THE SAXON VILLAGES, ROMANIA
An Enchanted Land
Our expertise and passion lies in the Saxon villages of southern Transylvania, where we lead journeys through a bucolic, wildflower-strewn landscape in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. These remote hills where ancient customs are part of everyday life, are a walking and cycling paradise. This is a Europe that has all but disappeared and along with our local friends, we love sharing it with our guests. Do take time to learn about our Transylvanian experiences here, and choose whether you would like to travel privately or on one of our set-date departures.
We create journeys to suit your tastes. However, we tend to say 5 or 6 nights is perfect for cycling and walking with us in Transylvania, all accompanied by a team of three: two local guides and a host. Along the way, we stay in beautifully restored guest houses, eat at some of the best private tables in Romania, enjoy table picnics in remote forests and visit some beautiful religious and historical sites. Above all, we encourage guests to move at their own pace through a land of staggering natural beauty and cultural fascination.
Our Story in Transylvania
In 2016 & 2017, our Founder & MD Oli – and his family – spent much of their time living in Mesendorf (pictured), a tiny Saxon village on the route most of our guests take through Transylvania. The idea was to make friends locally, who could in turn help to create magical experiences for our guests. In the process, Oli and family fell in love with this very special corner of Europe and it has become The Slow Cyclist’s home away from home. An article Oli wrote about his time living in Mesendorf gives a pretty good idea about the place, and what makes it so special.
On the Move
We walk through a mix of pastoral and wild landscapes, from deciduous forests to high pastures and wildflower meadows. We cycle a wonderful mix of quiet roads, gravel roads, cart tracks, meadows and narrow forest trails. The variety of terrain means that means that mountain bikes are the best tool for the job, and many of our guests these days opt for an electric bike. Pedalling is assisted so you’re able to choose how much energy to expend.
We choose local over luxury, privacy and style over big soulless hotels. Most guest houses will be exclusively yours, but in one or two there may be other guests. Rooms are en-suite where possible and WiFi or a good 3G connection is available each night. We provide our own pillows, shampoos and soaps.
When to Go?
In late April winter is long gone and by the second half of May wild flowers carpet the landscape. Summer is a magical time to explore the sun-burnt hills, especially the vast forests which remain cool. In autumn the trees explode into oranges and reds, and abundant orchards bear ripened fruit that local people use to make palinka, wine and all manner of cakes.
A Saxon Land
The history of this region is fascinating, and our guides recount it passionately. The region was first colonized by Germans – or Saxons – from the 12th Century, when King Geza II of Hungary asked for protection from invading Ottomans. The most important towns were duly strengthened. Extraordinarily, up to a quarter of a million Saxons remained for more than 800 years, retaining their language and customs.
We try to create experiences that enable our guests to switch off and forget about life back home for a few days. We are your hosts, and we are always there if you need us. And happily it seems to be working because we have got plenty of lovely emails and reviews over the years. Take a look at some of the kind things people have said about us.