After twenty years in one of the most successful furniture businesses and the sudden ill health of his mentor and father Noel, Paul had a change of consciousness about his life, purpose and legacy. In 2000, he established The European Nature Trust (TENT) with a focus on environmental and educational projects in Scotland and Romania. In 2003, he purchased Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, which is now the focus of a pioneering re-wilding and ecotourism initiative. With Paul at the helm, his unwavering mission is to connect both people and businesses to nature through an ever-increasing number of international environmental projects.
‘My fascination for the natural world was born from an early love of travel, exploration and a career sourcing furniture from around the globe. Yet in a world where a burgeoning human population seems to dominate almost every corner, even the most wild and hidden, it’s becoming ever more relevant to preserve the pockets of wilderness that still remain. Whilst much focus is rightly given to the wildlife and landscape degradation of Africa, Asia and the Americas, the focus of The European Nature Trust – TENT – are the amazing wild places on our doorstep. Romania, for example, is home to the largest tract of original and virgin forests in Europe, but since the fall of communism these have been increasingly threatened by greed and corruption. On the other side of the continent, the landscape of the Scottish Highlands has been under attack from man for thousands of years and just 1% of the original forest remains today. So, the goals of TENT are simple: through our activities – travel, film and events – we support proven conservation projects on the ground in key wilderness areas over the long-term, and above all, connect people to nature.’ Paul Lister
Join Paul and friends on a a 5-day cycling challenge, along with fantastic company, great hospitality, and fabulous food along the way, in aid of Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) to further their conservation efforts and see first hand the impact that your contribution will have over years to come. More than half of the European Union’s virgin forests are located in the Romanian Carpathians. Here, around a third of Europe’s large carnivores roam the forests, making them amongst the most valuable natural areas left in Europe. This all mixed with medieval villages and an ancient lifestyle make a unique experience for all visitors, who have an interest in nature.
This epic cycle journey takes us 200-kilometres through the Transylvanian hills, the habitat of the European brown bear, and through the picturesque medieval villages of Romania. Spend time with Europe’s leading conservationists, visit local wildlife hides for a chance to see bears in the wild, and help protect the largest virgin forests on the continent. Enjoy the best of local music, food, culture and wildlife along the way, meeting the people who have dedicated their lives to the protection of this land lost in time. Transylvanian food is simple, fresh, delicious, the very definition of organic, and for most visitors, a real highlight. We’ll eat in meadows, local homes, small independent restaurants and guest houses and experience the very best of Romanian hospitality, wine and culture.
- Activities as stated in the itinerary
- Bike hire
- Support vehicles
- Snacks and water
- Personal expenses
- Visas (if applicable)
- Travel Insurance
Day 1: Arrival
You will be picked up from Bucharest Otopeni Airport, and driven to Bran. Sitting on the hills above the town is Inn on Balaban, our accommodation for the night. Meet Paul and friends and settle in.
Day 2: Cycle to Sinca Noua
After breakfast we will be fitted for bikes, and set off from Bran Castle and cycle approximately 50km to Sinca Noua. Here, at the foot of the Carpathians and the Eastern corner of the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site, is Equus Silvania, where we will stay for the next night. Visit the local wildlife hide where we will have the opportunity to see bears in the wild. Dinner will follow. - 50km on backroads -
Day 3: Sinca Noua to Miklosvar
We will visit the TENT Wild Kingdom bus at the local school before cycling towards Miklosvar, a beautiful traditional village in the Hungarian region of Transylvania. We will be staying in Count Kalnoky’s guesthouses in the heart of the village, restored in order to preserve their original charm and character. - 50km on tarmac, forestry roads and paths -
Day 4: Miklosvar to Zalanpatak
We carry on cycling through the remote country, stopping for lunch in a secluded valley. We will then continue on to Zalanpatak, staying at HRH The Prince of Wales's private nature retreat, which lies nestled amongst the meadows and hills of Zalán Valley. Walk through the beautiful, rich wild flower meadows before having dinner at the retreat. - 35km on backroads, forestry roads and tracks –
Day 5: Zalantapak to Zabola
Last, and also the longest day on the bike will see us riding from Zalanpatak to Zabola, a historic estate owns and run by a Hungarian noble family. In the evening we will visit their wildlife hide - for the chance to see wild animals including European brown bears - before a fantastic dinner in the old stable block, where we will be entertained by a local folk band. - 65 kms on tarmac, backroads and forestry roads -
Day 6: Departure
Transfer back to Bucharest with lunch on the way at Catacuzino Castle.