Transylvania—a place that brings to mind mystery, folklore, legends, and Dracula. It is also the location of the Transfăgărăşan, the pass described as “the most amazing road we have ever seen” by the guys on the TV Series Top Gear.
The cabal—to get to, and ride, the Transfăgărăşan. The method—a tour to discover all that is good between Budapest, Hungary, and Brașov, Romania. The association—motorcyclists with a keen sense of adventure and curiosity.
This itinerary explores places hidden from Western eyes for decades on its way through Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, a corner of Poland. A ride across the border into Ukraine, and another side trip to Serbia are possible.
Riders will find countries rich in local folklore, with magnificent cultural and historical heritage. September is a favorite time to travel through these mountains.
Appropriate decadence might be the term for hopping off an international flight and slipping into a thermal bath upon your arrival in Budapest. It certainly would be appropriate, as travelers have been taking the waters since Roman times. What better way to relax after a few hours in the air?
Suburban Buda and its historic castle district offer medieval streets and houses, museums, caves and Roman ruins. The dynamic Pest side boasts the largest parliament building in Europe and riverside promenades, flea markets, bookstores, antique stores and café houses. This is a big city—the largest in Hungary. To maximize our enjoyment, we head off on a Segway tour to discover the highlights.
Monday is a day to ride, and to discover the Hungarian countryside. In less than 20 miles we are riding in pastoral farmland, enjoying easy roads and becoming familiar with our motorcycles.
Pass through villages that have seen a stream of armies over the centuries. In addition to the Turks, the Tartars, Habsburgs, and Russians have all invaded and occupied Hungary. The national anthem describes the Hungarians as "people torn by fate.” They have persevered, and exist today while the "conquers" have faded or disappeared.
Moving away from Budapest it doesn't take long before we cross into another country. Slovakia, half of the former Czechoslovakia, sits like a beacon on the northern horizon. Having emerged from its frumpy, communist-era cocoon and joined the EU, this little known area awaits discovery.
The High Tatras are the reason we head this way. This magnificent area has been designated a National Park—in two countries! Containing the highest peaks in Slovakia, Poland, and the entire Carpathian mountain chain, the Tatras offer the best motorcycle roads in both countries.
Take a morning coffee brake in Zakopane, Poland, and enjoy a walk around the old section of town. Get back on the bike and follow great roads through the mountains to Liptovsky Mikulas, and eat lunch in Slovakia. Then, once again, enjoy more scenery and amusing riding back to our home in the Tatras, Poprad.
Košice, the last stop in Slovakia, has one of Europe's most special historic districts. Locals predominate, and carry on as if the downtown is simply where they live, vs. the idyllic setting that it actually is. It is rewarding to spend time wandering among the grand buildings and parks of the city center.
And then it is across the Great Plain, Hungary's breadbasket, to our overnight in a little country town. Wheat fields stretch as far as one can see to the west and the south. A traditional meal and a quiet night will fortify us for the next day's adventure, our arrival in Romania!
The next few nights are spent in Transylvania, the home of Vlad the Impaler, a hero to Romanians, a villain to fans of Bram Stroker’s Dracula. Count Dracul is only one of the fascinating attractions in the area. We will visit UNESCO protected medieval cities, salt mines worked from the middle ages, and ride through villages with historical ties preceding the Romans.
Transylvania is one of the most beautiful natural regions in Europe, dotted with picturesque, medieval fortress towns and monasteries. Here you find old villages where people live exactly as they did a hundred years ago. Decades of Communism changed the cities but did little to alter the pastoral countryside.
It is difficult to move quickly through this land. The roads don't allow it, and somehow it feels wrong. This is a slow moving place where everything operates on a different standard.
We move on to the state's southern border, at the edge of the southern ranges of the Carpathian Mountains. It is here that we have come to play on our modern machines. The country’s highest road, the Transalpina, or “King’s Road,” is one of our targets. Another is Top Gear’s favorite, the Transfăgărăşan. Nicolae Ceaușescu, post WWII dictator of Romania, built the Transfăgărăşan Road at great cost in the early 70s. The Transalpina was rebuilt beginning in 2010. And we can conquer them both! Our double overnight in Brasov gives us time to ride a variety of other great, coiling roads, to enjoy stunning landscapes, and ride through pristine old mountain forests.
Our last days on the road are through Wallachia, where we will seem to have the area to ourselves. Passing through Roman communities the traffic becomes mixed with horse drawn carts, and the homes are most unusual.
Join us and ride the Carpathian Mountains as they curl across Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Ride a little harder and add another 2 additional countries to your "been there" list. Experience traditional local hospitality, discover beautiful countryside and explore historic towns. It's all a part of Beach's Transylvanian Trek.
Sept 10 - 24 Book Now
Sept 16 - 30
1850 miles / your choice
Budapest, Poprad, Brasov
includes a variety of a la carte, choice menu, fixed menu, and buffet style dinners.
detailing daily routing options, points of interest in route.
with turn by turn detail of all the daily route suggestions
embroidered with your name and tour
Prices based on shared twin/double room. Single rooms available at extra charge.
Rider price includes the choice of a BMW C650 Sport, C650GT, G650GS, F700GS, F800GS, F800GS Adventure, R1200GS, F800R, R1200R, or F800GT motorcycle with unlimited mileage. Other models are available at additional cost. Find out more about the various models of BMW Motorcycles available for use on a Beach tour.
Sports car Driver price does not include vehicle. Please see the list of convertibles available for use on a Beach tour for details and prices on the automobiles available.
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