Natural History Travel


INTRO

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TOURS

Prices, Dates & Availability

Cyprus (south)

Chios, GREECE

Sardinia: the mountains and the south

FRANCE: The Cévennes and Vercors

ROMANIA: The Transylvanian Area

The Dolomites, north Italy

The Pontic Alps of north-east Turkey

South Africa: Drakensberg & Kruger


BOOKING

How to Book

Sunvil, Our Booking Agent


June 7th - 16th, 2014

ROMANIA: The Transylvanian Area

Price: £ 1575 inc. flights; £ 1200 excl. flights

Leaders: Bob Gibbons and others

The Transylvanian area of Romania is beautifully unspoilt and peaceful, lying just to the north of the southern Carpathians. Our 10-day, 3-centre tour takes in the wonderful variety of the region, from high limestone peaks to the vast flowery grasslands surrounding the ancient Saxon villages.


Broad-leaved marsh orchid Dactylorhiza majalis in Piatra Craiulu mountains. Romanian Carpathians.: photo © Bob Gibbons
Broad-leaved marsh orchid Dactylorhiza majalis in Piatra Craiulu mountains. Romanian Carpathians.
We leave Heathrow mid-morning for the 3-hour flight to Bucharest, from where we transfer to our first base high in the limestone mountains of the Craiulu National Park. This is a beautiful area, and we are within easy reach of a spectacular flowery gorge (where wall-creepers and Alpine Swifts breed) as well as intensely flowery traditional hay meadows and extensive montane beechwoods. After 3 nights here, we move northwards to the lovely medieval town of of Sighisoara, within the Transylvanian Saxon village area. The more remote Saxon villages are still medieval in character, closely interdependent with the huge areas of ancient flowery pastures, hay meadows and hornbeam woods that surround them. Not surprisingly, the flora is magnificent, and many birds, mammals and insects that are rare elsewhere in Europe are still common here. Butterflies are particularly abundant.

Winged Broom Chamaespartium sagittale in flower, Piatra Craiulu: photo © Bob Gibbons
Winged Broom Chamaespartium sagittale in flower, Piatra Craiulu
For our final 3 days, we move eastwards to the Baraolt area, where we stay in a lovely hotel owned and run by a local count. There are storks'’ nests in our village, and flowery fields all around. From here, we can easily reach the nearby limestone hills and the Varghis River gorge, as well as some beautiful flowery meadows in the local hills. On our final day, we transfer back to Bucharest for a mid-afternoon flight home. The flora of this region is very rich, with a lovely mixture of familiar and exotic flowers. In the mountain meadows, there are globe flowers, lilies, orchids, bellflowers, gentians, yellow scabious, Astrantia major, the striking Telekia speciosa, and many others. In the gorges, there are endemics such as Campanula transilvanica, Alpine bells Cortusa matthiola, Dianthus spiculifolius, saxifrages and other attractive flowers. The vast saxon village pastures and meadows have a wonderfully varied flora, with species such as burning bush Dictamnus albus, yellow pheasant'’s eye Adonis vernalis, great milkwort Polygala major, the rare red viper'’s bugloss, several species of Salvia, Iris aphylla, dwarf cherry, honeywort, military orchids and many others, including endemics and Red Data book species.

Soft Jurinea, Jurinea mollis, with visiting Painted Lady butterflies. Near Roades.: photo © Bob Gibbons
Soft Jurinea, Jurinea mollis, with visiting Painted Lady butterflies. Near Roades..
The bird life is rich and varied, too: white storks are common, nesting in many of the villages, while lesser spotted eagles are the most frequent bird of prey. Three species of shrike breed in the area, and golden orioles sing from the poplars. Butterflies are abundant, including special species such as common and hungarian gliders, as are other insects such as stag beetles and longhorns. Both wolves and brown bears occur in the area, and we may have the chance to go and see these in the wild if desired.Common and Hungarian Gliders and Poplar Admiral, as are other insects such as stag beetles and longhorns. Both wolves and brown bears occur in the area, and we may have the chance to go and see these in the wild if desired.
Vast flowery pastures on the hills to the north-east of Viscri, dominated by Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia: photo © Bob Gibbons
Vast flowery pastures on the hills to the north-east of Viscri, dominated by Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia
A visit to this area is like taking a step back into medieval times. But it’s a fragile area, with many changes going on as Romania hurtles into the 21st century, and we are privileged to see it before it changes.

indicates places limited.


The tour price includes all transport during the week, full board and lodging, and services of leaders throughout, including pre-tour information and post-tour lists. ∆ tour grade, though most days easy.

Tour code: NHT/14/05 . indicates places limited.

Price: £1575 incl. flights

Single room supplement: £175

Deposit: £400 plus insurance

Bookings to Sunvil

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