An Equestrian Adventure in Transylvania 2019 (8 days, 7 nights, 6 days riding)
Located in the southeastern corner of the Carpathian basin in Romania, Transylvania, one of the most unspoiled regions in Europe. It might shelter the greatest European populations of wild wolves, brown bears, lynx and roebuck.
Starting around the 12th century (under an ancient agreement with Romania’s Hungarian conquerors) the Saxons built a series of ‘Seven-cities’ or Siebenbürgen, what amounts to fortified ‘islands’ protecting their homes, farms and churches from everyone from the Mongols to the Ottomans.
The Saxons largely fled Romania after the collapse of the Ceausescu regime leaving everything behind them. It is a delicate business, but the villages are gradually being restored and the old houses are being renovated according to the traditional building techniques. Owing largely to the old farming practices, Transylvania also preserves an ancient and man-made biosphere that sustains cultivation and managed wilderness in rare harmony. Horses still plow the fields, pull hay carts and the food is still grown in small traditional farms.
Thanks to the unfenced and uninterrupted miles of pasture and ancient woodland the riding in Romania is superb.
You will be able to experience traditional village life and be introduced to the folklore, culture and hospitality of the region. You will have the opportunity to visit impressive fortified churches guided by the traditional ‘key-keeper’, spend time with artisans, including farriers and charcoal makers and on occasion meet with farmers and shepherds along the way as they go about their daily work.
We spend five days riding out from Villa Abbatis Equestrian Center, located in Apos, an old Saxon village and we spend one night in the village of Veseud. The horses are a mix of well-trained Lippizaner and sport horses. The pace of riding is dictated by the group. There are many opportunities for trotting and cantering in this environment.
The outfitter retains the right to change the itinerary or sequence of the ride according the weather conditions and any unforeseen circumstance
Ypu can choose between Experienced or Beginners
For experienced version of the tour we require that all riders participating on the tour are able to walk/trot and canter competently in the saddle. We advise riders to take some lessons before taking this tour.
For Beginners the tempo is on pace rhythm
Riding helmets are mandatory. Suitable footwear and pants to be worn. We do not advise riding in denim jeans unless you are used to doing so, as they may chaff your legs. Riding breeches/jodhpurs with chaps or long boots are recommended. Footwear must be supportive of the ankle and have a heel. Sun block is recommended. Gloves are recommended and provided for free. Rain jacket and rain pants that fit over riding clothes recommended, in case of rain.
Day 1: Arrival at Villa AbbatisFly (or take the train) to Sibiu, Romania. Transfer to the Villa Abbatis Equestrian center in Apos where we have dinner and hear about the week ahead. Villa Abbatis Equestrian Center, is located in Apos, an old Saxon village 55 km away from Sibiu.
Day2: The Legendary Trail - 6 hours ridingAfter breakfast we take some time to acquaint ourselves with our horses in the manger, before heading out of the village to ride across rolling hills and beautiful lush valleys until we reach Biertan (Birthalam). This village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 13th century, making it one of the oldest villages in Transylvania. Biertan is also home to the most important fortified church in the region that was also the seat of the evangelic bishop. We will have lunch at Unglerus restaurant, surrounded by medieval cavalry armor and then take a stroll over to the church, where we will also have the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the history of the Saxons in the region. In the afternoon we ride back to Apos.. Dinner and overnight in Apos . All dinners at Apos are prepared by a village family only using locally grown organic produce.
Day 3: The Royal trail (Apoș – Mălâncrav) - 6 hours ridingRight after breakfast we saddle on and head to Mălâncrav (Malmkrong), where HRH Prince Charles visits often. This is what he has to say about these places: “A place of exceptional impressive beauty. Both as regards the nature, as well as the cultural wealth."<br> We will have lunch in a Saxon household and enjoy the specialties: a delicious plum pie like you’ve never had before, and a black currant syrup that will blacken your tongue and open your heart. Back in the saddle and, we will visit the Apafi Manor and learn the history of the village.<br>
Day 4: The Hârtibaci trail (Apoș - Alțâna)The way to Alțâna, an old traditional Saxon village aprox. 25 km East from Apoș, that hosts the oldest house in Transylvania (Gerendi House, 1508), crosses a forest and then opens up to beautiful hills and meadows. We will take you off the beaten tracks, on trails once used by Saxons driving their carriages between the different villages.<br> In Alțâna we will have a 3-course meal at Stef’s Hay Barn, together with wine and “palinca” tasting (local spirit), followed by a visit to the Interethnic Museum of Hârtibaciu Valley. Upon request, a visit to the fortified church is included.<br> On our way back to Apos we will follow the narrow-gauge rail towards Agnita, along the Hartibaciu river, up and down an extraordinary, hilly path, hidden from the public eye, once used by the local steam train. After leaving the river, we will cross the pastures where the villagers’ cows, water buffalos and horses are taken out daily. Sheepfolds are often en route. Soon after, we reach for the forest paths again, where wildlife can be easily spotted.<br>
Day 5: The Green trail (Apoș - Copșa Mare) - 6 hours ridingAfter breakfast we ride towards Copsa Mare (Gross Kopisch) village and we will circumvent the forests, in order to ride though the large, open landscapes, We will also be able to observe how some of the farmers are still working the land and how they go about cutting the grass or making haystacks depending on the season and time of day. On more inclement days we can also return to the forest for a comfortably shielded ride under the canopy. After lunch we ride back to Apos. Dinner and overnight in Apos. <br> <br>
Day 6: Wine trail (Apoș - Richiș) – 5-6 hours ridingAfter breakfast we ride along the medieval merchant’s wine trials towards Richis (Reichesdorf). This was the wealthiest medieval village in the area, due to its famous wineries. We will be given a tour of the very impressive fortified church by the very charming and knowledgeable ‘key-keeper’ Herr Schass. after which we will enjoy a picnic lunch. The landscape with its wide, sweeping valleys, rolling hills and peaks will give us the opportunity to ride through a variety of terrain. We return to Apos and after a tasting of local wines, we settle down for dinner. Overnight in Apos
Day 7: Saxon trail (Apoș – Stejeriș) - 5-6 hours ridingAfter breakfast we will head towards Stejerisu (Probstdorf) village and visit the well-preserved church, where one of the last remaining members of the Saxon community will welcome us to a palinca (schnaps) and a speck and cheese tasting up in the church tower and share some stories about life in this village. Lunch is prepared by another remaining Saxon resident who prides herself in only using old family recipes. After lunch we ride back to Apos . In the evening local musicians will join us around the fire with live music and a special barbeque dinner. Overnight in Apos.
Day 8: DepartureAfter breakfast transfer to the airport for departure flights
|Accommodation with Full Board at the Villa Abbatis Equestrian Center||Yes||-|
|6 days riding with specialised guide||Yes||-|
|Cultural excursions as noted in the intinerary||Yes||-|
|Transfer from Airport Sibiu to Apos and return||Yes||-|
|Tips and gratuities||No||-|
|Single room supplement||No||€ 40,00/person|