Type of horses:
Local bred Carpathian horses which are ideally suited to the rocky mountain terrain
Nature of horses:
Calm, well-mannered, sure-footed
Height of horses:
14 - 16hh
100kg / 220lbs / 15 stone 7 lbs
Mainly continental saddles, but there are two western saddles for those who prefer.
The Hasmas mountains and national park are embraced by the Carpathian mountains and one of the hidden gems of Europe. The all-encompassing silence, extensive forests and pastures which cover the mountains, together with the rich wildlife, conjures up a world which has been seemingly long forgotten.
These riding tours start from the 1,200m high Kovacspeter ridge where scattered summer shelters can be found. The mountain tracks that you follow cross steep hills and ridges, dropping down into deep valleys. These mountains are rugged and range from 1,000 - 2,000m in height, with pine forests encasing their slopes and pastures on the lower levels - these meadows will invite you to canter for long periods! Time in this area has appeared to stand still with people still living and farming as they did 100 years ago - you may see them working in traditional ways, using scythes to cut hay and horses to pull the carts.
You ride local Carpathian bred horses, such as the Hutzul, which are small but incredibly hardy and very suitable for the rocky and varied mountain terrain. Their owner is a local man who has been running trails in the mountains for many years and knows the area intimately - he will be able to introduce you to local families and their way of life. He is accompanied throughout by an English speaking guide who will open up this magical region for you.
There are only three trails each year and this is a unique opportunity to discover Romania's hidden mountains and valleys.
You stay in a mixture of guesthouses and local family homes, with one night in a rustic mountain hut or tents. When staying in local family homes or guesthouses you may have to share a bathroom.
1st and 2nd nights: Guesthouse in Kovacspeter with four bedrooms sharing two bathrooms. Solar electricity.
3rd night: Mountain hut or tent. The hut has bunk beds and no indoor bathroom but there is solar electricity.
4th and 5th nights: Rural guesthouse with double or triple rooms with private bathrooms.
6th night: Family home in Trei Fantani with rooms containing 2-3 beds and sharing bathrooms.
7th night: Guesthouse with twin bedded rooms with private bathrooms
All meals are included and will contain local specialities and traditional Romanian homemade meals.
Breakfast is usually a buffet which may include salami, sausage, jam, cottage cheese, eggs, mushrooms, tea, coffee and vegetables. Some of the items will be hot and others cold.
Lunch is usually a picnic on the trail whereas dinner will be a hot meal which may include a soup or hot entree.
Health requirements: Good general health and fitness - you will have to dismount and lead your horse on occasions.
Age limit: 14 years and upwards.
Included: Accommodation, meals, some drinks, riding
Not included: Flights, airport transfers, optional bear watching tour and folklore evening, travel insurance, additional drinks
Transfers can be arranged from the following airports:
Targu-Mureş - 130km away, about 2.5 hours. 55 euro per person return
Cluj Napoca - 200 km away, about 3-3.5 hours. 85 euro per person return
Sibiu - 210 km away, about 3.5 hours. 85 euro per person return
Bucharest - 310 km away, about 4.5-5 hours. 120 euro per person return
Airport: Tirgu Mures
Alternative Airport: Cluj-Napoca
Venture into Hasmas national park and the Hasmas mountains on this trail on local horses where you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Spending most nights in guesthouses there may be one night in a tent, but all your belongings are carried by vehicle for you. An optional bear watching trip and folklore evening are included (payable locally) as well as a rest day to visit a traditional farm.
After being transferred from the airport you will have a welcome dinner with your group and overnight at your guesthouse in Kovacspeter.
Depending on your flight schedule and airport there may be time for a local visit: Peles or Bran Castle (Bucharest airport), Turda Salt Mines (Cluj Napoca airport), Fagaras Fortress or Carta Monastery (Sibiu airport) or Praid Salt Mine (Tirgu Mures airport).
After being introduced to the horses you set off on an easy route to the source of the Olt river - this is perfect for ensuring everyone is well suited to their horse. Ride up to the 1,566m Sipos stone from where you get a great view of the surrounding mountains and trails that you will follow over the week. Stop for a snack on top of Sipos and then ride back on a different route through dense forests.
In the evening there is an optional guided bear watching tour (30 euro per person, payable locally). Dinner is a grill around the campfire with delicious Romanian wine. Overnight in the same guesthouse as before.
Riding: 10kms, 3-4 hours
After breakfast you set out on your journey to the Ghimes Valley. There are opportunities to canter on forest paths, meadows and pastures. Stop for lunch at a small tourist chalet at Fehermezo, near the base of Patko stone. In the afternoon continue up to the top of Bicaz Gorge within Hasmas national park. From the top of the Hasmas mountain (1,792m) the views are breathtaking in all directions. Follow paths along the edge of these dolomite mountains until arriving at Kurmatura saddle where a hut is situated at the bottom of the Lonely Stone (1,500m). You spend the night here - either within the hut on bunk beds or in tents. Depending on your time of arrival you may witness local sheep flocks being milked before settling down for dinner.
Riding: 17km, 6-7 hours
Leave the hut and set off riding towards the top of Ocsem mountain, firstly on a steep forest trail until peaking at 1,707m. Break briefly to catch your breath and admire the views and then continue riding to Terko glade. On these extensive pastures there are summer shelters, flocks of sheep and herds of cows and horses. Take lunch in the glade and then ride up to a 1,300m ridge. You have to dismount and lead your horse down a steep slope to your accommodation which is in the valley. After dinner there may be an opportunity to taste and discuss local beers.
Riding: 19km, 6-7 hours
Today is a rest day for the horses as you set out by vehicle to Aldomas Creek where you will visit a traditional farm, guided by your host who is the organiser of the International Haymaking Festival. Visit a Kaliba, which is a typical summer shelter high in the pasture and try your hand at making cheese. Have lunch here of local specialities which are made and produced by the family. Your hosts will teach you about the meadows, herbs and mushrooms they have at their disposal whilst you visit the nearby Rakoczi fortress.
In the afternoon you can join a local folklore event where you can bake bread and attend an evening of traditional folk music and dancing (110 euro for the group, split between everyone). You overnight in the same guesthouse as last night.
Ride up to Barackos hilltop and then continue along a ridge to Bukkhavas peak (1,321m). From the top of Ilia you continue to Tarvesz and follow Pasztor creek until descending to Haromkut, a little scattered settlement of 170 csango residents. Stop for a picnic lunch enroute. Your accommodation is within this picturesque settlement surrounded by mountains where you are hosted by a local family. You will likely have fresh trout for dinner from their own trout farm which is fed by fresh spring water.
Riding: 19km, 6-7 hours
Ride through Haromkut and along the Szaraz stream to a steep forest path up to Fehermezo (White Glade). After a short rest, continue riding alongside sheep folds and quietly grazing animals. Follow a steep downhill forest path along the Vas stream to Medgyes stream and follow a small ridge back to Kovacspeter. Here you say goodbye to the horse and return to civilisation! There is a hot tub and sauna to relax aching muscles whilst discussing the weeks adventures.
Riding: 13km, 5 hours
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
|Minimum group size:||5|
|Maximum group size:||8|
|Ability description:||You need to be a capable rider who is well balanced in the saddle and happy to walk, trot and canter in open spaces. You need to be fit enough to dismount and lead your horse on some tricky sections.|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||8 days / 7 nights / 5 riding days (3-7 hours riding each day).|
13-20 May; 3-10 June (fully booked) ; 2-9 September.
£886 per person sharing
Airport transfers are not included and are additional cost.
Optional bear watching trip and folklore evening are payable locally.