Is Romania the last wild country in Europe? Judging by its majestic forests, sanctuaries, natural diversity, and bizarre geological formations, I incline to agree. If you want to discover more, follow this list of natural Romanian tourist attractions worth visiting!
1.Transaplina Road, Gorj-Alba counties
The Transalpina is the highest paved road in Romania, stretching across four counties, meaning 92 miles; Iis’ highest point is in Urdele Pass (at 2,145 m). Transalpina’s origins are unclear: some say it dates back to the Roman Empire time. Others say it started as a shepherds’ path across the mountains (therefore the name). As a consequence of the high altitude, Transalpina is open from mid-May to mid-October; the crossing takes at least 3 hours. Tourists can park aside the road to admire the breathtaking view and go for a walk on the mountain plateau. After that, they can spend the night at Ranca, a popular tourist resort in Gorj county.
2. Bigar Waterfall, Caras-Severin county
The waterfall is situated in an extended protected area, precisely on the 45th parallel north, halfway between the Equator and The North Pole. The Bigar Waterfall is the first on the list of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Its mesmerizing, fairytale-like appearance attracts many tourists. My efforts at describing it won’t do this natural monument any justice, so here’s the Bigar Waterfall in all its glory.
If you happen to be in the area, you should also visit more Romanian tourist attractions. The Watermills in Rudaria are only a few miles away. The complex consists of 22 still functional wooden mills, which grind cereals, producing pure flour tourists can buy from the locals.
3. Bears’ Cave, Bihor county
A group of amateur speleologists has discovered this cave in the mid-70s. Its name comes from the 140 skeletons of cave bears that have been found inside. This species had disappeared more than 27 thousand years ago. The Bears’ Cave consists of three galleries and four halls, so cave enthusiasts have plenty of space to explore.
The Apuseni Mountains house over 1500 caves and many of them are natural Romanian tourist attractions worth visiting. One of them is Scarisoara Cave, containing a 4000 years-old underground glacier, the biggest in Europe. Another one is the Vartop Glacier Cave, in which three Neanderthal footprints have been found.
4. Danube Delta, Tulcea county
The Danube Delta stretches for 2000 square miles before the river reaches the Black Sea. The Delta is a natural protected area and one of the most famous Romanian tourist attractions. This barely-populated area reunites many ecosystems, housing thousands of plants, fish, birds, and mammals. As you can see, the Danube Delta is an excellent destination for eco-tourism, as visitors can catch their fish and eat traditional dishes. Moreover, they can navigate on the many canals and between the villages by boat. Another tourist attraction in this area is the Letea subtropical Forest, where wild horses roam free. If you plan to explore the Delta, make sure to bring mosquito repellent!
5. The Valley of the Bisons Sanctuary, Neamt county
The bison is the largest herbivorous mammal in Europe. Once they were the predominant species, but nowadays, they roam free in only nine countries, Romania included.
The natural park consists of 30 ha of forest, which houses diverse flora and fauna, the most famed one being the Carpathian Bison. The breeding program has started in the 60s. There are about 30 specimens released into the natural park’s wilderness; their total number is 45.
The Sanctuary is open for tourists every day between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information about the area, check out this website.
6. The Sphinx & Babele, Bucegi mountains
The Sphinx is a natural rock formation that resembles the well-known Egyptian monument. Unlike it, the Romanian Sphinx was sculpted by the wind and rainfall over thousands of years. The formation does look like a gigantic face only when viewed from the profile. The Sphinx is located in the Bucegi mountains at an altitude of 2,216 meters (7,270 ft).
Nearby, you can also behold other natural Romanian tourist attractions. Babele (‘The crones’) are four peculiar rock formations. They look like four older women huddled together, gossiping – hence the nickname.
7. Gradina Zmeilor Reservation, Salaj county
This tourist attraction is a geological nature reserve that includes diverse flora and fauna. Its name would translate as ‘The Dragons’ Garden,’ referring to the peculiar rock giants scattered around the area. They look like mushrooms, stone towers, and contorted stone giants. The locals named them Eva, The Soldiers, The Captain, and so on. If you listen closely, you might hear the giants whispering to each other… Or was it the wind through the trees?
While you’re here, you can also visit the cave nearby, which stretches for over 400 miles in the heart of the mountain.
8. LiBEARty Sanctuary, Brasov county
The Zarnesti Sanctuary houses 116 brown bears who have been held or mistreated in captivity. The LiBEARty project aims to offer these majestic animals a chance at a better life. Due to their prolonged confinement, these bears don’t stand a chance in the wilderness, so the sanctuary is their only chance. They roam freely in a designated area and receive proper food and care. You can support the Sanctuary by visiting it and bringing your friend with you on tour. More information about the tickets here.
9. The Muddy Volcanoes, Buzau county
The Muddy Volcanoes are the most peculiar natural Romanian tourist attractions. They got their name from the mud and clay eruptions. The phenomenon is caused by natural gases which accumulate from over 3000 meters deep. The expelled mud is cold, so it doesn’t pose any threat; still, it’s better to keep your distance.
Most people are impressed by the barren landscape in the area, an affordable substitute to the Moon’s surface – for now.
10. Bicaz Canyon & The Red Lake
Situated at the border between Neamt and Harghita county, these last two Romanian tourist attractions connect Moldavia and Transilvania. The canyon is a narrow, winding path dug by the Bicaz river. The route will undoubtedly challenge your driving skills, especially since there are many trinket shops squeezed between the road the rock walls. At the end of this path lies the Red Lake, formed after an earthquake. It killed many villagers, and the water became crimson with their blood, hence its name. But let’s not dwell on this legend! The view is spectacular, and so are the mountain trails you can explore.
That’s it, folks! Our list of natural Romanian tourist attractions worth visiting has come to an end. In case you missed it, make sure to check out the first part of the article here – we’ve got castles, Dacian ruins, salt mines, and abbeys you’ll fall in love with!