Hiking Holidays In
Apuseni Natural Park
6 Days Tour
Apuseni Natural Park represents a place of fairytale, myth, and legend known as the cavers' paradise, protects one of the most interesting cave fauna in the country. Traces of the prehistoric man, as well as fossils of animals that lived in the Ice Age, were found in several of the caves. The higher ridges of the park are covered with spruce-fir while at lower levels the forest is dominated by mountain beech. The Apuseni Mountains represent the centerpiece of the Transilvania region and invite you to soft walks, scenic routes and the simple joys of this place alongside it’s great locals.
Limestone underlies most of the park and is responsible for the area's impressive landforms. Sculptured mountain ridges, mysterious underground rivers and delicate cave decorations will surely keep your photo cameras busy.
Road and Accommodation
Upon your arrival Your Curly Guide and your bus driver will wait for you at the airport (with a traditional welcome drink ) or they can pick you up from your hotel in Cluj-Napoca or Oradea.
We will travel by our bus to Pietroasa town where our accommodation is located at a family-run guesthouse or pension, with rooms having outstanding views of the mountains.
At dinner we will organize a BBQ and a campfire where Curly Guide will inform you about the activities of the next days and the rules of the national park.
Hiking Day - The Yellow Canyon
Time: 9 hours
Distance: 12 Km
Altitude gain: +- 1000
" Galbena gorges are among the most beautiful and spectacular gorges in Romania "
We wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning and after that we will have breakfast.
Around 8 o'clock we'll start hiking.
This hike is a circuit which means it will start and end at the same place.
Our hike starts from the Park Ranger’s Hut near the camping place. At some point, we will have to leave the main road and follow the trail to Balcoanele Ponorului. This section should take approximately 30 minutes of walking. After Balcoanele Ponorului, the path will intersect with the trail that leads to Galbenei Gorges and in about 1 hour, we should reach one of the local highlights, Avenul Borţig (Borţig Sinkhole). Being 54 meters deep, at the bottom, it houses Romania’s second largest glacial.
We continue our hike for about 30 minutes more until an intersection, in 5 minutes from here we will reach Izbucul Galbenei (Galbenei Spring).
The Galbenei Spring) represents the starting point of the gorges and we will have to go up and around it to reach the other side. With some resting time and plenty of pictures, The estimated time is around 2 hours.
When we reach the Evantai Waterfall we will have only a few sections of cables to cross left and then the road will take us on a trail through the forest. After a sustained climb, we will reach Poiana Florilor where the slope of the path goes back to a normal angle and here we'll take advantage to have lunch. After about 2 hours, we should reach another glacial, Focul Viu. From here we will return to the camping place at Glăvoi where good cold beer is waiting for us. :)
From here we will take the minibus to our accommodation where we will serve a traditional Romanian meal.
After the hiking day, we will visit 2 of the most beautiful caves in the country: The Bears Cave and Meziad Cave. We will wake up at 9 am and after breakfast, we will head by minibus to Chiscau village to visit the Bear Cave. The visit will take 45 minutes The cave has a length of 1500 m and is structured on two distinct levels. The cave shelters beautiful structures. What makes it famous is actually the remarkable paleontological deposit – the bones of Ursus Spealeus.
Close to the cave is an Ethnography Museum "Horea and Aurel Flutur" with a collection of 2000 objects that we will visit. After that, we'll head to Padurea Craiului Mountains where we will visit Meziad Cave!
Is undoubtedly one of the most visited caves in Romania. It is an objective both for speleologists and regular tourists.
Is one of the oldest caving tourist objectives in Romania, having been added to the tourist circuit since the beginning of the twentieth century.
For these 2 caves we do not need special equipment, we will visit them in regular hiking clothes, the temperature in the cave is between 10 to 12 degrees Celsius.
After visiting the caves we will dine at a traditional Romanian restaurant and we will return to our accommodation.
Today we will hike to Cetatile Ponorului (Ponorului Fortresses). We will wake up at 9 am and after breakfast, we will go for 5 hours round trip to the most impressive karst phenomena in Eastern Europe. This is worth visiting not only for the 3 gorgeous sinkholes and the surrounding wild forest but also because here is one of the biodiversity hotspot of Apuseni Natural Park. In the Southern part, the route climbs on the steep slope of a torrential valley towards 4 viewpoints (two above Sinkhole III and two above Sinkhole II) which allows the contemplation of the impressive karst system of The Fortress of Ponor, from high above.Cetăților Valley ends at the bottom of a 100 m tall wall with a cave entrance of 70 m height. Thanks to this geological formation, it is easy to surprise any tripper with its breathtaking grandeur. Once arrived in Padis we will visit the Padis Visitor Centre of Apuseni Natural Park- a place where visitors will get information about caves and karst, flora and fauna of the area and the need for conservation of these natural features of the area. A self-guiding interpretive trail near the building gives visitors the opportunity to discover and better understand the karst formations in the area. The panels displayed on the route will complete the information about the area. Within the centre there is also a presentation room where multimedia projections or other presentations related to the Apuseni Natural Park are being held.
We will return to our accommodation in Pietroasa and we will get a warm meal.
''One of Romania’s natural wonders”.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 12 Km
Altitude gain: +- 550
Ruginoasa Hole and Ice Cave Scarisoara
This day is planned to be a relaxed one. A lazy morning and a slow breakfast are just the perfect starts. Today we will travel to Vartop Pass where we will make a short hike to Ruginoasa Hole. When it comes to the beauty of nature, the "Rusty Pit" - Groapa Ruginoasa - is definitely worth visiting.
The hike to this place is through a beautiful forest uphill and is like 800 - 1000 m from the main road. The climb is considered light - but keep in mind we have to cover nearly 300 m of difference in altitude. Groapa Ruginoasa got born through erosion of the mountainside due to the water going through the clay/kaolin mountain side.
" It's the kind of place where you feel very small in the face of the wonders of nature! "
Ice Cave Scarisoara
After Ruginoasa Hole we'll go for lunch at a local Romanian guesthouse in Garda town. Afterward, we will hike around 2 hours and then after an easy walk through forests and village we reach the cave.
The glacier entrance (1165m high) is made through an impressive sinkhole with a diameter of 60m; descending 48 meters, on the bottom of a great abyss, we'll walk over a surface of 70,000 cubic meters of ice, 23 meters thick. Obviously, the glacier temperature is constantly below 0, so in the summertime, while descending, there might be a temperature difference of 25 degrees or even more.
The most impressive ice structures are found in the second chamber of the cave - named "The Church", where the ice formations reach over three meters high, with diameters of 15-30 cm.
For this cave we do not need special equipment we will visit in regular hiking clothes.
Our last night of accommodation will be in Arieseni town where will have free program and a traditional Romanian meal. The plum brandy ("tuica") or wild berry brandy ("afinata") will surely be on the table.
'' The second biggest underground glacier in south-eastern Europe ''
After all these days of adventure we'll have breakfast together, we will talk about the wonderful places we've been, about the next trips which we plan and we will leave the Natural Park with a smile on our face and with a story that our future nephews will want to hear about it!
Your Curly Guide and you Bus Driver will take you back to your accommodation or airport in Cluj Napoca or Oradea.
The 50-minute hike is worth to visit Gropa Ruginoasa. The Scarisoara cave is also stunning. It has many stairs but you will not be disappointed when you will see the beauty of nature inside the cave. Nature here is amazing. You should totally visit Arieseni and the surroundings. "