Explore the Karst Wonders of Western Carpathians

Tour-operator: Apuseni Experience
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Period: October 18th – 21st
Group size: 3-15 participants
Description:

Day 1

Arrival in Vadu-Crisului area and stop at a local guesthouse, rest and have lunch.

Then we will visit one of the last white pottery workshops and attend a pottery demonstration. Here we will have the opportunity to buy some white, un-enamelled, handmade pottery, extremely rare in Romania as well as in Europe. After meeting the local artisans we will take a hike along Crisul Repede Gorges.

Tansfer to Runcuri, a hamlet located in the NW side of the Apuseni Mountains, right in the heart of Padurea Craiului Mountains, where we will learn about  a private innitiative which can be considered an example of good practice in the field of responsible tourism. A traditional dinner will end the day.

Acomodation at Runcuri.

 

Day 2

Breakfast at Runcuri. Transfer by horse pulled chart from Rosia to Farcu Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Romania.

Also known as Farcu Crystal Cave, this was discovered in 1987 in  Farcu mine galleries by miners working there. When discovered the cave was considered a real gem because of the wealth of speleothems and the diversity of crystal forms found here. Unfortunately, after the discovery, the cave was repeatedly damaged and many crystals were broken and destroyed.

Recently, the Commune of Rosia together with the Center for Protected Areas and Sustainable Development Bihor and Ecopiro Ltd. has developed a project to rehabilitate the Crystal Cave and to open both the Crystal Cave and the mine galleries for tourism. This is the first time tourists can visit a cave and a mine together in Romania, and one of the few such opportunities in the world. 

 

Transfer to Remetea – check-in, rest and lunch.

Visit Meziad Cave – a 4 kilometers long cavern with a large population of bats as well as with some evidence of being a settlement of the ancient human beings, long time ago. The Meziad Cave is one of the most interesting caves arranged for public access in Apuseni Mountains’ karst. The cave is located at 397 m altitude, its entrance being 16 m high and 10 m wide and is a natural protected area. The cave has two levels of limestone formation: the inferior level with unusual wide spaces which, after about 400 m of galleries suddenly become narrow and the inferior level continues with galleries that are difficult to cross (not included in the tourist sector); the superior level which has three main areas where it connects with the lower gallery. The cave used to shelter various objects from Stone Age as it was inhabited by Homo Sapiens as well as fauna such as Ursus Spelaeus (the cave bear). The cave is welcoming to hibernating bat colonies which form a large colony in The Bats’ Hall.

After the cave visit, we will enjoy the tyrolean traverse installed at the entrance of the cave! A cool experience, definitely worth it.

 

 

Dinner and accomodation at Remetea.

 

Day 3

Breakfast at Remetea.

Transfer to Padis karst plateau. On the way we will pass though Glavoi (also known as “La Grajduri”) Glade and Balileasa Depression. Balileasa represents a long plain situated in the Western part of Padis, non-forested and pierced by sinkholes. The plain resembles a valley with a wide floodplain, but without a water course flowing through it.

 

Cetatile Ponorului round tour. Considered to be the most impressive karst phenomena in Eastern Europe, Cetatile Ponorului karst complex is worth to visit not just for the 3 gorgeous sinkholes and the surrounding wild forest but also because here is one of the biodiversity hotspot of Apuseni Nature Park.

In the Southern part, the route climbs on the steep slope of a torrential valley towards 4 view points (two above Sinkhole III, and two above Sinkhole II) which allows the contemplation of the impressive karst system of the Cetatile Ponorului, from high above.

 

Lunch at Cetatile Ponorului cabin.

Transfer to Ghetar karst plateau. Check-in, dinner and acomodation at local guest house. Here we will meet the Moti – the native inhabitants living in Apuseni Mountains in very small communities – hamlets - spread over the montain. Good opportunity to hear their stories, listen to their tales and learn about the lifestyle these mountain people have.

 

 

Day 4

Breakfast at guestouse.

Today, the first stop will be at Ghetar Tourist Information Centre, located in an old traditional wooden barn which also hosts a little souvenir store with local handmade souvenirs, produced mainly from wood and woolen textiles. Then we will visit our local friend, Pasca Ilisie and will attend a wood carving demonstration at his workshop. Aged 76, Ilisie has already more than 60 years of experience in wood carving – traditional occupation for Moti people - and he will prove this through a demonstration of this amazing craft, showing how everyday domestic or ritual objects have been made since centuries here. His wife will give us a short performance on tulnic (the local version of the alpenhorn).

Then we  will head on  towards the ice cave. The impressive Scarisoara ice cave contains, according to last researches, the largest underground glacier in the world. The cave, with an entrance of 48 meters deep and 60 meters large hosts Scarisoara Glacier - an impressive block of ice of 10.000 cubic meters, 26 meters thick [average] and more than 3500 years old.

Return to guesthouse for lunch.

 

Departure to Alba-Iulia or Cluj-Napoca.

 

End of trip.

Included services: • accomodation: 3 nights in 2** and 3*** mountain cabins and local guesthouses; rooms with 2 – 4 beds, with ensuite or shared bathrooms;
• meals: three meals/day starting with lunch on arrival day and ending with lunch on departure day;
• horse pulled chart trip;
• transfer from Cluj-Napoca to Vadu Crisului [on arrival day] and from Garda de Sus to Cluj-Napoca [on departure day];
• car transfer during the trip;
• caves entrance tickets;
• white pottery and wood carving demonstrations;
• guidance and costs related to the guide.
Services not included:
Price: • 3-6 persons: 392 euro/person
• 7-10 persons: 243 euro/person
• 11-15 persons: 203 euro/person
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