The unadulterated shape in our spring collection of thrills

Birthplace of the notable sculptor Constantin Brancusi, northern Oltenia raises its people as fine craftsmen, creators of unadulterated shapes, devoted to the magnificence of the mountains guarding their homeland.

In Romania, we genuinely believe that we get the best of our country when paying a visit to Bucovina and Northern Moldavia. It is a magical place no matter the season, but in winter time join us for quite an epic journey to the north. The road is long, but good even when it snows and with an early start, you’ll reach the first stop in merely a couple of hours after noon.

Varatec Monastery is neither geographically nor historically part of Bucovina, but strongly linked to it by Orthodox heritage. In Romania, the monasteries are no usual convents, but quaint communities resembling old time villages, idyllically set on hilltops among wood sanctuaries. At Varatec, the nuns live in small farms and are more than happy to welcome you in one of their 150 years old houses.

Don’t take too long admiring the cozy low-ceiled rooms as the nuns prepare the fresh lunch. It is very likely to arrive during the fast before the Christmas celebration, but don’t worry, fasting meals at the monastery are indeed finger-licking and entirely homemade, even the bread.

After lunch, you might like to take a good nap or visit the scenic surroundings including the monastery, the laic village of Varatec and the forest nearby. Return to the house for dinner – if it’s on Saturday fish meals are allowed, then you ought to try the fish borsch.

Let the early morning hours go by while you carelessly slug in bed. Would you care for breakfast in bed? Or a morning stroll around the pleasantly warm streets before having breakfast on the veranda? Each choice is perfect, enjoy the first part of day exactly as you may wish.

Around noon get back on the road and keep west near the foothills until you reach the lovable village of Hobita. The place where Master Brancusi was born and which influenced his entire existence: from the geometric patterns of the region, the old tradition of woodcarving to the simple ways of living. We can’t spoil such a moment and tell you more about Brancusi’s old cottage nor about Hobita, when the most appropriate thing to do is to let you fully enjoy the experience without having any prior mindset.

Later on you’re most welcome in the nearby village of Pestisani to have lunch with one of the local families, then continue your journey this time to the north. It’s up to you whether you’d like to take the road across the mountains or through the green valley of the River Jiu. Right before night fall you shall arrive to Cheile Butii, a natural gorge dug in Retezat Mountains, and relish on a fresh grilled trout at a rustic lodge.

The Sea Valley is one of the most astounding ladder sequences of waterfalls formed by small streams precisely in the middle of the forest. Spend your morning climbing rock by rock among the waterfalls in a unique scenery roughly touched by civilization where the wet print of a wild animal paw on the stones is no unusual event. Return to the lodge for lunch; afterward take an amazing trip to one of the last intact old-growth forests in Europe – Domogled-Cerna River valley National Park. An inside peek: the highlight attraction is the claw, a fir tree with its bark torn off by a bear happily scratching its back. There’s quite a chance to meet the bear too therefore enjoy the adrenaline rush as you’re in safe hands.

Relax for the evening at a guesthouse located exactly at the bottom of Retezat Mountains and physically and mentally prepare for the following day.

The early birds get ready for a lifetime adventure: the Retezat Massif. Take a car ride through Retezat National Park up to the altitude of 1,611 m (5,285 ft) where a local ranger will join your hike through the forest until you reach Lake Bucura, the largest glacier lake in Romania at the altitude of 2,040 m (6,692 ft). Catch your breath and feast your eyes with the purest, crystal clear water that you’ve ever seen. You’re definitely hungry after the trekking, so it’s about time you had a high protein lunch at the Mountain rescue shelter near the lake.

Thereafter make your pick either getting some fully appreciated rest at Lake Bucura or continue your climb with the ranger to the Peleaga Peak. The latter shall be highly worth it as in a couple of hours you’ll experience all four seasons, cross a glacier and the most sensational snowy ridge with a chance to spot chamois and marmots. You should get your hopes high as the best part is reaching the peak itself. At 2,509 m (8,232 ft) in the perfect sunny day, with scattered clouds beneath you and the view of half the county… Enjoy every bit of yourself; you’re on top of the world. We’d actually toast together a glass of champagne if it weren’t for the heavy bottle to carry in the backpack.

Find your way back to the lake to taste some mied (Romanian fiery water mixed with honey) to warm your heart and muscles. Soon after, continue your descend to the car and relax on the way to the guesthouse where a generously tasteful dinner awaits you.

Start your day at leisure with a light breakfast and perhaps an invigorating morning stroll to say farewell to the Retezat Mountain. Now that you took such a close look at it, you might agree with the local saying: Retezat – hard to get, hard to forget.

This particular tour requires strenuous physical effort, clothing suited for hiking/trekking and moderate mountain climbing, sun block and trekking poles. Note that in certain contexts, Romania might be an overwhelming experience as there are areas which do not avail modern day facilities such as television and Internet connection. Furthermore, parts of the local infrastructure weren’t intentionally modernized in order to preserve the rural, authentic surroundings. Roundtrip transportation from Bucharest can be organized upon request and number of tourists by car (private tour or rental), coach, train or airplane. Some tours are subject to availability as the activities depend on the traditional farms’ yearly schedule (mowing, fruit/mushroom picking, jams, pickles and preserves etc). However, all tours are flexible and may be adapted, as well as the activities interchanged. Local families are trained to cook special meals for vegetarian and vegan tourists.

All tours and activities represent suggestions to selected areas and can be changed according to individual client requests.