5 Star-ride (one week, center based)

General info

The 5 Star-Tour is a one-week horseback riding vacation, based in the village of Kiskede, offering riding trips every day in a different direction, returning every evening, shaping a star at the end of the week.

During this vacation, you stay in the same guesthouse, except for one possible night out in another guest house. The endless hills of Transylvania can be best explored on horseback. You will ride through boundless meadows, ancient shepherd tracks, deep forests and remote valleys, where the fox and the hare bid each other goodnight.

Located in the center of the country, in historical Transylvania, you will have the chance to explore the delightful countryside, where most people still live like they did centuries ago.

This is the best way to explore the traditional villages, to meet local people and to get to know their traditions, dances and customs. . During the ride you also get in touch with the local wildlife. We will pass flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, being part of the agricultural tradition that is still part of the everyday life of Transylvania.

The riding

During this vacation, you will ride our well-trained, sturdy and forward going Hungarian purebred sport horses (Shagya-Arabs, Gidrans, Kisberi, and Lippizans). The horses have lots of staying power and are used to different types of terrain.

The horses are ridden in English tack. We have custom-made saddles, fitted individually for each horse, produced by a saddler manufacture. Five days of riding, 4-6 hours a day in the saddle is common for this vacation. On day 5 we let the horses rest, and an excursion is organized for you.

The riding is a mix of paces to suit the actual terrain condition and is fast in places. This vacation is only suitable for good intermediate to experienced riders who are confident in all paces. You must be able to handle a horse at speed in a group situation and be comfortable riding over rough terrain. Some natural obstacles also need to be negotiated. You also need to be healthy and physically fit.

Since our Hungarian horses are smaller than the average warmblood, the weight limit is 90 kg. For security reason, we recommend the wearing of hard helmets.

Activities / Events

In addition to the horse riding trips, you will meet local people, explore the Transylvanian dances and parts of the regional culture. Also some traditional craftsmen will be visited on our tours.

After returning to our base in the late afternoon, you can go mountain biking or hiking: The surrounding hills offer plenty ways for individual adventures in the great outdoors. Excursions with traditional horse carts are also great fun. Wildlife and bear watching can also be organized. (If you are interested, please let us know in advance.)

On the rest day for the horses, we will dive into the history of Transylvania: A visit to the medieval town of Sighisoara, part of UNESCO World Heritage is organized.

Accommodation / Food

During your vacation, you stay in our partner guesthouse, located in the village nearby. We take you to the horse riding base and back, every day (aprox. 10 minutes). Accommodation in shared rooms of 4/5 persons per room with shared bathroom and toilet. (Single rooms are also available for an extra fee).

According to the actual itinerary, we might spend one night out, in another guest house. For this night, your small luggage will be transported by car, next morning it will be brought back to our base.

This vacation includes 7 nights with 5 days of riding, and one day of rest. The tour usually starts on Sunday and ends Sunday the following week.
Our meals are prepared from local vegetables, grown by small farmers in the village. Meat and milk also usually comes from regional farms. During the tours, we will take our breakfast at the guesthouse, lunch is served along the way. This can be the from saddle-bag, or if possible, we organize lunch at guesthouses or interesting places where local specialities are served. Dinner is our main meal, back in guesthouse.

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed, please let us know your requirements at reservation.

Itinerary

Please note that the following itinerary is our base line. Weather conditions, unpredictable natural or other obstacles can change our route. Also the order of villages we visit might vary.

We have the distances and riding times measured and scheduled. Based on the riders abilities, for your safety and comfort, the guide can decide to shorten or alter the initial route.

Day 1

Arrival at Cluj Napoca Airport, where you will be collected mid-afternoon. The transfer to our riding base/ partner guesthouse is a journey of about four hours. After arriving at our partner guesthouse, we get to known each other and have dinner. A short briefing also takes place.

Day 2

After breakfast you will be picked-up and transferred to our horse riding base (aprox. 10 minutes). There you will be introduced to our horses and every rider gets the horse best suited for him/her for the week. We spend some time here, usually, a short ride in arena is also needed.

Preparations done, we head to our first destination: a lovely rest place in the forest near the village of Székelyszentmihály (Mihaileni). We ride through Transylvanian villages and meadows, sometimes using cart or forest roads. The hills offer a fantastic view of the countryside, the feeling of freedom and clean air is our fellow traveler. We often see rabbits running over the pastures, foxes escape from the riders’ noise, and groups of deer are watching us on our way.

The ride is a mix of walk, trot and occasionally canters. During the day, we spend approximately 4-4,5 hours in saddle, riding around 30 km in total. Cold picnic at lunchtime will be served at the rest place – delivered by service car.

Day 3

On the second day we ride towards Kissolymos, another small village at the border of our regional county. After leaving our base in Kiskede, we ride through Nagykede. Crossing several hills and a few country roads, we find ourselves embedded in a typical valley of that area. On the right hand you can see traditional fields, on the left hand meadows and a nice patch of forest stretched out in front of you. This is where our trail leads to. A great option for a longer canter up the hill until we reach the forest. We will ride on pleasant trails through the forest, followed by lush meadows. Before long, we reach Kissolymos, with another horse riding center nearby: our rest place for lunch.

After lunch, we ride back to Kiskede. Our trail leads again through colourful meadows and horse cart routes, we also get a splendid view of a fishing lake, glittering like a blue diamond in the sun. On the way home, we have great chances for several trots and canters.

During the day, we spend 4-5 hours in the saddle, riding around 28 km total.

Day 4

Day three, and a great chances for long trots and canters. This day, we like to visit a 22 m high Heart of Jesus statue, located in the outskirts of Farkaslaka (Lupeni), on the 953 m (3125 ft) high Gordon Hill. Actually, this is the tallest Jesus statue in Eastern Europe.

Our route leads through meadows and cart routes, so we have plenty of chances for higher paces. Lunch will be served at the rest place, after that we return to our base camp. Riding is about 5-6 hours, with 1-2 hours of resting at the statue.

Day 5

This is a rest day for the horses. And it is a great opportunity for us to visit Sighisoara, a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town, part of UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Sighisoara (Schäßburg – Schassburg or Schäsbrich in German) still stands as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.
Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), ruler of the province of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. It was he who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula.

We spend some hours in the city, a traditional Transylvanian lunch is served there. After an exciting day in the ancient alleys of Sighisoara, we return to the guesthouse in the evening.

Day 6

With everyone rested, this day is just perfect for a longer ride. We spend the whole day in the saddle and plan to reach Firtosváralja in the evening. We will spend the night here in a nice, traditionally built guesthouse. On our way, we cross several villages and we also spend some time in some of them. Locally produced food and drinks will be tasted, traditional craftsmen and some monuments will also be visited.

The view of the Transylvanian landscape and the endless hills is amazing: You will see no cars, hear no noise of traffic or any city. What you might see instead is: deer and rabbits, also maybe foxes. Also we`ll come across sheep herds and cow flocks – part of the local traditional agriculture.

For the evening, regionally produced dinner and some folk program is awaiting us.

Day 7

The last day of the week we will spend, of course, with riding. We will return to our horse riding base in Kiskede on different trails as the ones we used the day before.

After arriving in the late afternoon, we say good bye to the horses and thank them for the work during the week. On our last evening, we will sit together for a festive “Good bye” dinner, where we can share all our little adventures and many a good story will be told….

Day 8

Based on your flight schedule, after breakfast you will be transported back to Cluj Napoca Airport for your journey back home.