Bear Watching Walk in Hargita
Country: Romania Region: Transylvania
- Experience the thrill of tracking wild brown bear
- Four-days trekking in one of the least visited region
- Spot wolves, wild boar, deer, and lynxes from the hide
- Unforgettable night at mountain hut in wildernesses
The thrill of tracking brown bears can be experienced on this tour through the magical forests of Transylvania. It is a six-night trekking adventure that will also take you deep in the Carpathian Mountains close to their homeland. This exciting holiday is the ideal opportunity for people who love nature and wildlife to get out there and explore Hargita which is one of the least visited parts of Transylvania.
60% of the entire bear population of Europe can be found within Romanian territory and this can be as many as 5000 bears. An observation hide will be the first stop on the tour and this will give you an incredible opportunity to see the bears up close. People who have been on this tour previously have also seen wolves, wild boar, deer and lynxes from this hide.
Arrive in Bucharest or Cluj and transfer to Transylvania
Upon your arrival, a representative from FrozenGround will be waiting outside the airport gates to take you to the hotel in Hargita Madaras. Depending on time of arrival, plans will be made for a briefing meeting once you have settled in.
Accommodation: Pension Sugo
Drive: 4-5 hours
Hargita ridge hike to Hargita Bai
Our tour starts at Mădăraş village, which is along the Mădăraş stream on a forest road made for sleights, which is also goes through a magnificent pine tree forest. Near the forest border, at approximately 1,700 metres we arrive to the origin of the Pârâul Săritor which is covered 1-2 metres of snow in winter time. From here, we continuing our hike to the 1,801 metres high Mădăraşi-Harghita Peak.
As we admire the breathtaking panorama, usually the crossing wind will put an end to our astonishment, so we start our descent towards the retreat house, where we will serve our dinner, and will have a good night sleep.
Accommodation: Hotel Ozon
Walk: 6 hours
Hargita ridge hike Tusnad Spa via Pasul Vlăhiţa
On the second morning, we will return to the ridge we visited the day before, descending at a long slow hill to Băile Harghita. Our path will take us through the untouched snowy alpine pastures, where we will also pass through the secular pine tree forest. After passing the Ciceu-Harghita Peak, we will see many interesting, volcanic rock formations. Late afternoon we will arrive at Băile Harghita.
Accommodation: Hotel Karpatia
Walk: 6-7 hours
Trekking in Hasmas Mountain
We leave our car in the parking lot next to the city church in Bălan, and begin our approximately 1,000 metres hike by the Fierarilor (Covaci) River. Our path firstly follows one of the streets of the miner city, then passes in front of the informational indicator that points out that we are at the entrance of the Hăşmaşul Mare National Park. From this point onwards, the path is steeper, and then becomes a gentle slope that leads through the foothills. At the same time with the rarefaction of the pine forests, the outlook to the Vârful Ascuţit Peak, situated on the East side, gets even better. We can see the so-called Devil’s mills rocks, and above us is the Piatra Singuratică Peak, in the distance, we could also see the Ciucaş Mountains.
After about an hour of walking, we will reach the Piatra Singuratică Peak, where our path will turn to the left and will go through a pine tree forest, with rock formations, which is sometimes an icy terrain, near many springs. From here, we can see our tour’s primary destination, the 1,530-metre-high Piatra Singuratică Peak.
After a short rest, and a few sips of water from the crystal clear spring, we are off towards the retreat house, on a path that is on a former route of the steep ski run.
Arriving at the retreat house, everybody can choose on his own if he/she wants to take a few minutes of rest, or wants to eat the food from his/her backpack. Also, there is the possibility of leaving all unnecessary things from our backpack, because after hiking the Hăşmaşul Mare Peak, we will return to the retreat house.
With a short descent from the retreat house, we reach the Şaua Curmătura, and after that, we walk through an alpine pasture, full with rock formations we climb up the mountain and reach the Hăşmaşul Mare Peak. We turn off from our path, and going through cliff edges with dense juniper bushes, experiencing breathtaking views, we will reach the 1,796 meters high peak, the highest peak of the entire Hăşmaş Mountain.
Under our feet is the Olt River Valley, and on our right, is the Oatra Ascuțită, Curmătura and the rock formations of the Cheile Bicazului, farther away the Harghita Mountains. We can see the Ceahlău Mountains, Călimani Mountains, and in cold dry weather we will see the Rodnei Mountains, Făgăraşi Mountains, the Bucegi Mountains and the Piatra Craiului Peak, too.
Looking back, there is a breath-taking view of the Piatra Singuratică and Ocsem rocks, the Ciucaş valley, and farther away from the Sfânta Ana Lake. Within two days we will have a chance to walk around the entire massif and experience its beauty and wildlife. We are going to sleep in a mountain hut at the foot of the Hasmas Peak.
Please note that on day 4 you need to pack for 2 days as we sleep in mountain hut. You will not have access to your main luggage. More details in “What you Carry”.
Accommodation: Egyesko mountain hut
Walk: 6-7 hours
Trekking in Hasmas Mountain
Accommodation: Hotel Karpatia
Walk: 5-6 hours
We follow shepherd’s trails through Hargita Mountain to see many different types of wildlife including wolves, lynxes and brown bears. Some of the places that you will encounter have been largely unexplored and have a great deal of natural beauty. This journey will take you through one of Europe’s last wildernesses, deep gorges and forests of dense beech and pine trees. There is the opportunity to see plenty of birds and if you are lucky you may even see some eagles.
Accommodation: Hotel Karpatia
Bucharest at leisure & departure
After breakfast, according to our planes schedule, we will transfer to Bucharest and make our departure.
Drive: 5 hours
Additional Nights and Extensions
Trip Cost Includes
- Good standard accommodations as per itinerary
- 7 breakfast with tea/coffee
- Private transport as per group size
- Luggage transfer as per itinerary
- English speaking tour/trekking guide
- Bear watching tour with guide
Trip Cost Doesn't Include
- International flight ticket
- Lunch and Dinner
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guide
We stay at good standard hotel every day with restaurant facilities. Alternatively your tour guide take you to good restaurant in the city or village. You should allow approx. £ 10 per meal including some refreshment.
We also help you to arrange your lunch pack from the hotels or mountain hut, which cost you £ 3-5.
1 night in mountain hut / 5 nights in 3* hotel
We will spend 3 nights at the fabulous Hotel Karpatia in Sindominic and 1 nights at Sugo Pension in Harghita Madaras and another night at Hotel Ozon in Hargita Bai. All rooms in hotel are en-suit and arranged on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. In hotel, single rooms are available for a supplementary cost.
We will spend a night in the rural Hasmas Mountain. Accommodation in this area is usually simple dormitory style. Some of the mountain huts are quite rustic with only basic washing and toilet facilities due to their remote positions. However, what they may lack in terms of facilities is more than compensated for by their atmosphere and their mountain locations. The huts are very hospitable and a great way of meeting Romanian and other eastern European mountain walkers. Food are available to buy.
What to expect
Although we have been successful in the past with sighting of bears it should be remembered that they are wild animals, so nothing is guaranteed. Our guides are knowledgeable about the local wildlife and where to spot them. The best way to attract them is to leave food every day close to the observation hide. The timing is very important, there for we start doing this process few weeks before you arrive. This make them come by regularly.
You will be completely safe in this hide because it is completely covered and the animals will never know that you are there.
This trip graded as moderate difficulty level.
Reasonable level of fitness will be required because the trek goes up to altitude of 1800m, no more than 10 km daily walk.
The amount of time that is spent walking will vary from half day to full day walking depend on the group fitness level and weather and trail conditions. Many of the trails that we are following will have uphill sections and there will be opportunities to take part in longer walks. The exact trails that we take and the distance of these may have to be changed at short notice due to the weather.
The following is fairly exhaustive list of what you should pack for the trip:30-40 litre daypack, trekking trousers, waterproof and windproof over trousers/rain pants, thermal base layer shirts, fleece jacket or warm jumper, waterproof and windproof jacket, shorts, warm hat, sunglasses, warm gloves or mittens, socks, underwear, sunhat, sun protector, toiletries, wet wipes, antibacterial hand wash, small towel, earplugs, first aid kit, head torch with spare batteries, 1 liter water bottle.
Trekking pole is not essential, but can be useful on the challenging ascent and descent. Good pair of boots are one of the most important on the gear list. You need to make sure that your boots are braked in before trek.
Despite blankets and pillows are provided in mountain huts, we recommend to bring a lightweight sleeping bag, particularly for the autumn and winter departure.
What you Carry
While you are trekking you only should carry a backpack with water, snacks, extra socks, waterproof light jacket and your camera.
Remember your main luggage will not be with you on every nightstop so ensure your day bag is large enough to carry everything you might need. We recommend a 30-40 litre rucksack. In practice, you should not need to carry more than about 8 kg (extra clothes, towel, toiletries, sleeping bag).
For one night staying in Egyesko mountain hut (days 4 and 5) your main luggage will be stored at the next day accommodation.
A medical kit will accompany each group. You should also bring your own personal first aid kit, which should include the following: broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, Diamox (altitude), diarrhoea treatment (Imodium) painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralyte).
Visa and Vaccination
No visa required for British passport holders. There are no specific health risks.
This trekking holiday not involves high altitude. During your trip, you will reach altitudes of 2000-2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude, but we are here to help you if you have any concern about altitude.
The main season trekking season in Transylvania is from Jun to September. During this period, we can expect daytime, valley temperatures of between 20ºC and 25ºC, dropping to 12ºC at night, sometimes less dependent on the altitude we stay. Rainfall is usually quite low except in the mountains, spring and summer are the wetter seasons. The Carpathian Mountains can be blanketed in snow until mid to late May at higher altitudes.
Winters are quite cold, with average highs even in lower-lying areas being no more than 3 °C and below −15 °C in the highest mountains.
All our tours are escorted by well trained, knowledgeable and English spoken local guides.
This holiday is guaranteed to run with minimum of 2 persons.
If you`d rather share the moments just with your partner, family or friends then we can help to arrange a trip as private departure just for you and your group on your chosen date.
Preparing Yourself Physically
Being properly physically prepared for trekking and its serious physical challenges is very important. First, assessing your own individual physical condition and training accordingly is a significant must. Basically, handling a rigorous trek will be much easier the more fit you are at the onset. For a training program that is well-rounded, be sure to include aerobic cross-fit training, hiking (at high altitudes if possible) and strength training.
Preparing Yourself Mentally
Making the hardest portions of your trek achievable could simply come down to mental stamina. Many trekkers tend to make the mistake of overlooking their mental preparation. Keeping a positive mind-set and never ignoring your body’s signals are significant considerations on your trek.