Cycling in Maramures, the rural fairytale

Baia Mare, Romania
Period of time: more than 24h
Price: 2340 € per adult  
Category:: Fahrradtouren

Organisational Details

Participants: 3-15 person (Open tour)

Registration: 14 days before deadline

Languages: English, French

Groups: 10% Group discount from 5 persons

Early Booking: from 35 days 5% discount

Booking option: Booking on fixed rate

Description of Tour


Get together in Baia Mare (day 1)

Visiting Baia Mare (cultural, historic visit and shopping)

Dinner at Lostrita restaurant -16 km from Baia Mare, near Firiza Lake

Alternative: 10 km cycling from Firiza lake to Izvoare. Dinner at Izvoare, 25 km from Baia Mare. Accommodation in a *** hotel.

Baia Mare, the county town of Maramures, is situated on the Sasar river, at the base of Gutai Mountains. In the old part of the town we can admire a few old structures and monuments such as St Steven Tower, St. Anthon Catholic Church, The Elizabeta House, The Butchers Bastille, Monetarie Bastille and other Orthodox, Reformed and Catholic churches. The Mineral Museum represents an interesting attraction and is unique to the country.


Izvoare-Gutai Pass-Mogosa-Cavnic-Surdesti (Plopis) ~40 km (day 2)

After we take breakfast we begin our trip at around 9.30 a.m. From Izvoare we will cycle almost 12 km on a nice forest path up to Gutai Clough (1000 m), which passes the route from Baia Mare to Sighetu Marmatiei. The road passes to the east the Ignis Peak of the Ignis Mountains by crossing a coniferous forest. At the Gutai Clough there is a nice traditional restaurant called Hanul Pintea, where we could have a rest. From Gutai we cycle for 10 km descent on asphalt road on the way to Baia Mare, followed by a secondary road of 3 km to Mogosa. From Mogosa the route takes us to the centre of the tourist city of Cavnic. Here we could pay a visit to the ruins of a gold mine dating back to the 19th century; The Tartars pole (Piatra Tatarilor), The Written Stone (Piatra Scrisa), The Kings Garden (Gradina Regelui) - a glade and a 250 years old forest of larch which is a natural reservation. Cavnic is an old mining town situated in Gutai Mountains.

From Cavnic to Surdesti (400 m) we cycle for 8 km on a local asphalt road, on the valley of the river Cavnic, and then for 3 km up to Plopis. The church of Surdesti was the tallest wooden church in Europe with its tower of 54 m and a total height of 72 m until a few years back when the new 78 m tall church of the monastery of Peri in Sapanta was built. The church is one of the eight churches included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Overnight in Surdesti village at a local traditional guesthouse.


Surdesti - Budesti -Breb - Hoteni- Mănăstirea - Breb ~50 km (day 3)

After a nice early breakfast we will start with 16 km in continuous ascent up to an altitude of 1000 m. We first take the same 8 km route from yesterday from Surdesti to Cavnic. The road continues for 8 km on a local road up to Budesti. On our way to Breb village you will notice that, along the riverside, there are several structures - all made of wood: water mills (vâltori) for washing clothes and blankets, which operate all day long and traditional distilleries for producing the strong plum brandy called horinca. From Breb we will continue on a marked cycling easy itinerary for about 20 km. We will pass Hoteni wooden church and stop at the “Floating Marshes” – a natural protected area.

We will also follow the cycling track built on an old railway for a few km (in use between 1910-1975). From Ocna we have only a few km left to Breb, the village that has has been visited by Prince Charles and which William Blacker described so movingly in his book, Along the Enchanted Way: A Romanian History.

The village of Breb and the immediate surrounding area is like wandering into a fairytale with its endless rolling meadows speckled with beehive-shaped haystacks, trees laden with apples, the horses trotting down the country lanes pulling hay-leaden carts and the farmers harvesting the fields with scythes. We will make a short walking trip in the village to see the old wooded church and Prince Charles’ houses before heading to dinner.

Overnight in Breb at the wonderful Village Hotel.

Around Breb via Feresti- Oncesti-Calinesti- Breb ~50 km (day 4)

Today we will cycle from Breb to Ocna Sugatag following the old salt mine railway (~18 km) and we will visit the old water mills in Feresti. Then we will pass from Cosaului Valley to Iza River valley and reach Oncesti village, following a slightly difficult 5 km cycling route. In Oncesti we will visit a local traditional workshop. And take lunch at Susani guesthouse.

After lunch we will continue our visit to Barsana, Budesti and to Calinesti, before returning to Breb.

Barsana is one of the bigger communes in Maramures, and one of the most important villages in the valley of the Iza River. Barsana can trace its history back to the Bronze Age. The 57 m high church of Barsana Monastery ranks first among the wooden construction of Romania. The church, which now stands on a small hill surrounded by an orchard, is one of the eight churches on the UNESCO World heritage list. In addition to its history, Barsana is worth visiting for its beautiful traditional gates, friendly, hard-working people and beautiful scenery. In Calinesti we will visit old traditional tools and in Budesti we will visit another UNESCO wooden church.

Dinner and overnight in Breb, the Village hotel.


Viseu steam train experience Viseu and return by bike for ~16 km (day 5)

Early transfer by car from Breb to Viseu (~ 65 km). The aim of the day is to experience the old steam train for a part of the day. Our proposal for today is to travel partially by the famous steam train, partially by bike.

From Viseu, a trip down to Vaser Valley, a tributary of the Viseu River, will bring us to a small narrow gauge steam railway, dating back from 1930s, used for wood and passenger transportation. Because the train stops for about 10 minutes every 8 km to pump water form the valley, the trip will last for a few hours. For the rest of the day we leave you decide on your own what would you like to do. You may decide together with the guide for additional short rides in the surrounding area. 

Overnight in Viseu area.


Viseu-Ruscova - Petrova-Costiui-Vadu Izei ~48 km (day 6)

Departure is scheduled as usual at 9.30 a.m., after having breakfast. We travel to Petrova for 25 km on the valley of the river Viseu where we have a 6 km ascent to Petrova. From there we will be cycling to Costiui (stone churches and Apafi castle). We reach Vadu Izei, located at the confluence of the Mara and Iza Rivers. 

The picturesque meadows and estuaries in the area shelter many species of birds with spectacular songs and colors. The hills are covered with apple, plum and cherry orchards giving way to thick forests of pine and oak in many places. The village is well known for its impressive, traditional, wooden gates, the local songs played by violinists and the magnificent drawings of local artists. In Vadu Izei we may visit local traditional houses for wood sculpture, glass icon painting, wool blanket and carpet weavers.

We will be spending the night in a local traditional guesthouse where we could have traditional music and dance program.


Vado Izei - Sight Marmatiei- Sarasau - Sapanta ~30 km (day 7)

We travel to Sighetu Marmatiei for about 6 km. Before reaching the city we could stop and visit the Maramures Village Museum situated on the Dobaies Hill, 300 km from the main road. The museum lies on a beautiful hill and shows traditional wooden houses and households from all over Maramures. An elegant wooden church graciously rules over the thoroughly recreated village. 

From Sighetu Marmatiei to Sapanta (300 m altitude) we cycle for about 16 km, parallel with the Ukrainian border. Alternatively, we can go up to the Tisa River - the natural border between Romania and Ukraine.

Lying on the banks of the Tisa, towered over by the Carpathian Mountains, Sapanta is a commune with five thousand inhabitants.The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta has been, for more than fifty years, the creation of sculptor Stan Patras, the successor of several generations of wood artists that bequeathed their trade from father to son. The graves are more like flower beds and the crosses themselves rise like big colored flowers. In summertime, this is a true pilgrimage spot.

Overnight in the guest house of the hunter of Sapanta or in the nearby area.


Sapanta - Vratajel hut- Colibi hut - Plesca hut -Izvoare ~40 km (day 8)

Our route for today is a mountain route, which passes Gutai Mountains towards Baia Mare. The road is a bit more difficult especially on rainy conditions. We will mainly have forest paths and backroads and the pedaling will be more difficult but very pleasant. The first 17 km will pass Vraticel Valley up to Vraticel hut. Before leaving Sapanta we could pay a visit to the local trout farm. From Vraticel we will cycle for about 12 km to Plesca hut, passing woods and meadows. We also pass Colibi hut, at the limit between the regions Baia Mare, Sapanta, Mara and Negresti-Oas. We will have to pass a few local traditional sheep cuts. The wild scenery is magnificent. From Plesca we will descent for around 10 km through Tatarului to Izvoare resort.

Overnight at Izvoare or transfer to Baia Mare.


Izvoare - Baia Mare ~25 km and departure (day 9)

We will be having breakfast for the last day of our trip. We will be preparing for departure. An evaluation questionnaire will be handed in to all participants for the evaluation of the program, of the guide and sights during the trip. We will travel to Baia Mare for 25 km either by car or by bike, depending on the decision of the participants.


End of the trip



• 8 nights accommodation (differs if optional day included)
• Full board for all period – breakfasts, lunches and dinners 
• Detailed trip description and programme, GPS maps
• Bike, accessories and equipment rental (if required)
• Tickets to several cultural and historical sights included in the itinerary
• Energizers & water supply
• Photo album at the end of the trip
• Luggage transportation
• Vehicle Assistance (whenever roads allow it to pass)
• English speaking accompanying bike guide (Note: German or French also possible)
• Local Taxes
• Complimentary branded CarpatBike t-shirt




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Foundation 2007
What I offer: Cycling Tours in Romania
Language: English, French
Booking: Tours with fixed price, Individual Bookings
Profession: Agency
Foundation: 2007