Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|9 September - 16 September 2023||On Sale|
Discover the true wilderness and the rescued bears of Transylvania on our standout charity trek in the Bucegi Mountains.
Expertly crafted for all fitness levels, this Dream Challenge pushes you out of your comfort zone and into an enchanting world of Gothic architecture, fir-tree forests and limestone peaks. Romania is renowned for its excellent hiking spots and we'll explore them all, facing mighty climbs for unforgettable panoramas.
We'll camp in the mountains, pass mysterious rock formations and historic palaces, and hike to Omu Peak, the highest peak of the Bucegi Mountains, all for the charity of your choice.
We'll even explore Dracula’s Castle and stay the night nearby (look out for vampire bats)! Just as our mighty climbs have sucked all energy from our legs, we'll finish with an exclusive visit to a special bear sanctuary and spend a free afternoon in the Gothic city of Bran.
Self fund your challenge or support a 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 briefing on our charity trek 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 and fir-tree forests, until we reach Bucegi Plateau.
Here, standing at 2,000m 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 charity trek continues from our camp to Omu Peak, the highest peak of the Bucegi Mountains at 2,505m 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 the 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 1,720m.
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 toast ourselves on having mastered the “bear necessities”.
Today, we transfer back to Otopeni airport for our flight home to London.
Pay the registration fee (£299) and challenge costs (£1,295) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £250).
Pay the balance
Pay your registration fee (£299) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £250), and fundraise £2,590 or more for your chosen charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Our charity trek in Transylvania is not about living in the gym, but you do need to train. Loads of people who sign up for our non-competitive charity challenges have low levels of fitness when they register. The point is to train, do your best, and reach your fitness goal while making a big difference for the charity that means the most to you.
Once you register for the Bear Necessities Trek Transylvania 2023, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we start the charity trek. You can also check out our top trekking tips here and our indoor training ideas for the days you don't feel like facing the weather!
We'll face long days of trekking in the mountains, encounter steep climbs, and tackle a lot of uneven terrain. Please invest in a pair of quality hiking boots with ankle support to wear during your training and on your trek in Romania, as these are essential for walking on uneven terrain. We also recommend incorporating hills in your training walks.
Our supportive challenge guides and community spirit will help you conquer the trek of a lifetime. You're also likely to improve your mental health and well-being.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our overseas charity challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up for our trekking challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Dream Challenges Facebook group. Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice, and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising. You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can train and fundraise with.
Everyone aged 18 years old or over is welcome to join our Bear Necessities Trek in Transylvania. One of the amazing things about our charity challenges is that people of all ages come together to do something very special for charity.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your trekking challenge for charity and we 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 regular updates with everything you need to know about your charity challenge, including the itinerary, an example insurance policy, details about our challenge destination in Romania and the weather we can expect on our trek, the structure of an average trekking day, a full kit list, and a realistic training plan to help you get fit for the challenge. The training programme builds up gradually as the trek gets closer.
We'll also send you seasonal fundraising ideas. During the trek in Romania, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group at all times, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides.
You will need a pair of quality walking boots with ankle support — these are essential for trekking on uneven terrain. Please also bring a 2-litre water bottle.
We'll supply you with a full kit list for your overseas trekking challenge well before we leave for Romania.
Your non-refundable registration fee of £299 per person is used to administer the challenge.
Your challenge costs of £1,295 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the sponsorship option) cover:
In addition to paying your registration fee (£299) and either self-funding your challenge costs (£1,295) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£2,590), you'll need to budget for your:
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 would like to extend your stay in Transylvania, please let us know at least 17 weeks before our departure date and we can arrange this for you.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Please arrange your insurance as soon as you can after you sign up to ensure you have coverage for your booking as well as the challenge.
In your Welcome Pack, you will receive information about an insurance provider that specialises in our type of overseas challenges and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19.
You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Romania. Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your challenge.
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 before we start our challenge in 2023, we will let you know and provide you with all the information you need.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home