Discover the natur and culture of the beautiful Transylvania
Not only has Transylvania proven to be Europe's great undiscovered trail riding destination, but it can also lay claim as the homeland of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula and has lent it's unique landscapes also to the acclaimed 2003 film of "Cold Mountain". Step back in time and explore the forested hills of Northern Romania, where horses are still used to plow the fields and to pull hay carts during harvest time. The untouched Rodna Mountains overlook the dramatic sweep that was Dracula's domain. To the south lies the Borgo Pass, now immortalized by Bram Stoker and his notorious fictional character. Close by are historic Saxon towns and the famous painted monasteries of Moldovita, Humor and Voronet, which are well worth a visit before or after the ride. The surrounding forests are home to bears, wolves, lynx and deer, while the hay fields are full of bountiful wild flowers. This is absolutely beautiful and timeless riding country which every horseback enthusiast should experience in their lifetime.
Transylvania may be closely associated as the homeland of Count Dracula, but is also part of the dramatic history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and boasts well-preserved Medieval villages and excellent Romanian wines. We invite you to discover Transylvania as it once was in the 1800's.
Day 1: You will be met on arrival at the Brasov train station and driven either to Miklósvár or Zalánpatak according to availabilities. The area was part of the Hungarian empire but became Romanian during the 1st World War. A couple of the traditional houses in the village were carefully restored in order to preserve their original Transylvanian charm and character and accommodation is in these guesthouses. The guesthouses are situated within spacious gardens, with storks nesting on nearby rooftops. The night is spent in a lovely farmhouse, restored by Count Kálnoky for the Prince of Wales, which is situated in a tiny village surrounded by hills with meadows and forests.
Meet your guide for a welcome dinner, and to discuss about the horses you will be riding during the tour.
Day 2: Transfer (7 km) to the riding center by car. The ride starts climbing slowly onto a ridge, where we are heading north on high pastures with magnificent views stretching to the high Carpathian Range. We leave the villages of Kalnok and Zalan to our right below us down in the valley, meet shepherds and their flocks on the pastures and at the end of the day we descend through the forest to reach Malnas Bai (Malnasfurdo, “Raspberry Baths”), where the riders stay for the night as guests of a local hunter’s family (bathrooms might have to be shared). Once a thriving spa with plenty of mineral water springs, this village has typical wooden turn-of-the-century Transylvanian spa architecture, although now in a rather rickety shape. Riding time: approx. 5 hours.
Day 3: We climb back north-westerly into the deep forests of the Hatod region, where 6 villages share the same woods (hatod = “one sixth”). We travel along a quiet forest track, alongside which bear traces are sometimes to be found. After having ridden around the extinct volanco "Murgo", we descend on gentle grassy slopes to the Batanii villages (“Big Bacon and Little Bacon”) to reach our accommodations in village houses at lovely “Little Bacon” where we shall have common dinner. The villagers here are known to be especially hospitable and friendly, and before dinner will take pride at showing you their still functioning watermill and traditional looms. Riding time: approx. 4hours.
Day 4: We head northwest through forests and hay meadows, to climb up to Szep Arca (“Pretty Face”) hill on the southern slopes of the Hargita Range. Wide views open out on distant Barot and Olt Valley. We descend northwest into the Kormos (“Sooty”) valley, where Romania’s ex-Dictator Ceausescu had his private hunting villa. The river is teeming with trout, the wet meadows have beautiful wild flowers. Ceausescu’s villa is now the ‘Kormos’ hunting lodge where you will be accommodated and have dinner (or in the neighboring forestry’s house during hunting season). 5 double rooms en-suite with French beds (no twins). Riding time: approx. 5 hours.
Day 5: We turn south down the Kormos Valley on a long ride along the lower slopes of the hills, passing the villages of Filia/Erdofule (“Forest’s Ear”) on endless hay meadows towards the town of Barot. We continue on the slopes offering many a chance for cantering, into the valley of the river Olt to reach Miklosvar and our guesthouses (or a guesthouse of similar standards nearby in the rare case of limited availability, and eating on the Estate). Riding time: approx. 6 hours.
Day 6: From Miklosvar, we return to Korospatak, crossing the hills and brooks. This trip was very common for many a generation of the Kalnoky family who had to ride often between the two villages, where their two manors are. This part of the region is particularly rich in game as there is no road or village for 25km. Arriving at Korospatak, you will be transferred back to Miklosvar by car for your last night at our guesthouse. Riding time: approx. 6 hours.
Day 7: Depart after breakfast.
(Subject to changes)
Program: Riding tour
Dates: April-Oktober / winter
Lodgings: typical guesthouses, B&B, little hotels
Catering: full board Softdrinks to meals incl.
Rooms: double room
Bring own Horse: no
Capacity min/max: 2-10
Your expert: Denise Neufeld
The horses used for these rides are locally bred ponies characteristic of the area along with Arab and Lipizzaner crosses. They range from 140 - 160 cm.
Saddle & tack: English general purpose saddles are used and saddle bags are provided.
Riding level & experience: To participate in these rides you should have a reasonable amount of previous riding experience. The terrain is varied and you cover about 150km during the course of the week. The minimum requirement is that you are comfortable and secure in the saddle at a walk, trot and canter and are used to riding in open country and over different types of terrain.