Transylvania Trails (Equus Silvania) riding holiday in Romania - Far and Ride
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Transylvania Trails (Equus Silvania), Romania





Horses



Type of horses:

Mixture of pure and half-bred horses, mainly Hungarian origin such as Shagya Arabian, Kisberi and Gidran.

Nature of horses:

Lively, forward-going and fast but with good brakes.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16hh

Weight limit:

90kg / 14 stone

Tack type:

English saddles and bridles (endurance style). Hard hats must be worn

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

The Carpathian Mountains represent the largest area of pristine nature in central and eastern Europe. More than one-third of all wolves, bears and lynx west of Russia roam these impressive mountains. At the foot of the Carpathians lies the village of Sinca Noua - "New Sinca" - a small and picturesque village of just 2,000 inhabitants. Time stands still here: shepherds take their flocks into the mountains as they did for centuries, and in the evenings, cows and water buffaloes are brought back from their pastures to the village. There is little noise except for the buzzing of insects and twittering of sparrows and swallows. Hoopoes, bee-eaters, black storks and lesser spotted eagles are commonly sighted and the area has an incredible richness of flowers in all colours.

Your hosts, Christoph and Barbara, are also actively involved in large carnivore and nature conservation in Romania. They lead two large nature and landscape conservation programmes in the Carpathian and Transylvanian Hills. In keeping with the conservation projects, they do ask all guests to contribute a donation (c. 40 euro) to help protect the beautiful and ecologically important forests and grasslands. This donation is voluntary. Videos about their conservation programmes are available to watch at the guesthouse during your free time.

Both in the construction of the guesthouse and in the way they operate the heating and lighting, your hosts endeavour to use environmentally friendly materials and renewable resources. Riding routes are also carefully selected to avoid sensitive areas and not cause damage or erosion.

The horses are a mixture of pure and half-breeds of Hungarian origin such as Shagya-Arabian, Kisberi and Gildran. They have an outstanding willingness, endurance, beauty and good nature. The riding terrain lends itself well to lots of long trots and canters, as well as gallops, so these are rides for competent riders with a spirit of adventure. Centre-based weeks alternate with mobile trail weeks, so there is something for everyone.

Spring and early summer offers plenty of flowers across the meadows and is a beautiful time to visit. Midsummer can be quite hot and if temperatures climb the riding will be early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. Autumn is another nice time with fall colours on the trees in October. There are also winter rides in Jan/Feb with the hope you will be cantering through powdery snow!

NB. Hard hats are obligatory for all riders

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

On the centre based rides you stay at the on-site guesthouse which has nine beautifully furnished double rooms with bathrooms.

On the ground floor there is a spacious dining room and a neighbouring lounge with bar and fireplace. There are also plenty of seating areas outside, such as wood swings or a willow-flanked gazebo.

The guesthouse is heated with a modern wood furnace and there is WiFi internet throughout.

On the mobile trails you start and end at the guesthouse, but the intervening nights are spent with local families in small villages along the route. You may sleep in renovated old rectories, beautiful wooden manors or private guesthouses. On one night only double/triple rooms are possible and so you must be prepared to share. However, single rooms can be requested on other nights.

Most of the food is locally produced and organic. Local people do not generally use pesticides or artificial fertilisers and the livestock is kept in traditional ways, mainly outside on pasture.

Your host's own gardens provide many of the homegrown vegetables - such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, peas and beans. Pork, chicken, duck, geese and all cold cuts are also from their own production - they are particularly proud of their home-made hams, sausages and bacon. Other foods such as milk, honey, potatoes, lamb and veal are bought in from other farmers in the neighbourhood.

 

Activities

Non-riding guests are welcome on the centre based weeks. There are plenty of opportunities for walking right outside the gates, ranging from easy strolls to tough day hikes, with an array of hills to climb and expansive panoramic views. Local guides can be hired by advance request.

The area has a rich flora and fauna with over 20 varieties of orchids and over 700 butterfly species in the meadows. The meadows and forests are also home to wild boar, red and roe deer and plenty of birdlife. A trip to a local bear hide can be arranged during your stay (at extra cost).

You can also simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at the lodge.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, German

Health requirements: General good health and fitness

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, riding, set-time airport transfers, meals, drinks with meals

Not included: Flights, insurance, drinks from the bar, tips, Conservation project donation (40 Euro), optional bear hide visit (30 Euro per person)

 

Travel Information

You should arrive in Bucharest no later than 16:15 pm to meet the road transfer to Sinca Noua.

On your departure day, your flight should depart 14:00 pm or later.

Airport: Bucharest

 

Programmes


Carpathia Forests and Bears (Centre-Based)



Discover the wild and pristine beauty of the Carpathian Mountains on this centre based ride which includes an overnight camping trip. Plenty of canters and stunning scenery are guaranteed, as well as the chance to discover nearby medieval villages and Dracula's castle.

Day One: 

Transfer from Bucharest airport to the guesthouse Sinca Noua (c. 3 hours) where you'll be met by your guides with a welcome drink before dinner.

Days Two and Three:

After breakfast you're introduced to the horses before setting off on your first ride along the meadows and through the forests at the foot of the mountains. The hills offer fantastic views over the area whilst the meadows invite your first trots and canters. There's a variety of wildflowers in evidence and you may come across the tracks of bears or wild boar. The meadows offer many opportunities for canters and you'll stop for lunch on the trail before returning to the stables in the afternoon. 

One evening you'll have the chance to watch a video presentation about the research and conservation projects that your hosts are involved in, if you wish. You can also sit by the fire in the willow pavilion or take a drink at the bar. 

Another evening you may have the possibility to visit a hide in the forest with the chance to see wild brown bear. This optional activity is at extra cost, 30 euro per person, payable locally.

Day Four:

Rest day for the horses as you transfer for two hours through the sleepy villages in the north to reach the medieval town of Sighisoara, one of the cultural centres of the Transylvanian Saxons. You then continue to the village of Viscri with its famous UNESCO World Heritage fortified church which dates back to the invasion of the Turks. The last ten mins of the journey is on a gravel track. Most of the village residents left to Germany in 1990 but some continue their traditional lifestyle here. Prince Charles is a great admirer of the village and you will be served a traditional Saxon meal with home made wines and plum brandy. After visiting the church and village you transfer back to Sinca Noua for the evening.

Days Five and Six:

A 50km overnight round-trip trail takes you through the endless forests and across beautiful mountain meadows with the possibilities of long canters. In the afternoon you'll reach an area where the resident's lives have hardly changed since the Middle Ages. Small farms are still being worked with oxen and horses and people live without running water or electricity. Camp will have been set up at one of these farms with fantastic views and a rustic dinner will be cooked over the camp fire. (If you don't want to camp then you can transfer back to the guesthouse for the night - there is a 20 min walk to get to the transfer vehicle).

The next morning you pack up and ride back through forest trails with spectacular views over the Carpathian Mountains whilst looking for the tracks of wolves and bears which are commonly found along the trails. Arrive back to the guesthouse in the afternoon.

NB. The overnight camping trip is weather dependent and in bad weather you'll do two days of riding which return to the guesthouse.

Day Seven:

Your final ride takes you for a c. 3 hour loop around Sinca Noua through wild forests and beautiful meadows with plenty of canters and great scenery. After a late lunch you transfer to nearby Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula's castle to learn that the history is more exciting than the legend..

Day Eight:

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



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: You should be a capable rider who is confident in all paces in open country. You may have to dismount and lead your horse on steep sections
Type of ride: Centre based with trails
Total riding time: 7 nights / 5 days riding
Departure dates: 2020:
11-18 April, 25 April-2 May, 9-16 May, 23-30 May, 6-13 June, 20-27 June, 4-11 July, 18-25 July, 1-8 August, 15-22 August, 5-12 September, 26 September-3 October, 10-17 October, 24-31 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

April/May/October: £837 per person sharing
June-September: £945 per person sharing

Single supplement: £72 for the week
Non-riders: £537 per person sharing

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Transylvania Trail



Ride for almost 200km through the hills and medieval villages of Transylvania. Experience some of the most rural areas of Europe with thousands of sheep grazing in the hills and abundant birdlife. You'll see remains of the medieval culture with fortified churches, some of which are 800 years old. 

NB. This is rural Romania and the standard and comfort of accommodation is not always very high. Some overnight stays are basic, others are cosy and nice. On one night there is no option for a single room so you should be prepared to share on that night.

Day One:

Arrival in Bucharest and transfer by minibus to Sinca Noua to overnight at the guesthouse where you'll meet your group and guide over dinner.

Day Two:

After meeting your horses you'll depart Sinca Noua and ride along the valleys and over the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains towards the plains of the Olt River Valley. Pass the 'Daffodils Meadow' nature reserve and experience several canters before arriving at your destination in Mandra. Here you'll stay with a local family in double/triple rooms - there are NO single room options here. 

Riding c. 7 hours / 31km

Day Three:

Cross the Olt River at Halmeag and continue up the Felmer valley to enter the hills of Transylvania. Ride along a beautiful ridge with marvellous views to the Fagaras mountains to reach an old Hungarian village called Cobor. In Cobor your hosts run a conservation project which includes the development of an organic farm with emphasis on biodiversity conservation and the traditional restoration of some of the abandoned houses. You stay in one of these new-old guesthouses for the next two nights. 

Riding c. 7 hours / 32km

Day Four:

A full day ride around Cobor with stunning views, fast canters and rich birdlife. You are likely to see bee-eaters, hoopoes, great grey shrikes, stone chats or lesser spotted eagles. In the late afternoon you are back at Cobor and can relax in the old stables or cellar bar. 

Riding c. 6 hours / 31km

Day Five:

Depart Cobor and ride over the hills to Viscri, which is probably the most famous Saxon village in Transylvania with a stunning fortified church. The UK based Mihai Eminescu Trust (under the patronage of Prince Charles) has restored the village to its original beauty. You will stay in one of the old farmhouses, which have been converted into little guesthouses, and will enjoy traditional Saxon cuisine. There is time to explore the village in the evening too. 

Riding c. 7 hours / 39km

Day Six:

In the morning you visit the fortified church in Viscri and the local blacksmith, who still works by hand using old bellows and a charcoal fire. You'll also have lunch in the village before setting out in the afternoon. Ride over the hills to a log house on a big meadow in the forest near the village of Jibert. Todays ride may be shorter but it is fast, with stunning scenery and great canters the whole way. After dinner, relax in the atmosphere of the Transylvanian countryside.

Riding c. 3.5 hours / 24km

Day Seven:

Your final day of riding offers plenty of canters over the hills and through the forests. Eventually you arrive in the Olt Valley following a beautiful trail along the ridge and through ancient oak pastures. Descend towards Halmeag where you ride ends. After a barbecue you are transferred by minibus back to Sinca Noua (your horses are also transferred) before a final dinner in the evening. 

Riding c. 34kms

Day Eight:

After breakfast you are transferred back to Bucharest for your flight home. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You should be a confident rider who is competent in all paces and fully able to control a forward going horse in canter. There are many canters and gallops each day.
Type of ride: Mobile trail
Total riding time: 4-7 hours riding each day (24-39km each day).
Departure dates: 2020:
18-25 April, 2-9 May, 16-23 May, 30 May-6 June, 13-20 June, 27 June-4 July, 11-18 July, 25 July-1 August, 8-15 August, 29 August-5 September, 3-10 October, 17-24 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1395 per person sharing

Single supplement payable locally: 15 euro per night (Only available on 6 nights)

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.



Winter in Transylvania



Experience the beauty of the Carpathians under a blanket of snow, and the thrill of cantering your horse through powdery snow amidst the meadows and forests of Transylvania. 

Day One:

Transfer from Bucharest airport for the guesthouse in the Carpathian mountains (c. 3 hour journey). Receive a welcome drink on arrival before dinner with your guides. 

Days Two and Three:

For the first two days you ride 2-3 hours in the morning and then 2-3 hours in the afternoon. In between you return to the guesthouse for a warming lunch and relax in front of the fire. Cantering through the snow is an incredible experience (although snow cannot be guaranteed it's very likely that powder snow will be present throughout Jan and Feb).

In the evenings there is time to relax with a home-made liqueur or brandy in front of the fire, have a drink at the bar, or watch some video presentations on the conservation projects your hosts are involved in.

Day Four:

A rest day for the horses. It's up to the group to decide whether to visit Bran Castle (or Dracula's castle as it's better known!) along with the old town of Brasov, or to visit Sibiu, the European Cultural Capital in 2007 and some of the smaller medieval villages in Transylvania.

Days Five, Six and Seven:

More morning and afternoon rides through the hills, forests and meadows surrounding Sinca Noua. It is likely you will come across the tracks of wolves, lynx or red deer, and with luck you may even spot some of the forest inhabitants themselves. Evenings are spent in the guesthouse. There may also be the possibility to arrange a horse-drawn sledge trip.

Day Eight:

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



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You need to be a capable rider who is confident in all paces across varied terrain.
Type of ride: Centre based with trails
Total riding time: 7 nights / 5 days riding
Departure dates: 2020:
11-18 January, 18-25 January, 25 January-1 February, 1-8 February, 8-15 February, 15-22 February
 
Pricing: 2020:

£837 per person sharing
Non-riders £537 per person sharing

Single supplement £72 for the week

Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.