A holiday in Maramures is not what you would expect, simply because this place is so unique that it will always reveal the unexpected – in the best way possible, of course! The lure of a land of which you have heard only good things will make you travel the world just to find a region of dream that is a must-see tourist attraction at least once in your life. We have made a top three list of the best things to do in this amazing region, but there are many more, we assure you. But for now, just to open your apetite, let’s see
Venture towards Horse Falls
In order to get to Horse Falls, you have to get at Borsa tourist resort first; this place is located in the eastern county of Maramures, near Rodna Mountains National Park. Borsa’s village is particularly appreciated by fans of winter sports; nearby, there are several quality slopes – the most important is Runc-Stiol, which has a length of 2 km – and a natural trampoline with a length of 90 meters, for those who dare to “fly” with skis. Otherwise, there are plenty of hostels, hotels to enjoy the quiet summers in a picturesque scenery.
You have two options to get to the Horse Falls from Borsa, namely the Resort located at an altitude of 1300 meters. If your your allow you, just follow the route marked with a red triangle; it will take you about two hours by foot, or climb the mountain on a chairlift, which operates in both summer and winter (their program begins at 9.00 and the last race is at 17.00). If you choose this option, you can go through the woods a bit more, about 20 minutes, to reach the waterfall. This is the highest waterfall in Romania: has a heights of 90 meters, and is divided into several stages.
Horse Falls is not necessarily impressive by the volume of water that it delivers (of course, it depends on the season you visit it), but by its natural location. Just like any place that respects itself, this waterfall also bears an old legend (although some say the story was real), revealing that the name of the place comes from the fact that long ago, several horses belonging to the local inhabitants were cornered by a bear during a storm, just on the edge of the plateau where the waterfall is formed today. Frightened and helpless, the horses were left with no option than to throw themselves into the void of the precipice and perished from the sight of the bear ravenous. Following this tragedy, people have named several places in the area in memory of their horses Horses’ Bridge, Horses’ Waterfall, Horse’s Spring, Horses’ Mountain.
On the way to the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta you pass through Sighetul Marmatiei, a town of 40,000 inhabitants placed at the Ukrainian border. Sighet was documented for the first time in 1326 (the town was known only by the name of Sighet until 1964) and had a turbulent history marked by several events. One of the darkest hours in the history of the place was in 1950, when in the town’s prison were brpught a lot of representatives of Romania’s elite, opponents of the new communist regime: ministers, heads of government, leaders of democratic parties, generals, academics , men of letters, bishops of the Greek-Catholic church etc.
As a result, today, one of the main attractions of the area is the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance, which is in close proximity to the City Hall. The former prison has been converted into a museum, a memorial of pain that reconstructs and analyzes the painful past of those dark years of Romania. The Memorial has been founded by poet Ana Blandiana and writer Romulus Rusan, and the Sighet Museum has been developed with the support of the Center of Studies, which has its headquarters in Bucharest. It opens at 9.30 and the visitation fee is 6 lei.
Sighet is an interesting and quite animated town, offering visitors many other tourist attractions, that are much happier. Among them, Maramures Village Museum, an outdoor museum that houses a reserve of traditional architecture and monuments in the entire area of Maramures. You can also visit the Ethnographic Museum, with exhibits where you can see traditional objects, icons painted on glass and wood, pieces of folk etc.
Take a ride on Mocăniţa
Mocăniţa is a top attraction in Maramures. Since 2000, this tiny, old and slow steam train has been reintroduced into the circuit, and now it passes through the Vaser Valley, which displays itself in front of your eyes in all its beauty. You can go on this trip of 21.6 km, through the midst of a beautiful landscape that lasts over two hours, from spring to autumn.
The train leaves from Viseul de Sus and if you want to get tickets, you’ll find that are actually five trains with different departure programs; the first one leaving at 9 a.m., and the last departing at 11 a.m. and back to 17.00.
Beyond that, if you come with your children, they will will be delighted by this trip on the Mocăniţa. Try to pick a warm day (better give up if it rains!), take the seats and enjoy the scenery. The train has three stops, the end of the road is Paltin, which you will reach in about one and a half hours. There’s nothing else to do than to eat steaks and sausages, take pictures with the little locomotives and don’t miss the visit to the Railway Museum. Vaser Valley is beautiful and wild, the silence is broken only by the hiss of the iron “horse” and certainly the photos you’ll make will turn into memories.
Photo source: Picture 1: traveleurope.ro; Picture 2: parohiaceacu.wordpress.com; Picture 3: traveleuropa.ro; Picture 4: cultural.bzi.ro; Picture 5: sighet.ro; Picture 6: ; Picture 7: tripadvisor.co.uk