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Via Transilvanica

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: May/June 2023
VDLP: April/May 2024
I stumbled across a YouTube video yesterday about a relatively new trail that has been developed in Romania, called the Via Transilvanica. It was officially launched in 2022. 1400km across the country. They've installed markers every kilometer along the way.

I've seen videos comparing it to the Camino de Santiago, but it's not really a pilgrimage, more of a long hike, like the Tour de Mont Blanc.

It look pretty cool, and has lots of potential. Romania is clearly using it as a tourism-driver, and they may have some success with it.

 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Thank you for this. I am looking for somewhere to go as a side trip after the camino. This looks very tempting.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I would carry hiking sticks there to defend from the village dogs that are loose. (based on talks with locals many years ago)
 
I stumbled across a YouTube video yesterday about a relatively new trail that has been developed in Romania, called the Via Transilvanica. It was officially launched in 2022. 1400km across the country. They've installed markers every kilometer along the way.

I've seen videos comparing it to the Camino de Santiago, but it's not really a pilgrimage, more of a long hike, like the Tour de Mont Blanc.

It look pretty cool, and has lots of potential. Romania is clearly using it as a tourism-driver, and they may have some success with it.

I really enjoyed my time in Romania 20 years ago--the rural areas are quite beautiful. This seems to add to the opportunity to enjoy it more.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I stumbled across a YouTube video yesterday about a relatively new trail that has been developed in Romania, called the Via Transilvanica. It was officially launched in 2022. 1400km across the country. They've installed markers every kilometer along the way.

I've seen videos comparing it to the Camino de Santiago, but it's not really a pilgrimage, more of a long hike, like the Tour de Mont Blanc.

It look pretty cool, and has lots of potential. Romania is clearly using it as a tourism-driver, and they may have some success with it.

I walked about 530 miles of the Via Transilvanica in the summer of 2023. It's an amazing, beautiful route through a variety of terrain, with lodging and food along the way. And the people of Romania provide great hospitality. I highly recommend it. You can download the free guidebook (in English, German or Romanian) and app at viatransilvanica.com.
 
I stumbled across a YouTube video yesterday about a relatively new trail that has been developed in Romania, called the Via Transilvanica. It was officially launched in 2022. 1400km across the country. They've installed markers every kilometer along the way.

I've seen videos comparing it to the Camino de Santiago, but it's not really a pilgrimage, more of a long hike, like the Tour de Mont Blanc.

It look pretty cool, and has lots of potential. Romania is clearly using it as a tourism-driver, and they may have some success with it.

Looks really interesting. And what an effort!
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I've seen videos comparing it to the Camino de Santiago, but it's not really a pilgrimage, more of a long hike
It has pilgrimage elements, in particular the World Heritage Site painted monasteries close to the Ukraine border, and the burial place of King/Saint Stephen the Great

IMG_20230612_101008.jpg

at Putna monastery (the official starting point of the trail). Eminescu called Putna "the Jerusalem of the Romanian people".

IMG_20230612_102826.jpg

The first few days are very isolated and remote, and I was strongly advised to carry pepper spray to repel bears in the forest.

IMG_20230613_082555.jpg

I didn't come across any bears, but was grateful for the spray, as I twice encountered really vicious loose dogs.

I liked Putna very much, but, a few days later, Voroneț monastery was even lovelier, with its signature deep blue wall paintings.

IMG_20230611_103820.jpg

Perhaps the highlight for me was the isolated highland site of the Dacian capital, Sarmizegetusa Regia - "the Stonehenge of Romania", largely destroyed by Trajan.

IMG_20230621_105515.jpg

The waymarking is mostly very good, with localised sculptural posts every km.

IMG_20230617_121843.jpg

With the exception of the wild dogs, I liked my couple of weeks there very much, and hope to do the southern sections one day - good food, friendly locals, glorious countryside. Sarmizegetusa Regia was particularly special:

 
It has pilgrimage elements, in particular the World Heritage Site painted monasteries close to the Ukraine border, and the burial place of King/Saint Stephen the Great

View attachment 172822

at Putna monastery (the official starting point of the trail). Eminescu called Putna "the Jerusalem of the Romanian people".

View attachment 172825

The first few days are very isolated and remote, and I was strongly advised to carry pepper spray to repel bears in the forest.

View attachment 172823

I didn't come across any bears, but was grateful for the spray, as I twice encountered really vicious loose dogs.

I liked Putna very much, but, a few days later, Voroneț monastery was even lovelier, with its signature deep blue wall paintings.

View attachment 172824

Perhaps the highlight for me was the isolated highland site of the Dacian capital, Sarmizegetusa Regia - "the Stonehenge of Romania", largely destroyed by Trajan.

View attachment 172826

The waymarking is mostly very good, with localised sculptural posts every km.

View attachment 172827

With the exception of the wild dogs, I liked my couple of weeks there very much, and hope to do the southern sections one day - good food, friendly locals, glorious countryside. Sarmizegetusa Regia was particularly special:

These painted monasteries and dacian sites have been on my wish list for a long time. I am not enthusiastic about bears and loose dogs, though. Perhaps better go with a companion?
 
My wife and I walked 300 km on the Via Transilvanica just last month, mostly in the north (Bukovina and Highlands from Putna to Bistrița; some days in Terra Saxonum). Extremely beautiful country, the mind-boggling painted monasteries, friendly locals, great waymarking, no problem with accommodations - highly recommended!
We did not meet bears, but saw prints. The sheep dogs can be intimidating, and I was glad not to be alone, but we did not seriously feel attacked during this time. We met and heard of several people who walked the Transilvanica alone. But better not be outside in the dark, was the advice we got.

I am very grateful to the OP and this thread - without it, we would never have thought of fulfilling our vague fantasies about the Carpatian mountains. Thank you! This will not be our last hike on the Via Transilvanica.

I agree that it may not be a pilgrimage in the strict geographical sense, as it does not have one special, sacred goal to walk towards. But internally, to me, it felt more like a pilgrimage than many sections on the so-called caminos in Western Europe. The incredible sense of space especially during the first days, the devotedness of the people who created the Via Transilvanica (some of whom we met at Tășuleasa Social), the whole atmosphere of this multifaceted, rich, friendly country - it was quite special. For me, much more than just a long-distance hiking trail. They call it the "Path that unites" which is fitting.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
My wife and I walked 300 km on the Via Transilvanica just last month, mostly in the north (Bukovina and Highlands from Putna to Bistrița; some days in Terra Saxonum). Extremely beautiful country, the mind-boggling painted monasteries, friendly locals, great waymarking, no problem with accommodations - highly recommended!
We did not meet bears, but saw prints. The sheep dogs can be intimidating, and I was glad not to be alone, but we did not seriously feel attacked during this time. We met and heard of several people who walked the Transilvanica alone. But better not be outside in the dark, was the advice we got.

I am very grateful to the OP and this thread - without it, we would never have thought of fulfilling our vague fantasies about the Carpatian mountains. Thank you! This will not be our last hike on the Via Transilvanica.

I agree that it may not be a pilgrimage in the strict geographical sense, as it does not have one special, sacred goal to walk towards. But internally, to me, it felt more like a pilgrimage than many sections on the so-called caminos in Western Europe. The incredible sense of space especially during the first days, the devotedness of the people who created the Via Transilvanica (some of whom we met at Tășuleasa Social), the whole atmosphere of this multifaceted, rich, friendly country - it was quite special. For me, much more than just a long-distance hiking trail. They call it the "Path that unites" which is fitting.
Sounds like a great experience! Do you remember the prices of accommodation? I'm trying to calculate how much does it cost...
Thank you!
 
Europe is covered in routes, many of which connect to Santiago: (at least) 4 in France, 2 in Switzerland, 2 in Chechia, 3 in Poland, and more in Germany than you can shake a stick at. Interactive map here: https://www.jakobswege-europa.de/wege/
I like these :

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.deenolan.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F09%2FFrench-pilgrimage-pilgrim-map.jpg&hash=7e9a8ac4c6928dde77883451c4e93efb

https://www.ign.es/web/BibliotecaIGN/42-B-16_01.JPG
 
Sounds like a great experience! Do you remember the prices of accommodation? I'm trying to calculate how much does it cost...
Thank you!
Hard to say, because accommodation options are very different from place to place. And often you don't have a lot of choice, as many villages are small. So you have to take what is there.
There are not many cheap dormitory accommodations as in Spain. The most typical accommodation is small pensions or private guest rooms. This is what we used, and would recommend.
They will usually offer you a meal in the evening, which is great, because there is mostly no option for a meal during the day, and often not even a shop (or anything at all..). So unless you want to carry provisions, those home-cooked evening meals are very welcome (and tasty).

In general, we paid around 300 Lei (RON) (around 60 Euro) for the two of us, for accommodation (clean beds, bathroom etc), evening meal and breakfast, meals always ample. So maybe 150 Lei per day per person is a number to calculate with.
But it varies a lot, and you could go cheaper, especially if you speak Romanian, and can ask around.
There are also camping sites in some places, and pensions may let you pitch your tent in their yard and use their bathrooms, for a lesser price.
We met a Romanian guy who mostly camped outside with his tent, and only used a pension every 2-3 days to wash his clothes. Sometimes he camped in a pension yard, and in some places there were shelter huts where you can sleep safely on a top shelf. Varies from place to place.

The PDF guide which you can download at the Via Transilvanica website gives contact numbers for pensions, private rooms, camping sites etc. and is updated often. Also there is the Facebook page for the Via Transilvanica where usually somebody answers within a few hours if you have a specific accommodation need. They often help out with contacts for private accommodations.

Generally speaking, Romania is much cheaper than Spain or France, but the available accommodation is mostly of better quality, which has its price. YMMV.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Hard to say, because accommodation options are very different from place to place. And often you don't have a lot of choice, as many villages are small. So you have to take what is there.
There are not many cheap dormitory accommodations as in Spain. The most typical accommodation is small pensions or private guest rooms. This is what we used, and would recommend.
They will usually offer you a meal in the evening, which is great, because there is mostly no option for a meal during the day, and often not even a shop (or anything at all..). So unless you want to carry provisions, those home-cooked evening meals are very welcome (and tasty).

In general, we paid around 300 Lei (RON) (around 60 Euro) for the two of us, for accommodation (clean beds, bathroom etc), evening meal and breakfast, meals always ample. So maybe 150 Lei per day per person is a number to calculate with.
But it varies a lot, and you could go cheaper, especially if you speak Romanian, and can ask around.
There are also camping sites in some places, and pensions may let you pitch your tent in their yard and use their bathrooms, for a lesser price.
We met a Romanian guy who mostly camped outside with his tent, and only used a pension every 2-3 days to wash his clothes. Sometimes he camped in a pension yard, and in some places there were shelter huts where you can sleep safely on a top shelf. Varies from place to place.

The PDF guide which you can download at the Via Transilvanica website gives contact numbers for pensions, private rooms, camping sites etc. and is updated often. Also there is the Facebook page for the Via Transilvanica where usually somebody answers within a few hours if you have a specific accommodation need. They often help out with contacts for private accommodations.

Generally speaking, Romania is much cheaper than Spain or France, but the available accommodation is mostly of better quality, which has its price. YMMV.
Thank you soooo much for all the information! I traveled Romania a few years ago, but forgot what I usually paid 🤦🏼‍♀️🤭
 

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