This blog post opens new category on Roaring Romania, one dedicated to Wallachia- the Romanian region bordered by the Carpathians in the North and the Danube in the South. Today, this land with rich soils and a troubled history, is famous for Vlad The Impaler (aka Dracula), fruit orchids and vineyards.
Somewhere 80 kms away from Bucharest lies Dealu Mare region(English: The Big Hill) compared to Northern Tuscany and Bordeaux with regards to the quality of red wine. Besides the wine, the scenery is beautiful both in late spring and autumn and discovering the vineyards that make The Wine Cellar Route of Dealu Mare is a good choice for a day trip from Bucharest.
From my experience, the best combination is car- bicycle, car to get there and bike to properly explore the area (train-bike works just as fine). I did the biking tour in spring 2013 with Cycling Romania and I was completely taken aback that this beautiful region is still largely untraveled due to poor marketing. On the bright side, at this moment, visitors can have an authentic Wallachian country life experience.
The one big challenge is transportation as there aren't many options; you either go by car or with an organized tour. By train you can come as near as the town of Mizil and after that you would have to rely on the public buses or bring your bike to reach the wine cellars scattered among various villages.
If my cycling adventure in 2013 hovered around picking and eating cherries, this year’s autumn trip was all about wine and October colors. The event that drew me there was Crosul Cramelor, a cross-country race on the wine hills of Basilescu wine cellar. I entered the 7 kms popular race but after 3 kms I stopped running and started to take photos. I am still a newbie in the art of photography so some of the pictures might not do justice to the beauty of the autumn landscape.
This was the first edition of Crosul Cramelor and besides the jokes of the MC, the event was pretty well-organized and a good opportunity for people to discover Dealu Mare. The first part of the track went through Urlati, a town slightly bigger than a village so the run was quite a big thing. We were cheered by locals who paused their daily activities to come and see us. At the end we were greeted with must, grape juice that hasn't begun to turn into wine, one of Romania's favorite autumn delights.
A trip to Dealu Mare region would not be complete without a visit to Bellu Manor. What I liked about our visit to the manor was that the interiors were not off-limits, separated by a string and we could wander around and admire the furniture and decorations freely. The guide even showed us how some of the pieces worked or were used by their owners, no wonder they won the national title of best museum exhibition in 2010. Aside from the tour, visitors can see an eye-catching collection of traditional Romanian costumes and taste wines in the cellar of the manor. The address is Orzoaia de Sus street no.12, Urlati. Opening hours: 09:00-17:00, Monday closed. Ticket: 8 lei (1.8€).
For a round tour of the region I recommend seeing also Jercalai Monastery, a small wooden monastery with a 300 old story and Urlateanu Manor and Wine Cellar for wine tasting and a spectacular view over the wine hills.
For accommodation, in May 2013 we stayed at Casa Colinelor guesthouse in Urlati and this year we chose something a bit more rural, DIY Ceptura in Ceptura. A more fancy accommodation you can find at Conacul dintre Vii in Urlati.
no filters, no editing, simply October
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race track through Basilescu vineyard
classical Dealu Mare landscape
our accomodation @DIYCeptura and my dog, a city dog looking a bit lost in the country side