Hiking in Transylvania: Fundata and the countryside + VIDEO
After 2 days of hiking in the mountains of Iezer Păpușa it’s time to explore the countryside of Romania. In Romania there are lots of options if you love hiking, both for beginners and more advanced hikers. The hike in Iezer Păpușa is absolutely amazing, but I would mainly recommend it to people who already have some hiking experience. So if you’re an adventurous hiker: go for it! But if you don’t want to climb high mountains and have sour muscles for days there are lots of hiking trails as well. For example the beautiful countryside of Transylvania!
Spoiler alert: this is a perfect 1-day hike if you’re an animal lover. We have seen SO many adorable dogs, cows and sheep along the way that at some point I stopped counting. Really cute!
Hiking in Transylvania
It’s still really early – and dark. A big shadow shows up in front of us. It doesn’t move. We drive a little further. Apparently there’s a horse on the road. I have to laugh. What the hell? What is this horse doing here, without anyone watching it? But for then this seems quite normal; he’s not surprised. And it will not be the last animal that we will see today.
A short history lesson about Transylvania…
Dan and I are on our way to Fundata, a village on the countryside of Transylvania. It’s not too far away from the Bran Castle. You maybe know about this castle. It’s already famous for ages because of the stories about Dracula the vampire and the cruel Vlad the Impaler. While the sun rises we see more and more beautiful houses. A lot of decoration and wooden details. It almost feels like we’re driving through Germany.
But it’s not that weird. Since the 11th century Transylvania was part of the Hungarian Empire. Hungary of course had a lot of influence in the cities in Transylvania because of this. Besides that many Germans were moving to Transylvania, mainly in the 12th and 13th century: they were called the Saxons. They helped building the citadels in Transylvania and made Transylvania an important place for traders. Cities like Brasov had a strategic location and it was a perfect stop for traders going from east to west in Europe.
Through the ages most Saxons moved back to Germany, but some of them stayed in Transylvania. So it’s not weird that most cities in Transylvania are divided in a Romanian, Hungarian and German part. Every part has its own language, customs, traditions, churches and even schools. That’s why you can hear up to 3 languages in one city (well 4, if you count English as well)!
Back to hiking in Transylvania
We parked the car in the village of Fundata. We need which marks we have to follow, but finding them is easier said than done. Dan asks a local old lady who’s passing by, while I stare at some passing cows. It’s fascinating. First there is 1 passing by. Then 2. And before I know it there are at least 6 cows crossing the street. As if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Once we have some directions we cross the street and walk to a meadow. Of course there are more cows here as well. The sound of the ringing cow bells is relaxing. In front of us we see the amazing mountains of Piatra Craiului, combined with a crystal clear sky. It’s nice to give our muscles some rest today after 2 days of climbing.
After a while there is a small hill in front
“Shall we check out the view from up there?”, Dan asks. I nod. Although I have no idea how we will reach that spot without crossing someone’s garden or property.
“Are we allowed to do this? And what if some angry dog will attack us?” Dan laughs.
“Yeah, you shouldn’t do this in a country like America. There they will already point a gun at you within seconds. But here it’s totally fine. And otherwise I just explain to them what we’re doing. They are always fine with it.”
In the last garden there’s indeed a dog running towards us. But the dog has absolutely no intention to rip us into pieces. I think he rather hugs with me and rides my legs. We pass the dog towards the view point and take a bunch of photos of the amazing view. Afterwards I put myself on the stairs in front of the house, with the dog next to me. The weather is amazing – especially for this time of the year. I expected that it would be much colder end of September. But here I am, sitting in my t-shirt and enjoying the sun. I grab my camera to take another picture – and before I know it the dog is licking my face and giving me kisses. Very charming.
The typical haystacks of Romania
We walk back to the trail. A bunch of curious
sheep are following our steps. We pass a couple of gigantic haystacks. Some of
them are at least 10 meters high. Super photogenic, but probably really hard to
build these things as well.
“They are all build by the people. It’s almost impossible to build one by yourself, you need more people. And it’s hard work. I helped a friend once and I can assure you it’s not an easy job.” And with that information I can even appreciate more what I see.
After a couple of hours we reach the car again. By the way, don’t trust Romanian people when they say something is ‘not that far away’. The translation of that can be: “it’s still a 30 minute walk” or “you have to drive for at least another hour”. We decide to drive to another village not far away from Fundata: Fundatica. Where we find more adorable houses. And more photogenic haystacks. And no other foreigner ANYWHERE. We have the place all to ourselves. Just us and a bunch of animals. That by the way love to block the road and don’t give a fuck.
Travel Movie: hiking in Transylvania
Wanna do some hiking in Transylvania in Romania?
I made this 1-day hike in Fundata and the countryside with Dan from Outdoor Activities in Romania. I would never walk through someone’s garden just to get to a view point. But because of Dan we had such a great time taking photos of the countryside and all the amazing viewpoints. Would you like to do some hiking in Transylvania – or Romania in general – now as well? Just check out what other hiking tours Dan offers on the website!