This is the standard itinerary available from the beginning of April to the beginning of November. Around 4-6 hours (20-30km) are spent in the saddle daily and a variety of terrain is traversed as you travel through wild hills and forest landscapes during the 110-120km long trail. The villages are situated at 450-700m, the hills reach 800-900m. This whole region is called Erdővidék, or “Woodlands”, and has been looking very much the same for the last centuries.
Day 1 (Sunday)
You will arrive at Miklósvár / Miclosoara after being transferred from the airport/station.
The village of Miklosvar was part of the Kalnoky family estate and the old hunting manor is on the edge of the village - now The Museum of Transylvanian Life. The area was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and became Romanian during the 1st World War. A number of the traditional houses in the village have been carefully restored in order to preserve their original Transylvanian charm and character and accommodation is in these guesthouses. The cottages are situated within spacious gardens, with storks nesting on nearby rooftops. Take a look at the guesthouses here.
Meet your guide or Countess Anna Kálnoky to discuss about the horses you will be riding during the tour.
Day 2 (Monday)
Transfer to the riding centre at Valea Crisului (Sepsikőröspatak, “Round Brook”), 40 min. by car. The ride starts climbing slowly onto a ridge, where we are heading north on high pastures with magnificent views stretching to the high Carpathian Range. We leave the villages of Kálnok and Zalán to our right below us down in the valley, meet shepherds and their flocks on the pastures and at the end of the day we descend through the forest to reach Malnas Bai (Málnásfürdő, “Raspberry Baths”), where the riders stay for the night as guests of a local hunter’s family (bathrooms might have to be shared). Once a thriving spa with plenty of mineral water springs, this village has typical wooden turn-of-the-century Transylvanian spa architecture, although now in a rather rickety shape. The small local spa will be opened exclusively for the riders from 5:30PM. Riding distance & time: 21km, 4-5 hours.
Day 3 (Tuesday)
We climb back north-westerly into the deep forests of the Hatod region, where 6 villages share the same woods (hatod = “one sixth”). We travel along a quiet forest track, where bear traces are sometimes to be found. After having ridden around the extinct volcano “Murgo”, we descend on gentle grassy slopes to the Batanii villages (“Big Bacon and Little Bacon”) to reach our accommodations in village houses at lovely “Little Bacon” where we shall have common dinner. The villagers here are known to be especially hospitable and friendly, and before dinner will take pride at showing you their still functioning watermill and traditional looms. Riding distance & time: 22km, 5 hours.
Day 4 (Wednesday)
We head northwest through forests and hay meadows, to climb up to Szép Arca (“Pretty Face”) hill on the southern slopes of the Hargita Range. Wide views open out on distant Barót and Olt Valley. We descend northwest into the Kormos (“Sooty”) valley. The river is teeming with trout, the wet meadows have beautiful wild flowers. You will be accommodated in a guesthouse, have dinner there and breakfast on the next morning. Riding time: 3 hours. From 2018 this itinerary will change, heading south-west to Miklosvar / Miclosoara to Count Kalnoky's guesthouses. Visit the castle, its museum and park in the afternoon and hang out at the Stone Pub for pre-dinner drinks in the evening. Riding distance & time: 25km, 6 hours.
Day 5 (Thursday)
We turn south down the Kormos Valley on a long ride along the lower slopes of the hills, passing the villages of Filia/Erdőfüle (“Forest’s Ear”) on endless hay meadows towards the town of Barot. We continue on the slopes offering many a chance for cantering, into the valley of the river Olt to reach Miklósvár, and our guesthouses (or a guesthouse of similar standards nearby in the rare case of limited availability, and eating on the Estate). Riding time: 6 hours. From 2018 this itinerary will change, heading east from Miklosvar to reach Zalanpatak / Valea Zalanului, where you will be guests at The Prince of Wales’s private retreat. Before dinner, you will have another short ride (1h) in the evening on the Prince's estate to watch wildlife venturing out onto the meadows at sundown. Riding distance & time: 21km, 4-5 + 1 hours.
Day 6 (Friday)
From Miklósvár, we return to Kőröspatak crossing the hills and brooks. This trip was very common for many a generation of the Kálnoky family who had to ride often between the two villages, where their two manors are. This part of the region is particularly rich in game as there is no road or village for 25km. Arriving at Kőröspatak, you will be transferred back to Miklósvár by car for your last night at our guesthouse. Riding time: 6-7 hours. From 2018 this itinerary will change, heading south-east from Zalanpatak to get back to your point of departure, the stables at Korospatak. Transfer back to the accommodation at Zalánpatak. Riding distance & time: 19km, 4 hours.
Day 7 (Saturday)
Depart after breakfast, or adding on a few days of relaxation and tours based at Count Kálnoky’s Guesthouses in Miklósvár