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There’s a Bear in There! Walking in Transylvania

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We just got back from a 2 day roadtrip in Northern Transylvania, Romania. It was a lovely couple of days and totally impromptu, that’s how we roll. I published a post about Dracula in Romania a day or so ago and we got inspired to go visit one of Romania’s Dracula themed hotels, around 3-4 hours from our base here in Northern Maramures County.

The hotel, sadly, wasn’t great, so no recommendation there, but that part of Romania was absolutely stunning.

Everything, visually, historically and in terms of…ahem…wildlife.

You probably know we like a little family walk now and then (we just got back from Everest region) so we found a local walking track, just a little one through the woods, nothing taxing.

It passed through an important nature conservation area and there was a boardwalk and such like. Great, we thought, let’s get some fresh air.

Walk in Northern Transylvania Nature Reserve
At last a sign! And off we went, into the woods. Notice the wolf, wolves…nu problem!

First up, Google couldn’t find it, we drove up and down a deserted country road several times before we spotted the entrance into the, rather dense, woods.

It surprised us that a walking track would cross a railway line, but on closer inspection, this track looked pretty safe.

Nature reserve walk near Dracula Castel Hotel
I think we’re safe on this railway line.
walking track bears near bistrita
Disappearing into the trees. It was a beautiful sunny day, but fresh snow lingered in the deep shade of the forest.
nature walk in transylvania
OK kids, time for some of that world schooling/ homeschooling thing we do. A nature walk in Transylvania, with maps, climate, ecosystems, wildlife, habitat, all that stuff. In Romanian, yes, we know some Romanian after 2 years here.
Walking in the woods in transylvania
He’s almost 13, he has a need to goof.
walking in Romania bears
Boo was a bit chilly in the shade so he borrowed my fake-sheep jacket. Obviously, any bears would eat him first as he looked most like a sheep. “What do bears eat ?” Appropriate education in action.
walking in the woods romania bears danger
We strung ourselves out over 100m, Boo running ahead, mum hanging behind playing with F stops on her camera.
wildlife in romania danger of walking
Another one of these. Plants, birds, deer, wolves, no mention of bears.

So on we walked, it was all very lovely and silent other than our voices and crunching footsteps.

The sun streamed onto moss and snow when the tree cover broke.

We checked Google, we had a good connection, Romania is really good for that stuff, and we were almost at the next town so continued walking.

Just a few hundred metres after this spot we found the thing below. I found it, I didn’t realise at first

Somebody has been walking along here in bare feet! No, actually, make that BEAR feet…

You never saw 4 people get out of the woods quicker!

walking in Romania with bears
Bear tracks. Mum and baby maybe?

So we sprint-walked back out of there, making as much noise as possible and just recapping on the “What to do if you see a bear?” and ” What do bears eat?” information.

Calmly, of course.

We figured that as bears eat from bins a lot around here and we’d almost reached the next town, we were probably entering their territory.

We’ve never seen a wild bear anywhere in Romania, but we’ve seen their skins used in the amazing local Christmas traditions, visited a bear sanctuary and heard stories of rare maulings not far from home.

They’re here, but they’re not a real danger. We love them, they’re freaking awesome!

Walking trails Transylvania safety
Happy to see Sexy (our truck, after the TARDIS) again!

We’re leaving Romania soon. Back on the road again, heading to Egypt. It’s been almost 20 years since Chef and I met on the Nile, I think it’s time to show the kids.

Further reading:

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

Laurentiu Artugyan

Thursday 19th of May 2022

Great to see that you love Romania and you enjoyed spending many weeks discovering some of the most beautiful places in this country. As a Geographer and Tour Guide I may recommend you to visit some other great natural places when you come back in Romania, such as Retezat National Park, Caras Gorges or Nera Gorges.

Emma Lewis

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Brilliant to see the bear tracks, a baby too!!!! Wow :D

Lisa/Syncopated Mama

Tuesday 11th of April 2017

Wow, what a great set of bear tracks you found! Two summers ago, we had a bear encounter, but it was in an area that just has black bears and so we just loaded our pockets with rocks, grabbed some sticks, and started making lots and lots of noise - "Hey, bears! We're here, but we don't want to bother you, so just leave us alone!" :)

Alyson Long World Travel Family Blog

Tuesday 11th of April 2017

These are European Brown Bears and there are so many about that they have to cull them. that makes me wonder why a bear sanctuary exists, but still. Love the wildlife here, but I'd like to see a wild bear from a car, not in the woods...we know how big they are!

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