Szekler & Saxon Land

Transylvania Romania: (IT-RORT02)

Transylvania Romania
A Place of Great History & Myth...

Transylvania is a place of great history and myth, which lends to the region a mysterious allure that attracts adventurous travelers and horseback riders from around the world. It is a land comprised of stunning natural phenomena combined with intriguing villages of ancient origin, hidden deep in its sloping valleys and impressive mountains. Transylvania’s landscape varies from the great river basins of Somes, Olt and Mures, to majestic stretches of vast plains (great for canters!), and of course the dramatic Carpathian Mountains. It is a paradise of discovery from the back of a horse, a chance to see the country from a vantage point reserved only for those who are willing to pass without vehicle. The local equestrian centre was established in 1995 with the aim to enable all people who love nature and horses to learn about the wonderful world of Transylvania: about the hidden secrets in the shadows of the mountains, about its culture, natural beauty and rural lifestyle of the common people. We cross trails in all three major territories under the rule of Transylvania: The Sezkler Land, Csangoland and Saxon Land.

On the Salt Way itinerary we follow the "route of the salt" over the Snowy Mountains (Havasok). These were the trails on which the Romanian's predecessors carried salt from the mines of Parajd on ox wagons to the Maros River, where it was loaded onto rafts and delivered to faraway cities. We will travel one part of the salt mine route on our riding tour while discovering the hidden Szekler farming villages and several "Esztena”s.


Option A: Overnights are 5 nights in guesthouses/ small inns and 2 nights are camping in tents. 
Option B: Overnights are in guesthouses and small inns.
Option C (15-day trek): 4 nights in guesthouses and 10 nights camping

Overall the accommodations are rustic in remote locals with true immersion into the local culture. Single rooms are not available. Bathroom facilities are on a share basis.
We provide stew-boiled food twice a day and a picnic for lunch

Camping nights as designatedper individual itinerary will use the following gear:
Tent: “the Quechua 2 second tent” for 2 persons (2.10 x 1.40 m). approx one year old.
Sleeping bag:  “Quechua” (-5°C) in good condition. approx. one year old.
Sleeping mat:  “Quechua” air mattress (5 cm x 200 cm x 80 cm). approx. one year old.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


No matter the option you choose (camping or no camping), you will be riding for 6 days, spending about 6 hours in the saddle every day. In total, we will cover about 170 km.

The horses are mostly Szekler horses and Lipizzan half-breeds and measure between 1,40 m and 1,70 m. We breed our own horses. All are calm, mentally balanced, not overbred or nervous, and live in freedom without any kind of force or negative pressure.
At a very young age, our horses already learn how to proceed securely on broken, slippery and rocky land since they take part on the tours following their mothers.
The studs are kept on the pasture, so their nervous system is stable and calm and they are glad to fulfill their daily tasks.
We start training our horses when they are 4-5 years old and mostly all of them can be used under saddle or as pack-horses.

The saddles are English type tour saddles and modified army saddles. In addition they have their own designed front and rear pack-belts’ saddlebags. 
The saddlebags and the belonging baskets and bags were modified according to experiments to enable the packhorses to follow the team even at a canter.

Tour Leader
Csaba’s love for the mountain, horses and riding tour started in his childhood. He feels most at home when he can be close to horses and nature. He knows the trails inside and out, even the most isolated tracks. I also know many of the locals there.


Sample Itinerary - Subject to changes

Option A : The Salt Way in the Mountains (camping) 170km total. 5 nights guesthouse, 2 night camping

Day 1: Gheorgheni to Kovacs Peter
Arrival to Gheorgheni in the afternoon, from here on wagonway we go out with an all terrain-vehicle to the horse ranch (15 km). Dinner, conversation about the tour and explanation of the regulations.

Day 2: Kovacs Peter to Fekete Rez
After breakfast we will assign our riding animals for the trek and learn proper packing and preparation of pack horses. We saddle up and we head away from the ranch to Kovacs Peter to the River Olt spring where we will take a break. What applies for us, also goes for the horses too - , we give them their rest and let them drink. Then we ride a steep ascent up “Sóvető” Mountain until we reach the mountain of Sipos, where we will break for lunch at its peak (1568m). There we will have good views of North Harghita. Then we descend along the “Lok” ridge on a wild path that will deliver us to “FeketeRez’s” Mountain where we will camp tonight - nearby the “esztena” (pastoral quarters).

Day 3: Fekete Rez to Ördög Lake (Devil Lake)
We depart the Mountain and descent further to Marosfő, where we will ride through the Maros / Mures River and then onward into the mountains surrounding “Harghita”. At first we will ride the peak of Vf. Rachitisului (CsikMagasa) (1153m) and then rise again to Ostoros (Osztoros) (1384m). Today we break our trail for a special occasion. We are on a special spot where the basin of “”Gheorghieni” and the mountains of Gurghiului will be to our right and the “Ciuc basin” and  Ciuc mountains to our left. It will be delightful. Afterwards we continue on horseback again to “Ölyves” peak and turn towards the major ridge of “Harghita”. We will ride a natural wind-cut path as we descend to the camp near “Ördög” Lake, where we will enjoy bubbling Romanian stew after we take a short walk to the swamp lake.

Day 4: Ördog Lake (Devil lake) to Izvoreni (Ivo)
Leaving campsite we ride through the wild forests of “Harghita”. Here we often find the tracks of bears and the peeled trees they leave behind. Riding up to “Muntele Mic” (Fertő peak )(1589m) we stop for a moment and revel in the beautiful impressions of the imposing rocks of “Hasmasu Mare” (“Nagy Hagymás”.) Then we descend again through the vast pasture of “Muntele Mic” (“Fertő”) and into the valley and stream of Izvoreni (“Ivo”). We stay the night nearby the Panzio of “Tündérkert” in “Ivo”.

Day 5: Ivo to Szekelyvarsag
We bid goodbye to our kind hosts in “Ivo” and head for the plateau of “Harghita” where we can enjoy some exciting gallops! At the edge of the plateau we will see a glimpse of the Sub Cetatea reservoir. Crossing the Sicasau (“Sikaszó”) stream, we will find ourselves in the southern part of the “Görgényi” Snowy Mountains and ancient pine forest as we enter the farming world of “Székelyvárság”.

Day 6: Varsag (Szekelyvarsag) to Borzont
We saddle up again and explore the entirety of the Varsag “Szekelyvarsag” village and pastureland by horseback. When we have made a full exploration tour of the area we will find the salt mine paths that will lead us to “Borzont” and after all we shall find  the little house on the meadow, where we stay tonight.

Day 7: Borzont to CovaciPeter (Kovacs Peter)
Today we will navigate a labyrinth of streams as we head toward the “Gyergyo” basin. Again we’ll have a chance to enjoy some short and fast gallops when the terrain permits along the way to the “Maros/Mures” River. This was the final destination for the salt from the mines, before loading on river vessels. The horses will drink from the river, while we all cool off on a quick break, before picking up the pace again for another great gallop through the river basin, heading back towards the mountains. We climb, homeward bound, for Peter Kovacs and the home base farm.

Day 8: Kovacs Peter to Gheorgheni
After breakfast we travel back to Gheorgheni. We say our goodbyes to the horses, new friends and the beautiful Szekely region and homeward journey.


Option B : The Salt Way in the Mountains (No camping) 170km total. 7 nights guesthouse

Day 1: Gheorgheni to Kovacs Peter
Arrival at “Gheorgheni”, in the afternoon. From here on we go with an all-terrain-vehicle to a horse ranch (15 km). Afterwards we have a dinner, followed by a conversation about the tour and the explanation of the rules and regulation.

Day 2: KovácsPéter to Izvorul Muresul
After the breakfast everyone gets his or her horse, followed by the distribution of saddlebags, proper packing and pack-horse’s packing.
After leaving the Csángo ranch of CovaciPeter (KovácsPéter) we arrive at the source “Olt”, where we water our horses. From here, with a long steep rise through “Sóvetőhavas”, we head to the mountain “Sipos”.This very area is densely forested. We will take the midday break on the Peak of mountain “Sipos” (1568m) where we’ll have sight over the North Hargita. After the break we will descend to the “Loknyereg”, tracking a long wild path till we reach our destination: a small village called “Izvorul Muresul”, where we spend the night on a farm, on which a lovely host is pulling the strings for us, so that we can have a good rest.
Distance: 20 km. Length: 5 hours

Day 3: Izvorul Muresul to Osztoros
On the next day it is time to say goodbye to the lovely farm. We ride through the village and cross the river “Maros”. Now we find ourselves in the wild and densely forested woods of Hargita. It might happen that we come across some tracks of wild animals such as bears, which leave their marks on trees.
Our first peak is the Vf. Rachitisului (“CsikMagasa”) (1153m).There we will continue our journey towards the mountain “Osztoros” (1384m) with a slight rise. We will take the daily break in a special place where an astonishing view unfolds all over the basin of “Gheorgheni”, the basin of “Ciuc”, with the mountains of “Giurgiu” and the main ridge of the Carpathian Mountains in the background. A very delightful place to be!
Following the wild paths we descend till we get to a small and charming guesthouse, where we refill our energy tanks.
Distance: 25 km. Length: 5 ½ hours

Day 4: Liban to Irigyvesz
Our ride starts on the mountain saddle Liban. From here on it is going upwards. The destination for our lunchtime is the so called “Devils swamp”. The first peak after the break is the mountaintop of “Fertő” (1589m), where we have a beautiful sight over the impressive blocks of Hasmasu Mare (“Nagy Hagymás”). From the vast puszta of Muntele Mic (“Fertő”) we descend, where we find the river “Ivó”.  Our accommodation for the night is a special place called “To The Fairy Garden” in “Irigyvesz” (Izvoreni).
Distance: 25km. Length: 6 hours

Day 5: Irigyvesz to Varsag
Once again we have to say goodbye to a heartfelt host, for the purpose of going on with our tour, so that we can reach the plateau of Harghita, where it is time for some eagerly anticipated gallops. As the plateau ends we are getting surprised by the shimmering surface of the water reservoir of “Sub Cetatea.”
After we’ve enjoyed the beautiful sight for a moment we are going on, forward, crossing the river “Sikasszó” on the southern part of the Alps of Muntii Gurghiului (“Görgény”). It is not easy to leave the fairytale-like pine forests, as we head towards our overnight stay, which is the farmworld of Varsag (“Székelyvarság”).
Distance: 25 km. Length: 5 hours

Day 6: Varsag to salt way
We enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the soothing effect of the landscape for the last time and go on. In front of our eyes a dark mountain rises up to the sky, while we are riding exclusively on the salt way. The region itself opens its box of secrets and reveals the history of the residents, who in fact must have had some efforts in the process of the transportation of the white gold.
Accommodation in a guesthouse.
Distance: 30 km. Length: 6 hours

Day 7: Back to Kovacs Peter’s
The early bird catches the worm is just a figure of speech, but we try to make that happen. Early in the morning we leave the small guesthouse and ride, starting on a pasture, from where we get to an area which is a maze of streams. Out of the maze we reach the basin of Gheorgheni(“Gyergyó”). After some short periods of gallop we get to the river Mures (“Maros”), which is a natural land mark also defining the end of the way of the salt. There it’s time for recovery. As the horses drink of the river Maros, we can stretch a little bit and there after we ride again, through the basin of the Alps of “Gyergyó”. The tour ends at Kovacs Peter’s.
Distance: 35 km. Length: 6 ½ hours

Day 8: Departure
After breakfast homeward journey.


Option C: Two week Pack Trip in Carpathian Mountains

The first week of this tour goes totally through the main ridge of Hargita Mountains touching the most noteworthy peaks: Osztoros (1374 m), Ferto (1589 m), Madarasi (1801 m) Kakukk, Mitács and Nagypiliske. This is the tour of us which touches the most deeply Hargita’s several times mentioned ancient pine forests. During our journey we will set up camp on picturesque clearings and we will ride through wild lands.

The second week of this tour have triple character. The triple character of this tour is given first of all by the 3 mountains: Csomád Mountains, Csiki Snow-covered Mountains (Havasok), Gyergyó Snow-covered Mountains (Havasok); secondly by the geographically bounded ethnical groups: the székelys of Háromszék, the csángó of Gyimes, and the székelys of Gyergyó. The change of the landscape is showing the same trinity during the journey, first is the thick forest, which afterwards turns to wide mild pastures and meadows and finally the gloomy rock-blocks, cliff edges and steep rock-paths.

* The length of the tour: 330 km.
* The tour consists of 12 riding days, with an average of daily 6 hours’ ride.
* Accommodation: In guesthouse’s room with several beds (4 nights), tent (10 nights)
* Personal luggage transport in saddlebags, max. 8 kg

Day 1: Gheorgheni to Kovacs Peter
Arrival to Gheorgheni in the afternoon, from here on wagonway we go out with an all terrain-vehicle to the horse ranch (15 km). Dinner, conversation about the tour and explanation of the regulations.

Day 2: Kovacs Peter to Fekete Rez
Breakfast, horse’s and saddlebags distribution, proper packing, pack-horse’s packing, paddock installation. After leaving our csángo ranch of Kovács Péter we arrive to the Olt source where we will water our horses. From here with a long steep rise through the Sóveto snow-covered Mountain (Havasok) we arrive to Sipos Mountain. The biggest part of the journey will be done in the forest. We will take the midday break on the Peak of Sipos Mountain (1568m) where we will have sight towards the North Hargita. We will descend to the Lok ridge and on a long wild path we will arrive to the Fekete Rez’s puszta where we will set up night camp nearby an esztena (pastoral quarters).

Day 3: Fekete Rez to Ördög Lake (Devil Lake)
After leaving the huge puszta we descend to Marosfo, here we will ride through the Maros and we will find ourselves in the mountains of Hargita. Our first peak is the Csik Magasa (1153m), from here we continue our journey towards the Osztoros (1384m) with a slight rise. We will take the daily break in a special place where on our right we can see the basin of Gyergyó and the Görgényi snow-covered mountains (Havasok), on our left the Csiki basin and in the background the Csiki snow-covered mountains (Havasok). By Ölyves peak we will turn towards the main ridge of the Hargita from where through a wind-cut path we descend to our camp near the Ördög lake. Until the dinner is bubbling in the stewing pot we can have a short walk in the swamp of the Ördög Lake.

Day 4: Ördög Lake (Devil Lake) to Madarasi Hargita
This is our hardest and longest session of our journey since we will ride on the Hargita’s mountains highest peaks: the Ferto teto (1589m) and the Madarasi Hargita (1801). We will take our midday break on the Ferto’s wide pasture where we have beautiful sight towards the Hagymás Mountains imposant blocks, and in the distance we can see the cone’s of the Dancurás and the Likas.
Descending to the Ferto ridge we go along a carbonated-water source where we can fill up our canteens. From here we jump into the vast pine forest of Hargita where we can often see bear’s footprints and young pines with bear scratches.
Our midnight camp will be settled near a mountain brooklet on the ridge between the Madarasi and the Rákosi Hargita.

Day 5: Madarasi Hargita to Talabor
Through the Rákosi Hargita (1756m) we arrive to Hargita bath (fürdo), we take our midday break nearby a small pub. We descend to Tolvajos peak, we cross the main road and immediately after we gallop on Talabor puszta towards our night camp.

Day 6: Talabor to Mitács
Leaving the Lucs’ muskeg we trot towards the szent Imrei Büdös fürdo (saint Emeric stinky bath) from where comes again a vast pine forest, afterwards the caldera of the Kakukk mountain (1557m), from here the landscape is changing and the pines turn in beeches.
Our night camp is on the Mitács puszta nearby an esztena (pastoral quarters).

Day 7: Mitács to Bixad
We continue our journey in beech forests until the Nagy Piliske (1374m). After leaving the peak we arrive to a beautiful belvedere where in the distance we can see the Csukás Mountain (1954m), Nagykohavas, Keresztényhavas (1800m), Bucsecs (2505m), Királyko and the Fogarasi snow-covered mountains (havasok) (2500m). From here we leave the main ridge, we cross the river Olt which here is already bellied out to a river. We go through the Bixad basin and we arrive to the guesthouse.

Day 8: Bixad to St. Anna lake/Bixad
Today we will take a short break and we will visit St. Ana Lake. The lake is formed in the crater of a former volcano called Ciomatu, which erupted last time thousands years ago. It was the last active volcano from Eastern Europe. Because it is catered almost exclusive with precipitations, the mineralization level is extremely low, the water’s purity being close to the distilled water. Because St. Ana Lake has a very reduced quantity of oxygen, it isn’t prohibited. Nowadays, the entire area is declared a natural reservation. In the twin crater, there is a swamp called Mohos - of a divine beauty.

Day 9: Bixad to Pap Mountain
After formation of the marching column, we climb to Bolondos peak (1082 m), here we can already feel the nearness of the Büdös (smelly) Mountain; the air is full of sulphur which smells like bad egg. Riding next to it we touch the Buffogó swamp. Arriving to Géczi hilltop we can have beautiful view to the basin of Háromszék and in the distance the mountains: Nemere Mountain, Háromszék snow-covered mountains (Havasok), Csukás Mountains. Struggling through the steep, nook and cranny paths of the Közteto (1087 m) we arrive to the sub-ridge of the Csiki snow-covered mountains (Havasok) and passing by the Cecele peak (1173 m) starts the Lenkert tableland where we will spice the journey with frequent gallop sequences. Beside the Nyerges peak’s monument we take a short break and a remembrance, and afterwards we will go again on flowery pastures to our camp of Pap Mountain (1165 m). We stay tonight in tent.

Day 10: Pap Mountain to Örálla
Starting from our camp the meadows and the pastures are varying each other, from the left the Csiki basin and behind the Hargita, on the right the Kászoni basin and overhead the Nemere. At Botsarka we join the main ridge and from here the dominating landscape is the pine forest. We stay tonight in tent.

Day 11: Örálla to Konyak (Stone neck)
Leaving behind us the Tomotok brook-world we ride towards the side of the Szello having a look to the beautiful view of the Szépviz reservoir. From here starts the world of the Gyimes alias the csángó-land. We edge along structured pastures and meadows, pasturing animals and hard-working csango people. And thorough the Pogányhavas (Pogány snow-covered Mountain) we arrive to Konyak (Stone neck) to our nigh camp.

Day 12: Konyak (Stone neck) to Terko
We lead our horses from Utasalj peak down to Tunel hilltop where we will see the csángó pastoral quarters (kaliba). This type of pastoral activity will follow us from Naskalat to Terko.From the bald Naskalat we can have a beautifull view to the Gyimes main valley, to Hidegség stream, to Gyimes Bükk, and behind to Tarhavas and Hegyeshavas. We stay tonight in tent.

Day 13: Terko to Kovács Péter
Today we arrive to the rocks of Hagymás Mountain, which we had already admired from far during our journey. At arrival to Öcsém peak (1707 m) is opening to us the north horizon and we can delight in the Nagy Hagymás (1792 m) in the Fekete Hagymás (1777 m) and in the Csalhó’s imposing rock blocks. We lead down our horses on a steep rock block to the Egyes ko (1584 m), here we will take a short break by an icy source. We go further and with a powerful gallop we conquer Fehérmezo’s tableland which is laced of tarns. Our horses’ impatience indicates the closeness of home. We go further and with a powerful gallop we conquer Poiana Alba’s tableland which is laced of tarns. This is rightful since shortly we arrive to the peak of Kovács Péter to our horse ranch.

Day 14: Poiana Alba to Kovács Péter
After camp dismount we will arrive to the Vörös kő side, where we will go down to Jáhoros pusztája, from here through the valley labyrinth we will arrive back to the horse ranch. Our horses’ impatience indicates the closeness of home. This is rightful since shortly we arrive to the peak of Kovács Péter to our horse ranch.

Day 15: Kovács Péter to Gheorgheni
After breakfast we say our goodbyes to the horses, new friends and the beautiful Szekely region and homeward journey.

Rates and Dates for Szekler & Saxon Land

Rates include:

Accommodations, all meals, riding days according to itinerary, all camping equipment for tenting days

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    20198 day ride, AP - (Camping)€790$950
  • B
    20198 day ride, AP - (No camping)€890$1070
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2019 Transfer is included from Gheorgheni train station 0 $0
2019 Transfer from Bucharest airport (330km) at set times, per car (1-4 ), per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
160 $195
2019 Transfer from Cluj-Napoca airport (230km) at set times, per car (1-4), per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
100 $120
2019 Transfer from Sibiu airport (230km) at set times, per car (1-4), per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
100 $120
2019 Transfer from Targu Mures airport (150km) at set times, per car, per way
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
80 $95

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2019 06/15 - 06/22 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Expired
B 2019 06/29 - 07/06 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 07/06 - 07/13 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 07/13 - 07/20 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 07/20 - 07/27 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 07/27 - 08/03 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 08/03 - 08/10 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
A 2019 08/10 - 08/17 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (Camping) 3 /10 Expired
B 2019 08/24 - 08/31 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Reserve
B 2019 09/07 - 09/14 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Reserve
B 2019 09/14 - 09/21 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Reserve
B 2019 10/05 - 10/12 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP - (No camping... 3 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages (other than with meals), Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Gheorgheni
Airport: Targu Mures - Transilvania International Airport
Transfer: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca airport, Targu Mures airport, Sibiu airport, and local hotels

                                            Miercurea Ciuc area














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Source: NOAA


Romania has a temperate climate with 4 distinct seasons.
Spring and autumn are cool and pleasant; making May, June, September and October the best months to visit.
Summers are hot from July to August and winters are harsh and very cold between December and March, with snow falling throughout most of the country.
Spring and summer are the wettest seasons, but rain can be expected throughout the year.

What To Bring:
We recommend you bring your own helmet if possible for this ride. 
All camping gear for your one or two camping overnight is provided, including plates, knives, forks, spoons and cups and glasses, sleeping bags and mats.

It is suggested that you do not bring your good leather riding boots with you, but rather a rubber pair as it can be quite wet in places.
This list is only a guideline for you


Travel documents and Voucher
Personal Travel Insurance
Flight tickets
Visa (check with your consulate)


Riding breeches
Tall Riding boots (preferably rubber or waterproof).
Riding helmet
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Rain coat


Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Underwear and socks
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sleeping Bag
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra batteries
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Hair dryer - none available at accommodations!