Discover one of the most magnificent,
flower-bedecked places on earth, with some of
Europe’s most beguiling and wild landscapes,
and a true pedalling and walking paradise.
CYCLING & WALKING IN TRANSYLVANIA
Transylvania is famous as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula but you'd better leave your preconceptions at home. Formerly at the easternmost reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and absorbed into modern-day Romania in 1918, Transylvania is a magical place that transports the visitor back in time. It is quite simply unmissable, which is one of the reasons we have spent so much time there over the past few years!
THE SAXON VILLAGES
Our expertise lies in the beautifully preserved, largely untouched Saxon villages of southern Transylvania. Cradled in the horseshoe of the Carpathian Mountains, these villages were first colonized and fortified by Germans - or Saxons - from the 12th Century. Up to a quarter of a million Saxons remained for more than 800 years but the population began to decrease after World War II, when many returned to Austria and Germany. The migration continued under Ceausescu and today fewer than 35,000 Saxons live in Transylvania. Those who remain inhabit a land of staggering wildflower meadows and vast forests; a place where shepherds protect flocks from the continent’s largest populations of bear, wolf and lynx; but also a land of architectural, cultural and natural riches, where traditions, food and family are celebrated and visitors are welcomed with genuine warmth. From April to October one of us spends most of our time in-country, working with local friends to host small group & tailor-made cycling and walking trips that take in the most beautiful parts of the region, well off the tourist map. We hope you will join us.
The most perfect trip. I don’t know how you’ve managed to find all the incredible behind-closed-doors secrets that you have, but there were just never ending delights in the shape of super chic bedrooms, gypsies, famous authors, home cooked meals and more. Wonderful.
Eliza Bailey - Transylvania, October 2017
WHY THE SLOW CYCLIST IN TRANSYLVANIA?
We only lead trips to places we know like the back of our hand, where we’re confident that without us our guests would be missing out on many of the best things to see and do. Since 2014 our founder, Oli Broom, has spent much of his time living in Transylvania: walking, cycling, making friends and discovering its myriad charms. For six months in 2016 his home was a simple 18th Century Saxon cottage in the tiny village of Mesendorf, not far from Sighisoara in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Above the house, rising towards endless oak and beech forests, were ten hectares of orchard - plums, pears, apples and walnuts – in a wildflower meadow of staggering intensity. Many of our guests eat in that orchard, hosted by our friend and a great supporter of The Slow Cyclist, Monica. It is people like Monica - friends of ours whose lives have been spent in the forests, meadows and villages of Saxon Transylvania - who bring this special place to life for our guests and, we believe, help make for such a wonderful experience.
MEMORIES OF 2015-2017
LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE
A note from Oli Broom...
In an effort to slow down and escape London life for a while, my wife, Clemmie, and I decided to spend much of 2016 in rural Transylvania. Our house, a simple collection of rooms that has been added to occasionally since the early 18th Century, sat above the tiny, remote village of Meschendorf in its Saxon region, not far from the bend in the Carpathian Mountains. On the vast, stained oak ceiling beams, were carved the German names of the people who put them there, along with the date. We had electricity, a well and three old stoves for cooking, each fueled by wood (the house, viewed from above the orchard, is pictured below, directly beneath the church).
Vines covered our grassy courtyard. Blackcurrant bushes threatened to overrun our vegetable garden. Directly below the house was the village’s 14th Century church, recently refurbished but otherwise abandoned. The beautiful Saxon parish house lay empty next door. Above the house, rising towards endless oak and beech forests, were ten hectares of orchard - plums, pears, apples and walnuts – in a wildflower meadow of staggering intensity. The peace and quiet, interrupted now and then by owls, cuckoos and deafening music from our friendly gypsy neighbours, took some getting used to.
We had a wonderful time and it was a privilege to spend the year exploring the surrounding hills, meadows and forests with local friends and Slow Cyclist guests at our own pace, on two wheels. I hope you will join us for your own Transylvanian adventure soon.