening.

Day 5 and 6
A two-day tour of about 50km that involves riding over rolling hills and through deep woods together with some long gallops. In the afternoon, you reach an area where time seems to have stood still. Here people's lives have not changed much since the Middle Ages. The small mountain farms still use bullocks and horses and many lack running water and electricity. You will camp overnight at one of these farms. Tents, sleeping bags and food etc. will be provided. You will enjoy a dinner cooked over a campfire before it's time to crawl into your sleeping bags. You might even be able to hear the howling of wolves in the distance ....? In the morning you ride through the forests of Transylvania where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Carpathian Mountains. You return to the riding center in the afternoon. If you don’t fancy camping out in tents, we are happy to pick you up after dinner (20 min walk is necessary) and drive you to the guesthouse for the night and back again the next morning.

Day 7
Your last ride for the week takes you in a great arc around Sinca Noua, through woods and across meadows where you can enjoy both galloping and beautiful views. After three hours riding, you will return to Sinca Noua in time for lunch.You then travel to Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle.

Day 8
Time to say goodbye and head home. After breakfast, you are driven to the airport in Bucharest.

Minimum Number 4 riders.

Other:
Depending on season and weather you may be offered a trip to a hide in the forest where you can see wild brown bears, foxes and even wolves. (30 EUR extra).

One day, instead of dinner at the riding center, you may be offered a visit to a genuine shepherd’s camp. There, you will see how to milk sheep and make cheese. The trip ends with a barbecue of roast mutton and traditional shepherds’ fare. Note that this opportunity is yet to be finalized, as the location of the shepherd’s camp has not been determined. 

Reservation
We reserve the right to change the day-to-day program due to weather and other local conditions, without affecting the program's character.

Transylvania Trail Ride - different accommodation each night

Transylvania Trail Ride - different accommodation each night

You will cover about 22-38 km per day, ca. 3-7 hours per day (incl. lunch break) on horseback along ancient paths that go from one medieval village to the other. The ride takes you through the beautiful mountain passes and over vast moors. You will spend the night in small guesthouses and the homes of the locals. If you are curious about the "real" Transylvania, this is perfect for you.

The ride is a bit like an expedition where you get to experience the Romanian countryside up close. The ride goes through central / southern Transylvania, which is perfect for riding. It is fantastic to be able to explore the mountains, the plains and the medieval villages on horseback.

The riding center is located at Sinca Noua, in the foothills of the Carpathians in southern Transylvania.  You ride through a hilly landscape with thousands of grazing sheep and pass medieval villages where you will see some of Eastern Europe's most beautiful churches.

Program (subject to change due to local circumstances)

Saturday
Arrival at Bucharest airport where you will be picked up and driven to Sinca Noua. You stay in the farm’s guesthouse. You are invited to dinner and you will go through the week’s riding ahead. Single rooms are available.

Sunday 
After being introduced to the horses, you will leave Şinca Nouă (pronounced Shinca Noah), ride along the valleys and over the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains towards the plains of the Olt River valley. You pass several Romanian Villages, have your first long canters through the fields and cross the Olt River just before you arrive after about 6 hours at your destination in Hălmeag, where you will stay in the houses of local people. 29 km distance

Monday
You will ride along the Olt River from Hălmeag to Șona, where you will enter into the hills of Transylvania. You ride along a beautiful ridge with marvellous views to the Fagaras Mountains and reach your goal of the day in Cobor, an old Hungarian village in the middle of the Saxon area. Today, you ride a total of ca. 5,5 h hours and will start to experience the beauty of this ancient land. In Cobor, your hosts run a conservation project, which includes the development of an organic farm with emphasis on biodiversity conservation In Cobor, your hosts run a conservation project, which includes the development of an organic farm with emphasis on biodiversity conservation and the traditional restoration of some of the abandoned houses. You stay overnight in one of these new-old guesthouses for the next two days. 26 km distance.

Tuesday
Full-day ride (6 h) around Cobor with stunning views, fast canters, and rich birdlife: You are likely to see bee-eaters, hoopoes, great grey shrikes, stone chats, or lesser spotted eagles. In the late afternoon you are back in Cobor and can chill out in the old stables or in the cellar bar. Ca. 30km distance

Wednesday
A full day’s riding over the mountains to Viscri and your next overnight stay. Viscri is known for its stunning church. The British Mihai Eminescu Trust (under the patronage of Prince Charles) has restored village to its original condition. You will stay on small farms converted into guesthouses and enjoy traditional Saxon cuisine. In the afternoon, there will be time to walk around the village and maybe visit a blacksmith, who still works in exactly the same way as his ancestors have done for centuries. Alternatively, you can hike to a small brick factory where everything is still done by hand. About 38 km, 7 hours of riding.

Thursday
In the morning you explore the fortified church in Viscri, enjoy the beautiful view over the village, and have a lunch before you go. In the afternoon, you ride over the hills to a log-house on a big meadow in the forest near the village of Jibert. Stunning scenery and great canters all along the way. Today is a rather fast but shorter ride, ca. 3 – 3,5 hours. You get a great dinner and will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Transylvanian countryside. 22 km distance.

Friday
Today is your last day (ca. 6 h), but there are again plenty of canters over the hills and through the forests. Eventually you arrive in the Olt Valley, have a beautiful ride along the ridge through ancient oak pastures and descend from there through the forests towards Halmeag, where your ride ends. Here you enjoy a snack and a bus takes you back to Sinca Noua and also your horses get a transport back home. Surprise dinner in the evening. 34 km distance

Saturday
After breakfast, transfer by minibus to Bucharest airport.

Minimum number of riders is 4 and maximum 8 riders.

Climate

As you are staying in a mountainous environment, the weather can change, but normally it is quite nice and warm during the day and cooler at night. High summer is hot. It can reach freezing temperatures in the mountains during the nights starting in October.

Travel Information

Ability description: Trail Ride Level 2-3 >>

Included in the price: 7 nights, 5-6 days riding, full board incl. beverages with meals (including wine, beer), return transfer Bucharest airport.

Not included: Flights, insurance, extras not mentioned, rent of sleeping bag for camping overnight stay (Carpathia Trail Ride): approx. 15 EUR.

Riding: Trail rides with 3-7 hours / day in the saddle. There are horses for less experienced and experienced riders.

Travel: Book flight/rental car >> 
Fly to Bucharest.
Time: Book flights arriving no later than 4.00 pm and departing no earlier than 2:00 pm on day of departure

Transfer: Book in advance with HorseXplore.
Transfer from Otopeni Airport Bucharest to Sinca Noua is included, about a 3 hour trip.
Meeting spot: You will be met at the airport in the upstairs arrivals hall by the café Gaia at 4pm. The driver will be holding a sign with the riding centre name.

Single room: It is possible to book a single room on the Carpathia Trail Ride, for EUR 84 for the whole week. On the Transylvania trail ride single rooms are available on some nights for 15 EUR / night. The supplement is payable locally to the riding center.

Currency: Lei (RON). Euro is accepted at many places frequented by tourists. Change into Romanian lei at the airport in Bucharest. The Riding Centre accept euros.
Credit card: The Riding Centre do not accept credit cards. Credit cards are used mainly in large cities and at petrol stations.
Tipping: It is common for the guests to leave tips at the end of their stay. There is really not any typical amount, but any amount are of course very welcome and appreciated. 

Wifi: Yes
Electricity jack: Standard EU 2 plug.

Group size: Min. 2 on the centre based ride and min. 4 on the trail ride. Max 8

Weight limit: 90kg.

Age limit: Everyone are welcome, to ride you need to be a competent rider.

Closest village: 23 km away.
Beach: No
Pool: No

Misc.:
You will be asked if you want to give 40 EUR to support a local fund for the development and conservation of predatory animals in the area (payable locally).
You need to bring your own helmet, they are obligatory
Saddle bag available: Yes
Special diet: Inform when booking.

Feedback from our travellers

Dates and prices

"Book on request" means that we cannot confirm your booking immediately, but we will get back to you as soon as possible with a booking confirmation, normally within 24 hours on weekdays.

DateDaysName of tripPrice from
25/05/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,150Book on request
01/06/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
08/06/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
15/06/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
22/06/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
29/06/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
06/07/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
13/07/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail RideEUR 1,875Book on request
20/07/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail rideEUR 1,275Book on request
27/07/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
03/08/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
10/08/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
17/08/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail rideEUR 1,275Book on request
31/08/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
21/09/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,275Book on request
28/09/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
05/10/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,150Book on request
12/10/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
19/10/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,150Book on request
26/10/20248Romania - Transylvania Trail Ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,875Book on request
02/11/20248Romania - Transylvania centre based trail ride
Fully booked
EUR 1,150Book on request

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