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Discover Maramures, a Place to Wander and Wonder in Northern Romania

This is the beginning of the first info trip that has made our hearts beat faster by simply thinking about Maramures and that has kept a smile on our face for three days straight.

When Edit first reached out to us we were still on our summer holiday in the Dolomites. Since she offered us a three days holiday, in the heart of Maramures - Romania, where we would experience first hand the lifestyle and customs of the locals, we couldn't simply say no to that. What could be more wonderful than to plan your next holiday while you are on holiday? :)

Back then we had no idea why or how she contacted us and strangely enough we didn't really ask up until we got there. We found out that the authors behind our recommendation were  'Doi Turiști, two dear friends that we met during a hike a few years back on Pietrosul Rodnei peak. We'd like to thank them and also Edit Pop from EcoMaramureș for this opportunity.

We decided to accept the invitation from Eco Maramureș to find out what is so special about this place and how exactly is Ecotourism present in the area.

The Mara – Cosău – Creasta Cocoșului Eco-tourism area

The Mara – Cosău – Creasta Cocoșului Eco-tourism destination was the result of a local partnership between state authorities, NGOs focused on sustainable development (Asociația EcoLogic, WWF Romania), the Administration of Protected Areas and many other citizens from the private sector. It is really great to see that such projects are starting to make their way out into the world and to wash away the bitter taste left behind by corrupt government organizations. Yup, out of all the dirt out there, this is one of the truly wonderful projects developed by fantastic, hardworking people.

We must tell you that this was the first info trip we attended and we can honestly say that we were profoundly impressed by all the offstage hard work that was involved and the way tourists are greeted in this area. Of course, there is room for improvement and the region still needs more development but it is clear that things are going in the right direction.

The area lets you experience the wonderful natural surroundings with hills, mountains, forests and waters; the old traditions that are still a part of the local's day to day life; the emblematic architecture of the wooden households and wooden churches; and of course the impressive and tasty culinary dishes made by the people of Maramures, whose personality is one of a kind! This is a place where smiling comes naturally and effortlessly!

Let's see where, what and how?

How can you reach this fairy tale land? Just as the name implies the area is at the footsteps of the mountain region known as Creasta Cocosului and it is delimited by the rivers of Mara and Cosau. It is a fairy tale land full of mild hills, small mountains, and many happy faces. Creasta Cocosului is a national and international landmark that already attracts a lot of tourists to the area. Budești, Sarbi, Calinesti, Văleni, Cornești, Ocna Șugatag, Sat Șugatag, Hărnicești, Desești, Mara, Hoteni and Breb - these are the villages that make up the region and that open their gates to curious tourists willing to take a taste out of the Maramures hospitality.

  • Now that you have a visual delimitation of the area you can reach it with just about anything, you just need some time for it! For more details on the subject check out these access ways.

Accommodation, there are ample offers to choose from. Lots of facilities are available in the area, some more authentic and more traditional than the others. We slept at Mărioara and we really liked it! Our host was a true woman of Maramures and it was a treat to stay in her house! There are many foreigners living in the area that have accommodation services so don't be surprised if you hear people talking in dutch, french, german or english.

  • For more accommodation options and information click here.

Most Romanians already know that dinning in Maramures is a real feast! The dishes are a real treat and there is no way you will leave hungry. We think we got back home with a few extra kilograms from a visit of only three days. Green bean soup, you must try this at Mărioara and at Hanu lu Cobâla you must check out the trout!

  • A few other restaurants you can try out are here.

What can you do here?

There are so many options that it is hard for us to present them in a way that would also arouse your interest to discover them on your own.

Obviously, we will start with nature, mountains, easy and moderate hikes. You will not have time to get bored as there are more than 60 kilometers of hikes and more than 160 kilometers of on-road/off-road bicycle tracks. Click here for more details. Furthermore, there are plenty biker-friendly accommodation facilities in the area where you can rent bikes, wash your bike and that offer other complementary services (for tours assisted by a tested and recommended guide click here).

For the ones interested in activities packed with adrenaline you can opt-in for paragliding, rock climbing on Creasta Cocosului or ski touring. After all of this, you can enjoy a relaxing saltwater bath in Ocna Sugatag!

For animal lovers, you need to know that nature was really generous with the area and you can find a vast biodiversity. Recently an animal farm that also offers accommodation services has opened up shop. They offer you the possibility to discover the area on horse back alongside ones of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.

We won't even mention the photography enthusiasts that have a lot of places to discover and immortalize.

On the cultural side you have tons of thing to do and see; from the specific Maramures architecture, to wooden churches and local craftsman that welcome you with their arms wide open and invite you to explore crafts and traditions. Every little thing has a story to tell and every story has its charm.

Because you can't have true Eco-tourism without specialized guides you have a great local team at your disposal, each devoted to different activities and fields (full list of guides here). You can access more information at the local info centers found here.

Instead of an ending...

We have a critic nature and it isn't difficult for us to find things that are out of place, but to our surprise, we couldn't find any with this occasion. How it turned out versus how it was planned to unfold isn't important as in the end we packed our things and left with a pleasant memory and a great experience. We had the chance to see a different kind of Maramures and to taste a little of what Eco-tourism really is alongside some wonderful people that we can't wait to see again!

Discover Maramures, a Place to Wander and Wonder in Northern Romania Reviewed by Alex on 09:54 Rating: 5

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