These bike paths may not be the first choice for thrill seekers, but for those who want an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful regions of Romania, they can be the perfect options.
Gentle hills with easy slopes, so you can take your time and relearn slowness, a characteristic that defines the character of Romanians in the region very well. On the other hand, it will be necessary to be prepared for long journeys, because some routes are 40 km, so they are not for the impatient. So, for a change of pace and for a bike ride during the weekend or on vacation, hop on your bike and set off with your family, couple, friends or even alone to discover the picturesque region of the “Transylvanian Hills” .
In total, there are more than 250 km of cycle routes that cross no less than 26 Saxon villages, also passing through four monuments inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list: Viscri, Saschiz, Valea Viilor and the famous medieval city of Sighişoara, while crossing protected sites of natural spaces of unprecedented beauty. With difficulty levels ranging from easy to medium, these tours are perfect for the whole family and will allow you to stroll along the rivers or the old cart tracks that once connected the localities in the Middle Ages. You will discover various Saxon villages, with their ancestral traditions and their local gastronomy rich in organic products, but you will also learn the stories and legends of the region.
Did you know that the hills of Transylvania are considered one of the last medieval landscapes in Europe? With some of the largest wild lowland meadows in Europe, credit goes to the lack of intensive agriculture which has preserved the region’s flora and fauna. In addition, its meadows and pastures, dotted with wild flowers and butterflies, are home to around 30% of the Romanian flora.
You will cross forests of oaks and beeches, where you may have the opportunity to see traces of bears, deer or wolves, green hills, numerous sheepfolds, but above all small hidden Saxon villages, all in an absolutely magical setting. Pass on the roads leading to a fortified church or the castle of a Magyar nobleman, you will have the chance to admire the Saxon houses painted in pretty pastel colors, with their thick walls, their large wooden portals, their broken windows, their old roofs , and their paved interior courtyards.
Here are three bike tours to try:
Viscri – Bunesti – Crit – Mesendorf – Viscri
If you haven’t yet visited the famous village that Prince Charles fell in love with, this is your chance to do so. This cycle path allows you to discover the entire Viscri region, starting from the village and passing through Bunesti, Crit and Mesendorf, then returning to Viscri. Totaling 40 km, you will have about 8 km of paved road at the start, followed by a path along a forest and grain fields. Near Mesendorf, the route continues in the valley and then climbs up a forest path. After several climbs and descents, you will still have 10-15 km until your return to Viscri. The circuit is very well marked so you cannot get lost. You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery and have a picnic on the fresh grass.
Viscri – Mesendorf – Viscri
If you are looking for a shorter route or if you are going with the children, you can avoid going through the village of Bunesti and that means cutting the route to 32 km. The departure is from the main street in the center of the village, followed by a descent on asphalt route (DJ 104K). After 7 km, you turn left and enter the TBTN network of circuits: the route winds along newly landscaped trails, crosses a stream and then climbs up 500 m to again join a paved road (DJ 132C). After 5 km you enter the village of Mesendorf. After a well-deserved break, you follow a stony path to the exit of the village, then a forest path which climbs to 724 m. A descent will follow then a climb on the hills. At some point you will come to a trail that will take you back to the village of Viscri.
To rest your muscles, you can visit the fortified churches and other sites:
Saschiz – the evangelical church, the clock tower, the peasant citadel
Mesendorf – the fortified church
Critical – the fortified church, the museum
Viscri – the village, the fortified citadel (church, museum), cafes, restaurants
Here is the map of cycle paths:
The long journey of the TBT race:
There is also the TBT, Transylvania Bike Trail, which offers a long journey of 78 km with a vertical drop of 1700 m. It starts in Saschiz and goes through Mesendorf, Viscri, Bunesti, Crit and back to Saschiz. Here is the route:
-Departure from Saschiz
– Go up on the road 6 km
-Go on a path on the ridge 11 km
– Descent to Mesendorf through the forest 3 km
-Pass through the fortified church of Mesendorf
– Go up from Mesendrof to the ridge via a 2.5 km forest path
-Follow the stony path on the ridge then turn left to reach the top of the village of Viscri at 14 km
– Descent to Viscri on a path with easy bends and slopes 2 km
-Cross the village, next to the fortified church of Viscri
-Climb on the hill behind the village 1.5 km
– Go down the hill and take the paved road 1.5 km
– Go up a hill from the road 2 km
– Descent to Bunesti, cross the river then pass in front of the fortified church at 4 km
-Follow the trail to Bunesti 4 km
-Pass through the fortified church of Le Crit
– Climb on the forest road of Crit until the ridge of 7 km
– On the right, follow the path on the ridge 10 km
-Follow the tarmac road and take the path that goes down to Saschiz 5 km
-Pass through the fortress of Saschiz
-A more technical descent from inside the fortress to the village 1.5 km
If you do not yet know when to go, know that from July 25 to 29, the Haferland party, which takes place in Viscri, Saschiz, Crit, Cloasterf and other villages, will honor the Saxon culture of Transylvania, the opportunity to see the Saxons return to the country.
A list of places where you can rent a bike on site in Viscri, Crit, Valea Viilor or Sighisoara is available here.
Source of the article: Lepetitjournal.com
(Opening photo: Pixabay.com)