Maramures and Transylvania heritage cycling tour
Maramures - the Land of Woods and Rivers!
- 1890 euro/person for a group of 2
- 1350 euro/person for a group of 4
- 1090 euro/person for a group of 6
The package includes:
- 8 nights accommodation
- Full board for all period - Breakfasts, Dinners and Lunches to go
- All entrances to monuments included in the itinerary
- Luggage transportation
- Vehicle Assistance (whenever roads allow it to pass)
- English speaking accompanying bike guide
- Branded T-shirt
- Mountainbikes and helmets
- Alcoholic drinks
- Extra charges for laundry telephone or fax charges, room service, etc.
- Transport from the airport or station to Baia Mare and back to the aiport or train station
- Participants should reach the meeting point at the proposed time. If necessary, we will provide assistance for the customers in terms of transportation support (from airport or to another destination point), ticket reservation, renting of equipment etc.
- Additional local guides
Maramures & The Heritage of Transylvania cycling tour
GET TOGETHER IN BAIA MARE
- Visiting Baia Mare (cultural, historic visit and shopping) Transfers from Cluj are available, inquire for details
- Dinner at Lostrita restaurant -16 km from Baia Mare, near Lake Firiza
- Alternative: 10 km cycling from Firiza lake to Izvoare. Dinner at Izvoare, 25 km from Baia Mare. Accommodation in a *** hotel.
- Baia Mare, the county town of Maramures, is situated on the Sasar river, at the base of Gutai Mountains. In the old part of the town we can admire a few old structures and monuments such as „St Steven Tower“, „St Anthon Catholic Church“, The Elizabeta House, The Butcher's Bastille, Monetare Bastille and other Orthodox, Reformed and Catholic churches. The Mineral Museum represents an interesting attraction and is unique to the country.
Uphill/Downhill cycling: 100m/100m, cycling distance: 10km, cycling time: 1h
Cycling tour: IZVOARE - PASUL GUTAI - MOGOSA - CAVNIC - BUDESTI - BREB - OCNA SUGATAG - CALINESTI - VALENI – BARSANA ~ 80 KM
- After we take breakfast we begin our trip at around 8.30 a.m. From Izvoare we will cycle for round 12 km on a nice forest path up to Gutai Clough (1 000 m), which passes the route from Baia Mare to Sighetu Marmatiei. The road passes to the east the Ignis Peak of the Ignis Mountains by crossing a coniferous forest. At the Gutai Clough there is a nice traditional restaurant called Hanul Pintea, where we could have a rest. From Gutai we cycle for 10 km descent on asphalt road on the way to Baia Mare, followed by a secondary road of 3 km to Mogosa. From Mogosa the route takes us to the centre of the tourist city of Cavnic. Here we could pay a visit to the ruins of a gold mine dating back to the 19 th century; The Tartars pole (Piatra Tatarilor), The Written Stone (Piatra Scrisa), The King's Garden (Gradina Regelui) - a glade and a 250 years old forest of larch which is a natural reservation. Cavnic is an old mining town situated in Gutai mountains.
The road continues for 8 km on a local road up to Neteda Clough (1 040 m), followed by 15 km descent to Calinesti (500 m). Thus we enter the Maramures depression. On our way to Breb village you will notice that, along the riverside, there are several structures - all made of wood: Valtori for washing clothes and blankets, water mills which operate all day long and traditional distilleries for producing the strong plum brandy called horinca. These are locations where local people can meet and chat.
- Breb is also famous for having been visited by The Prince of Wales in the spring of 2004. Here are three traditional wooden houses bought by the Mihai Eminescu Trust (whose royal patron is the Prince of Wales). At Budesti or Ocna Sugatag (famous resort nowadays) we might have a stop to serve a traditional lunch . The community dates back to 1360 when the main occupation here was salt mining. Thus the name of the village, "ocna," meaning salt mine. Today, Ocna Sugatag is a popular health spa which stands out through its hot or cold salty baths and the lake formed when the salt mine collapsed. From Ocna Sugatag, our route takes us after 14 km to Barsana, passing the villages of Calinesti and Valeni. In Calinesti we can admire one of the most beautiful Maramures gates. The village of Barsana is 12 kilometers from Vadu-Izei. Barsana is one of the bigger communes in Maramures, and one of the most important villages in the valley of the Iza river. Barsana can trace its history back to the Bronze Age. The 57 m high church of Barsana monastery ranks first among the wooden construction of Romania . The church, which now stands on a small hill surrounded by an orchard, is one of the eight churches on the UNESCO World heritage list. In addition to its history, Barsana is worth visiting for its beautiful traditional gates, friendly, hard-working people and beautiful scenery.
- Overnight accommodation in the area at a local pension or guest house.
Uphill/Downhill cycling: 400m/500m, cycling distance: 80km, cycling time: 7h
Cycling tour: BARSANA - STRAMTURA - ROZAVLEA - IEUD - BOGDAN VODA - SALISTEA DE SUS - SACEL - MOISEI - VISEU DE SUS - VISEU DE JOS ~ 75 KM
(Alternative route): Barsana-Slatioara-Glod-Poienile Izei-Botiza-Ieud-Bogdan Voda-Salistea de Sus-Sacel-Moisei-Viseu de Sus-Viseu de Jos ~ 85 km
- As usual we leave for our cycling tour after breakfast around 9.30 a.m. Be careful that this is the longest cycling day of our tour. It is an easier route since most of it is asphalt road. Participants are asked to be careful and use their energy as efficient as possible, especially if we will be having a very hot or rainy day.
- From Barsana we enter the beautiful Iza Valley, one of the finest cycling areas in Maramures. Iza River springs from the Rodna Massif and travels 80 km across the county eventually flowing into the Tisa, at Sighet. The villages here exhibit superb old wooden churches and traditional peasant houses. We have two alternatives to reach Ieud village, either following the asphalt road for 25 km, and the second option, ~10 km longer. The road is very nice and follows the small rivers of Sieut, Botiza and Ieud. On the road, we could stop in Stramtura to admire the wooden church built in 1667.
- Ieud is known for the preservation of its traditional customs as well as its traditional architecture. The people here dress and act the same as they did hundreds of years ago. Every year in July the people of Ieud celebrate with a multi-day festival of traditional culture called "Ieud Cultural Days". From Ieud we enter again the Iza valley and pass the villages of Bogdan Voda, Sacel (the place where unglaced ceramic is still produced), Moisei - all together a distance of 31 km on easy asphalt road.
- After another 19 km on asphalt road, we are entering the Viseu valley. Viseu Valley spans a 60 kilometers stretch of scenic countryside and villages known for their traditional folklore and historical value. The area is inhabited by Romanian, Germans and Carpatho-Russians. Accomodation in Viseu de Jos in a beautiful traditional house.
Uphill/Downhill cycling: 200m/200m, cycling distance: 85km, cycling time: 8h
Cycling tour: VISEU DE JOS - RUSCOVA - PETROVA - BARSANA - NANESTI - ONCESTI - VADU IZEI - SIGHETU MARMATIEI - SARASAU - CAMPULUNG LA TISA - SAPANTA~ 78 KM
- Departure is scheduled as usual at 9.30 a.m., after having breakfast. We travel to Petrova for 25 km on the valley of the river Viseu where we have a 6 km ascent to Petrova. From there we will be cycling in descent for about 10 km along beautiful scenery. After we reach Barsan, we follow the road to Sighetul Marmatiei via Nanesti and Oncesti for 13 km. We reach Vadu Izei, a very nice hill landscape. Vadu Izei is at the confluence of the Mara and Iza Rivers. Surrounded by hills and situated on a small plain only a few square kilometers in size, Vadu Izei stands beside these two rivers.
- The picturesque meadows and estuaries in the area shelter many species of birds with spectacular songs and colors.The hills are covered with apple, plum and cherry orchards giving way to thick forests of pine and oak in many places. The village is well known for its impressive, traditional, wooden gates carved by Gheorghe Borodi, the songs of Maria Trifoi, the melodies played by violinist Gheorghe Covaci Cioata, Tiberiu Utan's poetry and the magnificent drawings of Vasile Kazar. In Vadu Izei we may visit local traditional houses for wood sculpture, glass icon painting, wool blanket and carpet weavers.
- We travel to Sighetu Marmatiei for about 6 km. Before reaching the city we could stop and visit the Maramures village museum situated on the Dobaies Hill, 300 km from the main road. The museum lies on a beautiful hill and shows traditional wooden houses and households from all over Maramures. An elegant wooden church graciously rules over the thoroughly recreated village. You can relax in the peaceful landscape, while discovering age-old lifestyles and ancient crafts.
- We stop in the city to visit some of the sights. From Sighetu Marmatiei to Sapanta (300 m altitude) we cycle for about 16 km, parallel with the Ukrainian border. Alternatively, we can go up to the Tisa River - the natural border between Romania and Ucraine.
- Lying on the banks of the Tisa, the river that forms the frontier with Ukraine, towered over by the Carpathian Mountains, Sapanta is a commune with five thousand inhabitants, not much different from others in Maramures, a province in northern Romania . The inhabitants of Sapanta strictly obey the traditions of the Orthodox religion and are fervent believers. It is a duty, even an honour, to be part of the church committee. On Sunday, everybody, young and old, dresses in the national costume and tries to forget old feuds. The merry cemetery of Sapanta has been, for more than fifty years, the creation of sculptor Stan Patras, the successor of several generations of wood artists that bequeathed their trade from father to son.
- The phrase "merry cemetery" may seem paradoxical if not even touching impiety. His crosses make up a whole world, a live chronicle of a community that succeeds generations through times. A true kaleidoscope of dances, crafts, songs, serious, thoughts, songs to Mother Nature - that is the meaning of these crosses that surround a small church.. In the cemetery surrounding the church of Sapanta, the crosses are made of carved and painted wood. The graves are more like flower beds and the crosses themselves rise like big coloured flowers. In summertime, this is a true pilgrimage spot.
- We will spend the night in the guest house, situated close to Sapanta Monastery.
Uphill/Downhill cycling: 200m/200m, cycling distance: 78km, cycling time: 7h
Day 5: Breakfast. Transfer Sapanta – Sighisoara (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – 350 km – around 5 - 6 hours drive. Accommodation.
Day 6: After breakfast we continue exploring the hilly region with fortified churches west of Sighisoara. The cycling starts 25 kilometers from Sighisoara on a small peaceful road passing through agricultural lands, small villages and 4 fortified churches – Biertan (Unesco World heritage site), Richis, Altina and Hosman dating back from 14 – 16 century. Today we finish in the beautiful city of Sibiu (European capital of culture 2007). Free time for walks in the old town.
Uphill/downhill cycling: 500/480m, distance: 78km , cycling time: 6h /breakfast/
Day 7: Breakfast. In the morning we make a short walk in the second biggest open air village museum in Europe near Sibiu (Astra open air museum). You will enjoy a walk among the alleys of the park admiring at the fine village architectures of different regions of Romania. Short transfer to Cartisoara village brings us at the foothills of Fagaras mountains where we start biking on the spectacular Transfagarasan road. First we climb through nice coniferous forests, reach the cabin lift station where we can have lunch in a small restaurant. Once you reach the tree line at about 1600 m the alpine landscapes of Fagars mountains will reveal its beauty to you. You will pass nearby the cascade waterfalls Balea and continue cycling on the numerous serpentines climbing gradually in the valley until you reach the picturesque region of Balea lake at 2030m where you stay overnight. Free time for afternoon hikes around the lake.
Uphill cycling: 1400m, cycling distance: 25km, cycling time: 5h
Day 8: After breakfast and a short transfer through a tunnel (longest in Romania - 900m) passing through the mountains we start biking downhill exploring the Southern slopes of Fagaras mountains and the spectacular Transfagarasan road. After we leave the alpine landscapes we enter the green gorge of Arges river and reach the spectacular Vidraru dam (165m high dam wall) Nearby is the Poenari Fortress (former residence of Vlad Tepes also known as Dracula) and the The sculpture of Prometheus. We continue cycling downhill among nice forested areas passing by few waterfalls and finish cycling in Curtea de Arges (one of the oldest towns in Romania). Transfer (150km, 3 h) to Bucharest for overnight.
Downhill cycling: 1500m, cycling distance: 70km, cycling time: 4h
Day 9: Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for departure.
Details about biking tour:
- optimal time: July - October
- number of participants: minimum 4, maximum 14.
- transportation will be chosen according to the number of participants.
- biking tour requires a good physical shape, with resistance to low effort but for long duration.
- licensed mountain guide during the entire biking tour.
Cycle along the Iza and Mara river valleys to admire the beautiful scenery.
Visit of the " Merry Cemetery " - Sapanta, unique in the world, is amazing due to its originality.
Visit of the wooden churches, part of the Unesco World Heritage.
Botiza village (dowry chests and rugs).
Viseul de Jos area (folk costume and fabrics).
Bogdan Voda village (carpets and wickerwork).
Sacel village (rough red ceramics with old traditional elements).
Sinaia – is a famous mountain ski resort and is well known as "The Carpathians Pearl".
Peles Castle - is one of Romania's most important museums since it was a residence for several Romanian monarchs. The castle was built in Neo - Renaissance style and comprises more than 160 rooms.
Brasov - Brasov is everything that Bucharest is not: a placid, gentle, civilised city of 300,000 people nestled in the Carpathian mountains. Places of interest include remnants of a citadel built in 1553, The Black Church (14-th - 15-th centuries), the largest Gothic church in Romania and within the territory between Vienna and Istanbul.
Bran - The Dracula's Castle in Bran is no doubt one of the milestones when travelling in Transylvania. Towers, narrow corridors, hidden premises - the castle offers many interesting facts and stories, mysterious enough to incite the legend lovers.
Sighisoara - A European treasure, Sighisoara is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the Tarnava Mare River, the town was built by Saxons between the 12-th and 17-th centuries. Eleven towers guard Sighisoara's walls, among them Tailors' Tower and Shoemakers' Tower.
Biertan - The village is known for its fortified church, built in the 14th century. It is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Sibiu – Cultural capital of Europe in 2007 was once the king of the Transylvanian Saxon towns, serving as capital and dominating cultural activity. Sibiu is home to the first hospital in Romania (1292), the first pharmacy (1494) and the oldest museum in Romania, the Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817.
Astra Open Air Village Museum - the second largest open-air museum in Europe (250 acres) is located in the middle of a dense forest and surrounded by a beautiful lake. It features more than 300 buildings as well as watermills and windmills, and other structures representing village architectural styles from many parts of Romania.
Transfagarasan road - built as a strategic military route, it is the highest (2042m) and most dramatic paved road in Romania. It runs North to South across the highest sections of the Carpathian Mountains. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.
Fagaras mountains – the highest mountains of Romania and the Carpathian range with highest peak Moldoveanu - 2544m.
Balea Lac - a natural glacier lake at 2040m, 360 meters long, 240 meters wide and 11 meters deep. Balea Waterfall with its 60 meters height it is one of the most famous waterfalls in Romania.
Bucharest – the capital of Romania and the biggest city in Romania is a city of great contast and lots of sights to be explored.