A cycling tour is the best way to discover the beautiful Calata region, a land in which centuries old Hungarian and Romanian traditions are still kept. Treat yourself to an off the beaten path and void of tourists experience in what is one of Transylvania’s least explored ethnographic regions. The land of Calata or Kalotaszeg, as is it called in Hungarian, is located just one hour away from Cluj and it is made up mostly of Hungarian villages mingled with Romanian ones. Its people, regardless of their ethnicity, are always welcoming and hospitable and they will invite you to step into their homes and have a closer look at their way of life. It is a land of crafts, handmade embroideries and wood artistry. The beautifully adorned wooden gabled roofs, the gates carved with floral motifs and the traditionally hand-painted wooden furniture, decorating most of the houses in the area,
ABOUT LAND OF CALATA
give an insight on its identity and cultural heritage. Prepare to discover the contrast between the Hungarian stone churches and the Romanian wooden ones. During the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Romanians in Transylvania were not allowed to build Orthodox churches in stone. So their churches, meticulously carved in wood, with stylised motifs (crosses, rosettes, ropes, tendrils, water waves) and shingled roofs, painted on the inside with naive murals became monuments of wooden folk architecture and peasant art. On the other hand, the protestant 13th century Hungarian churches built in stone, with defensive walls, are overlooking the surroundings with their massive white towers. You will be amazed by their simple interiors and ceilings coffered with old and unique hand-painted wooden panels, which cannot be found anywhere else in Transylvania.
DAY TO DAY
The tour begins with a one hour transfer from your accommodation in Cluj-Napoca to Mărișel from where we will start cycling at an altitude of 1200 meters. We will spend the first half of the day in the mountains enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful alpine views over scattered mountain villages. Although most of today’s ride is downhill there is a series of demanding ups and downs in the first 15 KM but as soon as we reach the resort village of Beliș we will break for a delicious cheese pie and coffee. Soon after, following a long and comfortable descent on a smooth asphalt road, we will enter the ethnographic region. We will visit the Hungarian 13th century fortified churches in the villages of Manastireni and Valeni and towards the end of the day we’ll hike to a hilltop which offers splendid panoramas of the mountains and of the village of Văleni. Following this last visit, an easy ride through peaceful rolling hills will take us to the guest house in Morlaca where we will spend the night.
Approximately 55 km (34 miles) with 510 m (1,670 feet) of climbing
Today’s ride is a scenic route through lush landscapes on roads which seem to be purposely built for smooth bike riding. We will enjoy one more time the freshness of the mountains as we will climb to 1000 meters over two not so difficult gradual ascents. At the top of the second climb we will find the Bride’s Veil waterfall, where you can relax in its cool breeze and waters. We will have lunch here and then embark on a 20KM descent to Săcuieu for tonight’s accommodation. The charmingly located guesthouse lies in between rolling hills and along a narrow mountain creek. You can relax with a glass of wine or a beer in the big garden while waiting for a traditional and delicious local specialty, fried trout with polenta.
Approximately 58 km (36 miles) with 720 m (2,360 feet) of climbing
Your ride today takes you to the county of Salaj, famous for its wooden churches, which although small in size are impressive for the harmony of their lines and proportions. But before that we will have an easy ride to Bologa, where we will visit an old watermill with a traditional whirlpool. It is the last still standing water mill from the many which once existed on the Sacuieu creek. Leaving the Cluj county behind we will cross into Salaj and after a short and steep climb in the village of Hodisu we will find ourselves on a wild and scenic high plateau which offers great views of the whole area. Shortly after in Fildu de Sus we will stop for lunch and we will visit the beautiful 18th century Romanian wooden church. It’s the most famous church of the county and it has the highest belfry (40 meters) of any of the wooden churches of Salaj. The day will continue with a pleasant ride through picturesque green valleys to our last accommodation, a beautifully restored old manor, in the remote village of Stana.
Approximately 50 km (31 miles) with 370 m (1,200 feet) of climbing
After breakfast you will be transferred by car back to Cluj-Napoca.
€1240 per person for groups of 2 people
€1080 per person for groups of 3 people
€990 per person for groups of 4 people
€870 per person for groups of 5+ people
Single supplement - €110
Deposit - €150
What is included?
- English-speaking local guides
- Fully equipped bike
- All accommodation and meals
- Fruits, nuts, snacks, and water during riding
- Assistance car
- Car transfer on the last day to Cluj-Napoca
- Tickets and donations
ACCOMMODATION & FOOD
Accommodation is provided in double or single rooms with private bathroom in small and cozy village guesthouses. The heart filled hospitality of our hosts will make you feel at home everywhere we’ll spend the night. All guest houses are unique and have beautiful gardens in which you can relax after a day’s riding. For single rooms there’s a single occupancy supplement.
FOOD & DRINK
Delicious and tasty locally sourced food is cooked by all guesthouses. Breakfast and a three course dinner are included in the tour package. The traditional Romanian spirits like plum or sour cherry brandy are complementary on the house while drinks like wine and beer can be bought separately at each guesthouse. Vegetarian options are also available upon request.
LUNCH & COFFEE BREAKS
Lunch is included in the tour package and in most of the days we will break for a freshly cooked lunch and coffee at a special venue where other activities are included as well. A packed lunch is provided on the other days and whenever refreshments breaks are needed we’ll make it happen, as your holiday will be enjoyed at your own pace. Fruit, cereal bars and water are available anytime.
4 DAYS & 3 NIGHTS - 3 DAYS OF RIDING
AVERAGE DAILY DISTANCE
54 km (33.5 miles)
AVERAGE DAILY ELEVATION
533 m (1,743 feet)
163 km (101 miles)
1,600 m (5,230 feet)
TERRAIN: HILLY and MOUNTAINOUS
The Land of Calata is hilly and mountainous! That’s why, any trip in this area implies some climbing, but the effort will be lavishly rewarded by the wonderful landscapes, colourful flower meadows and tranquil villages where life flows at a very slow pace. Every day there will be some short and rolling hills and a steeper climb which will require more effort to conquer. But don’t worry as the descents are always beautiful and rewarding.
For the elevation profile and for the number of kilometers/miles covered on a daily basis, see the day to day itinerary. 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 19 kilometers (12 miles) on which we’ll ride on gravel.
* At times, from various reasons, the routes, the activities listed in the daily breakdown or the guesthouses we sleep in may slightly change. Our guides will always try to replace them with similar or higher standard services in order to provide the same trip experience.