Rimetea (also known as Torockó in Hungarian) is an idyllic village in the Alba County of Romania. It is a magical place where “the sun rises twice”, a strange phenomenon that happens because of the neighboring Piatra Secuiului Mountains (Székelykő in Hungarian).
The Piatra Secuiului mountains soar 480 meters above the small village of Rimetea, so the sun rises once above the horizon, dips behind the mountains, and then once again above the mountains.
It is no surprise that one of the most popular activities in Rimetea is hiking the Piatra Secuiului mountains.
The peak of the Piatra Secuiului offers unparalleled views of the surrounding Romanian countryside, a view worth dying for (figuratively).
Our blog post will tell you how you can do the Piatra Secuiului hike in Rimetea and have those views yourself!
How To Get To Piatra Secuiului In Rimetea
The easiest trailhead to locate for the Piatra Secuiului Mountain is located in Rimetea, a village of about 1000 inhabitants located 1 hour away from Cluj-Napoca.
Because it is a small village in the rural areas of Romania, public transportation is lacking. The best way to visit Rimetea is to have your own car, as many of the locals in the villages do. We recommend you to rent a car in Cluj-Napoca and take a day trip from Cluj to Rimetea.
Alternatively, you can rent the car for your entire trip and do a Romania road trip!
Once you have arrived in Rimetea, the trailhead to Piatra Secuiului is located in the outskirts of town. You can park your car in the center of town and walk or drive a little closer to the bottom of the mountain.
Though it will save you 15 minutes or so, the roads leading to the outskirts of town are not well-paved. We visited in autumn when the weather is still decent and the road was gravelly, steep, and filled with potholes. We can imagine the road in the winter to be much more treacherous.
At the start of the trail, you will see a flag with a white square and a dark blue cross. That is the indicator for the trail and you are now on the proper route!
Half the struggle is locating the start of the trail. Now you get to enjoy the challenging hike and beautiful views!
Our Experience Hiking The Piatra Secuiului (Székelykő) In Romania
At 480 meters above the village of Rimetea, we expected the hike to be quite difficult. The difficulty doesn’t start with the first step on the mountain, but the intimidation from the looming giant that can be felt from the town.
Nevertheless, we have seen photos from the top of the Piatra Secuiului and knew it was worth the trouble.
Using maps.me as our navigation, we managed to find the trailhead and a place to park our car, a nice patch of grass in a large field. At that point, we were already many meters above the town, and the view was incredible.
Once you have located the trail, it is difficult to get lost. What makes the trail so difficult is the elevation gained. 480 meters of elevation is not a big deal. But 480 meters in one hour, now that is physically strenuous.
The hiking trail for Piatra Secuiului is not too technical. Most of the trail is covered in big rocks and boulders so you might need a little bit of flexibility or a good stretch before hiking. Parts of the path also contain loose sand.
Though it is easy going up, descending on loose sand is a serious issue, especially if you don’t have proper hiking shoes. Here in Piatra Secuiului is where I encountered my first hiking accident, slipping on the loose sand and hitting my face with my own camera. 🙂
On the trail, we noticed many Hungarian flags painted onto the rocks. Being an old Hungarian village for close to 1000 years, we weren’t surprised to see it. In fact, even though Rimetea is in Romania, most of the population speaks Hungarian. Some locals barely speak any Romanian.
On the way to the top is a small “waterfall”. We were taking a break there when we met three Hungarian hikers coming from the other direction. They stopped at the “waterfall” and just started drinking the refreshing cold water from the waterfall.
It was difficult to resist the urge, especially after hiking in the Romanian sun at midday. But since food poison seems to follow me around like the plague, I endured the temptation and moved on. If I had a LifeStraw Water Bottle or something similar, I would’ve indulged in it.
When hiking up, don’t forget to take your time and check out the scenery behind you. The hike is very scenic throughout, with jagged mountains framing the idyllic village of Rimetea.
After about an hour of hiking, we reached the ridge of the mountain. Behind us is Rimetea and the Alba County, on the other side of the ridge is the Cluj County of Romania, both are marvelous sights.
However, this isn’t the top of Piatra Secuiului. At the top of the ridge, we followed a path to the right for around 15 mins. This path was mildly vegetated and a lot easier to hike than the previous parts.
Alas, we overcame the final small slope and the Romanian countryside came into sight one by one. The clear blue sky (hopefully), the colorful foliage in the distance, then the small geometric farms, and then finally, the hidden gem of Romania, Rimetea.
One by one, these beautiful elements combine to form the picturesque countryside Romania is known for.
The difficult hike we endured to get here definitely enhanced the view, as the views took our breath away as much as the trail did.
We sat down for a bit and enjoyed a packed lunch we bought from the convenience store in Cluj-Napoca. The crisp autumn air and the warm autumn sun were blissful on our sweaty bodies, and the cheap sandwich we bought tasted like the best meal in our lives.
After taking in the views and having our lunch, it was time to head back. We were traveling from Cluj-Napoca to Sibiu that day and didn’t want to arrive too late.
Because of the loose sand and steep declines, the way down was extremely treacherous. If you don’t have hiking shoes, we recommend you to go down very slowly. You might have to slide on your butt at times (like I did). Once you get to the rocky bits, the trail becomes a lot easier.
The whole hike took us a total of 2.5 hours and every minute was worth it!
Additional Things To do In Rimetea, Romania
If you are doing a day trip to Rimetea for hiking the Piatra Secuiului, you might want to spend some time exploring the village itself. Because we visited during off-peak season and on a weekday, most of the restaurants, museums, and attractions were closed.
However, that didn’t stop us from walking around and enjoying the beauty of a simple rustic village. With its traditional features, Rimtea has earned a spot on the tentative list for a UNESCO Heritage Site, and you can see the heritage in the well-preserved white houses and barns in town.
We heard that during summer, the parking lots in Rimetea would be filled with tour buses from Hungary. With such a big Hungarian population, it is no surprise Hungarians would come visit Torockó (Rimetea in Hungarian).
Here are some additional things to do in Rimetea, Romania.
1. Visit the Ethnographic Museum Rimetea
At the Ethnographic Museum of Rimetea, visitors can learn about the history of Rimetea and its former glory as a mining town. This small museum features many artifacts that tell the story of its complicated history and will help you appreciate Rimetea a lot more.
Don’t miss this attraction!
2. Visit A Local Pub Such As Könyvtár Kocsma
There are several pubs in Rimetea, the one that’s highly recommended is the Könyvtár Kocsma (Don’t ask me how to pronounce that). An affordable local bar with a friendly owner, you can properly relax with a cold beer and an amazing view of the Piatra Secuiului.
3. Try Local Transylvanian Food At Szarvas
If you are looking for food in Rimetea, you really don’t have many options. The popular restaurant Szarvas is the place to go when it comes to food in Rimetea. Serving traditional Hungarian food at an affordable price, guests can have a pleasant experience at their beautiful rustic location.
Best Time To Visit Rimetea And Hike Piatra Secuiului (Szekelyko)
The best time to visit Rimetea is the summer peak season. Every establishment is open, villagers are out and about, and the village comes to life. However, the tourist crowd might be a little too much, especially on the weekend.
If your only intention of visiting Rimetea is to hike the Piatra Secuiului, it is probably better to visit in the autumn or spring.
The village itself might not be as lively as the summer, but the temperate weather and low rainfall are ideal for hiking. Fall and spring are generally the best seasons to do any type of hiking in Romania.
Where To Stay In Rimetea, Romania
Though one day in Rimetea should be enough, there is nothing wrong with staying for a few days to enjoy the beautiful landscapes in this region.
Here is where we recommend staying in Rimetea.
Best Hotel in Rimetea- Pensiunea ARANYOS
Out of the few hotels in Rimetea, Pensiunea ARANYOS is the best among them. With traditional decor and rustic vibes, the property is absolutely gorgeous and fitting of Rimetea. Included in the price is a traditional Transylvania breakfast prepared using local ingredients.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable. Combined with the cozy decor, the place feels like a home away from home.
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This concludes our guide on Rimetea and how to hike the Piatra Secuiului. We hope you will enjoy this beautiful village in Romania as much as we did!
Any questions? Leave a comment!
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