Carpathian Mountain Trails riding holiday in Romania - Far and Ride
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Carpathian Mountain Trails, Romania





Reviews



So, in summary, this is a very good operation running very good trips on a variety of routes in the area. I would recommend the trip to friends or family, and all future trips will be judged against this trip in terms of quality of service, horses, equipment and food. I doubt others will beat what Csaba and Kinga offer, especially if (like me) you value not having a fixed minute by minute itinerary, being free to assist with basic activities around the camp and relax once everything is set up, and being in a remote countryside location that really is like nowhere else I’ve ever seen.

Jack Moon, Read review
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Szekler (home-bred Carpathian horses) and Lipica cross breeds

Nature of horses:

Calm, well-balanced, uncomplicated and tough.

Height of horses:

14 - 16 hh

Weight limit:

115kg

Tack type:

English style tour saddles and modified army saddles, with simple snaffle bridles. The team here have designed their own saddlebags.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

This destination offers pack trips through the Eastern Carpathian Mountains of Romania exploring Székely Land, a historic area lying within the famed region of Transylvania. The region offers beautiful, varied scenery ranging from high mountains to rolling hills, wild forests and open meadows. The land is primarily unfenced as shepherds still move their flocks through the countryside like in times gone by. These rides lead you through these charming landscapes and untouched nature, avoiding asphalt roads, encountering the local Székely people who live in the valleys and hills. They are easy-going rides which are mostly of a slower pace due to the terrain but with lovely canters through the open meadows. They are the ideal rides for those who love to relax and enjoy nature whilst also experiencing an authentic taste of the country they are visiting. A true escape from the hustle and bustle of busy daily life and time to enjoy magnificent scenery and great camaraderie from horseback.

These riding adventures are hosted and guided by Csaba who fell in love with the mountains at the age of four whilst adventuring with his grandfather. He was taught the basic rule of having respect for horses and nature, something he lives by as he guides visitors through this unspoiled region. Csaba is helped by Kinga who shares his love of the countryside and the horses. She transports the luggage when necessary (if it's not on a pack horse!) and takes care of the cooking, with a focus on organic produce as much as possible.

The final and most important members of the team are, of course, the horses! The horses here are primarily homebred - they take part in the tours when they are foals as they follow their mothers, resulting in horses who are very sure-footed, calm and well-balanced. Pack-horses carry all your belongings and are a highlight of this ride. All of the horses live out as a herd when not working and offer a relaxed, peaceful ride through their native lands.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation depends on which programme you choose but may be in rural guesthouses, simple tents or the homes of local people. Some trails include a variation but in all cases the accommodations are quite simple as these are adventurous mountain trails.

Breakfasts and dinners are primarily stews of some sort, cooked on a campfire, whilst lunches are picnics eaten out during your riding day. This is hearty, traditional fare, quite simple but tasty and filling.

Alcoholic drinks are not included.

 

Activities

These pack trips are suited only to riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, Romanian, German.

Health requirements: General good health and fitness recommended - these are adventurous mountain rides and you may need to walk and lead your horse or manage in inclement weather.

Age limit: 12+

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation, meals, riding and equipment.

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, travel insurance, alcohol, tips.

 

Travel Information

We recommend flying into Cluj Napoca or making your way to Gheorgheni by train, but transfers are available from the following airports:

Tirgu Mures (Targu Mures): 135km, 115 EUR each way per car (4 people)

Cluj Napoca: 230km, 135 EUR each way per car (4 people), transfer time 4 hours

Sibiu: 230km, 135 EUR each way per car (4 people), transfer time 4 hours

Bucharest: 330km, 195 EUR each way per car (4 people), transfer time 5 - 6 hours

Pick-up from Gheorgheni train station is 35 EUR each way per car (4 people) and the journey is about 20km.

Airport: Tirgu Mures

Alternative Airport: Cluj-Napoca

 

Programmes


Salt Route Mountain Trail (Camping)



Follow on horseback the route that the mined salt took from the ancient salt mines down the river, passing through the Snowy Mountains and discovering the hidden Szekler farming villages. Climb up and over peaks which offer fantastic views and discover your horses speed across the open farmland. This ride involves two nights of camping in the wild landscapes.

Day One:

After being transferred from the airport to Gheorgheni, in the afternoon, you set off on a jeep along trails through the forest to the ranch (15km). You arrive in time for dinner with your guides where you will have a safety briefing and learn about the trail you are about to embark on. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day Two: Kovacs Peter to Fekete Rez

After breakfast you are allocated your horse for the trail and will be shown how to pack your belongings and help load the pack horses. Set off riding away from the ranch to Kovaks Peter and on to the Olt River spring where you stop for a break and to allow the horses to rest. You then ride a steep ascent up Soveto mountain and onto Sipos mountain where you stop for lunch at its peak (1,568m). There are great views of North Harghita from here. After lunch, descend along the Lok ridge on a wild path which leads to Fekete Rez's mountain where you camp near to the pastoral quarters.

Day Three: Fekete Rez to Ordog Lake

Depart Fekete Rez mountain and descend to Marosfo where you ride through the Maros river and then into the mountains which surround Harghita. Firstly ride up to the peak of Csik Magasa (1,153m) and then climb further to Osztoros (1,384m). You will reach a special spot where the basin of Gyergyo and the mountains of Gorgenyi are on one side of you and the Csiki basin and snowy Csiki mountains on the other side of you - the views are spectacular.

Continue riding to Olyves peak and turn towards the major Harghita ridge where you follow a natural winding path path as you descend to your camp near Ordog Lake. Here you can take a short walk to the swamp lake before your bubbling Romanian stew for dinner.

Day Four: Ordog Lake to Ivo

Leave your campsite behind and ride through the wild forests of Harghita - here you may find evidence of bears, such as their tracks or peeling bark on trees. Ride up to Ferto peak (1,589m) where you can stop and admire the rocks of Nagy Hagymas. Start your descent through the vast pastures of Ferto and into the valley and follow the Ivo stream. You spend the night in a guesthouse near the Panzio of Tunderkert in Ivo.

Day Five: Ivo to Szekelyvarsag

Say goodbye to your hosts and head to the Harghita plateau where you can open up your horses and enjoy some canters and gallops. At the edge of the plateau you can catch a glimpse of Zetelaki reservoir. Cross the Sikaszo stream into the southern part of the Gorgenyi Snowy Mountains and an ancient forest. Continue to the farming lands of Szekelyvarsag where you overnight in a guesthouse.

Day Six: Szekelyvarsag to Putna

Today starts with a 1km hike to the grave of UzBence before saddling up and exploring the farmland and village of Szekelyvarsag. After fully discovering the area you find the salt mine paths which lead to Putna and a little house in a meadow where you spend the night.

Day Seven: Putna to Kovacs Peter

Today you navigate a labyrinth of streams as you head towards the Gyergyo basin. There are plenty of opportunities for some short and fast canters where the terrain allows as you head towards the Maros river. This was the destination for the salt from the mines and where it was loaded onto river vessels. There is time for a short break and the horses can drink from the river before setting off for another great gallop through the river basin and back towards the mountains. Your final ascent takes you back to Peter Kovacs and the farm.

Day Eight:

Say farewell to your horses and guides and transfer back to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: Five nights in guesthouses/farmhouses and two nights camping.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider in all paces in the outdoors. There are opportunities for canters and gallops where the terrain allows, but also some steep ascents and descents.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 6 days riding (c. 6 hours per day). Total length of trail is approximately 170km.
Departure dates: 2019: 6-13 July, 13-20 July, 20-27 July, 27 July-3 August, 3-10 August.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£698 per person sharing




Salt Route Mountain Trail (Comfortable)



Explore the mountains and valleys where salt was mined and follow ancient paths on which the salt was transported down to the river, spending your nights in local farms and guesthouses. Marvel at your horses ability to climb steep paths but also gallop across open pastures and discover the beautiful views and landscapes of this corner of Romania.

Day One:

After being transferred from the airport to Gheorgheni, in the afternoon, you set off on a jeep along trails through the forest to the ranch (15km). You arrive in time for dinner with your guides where you will have a safety briefing and learn about the trail you are about to embark on. Overnight at the farm.

Day Two: Kovacs Peter to Izvorul Muresul

After breakfast you are allocated your horse for the trail and will be shown how to pack your belongings and help load the pack horses. Set off riding away from the ranch to Kovaks Peter and on to the Olt River spring where you stop for a break and to allow the horses to rest. You then ride a steep ascent up Soveto mountain and onto Sipos mountain where you stop for lunch at its peak (1,568m). There are great views of North Harghita from here. After lunch, descend to Loknyereg along a long wild path until reaching your destination - a small village called Izvorul Muresul. Here you spend the night on a farm where you lovely host will pull out all the stops to make sure you have a good rest.

Day Three: Izvorul Muresul to Liban

Say goodbye to the farm, ride through the river and cross the Maros river. You will find yourself amongst the wild and densely forested woods of Harghita - here you may find evidence of bears, such as their tracks or peeling bark on trees.  Ride up to the peak of Csik Magasa (1,153m) and continue onto the mountain Osztoros (1,384m). Stop for a break at a special place with fantastic views across the basin of Gheorgheni, the basin of Ciuc, the mountains of Giurgiu and the main ridge of the Carpathian Mountains beyond. After soaking all this in, you descend along wild paths to your small, charming guesthouse.

Day Four: Liban to Ivo

Set off riding over the mountain saddle of Liban and climb upwards until reaching your lunch spot at the Devils Swamp. After lunch, ride onwards to the peak of Ferto (1,589m) which offers beautiful views of the rocks of Nagy Hagymas. From the vast plains of Ferto you descend to the River Ivo where you find your accommodation in a special place called "To The Fairy Garden" in Irigyvesz.

Day Five: Ivo to Szekelyvarsag

Once again say goodbye to your hosts and head to the Harghita plateau where you can open up your horses and enjoy some canters and gallops. At the edge of the plateau you can catch a glimpse of Zetelaki reservoir. Cross the Sikaszo stream into the southern part of the Gorgenyi Snowy Mountains and an ancient forest. Continue to the farming lands of Szekelyvarsag where you overnight in a guesthouse.

Day Six: Szekelyvarsag to Putna

Today starts with a 1km hike to the grave of UzBence before saddling up and exploring the farmland and village of Szekelyvarsag. After fully discovering the area you find the salt mine paths which lead to Putna. You will discover the history of the region and come to understand some of the efforts which were required in bringing the white gold down from the mountains. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day Seven: Putna to Kovacs Peter

An early start this morning as you leave the guesthouse behind and head across a pasture until reaching a labyrinth of streams which lead you towards the Gyergyo basin. There are plenty of opportunities for some short and fast canters where the terrain allows as you head towards the Maros river. This was the destination for the salt from the mines and where it was loaded onto river vessels. There is time for a short break and the horses can drink from the river before setting off for another great gallop through the river basin and back towards the mountains. Your final ascent takes you back to Peter Kovacs and the farm.

Day Eight:

Say farewell to your horses and guides and transfer back to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: All nights are in guesthouses or local houses/farms with your hosts.
Minimum group size: 3
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider in all paces in the outdoors. There are opportunities for canters and gallops where the terrain allows, but also some steep ascents and descents.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 6 riding days of c. 6 hours riding each day. Total distance of the trail is approximately 170km.
Departure dates: 2018: 6-13 October, 13-20 October (FULL), 20-27 October.

2019: 25 May-1 June, 8-15 June, 15-22 June, 29 June-6 July, 24-31 August, 7-14 September, 14-21 September, 5-12 October.
 
Pricing: 2018/19:

£787 per person sharing



On Bear's Land



This shorter tour which includes three days of riding in different directions from the same place, plus a two day trail, is suitable for all abilities of rider, even novices. You ride into Nagy Hagymas national park, visiting the dolina's of Fehermezo, the vertical caves (zsomboly), precipices and cliff edges. There is also an opportunity to visit the bear re-wilding centre.

Day One:

Arrive in Gheorgheni in the afternoon and then transfer to the horse farm in a 4x4 vehicle. Over dinner you will learn about the week's adventures ahead of you.

Day Two:

After being allocated your horse for the week you set off riding to the Olt Source and then to Meggyes Edge and the Magas Bukk which stands at 1,455m. Return to your farm for the night.

Day Three:

Set off riding towards the Meggyes peak (1,504m) and after a steep climb you arrive on top of the main ridge of the show-covered Gyergyo mountains. From here there is a wonderful view to Csalho (1904m), Kiscohard (1345m), Gyilkos (1408m) and Kelemen (2100m). Continue riding towards Csofronka (1607m) where it is possible to open the horses up for a long canter through the Tunzeria pusztalya (pasture) for those who are capable. Arrive at your overnight accommodation in the wilderness.

Day Four:

Ride on the Voros Ko side of the mountains and head down to Jahoros pusztaja where you wind your way through the valley until returning to the horse farm.

Day Five:

Ride from the horse ranch to the Olt source where you stop to water the horses before climbing a steep path up through the snow-covered Soveto mountains to reach Sipos mountain. A large portion of the journey will be through forest. Stop for lunch on the peak of Sipos mountain (1568m) which offers fantastic views towards the North Harghita. Your return route leads you on a wild path where, if you are quiet, you may be lucky enough to spot deer or even bear.

Day Six:

Ride through the Pongrac peak (1321m) and follow the route of the "little railway" along the side of the Dancuras.

Day Seven:

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.



Accommodation: All six nights are in guesthouses which have rooms containing multiple beds. Five nights are at the horse farm and one night out on the trail.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: All abilities can be accommodated on this ride. There are some opportunities for canters for those with experience, but most of the route is at a walk due to the steep terrain.
Type of ride: Centre based with trails
Total riding time: 5 riding days, 4-5 hours riding each day
Departure dates: 2019: 18-24 April, 22-28 September, 13-19 October, 20-26 October.
 
Pricing: 2019:

£610 per person sharing