Europe offers some remote hidden gems when it comes to Camping and 4WD adventures, bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south you could easily spend a lifetime visiting remote campsites and exploring the network of tracks that connect approximately 10 180 000 square kilometers of very diverse terrain.
With some countries in Europe more remote than others, one of these 4WD and remote camping destinations includes Romania that boasts a rugged beauty and thousands kilometers of tracks to be explored.
Romania is the twelfth largest country in Europe and is bordered by Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia and the Ukraine. Its unique terrain is evenly divided between mountains, hills and plains so plenty of diversity when it comes to tackling 4WD tracks and wild camping.
The country is divided by regions that cover an area of 92,043 sq. miles 238,391 sq. km. Some of these regions include The Carpathian Mountains that are split between three major ranges that include the Eastern (Oriental) Carpathians, the Southern Carpathians or famously known as the Transylvanian Alps, and the Western Carpathians.
Other well known regions include the forest of Transylvania and of course home place of Count Dracula, who was made famous by Irish Author Abraham “Bram” Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) in his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.
Recent government laws in Romania now limit access to some of its huge forests but despite this there is still plenty to see in this vast and interesting landscape. If you are planning a visit to Romania and are unsure of which routes to take you can always engage a professional 4WD guide who often have access to most areas and with the local knowledge of where to go you can turn a great 4WD and camping trip to Romania into one that you will remember for many years to come.
We recently caught up with British expat Marcus Newby Taylor who recently set up Transylvania Off Road Tours, an off road touring and rescue company that takes you into the heart of this unique and historic landscape.
Marcus explained that he moved to Romania in 2007,an avid Land Rover enthusiast he initially started a volunteer rescue service in Romania where he worked with the Romanian Red Cross and the local rescue agencies in 2009.It was from this experience that led him to decide to start up his own business and put his ownership and interest in Land Rovers to good use and that was the start of Transylvania Off Road Tours.
Marcus said that they are spoiled for choice in Romania with the off-road network to the extent that on any one of these tours you can expect to stay off road for approximately 80% of the time. In fact the only time they use sealed roads on their tours is when they need to skip sections of track that are either too difficult to tackle due to bad weather or if a group member(s) get held up with repairs works on participating trucks.
According to Marcus ‘’these tracks cross a variety of grounds from state, private, forestry agency and national parks’’. Transylvania Off Road Tours also have special access to the (Parcul National Defileul Jiului where the park ranger guides groups through some spectacular routes and shows ring groups some interesting historical sites along the way.
From talking to Land Rover and 4WD enthusiast Marcus, you get the feeling that the Transylvanian and the Romanian wilderness in general is a 4WD and Camping paradise just waiting to be explored. These guys will guide you carefully through researched routes over a variety of terrains, reaching high altitudes that present extensive mountain views.
You will drive over rolling hills negotiate steep rugged areas and plenty of water crossings. On the tours you will also have the opportunity to visit some of the many historical places of interest along the way.
Marcus explained that the off road tours are flexible with plenty of options on their website. They offer superb wild camping and introduce to traditional Romanian food dishes prepared by your guide.
With Marcus’s military background Transylvania Off-road brings plenty of experience and also take safety very seriously. Marcus highlighted that they work hard to ensure that tourers have a safe and enjoyable trip. They carry out risk assessments and have developed evacuation plans from all locations explored to the nearest hospital/police station. Marcus went on to explain that all guides are also trained in first aid and carries a comprehensive medical kit. Transylvania Off Road Tours also use communications equipment that enables a call for assistance to be made from anywhere, at all times.
Transylvania Off Road Tours advises that before requesting a custom tour, you should explore the “Tours” section on their website where you may find a tour that suits you. The standard tours can be tailored to peoples requirements to an extent; however, if you would like something vastly different the guys are able to accommodate your needs with a custom tour. Single travelers are also welcome to travel on a short or long tours.
Start in Bran with a visit to Dracula’s Castle; then take the road to Campulung, followed by an epic mountain journey to Lake Vidraru.
Experience the famous Transfagarasan from a perspective unreachable by the average traveler, with spectacular high altitude views of the Fagaras Mountain Range where you are almost certain to encounter remnants of snow even in high summer.
Round off your trip through traditional, rural Transylvania, where rustic Saxon villages feel like time capsules from 100 years ago before finishing in the fortified medieval town of Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
WHAT TO BRING
The terrain, climate and diverse activities in Transylvania mean you need to travel with a wide range of clothing and equipment. For example, in May you could find yourself swimming in a warm lake and sunbathing on its shores one day; then taking a trip above 2000m altitude the following day, where you will be up to your knees in snow.
GPS TRACKING AND COMMUNICATIONS
All vehicles participating on tours and any individuals who may temporarily leave the group, are provided with GPS trackers and powerful VHF radios. Clients’ locations can be viewed in the wild or from the Transylvania Tours HQ office. Tour guides also have CB radios for communication with clients in their own vehicles.
Transylvania Off Road Tours have fleet of quality Mercedes and Land Rover 4x4s, all these vehicles are well kitted out with winch and recovery equipment and are rigorously maintained and serviced ensuring the utmost reliability.
Depending on your tour selection and requirements, accommodation could include: pure wild camping miles away from civilisation; camping with facilities such as cooking areas, showers and toilets; rustic log cabins in the mountains; or 4 star accommodation with all the creature comforts you would expect anywhere.
Strada Republicii, Nr. 101, Sanpetru, Brasov
+441312086877 – Office (EN)
+40733042652 – Marcus (EN)
+40733076908 – Lorand (RO, HU,