13th Oct 2023 - 18th Oct 2023
6 days/Romania /Challenging
This 4-day trek in Romania is a great opportunity for supporters of Willow Foundation to experience the country’s rugged and beautiful mountain landscapes, uncover the legend of Dracula and get a unique insight into the local culture. Trekking through the Southern Carpathians, also known as the Transylvanian Alps, you will enjoy some of the most spectacular views in Romania with glacial lakes, alpine grasslands and ancient woodlands as well as exploring fascinating rock formation including the famous ‘Sphinx’.
By carrying your own kit each day you can get away from the beaten track and enjoy remote and uncrowded wildnerness with your expert trekking guides.
This tour is classified as ‘challenging’ for someone of a good general level of fitness due to carrying your own gear each day (your backpack could weigh 10-12kg including water), the hilly and rough terrain, basic accommodation and bathroom facilities, and possibly involving extremes of weather and climate.
The trek is accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by assistant guides and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.
The terrain is mountainous so there will be lots of uphill and downhill areas. There are some steep sections, some flat areas, and there is a very long descent so trekking poles are recommended, particularly for those with knee issues. Underfoot you will find rocky or grassy trails, uneven and muddy forests, scree slopes and possibly some stream crossings. You may walk over some snow or ice covered ground depending on the weather conditions at the time. Each day you will trek for approximately 7-8 hours (variable depending on group pace) and you will cover approximately 10-19km. It is critical that your training includes hill walking and trekking up and down gradients while carrying a heavy backpack.
As you will be trekking in mountainous regions you need to be prepared for changeable weather. In general, the climate in October/November can be chilly (lows of 4°C, highs of 18°C) with a chance of rain each day and occasional high winds. Snowfall is unusual although there may be some patches of early snow on the slopes.
It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing non-cotton trek layers and waterproofs. It’s better to have waterproofs and not need them, than to not have any when you need them!
Although the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.
Romanian food is meat dominant however vegetarians and vegans can be catered for if you request this in advance. Meat-filled cabbage rolls, sausages, soups (called ciorba) and stews (like tocanita) are popular main dishes. Side dishes include potatoes, picked vegetables, cabbage and salad. Lunches will be packed and you will carry this yourself. Typical lunches will be meats, cheese, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, chocolate bars etc.
Evening meals will be taken in communal dining rooms or at local restaurants.
Please inform us in advance if you have any dietary requirements or preferences.
You will stay in guesthouses for 4 nights; in Sinaia, Moeciu, Sirnae-Ciocanu and Bran, on a twin-share basis. You will also spend one night in mixed gender dormitories with shared bathroom facilities.
The accommodation, although comfortable, is very basic.
The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by a parent/guardian). There is no upper age limit.
The ideal candidate would be fit, healthy and determined, open to adventure and adaptable to unexpected changes. Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions etc.) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. You must also be willing to train hard for this challenge!
The guesthouses have en-suite facilities with flushing sit-down toilets and hot showers. If a bin is provided, toilet paper should be placed in the bin, not flushed.
There are no shower facilities at the mountain hut so please bring a small pack of baby wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer for personal hygiene. Toilets at the mountain huts are usually squat toilets and are located outside of the main hut building.
If you need to use the toilet during the trek day you must find a private area off the trail. You must never leave used toilet paper on the ground; this must be packed up into a nappy bag or sanitary disposal bag, pop it in your daypack and dispose of it properly at camp (please bring your own nappy sacks with you). You should bring one or two rolls of toilet paper for your own use.
If you do not already regularly exercise or participate in a sport it is advised that you start training as soon as you book to ensure your best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge.
Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the actual trek, and be the best way to prepare your body for the numerous ascents and descents involved.
Increasing your cardiovascular endurance and core and leg strength will benefit you greatly too so hill walking can be complemented with swimming, running, cycling, gym workouts, team sports, boot camps etc. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal etc.
If you attempt to complete the challenge without training it will make the trek unnecessarily difficult and may hinder your experience, and the experience of your team mates.
This trek does not take place in an area of high altitude.
We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.
The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing our booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.
If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP.
In the event that your medical issues at the time of booking represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your booking will not be confirmed and the deposit will be refunded.
We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.
Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.
E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Insurance policy details
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£) + Credit/ATM card(s)
LED head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor (multi prong option)
Portable battery pack/power bank
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + spare batteries
Casual shoes/trainers for sightseeing
Flip flops (e.g. for use at hot springs)
Trek socks (e.g. Bridgedale or Smartwool)
Thermal base layer trousers & top
Non-cotton long sleeved layer (e.g. shirt)
Warm jacket (e.g. down or Primaloft)
Waterproof jacket + trousers
Light poncho (can be bought locally)
Warm hat and a sun hat
Buff or bandana
Warm gloves or mittens and liner gloves
Casual clothes for sightseeing days
Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Shower gel/ shave kit / loofah*
Toilet paper* x2 rolls
Sun cream (SPF 30+)
Non-cotton travel towel
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks* (for used toilet paper)
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Blister plasters (Compeed)
Imodium (e.g. Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses
Video camera + charger
Walking pole(s) with rubber tips
Luggage organisers/packing cubes
Suitcase for check in luggage
Kit bag (carried by mules on trek)
Daypack (25-35 litres)
2x combination padlocks
Dry bags (optional)
2-litre hydration system (e.g. CamelBak) +
1-litre bottle (e.g. Sigg or Nalgene) OR
3x 1-litre bottles (e.g Sigg or Nalgene)
Water purification (e.g. Biox Aqua)
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)
Ear plugs (essential)
Sleeping bag (comfort rating -10°C)
Sleeping bag liner
Sleeping mat (e.g. Thermarest)
Pyjamas (use your thermals on trek)
Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.
*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options.
London – Bucharest – Sinaia
Depart London for the flight to Bucharest. Depending on flight times we will depart from Bucharest airport to Sinaia, a small town in the mountains, for an overnight stay in a local guesthouse (approx. 2.5 hours’ drive).
Sinaia – Padina Hut
We set off after breakfast for our first day of trekking in the Bucegi Mountains. You will be responsible for carrying your own kit for the next two days so ensure you pack lightly with only the absolute essentials. We trek across the Bucegi Plateau today, passing the Romanian Sphinx (2216m), a rock formation that looks like the profile of a human face. From here we descend towards our mountain hut in the heart of the massif, Padina Hut. You will be responsible for carrying your own kit, so it is vital that you pack light with only the essentials for these first two days.
Trekking time: approx. 6 hours
Distance: approx. 19.5km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Padina Hut – Moieciu
Today we explore the quieter side of the mountain with amazing views over the whole Bran region and across to the Piatra Craiului National Park. We will hike along the old military border between Transylvania and Wallachia, with dramatic views over to Bran Castle, before descending to stay the night in a local guesthouse in Moeciu.
Trekking time: approx. 7 hours
Distance: approx. 15.3km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Moieciu – Sirnae-Ciocanu
Today we walk over the rolling hills and through scattered villages in the Moeciu area. We reach our guesthouse this evening.
Trekking time: approx. 6 hours
Distance: approx. 12km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Sirnea-Ciocanu – Bran Castle
Our final day of trekking brings us down through the mountains to the town of Bran, home of the infamous Bran Castle, more commonly known as Dracula’s Castle! This evening we will enjoy a celebratory meal!
Trekking time approx. 6 hours
Distance: approx. 19.4km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Bran – Bucharest – London
If flight times allow there may be some time to explore the beautiful old city of Brasov this morning before returning to Bucharest Airport for the return flight to London.
Registration fee: £330 and then either…
Flexi: £1100 trip costs and £1100 sponsorship for Willow Foundation.
This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to Willow Foundation. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.
This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.
If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.