Transylvania winter vacation accommodation

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Responsible tourism: Transylvania winter vacation accommodation

Our small enterprise provides employment for 14 families. Most of the food we serve as well as the building material we use is traditionally produced in the village and its surroundings. Our staff is now skilled in their new professions, be it the cook, the guide or the restoration worker. We aim at restoring and preserving the historic architectural harmony of our village and its environment. The guest houses are part of the village and our guests become neighbours to the villagers for the length of their stay. We show our guests nature still in its unspoiled way. We monitor wildlife around the village and make the villagers understand why it is so important to preserve it. We promote sustainable tourism also by limiting the amount of rooms available.

All our employees are local and benefit from high training standards. We purchase most goods locally, even traditional building materials like hand made tiles, bricks and lime. Our taxes go to the local council helping to develop the village. Profit generated by the guests is re-invested directly in the restoration of our cultural heritage. Thus the entire village largely benefits from our undertaking.

Reviews of Transylvania winter vacation accommodation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 01 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The peaceful ambience was the thing that will stay with me - although there was also so much excitement of course on the tours, new year's eve party etc. For a city dweller it was the perfect way to unwind and 'get away from it all', appreciating the silence in vast forests or by the volcanic lake, or even at the lodge.

Having dinners and tours with strangers was wonderful as everyone was enchanted by their experiences and brought different interesting conversations.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Try to go for at least 5 nights. Going on the tours is better (unless you know the area really well and have a car) as the guides are very friendly and knowledgeable (and know the best places to go for the lunches). It takes a while to get there (just due to the location of nearest airports) - if you can arrange a pan-European trip with it I would recommend that.

We took the train from Bucharest North Station to Brasov and got a transfer arranged by the hotel from Brasov to Miklosvar, it took about 3 hours of train, 1 hr taxi each end - this is a more interesting experience for more adventurous types and works well, taking a car isn't necessarily faster depending on conditions / traffic.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely provides benefit to the local community. As the area is rural and lifestyle relatively simple, there is an implicit reduction in environmental impact. The local styles are maintained in many aspects - there is no mass import of unnecessary luxuries - as far as I was concerned, the rooms were toasty warm, the food and service excellent and nothing more was required!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely superb in every aspect. Even if it hadn't been my cup of tea, it was certainly unique and this itself will give me rich life-long memories.

Reviewed on 17 Feb 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The stay at the guest house- amazing! The staff were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble at all. The tour guides were outstanding.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I love the winter time as I think it's magical in the snow- I would recommend the snowy season..

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely as the ethos of the vacation is about the integrity of local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent.

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The gorge walk and bat caves, it was magical in the winter with a full snow covering. It was an adventure getting down the small roads to the parking place with all the snow.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you are prepared for the weather, review the forecast in the winter it gets very cold. Also this is not a nanny state you do have the choice not to do things. But where else would you be allowed to be pulled up hill a few kilometres on a sledge attached to a 4x4 lada.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes but only in a financial way which I find a bit superficial. There are aspects where the brilliantly skilled local people could be drawn in more to teach, they did seem very submissive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent a most memorable vacation would love to go back again to see what it is like at another time of year.

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


That is a really hard one! it was such an amazing experience - and so different from any other vacation we've ever had ... maybe seeing the Ural owls roosting as we arrived at dusk from the station at Augustin...or then maybe it was the local train from Brasov to Augustin itself...or perhaps the climb in the snow to the "bat cave" where the frozen ice stack represent Pied Piper's children who emerged from the cave...or the candlelit dinners in the cellar at Miclosvar - or the fortified Saxon churches with the guide Monika...or the barbeque of the best steaks in the world cooked by just throwing them onto a fire in the snow- or even digging GAbor's car out of a snow drift - or the forest walks and seeing the tracks of animals - or - there is so much, it was just ...wow!!!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open mind; don't expect a palace, it is a home not a castle, it's Romania not Paris; take the HUNGARIAN phrasebook, Romanian is not the first language in this area; expect massive meals; the wine is brilliant; take the all inclusive and the trips even if (like us) you hate the idea of being "packaged"- because you are not...it is like being taken around by a friend you're staying with not a guide.....don't bother taking smart stuff to wear....if it's winter it is COLD!! (we took the same gear we wore in the Artic and we were fine)...take your walking boots whatever the season....

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. All the employees and people we visited and we met were local and they seemed to be very much "at home"- they loved their work - references to "we" and "our home at [wherever] when they talked out the business is a good way to see that.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


B****y BRILLIANT!!! Only reason it is not 5 * below is because it is hard to decide if it the very best because all our vacations are different, but it is definitely up there with the best.

Reviewed on 04 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Two memories come to mind. Firstly visiting the exact part of a quarry where the most complete skeleton of a 3 million year old Masterdon has recently been found and seeing close up the bones and tusks laid out at the nearby museum. Secondly, being bought drinks by the locals in the bar in Miklosvar - a combination of sign language and 5 Hungarian phrases made for a really fun afternoon.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Top tip is to take an Hungarian phrase book and try and spend some time in the local villages. We walked to the next village and went to the local shops and bars, and made our own picnic lunches on occasions. The organised tours are great but mixing it up a bit is rewarding.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Not as much as we had hoped, but going into the villages helps. All the staff are local.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent, I would recommend to anyone wanting to go back and experience nature, a more simple way of living and wanting to learn about the complex make-up of Transylvanian history.

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The horse and cart ride up to the snowy forest and the open-air barbecue to the sound of wild boar grunts

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The nature parts of this walk involve a good deal of walking, so it those bits would not be suitable for anyone who was not fully mobile. The city trips would be fine though, I think. Walking boots/shoes are a must for anyone at any time of year.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, I personally saw how many local people gained employment and everything had been carefully considered. Very impressed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was wonderful - we did four nights, which I'd recommend as a minimum as there is so much to see. Children were well catered for - ours were two and four and loved all the food and the adventures! (we didn't take a pushchair though, just a rucksack to carry the youngest and that was a good decision as it meant we could hike in the forests etc.)

Reviewed on 08 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It is very difficult to think of one thing that made the vacation memorable as there have been many parts of the vacation
I have talked to friends and family about since I got home 2 days ago! The vacation was truly perfect. I traveled alone
and the staff made me feel like one of their family. The organisation ensured my upmost safety and comfort at every
moment. On arrival at Bucharest airport, Joseph drove me 4 hours to Miklosvar. I can't think of a more kindly and
welcoming face you want to see after traveling so far from home. I was taken on a horse drawn sleigh ride the
morning I arrived at the estate, after a wonderful breakfast made by the local ladies employed by the
Guesthouses. The hospitality was one of the things I treasured about the trip. The staff made me a sandwich while
traveling to Miklosvar and kept me dinner when I arrived at midnight! The ride into the forest of Transylvania and
lunch was something I will never forget. The next day it was matched by a visit to the local village of Miklosvar. The
tour guides told many traditional stories that you never find in a guide book. The visit to Bran Castle was something
that I think about often and inspires you to look more into the incredible history of the area. Monica, an enthusiastic
historian and our tour guide uncovered many stories associated with objects and areas I enquired about thorough
my visit that you just couldn't get anywhere else. Sledging on a volcanic lake and feeding baby boar was yet
another one of many memorable days I had on my trip to Transylvania. The evening dinner in the wine cellar talking
to other guests over a Transylvanian plumb brandy rounded off the day perfectly.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure that you take plenty of warm clothes in January! However, the staff are so considerate, I am sure they will
have another pair of socks to loan you! Don't worry if you are traveling alone. The staff organise everything to make
sure you are safe, included, and comfortable on your visit.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The people that I met were local to the Miklosvar area and were incredibly welcoming. The fires were all log fueled and
local crafts people I met were proprietors of traditional family businesses. I went home happy to know that local people
benefited without compromising their cultural heritage.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I can't imagine a better vacation. The staff gaged the activities according to your interest and will go out of their way to
make sure that it is the most memorable experience. I'm saving up to visit Miklosvar in the Summer it is truly a
wonderful experience. Thank you.

Reviewed on 04 Jan 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Where to start? Dracula's Castle - impressively situated on a tall crag, with snow swirling around. Being caught in the wind, in a doorway of a Saxon fortified church while admiring the sheer drop to the rocks below; tobogganing down a beautiful snowy road, and being towed back up the hill in a 7-toboggan snake, by a 4-wheel drive; Christmas Eve - children coming to the guesthouse to sing carols, and singing their little hearts out; Christmas Eve dinner - suckling pig, followed by charades in the good old fashioned way till midnight; Renaissance singers on Christmas Day with 16th century music and songs; a Christmas Day walk up the hill with a picnic - and lots of brandy; making new friends and laughing so much it hurt; having guides who couldn't do enough for us; meeting Count Tabor Kanolky and hearing his plans for the village... so you see it's impossible to pick out one thing. This was simply a wonderful Christmas vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring your sense of fun and adventure, join in everything you can and you'll leave with so many wonderful memories that you, like us, will be planning your return visit.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. It was good to visit local areas, even in winter, and to see first-hand what is being done. It was especially good to listen to the Count's plans and to see how our financial input is helping. Also very interesting to learn about local living and working conditions i.e. no running water in houses, majority of farming done by horse etc. We were acutely aware of the landscape and local environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic - we are already planning the next trip.

Reviewed on 29 Jan 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I can't really name one thing. It was all amazing. The people, the food, the room, the tours, the staff the scenery and snow!! All amazing. The people were all super friendly and loved mixing with us in the pub, even though none of us could speak the others language. I didn't get that horrible feeling you often get as a Brit abroad...

The food was a delicious 3 course meal for lunch and dinner (at a candlelight table in the cellar) I have never felt so spoilt! The room was great - we first went in and it was really snug. They had pre-light the wood fire for us. The bed was sooo comfy and the duvet was the most snugly duvet ever. The staff really made the vacation for me. They were so welcoming and friendly. Nothing was fake or too much trouble. When we first got there the manager took us in to the 'drawing room' where we sat and were treated to the local brandy. You could go into this beautiful room and hang out whenever you wanted. He sat with us and chatted about the area etc. I'm sure he must have had the same conversation thousands of times but he seemed to be talking about the area to someone for the first time, he was more than happy to explain about the local culture etc... He then took us to our room and offered to come and get us when it was time for dinner, so we didn't get lost!

Our guide Micheal was fantastic and the tours were really interesting and lots of fun. Micheal didn't just look after us on our tour, (volcanic craters/horse sleigh ride/walk) but made sure everything was perfect for us throughout the stay. Often when I have gone abroad staff can be overbearing and I often feel any helpfulness has an ulterior motive, but I never once got this with the staff at the guesthouse, they were simply genuinely really nice people. It was also nice to meet the other people on vacation there and we got on really well with them.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Spend longer than 3 days there!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, the people who worked within the tourism created by the vacation would not have had the injection of money created by the tourists. This includes all the people working for the Count and also the shops/pubs in the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Totally brilliant. I was a bit unsure that I would enjoy it after I had booked it, and on the train ride over was worried that it was going to be boring and too rural. I couldn't have been more wrong and after having arrived at the guesthouse, within 30 seconds I could tell I was going to love it!

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Spotting bear tracks in the snow on a walk up to some little caves, and the shadows amongst the trees on the snow as the sun went down. Also the sledge ride down to the volcanic lake and trying archery in a tent in a fortified town high up on a mountain in Rasnov. Tea and brandy with Count Kalnoky and the fireplace. Oh, and the cheese dumplings for pudding with jam and cream - like big, hot doughnuts. Sorry, that's more than one thing isn't it!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Wrap up warm if you're going in winter, and take good walking boots. If you're prepared for the ground to be a bit slippery you can do almost everything that you could do in summer. Also, if you're getting a taxi at a station or airport, call or approach one with a reputable company name - if you are approached by a driver they will probably be expensive. This happened to us, but "expensive" only meant 25 for a 20 minute journey through Cluj. And travel first class if going by train - it's cheap and so comfortable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Certainly. People living in this village generally seem to work on their own land and this provides another option for them (I believe the cooking and cleaning is done by local villagers, and the tour guides were all from the area and therefore very knowledgable). The buildings have been restored to a luxurious level of comfort and are cosy and warm in winter, but this has been done using local furniture and styles and is very beautiful. The food is as local as possible and we met nearly everyone who works for this company. So much more personal than a typical package vacation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A real adventure! Transylvania in the snow is a magical place, and I can't wait to return in the summer some time. We were looking for some festive snow and were so glad to stumble across this on the responsible travel website. Count Kalnoky is doing something very admirable here and I wish him the very best with the continuation of his project. I am already recommending this vacation to everyone I know!

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The vacation was full of memorable moments! I think our first excursion was perhaps the most exciting: sledging down about a kilometre to a frozen volcanic lake; then being pulled back up again on the sledge by a landrover, only to do the whole thing again. Also, the evening of my husband's Birthday was wonderful - as a surprise, the staff brought us a home baked cake and sparkling wine.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we could see that the people working in the guest houses were all from the village or from nearby villages, and that this was an important source of employment locally. Talking to our guides, it was also very clear how important preservation of the environment was to them. Their belief in conservation was very clear.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I have rarely been so affected by a vacation, and we both feel determined to go back and experience this again. More than individual moments or outings, it was the whole atmosphere that created this feeling. I read on the website beforehand that we would feel as if we were transported to another world - I didn't really believe it before we travelled, but this is exactly what it was like.

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Unique wonderful experiences in a beautiful land, with villagers living in a timewarp and staff who really cared that we were catered for us and carried out our requests. Horse and cart ride through snowy forests, across frozen streams, seeing foxes and birds of prey and wild boar tracks. Sledging a 2km run down to a frozen volcanic lake, climbing snowy paths up to caves. Plus Bram Castle. The look of complete happiness on my sons face as he was driving the Horse and Cart - something I will always treasure.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take the train up to Brazov - it is a great train ride, cheap and clean. The views are amazing. Watch out for taxis at the airport, most people staying were ripped off. Move away from the airport and flag down a taxi into town. Make sure they put their meter on should be between 1 - 2 Lei per km

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes in terms of jobs and money. There is additional customers for local shops and pubs. All the staff were very knowledgeable about the local environment, no one goes away from this vacation without having their awareness raised concerning the local environment. The tourism in the guesthouses has not spoilt or impacted on the local way of life. It is a good blend.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


9/10. Really really special and atmospheric.

Reviewed on 31 Jan 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Horse and cart ride in snow through a forest.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To bring plenty of warm clothes - it's very cold at this time of year (winter).

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - all the employees were local people.

4. Any other comments?


It was fantastic.

Reviewed on 21 Feb 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Skiing + see how different and relaxed people lived in the little village.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Travel with an open mind, and be prepared to spend a lot of time together with the other guests.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Animal tracking.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Warm clothes, good boots and an open mind.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, everything's local including the diet (so lots of pickled veg).

4. Any other comments?


A unique vacation, loved it.

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