Oli
Enchanted Forests
Cycle Fans?
In the Field
A Break
Taste the Traditions
Lunch Stop?
Wine & Dine
Enchanting Encounters

Enchanted Saxon Transylvania, 6 Days, Slow Cycling in Romania

From: £ 1,550

 

 

 

A 5-night cycling & walking journey through the wild landscapes, enchanting Saxon villages and famous wildflower meadows of southern Transylvania.

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All about the Enchanted Saxon Transylvania, 6 Days, Slow Cycling in Romania.

Enchanted Saxon Transylvania

 

Overview

  • 6 Days, 5 Nights

  • Small Group Cycle Tour in Romania

  • Visit Remote UNESCO Villages

  • E-Bikes Available

  • English Speaking Guides

  • Walking and Cycling

  • Enchanted Forests

  • Wild Flower Meadows

Why Do We Recommend It?

Southern Transylvania is rich in nature and heritage.

An experienced cycle tour operator that loves the region.

Superb food, wine and culture to discover.

A destination away from mass tourism.

Is It Right for Me?

You’ll be riding and walking through forests, meadows and fields of wildflowers. There is very little traffic and most of our trails link smaller villages. It’s mostly tarmac, gravel roads and narrow forest trails.

You don’t need to be especially fit for this but some experience riding on dirt roads will help you. Many guests choose to use one of our e-bikes, which will make the days far less tiring.

This is a bike tour for first-time bike tourers and experts alike. There will always be someone riding at your pace and this is a ride to take your time and enjoy.

A great choice for anyone who really wants to experience Romania and meet the locals and learn more about the culture.

A good choice for solo travellers, couples of all ages.

 

What People Say About The Trip

One of the best holidays we have ever had. Pure magic from beginning to end. We have been riding on a high ever since returning home and have been telling everyone. ”

Can I Go Anytime?

The tour is scheduled for specific dates, which are the best for this tour, and you can find those while checking availability in the fields above. However, not all dates are guaranteed to run and some may already have filled. So, just enter the dates you’re interested in and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with confirmation of availability. We always do our best to get the trip that suits you best.

 

Itsy Bitsy Details

  • Where: Transylvania
  • Duration: 6 Days
  • Tour Starts: Richis, Romania
  • Tour Ends: Viscri, Romania
  • Fly To: Cluj-Napoca International Airport, CLJ
  • Fly From:Sibiu International Airport, SBZ
  • Group Size: 12 max
  • Operated By: The Slow Cyclist
  • The Cycling: Quiet gravel roads and forest trails

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The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Airport transfers (for recommended flights)
  • Support vehicle
  • Slow Cyclist host & English-speaking local guides
  • All accommodation, meals, snacks & drinks
  • All activities
  • Bicycle & helmet hire
  • 100% financial security

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • Single Supplement £250
  • Electric Bicycle Supplement £200
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Flights
  • Personal costs
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)
  1. Day 1 ARRIVAL

    For those arriving on the recommended flight, we provide the transfer to Richis (3 hours), a tiny village in the heart of Saxon Transylvania. There you will have dinner and stay in the former priest’s house adjoining the fortified church.

  2. Day 2 RICHIS TO MALANCRAV

    Cycling 8 or 27 kms – Walking 3.5 hours (or 30 kms cycling) We will show you some of our favourite things in Richis before cycling to Biertan, where we will visit its UNESCO church. From there it’s a short ride over the hill to Copsa Mare for lunch. In the afternoon we will cycle over a series of forested ridges to Nou Sasesc and on to Malancrav, where you will stay in a sumptuous 15th Century Hungarian mansion or in charming Saxon houses in the village.

  3. Day 3 MALANCRAV TO SIGHISOARA

    Cycling 37 kms – Walking 1.5 hours After visiting the fortified church in Malancrav, home to some of the best frescoes in Romania, we will spend the morning cycling to Stejareni for a picnic lunch in the meadows. In the afternoon we’ll climb on foot to Breite, a protected Saxon-planted oak forest. There we will meet our bikes again for the descent into Sighisoara’s celebrated citadel, the alleged birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Supper is a Transylvanian feast prepared by our friend Monica and you will stay at an elegantly restored Gothic townhouse.

  4. Day 4 SIGHISOARA TO CRIT

    Cycling 30 kms – Walking 2 hours (or 17 kms cycling) We will walk through Sighisoara in the morning to explore the Citadel’s history, before setting off on trails to Saschiz for lunch with our friends Anca and Charlie, some of the first members of Slow Food Transylvania. The trails give way to a long descent on forest roads into Crit for dinner in the simple home of Rozi, Nicu and family. Nicu cooks a mean barbeque in their beautiful orchard.

  5. Day 5 CRIT TO VISCRI

    Walking 2 hours (or 7 kms cycling) – Cycling 20 kms We’ll start the day with Mr Pandea, the village beekeeper who provides much of Highgrove’s honey. Leaving his home we’ll walk to Mesendorf for lunch in a private garden. In the afternoon it is back in the saddle for an incredible ride with sweeping views of some of Transylvania’s most magnificent sheep grazing country. Your home for the night will be a comfortable and traditional guesthouse in the picturesque village of Viscri.

  6. Day 6 DEPARTURE

    Cycle optional You may opt for a pre-breakfast bike ride, to be rewarded by unsurpassed views over the hills shrouded with mist. After a morning spent exploring Viscri’s UNESCO fortified church we will take you to Mosna for lunch at the home of Willy Schuster, a Saxon with a passion for all things organic. It’ll be an inspiring end to your time with us, as we say goodbye and send you on your way to Sibiu airport.

  7. Optional Extension TRIP EXTENSION

    Many of our guests spend more time in Romania either before or after their adventure with us. Whether you would like to hike in the Carpathians or explore the painted monasteries of Bucovina or the magnificent cultural traditions of Maramures, we can help. Let us know when booking and we will be in touch.

Slow Cycling in Romania

ABOUT ENCHANTED SAXON TRANSYLVANIA

Join us on a 5-night, supported and guided journey, on bikes and on foot, through a land that has been called ‘an outpost of medieval Europe.’ The Saxon villages of southern Transylvania are set in a bucolic landscape in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

We know the region like few others and will share the hospitality of local homes, visit remote UNESCO villages and fortified churches, sleep in beautiful traditional houses and witness a rural way of life that has changed little for centuries. You will cross remote meadows and high pastures and weave your way along cart tracks and through ancient oak and beech forests. Above all, you will have the opportunity to move at your own pace through a land of exceptional cultural and natural beauty.

ETHOS

Of the many guests we have hosted, the vast majority have been curious travellers with a bit of juice in their legs, approaching their time with us as a slow journey rather than a test of fitness. That’s not to say we don’t ride hard sometimes, just that we are often distracted by the food, history and people that make this place so special. When we see something interesting, we tend to stop and take it in rather than race by.

SEASON

July is a great time to visit the region. Weather tends to be excellent, with long days and cloudless skies and although temperatures regularly reach 30 degrees, there is plenty of shade in the forests, in which to rest.

“A fabulous holiday. The scenery, the flowers, the forests, the history, the beauty of it all spoke for itself, but the thought and extra touches that you put in made all the difference. A surprise around every corner.”

TANIA RUCK-KEENE, TRANSYLVANIA, MAY 2016

HISTORY OF SAXON TRANSYLVANIA

Transylvania formed the eastern-most reaches of the AustroHungarian Empire until 1918, when it was absorbed into modern Romania. It may be famous as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula but we suggest you leave your fanged preconceptions at home. Transylvania is home to some of Europe’s most beguiling and wild landscapes. The Saxon Villages of Tarnava Mare, cradled in the horseshoe of the Carpathian Mountains, were first colonized by Germans – or Saxons – from the 12th Century, when King Geza II of Hungary asked for protection from invading Ottomans and Tatars. The Saxons built fortifications; the most important towns were duly strengthened and smaller communities started by fortifying their church. Up to a quarter of a million Saxons remained for more than 800 years but the population began to decrease after World War II, when many returned to Austria and Germany. The migration continued under Ceausescu and today fewer than 35,000 Saxons live in Transylvania. They speak a dialect that is distinct from modern German and follow many of the religious and cultural customs that their families did for centuries. Their ancestral villages are shared with new neighbours: Romanians, Hungarians and Gypsies are breathing new life into abandoned houses, fields and vineyards and the result is an exhilarating fusion of cultures. It is a land of architectural, cultural and natural riches, where traditions, food and family are celebrated and visitors are welcomed with genuine warmth.

“Absolutely amazing. I’m left wondering where on earth I am going to go next that will match this experience.”

REBECCA EVANS, TRANSYLVANIA, JUNE 2015

ITINERARY

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL

For those arriving on the recommended flight, we provide the transfer to Richis (3 hours), a tiny village in the heart of Saxon Transylvania. There you will have dinner and stay in the former priest’s house adjoining the fortified church.

DAY 2 – RICHIS TO MALANCRAV

Cycling 8 or 27 kms – Walking 3.5 hours (or 30 kms cycling) We will show you some of our favourite things in Richis before cycling to Biertan, where we will visit its UNESCO church. From there it’s a short ride over the hill to Copsa Mare for lunch. In the afternoon we will cycle over a series of forested ridges to Nou Sasesc and on to Malancrav, where you will stay in a sumptuous 15th Century Hungarian mansion or in charming Saxon houses in the village.

DAY 3 – MALANCRAV TO SIGHISOARA

Cycling 37 kms – Walking 1.5 hours After visiting the fortified church in Malancrav, home to some of the best frescoes in Romania, we will spend the morning cycling to Stejareni for a picnic lunch in the meadows. In the afternoon we’ll climb on foot to Breite, a protected Saxon-planted oak forest. There we will meet our bikes again for the descent into Sighisoara’s celebrated citadel, the alleged birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Supper is a Transylvanian feast prepared by our friend Monica and you will stay at an elegantly restored Gothic townhouse.

DAY 4 – SIGHISOARA TO CRIT

Cycling 30 kms – Walking 2 hours (or 17 kms cycling) We will walk through Sighisoara in the morning to explore the Citadel’s history, before setting off on trails to Saschiz for lunch with our friends Anca and Charlie, some of the first members of Slow Food Transylvania. The trails give way to a long descent on forest roads into Crit for dinner in the simple home of Rozi, Nicu and family. Nicu cooks a mean barbeque in their beautiful orchard.

DAY 5 – CRIT TO VISCRI

Walking 2 hours (or 7 kms cycling) – Cycling 20 kms We’ll start the day with Mr Pandea, the village beekeeper who provides much of Highgrove’s honey. Leaving his home we’ll walk to Mesendorf for lunch in a private garden. In the afternoon it is back in the saddle for an incredible ride with sweeping views of some of Transylvania’s most magnificent sheep grazing country. Your home for the night will be a comfortable and traditional guesthouse in the picturesque village of Viscri.

DAY 6 – DEPARTURE

Cycle optional You may opt for a pre-breakfast bike ride, to be rewarded by unsurpassed views over the hills shrouded with mist. After a morning spent exploring Viscri’s UNESCO fortified church we will take you to Mosna for lunch at the home of Willy Schuster, a Saxon with a passion for all things organic. It’ll be an inspiring end to your time with us, as we say goodbye and send you on your way to Sibiu airport.

TRIP EXTENSION

Many of our guests spend more time in Romania either before or after their adventure with us. Whether you would like to hike in the Carpathians or explore the painted monasteries of Bucovina or the magnificent cultural traditions of Maramures, we can help. Let us know when booking and we will be in touch.

THE CYCLING & WALKING

The walking sections of the journey take you through a mix of pastoral and wild landscapes, from deciduous forests to high pastures and wildflower meadows. The cycling consists of quiet tarmac roads, gravel roads, cart tracks, meadows and narrow forest trails. These subtly designed trails have been built and maintained by some of our local team over the past few years. They connect several villages – often taking steep hills out of the equation – and enable us to travel through incredible landscapes in all weather conditions. For some of our guests, the trails take a little getting used to, but cyclists of all ages and abilities more often than not find them to be the cycling highlight of their visit.

Whether you are a novice or experienced cyclist, our guides are skilled at spotting your ability and level of confidence and reacting accordingly. Transylvania is hilly and the distances we cover, although not huge, are still not inconsiderable so although you don’t need to be Chris Froome, you should have good general fitness and be comfortable riding a bicycle on dirt roads and paths, up and down hills. There will always be someone travelling at your pace; this is a journey to take time over.

BIKES & E-BIKES

We supply the bikes and the variety of terrain means that hardtail (front suspension) mountain bikes are the best tool for the job. We also have electric mountain bikes and if the thought of pedalling up hills without sweating sounds even remotely appealing, we recommend you pay the supplement and opt for one. Pedalling is assisted so you’re able to choose how much energy to expend. Around 40% of our guests in Transylvania choose e-bikes these days and nobody has regretted it yet.

A FLEXIBLE APPROACH

There are very few people who know the hills, villages and people in this corner of Transylvania better than our local guides. We believe that travel is at its best when flexible and we are particularly proud of our ability to take each day as it comes, reacting to the different abilities, tastes and personalities in the group. For that reason, there will often be route changes, shortcuts and longer routes available for those who wish. With that in mind, please treat this itinerary as an initial guide. You are bound to have experiences, see places and meet people that we haven’t listed here.

There may be occasions when, for good reason, we cannot fulfil every detail in this itinerary. Please treat distances as estimates as the routes may vary.

“One of the best holidays we have ever had. Pure magic from beginning to end. We have been riding on a high ever since returning home and have been telling everyone.”

NIGEL SAVORY, TRANSYLVANIA, MAY 2018

GUIDES, HOST & SUPPORT

We know that guides can make or break a trip, which is why we are so pleased to have developed a fantastic local team of guides with skills and interests ranging from European history and anthropology to conservation and, of course, cycle touring. They all live locally, speak great English, love sharing their region and, we’re sure, will become your firm friends by the time you leave. In addition to two local guides, the group will be accompanied by a member of our team from the UK who will act as host during your time with us. Your bags will be driven ahead each day and a support vehicle will be on hand in case you really need a lift.

ACCOMMODATION

Each night’s accommodation has been chosen for its charm, comfort and location; whether staying in one of the best guest houses in Transylvania or with a local family, rest assured that you will always be comfortable and well looked after. Lodging is based on twin sharing although a single supplement is available. Rooms are ensuite when possible and WiFi or a good 3G connection is available each night. The accommodation listed in this itinerary is a guide, though any substitutes will be of similar quality.

FOOD & DRINK

Transylvanian food is simple, fresh, delicious and the very definition of organic. Sometimes you’ll eat out in the open, at other times in private homes, traditional kitchens and small guesthouses. Romanian wines are underrated and you will taste several fantastic labels during your stay. You will also be served plenty of homemade wine, plum and pear brandies. During the day we provide local fruits as well as delicious energy slices by UK-based GB Chew. Allergies and other preferences are noted at the time of booking.

CLIMATE

Transylvania has a temperate climate. Spring usually bursts in late April, when typical daytime temperatures are around 15-20°C. Things warm up towards summer: 15-25°C is typical in May and June, and in July and August temperatures of 30-35°C are not uncommon. Autumn begins in September when temperatures gradually decline. By the second half of October temperatures average between 10 and 15°C. Winters can be extremely harsh, with temperatures as low as -30°C. Except in the height of summer evenings are cool. Rainfall may be at any time of year.

FLIGHTS & TRANSFERS

Flights are not included in the cost of the trip. You are responsible for booking your own flights to and from Romania. If you book the recommended flight (below) you will be collected and dropped off free of charge. The recommended flights are:

11 May Wizz Air – Luton (08:15) to Cluj-Napoca (13:10) 16 May Wizz Air – Sibiu (18:55) to Luton (20:00)

18 July Wizz Air – Luton (08:15) to Cluj-Napoca (13:10) 23 July Wizz Air – Sibiu (18:55) to Luton (20:00)

12 September Wizz Air – Luton (08:15) to Cluj-Napoca (13:10) 17 September Wizz Air – Sibiu (18:55) to Luton (20:00)

27 September Wizz Air – Luton (08:15) to Cluj Napoca (13:10) 2 October Wizz Air – Sibiu (18:55) to Luton (20:00)

14 October Wizz Air – Luton (08:15) to Cluj Napoca (13:10) 19 October Wizz Air – Sibiu (20:10) to Luton (21:15)

ALTERNATIVES

If you would like to make alternative travel arrangements to and from the start of the trip, of course, you may. We will be happy to arrange transfers but we will not be able to provide a free service. You may wish to consider the following arrival destinations:

Bucharest Airport: Wizz Air & Blue Air – 5 hours by car from Richis (taxi £210)
Sibiu Airport: Wizz Air & Blue Air – 1.5 hours by car from Richis (taxi £60)
Targu Mures Airport: Wizz Air & Blue Air – 1.5 hours by car from Richis (taxi £50) Sighisoara Train Station: trains from Sibiu, Bucharest, Cluj Napoca several times a day

SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY

Since 2016 The Slow Cyclists have donated over £3,000 to charities that preserve the beautiful Saxon buildings you will see. In 2019 we are delighted to have formed a new partnership with Fundatia ADEPT, a biodiversity conservation and rural development NGO based in Saschiz, on your route. For the past 14 years, ADEPT has been working to protect the nature-rich, farmed landscapes of Transylvania and to support the traditional farming communities who have created them over centuries and who maintain them today.

Their mission is to give these landscapes and communities an economic future in the 21st century without sacrificing their sustainability and productivity. Throughout 2019 we will be: • donating a small amount from each trip to help support their organic farm in Angofa, outside Sighisoara • Donating £2 per guest to support the maintenance of the trails you will cycle along between Sighisoara and Viscri (Fundatia ADEPT built the trails from 2014)

FURTHER READING

Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker
A wonderful account of the author’s life amongst the rural people of Maramures after the fall of communism, and later in the Saxon villages.

Transylvanian Trilogy by Miklos Banffy
Banffy was a nobleman, politician and novelist whose ancestral home was in Cluj-Napoca, in modern day Romania. His fictional Transylvanian Trilogy is an unrivalled study of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker
A wonderful account of the author’s life amongst the rural people of Maramures after the fall of communism, and later in the Saxon villages.

Check out more Bike Tours

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
  • Airport transfers (for recommended flights)
  • Support vehicle
  • Slow Cyclist host & English-speaking local guides
  • All accommodation, meals, snacks & drinks
  • All activities
  • Bicycle & helmet hire
  • 100% financial security

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • Single Supplement £250
  • Electric Bicycle Supplement £200
  • Flights
  • Personal costs
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)

Activity Level: Fairly Easy

Some activity but not strenuous and no experience or skill required.

Of course, we think this journey is fantastic, but it’s not for everyone. We like to think of our guests as ‘curious travellers with a bit of juice in their legs.’ Sometimes we ride hard but often we’re distracted by the food, history and people that make much of the world so special. So, our trips are about more than just cycling. We give you time to delve into a region’s history and the chance to spend time with its people. When you see something interesting, we encourage you to stop and take it in rather than race by. In every group we welcome to Transylvania there are novice and experienced cyclists, and those at every level in between. Our guides are skilled at spotting your ability and confidence level and react accordingly. This is your holiday and we’re here to make it a memorable one. Transylvania is a hilly place and the distances we cover, although not huge, are still not inconsiderable. So although you don’t need to be Chris Froome to complete this journey, you should have good general fitness and be comfortable riding a bicycle on dirt roads and paths, up and down hills. Lastly, there will always be someone travelling at your pace, so if some of the group are slightly faster, that’s fine. Route extensions and shorts-cuts are often possible and a support vehicle is often – but not always – on hand if you need it.

The cycling terrain will consist of quiet tarmac roads, gravel roads, cart tracks, meadows and narrow purpose-built forest trails. The trails have been sensitively designed, built and maintained by some of our local team over the past few years. They connect several villages – often taking steep hills out of the equation – and enable us to travel through incredible landscapes in all weather conditions. For some of our guests the trails take a little getting used to, but cyclists of all ages and abilities often find them to be the cycling highlight of their visit.

Transylvania is a hilly place and although on some days we offer easy and harder routes, if you are considering coming cycling with us you should have a good level of general fitness and be happy cycling up and down hills off- and on-road.

We aim to use accommodation that enhances your overall experience, rather than simply providing a roof for the night. Sometimes this means staying in one of the best guest houses in Transylvania and at other times it means staying with a local family. Rest assured that you will always be comfortable and well looked after.

Many of our guests spend more time in Romania either before or after their adventure with us. So whether you would like to hike in the Carpathians, see bears in the wild or explore the painted monasteries of Bucovina, we can help. We know and work with various experts in their field who can add serious value to your time in the country.

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