Carpathian Walking & Bears

8 days
from
1 145 €
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 78 reviews >
Trip code: 
WVR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Hike through buccolic landscapes, visit quaint villages and view the birds and bears that inhabit this lost corner of Europe

History and geography conspired to make Transylvania, in central Romania, one of Europe’s most beautifully wild and fascinating regions. For centuries the locals have existed in harmony with a variety of wildlife, including Europe’s highest concentration of bears, wolves and lynx. Almost half the European population of Brown bears is recorded in the Carpathian Mountains. Meanwhile dense forests have remained largely untouched. Our days are spent on walks, through spectacular canyons, virgin forests and Saxon villages. We go in search of Brown bears and explore the mediaeval town of Brasov as well as Bran castle, best known as the residence of Count Dracula.

Highlights

  • Seeing Brown bears from a hide
  • One of the last remaining wilderness areas in Europe
  • A unique opportunity to observe a great variety of wildlife in its natural environment
  • Hiking through meadows, forests, and along mountain trails
  • Comfortable private guesthouse providing an authentic Carpathian experience and very warm welcome

Key information

  • 7 nights at the Villa Hermani Guesthouse 
  • 5 centre-based daywalks 
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2505m, average 1300m

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
+47-22 41 30 30
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Pace:

 

Day by day breakdown
Day 210.0km/6.0miles
Day 310.0km/6.0miles
Day 420.0km/12.0miles
Day 512.0km/7.0miles
Day 77.0km/4.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

This adventure is centred in one of Europe's largest ancient forests and carried out in close co-operation with the Wildlife department of Brasov University and local people from the communities of Zarnesti and Magura. The days are spent walking through the forests, pastures and towns of this region where we learn about its fauna, wildlife and history.

The Carpathian Large Carnivore Project (CLCP) established the ecotourism programme 'Wolves and Bears in Transylvania' as the first step towards making the conservation of bears, wolves and lynx economically profitable for local people. Although the official project has now closed, the locally run Conservation Project, along with the Romanian Wildlife Institute, the National Park Piatra Craiului and the National Eco-Tourism Association (AER) are continuing the work and are raising funds with the aim to pass the benefits of a developing tourist industry to the local population, giving them an incentive to preserve the wilderness and promote sustainable economic activity. Your hosts are founding members of the Romanian Eco-tourism Association (AER).

Baiting wildlife - an important issue in wildlife tourism

Baiting is a useful practice in attracting wildlife to aid sightings of certain animals in many areas around the world. It is also an approach that leads to much debate about the ethics in feeding wild animals – does baiting wildlife support stereotypes of animals as objects for visitor entertainment, is it sustainable, and most importantly can it serve a conservation purpose?

In some circumstances we are strongly against baiting, for example camps in Africa placing carrion to attract leopards purely for tourist sightings. However in Romania, and in this particular area we believe it is a practice that can lead to conservation benefits.

There are strong arguments for and against, but our belief is that this will help in protecting the wildlife from hunting which is still occurring in the region. Tourism is helping create enclaves where hunting is prohibited, and that growing income will hopefully lead to more protection in the future. Tourism is more sustainable long term than hunting, and growing support locally to protect the wildlife is important in Exodus taking this stance. Currently sweet corn, fruit, bread and something sweet like biscuits or honey is used on this trip as the bait. Using this type of bait has less effect on natural bear behaviour. Sightings are not guaranteed but are highly probable as bait is used.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Bucharest; transfer to Magura

    The start hotel is approximately 165km from the airport and will take around three hours to reach by road. Therefore, we highly recommend you wait for the group at the airport and join the group transfer.

    On arrival of the group flight at Bucharest Airport we are transferred by minibus to our private guesthouse at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. Food and refreshments will be served during the transfer. Our guesthouse is situated in the quaint village of Magura at 1020m and within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Daywalk visiting Kalibash villages and bat cave.

    After breakfast we spend the day walking around the area surrounding the unique Kalibash villages of Magura and Pestera, where the houses are built along the mountain ridges with deep ravines and valleys in between. We visit these traditional houses and learn about the history of the settlements, which were built against the mediaeval invasions of Mongols, Tartars and Turks. Near Pestera we visit a bat cave, home to five separate species of bats (though not found year-round). Make sure to bring a good torch with you!  
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Horse-drawn cart and hike in Barza Valley; evening Brown bear watching.

    Today we travel the traditional way as horse-drawn carts take us into Barza Valley, a long valley stretching along the Barsa River. As we make our way slowly through the valley we can enjoy the spectacular view to Piatra Craiului Mountain and the dispersed settlement of Poiana Marului. We leave the horse-drawn carts and hike through the hay meadows uphill to a hermitage in the rocks where we have lunch and enjoy the tea made by monks from herbs picked in the meadows.

    This evening, those who want, can take the opportunity to go Brown bear watching. A forester will take us to a safe hide deep in the forest. The hides are managed by the forestry commission and access is dependent on their permission which is why it is organised and paid for locally. Not being able to get access to the hides is extremely rare.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Hike through alpine pastures to Coja and Pestera

    Setting off from Magura we hike up to the alpine pastures. From here we can see the 25km ridge of Piatra Craiului as we enjoy the calm of the area. The silence is only broken by the bells of cows and sheep that are brought to these high pastures in summer to graze. We return to Magura in the afternoon.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk along a high alpine trail.

    Today we explore the second biggest mountain in the region, Bucegi. After driving to Busteni we take a cable car up to Babele (which means ‘the old woman’) at 2,216m. Nearby, an odd rock formation has been named ‘The Sphinx’ due to its resemblance to the Egyptian monument.
    From here we start our high alpine trail heading for Omu, the highest peak of the Bucegi Massif at 2,505m and enjoying breath taking vistas as well as a large variety of alpine flowers en route.

    We have lunch at Cabana Omu before returning to Babele along a different trail.

    Please note that at times the cable car may be closed due to high winds and the road may be closed. We may, therefore, end up hiking along an alternative high alpine trail in the region.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Visit Dracula's Castle and Brasov; observe local birdlife.

    Today we uncover Transylvanian culture at its best!

    After breakfast we drive to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. This castle was built on the border to Wallachia, where Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad the Impaler), the Duke of Wallachia, once ruled. Vlad, also known as Dracula was a brutal tyrant and provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous vampire story. Vlad, himself, never went to Bran Castle but Bram Stoker saw an image of it and felt it was the perfect setting for his gothic tale.

    After Transylvania had become part of Romania in 1920, the castle was donated to the Romanian royal family. It became the summer residence of Queen Maria, a granddaughter to Queen Victoria.

    From Bran Castle it is less than an hour’s drive to the region's culture and economic heart, Brasov. This mediaeval town has been a melting pot of nations ever since its foundation in the 12th century. We have a guided tour of the town before having some time to explore at leisure. In the late afternoon we join staff from the Brasov University as they take us to a lake area just outside of town to discover some of the local birdlife.

    In the evening we visit a traditional Romanian restaurant in Brasov for dinner (at own expense).
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Visit Brown bear sanctuary; hike to Vulcan.

    We head down to the valley and visit Libearty, Europe's largest Brown bear sanctuary. Set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests, the sanctuary is home to nearly 100 rescued bears, many of whom suffered over many years in captivity as dancing bears or in circuses.

    From the Brown bear sanctuary we go on a gentle hike across meadows to the village of Vulcan. This region, around Brasov, is closely related to the history of the Transylvanian Saxons, settlers who emigrated 800 years ago from the Rhine‐Moselle valleys. Their strong fortified churches have attracted international attention and some of them are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Vulcan derives its name from the Slavonic word 'valc', meaning wolf. In Vulcan we will be welcomed with coffee and tea in the yard of the fortified church. The churches in Transylvania were strongly fortified during the Middle Ages when the region was raided a number of times by Mongols and Tartars.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Bucharest Airport; end.

    Transfer to Bucharest airport. The trip ends upon arrival at Bucharest Airport for land only clients.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Romania

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Romania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included during our stay.

Meals are a mixture of fresh local produce and Romanian/Transylvanian specialties.

Transylvanian cuisine contains different dishes and is influenced by several traditions and cultures (German, Hungarian and Romanian cuisine) but still maintains it's own distinct character with a love for homemade cooking. Soups are a staple and much loved dish, main meals tend to be hearty with a strong focus on local produce and desserts are varied and plentiful.

Breakfasts usually consist of a small buffet including an egg dish, cold cuts, cheeses, boiled eggs, vegetables, spreads, bread, yoghurt, cereals, jam, juice, herbal teas and coffee.

Lunches included on this trip will usually include self-made sandwiches that you can choose your own fillings from the buffet in the mornings.

Each evening there is a choice of a meat dish or vegetarian option.

On one evening we enjoy dinner in a typical Romanian restaurant in Brasov, this meal is not included and you should allow approximately 25EUR (without drinks) for this.

Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options can be limited throughout Romania - please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.

Weather

Romania enjoys a continental climate with warm summers and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is usually quite low except in the mountains; spring and summer are the wetter seasons. The weather changes abruptly from winter to summer and spring is generally short. The Carpathian Mountains can be blanketed in snow until mid to late May at higher altitudes. Summer days are often long and warm with ten to eleven hours of sunshine, whilst nights can range from pleasantly warm in the lower valleys to cold at higher elevations. September temperatures tend to be lower than those in July and August but at any time of the year changeable weather with cloud, rain and chilly daytime temperatures can occur. Expect temperatures in the village to be lower than Bucharest.

Brasov

Is this trip for you?

The trip is Activity level 2 (leisurely/moderate) and has a safari rating of 3.

Walking times will vary from half to full days walking. There are numerous uphill sections on paths and tracks and distances walked are up to 20km with optional longer walks sometimes available. The trip goes up to altitudes of 2505m from its starting point at 750m, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. The exact trails, lengths and difficulties, may be adapted dependent on local weather and trail conditions and fitness of the group.
Please be advised that the chances of seeing Brown bears from the hides are good and in the past groups have seen wolves, beavers and other wildlife too. Our leaders are knowledgeable about the local wildlife but like with all wildlife viewing, a large part is down to chance and we cannot make any guarantees.

The itinerary may be followed in a different order due to various reasons such as weather and local conditions, but we will still do all of these activities even if on different days.

Call for general departures:
+47-22 41 30 30
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

We will spend 7 nights in the comfortable private guesthouse, Villa Hermani that offers twin and single rooms.

Villa Hermani is situated in the remote and beautiful village of Magura at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, located within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park. Our friendly hosts at the Villa Hermani possess a wealth of knowledge on Transylvania, wildlife conservation and serve delicious homemade food.

Almost all rooms have private facilities but some do have shared bathrooms. In such cases, however, there are never more than two rooms sharing one bathroom.

There is Wi-Fi available at the guesthouse, however, due to the weak internet lines in this remote location and the need to go via satellite which is provided by an external provider, the hosts of the guesthouse kindly request guests to pay a small fee of €5 for 750MB which should be enough for a week with checking emails. 

Single supplements are available on request.

Call for general departures:
+47-22 41 30 30
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
+47-22 41 30 30
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Cynthia Konkin

    Carpathian Walking and Bears

    This was a great trip with lots of gentle hiking in incredible scenery. The guesthouse is amazing with great food, beautiful views and a wonderful passionate owner who also accompanied us on some excursions. Magura is a beautiful, remote, rural and peaceful village. It is like going back in time. Go now before things change!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the mountain scenery and of course, viewing the brown bears from a cache in the woods.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was knowledgeable and efficient but sometimes seemed not very enthused or maybe distracted and quiet. Katharina who owns the guesthouse was absolutely passionate and spent a lot of time telling us about the area, the wildlife, the history and life in Magura. She also went to the bear sanctuary with us and took us bird watching.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The elevation gains on the hikes were generally very gradual. We worried about some of them but really didn't need to. It is an extremely peaceful place but, there are dogs that do bark at night sometimes so you might want earplugs if that is going to bother you. Go soon. This is a magical place that is bound to change eventually.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Guy Dixon

    Carpathian capers

    Great accommodation, good food and excellent group leader. Unique combination of outstanding scenery, history, flora and fauna. Interesting insight into a charming and often overlooked part of Eastern Europe. Definitely worth doing if you're looking for something a bit different.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up on the bucegi, the long local walk on day three, Brasov, everything on the final day, Thomas, and hanging out drinking beer at the lovely guest house.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd skip the optional trip to the bear hide - too far, too bumpy for an evening trip.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Angela HORTON

    Carpathian Walking & Bears

    A wonderful holiday based in the beautiful, remote, rural village of Magura. The village is accessed via a long, winding unmade road so get used to a bumpy ride. If you get out of the van immediately after you leave the tarmac it will take approximately 45 - 50 minutes to walk up hill to Villa Hermani through the woods - follow the bright pink paint splodges on rocks or trees. Transylvania is like stepping back in time, where local people still travel via horse and cart and cut hay with scythes, although they will be on their mobiles as mobile signals, 3 & 4G and WiFi are readily available. Romania is home to many European brown bears and seeing them from a hide in the forest was one of the highlights of our trip. In addition to the walking there is a visit to Bran Castle which was given to Queen Maria of Romania in 1918, and to the delightful city of Brasov.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments so I will list them in no particular order: Viewing the bears in their natural environment from the bear hide Watching the bats in the bat cave The 12 mile walk along the gorge and through meadows Visiting Libearty, the bear sanctuary Seeing red squirrels in the woodlands The stunning scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Traian was very relaxed and friendly and was keen that all our needs were met. He briefed us on the following day's activities after our evening meals. Traian was extremely knowledgeable about his country's geography, history and politics and he was keen to share his knowledge with us. Before dinner one evening he gave an informal lecture which was really interesting due to the content and Traian's delivery. Traian's passion about his county's future is apparent and we felt we came home much more aware of issues that the people of Romania are experiencing. Traian also leads 'Highlights of Romania' and I believe we gained from the information that is given on that trip. Whilst he had a rather casual approach to walking he didn't get us lost and he let us lengthen walks whilst others continued in the vehicle which we appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't change your money at the airport as the exchange rate is very poor 4.1 Lei to the £ compared to 4.95 to the £ in Brasov. The restaurants in towns accept credit cards and Villa Hermani accepts local currency, sterling, US dollars & Australian dollars but not credit cards. Your bill for the bear hide trip , beer, wine, tea and coffee is settled on the Friday evening before you leave. If you are used to walking regularly the walking is extremely leisurely, however if you are unfit, over weight or don't like hills then you will find the walking more challenging. We were somewhat disappointed with the amount of walking but enjoyed the long walk and every other aspect of the holiday. Villa Hermani provides a hairdryer which is perfectly adequate but not as powerful as at home. Walking poles are available to borrow from Villa Hermani If you are travelling with Tarom Airlines they do provide you with a complimentary hot meal and a glass of wine or beer, tea or coffee on the flight. We were also given a tasty sandwich on the transfer bus as we did not arrive at Villa Hermani until shortly after midnight.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Villa Hermani is a very comfortable place to stay and the family run business is keen for everyone to have a good time. (see my tripadvisor review for additional information) The food is plentiful and varied and even the fussiest eater should not go hungry. I was particularly impressed with the vegetarian food on offer as it was very varied and tasty. The Villa Hermani operates a very successful and great value for money honesty bar. You take what you want from a large fridge then write your name on the sheet provided and put a tick by the items you have had. At the end of the week you are given the total and asked to pay in cash. This also applies to payment for tea and coffee (other than at breakfast when it is included) the WiFi and for the trip to the bear hide.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Neil Thomas

    Bears Essential

    I had not realised before arriving in Magura just how remote, rural and remarkably beautiful Romania could be. The village where we were based is accessibly only via a long, winding unmade road... so get used to leaving modern life behind. In this part of the world people still travel via horse and cart and cut hay with scythes. It was like stepping back into Tudor times. Fortunately, this also means that Europe's largest group of wild brown bears are still able to thrive and going to see them from a hide in the forest was one of the highlights of our trip. There is also plenty of opportunity for hiking, with walks of varying severity on all but one day of the holiday. The views are spectacular - in some parts resembling Switzerland or Austria, in others California and the Rockies. We also took in trips to Bran Castle - to which the Dracula legend has been eagerly attached - and to the delightful city of Brasov.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing four bears from our hide in the woods.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was very energetic, very knowledgeable with - for a German - a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the Trip Notes carefully. There is no opportunity to change money for the first few days, so either take some Lei with you or spend some time in Bucharest first - as we did. I would also recommend taking walking poles.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip to the bat cave on our first day was a bit naff, although it did give me the chance to make jokes involving Robin. The food on the trip was plentiful and very tasty and our one evening meal away from Villa Hermani - in Predeal - was sensational. If there is one thing I have to suggest to Exodus it would be to dispense with the "meal" on the bus the first evening. This consisted of a fairly indigestible pre-packed sandwich at a time when no-one felt particularly hungry. I would also suggest that the cost of the trip to the bear hide be included in the price of the holiday. Who, after all, is going to refuse the chance to go on this excursion?
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Richard Vass

    Carpathian Walking and Bears

    A most excellent holiday led by Thomas, who was an knowledgeable guide, and who adjusted the walks according to the group ability and the temperature which was in the mid 30s Centigrade. Walking in such temperatures and at such altitudes can be challenging. Thank goodness for fresh water springs on the hillsides! The guesthouse was well appointed and the food was excellent. An honesty bar came in for much use when we returned from our travels! The major criticism arose when we came to settle our bills at the end of the week as the guesthouse did not take credit cards. This MUST be added to the travellers advice as there is no access to cash machines without a long drive. We only just managed to cobble together enough money by adding £ sterling, Lei and a few dollars which we had fortunately carried.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing bears in the wild

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Knowledgeable and efficient

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of cash - no cash machines anywhere near the guesthouse.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Marie Maciver

    Carpathian Walking and Bears

    A thoroughly enjoyable trip with good company and excellent guides - Tomas from Exodus, Janina and Catarina from Villa Hermani. Most days were walking - at variable heights and distances but one day was given over to history/culture of the area. A good balance.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears! There were 2 opportunities - an evening in the hide and a visit to the Sanctuary to see the 'rescued' animals. No- one could fail to be moved by the stories of these bears.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas was a very good guide. His knowledge of the area history and wildlife had obviously been well researched.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't bother taking much lei ( local currency) - Euros are acceptable in most places. Added to which, there isn't too much to actually buy. The extras at Villa Hermani are extremely reasonable. Make sure you take extra footwear - we got very wet one day and although there is a 'warm room' , boots will not necessarily dry overnight.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Villa Hermani is a terrific place to stay. My room - a single was very comfortable - plenty big enough ,with a balcony, en suite and lots of hot water. Needless to say, immaculate. The food was excellent - no choice but well cooked and plentiful. Breakfast was large with a good choice in the morning and for preparing packed lunch. Book early if you want a single - there were not many available. This is quite a demanding trip but well worth doing. A former reviewer noted that some of the days' activities ended quite early but I found that this was a good chance to rest, shower and compare notes with other members of the party.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Peter Sumpter

    A largely positive, interesting and varied trip, despite four seasons is a week

    The walking was good, but maybe it was the varied other experiences and activities that made the trip more special. The visits to Bran Castle, the fortified church, the local "bar", Brasov. And of course the wildlife - the bears and the fire salamanders. Most exceeded expectations. The dip in the weather meant what were probably going to be the best hikes were not possible. I feel that some re-arranging of the itinerary might have benefitted us. Lovely and varied scenery, though. The guesthouse as a base was great, and we were well looked after. Hikes straight from the door are always a plus. As is unpacking and packing just once.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was the overall variety for me, therefore hard to pull out one inspirational moment. And so I won't.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Overall he was good and I thank him for one particular action (enough said!). Probably could have added a little more to what I got out of the trip, especially in terms of understanding the history of the country and its people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While graded an activity level of 2, remember that this is in mountains with 20km covered one day. Inevitably the group travels at the speed of the slowest. You'll be pretty unlucky not to see bears - wild they are, but also fed so the viewing from the hide is very likely to happen, and to be quite enthralling. The binocs are a real plus here.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Probably worth adding that the Romanian people are certainly friendly / welcoming. The schnapps should be sampled (or the cherry brandy version if something sweeter is preferred). Stating the obvious, the people on the trip really do help to make it. And this tour was a good bunch. The bat cave wasn't a stand-out moment for me, but maybe at times it's rather more populated (with bats, rather than people).
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Suzanne Anderson

    Carpathian Bears review

    A superb trip with a great hotel, lovely staff and a fabulous tour guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My favourite part really was seeing the bears it was truly magical, cute and cuddly. The heart did pound a little as we walked to the bear hide but knowing they are more scared of you than you are of them helped a lot. We saw many bears over 10 in fact including a mum with her two cubs, truly amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Udi our group leader was fabulous, he was very knowledgeable and insightful with all that he shared. I particularly loved that he knew so much about all the flowers and birds it really added something to the trip for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you get travel sick at all then take travel calm tablets with you. There's not much travel involved but if you suffer its really helpful to take them, once I did I didn't suffer at all. I travelled with KLM via Amsterdam from Leeds and they lost the luggage on the way out so make sure you have flights that allow at least 2 hours transfer otherwise they will struggle to transfer your bags for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Romania is a beautiful Country with so much to offer, I'd highly recommend this trip to anyone who likes to walk and see nature at its best. simply wonderful!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Gemma Reid

    Carpathian walking and bears

    One of the best holidays we've been on, beautiful scenery, lovely walks, good food and company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was a privilege to see the bears, and we loved Brasov, but really just the valley we were in and the walks we went on were the best bits. And the horse and cart ride!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Udo was an informative and entertaining guide. What this man doesn't know about flora and fauna isn't worth knowing!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We found walking poles very useful, but there were plenty to borrow if you don't have your own. The walking is rated correctly in my opinion, the most challenging day had an option of a shorter walk anyway. Be prepared for the fact that dogs live outside in this area and it's pretty noisy at night, ear plugs might be useful!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Bridget Osmond

    Carpathian Walking and Bears

    A lovely relaxing holiday with varied activities; walking, bear watching and sight seeing. Hotel Magura was excellent; spacious rooms with stunning views, great food and an honesty bar.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears from the bear hide but also being impressed with Romania; the history, villages, scenery etc etc

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Thomas was very knowledgeable having been brought up in a nearby village. His knowledge of the history and culture was outstanding and he looked after us with great enthusiasm and good humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it now and enjoy the scenery and hospitality of Romania. Don't take too much money as it is only at the end of the week that you need it.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on +47-22 41 30 30