Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|7 September - 14 September 2019||On Sale|
Take a first bite of the “bear necessities” on our first ever challenge to support your favourite animal and wildlife charities! Open to all fitness levels, this trek pushes you out of your comfort zone. We stay mostly in simple lodges and tents, so no frills or luxury - just the bare necessities and the adventure of a life-time!
From vampires to bears, this blood-pumping five-day trek takes you through the Carpathian Mountains in Romania and Dracula’s castle, all the way to a cruelty-free bear sanctuary. Support an animal charity of your choice and discover the true wilderness and staggering architecture of Romania.
After a flight from London to Otopeni, we transfer to our hotel in the beautiful town of Sinaia, whose stunning architecture, fir tree forests and backdrop of the Bucegi Mountains gives us a perfect introduction to central Romania. Simply put, this place looks like a fairy-tale - and with vampires and bears awaiting us, we could be in one! This evening, we have dinner at the hotel and a challenge briefing from our local guides.
After breakfast, we meet our guide and trek from the hotel into the Bucegi Mountains. On our way, we pass the enchanting Peles Palace, a perfect example of German-Renaissance architecture. We follow clear trails up through the mountains and are rewarded with views of valleys, limestone quays and fir-tree forests, until we reach Bucegi Plateau. Here, standing at 2,000 m above sea level, we have incredible panoramas of the surrounding mountains. We then descend to Padina hut, a simple lodge tucked in the mountains, where we camp for the night.
Our trek continues from our camp to Omu Peak, the highest peak of the Bucegi Mountains at 2,505 m above sea level. Along the way, we have a chance to see the most spectacular rock formations of the area, the Sphinx and the Biddies, if weather allows. Scientists believe these rocks have taken their forms due to the wind and rain; but as there’s no evidence yet to prove this, many legends surround the sphinx, including one depicting it as an Axis Mundi, an energy centre of the world. We rest tonight at the spacious Malaiesti Mountain hut, at 1,720 m.
Today, we hike over the western ridge of Bucegi, a quieter part of the mountain with spectacular views over patches of forest and lush, green farms and meadows. In the afternoon, we reach the mountain villages of Simon and Bran and have the chance to visit the famous Bran castle, more widely known as Dracula’s castle. Sitting atop a hill, towering over the village and trees with a mountain backdrop, this spooky fortress is so nick-named as it’s the only castle in Transylvania, which fits Bram Stocker’s description of Dracula’s castle: “. . . on the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm [with] silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.” Get ready for a fright!
We trek at lower altitudes of around 1,300m today, hiking through charming mountain villages and getting a feel for the local lifestyle. We finish in the small, quiet village of Pestera, where we spend the night in a local guest house, surrounded by green hills and forests.
Our final and most challenging day of hiking takes us to the main ridge of Piatra Craiului Mountain in the National Park. Piatra Craiului means ‘Prince of Stone’ and its dramatic ridges are one of the most beautiful sites of the mountain range. We finally descend to Bran, where we settle for our well-deserved night’s rest.
A short transfer after breakfast takes us to a non-exploitative bear sanctuary, where we have an exclusive visit to see the brown bears. We’re then transferred to the city of Brasov, the most populous city of Romania, renowned for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the towering Gothic-style Black Church and lively cafes. Here, we have lunch and some free time to explore the city. In the evening, we meet for a celebratory dinner and can reflect on having mastered the “bear necessities”.
Today, we transfer back to Otopeni airport for our flight home to London.
Pay a non-refundable registration fee and then commit to fundraising a minimum sponsorship amount for your chosen animal or wildlife charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Pay the challenge costs yourself and choose to fundraise or donate as much as you can for your chosen animal or wildlife charity.
Pay the balance
This challenge is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part on this challenge will have little or no fitness level when they sign up. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Once the event is fully booked, we'll send you a contact list of everyone registered for the challenge, as often, there'll be someone in your local area you can meet up to train or fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. The age range is likely to be from 18 to 75.
You will of course need a pair of walking boots. We'll supply you with a comprehensive list of everything you will need to take on the event well before your departure date.
This challenge isn't called "bear necessities" just because of the bear sanctuary. Apart from the hotel on the first night, we'll be staying in simple huts and lodges and camping in tents throughout the rest of the challenge. All camping equipment is provided.
Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay you will need to come out of our group flights (and of course we would deduct the cost from your balance).
In addition to paying your registration fee you will need to budget for your airport taxes and the fuel surcharge personal travel insurance, visa, gratuities, optional tours and personal expenses.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy, which we will send you details of. You can however take out your own insurance providing it covers you for a charity trek in Romania. Each participant needs to organise their own tourist visa if needed. Currently, UK citizens don't require a visa to enter Romania. If this changes, we will let you know and provide you with all the information you need.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you have registered we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the event. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.