Hiking Holiday in Apuseni Natural Park
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 its 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.
Day 1: Arrival – 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.
Day 2: Hiking Day – The Yellow Canyon
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, Avenue 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.
Day 3: Cave Day
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.
Day 4: Hiking Day – Cetatile Ponorului – Ice Cave Scarisoara
We wake up at 9 am and after having breakfast we will go by minibus to the chairlift in Borsa. The chairlift will take us up close to the Horses Waterfall. After a 30 minute hike, we reach this beautiful waterfall. The waterfall is 90 meters high. The water gathers in something similar to a pool on top of the mountain and from there it falls on the limestone mountainside, known as Horses Bridge, and falls in several stages making it the biggest waterfall in Romania. After enjoying the Horses Waterfall, we will continue our hiking on an easy route to Lake Stiol.In the evening we will eat at a traditional restaurant in Borsa, Maramures.
After Ruginoasa Hole we’ll go for lunch at a local Romanian guesthouse in Garda town. Afterward, we will hike for around 2 hours, and then after an easy walk through forests and villages, 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 a free program and a traditional Romanian meal. The plum brandy (“Tuica”) or wild berry brandy (“Afinata”) will surely be on the table.
Day 5: 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 start. 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 mountainside.
Day 6: Departure Day
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 your Bus Driver will take you back to your accommodation or airport in Cluj Napoca or Oradea.
Specification: Hiking Holiday in Apuseni Natural Park
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