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Apuseni Hikes - Lumea Pierduta

Probably, most of you browse the web and find different and interesting places you would like to visit, at some point, because their beauty is something you simply need to experience at first-hand. I believe Lume Pierduta (The lost world) from the Apuseni Natural Park has the potential of becoming such a destination, not because of its mysterious name, but mainly due to its hidden and tranquil sights. It is a place of pure magic that looks like it has been left untouched for thousands of years and where at each corner you would expect to see a forest dwarf or a mighty rock golem. This karstic plateau is a network of underground caverns that actively drain the surface water - you can’t visit the underground complex, but you can admire the four impressive sinkholes from the surface.

Avenul Gemanata

lumea-pierduta-hike-gps-mapHiking stats

Time: 3 hours
Distance: 9 kilometers
Altitude gain: 300 meters
Difficulty: Easy
Route: cg.gif Lumea Pierduta - GPS Track

Where is this?

Apuseni Natural Park has many access roads you can take depending on where you are coming from and what attractions you wish to visit. For this particular hike I will highlight the best way to reach Glăvoi, our destination, from Timișoara, but I must warn you although most of the road is excellent, there is a part that even though it is paved, is in pretty bad condition no matter what route you will choose. As such I recommend that you travel by day and that you are prepared to lose about 5 hours or more on 250 kilometers. The road should be great until you reach Salonta, but after this you can expect the quality to drop dramatically and the trip to take you through a rural part of Romania until reaching the Padiș area. The good part is that the road is under construction so probably soon they will finish it. Right before reaching your destination you will have to go on a dirt road for approximately 2 kilometers before getting to Glăvoi camping area but this section is manageable with most cars and a 4x4 is not required.

Poiana Ponor

Entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee in order to enter the park, but some sights might have a small tax in order to visit them (caves, museums, etc).


Let’s start!

The route starts at the Park Ranger’s Hut at the end of the Glăvoi glave where you need to turn left and go towards Poiana Ponor. This part of the road should take you about 30 minutes and the whole track has an easy difficulty level that is accessible to all. The interesting thing about Poiana Ponor besides the great view is that during spring when there are heavy rains and there is a lot of snow melting, the whole glave gets flooded and becomes a lake. The reason behind this is that the surface water usually gets drained underground through two holes that during spring can’t make up for the high volume present. The water doesn’t stay for long and it recedes back making room for abundant and green grass.

Poiana Ponor

At the end of Poiana Ponor, you will find the cg.gif markings that will take you all the way to Lumea Pierduta. After about 30 minutes through the woods, you will reach a sign that indicates the way to the four sinkholes here. Because it is a circuit you can go either right or left. We chose to go right making our way to Gemănata Sinkhole (Avenul Gemănata). It has a depth of over 100 meters and 20 meters in diameter and it has a small, narrow limestone bridge that unites the edges. The underground river that flows through it goes all the way to the Black Sinkhole (Avenul Negru), our next destination. It is 108 meters deep and 50 meters wide and gets its name because you cannot really see the bottom. Do keep on the safe side when taking pictures or admiring this one as the edges are really steep and slippery. The third sinkhole is Pionierilor, a small 9 meters wide by 9 meters deep hole that is most suited for beginners in the art of speleology. The last one is the Covered Sinkhole (Avenul Acoperit) that looks more like a cavern and has nothing interesting to show. It’s beauty is hidden just below the surface where a 4 meters deep shaft opens up to a 25 meters cavern that eventually leads to a 29 meter vertical drop. Needless to say that you can only visit the surface of all these sinkholes unless you are a speleologist and have the right permits. 

Avenul Gemanata

Avenul Negru

After the last sinkhole, you will reach the sign at the start of the circuit and you will have to get back to Glăvoi on the same road you came on.


Where do I sleep?

There are plenty of places to sleep in this area, finding the right one for you is simply a matter of personal taste. If you want somewhere close to the starting point of the hike I would strongly recommend sleeping in a tent at Glăvoi. It is free of charge and one of the best looking and tranquil camping places I have been in Romania. You can grab something to eat or drink at one of the small huts in the glave at decent prices but don’t expect to have a wide variety to choose from. Keep in mind there are no showers or toilets available at Glăvoi. For fresh water, there are two springs you can access, one in the central part of the glave, and one close to the Park Ranger’s hut. If you fancy a warm bed then you can sleep at Cetăţile Ponorului Chalet more down the road. They also serve food in their restaurant.


What do I eat?

You can find a few food facilities at Glăvoi where you can serve different types of grilled meat with a small selection of side dishes. Also, you can enjoy some Romanian beers or even ţuică (traditional Romanian schnaps). For some more diversity, you can try the restaurant at Cetăţile Ponorului Chalet or one of the many restaurants in Padiş.


Good to know!

Building a campfire is only allowed at Glavoi in designated and protected firepits, building one anywhere else might get you a big fine from the Park Rangers.

Even though you can camp anywhere you want I do recommend sleeping at Glavoi to avoid any wild animal incident. Attacks are really rare and the wild bear/wolf population is significantly lower than in the central mountain ranges, but still it is better to be on the safe side.

You can find fresh water at Glăvoi even during the hot summer months so you will need only a bottle.


Other close destinations?

There are a lot of other destinations you can go to in the close vicinity, but for more info consult this map of the hiking routes in Apuseni Natural Park.

Check these other close-by hikes:


Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

Forest track Lumea Pierduta

Natural limestone bridge on Avenul Gemanata

Avenul Gemanata - Limestone Bridge

Avenul Gemanata

Avenul Pionierilor

Avenul Acoperit

Apuseni Hikes - Lumea Pierduta Reviewed by Alex on 14:23 Rating: 5

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