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Cerna Valley Hikes: The Amazing Lost Hamlets from Romania

A place of incredible beauty, a place where time itself has forgotten the count and traditions never die. Cerna Valley's lost hamlets trail is a good start if you want to taste a bit of Romanian roots. There are around 80 house holds in Cerna Valley and most of them are completely isolated, with no electricity other than improvised hydro-power, with no access roads and not one single market. It is amazing how this wonderful place managed to auto preserve itself in such a manner. Come and meet this stunning area and it's beautiful people, in a trip you will always remember.

Hiking stats

  • Time: 8 hours (4 - 5 for runners)
  • Distance: 20 kilometers
  • Altitude gain: + / - 900 meters
  • Difficulty: easy / medium
  • Route:  pg.gif  Semi-marathon route.

Where is this?

Getting to Baile Herculane is pretty easy and the road is really good no matter where you are coming from. To reach Herculane from Timisoara you need to go on road E70 in the direction of Lugoj and Caransebes; note that both towns have ring-roads so no need to go through them. After passing by Mehadia, a small town, you will have to do a left turn in about 5 kilometers in order to enter Baile Herculane over a narrow concrete bridge. The road has good markings and the entrance is hard to miss as the railway station is also there. From Herculane, continue on the main road that goes towards Baia de Arama. This hike starts at aproximately 14 km from Baile Herculane. 

Entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee for the Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park but if you wish to enter the thermal baths at some resorts you might need to either book a room there or pay the admission to the pool.

Let's start!

This is one of the most beautiful semi-marathon routes you can find around so if you like running, here is the place to be! 

The route will start after Motel Dumbrava, you will have to walk in the direction of Baia de Arama, around one kilometer on the main road and you will then see on the left side as you go the pg.gif marking that takes you on a wooden bridge on the other side of Cerna River. Right here you can find a nice fresh spring where you can fill your water reserves. 

From here, you can do the route either starting to the left or to the right, as it is a circuit, but this time we will go to the right, always following the pg.gif sign. The first part is really flat as you follow the river course through a thick forest vegetation. If you go in the Spring time, which I highly recommend, you will be delighted small waterfalls now and then.

When we start the ascent, the first hamlet we will meet is called Cracu Mare - don't worry if you don't see any sign or don't notice it at all - you are in the middle of the village. The little settlements are so tiny and well hidden only the dogs barking give out a sign the place is inhabited. Keep in mind, there are dogs, they will bark and try their best to look aggressive but all they really want is a little bit of snack and attention and you got a lifetime friend!

Life is everywhere here!

Next stop: Prisacina hamlet. Visiting this place may seem really peaceful and tranquil but just try to imagine a bit how it would be to live in a place where the only transportation method is by horse, where if there is no water you have no electricity and during the winter you are completely isolated. For me, this is incredible!

After maybe three kilometers more, we find the last village of this route, called Dobraia. This is the biggest around, it even has a Church that functions every two Sundays and a permanent elementary school. From here you can also take the route to Arjana Peak, one of the best views around.

After Dobraia, we will start our long and sometimes very steep descend that will take us on the Tasna Bridge, right in front of Dumbrava Motel, the place where we started this hike. 

What do I eat?

It really depends on what you have planned to do and where you are sleeping, but you will find many restaurants in Baile Herculane, one of my favorite is Ferdinand Hotel, you have to see the garden, it's absolutely wonderful! If you are sleeping close to or at Dumbrava Motel they are serving food from 8 AM until around 10 PM but if you are hiking in the mountain you will have to pack your own food as there are no chalets in the area.

Good to know!

Besides hiking and thermal baths, there are many other activities available in the area like rafting, canoeing, gliding, bouldering and mainly rock climbing. For climbing enthusiasts, Herculane is simply a paradise (because of the limestone rock composition of the mountains) with a lot of tracks scaling from easy to a professional level of difficulty. Most, if not all tracks are in great condition as the guys from Alternative, are constantly taking care of them. There is also a big annual international competition going on here for all levels of climbers that will take place somewhere in September 2015 (current year), the Herculane Climbing Open.

In the glaves close to Motel Dumbrava, you can build a campfire and there is a freshwater spring in the vicinity of the footbridge.

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 Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park.

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

Cerna Valley Hikes: The Amazing Lost Hamlets from Romania Reviewed by Karina on 10:09 Rating: 5

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