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Corvinesti Castle, Hunedoara
Dacian Citadels:
Gradiste de Munte
Costesti - Blidraru
Luncani - Piatra Rosie
Roman Sarmizegetusa
Romanesque churches:
Densus, Strei
Retezat Mountains/ National Park
Colt Castle
Cerna Valley
Baile Herculane
7 Hot Springs
Turnu Severin:
Archeological Museum
Traian's Bridge
Danube Aquarium
Danube Gorges:
Iron Gates ("Portile de Fier")
Cazan (Cazan Mic & Cazan Mare)
Tabula Traiana
Târgu Jiu
Brancusi Sculptures:
Endless Column
Table of Silence
Kissing Gate


Scheduled services with Malev
from Heathrow and Stansted, or with
Tarom, Austrian or Alitalia from
Heathrow to Timisoara.

Daily connections from most European airports to Bucharest Otopeni

Connections by train from Timisoara to
Baile Herculane, Orsova
and Turnu-Severin (2-3 hours)
or from Arad, Timisoara and Sibiu to
Deva & Simeria

Regular trains from Bucharest to Turnu-Severin, Targu Jiu and Baile Herculane
including sleeepr services

Transfers, city tours, rail tickets
and even short breaks can
be reserved in advance.

Between the Woods & the Water

Explore the historic realms of Decebal and Traian, the Dacian citadels, the Iron Gates of the Danube, and
the Bath of Hercules, and the remote wilderness of the Retezat mountains and Cerna Valley


Beyond the Woods & the Water - accommodation in Hunedoara, Baile Herculane, Retezat, Iron Gates & Danube ACCOMMODATION

Location Map - Between the Woods & the Water LOCATION MAP

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Trains, Transfers & Travel in Romania with Transylvania Uncovered GETTING ABOUT

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0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258

Baile Herculane

Patrick Leigh Fermor, set out in the winter of 1934 to walk across Europe
to Istanbul. He was just 18 years old at the time. In June 1935 he
crossed the Romanian border near Arad and spent a summer drifting
from one country manor to another, meeting and staying with Counts
and Barons, hanging on to the last vestiges of a way of life which was
subsequently lost in war and the rise of communism. This incredible
journey into the life of pre-war Transylvania is evocatively captured in his
famous travelogue, "Between the Woods and the Water".
His route followed the Mures valley upstream to Gurasada where he enjoyed an extended sojourn, and made excursions across the Transylvanian plateau and to Hunedoara. Much still remains of the world he desribed though mainly the old manors, most with very different uses today. His route has been researched and we are able to offer a self-drive trail, following in his footsteps, and also specialist, cultural tours with an expert guide / author for small groups under the name Romania Revisited. Please ask for details. In addition a glimpse of the halcyon world described in his pages may be gained with our Touch of Class programme.

The region around Hunedoara was one of the earliest settled parts of Romania. Here you will find neolithic remains and the ruins of the Dacian Citadels, including Sarmizegetusa, near Gradistea de Munte, deep in the mountains above Orastie, seat of the kings Burebista and Decebal. When, in 106 AD the Romans finally broke through the Iron Gate of Transylvania to defeat the Dacians, Emperor Trajan took the name 'Sarmizegetusa' for his own capital, the extensive ruins of which lie near Hateg. Other attractions include mighty Corvinesti fortress at Hunedoara and the wild Retezat Mountains, a hiking paradise. You can stay in one of the castles mentioned in the book - the home of Count K (Kendeffy).

The Retezat National Park

This is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Romania with over 80 high, rocky peaks (such as Retezatu and Peleagu, both more than 2500m in height) reflected in a string of over 100 clear, glacial lakes. The Retezat which covers an area of 800 square kms is a paradise for hiking and wildlife with numerous endemic plant species and animals such as bears, lynx, and chamois. It became the first Romanian National Park (in 1935) and subsequently a biosphere reserve.

Castles and Churches

The strategic position, rich soil and the mineral wealth of the mountains created wealth, estates and towns. Gold and Silver were mined by the Dacians, Iron lead to the creation of Hunedoara, named "Eisenmarkt" by the Saxons whilst the region of the upper Jiu valley around Petrosani (to the south) is Romania's main coal mining area. On a bluff in Hunedoara, providing a fantastic contrast to the partly dismantled iron and steelworks across the valley, stands the greatest fortress in Romania - Corvin Castle - a truly spectacular blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture started in the 14th century by Iancu de Hunedoara (Hunyadi). It is reached via a narrow bridge over its 30m deep moat.

Nearby at Deva you can clamber up the "Hill of the Djinn" to visit another mediaeval fortress, this one ruined but the views over the Miures valley and the panorma of peaks
forming a natural amphitheatre make up for the effort. At Sântamaria-Orlea you can even stay in the 13th century castle, ancestral home of the Kendeffy family, which is now a humble inn - nearby in the village the 13th century church is one of a group of interesting Romanesque churches with interior frescoes dotted about the Hateg Depression - of special note are those at Densus and Strei.

Following his stay in the Mures valley our hero headed south into the Rusca and Tarcului Mountains, a remote wilderness which lead him into virgin forests at the headwaters of the Cerna valley. He passed through the Imperial spa town of Baile Herculane, then trekked down to the Danube at Orsova. The dams and subsequent hydroelectric schemes have tamed the river in the Kazan "Cauldron" and the "Iron Gates", creating great reservoirs where the river once tumbled through a series of dangerous rapids. Turnu-Severin has a good museum of the area as well as the ruins, remnants of Emperor Trajan's famous bridge which spanned the river. Sadly the unique Turkish enclave on the island of Ada Kaleh described so well by Patrick, was submerged as he predicted. Baile Herculane is undergoing something of a renaissance and is a lovely place to spend a few days exploring the natural wilderness of the Cerna Valley, and the Danube gorge, and perhaps to even sample the famous waters. We can offer a selection of comfortable hotels and pensions, packages from Bucharest or Timisoara and can even arrange a boat trip on the Danube to the Iron Gates and the Kazan.

Legend places the "Golden Fleece" in this mountainous region, the story
originating from the common gypsy practice of laying a fleece in certain
streams to filter out flecks of gold dust.
Corvinesti Castle,
Baile Herculane / Roman Sarnizegetusa /
Farcadin - Nopsca Family manorhouse

"Kendeffy Castle", Sântamaria-Orlea /
Danube near Orsova /
Hotel Cerna, Baile Herculane

Industrial railway at Hunedoara /
Autumn colours in the Cerna Valley /
Corvinest Castle & Steelworks, Hunedoara

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