Rimetea: rocks, fortress, and gulash
Traveling is hard. I’d even say that traveling is a kind of job you do, with the only one difference — you are the boss, you are the captain. Every single decision is up to you to make. Made your mind on a destination? How do you plan to get there? Who is in charge of booking flights? Know for sure if online check-in is not required? All your stuff fits into allowance of a cabin bag? Airport transfer? Staying in a hotel or a hostel or renting AirBnB? What is the local currency? Do they accept cards all around? What about day to day plan? Any preferences for a breakfast, lunch and a dinner? Museums, long city walks, outdoors activities or maybe renting a bike? Or a car. Or a scooter? Or maybe you take the local transport: what to choose —a one ride ticket, or a daily pass or… or a city card, maybe, as that could be cheaper? Perhaps they have discounted all-transport card for the weekend? Flying back late night? Missed a connection or flight cancelled?.. Million of those questions where you are the one to know or find answers to.
Well, of course you can do all this. People do this all the time. These days you have everything in your hands. All the cool tools. Booking, AirBnB, SkyScanner, Kiwi, Google Flights, Rome2Rio, WikiTravel, Lonely Planet, Google Maps, Maps.me, Foursquare… the entire Google after all. This is way incomplete list of services which can make your life and travel easier.
That is why one day destinations is what we love. Like Rimetea — one day no-brainer. Take your car, pick a day — that is it, you are all set to go. Hour and a half and the landscape around you changes from city jungle to rocks and green fields with herds of sheep.
Rimetea and Coltesti: two small villages on the Cluj Ring — a long day destination which includes Cheile Turzii, Cheile Turenilor and Salina Turda. Even though we are not aware of anyone who made the entire Ring in one day. Rimetea is located on the very edge of Cluj county (36 km away from Cluj) and belongs to Alba county. We’ve been told that Alba drivers are crazy. People say.
Rimetea is 3/4 Hungarian. It is listed as UNESCO heritage. However this is not what we are interested in. We come here for rocks.
Unexpectedly high range of rocks in between which Rimetea has its orange roofed houses. 700 m height difference between the village level and highest point on top. People come here for paragliding. We come here to hike and get a refresher on how tiny a single human being is on the background of rocks. Time-wise and physically. Rocks and mountains do not care about time. Or us. Not at all.
Alright, no more lyrics. Let’s see what you can get there. Park the car next to the church in the very village center or on one of side streets near the water source.
Both sides offer multiple hiking trails.
On the left (relative to you entering the village), follow the blue cross to make 4 or 5 hours hike tour from Rimetea to Coltesti. The ascend is steep and rocky, so you need the proper shoes. As a reward you get a beautiful view from the edge.
Keep following the rock top to soon start descending to Coltesti, where you are expected to exit next to famous and very busy Hungarian restaurant (where we ultimately suggest you trying goulash soup and papanash). During weekends you have none-to-zero chance to get seated immediately without having a reservation.
On the right from Rimetea we’ve seen multiple hiking trails marked on a map. We are going to be honest with you — we haven’t tried any, but we’ve heard that those offer spectacular views on the other rocky side (left bank). From the village perspective right side looks less steep, but that might be a wrong assumption.
If not in a mood for hiking (or you failed to do the reservation in a restaurant and have to wait for another hour or two) get back to the car and follow the road to Coltesti. Take right soon after you pass the village center to approach the old Coltesti Castle Ruins.
Getting all the way to the top of the Castle ruins can be a little tiresome, but the reward is another high altitude viewpoint.
That is basically it. We believe there is a single way to get back to Cluj from here. Beware of horse powered carts with no reflective signs and no lights if going home after dark!