The Land that time Forgot, A walk in the Maramures
Romania, Discovery, 8 days - from £695 (land only) - from €835 (land only) - from $1,145 (land only)
With an area of 238,391 square kilometers, Romania is the twelfth largest country in Europe. Situated in the northeastern portion of the Balkan Peninsula, the country is halfway between the equator and the North Pole and equidistant from the westernmost part of Europe, the Atlantic Coast, and the most easterly, the Ural Mountains. Romania has 3195 kilometers of border. Republic of Moldova lies to the east, Bulgaria lies to the south, Serbia to the southwest, and Hungary to the west. In the southeast, 245 kilometers of Black Sea coastline provide an important outlet to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Carpathian Mountains divide Romania's upper half from north to south and connect near the center of the country with the Transylvanian Alps, running east and west. Romania's highest peak Moldoveanu can be found here at 2545 metres / 8350 feet. Forests cover over a quarter of the country, and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including wolves, bears, deer, the lynx and the chamois. The Danube makes the southern boundary; before it flows into the Black Sea, it forms a Delta, renowned for its rare species of both local and migratory exotic birds.
The time in Romania is GMT + 2 hour and GMT + 3 hours in summer time.
Most people in Romania that we will encounter speak excellent English and you will have no trouble communicating with many local people, though it is a good idea to learn some basics in the local language such as common greetings. Very few tourists make the effort to learn a little of the Romanian language. So it really impresses the locals to hear a few phrases in their own language and is a great way of enhancing your cultural experiences along the way. We recommend you take a pocket phrase book such as the Lonely Planet or Berlitz and learn some basics. Although Romanian can be a bit of a tongue twister for English speakers at first, your guide will be delighted to help you with your Romanian pronunciations.
The main season for mountain trekking in Romania is from July to September and the weather is generally very good. We can expect daytime, valley temperatures of between 20ºC / 68ºF and 25ºC / 77ºF, dropping to 12ºC / 54ºF at night, sometimes less dependent on the altitude we stay. As with any mountain area, there is always the risk of some poor weather, with rain and wind and the occasional storm. Should we encounter, rare stormy weather we may adjust our trekking routes accordingly. However, this area usually enjoys a very pleasant and stable climate.
The unit of currency in Romania is the Romanian New Leu (RON). For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com. Local currency can be withdrawn from ATMs using credit or debit cards at Bucharest Airport (arrivals hall) and in Sinaia, Brasov and Zarnesti. We would recommend you advise your credit/debit card services department in advance that you are travelling to Romania.
A passport with 6 months remaining validity is required. Visas are not required by UK or EC passport holders. Other nationalities should check with the Romanian Consulate in their own country.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Additional Sources of Information
The Rough Guide to Romania.
Lonely Planet. Romania and Moldova
The Mountains of Romania. Cicerone Guide.
James Roberts Dracula. Bram Stoker (available via Amazon)
Transylvania and Beyond. Dervla Murphy (available via Amazon)
Romania: Dimap Hiking Maps – various scales. Series of maps showing hiking trails in the various mountain areas, including Transylvania, Parang, Bihor, Vladeasa etc.
Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com