Maramureș, Romania – Maramureș, Romania – Maramureș, Romania Maramureș is a region located in the northwestern part of Romania, on the border with Ukraine. It is a special place, full of legends and history, worth discovering. Here you will be able to find a lot of unique attractions and sights. The traditional architecture is very special, and wooden houses and churches are known throughout Europe for their special appearance. So, if you want to discover the secrets of Maramureș, it is recommended to find out information about the places you can visit if you want to discover the traditions and the authentic spirit of this land.
1. Things to do in Maramureș – 9 attractions that you MUST visit!
If you don’t know where to start looking for locations and attractions for your itinerary, you can always rely on a series of recommendations that will help you. So here are 9 main attractions that are recommended to visit when you choose to travel to the beautiful Maramureș county in Romania.
1.1. The Horses Waterfall from Borșa
This is one of the most appreciated and loved attractions – it is located near the Borșa resort and stands out due to its unique appearance. The water gathers from a glacial circle and forms a wonderful waterfall. The total height of the entire waterfall system is 245 meters, but only the last two waterfalls are visible from below and are accessible to be seen. Cailor Canyon (The Canyon of Horses) is very popular because of the scenery it offers. Its name comes from a legend that says that a herd of horses threw themselves into the abyss to escape a ferocious bear.
If you are adventurous and like adrenaline, you can even descend into this canyon, as part of special guided tours. You can reach the base of the waterfall in about 30-40 minutes, starting from the upper end of the chairlift in the Borșa Complex resort. If you want to go the classic route, through the forest, you can cover the road in about 1 hour.
1.2. The Merry Cemetery from Săpânța – Maramureș, Romania
This cemetery in Săpânța (Maramureș, Romania) is a unique attraction in the world – in this cemetery you can find wooden crosses carved by folk craftsman Stan Ioan Pătraș, which are decorated with humorous texts and bright and cheerful colors. The paintings and poems written on the crosses represent scenes from the lives of the buried people – they provide information about the occupation they had throughout their lives, but also about their personality. The texts often have an ironic touch, mainly if they refer to certain vices that the deceased had during their life.
Also, another special detail consists in the fact that all the colors used are obtained from natural pigments and, therefore, the initial paintings, made by Stan Pătraș, are decorated in shades of red, blue, yellow, green, white, and black. In newer images, other shades appear, such as pink, purple or other colors. It is said that Stan Pătraș was inspired by the culture of the Dacians because they considered death is a joyful event, not a sad one. You can also find crosses here painted on both sides – one side describes the life of the person buried and the other side refers to the reason for his death.
1.3. Bârsana Monastery and the Old Church – Maramureș, Romania
The Bârsana Monastery offers you a special panorama, from a height of 62 meters. Here you will find multiple art objects from Maramureș, carved in wood, in the characteristic style of this area. The porch of the monastery is built of oak wood and is carved with ornaments specific to the art of Maramureș. The roof is special because it is made in a particular style, called a dovetail. It has double eaves and special carved wood designs. Therefore, the whole monastery is worth visiting, as it includes several elements and buildings, which were created in the unique spirit of Maramureș.
Also, nearby you will find the old Church of Bârsana, part of the UNESCO heritage and a very valuable historical monument. More than that,, here you will be able to visit the Maramureș Village Museum – a life-size traditional village that offers you the chance to see the local architecture. The wooden churches from Maramureș, Romania, are wonderful and unique – therefore, you must not miss them!
1.4. The Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance – Maramureș, Romania
This is the building of the former prison. During the communist period, many famous people and intellectuals were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned in this place. This museum is the first museum in the world that was dedicated to the victims of communism. Here you will find valuable information, you will be able to see a map of Romania on which all the penitentiaries and labor colonies from the Communist period are marked, and you will be able to discover an area decorated with portraits of political prisoners, but also the cells and torture chambers.
You will be able to visit dozens of rooms divided on three levels, where you will be able to analyze images, objects, extracts from newspapers, quotes, and documents. Also, 2.5 kilometers away from the city, you will be able to visit the Cemetery of the Poor, where prisoners who died in prison are buried without a grave – the necropolis is shaped like the map of Romania, and the borders of the country are represented by a fence of conifers. The Sighet Memorial is a must-visit attraction, as it is one of the most important museums in the entire country.
1.5. The Blue Lake from Baia Sprie
This lake is unique in the world in its way of formation and that is why it has been declared a natural reservation. It is located in the Gutâi mountains and it changes color depending on the temperature and the position of the sun. Thus, in spring, the lake is blue, and in summer it becomes dark green. The lake was formed after the collapse of a mine and for this reason, the color is influenced by the residual minerals present in it. Many tourists do not know about this tourist attraction because it is less known – but it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are in love with nature.
1.6. Breb Village
The village of Breb is the most visited village in Maramureș and is included in the National Geographic Traveler top 20 of the most beautiful destinations to visit. It is a traditional village, where you will find traditional houses, local food, wooden gates, an old church built in the 15th century, and a lot of other unique attractions. You can even participate in traditional activities, such as working the land or picking vegetables from the garden. Here you will find the Church of Saints Archangels Michael and Gabriel, whose tower is the oldest wooden tower in Romania, inside which you will be able to discover a superb collection of old murals. There are many things and places worth discovering in the wonderful village of Breb!
1.7. Peri-Săpânța monastery – Maramureș, Romania
This monastery is located near the town of Săpânța and is said to be the tallest wooden church in the world (78 meters). It is located in the middle of a dendrological park that includes 1000 centuries-old trees and over 36 tree species. The staircase leading to the chapel is carved from a single 300-year-old piece of wood and is one of the most impressive elements of the monastery. It is less visited than the Bârsana monastery, but the place is worth exploring on a walk.
1.8. Săcel village – Maramureș, Romania
The village of Săcel is less known than the village of Breb, but it is definitely worth a visit. Here you will find the oldest mill on the Iza River Valley that is still functional – the Mecleș mill. You can also find here the workshop of the potter Tănase Burnar, who is the last craftsman who specialized in the work of ceramics from Săcel. His workshop is visited by tourists from all over the world. Săcel pottery is very well known and appreciated because it is made according to the old tradition of Dacian pottery. In the village of Săcel, you will also find another folk craftsman who creates traditional ritual masks. Vasile Șușca uses various natural materials (leather, fur, horns, etc.) to create authentic and original masks, appreciated worldwide.
1.9. The Cave and the Blue Spring of Iza
The cave is located on the top of the Batrâna peak, at 1300 meters altitude and has an approximate length of 2500 meters. The Blue Spring of Iza stands out for its special shade of turquoise. All this area of approximately 100 hectares is protected, being a natural reservation. To get to this fairytale place, you will take a route through the forest or you can go up a forest road with the help of a 4X4 car. You will see a lot of spectacular and picturesque landscapes, offered by the Maramureș Mountains, but also by Rodnei Mountains.
So if you are looking for wonderful places to visit in Maramureș, Romania, you surely will find great attractions and lovely surroundings. If you want to plan your trip efficiently, you can try the Framey travel app – here you will find all the information you need for booking, experiencing, and sharing unique things about your trips. You can find tips & tricks, but also examples of outdoor and indoor activities, art galleries, exhibitions, bars and restaurants, amusement parks, wellness centers, etc.
2. What is the Mocănița steam train? – Maramureș, Romania
Mocănița is one of the most popular attractions in Maramureș, Romania – it is the only narrow-gauge forest train in Europe that has remained functional. The railway dates back to 1930-1933 and has a total length of almost 50 kilometers. Most of the tracks and bogies were built before 1914. The steam locomotives were built in the 1950s and run on wood. There is also another locomotive, which is the oldest – it is called Măriuța and it was built in 1910. The route is a very special one, as it passes through the forest and past a series of tunnels dug into the rock, but also next to a World War II ammunition depot.
There is also a themed route that you can try – it is laid out in the forest and you can find it in Paltinu, at the terminus point of the route with Mocănița. In addition, in the Vișeu de Sus station, you can see several models of steam locomotives and railway vehicles. Here you can see as well as museum exhibitions and old houses, which have recently been restored.
The Mocănița steam train is great no matter the season. But if you are looking for a wonderful experience when traveling across Europe in Winter, you must not miss this great place. If you are lucky enough, maybe you will also discover some snow – this way you will truly feel the fairytale spirit!
In conclusion, Maramureș is an extraordinary place to visit in Romania, because it is full of history and tradition. It is definitely worth visiting all year round. Here you will enjoy discovering the most interesting attractions and places. So take your time to plan your vacation carefully in advance, gather all the information you need, and make sure you find the best routes for you. Whether you travel alone or go with your family or friends, in Maramureș you will find suitable activities for all preferences. Go and visit the popular attractions, but don’t hesitate to go to less touristy places as well. This way, you will discover the local spirit of Maramureș and you will be able to have unforgettable experiences. These experiences will surely turn into pleasant and unique memories that you will remember over the years!
Photo sources: pixabay.com, unsplash.com, framey.io.