We offer a wide range of cultural and nature tours each week, therefore you can design your Transylvanian holiday according to your interests and length of stay. During a two-week stay, for example, you will be able to participate in nearly all the tours on offer. Mountain bikes are available for the use of the guests. For those interested in hiking, we offer walking activities (for different levels of fitness), which can also be combined with culture/nature tours to suit your preferences.
On arrival in Miklósvár you will be greeted by one of our team, who will provide you with information on the activities available during your stay. Before dinner in the cellar of the main house, you might want to take a stroll around the village.
Around 25 km north of Miklósvár is the Almas cave in the gorge of the Varghis river, a system that continues for 7.3 km on four levels and where the Pied Piper legendarily surfaced with the children of Hamlin (who became the Saxons colonists of Transylvania). This is one of Transylvania’s most important speleological sites. After traversing the river, we will enter and explore the cave, with its impressive halls populated by colonies of bats (only in winter). Our guide will explain the history and unique structure of the cave and the habits of these fascinating animals. For those interested in hiking, it is possible to climb the summit and walk through wild flower meadows with panoramic views of the gorge.
VILLAGE LIFE in Miklósvár
You will spend the day with the people in Miklósvár, who will welcome you into their homes and introduce you to local activities. You will visit the local bee-keeper, make some of that lovely honey, and of course taste it. For those with a culinary interest, a lady who also lives locally will be happy to show you how to make the traditional Szekler pastry ‘Kürtőskalács’, which will then be served after lunch. See the blacksmith at work and give him a hand in the afternoon and return to the guesthouse with a handful of new skills. In the evening you can sit outside the main guesthouse on a bench and watch the cows come home alone to their respective gates before dinner.
With a horse and cart you will be taken to the higher pastures to meet the shepherds and their flock of sheep. The guide will explain the shepherd’s lifestyle, as well as the methods used to protect their livestock from predators. There might be an opportunity to hear some of their tales about close encounters with bears and wolves, often only slightly exaggerated. You will also see them milking and making cheese. Returning to the lower pastures, we will have a picnic and explore the beautiful wild flower meadows before returning home to Miklósvár.
Optional tour: SIGHISOARA
In the company of our cultural guide, you will visit Sighisoara and learn about the history of the Saxons in Transylvania. Sighisoara is one of the seven major Saxon towns dating back to the 13th century and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is also the alleged birthplace of Vlad Tepes, “The Impaler”. The old town or citadel dominates the newer quarters from a rocky massif. During this tour you will visit the Citadel, the Clock Tower, the Monastery Church, some of the fourteen Guild Towers, and climb the Scholar’s Stairs to reach the newly restored Church on the Hill and the atmospheric Saxon cemetery. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the cobbled town square.
(This tour needs to be booked before arrival at Miklósvár)
The LAND of the SZEKLERS
The eastern Carpathians is the traditional home of the Székely, a people closely related to the Magyars who speak a distinctive Hungarian accent and cherish a special historical identity. During this excursion you will meet a family of woodcarvers and furniture painters who have been handing down their profession from father to son since the 1500s (oldest in Europe), see the totem poles in Füle’s graveyard, and visit a church in Bibarcfalva with historic frescoes and sample natural mineral water. In the afternoon, you will visit a Unitarian fortified church in Nagyajta, before returning to Miklósvár to see the Kálnoky Family Chapel and Crypt. Finally you will be taken to the Hunting Manor, where you will see the restoration work that is taking place.
The BIRD WALK
This bird walk around Miklósvár is more of an excuse for your host (Tibor Kalnoky) to know you and spend some time together (in the rare cases he isn’t available, another activity or guide will be offered). Miklosvar and surroundings harbour a multitude of different birds, including the beautiful Golden Oriole, the Great Grey Shrike, the Fieldfare (only found in the Carpathian part of Transylvania), the Lesser Spotted Eagle, White Stork, Raven, etc. The bird walk is suitable for anyone with an interest in nature, as well as more serious birdwatchers.
Viscri is one of the most impressive of the Transylvanian old Saxon villages and is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The fortified church on top of the hill dates back to 1230, the fortified walls were added in 1525 and an assortment of towers in the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries. The village was saved from destruction with the help of international charities including the Mihai Eminescu Trust with the support of the Prince of Wales, who happens to own a house in the village. There is also the opportunity to walk through wild flower meadows after lunch and visit other villages nearby
BRASOV, HONIGBERG and TARTLAU
On the way to Brasov, you will be able to visit the amazing fortified churches in Honigberg and Tartlau. These buildings were used to house the populations of entire villages during invasions by the Turks, and contain numerous storerooms to hold a sufficient amount of food to survive a siege. Brasov City is one of the seven major Transylvanian Saxon towns. Here you will find a plethora of architectural delight and lush colours, which contrasts perfectly with the green wooded hills that surround it. In the company of our cultural guide you will stroll around the beautiful Town Hall Square and visit the famous Black Church with its display of 500 year-old carpets, take the cable car to the top of Tampa Hill and have a coffee in the panoramic restaurant.
VALLEYS, FORESTS and WETLANDS
Today, you will explore the beautiful landscape of Transylvania in the company of our wildlife guide. This nature tour is not set in stone and the guide will discuss your particular interests. You may, for example, be taken by 4x4 through the spectacular Ajta Valley, where you will cross the river more than ten times! Before having a picnic at the banks of the Ajta stream (with opportunities for swimming), you will be able to go for a short hike up the side of the valley where wild flower meadows and a panoramic view await you. After the picnic, we will then continue our journey through the valley. On the other side, we will drive through breathtaking scenery before returning to Miklósvár.
A CASTLE and a FORT
Bram Stoker immortalised Transylvania in his book ‘Dracula’, but he never actually visited the region. Castle Bran, which has become synonymous with Count Dracula, towers dramatically on a crag overlooking the village. Our culture guide will help you to sort fact from fiction. There is also a reconstructed village nearby with traditional barns and houses, which provides an insight into rural life in medieval Transylvania. After Bran, we will visit Râsnov, where a ruined fort founded around 1225 by the Teutonic Knights, sits high amongst fir-clad forests, commanding a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.
The FOSSIL TRAIL and FOREST HIKE
This walk will lead you to famous fossil sites rich in Ammonites, Belemnites and different molluscs as well as beautiful countryside, secluded forests and panoramic views. You will start from Ürmös, the village situated opposite Miklósvár, on the other side of the River Olt. Here you can observe the Saxon influence on local Transylvanian architecture. At the edge of the village there is a famous fossil site in cretacic sandy marls rich in shells and ammonites. Next, you will walk through hay meadows until you reach well-preserved woodland pastures with mature oak trees. The total length of the trip is around 20 km, but it can be shortened depending on your fitness level. This nature tour is again not set in stone and the guide will discuss your walking preferences and particular interests.
The VOLCANIC LAKES
After breakfast, we will drive through spectacular mountainous scenery to reach the summit of Mount Csomad. Here you will discover St. Ann’s lake, the only intact volcanic lake in Europe. A small chapel is situated close to the lake. Our culture guide will explain the legend of St. Ann and its association with the lake. You will also enjoy a picnic at the lakeside. The rare Tinovul Mohus peat bog can also be found at this site (situated in a secondary crater, with glacial relics such as Drosera insectivorous plants). A local guide will accompany you to explain the unique flora and fauna which is found in the area during your walk. There is also the possibility to visit the remarkable sulphur caves, which provide an unforgettable sensory experience.
A DAY with the GYPSIES
Today you will get a close feeling of how the rural gypsy populations live in Transylvania. You will visit their colourful quarters in the surrounding villages and be told in depth about their background and mentality. This eye-opening excursion might seem a little surprising and disconcerting to some, yet it might let you discover aspects of a different way of living.
Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, the above itinerary may be subject to change. In particular, some of the nature activities may vary in accordance with the season, the weather and the opportunities available to observe wildlife. No sightings of wild animals, such as wolves and bears are guaranteed, and we cannot restrict their natural movements nor indeed would we wish to.