At first glance, you might think that Romania doesn’t have too much to offer. This was my first thought too, and then I started to discover little by little this amazing country. This year, for the 1st of May break, we decided to go to Maramures.
If you are looking for a vacation where you can experience the Authentic, Natural and Cultural, then this is the right choice. A trip to Romania can for sure offer you countless unique travel experiences, ones maybe forgotten in Western Europe.
Especially, because you can have beautiful road tfrom the Unique Danube Delta to a beautiful, intact, medieval town in Transylvania; from Bucharest to the Black Sea with its sun-kissed beaches; from Southern Transylvania to Bucovina or Maramures. Or to a step back in time as you visit one of the world’s famous painted monasteries in Bucovina, the ancient, hilltop citadel in Sighisoara or an authentic, centuries-old, folkloric village in Maramures.
For the First of May, we decided to take a 3 days Road Trip in Romania, from Bucharest to Maramures and back. We drove about 1,200 km and enjoyed many interesting things, beautiful places, good food, and pleasant people. It was an action-packed trip full of incredible highlights!
- Sighisoara – Transylvanian Citadel
Our first stop, Sighisoara, was an absolute treat. We stayed in the heart of the citadel that offered plenty of great things. This incredibly well preserved medieval town won us over as soon as we got out of the car. Located in the historic region of Transylvania, some 4 hrs drive from Bucharest, Sighisoara felt like a stepping back in time. We loved roaming the narrow cobblestone streets of Sighisoara, having a late dinner in a terrace just outside de citadel, admiring its colorful houses set amongst the rich autumn colors. And the view from the top of the Clock Tower was spectacular! Not to mention the excitement of sleeping in an amazing old house, decorated like in the old times. It was a real blessing. After a sunny morning and a snack someplace in a forest close to the city, from where you can have an astonishing panoramic view of the city, we were ready to move on. From there, it was a long drive through beautiful pastures and rolling green hills, towards the town of Viseu de Sus for an amazing ride with Mocanita.
- Riding the last forestry railway in Europe
We arrived late in Viseul de Sus due to a flat tire and a lot of other adventures on the road. But once we arrived in our guest house, we went directly to bed. It rained al night and we slept like babies. After a superfast breakfast, we went directly to the train station. There Mocanita train was waiting for us. We were going to ride a steam train build in 1932, along the River Vaser in the heart of Maramures Mountains. This train used to transport wood for the remote mountains areas, but not is used also for tourist eager to discover the mountains.
Steam train runs as far as Paltin station, approximately 2 hrs from Viseu de Sus. In Paltin there is a stop of 1-2 hrs, before the train returns. Once in Paltin station we had a short walk which was interrupted by a short rain. We had a picnic, with the help of the special catering services that was provided here. All the experience was amazing and my advice is to try it.
- Merry Cemetery in Sapanta
Sapanta is small village located right on the border of Ukraine and Romania and is known to tourists and local travelers for one thing only – the Merry Cemetery. The cemetery, established back in 1935, features over 800 colorful tombstones inscribed with light-hearted poems about the life and death of the deceased that represented the villager’s unique belief that death is a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life. It full with color and joy, you won’t feel like in a cemetery at all. Bloomberg put the Merry Cemetery on the top 10 must see cemetery in the world. But this bizarre and unique “attraction” wasn’t the only thing that drew us to Sapanta We loved the feel of the countryside itself, the authentic places and the incredible hospitality of the locals.
- Authentic county side of Maramures County
The best part of our drive through Maramures County was the beautiful laid back surroundings that we encountered along the way. The colorful trees, the horse and cart carriages, the never ending winding roads, the sprawling wheat fields, and the damp shaded virgin forest. This was nature at its best, unspoiled and untouched.
- Barsana Monastery – One of the most beautiful monasteries in Romania
Brasana is a village in Maramures, on the right bank of Iza River. The village is a very old one, its first existence was dated back in 1326, it is hosting one of the most beautiful Monastery in Romania: Barsana Monastery, actually a convent for nuns. The church was manually carved by some of the most talented craftsmen from Maramures. No power tools were used to construct this impressive construction, they used the old ways. It was a perfect place to relax and to admire.
- Corund – The village where the old craft are still alive
An old village where old crafts are still in use. This village is well-known for the potters that is taught from generation to generation, fungus-processing home-made industry, and its adventurous inhabitants. Everybody from this village do handicraft and near the street, every house is a “living workshop” which bade in front of the gate the valuable ware.
The village also has a valuable source of mineral water, salt springs and an impressive aragonite deposit. Corund has many things to offer. We were so surprised to discover this gem.
Our guide took us to different workshops where we show how ceramic, tinder items are being made.
- Turda Salt Mine – One of the coolest underground places in the world
We continued our road trip to Turda Salt Mine. If we were to place it in a classification, it would most surely be found in Top 10 places to see in Transylvania. Turda Salt Mine was dug during Middle Ages for salt exploitation, it momentary changed its function becoming one of the most visited sights in Romania. It is actually an assembly of mine galleries and operating rooms. Well looks like UFOs.
The hearth mine is situated at 112 m below the surface and is flooded with a lake. This was created by the accumulation in the salt mine of water infiltrations.
This salt Mine is incredible and worth a visit.
Well, this was our Maramures Road Trip and we are planning to do more of them. Maybe we can show you some other unrevealed gems.
Until them, don’t forget to travel with a smile.