Away from the prying eye, 40 km away from Cluj and so little known to the large audience, lies the ethnographic region of Călata, so unexplored, waiting to be discovered on two wheels. This cycling trip will take us through forgotten villages and can be regarded as an ethnographic journey, giving you an insight into the local wood craftsmanship and traditions. Nonetheless, it is a feast for the eyes as all along the route we will take a glimpse of the panoramic views of the green rolling hills and the mountains which are surrounding them. As a bonus, for those interested, we can make a stop in Alunișu. The priest in the village is a cheesemaker and produces delicious matured cheese which is aged in his cellar. This delicacy together with palinka, the strong and flavourful Transylvanian brandy, can be bought here.
ABOUT THE TRIP
We will start cycling on a winding road with beautiful views of the Vlădeasa mountains and the trip will continue on smooth roads, with long descents and nice climbs, offering the photography buffs the chance to take perfect panoramic pictures. The history and architecture lovers will be impressed by the 13th-century medieval fortified churches found in the mostly Hungarian villages of Mănăstireni, Văleni, and Sâncraiu. Built on hilltops they are overlooking the surrounding areas with their massive white towers. Prepare to be amazed by their decorated interiors especially by their ceilings coffered with hand-painted wooden panels. Apart from the old churches, the beautifully adorned wooden gable roofs and the traditionally hand-painted wooden furniture give an insight into the identity and cultural heritage of the area.
RIDE OF THE DAY
The trip will begin with a 45 minutes car transfer to Dretea, from where we will start riding on a winding road towards Mănăstireni, Văleni, and Sâncraiu. All three villages have beautiful 13th-century churches and the most spectacular one in our opinion is the one from the village of Văleni, located high on a hilltop. We will stop to visit at least one of them.
At noon we will stop for a delicious three course lunch at our friends from the Püspök guesthouse in Sâncraiu. From Sâncraiu we will start a 31 km (19 miles) loop ride on quiet roads and soon after we begin we’ll face the first serious climb of the day. The priest’s house in Alunișu and the watermill in Bologa are two optional stops before we return to Sâncraiu. From here, we'll have to another 12 km (7 miles) ride before we reach the car.
On all our tours we aim to find quite secondary roads, so that you’ll fully enjoy your vacation without the noise of big and busy roads. With few exceptions, we only cycle on asphalt, and on this particular tour there are only 9 kilometers (5 miles) on which we’ll ride on gravel.
TOTAL DISTANCE: 55 km (34 miles)
TOTAL ELEVATION: 670 m (2,200 feet)
* 1 pers - €105
2 pers - €85/pers.
3-6 pers - €70/pers.
* One person tours can be arranged with maximum one week prior to the date of the ride
What is included?
- English-speaking local guides
- Fully equipped bike
- Car transfer
- Tickets and donations
Lunch & coffee breaks
We will have lunch in the village of Sâncraiu, where our friends from the Püspök guesthouse will wait for us and we will also treat us with some delicious home made plum brandy, the famous Transylvanian palinka. Any time is a good time for coffee so we can stop in any of the villages to have one. Although the coffee shops on route are not that fancy they will offer an authentic village experience. Please go back to the ‘Ride of the day’ section for more details.
We recommend you check the forecast in the days before the trip and prepare proper clothes. Even if there are small chances of rain, rather than counting on luck, you should pack a light weight rain jacket. For the sunny days please don’t forget to carry some sunscreen with you. Weather can change rapidly in Transylvania, especially during spring and early summer so it’s better to be prepared. For exceptionally bad weather we can cancel a tour, if this is discussed with a few days in advance.
PICK UP & TRANSFER
In the morning, on the day of the trip, we will pick you up from your hotel in Cluj-Napoca and transfer you to Dretea, the starting point of the tour. The car transfer takes about 45 minutes. Then in the evening, after finishing the ride, we will drive you back to Cluj and drop you off at the same place or at any other location in the city. Should you have a rented car and should you prefer to drive to Dretea yourselves and meet us there, it will be even easier for us to meet and we are happy with this option as well.