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Romania Mountain Bike Introduction

Mountain Biking in Romania: Larisa Chinces

Anyone who ventures to ride a variety of  bike routes will certainly be delighted with Romania and the wealth of trails on offer, in mountains and deep woodlands with awesome views and spectacular peaks. You’ll encounter new experiences and landscapes to rival anywhere in the world, totally unspoilt ad fresh, and will recharge your batteries, feeding yourself with positive energy from the wealth of nature.

Where to ride then I guess – here we go Romania!

The best places to visit first for fun are in Brasov, Poiana Brasov, Cluj, and my home of Sibiu, in the Paltinis Mountains. Then there is the Bucegi Mountains, and the Fagaras Mountains; because the scenery is so breathtaking beautiful and the trails seem to twist and turn and challenge me, they produce miles of smiles all day long.

Accessing these areas can be done easily by car, and the facilities locally are plenty of bike shops, places to eat and stay over at, like hotels and hostels.

My personal favourite bike trails are in Paltinis, in the Cindrel Mountains, just 1hour distance from my beautiful small home town Sibiu.

The Cindrel Mountains, with an area of approximately 900 km², run north of the Sadul and Frumoasei valleys and east of the Sebes River. The highest peaks are Niculesti (2036 m), Cânaia (2045 m) and Cindrel (2244 m). Due to the crystalline composition of the rocks, the hydrographic network is rich. The main river basin is that of the Cibin River, which has carved out amazing valleys and sculptured landscapes. There are many natural springs, even on the heights of the mountains, at heights above 1800m. Rich pastures and the presence of springs have favored the development of an impressive pastoral region, now known as the Marginimea Sibiului.

Yes, the biking trails in Cindrel provide great opportunities for discovering the natural heritage of Romania, and also a meeting with a new and specific culture; the mountain people with an ancestral lifestyle and well-preserved traditions. The Cindrel Mountains have altitudes varying between 1400-2244 m, and the trails are medium difficulty, with most of them starting from the Paltinis resort or from Cisnadie, Cisnadioara, Sadu, Râu Sadului, Rasinari, Sibiel.

The route I’ll take today is easy, relaxed and disconnected from the urban environment. The route starts from Sibiu, and until reaching Paltinis there is a distance of about 30 km that can be reached by car or by bus (about 15 lei / ticket and 40 minutes distance). The Paltinis-Vf. Cindrel is about 5 hours and during the summertime you have to have a raincoat because the weather is quite changing.

From Paltinis,  it is 1 hour to Poiana Gaujoara, trough a beautiful forest like in fairytales. The route is single trail and the difficulty is medium.

Poiana Gaujoara is a glade full of vegetation in the middle of a spruce forest.

Now, it’s uphill to Batrana (1911 m), where a weather station is located. From the alpine hut, the route is simplified because it is only on the crest in the sun. From the trail you can see the Fagaras mountains behind you and on the left you can see the crest of the Lotru mountains.

The road to the Canaia hut has a low difficulty level and wonderful scenery to stop and take in.

The trail stops at the Canaia hut, where you need to be aware that it’s not open permanently, but only if the landowner is announced in advance. So do try to check with locals and in in nearby shops and hotels. If open, there you can sleep, rest and eat before setting off on the rest of your Romanian adventure.

From here to the final destination of the trip is approximately 1 hour - one half hour. The trail passes through a juniper, followed by the Cindrel Nature Reservation, which during the summer, when the peony is blooming, is covered with a pink/violet color to a very pleasant honey, a gorgeous landscape from which you hardly go away. Then it’s an uphil ride or hiketo the Cindrel Peak, where there are a few push bike sections for everyone!

Iezerul Mic and Iezerul Mare are glacial lakes

However, as much as you liked the route, you will love the top scenery from Cindrel Peak (2244m) where the view leaves you breathless, and thankful that you climbed up.

Now, all that's left is to pick your point of decent, and enjoy the flying speed as you race through our amazing mountains, hopefully dreaming of further visits and new routes to explore – you’ll always be welcome, and there’s so many mountain valleys to choose from!