» Stay Authentic ! Unique accommodations in Romania
» Narrow Gauge Train Trips in Maramures - Romania
» Transylvania on 40 Wheels.
» Weekly Produce Markets Are Part of Village Life in Romania
» Learn about Romania's rural life and traditional crafts at Palmari's Centre
» Hutul Horses of the Romanian Carpathians
» Visit Hoia - Baciu Haunted Woods, near Cluj Napoca

Stay Authentic ! Unique accommodations in Romania

A number of century-old manor houses and residences, as well as unique hotels that stand out
due to their long and interesting history, beautiful architecture, unique/ traditional decorations, modern design,
rooms with spectacular view, character and great value are presented in our section dedicated to
Distinctive, Authentic Romania Accommodations.

Narrow Gauge Train Trips in Maramures - Romania

The narrow-gauge railway and the steam powered locomotives (Mocanita) in Viseu de Sus are one of the most remarkable railway heritage attractions in Romania and in Eastern Europe. It is the only remaining, working narrow gauge forestry railway of many that were constructed -in 1932 - to transport timber from the vast, remote forests of the Carpathian Mountains and their foothills.

Starting from Viseu de Sus - a small logging town in Maramures - the railway climbs the beautiful roadless Vaser valley for 31 miles, deep into the forests of the Maramures mountains to the tiny hamlet of Coman. Today, four steam-powered locomotives (the oldest one was built in 1910) are transporting logs, down, and lumberjacks and visitors up and down the valley.

The train is the only access to settlements up the valley, other than on foot. During the relaxing journey, travelers can enjoy the views of woodland and rushing rivers. After a picnic and / or a walk in the forest while the train is loaded at the terminus travelers will return to Viseu de Sus. On the trip back in the afternoon, the engine driver whistles for brakemen to stop the train - sometimes for passengers, or even to pick mushrooms.

The local people are friendly with fascinating stories to tell. In short, this is a remarkable survival from an earlier age, well worth a visit, and one that will benefit from more tourist traffic in its efforts to survive in this fast modern age (not that speed and modernity have penetrated far into the Maramures region).

The train operates:
May through June: selected weekdays and weekends
July through Mid-September: daily
Mid-September through beginning of November: selected weekdays and weekends
March, April, December, January: selected dates

Mocanita - Maramures, Schedules and Fares.

Tickets can be purchased on-line or at Mocanita - Steam Train Station in Viseu de Sus.
Ticket booth opens at 7:00 am.

Note: Large groups need to reserve tickets in advance (due to limited seating) or book a Charter Train.

Valea Vaserului Area Map - Mocanita route map stating from Viseu de Sus

More information and reservations:
Telephone: (+4) 0372 672 480

Transylvania on 40 Wheels
A Journey through the heart of Romania.

Transylvania Train will take you to a journey through the hills, forests and villages of Southern Transylvania,
filled with the land's tales, foods and crafts.

Once a year, the Romanian Railway Company,
in cooperation with Globe 365 and Free – Spirit Romania,
offers a unique opportunity to discover and experience the culture and traditions
of Romania’s best known region: Transylvania,
on-board of the five-car “Transylvania Train” with a crew of 30.

Transylvania Train 4-day itinerary includes stops in
Braşov – Saschiz - Sighişoara – Mediaş – Alba Iulia - Sebeş – Sibiu – Făgărăş – Braşov.

2022 train tour Itinerary, schedule and highlights:

Day 1, exact date TBA:
A day in “Haferland” – the Oat Country
Train leaves Brasov at 10 a.m.
Visits to Saxon villages : Archiţa, Cloașterf, Meșendorf, Viscri and Criţ.
Dinner and overnight in Sighisoara

Day 2, exact date TBA:
Crafts of Transylvania – visits to artisans and craft workshops
Train leaves Sighisoara at 9:30 a.m.
Visits to Medias and villages in the area.
Reception at “Alba Carolina” medieval fortress – Alba Iulia
Dinner and overnight in Alba Iulia

Day 3, exact date TBA:
Flavors of Transylvania – food tastings and cooking classes
Train leaves Alba Iulia at 9 a.m.
Visits to Sebeş and Avrig.
Dinner picnic in Avrig
Overnight in Sibiu

Day 4, exact date TBA:
From Sibiu to “Burzenland” – ing classes
Sightseeing in Sibiu, morning concert – Smaller Square
Train leaves Sibiu at noon
Stop in Făgărăş. Visit and lunch at Făgărăş Fortress
Train leaves Făgărăş at 3 p.m.
Arrive Braşov at 4 p.m.

Traditional foods, local wines and plum brandy tastings are scheduled daily on board of the train.

More information & reservations:

Weekly Produce Markets Are Part of Village Life in Romania

Slow-paced villages and gentle, welcoming people may be the words that best describe the Maramures region, situated in northwestern Romania.

Centuries-old traditions are still alive in the rural areas of Maramures.
In late afternoon, old women sit outside their gates coaxing coarse wool onto spindles. Many still favor traditional dress, meaning white frounced blouses, striped woven panels covering full black skirts, headscarves and opinci, a sort of leather ballet slipper from which heavy yarn criss-crosses over thick socks. On Sunday, such dress is practically de rigueur, even for little girls.

Although there are quite a few superstores and shopping malls in Romania's larger cities, people in the countryside still meet regularly to trade livestock, tools, seeds, grains and other agricultural products, as their ancestors did for hundreds of years.

Deals are sealed with a handshake, a sip of home-made plum brandy and cash payments.
Although children will easily find a can of Pepsi, they may be tempted by locally produced sweets such as nicely decorated gingerbread (turta dulce) in various forms and shapes and huge doughnuts (gogosi), made on the spot.

Weekly fairs and produce markets take place in many villages in Maramures. Below is a schedule of such events:

Day of the week/ frequency Name of the village Local information
Every Monday Somcuta Mare, Ulmeni, Arinis+40 742 972.120
First and second Monday of each month:Bogdan Voda+40 262 330.602
Every TuesdayRozavlea0262 330.602
Every FridayStramtura, Podul Slatioarei+40 262 330.602
Every SaturdayBotiza+40 262 330.602

Maramures Info
Str. Gheorghe Sincai 46
430311 Baia Mare
Telephone: (+4) 0262 206.113

Learn about Romania's rural life and traditional crafts at Palmari's Centre

Just seven miles south of Bran Castle, Palamari's Cultural Centre re-creates the atmosphere of a traditional rural household and it offers visitors a glimpse into Romania's rural life and culture. This traditional architectural complex - comprising two wooden houses and an Orthodox church brought from Maramures and rebuilt in Transylvania - offers stunning views of the Carpathian Mountains, the nearby terraced hills and the evergreen forests.

Workshops and activities offered at Palmari's include: traditional jewelry making, (painted) eggs decoration, painting on glass, Romanian traditional dances, clay / pottery modeling, nature walks, traditional cooking classes, photography.

Contact information:
Palmari's Cultural Centre
Str. Principala 39 C
Drumul Carului - Moeciu de Jos
Telephone: (+4) 0723 656.024

Hutul Horses of the Romanian Carpathians

Photographer Manuela Stefan takes us to meet the Hutul horses in the Northern Carpathians in Romania.

I was born and grew up in Romania. I often travel back to visit my family and friends.
Last December was a bit different. I went home with the intention of finding and photographing some horses roaming free in the Southern Romanian forests. I was detoured.
Prior to my arrival, my dear mother watched a documentary on the Hutul horses from the Northern Carpathians, and she felt the subject might interest me.
I did my research, discovered Lucina Stables and decided to travel to the other end of the country.
The adventure exceeded my expectations. Horses have always been a big part of the Romanian people's lives. In many areas of the country, men and their four legged partners are intimately connected, and the animals are indispensable in most households. I mention this while staying faithful to the threads that tie my equine stories and photographs together–– depicting horses' vibrant spirit and reflecting their desire to run free, regardless of their circumstances.
The locals in Bucovina (notheastern Romania) are extremely proud of these horses, which are so relevant to their existence in the area. Lucina Stables' crew makes sustained efforts to preserve the breed by carefully and selectively working with the blood lines.
Opened in the 1850′s by the Austrian Colonel Martin Von Hermman for the equine needs of the Austrian army, Lucina stables still raise Hutul horses, known for their exceptional adaptability, strength and agility.
With the exception of the breeding stallions, the horses at Lucina roam free in very large paddocks with creeks flowing through. They seem to be more aware of their free nature and they are connected with each other in a herd context, while exploring their natural environment. It is quite refreshing to witness.
I was able to enjoy the company of almost 60 horses, most of which were gestating mares expected to foal this spring. The energy around the group was simply extraordinary. During my stay, one mare kept following me around to the point where I could not even take photos as she was beside me all the time. Before leaving, I went to say goodbye to my four-legged friends. She came to me, and while I was caressing her face, more of her friends joined and it all turned into a strange, beautiful, emotional procession. I was overwhelmed and had tears rolling down my face. I did not want to go! The experience truly brought my artistic vision to a new level. It shifted the way I look at my equine work and is already helping me imagine new adventures.

About the Author and Photographer:

Manuela Stefan is a Toronto based lifestyle and equine photographer with a keen eye for capturing the spirit of the horse in interesting locations worldwide. Her love for travel and horses has brought her to spectacular locations in France, Romania, Canada and the U.S. She has exhibited her large format equine images in Toronto and Collingwood, Ontario and Montana. Her adventures continue.
Check out her Equine Blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter @GracefulHorses.

Visit Hoia - Baciu Haunted Woods, near Cluj Napoca

Since August 1968 when military technician Emil Barnea captured some of the best photos of a flying saucer in the world, researchers and the public have been fascinated with Hoia-Baciu, a forested area of about 1.2 sq. miles (located 5 miles west of Cluj Napoca), where alleged varied paranormal phenomena occur frequently.
Once said to stand straight and tall, the trees are even twisted into knots now.

BBC has named Hoia Baciu Woods the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania”,
one of the most mysterious places in Europe,
and Travel + Leisure has included it on its list of “World’s Most Haunted Forests”.

Residents of nearby towns claim the forest—which has a circular clearing at the center—is a portal and that those who pass through it may never return. One legend says that a shepherd with 200 sheep went into the woods and never came out again... Visitors also reported unexplained phenomena such as orb lights of different colors and shapes, voices, the feeling of being watched, nausea, migraines, burns, scratches, anxiety and other unusual sensations.

Would you like to experience the feeling of being watched, or maybe to just listen to the legends of one of the world's most haunted forests ... ? Hoia-Baciu Woods, located just five miles west of Cluj Napoca, are a must for those who are chasing thrills, or just looking for a nature walk nature, while in or near Cluj.

For more info or to arrange a tour please contact Hoia Baciu Tours.