Indeed, this is a country truly blessed by nature. The natural diversity encountered here is really special. Crossed by massive and old mountains, bordered by the Black Sea and the Danube Delta, Romania has an endless source of natural tourist attractions appreciated by travelers from all around the world.
If we can say that the Carpathian Mountains, the Black Sea and the Danube Delta are the three major nature attractions in Romania, when visiting the country you will find that there are many other beautiful, and maybe less known places that are true jewels of nature. In this article I will tell you details about such “secret” places, describing 3 nature attractions in Romania I have visited and love to visit all around the year.
1. The Bigăr Waterfall
The Bigăr waterfall, located in Western Romania’s Caraș Severin county, is considered one of the country’s most popular falls. The place is included on a list of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. More exactly, the waterfall is located in the Bigăr Reservation from Semenic Mountains and is for sure an important nature attraction in Romania.
From Bucharest to Bigăr Falls there are about 452 kilometers by car. You can locate the place on the Romanian map between localities Bozovici and Anina.
Next to Bigăr waterfall, you enter the nature reservation. The waterfall is a few meters away from the main road. There is also a stopping place for tourists where you can park your car. You can walk for about 10 minutes to see where the Bigăr Cave springs from. Bigăr is a powerful spring whose water comes from underground, and passes through a cave that bears its name.
A very remarkable fact is that this wonderful waterfall is located exactly where the 45th parallel north passes through the Romanian territory. The 45th parallel is halfway distance between the Equator and the North Pole. The water falls from about 8 meters height, springing from below a huge rock of over 50 meters high. Specialists say the water is very clean, drinkable and rich in limestone. I never tried it, so don’t know how tasty it is.
A local legend says that people who want to find eternal love must drink water from the Bigăr waterfall. Foreign journalists wrote about the beauty of the waterfall, they declared fascinated by it, the waterfall being in their opinion one of the most unusual and spectacular in the world. So, don’t miss this nature beauty, and do take your camera with you, as you’ll be able to catch some wonderful pics.
Important update: In June 2021, a big part of the rock above which the waterfall was flowing collapsed, which led to significant damage to the original setup of the waterfall. Please refer to photo below to see how the waterfall looks now.
The collapse was caused by natural causes, as per explanations provided by representatives of Romsilva (the Romanian national agency for forestry).
When can you visit the waterfall?
The good news is the waterfall can be visited any time of the year, and during any season. Being easily reachable, the access is full time. Each season displays the waterfall in a distinct fascinating landscape. In the autumn, for example, the splendid colors of trees create landscapes worthy of painting, while during winter the waterfall sometimes freezes, the icicles forming a veritable ice structures just like from the Elsa’s stories.
2. Seven Ladders Canyon
Another great nature attraction in Romania is the Seven Ladders Canyon from the Piatra Mare Mountains. It may sound surprising to you, but the canyon is quite very close to Bucharest. You have to take the car towards Predeal (the well-known mountain resort on Prahova Valley), which is only 160 km from Bucharest.
After you pass Predeal, you will immediately reach a locality called Timișu de Jos. In Timișu de Jos you will see a road sign indicating towards right, just like the one below. You will have to turn right as per the sign shows, and after approximately 1 more kilometer you will be arriving at the end of the road where you’ll have to leave the car. From where you leave the car (there is a parking place that looks like end of the road, with a barrier), you will have to go by foot. It is an approximately 30 minutes walk through the forest.
The canyon is just like a labyrinth of suspended ladders built by man between mountain rocks and waterfalls. To me, the canyon itself looks like a splendid work of art, a wonderful sculpture work done by water alone in mountain stone.
The route has a total length of 160 meters. The difference between the first and last level is of approximately 58 m. The first ladder of the waterfall has 8 steps, compared to the last one which has 35 steps. The highest ladder you’ll have to climb has approximately 15 meters and it also looks to be the most dangerous, as it’s very close to a waterfall which makes it slippery. The entire route through the canyon is approximately 200 – 250 meters long. I understand the name of the canyon comes from the 7 waterfalls that have formed over time on the thread of the valley.
The Seven Ladders Canyon is too little known for how beautiful and how easily accessible it is. Although it is a very old tourist destination, it deserves much more exposure! But lately it has become very visited and an appreciated nature attraction in Romania.
When can you visit the canyon?
The canyon can be entered daily, only between 10:00 and 18:00. When weather does not allow it (heavy rain or snow), the canyon is closed to visitors. You also have to pay an entry fee, which is 10 Romanian lei for adults, and 5 lei for children and students.
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3. The Red Lake
The Red Lake is one of my dearest nature attractions in Romania, and one I find more and more interesting each time I visit. Unfortunately is not very close to Bucharest, so it takes me at least 5 hours to reach by car.
Located in Harghita county, in the Eastern Carpathians, it’s the place where the hystorical region of Transylvania meets Moldova and offers dreamy landscapes and a unique nature attraction in Romania: a real submerged forest, the only one existing in the country. More exactly, it is a natural dam lake which formed after the collapse of an entire mountain side, due to the earthquake that took place on 23 January 1838, of 6.9 magnitude, located at the foot of Mount Hășmașul Mare.
The earthquake dislodged huge chunks of rock from the slopes. With the collapse of the rocks a whole valley was blocked, and a big surface of the local forest was flooded. And today we can still see the trunks of the trees rising from the water, which makes the Red Lake a unique nature attraction in Romania.
The Red Lake is the largest natural dam lake in Romania. The water has a specific red colour, which is given by the clay which forms part of the composition of the local soil. There are many interesting local legends linked to the colour of the lake. One which is very popular says that the colour was given by the blood of two lovers who died covered by the rocks which fell into the lake.
Legend says that their parents did not agree to their marriage, so one they they had to flee from home. But they were caught by a heavy rain, which displaced a big rock from the mountain near the lake. The rock fell and caught the lovers underneath, so they died. Their blood poured into the lake, and the water was coloured red.
If you visit the place, I recommend you rent a boat and go rowing on the lake. It is a wonderful experience. The lake is so quiet and peaceful, that it puts you into a wonderful and special inner state. While you row on the lake, you will get to admire the wild ducks that are living here. They are paddling on the lake in search of food. It is funny watching them dipping their heads underwater and doing amusing gymnastics exercises.
If you go hiking on the mountains in the area, you should know there are chances for you to meet with bears. Harghita county is home to a significant population of brown bears. So, you should follow local guidelines and regulations that can help you protect from bears if you meet them on a hike.
This is my list of 3 nature attractions in Romania I recommend you visit in this article. If you want to contribute with useful ideas, please feel free to leave your comments below.