Day walks from a chalet in the village of Racatau, Transylvania Romania
Getting there: It takes you - from Holland - about two and a half days by car to get into the walking area. Be attentive to the harvesters and horses on the highways in Romania and the - sometimes - big holes in the road. Don’t drive at night! And keep your speed. The police loves your (Western) money!
Or: a low cost flight to Cluj Napoca, from Amsterdam or Dortmund (Germany).
Maps: In the area we were going to (in 2000) we had, at home, the impression that finding current maps and possibilities to sleep and eat on trail should have given too many problems. So, we stayed at a “chalet” in the middle of an almost undiscovered walking area: Transylvanian hill and mountains scenery, caves and special flora and fauna. A local guide was our map.
Maps 2018: You can buy in Cluj: Cluj şi Vlădeasa Dimap Erfatur, scale 1:70.000.
Accommodation: a chalet in the village of Racatau, about 45 kilometers south west from Cluj.
2018: the chalet is still there, but closed.
Alternative: between Huedin and Gilau/Cluj Napoca, the northern border of the area, you can find more and more accommodation. Or try a farm stay (rural tourism). Information: tourist office Cluj.
We make a page about this area because of its magnificent possibilities for walking. Especially the area around is very beautiful: the highlands of Marisel.
High plains of Marisel
Easter 2000: several walks from the village of Maguri Racatau. The chalet was located on an island in a gurgling mountain stream in the village of Maguri Racatau, about 45 kilometres southwest of Cluj. Surrounded by particularly beautiful, green, peaks of the Transylvanian mountains, this is one of the most idyllic places we know.
The plateau is a large plateau where many farmers live (cattle breeding). A huge plateau with kilometres of hiking trails; wild nature alternates with agricultural activity, meadows, shepherds; the limestone subsoil provides unusual plants. Numerous caves. (Just to "look around the corner", don't just go in!). Phenomenal views.
Small waterfalls can be seen at the Cheile Dumitresei, south of Marisel, a protected landscape area since 1994. A narrow path facilitates the ascent up one of the slopes, and from here a panorama opens up just above the course of the stream.
It is the area in Transylvania where the Dacians lived and lived. An Indo-European people. Zamoixis was considered their chief god: one of the fabulous characters of antiquity. Zamoixis had an underground dwelling and was served by the Dacians. Historians have reported that he was in fact a disciple of the sage Pythagoras.
In 106, Dacia was conquered by the Roman Empire.
Go into a local museum for more information.
Traditions and customs are carefully preserved in the area, including several traditional crafts, such as the blacksmith, the woodcarver and the farmer. Or the many folk dancing groups. Or the playing of the bucium, a type of alpine horn with no curvature.
The various forms of a bio-industry have not yet taken root in this area. Irresponsible nitrogen emissions from a large scale combined with a cooperative Rabo bank are still unknown here. Which shows in the exuberant richness of nature! In the months of April and May, the meadows are all purple with thousands of wild crocuses. In the forests, the snowdrops, wild violets and Helleborus, among others. And also rarities like Arnica Montana! The wildflower splendour in this area - mostly in the semi-natural grasslands - must be seen once! On show from April to September.
On the main ridge of the Gilău-Muntele Mare massif, between the peaks of Căpăţâna and Balomireasa, at an altitude of 1,600 m, lies the Căpăţâna peat bog. With several rare plant species. For this destination, you will first go a bit by car to the start of the trail.
The area is home to the fox, wild cat, lynx, wolf, deer, hazel hen, birch hen and rooster, otter, marten, badger, squirrel, and native trout are found in the waters of Răcătăului ( which crosses the reserve). Fishing prohibited. There is a bear sanctuary in the Răcătăului gorge. There is no path through this gorge.
In Muntele Rece, 20 km east of Racatau, stands the Mâguri-Râcâtâu monastery, in memory of those who fell in the liberation of Transylvania in autumn 1944.
Possibly this report will give you an idea for your hiking destination.
Given the many changes locally in recent years, the value of this information on this site may be limited. It is not possible for us to specifically describe the walks. For that, you really need a good map.
Below is a video about George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody N0 1. It represents everything traditionally Romanian. Conductor Mariss Jansons. Listen to the whole piece: it's only 12 minutes. Special attention to the wind players in the orchestra.