Plan your holiday
The final price of the programme (most of our programmes are tailor-made) depends upon the number of people, the number of days, distance to be travelled, means of transport, type of accommodation required, services provided etc. We believe that our prices are fair and reasonable and reflect the quality of the (local) services incoporated in them. In addition, from your money benefits local people or small bussinesses from whom we buy services and products. These people are the ones whom, through their work and talent, keep the traditions and crafts alive as well as the traditional way of life up in the mountains. It is one of our values in order to supporting them. In the same time, up to 10% of our profit goes to conservation projects in Apuseni Mountains. During your staying in Romania you will notice that some things are cheaper than in West while other things are actually more expensive. The cost of your trip covers partially wages that goes to our team members or colaborators and we do our best in paying them according to their level of competence and workmanship, in a fair way.
The accommodation is in guesthouses (ranked at 2 or 3 daisies – according to Romanian system), mountain cabins or village families and sometimes in tents. The hosts are warm and generous, the food is mostly home-prepared, from local and organic ingredients and very tasty. All the facilities have indoor bathrooms with running hot and cold water. In some occasions families share the same facility with guests (in this case it might happen that your bedroom may be accessible only through a bedroom being used by another person from the group) while in others you are accomodated in a separate facility which is exclusively for guests. We use only accommodation which are in line with our environmental policies, therefore they limit their negative impact on the environment and use as much as possible renewable or recyclable building materials.
Most of the meals are home-prepared, based on local receipes and using products (vegetables, eggs, meat, milk) from own garden. It is not a problem at all to have vegetarian foods, the host just has to be informed in time. However, the meals in this area are mostly based on meat (ussually pork) and they tend to be sometimes fat, especially during the winter period and Christmas, Easter and New Year’s eve celebrations. If you would like to have another type of food during your trip, please let us know in advance, as well as if you have any dietary restrictions. Traditional home made drinks are wine and fruit (usually plum) brandy which is quite strong. In the mountain area jams and liqueurs made from wild berries are also usual and they are totally natural – no preservatives, artificial colours or flavors. If you would like to have herbal teas, just let us know in advance. The herbs are picked-up and prepared by our coleagues, who have knowledge and experience in this.
For each type of trip we provide by email a specific list if equipment that is most suitable for the type of activities you are going to do, type of weather that you’ll probably encounter as well as the length of your trip. For some activities (such as caving or other technical activities) we provide the team equipment as well as some individual ones. However, we suggest to have your own equipment with you, equipment that you trust and you are used with and we are happy to provide advices and support in choosing the right equipment for your Apuseni Experience trip.
5. Apuseni Mountains (Western Carpathians)
The Apuseni Mountains lays on the western part of Romania, covering an area of more than 20,000 sqm. Are well-known for comprising a variety of geographical forms, specific landscapes and traditional livelihoods. Some facts about Apuseni Mountains: over 7000 different caves the longest cave in Romania - Peştera Vântului / Wind Cave (approx. 50 km) the biggest underground glacier in Europe - 110.000 cubic meters, approx. 4000 years old their highest peak - Vârful Bihor/Bihor Peak (1849 m) specific landscapes (Galbena Gorges, Rusty Pit, Someşul Cald Gorges, Ponor Glade, Flowers Glade) a large variety of flora and fauna (arnica montana, deep forests, bears, wolves, capercaillies, lynx, wild boars) forested karst / limestone phaenomena (Padiş Karstic Plateau, Ponorului Fortresses, Bears Cave) underground glaciers (Scărişoara Ice Cave, Focul Viu Ice Cave) the mountains are inhabited by motzi, famous for their century old traditions and customs and for woodwork More information about Apuseni Mountains are available under www.apuseniexperience.ro, in the section “Apuseni Mountains” and in some of the websites mentioned under “Useful links” section.
6. Local people
The inhabitanst of Apuseni Mountains are named Motzi. The opinions about their origins are still different, but researchers and historians all agree that this population has lived in these mountains since ever. They live in small communities – hamlets – which can be found even in very isolated areas and at high altitudes (around l350 m). Raised and educated in a rough land, the Motzi are silent, patient but very determined. They have potential energies that can be unleashed in a frenzy and have prooved thay are able to change the course of history for ever. With a simple way of life but very rich in terms of spirituality, customs and traditions (many of them still alive), these people managed to survive through centuries by having a very special relation with nature.They are well-known craftsmen, famous for their picturesque houses and for carving various household tools. But the symbol of Motzi and of Apuseni Mountains is the specific alphorn/tulnic - which they have learned from father to son, for generations, to manufature and use.
7. Leave no trace
We’re trying hard to leave fewer footprints in our office and in the outdoors. We take special care of the waste management in our trips, we use as much as possible sustainable ways for transport and eat and consume local products. For more, see http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php
8. Ecotourism and responsible tourism
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that helps to conserve the environment and the well being of the local people. This means: To have fun on your holiday. Not to damage or wear out what you have traveled to experience. To contribute actively to nature preservation and local culture. To help make the local economy profitable. To stimulate visitors’ curiosity and respect for place and people visited. In order to make your trip a better experience for you, the environment and the local communities which you are going to visit, we suggest you to travel with an open mind and awareness about what makes tourism a more responsible activity. In this respect, after booking a trip with Apuseni Experience, we’ll provide by email a resource document about responsible travel in Apuseni Mountain and how your trip can make a difference for this area. Our staff and guides are always happy to share with you ways of what can be done by all of us to make us more responsible while traveling.
9. Transportation provided by us;
transport and transfers Most of out trips start and end in Oradea (Bihor County, North-West Romania), which is one of the main entrances in the mountains, coming from west. However, we do provide transfers by car from airports such as Cluj Napoca, Sibiu, Timisoara, Arad, Budapest to the mountains and back, and transfers are included in the trip prices. If you’ll like to start your trip in Oradea, a superb art nouveau city, here are some information about how can you reach Oradea: By plane: you can easily fly to Budapest from all around the world and from there you can take a train, a minivan, rent a car or ask us to pick you up at the airport. A car transfer is between 60-100 euros and takes about 4 hours. There are also options to fly to Timisoara (170 km from Oradea), or Arad (110 km from Oradea), Bucharest (659 km), Cluj Napoca (160 km) from where you can come by train or we can arrange a car transfer. By train: Oradea can be reached by train from most of the big cities of Romania (Bucharest-12 hours, Brasov-7 hours, Timisoara-3 hours, Cluj Napoca-3 hours, Iasi-16 hours) as well as from Budapest (5 hours). By car & by bike: Oradea is on the E60, a major European route which makes a connection between Western and Eastern Europe. If you come from Western Europe is easily to access Oradea via Vienna and Budapest. If you come from Eastern Europe or from the eastern part of Romania, there are plenty of routes to reach Oradea. If you need any assistance in getting here, please let us know, we’ll come back to you with our suggestions. 9. Money exchange Exchange money is recommended only at exchange offices or banks. The commission must be 0%. Some exchange offices might charge you a commission. These exchange offices might display this information in a very difficult to spot format. Do ask in advance about this!
10. Medical services in Romania
Medical services are provided by request, in case of emergency or at any hospital which is located in town. Foreign citizens from countries whom Romania has mutual agreements with, will be provided medical services according to these agreements. Please check along your Foreign Affairs ministry webpages about the agreements between your government and Romanian Government. The emergency number is 112 – it is a call centre which is diverting your call to the most relevant bodies in charge with your situation: Police, Fire Department, Ambulance or Mountain Rescue team.
11. Transportation in country
In country, public transportation is done by train, buses, mini-buses and air crafts. The trains are low-speed (named ‘personal’), accelerate or high-speed (intercity and rapid). The low-speed trains are very slowly and not confortable at all so, not recommended, except the situation in which you have to stop in a village’s train station or your intention is to discover Romania by train on a slow pace (however is advisable to take a first class trip in this situation). The accelerates are medium-speed and it is recommended to travel first class, it is more confortable. Overnight trains have also sleeping cars. The intercity is most recommended, it’s fast and very confortable. For more info about the traintables see www.infofer.ro Bus companies might be state or private owned. Buses leave from bus stations named Autogara. Here you can get information regarding buses, hours, destinations. An useful source of information regarding bus transportation in Romania is www.autogari.ro Usually the mini-buses are private. Main airports in Romania are in Bucharest (Henri Coanda and Baneasa), Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Targu Mures, Oradea, Craiova, Baia-Mare, Constanta, Iasi. In Romania many people travel by hitch-hiking. We do not recommend this type of transportation to foreign tourists, due to safety reasons and language barriers. In towns and cities you can use taxi. It is recommended to use the licenced taxies. They have the price displayed on the car door outside. The tax machine has to be turned on at start.
12. Communication by telephone
In Romania you can use public phones (at phone booths, owned by Romtelecom – state telephone company), land lines phones (wire technology) and mobile phones (GSM technology - wireless). The GSM operators are Orange, Vodafone, Cosmote and DigiMobil. For public phones you need a phone card that can be bought from newspapers kiosks, groceries, post-offices, gas stations. Also for mobile phones you can buy GSM SIM cards (Orange, Vodafone, DigiMobil or Cosmote) from same places. The card (4 or 5 euro) will contain a phone number which is going to be your mobile phone number that you can use in country. For calling in country from landline to mobile, you will have to dial the mobile phone number. For calling in country from landline to landline, you will have to dial the county code + the person’s number. For calling from mobile to landline, you will have to dial the county code + the person’s number. For calling from mobile to mobile, you will have to dial the person’s number. The country phone code for Romania is 0040 or +40
13. Whom are our programmes adressed to?
We feel responsible regarding the contribution we can bring to nature conservation and local tradions preservation. In this respect we show love and respect towards everything related to natural environment we promote fair trade travel we encourage learning about local cultures we use local guides and local services we accept only small groups we show respect for local communities and their environment we invest money and efforts into conservation we follow and promote the Leave No Trace principles (for more, see The Difference We Make section on our web site) Our programmes are adressed to those who accept and share our environmental and ethical policy expressed thorugh the values listed above. Age or experience don’t matter. We are very flexible in designing our programmes, in order to meet the specific requirements of our clients.
14. Degree of dificulty
The degree of dificulty is always maintained within the physical and psychical limits of the tourists. During the preparation phase, it is the tourists who fix the limits, the level of effort, the hours of hiking/trekking per day, the length of relaxation time and so on. The point is to enjoy the tour, more than reaching a limit. However, in order to facilitate the bookings of our trips, we deviced a difficulty scale for our trips, such as: Easy. May involve 2-4 hours hiking/day and a distance of around 10 km. Moderate. May involve 4-6 hours hiking/day and a distance of around 15 km. Difficult. May involve 6-8 hours hiking/day and a distance: of around 20 km or more.
The official language in Romania is Romanian. Different ethnical groups speak also Romanian but within their community members they speak their language. This happens mainly in Hungarian communities. However, they can speak Romanian too. There is just a very small number of non-Romanians who do not speak Romanian and this is because they are very old and never learned Romanian or they might be living in closed communities (isolated villages, for instance). It is usual that in Romania, people – mainly young ones – can speak English, French, German, Italian. So, even when asking in English someone on the street, you have big chances to receive an answer in English.
Safety in an important issue for us and we take good care in providing you a safe and enjoyable experience. In more than 10 years of operation to date, we did not encountered any serious injury in any of our trips. Our staff and guides are wery experienced outdoor people and they are trained in line with our internal safety policy, based on risk management plans specifically designed for each type of trips. However, we ask each customer to be fully health insured in their country, for the type of activities they are going to do with us and for the entire period of the trip. Also, in the briefing of your trip, your guide will provide you all the relevant information about how to react in case of an emergency and what are the potential threaths for your safety during the trip. Common sense and your own judgement is extremely valuable, since you are the one who is aware of your own personal limits and, if there are any limitations that affect your potential, please let us know prior to the booking, in order to adapt the trip to your own requirements.
17. How to book a trip
Simply contact us. Click on “Contact us” button on our website and send your message via our webpage or alternatively drop us an email at
. Based on the information contained in this message we will design a tailor made holiday programme or we’ll suggest one of our standard trips. In any case , we will send you a Booking Confirmation Form containing also the holiday programme. You will fill in the data reffering to you and you will send it back – by fax or scanned - signed. Further on we’ll be expecting you to send a deposit of 50% of the total value of the trip per person for our holidays or full payment if your booking is received within 8 weeks of departure (in most cases). The balance of the holiday price must be received by us not less than 8 weeks prior to departure. You will receive an invoice – either sent by email or in hand, when meeting – for the payments. All bookings, otherwise stated something else, are subject to our general “Terms and Condition”, which you can check on our webpage or receive it from us by email.
18. Standard trips and tailor made trips
Our offert includes a large variety of standard trips (see website), each of them focused on some specific themes – cultural, environmental, fun, mixed etc. But, if you simply have a different idea of a trip or a specific wish in what regards a tourist programme, just give us some relevant information and we will come up with a proposal of a tailor made trip, to you. Our tailor made trips have a simple philosophy: do what you like, like what you do! On our web site, at “Tailor made trips” section you will find a downloadable questionnaire. Please fill in and sent it over to us. Some of the questions may appear mildly flippant but all have a serious side - please do not be offended! Feel free to add further comments in the comment box. After having this done, we will work together (by email and phone) in defining your trip in the last detail that you want to know.
What you can mix:
- Hiking and trekking in some of the most special protected areas in Apuseni Mountains
- Great biking itineraries
- Discovering protected flora in the Apuseni Mountains
- Nature and underground photography Alpine touring ski
- Local culture and traditional crafts
- Technical caving in more than 40 caves
- Winter hiking
- Alpine skiing
- Horse wagon trips
- Special trips (Easter, Christmas, New Year, etc).
If you choose to go on a self-guided trip, we will be happy to provide you with all support and information you need, respectively advice and tips.
19. Wildlife encounters
Keep in mind: in wilderness, humans are in animals’ world and territory and not the viceversa. Wild animals don’t attack humans unless they (or their cubs) feel in danger. Do not approach wild animals and do not feed them. Try to stay away without making any sound or gesture that could draw their interest in you. Do not provoke them. Bears. Bears eat almost anything! Many conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food or garbage. If you encounter a bear, stay calm and alert. Back away slowly. If you see a cub(s), that's your cue to leave the area. The sow is not far away. Avoid direct eye contact as a bear may perceive this as a threat. Speak softly to reassure it that you mean no harm. Try not to show fear. Give it time to leave the area. If a bear stands upright or moves closer, it may be trying to detect smells in the air and identify you. This is not a sign of aggression. Once it identifies you, it may either leave or try to intimidate you by charging to within a few feet before it withdraws. Wolves. So far it couldn’t be proved with evidences that wolves attacked humans.Wolves generally avoid human interactions. In the unlikely event that a wolf threatens a human, here is what to do: - stay calm; back away slowly while facing the animal - leave the wolf a way to escape - pick up small children without bending down - raise your voice and speak firmly - if the wolf approaches or acts aggressively, wave your arms and make yourself look larger - shout, make noise and throw any available objects In the unlikely event that you are attacked by a wolf, fight back. Try to remain standing and use rocks, sticks, tools, camping gear and your hands to fend off the attack. It helps if you can start a fire.
20. Weather in Apuseni Mountains
The climate is tipical montaineous, generally moist and cold on the high peaks, and warmer towards the lower regions. Temperatures The mean annual temperature is of 2˚C in Biharia and Vlădeasa Massifs, 4˚C in the karst plateau area, and reaches 10˚C in Beiuş Depression. In January, the mean air temperature is -7˚C in the high mountains, and -3˚C in depressions, while in July, it is 10˚C in the mountain area and 20˚C in depressions. Winds and precipitations The predominant wind is from the West, bringing many precipitation and causing a large number of cloudy days to occur. Thus, in the Bihor Mountains, in July, there are approximately 18 overcast days. A direct consequence of this fact is that the extremely high quantity of precipitation that falls here. The annual mean in the higher areas surpasses 1400 mm, which is a maximum for our country, and is encountered elsewhere only in much higher mountains (Rodna, Retezat and Făgăraş). On the slopes oriented towards the depression, the mountain and valley winds are largely present, being felt especially in the evenings. Seasons and tourism With a harsh and capricious weather, the mountains still offer the tourists favorable periods for visiting. May is especially beautiful because of the clarity of the atmosphere, although there is a high risk of sudden spring thunderstorms. June is generally rainy, with persistant rains that render difficult especially the visiting of caves. In July, the weather is getting better, mostly towards the end of the month. A generally good weather persists throughout August and the first half of September. Also in this shiny period there are periods of rains, that last for 3-5 days. July is the month when local thunderstorms, sometimes very violent, but usually short, occur mostly in Autumn offers beautiful days, with good clarity and visibility, that cannot be found during summer. Usually, a cold weather period occurs in the middle of September, lasting about for two weeks, when there is even the possibility of snow. After that, though, the weather gets better, and October offers stable conditions, ideal for subterranean explorations. Snow falls in November and persists until April (there are 200 days of frost per year on the average). Weather is good during winter (about 16 overcast days in January) offering possibilities for winter tourism and skiing.