Transylvanian Hills – cycling over the hills in the Saxon villages

One year ago we did a great MTB tour through the so called Transylvanian Hills. This area contains many Saxon villages delimited by the cities of Brașov, Sighișoara, Mediaș and Sibiu.

 The people living here understand the importance and benefits of sustainable tourism and Romanian and foreign tourists love it here due to the beautiful fortified churches, the house’s architecture, traditional way of living and unspoiled nature 😊
Brief useful information:
Date: August 2016
Route
 – Day 1: Sighișoara – Criț – Meșendorf – Bunești – Viscri (55 km,  7 h)
– Day 2: Viscri – Aurel Vlaicu – Sighișoara (48 km,  6 h)
Signposting:+
Difficulty:  6/10
We’ve previously heard that mountain bike trails have been constructed throughout this area in order to connect many Saxon villages thus creating active way of visiting this beautiful and picturesque area.

Starting from Sighișoara,our plan was to go up the hills, through the forests and reach the villages of Criț and Meșendorf where we would visit the fortified churches and finally reach Viscri where we would sleep and visit its famous fortified church which we already wrote about.
We were unsure of what to expect since information was scarce about these MTB trails but that’s what we’re here for: to explore and give you the exact information 😋

We start off from Sighișoara on the Mihai Viteazu street. We turn right on Nicovalei street when we reach a church. We follow this street uphill until we reach a forest. We follow thesignposting. The forest road then passes a meadow on top of a hill just above the village of  Șapartoc.
After we cross the meadow we reach a crossroad where we continue straight ahead and enter the forest again. We initially followed a forest road but this is the point where the MTB trail starts and you should look for it carefully. It should be somewhere to the right.

As far as we know this is the most complex network of MTB trails in Romania and we were really happy to get on the trail itself the first time we saw it. Over 100 km of MTB trails have been created especially thanks to Cornel Stanciu and the Swiss funds he attracted. Congratulations! 😊
After finding the special MTB trail we follow thesignposting. The trail is about half a meter wide, made out of crushed gravel so this trail can be safely used even after a rainfall since you shouldn’t get stuck in mud.

The trail is cleverly constructed: beside the crushed gravel which makes sure mud is not an issue, the curves are heightened so that you can take turns fast, you have climbs, descents, in the steeper areas the trail winds so it’s easier to climb or descend them. You also have wooden bridges that cross the small valleys found in the forest.

It’s a XC (Cross Country) route so it’s pretty easy for anyone who rides on a front suspension mountain bike 😊
Cycling through these forests is an amazing experience. If you’re looking for adrenaline you can have it since you can go very fast if you want to. However if you want a more relaxed rhythm you can have that too. It’s perfect for admiring the dense forests and it’s true joy to cycle on the trail that winds through all these trees. We recommend this route!

At one point you’ll reach a crossroad where you can turn to the left if you want to visit Saschiz and its fortified church. However we continue ahead, a little to the right and enter the forest again on the trail leading to Viscri. Soon after this crossroad we also turn left and climb down on a forest road leading to Criț. We visited the fortified church this village hosts.
From Criț we head towards Meșendorf. It’s a 17 km detour but it’s worth the effort 100% 😊

In Meșendorf we find a very well conserved and maintained fortified church. We asked for the key by going to the house number that is written on the fortified church’s gate. That house is the key holder. This church is very beautiful, pretty small but very nice and really inspires a feeling of calm and well being. We also climbed in the tower next to the church.
After spending about an hour here in Meșendorf we return to Criț. Then we continue on the DN13 road until Bunești where you can also visit the fortified church but we didn’t have enough time for that. From Bunești we continue on a secondary road (bad for cars since it’s full of potholes) towards Viscri, the final destination of the day. The road is very picturesque and has little traffic.

We finally reach Viscri, probably the most famous village in Romania. Here, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales started his activity of conserving traditions, crafts and nature. He now continues his work here and has expanded in other places in Transylvania where he protects the architecture, traditions and unspoiled nature. He’s a regular in the villages of Transylvania which he visits multiple times each year.
Viscri is such a nice village and is really a living Saxon architecture museum. Houses are restored and you can visit its beautiful fortified church up on the hill. Almost every house in Viscri is a guest house now but we stayed in a guest house that we will always remember: Viscri 195.

It’s an old Saxon house which has been restored with a lot of good taste. Modern elements have been added but traditional architecture details and objects have been kept. The couple running this guest house is super friendly and love to tell you a good story about the village and its history. You can also camp in the courtyard. The in-house made food is really, really good. We recommend it! 😊
The next day we head back to Sighișoara and this time we were about to try out a section of the MTB trail that we haven’t been on since we headed towards Criț the previous day. We also got a tip not to follow the main road leading up the hill in the forest because it was really muddy due to the recent rainfalls.

We followed a detour by climbing up the hill along the fortified church in Viscri and then found ourselves on a meadow filled with tens of horses and cows which were grazing. They were kind of curious of our presence but that was it.

This route also offers an interesting view of the fortified church and it’s a great place for taking photos especially at sunset 😉
About a third of the second day’s trail was new to us but very similar to the one from the previous day. The gravel trail winds elegantly through the forest on top of the hills, crosses several meadows and finally intersects the trail from the previous day.

At the crossroad above the village of Șapartoc (that we told you about at the beginning of the article and where the trail ends) we turn left towards the village of Aurel Vlaicu. We exit the trail and continue on a wide forest road which descends until Sighișoara.

We quickly cross this village and reach Sighișoara and this is how our two days circuit over the Transylvanian Hills ends. It’s such a beautiful and active way of exploring the picturesque landscapes and beautiful Saxon villages with their interesting fortified churches. We also enjoyed how friendly the people in these villages are. We truly recommend it! 😊

Video:


Our route on the map (both days):

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