Carpathian Mountains conservation & culture vacation

“This is a group walking vacation of alpine pastures, Saxon villages and incredible wildlife teamed with comfortable accommodation, minimal traveling and excellent local food.”

Highlights

Magura | Pestera | Visit to a bat cave | Wild bear watching | Traditional Saxon village visits | Piatra Craiului ridge | Libearty Bear Sanctuary | Vulcan | Bucegi Massif | Bran Castle | Brasov | Birdwatching | Horse-cart ride through the Barza Valley | Piatra Cruilui Mountains

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this vacation or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

Toll free 1-866-821-6866 Calling from outside the US?

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
02 May 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 02 May 2020 departure
09 May 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 09 May 2020 departure
30 May 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 30 May 2020 departure
13 Jun 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 13 Jun 2020 departure
27 Jun 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Jun 2020 departure
04 Jul 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 04 Jul 2020 departure
25 Jul 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jul 2020 departure
08 Aug 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 08 Aug 2020 departure
15 Aug 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Aug 2020 departure
22 Aug 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Aug 2020 departure
12 Sep 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 12 Sep 2020 departure
19 Sep 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2020 departure
03 Oct 2020
US $1679
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Oct 2020 departure
Our top tip:
It's worth investing in a decent all-weather walking boots and don't forget your insect repellent.
Trip type:
Small group, 4-15 adults (min. age 16), tour leader.
Activity level:
Moderate. The fitter you are the more you'll get out of it.
Accomm:
7 nights comfortable guesthouse.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge.
Meals:
7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, tour leader.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Carpathian Mountains conservation & culture vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend the week in a comfortable, locally run guesthouse called Villa Hermani. The Villa uses LED lighting and solar panels in order to save energy, whilst their recycling policies are in line with Romanian environmental law. The majority of meals are included on this trip and they comprise of fresh, local produce and Romanian specialties like smoked meats, cabbage dishes and vegetable soups. On one evening the leader will accompany clients to dinner at a local restaurant in Brasov where we can enjoy regional cuisine; a good opportunity to support the community through local businesses.

Local Craft and Culture:
We get an insight into the rural, agricultural lifestyle of many in Romania when we walk through rural villages and countryside through the week. There will also be excellent opportunities to learn about some local crafts and traditions. Other highlights include Bran Castle, which was home to Vlad the Impaler in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We also have a guided tour of Brasov and the unique Kalibash villages of Magura and Pestera, where the houses are built along the mountain ridges with deep ravines in between. Through this, we hope to contribute to the local economy by paying for guides and entrance fees.

Association for Ecotourism in Romania:
Our local tour partners are founding members of the Association for Ecotourism in Romania (AER) and hold positions on the Director’s Board. The Association is involved in promotion and marketing of sustainable tourism activity and accreditation of ecotourism tours and green accommodation. In a place where ecotourism is still in its infancy, this group is significant in raising public awareness of responsible ways to travel and this is reflected in the nature of this trip.

Conservation:
In the Carpathian Mountains above the Transylvanian town of Zarnesti, we visit Libearty Bear Sanctuary. This is Europe’s largest bear sanctuary and is set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests. The sanctuary is home to nearly 100 bears which have been rescued from captivity, having suffered as dancing bears or in circuses. By visiting, we are supporting the work goes on here with monitoring, maintenance and providing educational facilities for school groups to learn about animal welfare.

Activity:
We regulate our environmental impact by frequently using carbon free transport alternatives like hiking and traditional horse drawn cart. This trip is predominantly nature based and we are careful to enforce a ‘leave no trace’ policy- particularly when watching the bears and other wildlife. A local forester will accompany us to the bear hide and with ensure that our behaviour is in line with regulations set out by the forestry commission. In terms of community, our local partners are the only local employers in their village and we also support local cafes, pubs and shops wherever possible.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

16 Reviews of Carpathian Mountains conservation & culture vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
9
7
0
0
0

Reviewed on 25 Aug 2019 by

It was excellent- excellent value for money, wonderful food and accommodation, great itinerary, wonderful varied walks, excellent guide, very good group size. All worked towards a fab vacation experience. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2019 by

The most memorable part of the vacation was seeing the bears in the hide Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2019 by

Seeing the bears from the hide was memorable, especially Mum bear with her two babies Read full review

Reviewed on 21 May 2019 by

Just being in the wonderful location was memorable - seeing the snow covered mountains of Bucegi on one side and the Piatra Craiului on the other was wonderful. Apart from seeing the bears, the other (unexpected) highlight was the wonderful ride in the horse cart, through the meadows with the sun shining. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2019 by

The bears but it was all excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2019 by

The most memorable and exciting part of the vacation was watching the bears from the bear hide. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2018 by

Fabulous, it was our 1st group vacation and would definitely be happy to do similar again. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2018 by

An excellent trip with places to hike and see, friendly and helpful people and fantastic hosts and guides. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 May 2018 by

The whole trip was memorable but I loved the walk in the snow and rain at the top of a mountain. Brilliant. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2017 by

Walking in the Carpathian Mountains was stunning. Watching bear and wild boar at close quarters and visiting the bear sanctuary was definitely one of the highlights. Gaining an insight into the history of Romania by visiting castles, fortified churches and local towns was also fascinating. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2017 by

The most memorable were the painted monasteries and the village of Viscri and Transylvania generally. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Aug 2016 by

The most memorable part of my vacation was watching the brown bears from the bear hide. While we were there we saw around 10 different bears including a mother with her two cubs. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jun 2016 by

Thoroughly enjoyable vacation. My wife was somewhat apprehensive but came back having enjoyed a different (for us) invigorating vacation that was much much better than either of us expected. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Jun 2015 by

The most memorable or exciting part of your vacation? Seeing wild bears! Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2011 by

Absolutely excellent, awesome experience, briliant hospitality from the local agent and excellent guiding. Very good accomodation that exceeded our expectations. Very friendly group of travelers that really gelled through the vacation. Will certainly be considering other vacations from this operator for the future. Our 16 year old daughter had a brilliant time too. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Oct 2010 by

An excellent vacation, a good destination and range of activities. One of the best group vacations I have been on, everyone got on well from the start... I would say that the vacation was sensitive to the environment and local culture and gave a good insight into rural Romania. Read full review

Popular similar vacations

Volunteering with bears in Romania

Volunteering with bears in Romania

Volunteer at an inspiring bear sanctuary in Transylvania

From £925 7 days excluding flights

Romania wildlife holiday stay in wildlife hides

Romania wildlife vacation stay in wildlife hides

-Explore some of the wildest forests of Europe

From 400 - €500 4 days excluding flights

Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Unique family volunteering vacation at a bear sanctuary

From £925 7 days excluding flights

Wildlife photography vacation in Romania

Wildlife photography vacation in Romania

Discover the Danube Delta

From 1100 - €1350 6 days excluding flights

Convert currencies