Off The Beaten Track:
Exploring Moldova and Romania’s Hidden Treasures
September 4 - 17, 2021
Fully escorted by Charles Whitlock, Walkaway Treks
Moldova and Romania experience an outstanding relationship and are closely linked in history, culture and language. While many travelers explore only the major centers of the country our special tour delves into some of the lesser known, truly spectacular walks and hikes of both countries. Forests, mountains, lakes, and local villages abound as we delve into their beauty. This is a path less travelled and less publicized, but you will discover treasures that will always remain with you. You are invited to join our small group for this unique and wonderful experience.
Sunday September 5, 2021 Arrival in Chisinau D
Arrival in Moldova and meet our guide and driver at the airport. We will then enjoy a city tour followed by dinner and accommodation in our hotel.
Monday September 6, 2021 Chisinau – Curchi B, L, D
Orhei National Park – Butuceni – approx. 5h walk, 400m elevation gain, 13 km This morning we transfer to Curchi Monastery and, after a short visit, step into the woods and make our way to the nearby Donici village. Traversing the meadows and vineyards, cross the valley and the fishing ponds and climb through the oak trees. After 1.5h and we reach the old village of Lupa Recea, located on a hill ridge and surrounded by vineyards.
Late afternoon transfer to Butuceni, in the middle of Orheiul Vechi (Moldovan historical and archaeological complex) for dinner and accommodation in traditional guesthouses.
Tuesday September 7, 2021 Butuceni B, L, D
Hike around Orheiul Vechi – Sucevita – 2h walk, 200m elevation gain, 6.5km
A short walk in the morning will reveal these spectacular surroundings – Raut (river) canyon, cave churches, medieval town remains and Tartar sites. A different feel today with open landscapes marked by rocky hills and meandering rivers. We then transfer across the Republic of Moldova and cross the Romanian border into the EU and make our way to Sucevita, on the outer fringes of the Carpathian chain.
Dinner and accommodation in a typical guesthouse.
Wednesday September 8, 2021 Sucevita – Moldovita Monastery B, L, D
Hike to Runc Hamlet - Sucevita – 1h transfer back and forth, 4-5h walk, 500m elevation gain, 10km
This morning we pass through mountains to the beautiful valley of Moldovita. After seeing the monastery (built in the 16th century and dominated by the yellow color), we will hike in the hills starting with a climb through grassland and forest to Runc hamlet. Here is a place almost completely separated from the rush of the modern world, where we do not find roads, sidewalks, traffic lights, cars, but footpaths, fences to jump, springs, orchards, little potato and bean crops, haystacks, carts and horses. The village itself is situated on top of a 1000m hill, surrounded by dense conifer forests, populated not only by Europe’s biggest number of large carnivores (Romania is home to approximately 7000 bears, 3000 wolves and 2000 lynx), but also by an entire mythical world of fairies, saints, dwarves, giants, witches, living trees and springs. This is only a small glimpse into the archipelago of altitude villages in northern Romania, a place that likely shelters one of the last living peasant cultures in Europe. Our group will then descend back to the valley of Moldovita and, in the village, we visit Glicheria Hretiuc, one of the skillful local masters of the art of painting eggs. After a demonstration and a visit to her exhibition, we can choose to savor a beer in a local pub or resume our tour.
Dinner and accommodation in a typical guesthouse.
Thursday, September 9, 2021 Sucevita B, L, D
Rodna Mountains National Park Walk – Botiza – 3.5 h transfer, 2.5 – 6 h walk, 150m to 700m elevation gain, 6 – 12km
After breakfast we depart Bucovina and cross 4 mountain passes to reach Maramures. On the last of these (Prislop Pass 1417m) we leave the bus and start our walk in Rodna Mountains National Park. These are the first high mountains we encounter and the landscape changes: spruce gives way to junipers and blueberry bushes, rocky outcrops and glacial circs start to show, glacial lakes are nested in almost each of these valleys and waterfalls run down 100m high cliffs. We eventually meet our bus in the village of Maramures and we make our way to Botiza, following two river valleys and another small pass.
Dinner and accommodation in traditional guesthouses.
Friday, September 10, 2021 Botiza – Poienile Izei B, L, D
No transfer, 4-5h walk, 400m elevation gain, approx. 12 km walk
Today we hike the beautiful hills of Maramures. We will be facing landscapes shaped by centuries of agricultural practices: crops cultivated on artificial terraces, orchards, haystacks, and summer lodges everywhere. The villages nestled in each valley typically harbor a monumental, centuries old, wooden church. We stop and visit one of these in Poienile Izei, admiring the UNESCO classed interior frescoes, then through these same enchanted hills make our way back to our guesthouse.
Saturday, September 11, 2021 Botiza – Ieud B, L, D
3.5 – 7 h circuit, 300m – 600m elevation gain, 11 – 20km walk
Today we choose among several options, or maybe combine some features of them: the surrounding hills offer a perfect maze for wandering among hay meadows dotted by flowers or haystacks, orchards and all sort of other crops. The passage is free and the landscape is never-ending. We can choose to follow a marked trail leading to the neighboring village of Ieud, where we would explore the local heritage: two wooden churches, one of them long time presumed to be the second oldest in the country (1360), and a beautiful ethnographic museum. The hike itself across the hills is, in itself, a cultural endeavor: the amazing landscape is shaped by manual labor by the last living communities of peasants of Europe, the encounters are warm and discreet. Another option is to go for an auto tour to see more on a larger area: watermills, whirlpools, saws, and all sort of other industrial facilities made of wood, powered by streams and built by the local anonymous geniuses a century or more ago. Wood carvers, hat makers, carpet weavers are other points of interest.
We return to Botiza in the afternoon for dinner and a final night.
Sunday, September 12, 2021 Botiza – Cluj – Turda Salt Mine – Rimetea B, L, D 4.5h transfer
Travelling south today, across the volcanic chain of Gutai, and into Transylvania. Cluj, the capital of Transylvania has more than 500,000 inhabitants including a large student community estimated at around 80,000. It’s a very dynamic city and also abundant with historical architecture and a wealth of cultural attractions. After a short tour of the old center, we proceed to the nearby Turda salt mine. Before going deep underground to marvel at “one of the coolest underground places in Europe”, we stop and have lunch at Isa Cellars. From Turda we have another 1h drive to Rimetea – an historic village at the feet of the impressive Piatra Secuiului ridge in Trascau Mountains. The beauty of the landscape is fully matched by the architecture of the village itself.
Dinner and accommodation in typical Szekey Inn.
Monday, September 13, 2021 Rimetea – Piatra Secuiului – Rimetea B, L, D
3-4h circuit walk, 600 m elevation gain, 8 km
We depart the guesthouse on foot and climb, first through the village, then the old terraced hillside and finally through a little canyon. Reaching the summit, we enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view of the Western Carpathians, the village at our feet, Northern and Southern rugged Carpathians as well as the Transylvanian basin and its center plateau. We return to the village via a less rugged path, crossing woods and shaded valleys.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 Rimetea – Alba Iulia – Sibiu B, L, D
Leaving Rimetea, we travel south through the limestone dominated landscape. As we exit the mountains, following the Mures river valley, we reach Alba Iulia. This modern city hosts, in the town center, the largest Vauban fortress in all of Eastern Europe. This impressive 18th century structure houses a wealth of historic sites and relics dating back to the Dacian, then Roman and finally medieval times. Following a good 1 to 2h walk around the Alba Carolina, we make our way south to reach the Southern Carpathians, and turn east along the wooded foothills all the way to Sibiu. The European capital of Culture 2007 is a really charming mix of medieval and modern era architecture with a vibrant cultural life.
Accommodation in a hotel in the city center.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 Sibiu – Balea Lake circuit B, L, D
160km back and forth transfer. 500m climb, 1300m descent, approx. 6h walking
After breakfast we climb to Capra Saddle and then to Iezerul Caprei Peak, circuiting the upper glacial circ of Balea. We complete the tour with wonderful views of Wallachia to the south and Transylvania to the north, following the main ridge of Fagaras massif up to Paltinu peak and then down Doamna Saddle. Here we start a 1000m descent on the tranquil Doamna Valley. Once we reach the treeline we make a short climb to swap to Balea Valley where the bus is waiting to take us to back to Sibiu.
Thursday, September 16, 2021 Sibiu - Bucharest B, L, D
Early today we depart Transylvania and cross the mountains on our way back to Bucharest. The capital city of Romania, once known as Little Paris, is an astounding metropolis standing at the crossroads between East and West, nowadays making a beautiful comeback after the communist aftermath. We will have time to explore this wonderful city prior to our hotel check-in.
Accommodation in a 4* hotel in Bucharest city center and farewell dinner tonight.
Friday, September 17, 2021 Bucharest - Canada BB
Time allowing – visit the city. Transfer to the airport for our flight back to Canada or you may elect to stay in Europe for further exploration.
- Tour Cost per person twin / double:
$4,395 Canadian (includes air*)
- Single Surcharge:
$730 Canadian – very limited
- Land only per person twin / double:
$3,095 Canadian per person / twin
- Single Surcharge:
$730 Canadian – very limited
- Per Passenger deposit requirements:
$750 Canadian per person
Deposit due on November 6,2020 – if confirmed after this date deposit due at booking
- Final Payment Due: June 18, 2021
Single occupancy is extremely limited on this tour and on a request basis only. We also offer the opportunity of share single. In this case we will attempt to provide suitable share accommodation for single requests however this is not guaranteed.
Note on Air*:
Final air arrangements can only be confirmed approximately 320-days in advance of departure at which time we will confirm the air arrangements and exact cost. We are projecting a return cost, including all taxes, of approximately CAD $1,300 per person.
If, at the time of contracting, we can get a lower fare or a more enchanced itinerary, we will adjust and advise our travelers accordingly.
From time of booking until final air is confirmed there is no cancellation penalty. At the time final air is confirmed and accepted, full cancellation penalties will come into effect.
From final air confirmation to 31-days prior: In the event that we are able to find a replacement from waitlists or other requests received for the land tour between date of booking and 31-days prior to date of departure, a flat $50.00 p.p. administration charge will be accessed. Within 31-days prior, we regret that all payments become non-refundable with or without a replacement. We do not guarantee a replacement for any cancelled passenger.
- 12 overnights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/pensions
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinners - full board (only dinner on day 1 and breakfast on day 13). Some of the lunches will be picnic
- Tourism visits as described in the program
- All necessary transfers in Moldova and Romania
- Qualified English-speaking guide for the entire duration
- Fully escorted by Charles Whitlock
- Personal expenses
- Medical insurance
We strongly recommend adequate travel insurance and will provide details of insurance suggestions at the time of booking.
From November 6 to June 18, 2021:
Loss of deposit paid
From final payment date to departure:100% Non-refundable
In the event that we are able to find a replacement from waitlists or other requests received for the land tour between date of booking and 31-days prior to date of departure, a flat $50.00 p.p. administration charge will be accessed. Within 31-days prior, we regret that all payments become non-refundable with or without a replacement. We cannot guarantee a replacement for any cancelled passenger regardless of the date the cancellation is received in our office.
Frankfurt September 5
Our Very Special Accommodations
Hotel Jolly Alon
Jolly Alon Hotel & Business Center is the first 4 Stars Hotel from Republic of Moldova! Situated in the Center of the Chișinău, in presidential district, it offers a great view of the Central Park Ștefan cel Mare. 76 Rooms are very large and completely meet all the expectations you may have from a 4* Hotel, with a special ambiance conferred by harmonious design executed by european specialists.
Pensiunea Casa de sub Stîncă
The agropension “Casa de sub Stinca” (“House under the Rock”) is located in the village Trebujeni (Orheiul Vechi) 50 km from Chisinau, located right under a rock, causing great interest among visitors. This allows both foreign and local tourists to spend unforgettable holidays in a village atmosphere with traditional dishes and a lot of good mood. Here tourists have a unique opportunity to discover the charm of country life with its rites, traditions and customs.
Casa cu Cerbi
An authentic Bucovina farmhouse, restored with care and respect for the rural heritage of the Carpathian Mountains, with roomsfull of warmth and individuality: they are equipped with furniture that has been salvaged from other old houses and restored, and decorated with old family rugs, old photographs, and other beautiful objects. Each room has its own private bathroom. A well-known address for gourmets, offering healthy, traditional and inventive food, using produce grown by us.
Traditional Renovated Houses
The rich inside decoration offers a true image of old houses in Maramures.
Conacul Secuiesc is located at the foot of the Kingdom of Trascăului Mountains. Enjoy the unique sight of Pietrei Secuiului or our water lilies lake, in a walk through the generous courtyard of the mansion. Cosy rooms and traditional dishes incite you to rest like in a new world. Inspired by the traditional architecture of Rimetea-Colțești Area, which are in the European Cultural Patrimony, Conacul Secuiesc blends the charm of the past with the modern accommodation requirements of four daisies.
Continental Forum Hotel
This 4 star hotel, offers impressive and classical accommodation in Sibiu decorated according to the modern trends in hospitality. It is one of the most popular hotels in Sibiu, located in city center, on the main boulevard in Sibiu, which has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, an attentive staff and is very close to the hystorical center of Sibiu, only a 3-minute walk from the Brukenthal Museum and Great Square.
Golden Tulip Victoria Hotel
The Golden Tulip Victoria Bucharest hotel is perfectly placed in the heart of the city. Our 4-star hotel offers an amazing view above the historical Bucharest, a beautiful sunset, and plenty of natural light for you to enjoy reading a book in your cozy room. We have the best Chefs in town, so be prepared for a real culinary experience.
Contact Scott today!
Meet Charles Whitlock
In 2003 Charles established Walkaway Treks to better serve his hiking adventures and to provide a variety of hiking services.
Charles Whitlock is the owner/operator
of Walkaway Treks.
- 30+ years outdoor leadership experience
- Certified Wilderness First Responder
- Certified hike leader with the Toronto Bruce
- Trail Club and the Grand Valley Trails Association
- Tour Manager for tours in the United Kingdom, France, Guernsey, Canada and the United States
- Advisor to the Grand Valley Trails Association
We pleased to offer these EXCLUSIVE travel arrangements!Worldwide Central Trips