– Guest post by travel blogger Adrienn from City of the Week –
Located in the northwestern part of the country, on the border with Ukraine, the gorgeous region of Maramureș in Romania is known for its green rolling hills, remote villages, stunning river valleys and friendly locals. Its unique landscape and architectural heritage provide an authentic insight to the Romanian countryside.
With so many things to see and do, you can plan a week-long visit to the area, but you can also get a taste of it during a long weekend getaway. Here are 5 things you mustn’t miss during your trip to Maramureș:
Visit the merriest cemetery in the World
One of the most popular landmarks in the whole area is the merry cemetery of Săpânța, famous for its colorful tombstones filled with fun drawings and hilarious poems depicting the life story of the deceased. Due to its unique characteristics and cheap entrance fee (1.2 euros for adults, 0.5 euros for children), it is visited by many Romanians and foreigners throughout the year.
Hop on the Mocănița Steam Train
One of the last functioning steam trains in Romania, the Mocănița takes you on a picturesque journey through the beautiful Vișeul Valley, surrounded by majestic hills. This adventure lasts more than 6 hours, including a short stop in a meadow where you can have a nice picnic. The cost of the trip is 11 euros for adults and an additional 8 euros for children. The steam train begins its circuit in the commune of Vișeu de Sus daily at 9 A.M. sharp during the high season.
Explore the Wooden Churches
The serene landscape of Maramureș is dotted by a myriad of wooden churches with an architectural shape typical of this particular region. There are over 100 such churches still standing and working to this day, despite the fact that many were built in the late 16th century.
Out of these, 8 are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. If you really want to delve into the local culture then I’d advise you to visit a church on a Sunday, during mass, when you can run into locals still dressed in traditional costume.
Go for a Hike in the Mountains
The Rodnei National Park is the second largest conservation site in the country, boasting over 567 square-kilometers of undisturbed natural landscape. With glacial lakes, exciting caves and challenging peaks, this mountain range is a favorite among hikers. All you need is some adequate gear and a sense of adventure!
See the tallest waterfall in Romania
If you’re not quite in the mood for a hike but would still like to breath in some fresh air, I’d recommend a short trip to the Horses’ Falls. The good news is that no effort is required to reach this amazing place among the pines (just some money and nice weather), thanks to the functioning chairlift taking you atop the mountain.
You can see the installment right next to the Cerbul Hotel in the town of Borșa. The chairlift works daily during the summer season between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M., costing 3.3 euros (return).
Once you’re at the top you only need to take a short walk and you’ll soon see and hear the falls right behind the trees. Sit back and relax at the foot of Horses’ Falls whilst admiring the scenery and munching on your well-deserved sandwich together with your loved ones.
Visiting Maramures: Practical Tips
The ideal time to visit this region is between May and October, when the weather’s perfect for both outdoor and cultural activities. The closest airport is in Cluj-Napoca, a two and a half hour drive away from Maramureș.
The easiest way to wander around the region is by car, so I definitely recommend flying in to Cluj-Napoca, renting a car from there and driving around during your stay – this way you’ll get not only the comfort of more space, but also the freedom to stop whenever you see a remarkable church!
Enjoy your time in Maramureș and don’t hesitate to get in touch with locals – they love it and are very proud when foreigners visit their land!
What do you think – are you ready to visit Maramureș region in Romania?
Author: Adrienn Takács is a Hungarian travel writer and blogger living in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. You can follow her adventures around European cities and the great outdoors at CityoftheWeek.net or on Facebook.