Transylvania is a region full of history, inhabited during the centuries by Romanians, Hungarians, Saxons and Szeklers, societies that have left their mark on specific parts of the area. This eight days tour is dedicated to Southern Transylvania, land in which Saxons (Germans) settled from the 12th century onwards. The result of almost nine centuries of existence of this community is a cultural and architectural heritage, unique in Europe. Riding our fully equipped bikes, we will discover the iconic architecture of the villages and their fortified churches, try the local cuisine and learn about the traditions of the Saxons. Villages are scattered all over this area, where people still work the land using the raw force of animals, just as their predecessors did.
The week will be split in two: during the first two days, we’ll travel across Saxon and Romanian shepherd villages neighboring Sibiu, ethnically divided despite their proximity; the following five days will be spent in Hârtibaciului Valley area and its rolling hills, perhaps the last intact rural medieval landscape in Europe.
The starting point will be the “Sub Arini” park*, the biggest in Sibiu. From there, the bike trail will take us out of the town, through Romanian shepherd villages, to our first stop in Gura Râului village. Here people used to deal with breeding sheep, as well as with oil milling. Also, we can visit a traditional wood mill that is still functioning today. Continuing our journey to the first night host, we will be able to visit the old Orthodox Church or the village museum in Rășinari, as well as the first Saxon settlements, Cisnădioara and Cisnădie.
On the second day, we will ride alongside the Cibin River, accompanied by the impressive Fagaras Mountains on our right, until we reach the small town of Avrig. After we visit the summer residence of Samuel von Brukenthal, once a governor of Transylvania, we will ride our bikes to Nucet, the entrance to Hârtibaciului Valley where we will stay for the next two nights.
This day is designed as a circular tour in which we will visit Saxon villages and their surroundings, and then return to Nucet. From Rosia to Nocrich we will need to climb one of the fields that divide these two villages, riding through beautiful landscapes, encountering flocks of sheep and listening to bird trills. Before heading back to our home for the night, we will stop to Altana to visit the Interethnic Museum of Hartibaci Valley. The local ethnographic collection has approximately 1000 Romanian, Hungarian, Saxons and Roma objects and grew thanks to donations and acquisitions.
We will start this day with a visit at the Old Mill of Hosman; built at the beginning of the 20th century, it still remains functional until this day. This complex includes a mill, a bakery and a beautiful garden in which they welcome their guests and treat them with delicious local products and pies. Yet not all villages have had this fortunate fate. Our trip will lead us through the empty streets of Șomartin and Gherdeal. During the communist regime, as well as after the Romanian revolution, many of the Saxons left Transylvania, looking for a better life in West Germany. So their houses were left behind, giving the area a ghostlike atmosphere.
In the morning of the 5th day, we’ll leave our host in Gherdeal and ride to Stejărișu. To reach this small and remote village, the road will guide us through Cincu and Dealu Frumos and their imposing churches. Involved in a project to change the fate of this remote village, Stejarisu guesthouse will be our host for the evening.
Day 6 will start really early in the morning, as Stejărișu is a great place to admire the sunrise from the nearby hill. The plan for the rest of the day includes leaving the main road to reach Apos Village, where the Prince of Wales foundation initiated a traditional clay tiles workshop. Throughout the day, we’ll take advantage of the surroundings; learn about traditional houses and their restoring process. The last stop of the day will be Richis, the village where we will rest for the last two nights of the tour.
Saving the best for last, in the morning of the 7th day we will visit an UNESCO heritage monument, the biggest fortified church in a Romanian village, Biertan. Pedaling our last kilometers together, we’ll enjoy lunch at a bio farm in Moșna. here you will have the opportunity to spend some time with the host and discuss about matters such as organic agriculture, permaculture and many more.
Price per person for groups of 6 people for the below timeframes:
- 18-25 of June 2016; - 23-29 of July 2016; - 27 of August - 3rd of September 2016.Prices outside the schedule: - for 2-3 people the price is 1290 eur/person; - for 4-6 people the price is 1090 eur/person.
- English speaking guide - fully equipped bikes - sandwiches, fruits, nuts, snacks and water during riding - 7 nights accommodation - 7 dinners, 7 breakfasts - lunch in a bio farm in the last day - luggage transfer between accommodations - transfer by car in the last day
*We can also pick you up from your accommodation, along with your luggage.
According to your schedule and needs, we can customize a shorter trip.We recommend this tour between March and October, depending on the weather conditions.