About the challenge
This challenging trek takes in the mountain passes and ancient forests of two National Parks, as we trek through the mountains and valleys of the Carpathian Mountains to the highest point of our route at 2507m. We also make time to visit Dracula’s Castle. Our challenge allows us to appreciate this remote mountain habitat, which is home to significant populations of endangered wildlife such as the brown bear. Taking part in the World Animal Protection's Brown Bear Adventure allows you to raise funds to help bears that have been poorly-treated in captivity and used as tourist attractions. At the end of this amazing trek, you will also have the opportunity to visit their brand new Bear Sanctuary for rescued animals.
Day 1: London – Bucharest - Sinaia
Morning flight from London to Bucharest International Airport; we transfer north to the Sinaia mountain resort, on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains. We arrive at hotel to freshen up and relax a little before dinner and full trip briefing. Night hotel.
Day 2: Cota – Pestera via Bolboci Lake
Trek approx. 7-8 hours
Our challenge really starts today with our first full day of walking up into the Carpathians. We climb for a steady two hours to Cabana Miorita at 1987m, and if the weather is good we continue up to Varful cu Dor (2030m). From here we follow good tracks towards Bolboci lake and then onto Pestera. Night hotel.
Day 3: Pestera – Piatra Arsa via Lalomitei cave and church
Trek approx. 6 hours
We start our day exploring the Lalomitei cave system and its church before starting today’s climb. It is a steady 2 hour climb this morning above the tree line towards Piatra Arsa. The going is tough and your training will pay off especially today. From here we head down to lower ground at Piatra Arsa which is the national training centre and hotel for Olympic athletes. Night hotel.
Day 4: Piatra Arsa – Omu Cabin (2507m)
Trek approx. 5 hours
This is a beautiful day of walking, heading to the highest point of our trip, taking in the famous Sphinx, Babele and Heroes Monument before reaching Cabana Omu at 2507m. The rolling hills of moorland that we cross in the morning give way to more rugged mountain scenery and we enter a region of steep sharp peaks. The views are amazing, this is serious country. We return to our hotel in Piatra Arsa for the evening. Night hotel
Day 5: Bran Castle
Trek approx. 5 hrs
We walk from Piatra Arsa to Bran where we spend time exploring Bran Castle; Dracula’s house, built to protect the frontier point on the border with Transylvania. We will be trekking through stunning steep gorges in one of the areas most beautiful national parks. In the afternoon we will transfer to Brasov to enjoy a slap-up meal with traditional music to celebrate our achievements. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 6: Bear Sanctuary and transfer to Bucharest
An amazing day at World Animal Protection’s Bear Sanctuary awaits us. We will be able to see the bears at close quarters, learn about the sanctuary’s work and actively help the staff in some of their daily activities. After a truly rewarding and educational day, we transfer to Bucharest for our last night in the Romania Capital. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 7: Bucharest and return flight
Transfer time: 1 - 1.5 hours
Today we have the morning as free time to explore Bucharest on our own before regrouping at the hotel for the short transfer to the airport for our return flight home. (lunch not included, flight schedules dependent). Return flights are scheduled for the afternoon but are subject to change.
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
All accommodation is included as well as all flights and transport; all meals except 3 as specified in the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, 3 meals as specified, tips for local crew. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions. And we strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights for you), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with British Airlines. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline.
All food and accommodation is included other than 3 meals. The food is good and there is plenty of it.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget
Accommodation varies from simple guesthouses to tourist hotels (2-3*).
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not recommended, so we suggest your kit is packed in a soft rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and meet us at the end. The vehicles carry all the luggage, food, water and equipment not required for that part of the trek. It is essential that your luggage is carried in either a soft expedition-style kit-bag or soft rucksack. In addition you should carry a small daypack for items needed during the day.
Walking is on some well-maintained tracks but other times rough, rocky loose ground. There are some steep climbs and ascents. We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time. We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Temperatures can vary widely, though generally it should be warm and sunny; rain is always a possibility.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential for travel in Romania, and must be valid for at least 6 months from entry. Your passport must be carried with you at all times. There is no visa requirement for UK citizens or other EU members. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio and Typhoid. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.