Transylvania winter walking & snowshoeing holiday
Description of Transylvania winter walking & snowshoeing holiday
Vampires aside, the name Transylvania conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic castles, horse-drawn carts and forests filled with bears. The reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this small corner of Europe as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and woodlands. Spend a week exploring with a small group and a guide, hiking or snowshoeing to small villages, into gorges, through valleys and up mountains.
This trip is based in the lovely village of Magura, with a guesthouse run by a friendly local family your home for the week. The trip runs in January and February, when temperatures are generally quite cold, averaging 0°C in the valleys, although blue skies are common, especially in the mountains. You’ll need a decent level of fitness to enjoy the treks and hikes, but poles and snowshoes are provided. Follow bear and wolf tracks through the snow, walk through ancient Kalibash villages and warm up with a glass of the local plum brandy. In between walks, there’s a chance to visit a bear sanctuary, explore a bat cave and enjoy Bran Castle, Count Dracula’s home. Find a mix of ancient, modern and breathtaking scenery in this undeveloped corner of Romania.
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PlanetAssociation for Ecotourism in Romania:
Our local tour operators are founding members of the Association for Ecotourism in Romania (AER) and hold positions on the Director’s Board. The Association is involved in promotion and marketing of sustainable tourism activity and accreditation of ecotourism tours and green accommodation. In a place where ecotourism is still in its infancy, this group is significant in raising public awareness of responsible ways to travel and this is reflected in the nature of this trip.
In the Carpathian Mountains above the Transylvanian town of Zarnesti, we visit Libearty Bear Sanctuary. This is Europe’s largest bear sanctuary and is set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests. The sanctuary is home to nearly 100 bears which have been rescued from captivity, having suffered as dancing bears or in circuses. By visiting, we are supporting the work goes on here with monitoring, maintenance and providing educational facilities for school groups to learn about animal welfare.
By spending most of the trip snowshoeing and walking, we limit our negative impact on the environment. We are extremely aware of our roles as stewards of this area and are dedicated to the maintenance of the environment. This trip is predominantly nature based and we are careful to enforce a ‘leave no trace’ policy. Our tour leaders are strict with disposal of litter and encourage the re-use of water bottles in order to minimise the plastic waste. In terms of community, our operators are the only local employers in their village and we also support local cafes, pubs and shops wherever possible.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleAccommodation and Meals:
We spend the week in a comfortable, locally run guesthouse called Villa Hermani. The Villa uses LED lighting and solar panels in order to save energy, whilst their recycling policies are in line with Romanian environmental law. The majority of meals are included on this trip and they comprise of fresh, local produce and Romanian specialties like smoked meats, cabbage dishes and vegetable soups. On one evening guides accompany clients to dinner at a local restaurant in Brasov where we can enjoy regional cuisine and listen to traditional music; a good opportunity to support the community through local businesses.
This small group tour has a maximum of 15 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
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