The River Prahova froths white beneath the gigantic Bucegi Mountains, which tower over Azuga, lying in South-eastern Transylvania. The mixed deciduous and coniferous forests that clothe the lower slopes of the range are home to bears, wolves, chamois, eagles, wild boar and even lynx. The untamed and, largely, untouched landscape also provides so much to see and do in the area, with highlights including walking and fishing the Prahova river (and its tributaries), skiing in Azuga (and/or the surrounding towns) or exploring the many historic sites (including Castle Bran, also known as 'Dracula's castle'). The area is also ideal for hiking, whether on the mountains and by the rivers within easy walking distance from the villa or further afield at, for instance, the upper reaches of the Prahova valley, which are unforgettably stunning and dotted with fantastic caves and other karstic phenomena.
In this landscape of outstanding natural beauty, and with panoramic views onto the Bucegi Mountains lies the villa. Built above the town of Azuga, though with easy walking access to it, it is spacious, yet homely, exhilarating but relaxing. Azuga, itself, nestles in a valley in the Bucegi mountains and straddles one of the tributaries of the Prahova River. An eclectic mix of charming traditional Romanian cottages and Soviet relics, the village is friendly, quaint and still inquisitive of western adopters.
Although, incredibly tranquil and sublimely peaceful, the area around Azuga offers a huge array of activities. Many of the local towns (Sinaia, Predeal and Poiana Brasov), including Azuga itself, offer skiing, sledging, cross-country skiing, snowboarding , Nordic walking and sow-tubing. An alternative to winter sports might be rock-climbing. The Bucegi Mountains are the centre of Romanian rock-climbing. The town of Busteni a few kilometres from Azuga), at the foot of Caraiman Mountain, is the main access point for the climbing routes of the Bucegi mountains. The Piatra Craiului Mountains (the Rock of the King), reaching 2,238 meters (7,342 ft.) are popular for their beauty, but winter brings heavy snows, cold winds and avalanches, so only experienced and well-equipped mountaineers should venture up during the winter. The Bicaz gorges, carved by the waters of Bicaz River into the Jurassic limestone of the Hasmas massif has the most difficult routes.
Mountain biking, ATV riding and Bungee jumping (Rasnoava Gorges in the Postavaru mountains is the second highest bungee jumping place in Europe) are all readily accessible. The landscape lends itself particularly well to camping and Saint Ana Lake is highly recommended. Lying just 25 km north of Brasov, it is the only lake of volcanic origin in Romania.
Camping is encouraged in the flower-meadow adjoining the lake (whose water's purity approaches that of distilled water). Caving is a hugely popular sport in Romania and there are more than 12,500 known caves in Romania filled with natural riches, including the first Palaeolithic paintings found in central and south-east Europe. Ten caves have underground glaciers. The Apuseni Mountains alone have over 200 caves to explore. For a gentler way to explore the extraordinary local environment there's horseback and horse carriage riding. Horse riding or riding in a carriage at the base of the woody mountains are ideal for learning the art of equestrianism while being guided by qualified instructors.
Most hikes in the Bucegi Mountains (Muntii Bucegi) are easy day-hikes, with cable cars an alternative on the steeper sections. Snow covers Mount Omu, the highest point of the Bucegi (2505m), for 200 or more days a year. Elsewhere the snow generally retreats during April, and soon after the meadows are covered with wildflowers such as ladies' gloves, grape ferns and edelweiss. Golden eagles circle above the forests that shelter woodcock, hazel grouse and nightingales, while other wildlife includes the Carpathian red deer. Chamois may well be seen on the cliffs to the north above the massif.
Mountains dominate the skyline around Bran. To the southeast is the almost sheer wall of the Bucegi range – it takes about eight hours to hike from Bran to Mount Omu, where there’s a cabana. To the west, gentler slopes run up to the Piatra Craiului, a 20km-long narrow limestone ridge, known as the Royal Rock. It's now a national park.
The Piatra Craiului National Park is ideal for all kinds of outdoor pursuits. There're a multitude of things to see and do, from observing animals in the wild to sporting activities and guided walks. The most popular of these is bear-watching, which gives visitors a rare chance to observe these animals in their natural habitat – gathering at dusk, you are taken up to a forest hide, where the chances of seeing a brown bear are rated at around seventy percent. While you’re less likely to see wolves, wolf-tracking is also popular.
The villa is located about a 30 minute drive from the medieval Saxon town of Brasov, known for the largely Baroque Old Town, coiled beneath Mount Tâmpa and Mount the Postavaru. Close by are the medieval ramparts and, beyond them, the Schei quarter. Brasov, often described as the greatest city of Transylvania, is the area's capital and provides excellent dining, shopping and entertainment. It is home to Parc Aventura Brasov (an adventure park), Council Square (a national landmark), the Liberty Bear Sanctuary Zernesti (described as '[a] special place, touching and beautiful'), the Black Church (Biserica Neagr) - an imposing Gothic architectural masterpiece and Paradisul Acvatic (a waterpark).
The Bucegi mountains/Prahova valley is a geological marvel, a wild untamed nature reserve, an historic and cultural melting pot and a fascinating architectural anachronism. and it all lies on the doorstep of Casa Ferica. They are both a launch-pad to adventure and discovery and a comfortable homely retreat. That is why Casa Ferica is unique. We hope to welcome you soon so you can see for youselves...