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Romania Tourism

Maramures and Satu Mare regions, northwestern Romania

Historical regions.

Barsana - Maramures, Romania

MARAMURES INFORMATION Facts about Maramures Sights and Landmarks Maramures Places to Explore Maramures and Satu Mare Museums Performing Arts Outdoor Adventures & Natural Parks Maramures Food & Drinks Activities

TRIP PLANNING INFO Transportation to Maramures Tourist Info Maps

Romania - Regions Map - Maramures

Facts about Maramures

Location: Northwest Romania (bordering the Ukraine to the north and Satu Mare county to the west) Area: 6,662 sq miles Population: Approx 530,000 Main cities:   Baia Mare ,   Satu Mare ,  Sighetu Marmatiei   and Carei. Climate: Temperate continental with rich precipitation in the summertime and abundant snow in the wintertime

Maramures Sights and Landmarks

The region of Maramures (NW Romania) is home to villages where century-old traditions are still part of daily life. The inhabitants of this area have preserved, to an amazing extent, the rural culture and crafts of their Dacian ancestors. Woodlands account for more than four-fifths of the land surface of Maramures. As a result wood has long been - and continues to be - the medium of expression for the region's artisans. Unique wooden churches with tall spires and shingled roofs, wooden houses and tall, carved, woodcarved gates are distinctive elements of the local architecture. Hand-woven carpets decorate the homes of the locals and intricate embroidery adorn folk costumes still worn by the locals, usually on Sundays.

Carved Wooden Gates

The local craftsmanship can be best observed in the monumental Maramures gates, guarding the entry to the houses. Supported by three columns, they feature traditional ornamental motifs, including the sun and the twisted rope - both symbols of life and continuity. Some of the most beautiful wooden gates are found in the villages of Vadu Izei, Desesti, Giulesti, Budesti, Sarbi, Barsana and Oncesti. The villages of Barsana and Oncesti have, perhaps, the greatest number of impressive gates.

Wooden Churches

As it has for hundreds of years, social life in Maramures continues to revolve around the village church. The Wooden Churches of Maramures ) - in Surdesti, Plopis, Rogoz, Ieud, Poeinile Izei, Barsana, Budesti and Desesti - have been recognized by UNESCO as some of the most important sites of world heritage. Unique in shape and ornamentation, they have characteristic high roofs and tall, narrow, pointed steeples, often collectively describer as ' the Gothic style of Maramures .'

The primary wood material used by the artisans who built them was local oak, which has survived the elements with sturdy elegance until today. The interior walls of the churches were painted by local artists, with biblical scenes often juxtaposed against the familiar landscape of the village.

The spiritual philosophy of the people of Maramures is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Sapanta. The town folks' ancestors considered death as a beginning, not the end, and this faith is reflected in the carvings in the town's unique Merry Cemetery . Blue wooden crosses feature a carved scene and humorous verses that endeavor to capture essential elements - both the good and the imperfections - of the deceased's life. Even without benefit of translation, visitors can appreciate the handiwork of sculptor Stan Ion Patras, who began carving these epitaphs in 1935, and his successors. Patras' house in the village is now a fascinating museum. Sapanta is also home to several wooden gates and one of the region's tallest wooden churches.

Sapanta is a 20-minute drive, to the west, from Sighetu Marmatiei , an important tourist and cultural center in the region. The outdoor village museum in Sighetu Marmatiei boasts dozens of homes and farm buildings assembled from around Maramures County. Other attractions include the 16th century Reform Church, the Elie Wiesel Memorial House, and the Victims of Communism Memorial (Museum of Arrested Thought), located in a former communist prison in the center of town.

Maramures is dominated by a landscape of mountains and rolling valleys. The Gutai, Lapus, Tibles Maramures and Rodnei Mountains are cut by passes named Huta, Gutai, Prislop, Setref, and Botiza. Three large valleys cross the region: Viseu, Iza and Mara. The Rodnei Mountains National Park, a natural reserve filled with a rich diversity of flora and fauna, has been awarded biosphere status by UNESCO. Here, chamois leap between rocks, the cry of eagles' rings out overhead and as the snows recede in the spring, crocus and other flowers create swathes of dazzling colors.

Authentic Experiences

For a one-of-a-kind experience, take the narrow-gauge steam train " Mocanita ". Mocanita departs from the small logging town of Viseu de Sus and runs along a scenic road for about 30 miles (round-trip), chugging behind an old steam engine. The train provides the only access - other than walking - to settlements higher up in the valley. During stops, passengers can watch workers load firewood and take on water from clear mountain streams. On the trip back down in the afternoon, the engine driver whistles for brakemen to stop the train - sometimes to pick up or drop off passengers, sometimes to stop to pick wild mountain mushrooms. Website

Places to Explore - Maramures Trips and Tips

16 Unique Maramures Sights and Experiences

Maramures is, arguably, Romania's most rural region, where people still follow their ancestors, century-old, traditions. Best-known for its distinctive wooden churches, with tall spires and shingled roofs, Maramures in home to many other authentic attractions:

1.   Mocănița , steam engine narrow-gauge train. This narrow-gauge takes travelers on a 14-miles (22 km) journey - along Vaser river valley - through amazing scenery, dense forest and quaint villages. The total length of the narrow-gauge railway, built in late 1920s to transport timber from Maramures Mountains, is 79 km (49 miles). “Mariuta” the oldest steam engine, still in use was built in 1910.

2.   Sapanta Merry Cemetery ( Cimitirul Vesel ) – one of the world’s most unique cemeteries. Colorful headstones/ oak-carved crosses/ decorated with traditional motifs are engraved with a withy epitaph and a drawing that present the deceased qualities or imperfections.

3.   Rodna Mountains National Park – the largest protected area in the Carpathian Mountains, home to alpine, sub-alpine, grasslands, mountain hayfields, beech forest and mountain plateaus habitats. Natural features include rich wildlife, caves, crevasses, forests, moraines, springs, and valleys.

4.   Maramures village hopping, by foot or bicycle. See the scenic Maramures countryside and discover the region’s way of life and traditional crafts ( two-hour to multi-day itineraries ).

5.   Baia Mare Mineralogy Museum Over 20,000 mine crystals, rare minerals and gems are on display in this, little-known museum, interesting museum. A must-see for all visitors interested in geology.

6.   Town of Baia Mare .   Notable landmarks include the Old Town Square ( Piața Cetății ) and Stephen’s Tower ( Turnului Ștefan ).

7.   Maramures Village Museum - Sighetu Marmatiei ( Muzeul Satului Maramuresan ) A collection of 30 Authentic, completely furnished, wooden houses that illustrate the local architectural style and decorations, flank the road to the 16th-Century wooden church, the cultural and spiritual centre of the village.

8.   Maramures wooden churches. Norhwestern Romania is home to numerous historic wooden churches and monasteries that have stood the test of time. The following have been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites: Barsana, Budesti, Josan, Desesti, Poienile Izei, Surdesti, Plopis, and Rogoz. These narrow and tall timber structures, single or double-roofed and covered by shingles, with tall, slim clock towers show a great variety of designs and outstanding craftsmanship.

9.   Monastery Sapanta-Peri The tallest wooden church in the world (258 feet-high) features beautiful wood-carved decorations. 28 lbs. of gold have been used to gild the roof. The monastery is home to a small community of nuns.

10.   Village Breb One of Maramures’s most beautiful villages is home to numerous traditional houses and hand-carved, massive, wooden gates. Traditional manual farming techniques are employed to maintain/ harvest crops and grow livestock. On Sundays, villagers still go to church dressed in traditional costumes. Add to the unique local culture and beautiful, unspoiled, landscapes the relaxed way of life and organic vegetables and meats, produced in the village.

11.   Moara lui Dănilă Mecleș - village Sârbi . 19th_century water mill, still in use. The household include two other water-powered installations: acarpet washing/ softening and a wool carding machine.

12.   Barsana Monastic Complex One of the most popular attractions in Maramures, Manastirea Barsana includes three spectacular places of worship ( Biserica, Altarul de Vara and Aghiasmarul ), along several structures, artisan workshops, a museum, guest-house and nuns’ quarters.

13.   Meet the Local Artisans. Ways long forgotten elsewhere are still alive in Maramures. Most household items, traditional costumes and foods and tools are hand-made and feature century-old motifs.   Local artisans - that create traditional wood carvings, wool fabrics, embroidery, carpets and rugs, twig baskets and more – welcome visitors to their workshops to share their stories and show how their crafts are made.

14.   Discover Maramures’ wildflower-rich meadows and hay stacks. Life in rural Maramures is ruled by the gifts and characteristics of each season. End of May until mid-July is the best time to see how wild hay is cut, dried and stacked manually by the locals. “Locals state that Maramures cows and sheep prefer the clean taste of handcut (grass)”. ( National Geographic Best Trips 2015 ).

15.   Museum of the Romanian Peasant Woman ( Muzeul Tarancii Romane ) - village Dragomiresti A three-hundreds years old traditional wooden-house is now the home of a museum dedicated to the essential role played by the peasant women in human development and rural society and culture. Muzeul Tarancii Romane exhibits authentic traditional costumes, decorative objects, handicrafts, household itmes and tools.

16.   Try the local, very simple, delicacy Plăcinta Creaţă . This traditional pie, made from four-ingredients: unleavened dough (flour, water and salt) and sheep's milk cheese is fried in a cast iron skillet using just a little bit of sunflower oil. Filling variations include: cabbage, potato, cabbage and bacon, cow'smilk cheese and dill or apple. The name of this pie "Placinta Creaţa" (Curly Pie) comes from the particular shape given, by hand, to the thin dough when folded over the filling. The curly pie is traditionally served with a glass of "groscior" - cream skimmed from freshly milked (raw) cow's milk.

Time-starved visitors can get a glimpse of Maramures in a self-guided day-trip (own car) or arranged by a local tour operator. To see more of Maramures and experience the local way of life plan to spend at least three days in the area.

Maramures Visit planning tips: Car is the best way to travel to get around and reach Maramures' remote and charming areas. Larger towns can be reached by train or bus while smaller villages only by bus. Most villages are located within walking distance, active visitors can easily plan trekking from one village to another. The only available accommodations in smaller villages are B&Bs run by genuinely welcoming locals. If interested to learn a great deal about Maramures history, culture and traditions, hiring a local guide is a good idea.

Maramures itinerary ideas:

Wooden Churches of Maramures Itinerary: Baia Mare – Surdesti – Cavnic – Ocna Sugatag – Budesti – Calinesti Caeni - Poienile Izei – Ieud – Desesti – Ocna Sugatag - Baia Mare. Duration: eight to nine hours

Maramures' Traditions and Folk Art Itinerary: Baia Mare – Ocna Sugatag – Barsana – Sighetu Marmatiei - Sapanta – Sapanta Peri - Ocna Sugatag - Baia Mare. Duration: nine to ten hours

Maramures countryside & the Vaser Valley with “Mocanita” narrow-gauge forest train Itinerary: Baia Mare – Ocna Sugatag – Sighetu Marmatiei – Petrova – Viseu de Sus (narrow-gauge train ride) - – Bocicoel – Rozavlea – Barsana – Valeni - Ocna Sugatag - Baia Mare. Duration: ten hours

Major Museums in Maramures and Satu Mare regions

Maramures and satu mare regions performing arts, outdoor adventures & parks.

Rodnei Mountains National Park Parcul Național Munții Rodnei - 115,152 acres nature reserve home to 15 glacier lakes, 1.200 species of plants, 150 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. The highest peak in the Eastern Carpathians (Pietrosu - 7545 feet) and numerous caves attract adventure seekers and active travelers. Rodna Mountains feature one of the longest continuous ridges in Romania, with over 35 miles from west to east and are home to the deepest cave in Romania. More info

Maramures Mountains Nature Park A 376,820 acres nature reserve that encompases 10 villages, seven of them located along river Vișeu and three along stream Ruscovei. 90,000 people live in the area, main ocupations are: mining, agriculture and silviculture and timber harvesting.

Pietrosul Mare UNESCO biosphere reserve. 8,155 acres of diverse habitats located at altitudes of 2,950 ft. to 7,600 ft.: beech , spruce and pine mountain forest ecosystems as well as alpine meadows with many endemic and endangered species.

Biking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Nature walks, Paragliding, Rafting, Skiing, Wildlife and bird watching.

Food & Wine

Maramures traditional food.

The cuisine of Maramures is mainly based on a limited number of ingredients: corn, pork, lamb milk and seasonal vegetables. Traditional dishes are simple, unsophisticated, but very tasty due the good quality localy produced, organic, ingredients used for preparation.

A typical, traditional meal, in Maramures include: ~ Gustare cu Carnat uscat, Slanina Afumata si Branza de Oaie (cold appetizer dry pork sausage, smoked lard/ bacon and fresh ewe's milk cheese, served, during summer, with fresh peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onion), ~ Ciorbă de Fasole cu Varză Murată (Bean and Sauerkraut Soup) or Zamă de Şălate cu Groştior (Lettuce Soup), ~ Tochitură cu Mămăligă (Pork stew served with polenta) or Piroşte cu Păsat (sarmale) – Cabbage Rolls (stuffed with broken maize or minced meat and broken maize), ~ Hăluşte cu Licvari (or colțunași cu magiun de prune) – dumplings with plum jam filling. Other Maramures regional dishes include: ~ Hrenzăle (potato patties) , ~ Sos de hribi cu Moare îngroșată cu Mălai (wild mushroom stewed in sauerkraut juice and thickened with corn or wheat flour), ~ Cotoz (cornmeal boiled in milk and mixed with sourcream and white cheese), ~ Brozdi - Zeamă de Urzici Tinere (spring nettle soup), ~ Supă cu Porumb și Cașcaval (corn and yellow cheese chowder), ~ Tocană de mămăligă cu jumări (smoked meat/ sausage and belows cheese polenta), ~ Chihăle (milk and egg soft cookies).

In Maramures the hosts always welcome guests with a piece of homemade breads and a small glass of horinca - the local double-distilled plum, pear or apple brandy.

In the mid-1700s, Swabian immigrants ( Șvabi Sătmăreni in Romanian or Sathmarer Schwaben in German) settled near Satu Mare and contributed to development of viticulture and winemaking in the area. High soil acidity and mild climate help make fresh white wines and well balanced red wines, with good aging potential. The region of Maramures - Satu Mare is not one of Romania's major wine producing areas but just south of town of Satu Mare there are quite a few small wineries worth exploring:

Although two out of three beers produced in Europe come from six countries: Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain the Netherlands and Belgium many excellent, unique, beers come from countries that are not top beer makers, i.e. Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy and Romania. Local / artisan beers produced in Maramures – Satu Mare include:   Dura ,    Acord ,    DoppelBock   and   HAB

MARAMURES TRIP PLANNING INFO

Transportation to maramures.

Airports in Maramures Region: Baia Mare (BAY) and Satu Mare (SUJ)

Airlines with service to the region of Maramures: Air Connect,   Tarom   and   Wizz Air.

Other international airports not far from Maramures / atu Mare include: Cluj Napoca (CLJ)- 85 miles S of Baia Mare, and Oradea (OMR) - 90 miles SW of Satu Mare

There are several daily trains from/to Bucharest and other major cities in Romania to Maramures region. Main train stations in Maramures and Satu Mare regions are Baia Mare, Satu Mare and Sighetu Marmatiei. Train stations of local imporance are Valea Viseului and Viseu de Jos There are daily trains from Sighetu Marmatiei to Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Arad and Timisoara. Trains also depart daily to Viseu de Jos, most continuing to Salva and Ceblean, the junctions for trains to Vatra Dornei, Campulung Moldovenesc, Gura Humorului, Suceava, Oradea and Brasov.

Main bus transportation hubs in Maramures and Satu Mare regions are Baia Mare and Satu Mare. There is daily bus service from Maramures to cities in Central and Western Europe as well as to major cities in Romania. Access to most smaller villages is only possible by bus or by car To check train and bus schedules please visit RomaniaTourism Domestic Transportation section.

Maramures Tourist Info

Maramures Tourist Information Center Centrul Judetean de Informare Turistica Maramures Str. Gheorghe Sincai 46 Baia Mare Telephone: (+4) 0262 206.113 E-mail VisitMaramures.ro

Maramures region Maps

Map of Romania Historical Regions Map of Romania Tourist Attractions

Maramures in the Press

Traditional Villages in Maramures by Joyce Dalton for Travel Lady Magazine

From the province of Moldavia, head westward along a good, but mountainous, road to Romania's most traditional region, Maramures . The drive takes about five hours with no stops, but this is virtually an impossibility, especially for photographers. Picturesque villages (notably Ciocanesti, whose houses covered with painted flowers and geometrics make it arguably Romania' s prettiest village), spectacular mountain scenery and a unique museum smack in the middle of nowhere The Museum of the Tree Roots (Muzeul Radacinilor) with a bizarre exhibit of figures sculpted from tree roots all beg inspection. Gawking becomes even more demanding once Maramures is reached. At Mosei, turn left toward Bistrita, then right after a few miles toward Sacel and Sighetu Marmatiei (Sighet for short), the principal town. (Sighet also can be reached by continuing straight at Mosei, but the lower road passes through the region' s most traditional villages.) From Sacel on, each village offers its share, and more, of wooden houses, many with sculpted designs on balconies and around entrances. Then, there are the towering carved wooden gates, attached to fences half their size, rising before even modest dwellings. Popular motifs include grapevines, acorns, twisted rope, sun symbols, crosses and forest animals. The villages of Barsana and Oncesti have, perhaps, the greatest number of impressive gates.

Maramures is Brigadoon land where the way of life has changed little over the centuries. In late afternoon, old women sit outside their gates coaxing coarse wool onto spindles. Many still favor traditional dress, meaning white frounced blouses, striped woven panels covering full black skirts, headscarves and "opinci" , a sort of leather ballet slipper from which heavy yarn criss-crosses over thick socks. On Sunday, such dress is practically de rigueur, even for little girls.

Hardly a village lacks its own small wooden church dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. These are exquisite, high-steepled jewels with multiple gabled roofs, all of a pattern yet each distinctly unique. Seeing at least a few interiors is a must as many frescoes remain in good condition. If time is limited, the interiors at Ieud, Bogdan Voda and Poenile Izei are recommended. The latter depicts some highly original torments for such sins as sleeping in church. Although churches are usually locked, ask any passerby for the key-keeper by pointing at the door and saying "cheia" (pronounced kay-ya), meaning the key. Romanians are extremely kind and friendly and will be sure to help. While the main tourist activities in Maramures are gate-church- and people-viewing, the town of Sighetu Marmatiei has a few attractions worth visiting. The outdoor village museum, on the road into town, boasts dozens of homes and farm buildings assembled from around Maramures county. Even Oncesti s wooden church has been relocated here.

For a look at Romania s more recent past, an hour spent at Sighetu' s Museum of Arrested Thought can be instructive. Though only a block or two off the main street, it is not easy to find. Ask for the "Muzeul Inchisorii" (pronounced "moo ze ool un kee swah ree"), meaning prison museum. Although built before Communist 'Revolution' the Communist regime utilized the prison to detain the political opposition leaders and intellectual dissidents. Three tiers of cells and various exhibits may be viewed; an English-speaking guide is available.

An old synagogue and the childhood home of author and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel also are in Sighetul Marmatiei.

No trip to Maramures is complete without a look at the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta , a 20-minute drive from Sighet. Here, colorful folk art pictures and witty words carved into wooden headstones immortalize the deceased's foibles, occupations or family problems. No translations, but the pictures tell much of the story. An old woman bakes round loaves of bread, a young person bends in scholarly fashion over his books, one man is shot by soldiers while another tends his flock of sheep.

Beauty assumes many forms. For most travelers, the enduring traditions of Maramures and the magnificence of Bucovina's painted monasteries will define two of them.

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Discover Maramures

Discover the Timeless Beauty of Maramures

Experience the charm and allure of Maramures and discover a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Romania. Our website is your ultimate guide to exploring this captivating region, renowned for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and traditional way of life.

View of Maramures overlooking hayracks in a valley

Cultural Treasures

Picturesque villages, authentic cuisine, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage.

Experience the warm hospitality of the locals, known for their welcoming nature and dedication to preserving their cultural heritage.

Maramures beckons

Maramures offers a paradise for hikers and backpackers with its extensive network of trails weaving through the picturesque landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains.

Photo of a grave at the Merry Cemetery in Maramures

About Maramures

Discover the enchanting beauty of Maramures, Romania, a region where time-honoured traditions, picturesque villages, and pristine landscapes converge. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry, exploring iconic wooden churches, vibrant folk art, and the whimsical Merry Cemetery. Wander through charming villages like Breb and Barsana, indulge in authentic cuisine, and embrace outdoor adventures in the Rodna Mountains. Plan your perfect trip with our comprehensive guides and connect with us for personalised assistance. Unearth the timeless allure of Maramures, where every corner holds a piece of Romania’s cultural and natural treasures.

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Visit Maramures – the best 15 attractions you must see

by True Romania | Sep 21, 2017 | Attractions | 0 comments

Best 15 attractions in Maramures that you must see - The Wooden Church from Barsana

One of the last truly rural regions of Europe, Maramurs is the land of wooden churches, well-kept traditions, splendid natural landscapes and kind people. As Rick Steves said during his visit to Romania, Maramures is the place “where everyday life still feels like an open-air folk museum.”

We invite you to discover the best 15 attractions you must see when you visit Maramures:

1. The Wooden Churches of Maramures

Wood is the primary resource of the region and has been used since a long time ago by locals to build houses, carve intricate wooden gates and build churches. With almost 100 such monuments made of wood, eight of them were chosen to be part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites , due to their inestimable value. Examples of “vernacular religious wooden architecture’’ they are characterized by a mix of Orthodox features and Gothic influences.

The skills of craftsmen are visible in the imposing roofs, the tall, narrow church towers and the fish-like shape of the shingles. The interior paintings are no less impressive: they depict scenes of religious events combined with laic motifs that reflect people’s everyday life and beliefs.

The eight architectural masterpieces, part of UNESCO’s heritage, are:

The wooden church of Barsana was built at the beginning of the 18th century and moved to its current location 86 years later, in 1806. The reason reflects the strong faith of local people: the hill where the church now is used to be a cemetery for plague victims and, in order to give them eternal rest, villagers thought that a symbol of God should be built on the hill.

The quality of the interior paintings is one of the reasons why it is considered by many the most beautiful church in Maramures. Colors of white, red, blue and golden dominate the portrayal of religious scenes, with influences of the baroque style.

Photo credit:  cultura-maramures.ro

The wooden church from Budesti dates from 1643 and it is the largest of the eight churches. Its architectural style has a series of unique features, like the 4 small towers the surround the main belfry or the 14 pillars built in order to support the double roof.

Here visitors can admire a remarkable collection of wood icons from the 17th century, as well as a splendid selection of glass icons . The mural paintings are equally worthy of admiration, as it is the chain mail of Pintea the Brave , the Romanian version of Robin Hood, which can be found in the church’s interior.

Budesti Wooden Church at Easter time

The wooden church of Desesti was built in 1770 and it is home to a wonderful collection of paintings, all well-preserved. One of the church’s distinctive elements is the presence of people of different nations (Germans, Tartars, Ottomans) dressed in traditional clothes in the illustrations of the Last Judgment scene. 

Wooden Church from Desesti

The origins of the Iued Hill Church are surrounded in mystery. It is considered by some historians to be the oldest wooden church of Maramures, dating from 1364, while others suggest the 17th century. There is no doubt, however, that an important document, thought to be the oldest paper written in Romanian, was found in the attic of the church. Apart from its controversial history, what fascinates visitors is the high quality and diversity of colors of the interior frescoes.

Since centuries ago the village of Plopis has been an important center for carpenters and woodcarvers. The talent of the locals is fully reflected in the village’s religious symbol: the church, although small, is renowned for its balanced proportions and beautiful architecture.

The construction of the church started in 1798, with the support of 49 founder-families and it was finalized in 1811. At the base of the altar 49 golden coins were discovered, each pertaining to one of the families.

  • Poienile Izei

The church from Poienile Izei village dates from 1604 and is home to some of the most spectacular but also terrifying mural paintings : scenes depicting a liar hanged by his tongue or a farmer plowed by two devils for having stolen someone’s land can be seen in the illustration of the Last Judgment.

Built in 1633, this is one of the few churches that survived the Tartar invasion in 1717, as documented by an inscription on the door. It is famous for its asymmetrical roof and carved wooden structures, amongst which the twisted rope decorations stand out. Another unique feature is the existence of the “Elder’s table”, a place where rich people used to sit and offer meals to the poor on important religious events.

Photo credit: wikimedia.org  

The wooden church from Surdesti is the second highest religious structure in Romania and Europe, being 72 meters tall. Locals used to believe that the highest the church, the easier their prayers could reach Heaven.  The church is made entirely out of oak and has impressive architectural characteristics specific to Maramures: a double-eave roof, the twisted rope motif and remarkable wooden icons.

All these monasteries can be seen in our Maramures and Bucovina private tours .

2. Merry Cemetery of Sapanta

It is probably the most well-known tourist sight on our list of the best 15 attractions that you must see when you visit Maramures. Unlike most graveyards in the world, the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta has a unique approach to death, seeing it as a celebration of a life that ended rather than a tragic event. It all started in the 1930s when Stan Ion Patras carved his first oak cross. Each cross in the cemetery is painted in a particular shade of blue, now known as “Sapanta blue” and decorated with traditional motifs. On the cross, there is also a picture, meant to illustrate a personality trait or a significant scene from the life of the person who died and a short, witty poem. One of the most famous crosses in the graveyard is that of Stan Ion Patras himself, who passed away in 1977 and left his legacy to his apprentice:

“Ever since boyhood

I was called Stan Ion Patras.

Good people hear what I have to say,

And I will tell you no word of a lie.

For as long as I lived

I never wished anyone harm,

Only good, as much as I could

No matter for whom

Oh this poor old world of mine

It was hard to live through it.”

People dressed in traditional clothes at the Merry Cemeterry from Sapanta

3. Sapanta-Peri Monastery

This monastery complex lived-in by nuns is home to the tallest wooden structure in Europe, having 78 meters in height. The church was built in 1997 using traditional methods and it is covered in 8.5 kg of gold, making it easy to sport from a distance. The base of the church is made of stone, but the rest of it is built of oak and, as everywhere in Maramures, the exterior wooden carvings are of particular beauty.

Photo credit: trecator.ro

4. Sighetu Marmatiei

Former capital of the region of Maramures, the city of Sighetu Marmatiei, also known as Sighet, is the point of departure for all major tourist attractions in the area. The city itself is known for its rich cultural heritage and the high number of museums reminiscing of the city’s past.

  • Memorial to the Resistance and Victims of Communism

It is also named the Museum of Arrested Thought, as a reminder of the building’s former function, that of prison . During the communist period it was the place where many of Romania’s important figures were arrested and tortured. Now it features a collection of photos illustrating scenes of the prisoner’s daily life and the history of communism. A visit to the cells and torture chambers is also possible.

  • The Elie Wiesel Memorial House

This is the place of birth of Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner who grew up in Sighet with his family before being deported to Auschwitz. In 2002 the museum was opened by the writer himself and features a large collection of photos, furniture and other belongings pertaining to him and the Jewish community from Sighet.

  • Sighet Village Museum

The Sighet Village Museum is the open-air section of the Ethnographic Museum of Maramures and was opened in 1981. It has the structure of a traditional village: the wooden houses are placed on both sides of the crooked roads and lead to the church, the symbolic center of the village. The houses show the evolution over time of the architectural styles and decoration techniques used by people.

5. Horses’ Waterfall

It is the highest waterfall in Romania (90 meters in height), situated near the mountainous Borsa winter resort, part of the Rodnei Mountains.

It can be reached either through a 1-hour-walk through the forest or by riding the cable car to top of the ski slope, followed by a short descent through the forest. The water falls in several stages, so it offers magnificent views both in summer and winter, when the water is frozen.

The name of the waterfall is related to a local legend . It is said that at the top of the mountain herds of horses used to graze from spring until fall. One day a bear came and attacked the animals, which jumped of the mountain and fell in the precipice that is now the Horses Waterfall.

Photo credit: haipelanoi.ro

6. The Blue Lake of Baia Sprie

During a visit to Maramures you can’t miss the Blue Lake, unique in the world due to the fact that it changes color depending on the position of the sun and the temperature of water.   Thus, in spring the lake is blue, in summer it is dark green with emerald shades and in fall the color transcends into a darker green, even brown.

The scientific explanation for this phenomenon lies in the process of apparition of the lake: it was formed after the collapse of a mine, so the residual minerals are those that influence the color of the water. The lake is a mere 35-minute-walk from the center of the city of Baia Sprie.

7. Mocanita

One of the only fully functional narrow-gauge steam trains in Europe, Mocanita is sure to offer a fairy-tale like experience.  The train leaves from Viseu de Sus and travels deep into the beautiful Vaser Valley, crossing the Natural Park of the Mountains of Maramures.

The views are stunning – the train crosses green forests, steep cliffs and clear waters. The ride lasts for 6-7 hours, depending on the season and includes a stop for lunch in Paltin, where people can take a walk in the nature or admire magnificent views from an observation platform. The price of the ticket varies between 12 and 15 euros for an adult.

Mocanita Steam Train in Maramures

A ride with Mocanita is one of the highlights of any tour that goes through Maramures, such as our Best of Romania Tour .

8. Baia Mare

Previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the city of Baia Mare reached its most prosperous stage during the communist period. As a result, traces of socialist influence can still be seen around the city, but the old town, recently renovated, is worth a visit. The central square is flanked by medieval buildings and pretty cafes and other vestiges of the city’s medieval times are in close proximity: Stephen’s Tower and the Butchers’ Tower.

9. Prislop Pass

This mountain pass linking the regions of Maramures and Bucovina is the highest Romanian mountain pass from the Eastern Carpathians, situated at an altitude of 1416 meters. 50 kilometers long, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, dominated by the Rodna Mountains. This is also the place where a famous annual festival is held – the Traditional Music and Customs Festival “Dance at Prislop” .

Prislop Pass in Winter

10. Breb Village

Breb Village is the emblematic place for all things that represent Maramures: wooden houses, a 16th-century church, hospitable people and one of the region’s most famous craftsmen, the woodcarver Petru Pop. Here you can experience the local culture by walking around the village, meeting the locals and hearing their stories and taking part in traditional activities like working the land or picking up vegetables in the garden. If lucky, you can even attend a traditional wedding and witness by yourself the local customs and rituals.

If you want to get a glimpse of what authentic Maramures feels like, we recommend you to read the book Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker, which tells the story of an Englishman that traveled to Romania in the early 90s and fell in love with the country’s charm.

11. Pietrosul Rodnei Peak

A hidden gem on our list of best 15 attractions in Maramures, Pietrosul Rodnei (2303 meters) is the highest peak in the Eastern Carpathians and the perfect choice for all those who love spending time in nature. The hike is long, taking approximately 8-9 hours both ways, of medium difficulty, but worth all the effort.

A beautiful glacier lake, with crystal clear water awaits on the way, one third from the peak. Needless to say, the views from the top are unforgettable – you are fully surrounded by mountains: The Maramures Mountains to the north, the Tibles Mountains to the west and the rest of the Rodnei Mountains to the east and south.

Photo credit: HereIHike.com

12. Horinca

Horinca is not a place to visit, but it is one of Maramures’ symbols. A drink with an alcohol content of over 40%, it is usually made of plums, pears or apples. In Maramures, every guest is welcomed with a glass of horinca, but don’t be fooled, it is not reserved for special events. Here the drink is part of everyday life, as proved by a local saying: “in heartache and pleasure, both, people drink”.  

Making Horinca in Maramures

13. Haystacks

Haystacks are another proof of the simplicity of life of people from Maramures. They build them by hand, without the help of machines, the way people did hundreds of years ago. The process itself is fascinating to watch: a person, usually the man, picks the dry hay from the ground and using a pitchfork carved from wood, tosses it on top of a pile.

As the pile becomes taller and taller, the other person, usually the woman, sits on top of it and tamps it down with her feet. After a long afternoon, the last step is extricating the wife from the top of the haystack – not an easy feat, taking into consideration that it is not unusual for some haystacks to have over 4 meters in height. If it all goes well, she ends up in the warm embrace of her husband.

14.  Crafts and traditions

There is no better place than Maramures to discover authentic Romania, as people still keep their traditions and customs passed down from generation to generation. Men are true masters of woodworking and woodcarving, building houses, objects of decoration and the famous wooden gates. They also practice pottery and make hats out of woven straw. They decorate them with colorful beads and flowers and use them as part of the traditional folk costume. Women, on the other hand, weave – they make rugs , towels, embroidered cushions and use them to adorn their homes.

Maramures is also home to some of the most famous craftsmen in Romania: Daniel Les, a potter from Baia Sprie, Toader Barsan, a woodcarver from Barsana and Gheorghe Opris, an artisan and excellent story-teller from the village of Sarbi.

15. Christmas traditions&caroling

What better time than Christmas to bring to life long-kept traditions? Especially in Maramures, this is a time of joy and celebration.  The festivities start on December 20th, known as Ignat day, when people from rural areas kill the pig whose meat is later eased for cooking the Christmas meal. In the next days, wooden houses are beautifully decorated, delicious food is prepared and carolers dress up in traditional costumes and visit every house in the village. In exchange of their performance, they receive gifts, such as nuts, apples and home-baked goodies.

An excellent way to witness the Christmas traditions from Maramures is to attend the Festival of Customs and Traditions from Sighetul Marmatiei. Or you can take part in our Winter Photo Tour of Romania during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Carolers in Romania

As they say, some places are meant not only to be seen with the eyes but also felt with the heart. One such place is Maramures, and we hope we managed to show you that – it is not by mistake that Maramures was at some point mentioned by National Geographic as one of the world’s Best Trips or that the Huffington Post included an entire article about Maramures on their blog.

Our best 15 attractions to see when you visit Maramures will help you discover the region through the eyes of a local, so look no further – come experience the country in one of our private tours , during which we can include a stop to all your favorite places!

Here are some of our suggested tours:

Aerial photo of Biertan

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8 Remarkable Things To Do In Maramures, Romania

  • November 8, 2023

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There are some famous things to do in Maramures, but also attractions that not every turist is aware of. And this is something common because Maramures is itself a secret gem.

If you’ve ever wondered how it is to explore the beautiful wilderness of Romania or how it is to experience the actual traditional life of the people, then you should visit Maramures. Situated in the northern part of Romania , this region it’s very well known for its welcoming people, amazing landscapes, and authentic wood architecture. 

Maramures is a wonderful place to visit if you want to enjoy an active holiday. The best ways to visit this county are walking, cycling, and hiking. You’ll find dozens of hidden gems to see and plenty of new experiences to try every day. Ready to discover what this region has to offer? Let’s dive in. 

Best things To Do In Maramures

Admire nature on a steam train ride: mocanita.

steam train ride maramures

This is probably the most famous attraction in the region. Known as the only functional forestry steam train in Europe, Mocanita will definitely give you a fairytale experience. The train leaves from the little town Viseu de Sus and travels deep into the charming Vaser Valley, crossing the Maramures Mountains Natural Park.

The view is breathtaking as the train crosses green forests, steep rocks, and clear creeks. The ride takes 6 to 7 hours, including a few stops, so you can take as many pictures as you like. The last stop, in Paltin, takes an hour. On an observation deck, you should explore the surroundings, enjoy lunch, or admire magical landscapes.

Discover the traditional wooden churches

wooden churches maramures romania

The county of Maramures is well known for its wood resources. The locals used the wood a long time ago to build homes, epic wooden gates, and traditional churches. With more than a hundred wooden monuments, only eight were chosen to be a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their priceless value. 

The traditional wooden churches are unique, given the different characteristics they have. You can admire a mixture of orthodox features with gothic influences. Also, the imposing roofs, high and narrow church towers, and the rare shape of the shingles highlight the craftsman’s precise skills. The interior paintings are also awe-inspiring. They depict scenes of religious events with secular motifs that reflect people’s everyday life and beliefs. 

Enjoy peace and silence at Bârsana Monastery

Barsana monastery maramures romania

If you want to take a few moments to release your spiritual self, then Bârsana Monastery should be on your list. Situated in the heart of Maramureș, this little piece of Heaven is actually a complex of traditional monuments decorated with various flowers.

The entrance is under the bell tower, on the side of which you will find the complex map. Take a leisurely stroll through the courtyard and visit the Museum, the Priory, the Voivodeship House, the Summer Altar, and the two-levelled Church. 

At this monastery, you’ll find the proper space to meditate and enjoy nature’s sounds. 

Have a good laugh at The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta

merry cemetery maramures attractions

Spirituality and religion are essential in Maramures. Yet, in one of its famous villages, Sapanta, you’ll find an extremely rare cemetery where you can actually giggle. Unlike most cemeteries in the world, the Merry Cemetery has a unique approach to death, seeing it as a celebration of a life that ended rather than a tragic event.

It all started in 1930 when one of the locals, Stan Ion Patras, carved the first oak cross. Since then, every cross in the cemetery has been painted in a special blue tone, known now as “Sapanta blue,” and it is also decorated with plenty of traditional motifs. 

On the cross, you can see a painting meant to depict a personality trait or a significant moment from the life of the person who died and a short poem full of wit. One of the most famous crosses from the cemetery belongs to Stan Ion Patras himself. He died in 1977 and left the legacy of making peculiar crosses to his disciple. 

While you’re here, take a few hours to explore the messages on each cross so you can take your dose of fun and laughter. 

Find out the sad history of The Memorial of Suffering (Memorialul durerii) from Sighetu Marmației

sighet memorialul durerii

The people of Maramureș are welcoming and full of warmth, even if history wasn’t always good to them. 

In 1950, Sighetu Marmației lived the darkest year when many representatives of the Romanian elites, opponents of the new communist regime were imprisoned in the city prison. We are talking about ministers, members of the government, leaders of historical parties, generals, academics, men of letters, bishops of the Greek Catholic Church, and so on.

Nowadays, you’ll find The Memorial of Suffering instead of the old prison. This museum, the first-ever dedicated to the victims of communism, reconstructs and analyzes the painful past of those dark years of Romanian history.

You’ll be able to see collections of pictures, documents, objects, letters, newspapers, books, textbooks, albums, and oral history records– to give a complete picture of the struggle against communism.

What to do in Maramures? Venture to Cailor Waterfall

Nothing compares to a good hike on a nice summer day. That’s why you should spend at least one night at Borșa. Near this resort, you’ll find the biggest waterfall in Romania, called “Cascada Cailor.” As a part of the Rodna Mountains National Park, this waterfall, about 90 meters long, is indeed one of the most stunning waterfalls Romania has to offer. 

There are two ways to get there. If you love long walks in nature, surrounded by beauty and color, you can follow a path and go on foot. For those who like seeing the world from above, a chairlift might be the best option. 

The trip is worth it since you’ll be impressed by the waterfall’s natural location and the legends surrounding it. It is said that the name of this place comes from a true event that happened in the past. The locals say there was a massive storm, and the horses from the local studs were cornered by a bear, precisely on the plateau where the waterfall is formed today. Scared and helpless, the only thing that horses did was throw themselves into the void, perishing under the eyes of the bewildered bear.

In the memory of that event, the locals named several places after the horses: Horse Bridge, Horse Waterfall, Horse Spring, and Horse Mountain, all fantastic places to visit.

Explore the traditional village of Breb

traditional breb village romania

If you want to experience how Romanian people lived before modern times, then Breb village is a must. Praised by many as the most authentic village in Maramureș, Breb has a lot of traditional experiences to offer. The landscape is picturesque, as the village is located at the foot of the Rooster Crest in the Gutai Mountains.

This village is the symbolic place for all the things that represent Maramures: wooden houses, a church from the 16th century, hospitable people, and good food. Here you can experience the local culture by walking through the village, meeting the locals, hearing their stories, and also participating in traditional activities such as working the land or picking vegetables in the garden. If you’re lucky enough you can even attend a traditional wedding and take part in local customs and rituals. 

In this part of Romania, people still dress in their traditional costumes whenever they go to church. You can even try these colorful clothes as the locals are more than happy to offer you an authentic experience. 

So, if you are looking for a peaceful life in the village and you dream of relaxing moments in the middle of nature, then the land Breb is what you are looking for. 

Ready to visit Maramures? Choose one of the Secret Romania tours that take you there:

maramures tourism

10 days in Romania itinerary

2 weeks in romania unesco tour

2 weeks in Romania Unesco tour

9 days in Romania Bucovina painted monasteries

9 days in Romania – Bucovina & Maramures tour

9 days in romania - tour of bucovina & maramures, experience a magical christmas in maramures.

Maramures is beautiful every season, but wintertime is when all the magic happens. The first snowflakes that fall on the traditional houses, but also the old wooden fences and hills turn every village into a fairytale place. 

People of this county care deeply about traditions and customs that take place around this time of the year. This is why you’ll have an unforgettable Christmas holiday, enjoying the hospitality and kindness of the people, tasting delicious dishes, and admiring the beautiful landscapes. 

Read also: Top things to do in winter in Romania

As Christmas represents the most important holiday for Romanian people, every person no matter the age is going to participate in the preparations. Three main parts highlight the Christmas holiday.

Preparation:

Here the locals clean their houses, the yard, and also the graves of their loved ones. 

Christmas Eve in Maramures:

Everyone is gathering to prepare delicious homemade food from pork meat, like sausages, lard, and the famous sarmale. After everything is ready, everyone will start caroling and visiting every house. They receive as a gift, coils, nuts, and apples.

Celebrating Christmas:

The celebration takes 3 days and during this time people attend the church service dressed in their traditional costumes. After learning how to sing Romanian carols you can go caroling yourself with the locals. 

So, if you’re planning a trip to Romania soon, make sure you’ll have the time to explore the northern part of the country. Rich in traditions and costumes, the people of Maramures will be more than happy to welcome you into their lovely homes, giving you the most authentic experience of living in the countryside.

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Colourful bee hives in a field in Maramures Romania

11 Unique Things to Do in Maramures, Romania

Mark Stewart January 31, 2022 Destinations 12 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small commission when you click them or make any purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. We only ever recommend products and services that we stand behind. Read more in our Affiliate Disclosure

The vast majority of visitors to Romania tend to stay in the more well-known parts of the country – with Transylvania being the most popular. Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as it’s a spectacular region to visit, way up in the far north of the country, lies the magnificent county of Maramures – one of our favourite places to visit in Romania. Visiting the amazing Maramures area is like stepping back in time.

The entire landscape is made up of twisting valleys and rolling hills dotted with haystacks and herds of sheep. The highway is little more than a thin, two-lane road that passes through tiny little farming villages every dozen kilometres or so. Locals either spend their days working the field or sitting on benches along the roadside watching the horse-drawn carts pass by.

Due to the relative remoteness of the area and the spread out locations of the highlights, the best way to visit Maramures is by renting a car. While it’s certainly possible to explore many of these spots with buses and on guided tours, the freedom of your own vehicle can make a huge difference. And considering that renting a car in Romania is surprisingly affordable, we highly recommend it!

If you don’t want to rent a car, we highly recommend checking out some of these tours.

So without further ado, here are eleven wonderfully unique experiences to have in Maramures!

  • Visit the Merry Cemetery
  • Try Local Plum Brandy
  • Hike to the Blue Lake
  • Ride and Old Steam Train
  • Experience a Proper Romanian Guesthouse
  • Buy Some Local Organic Honey
  • Check Out the Horses Waterfall
  • Try Traditional Romanian Food
  • See the Famous Wooden Churches
  • Visit the Incredible Barsana Monastery
  • Experience the Laid-Back Village Life

Cimitirul Vesel – The Merry Cemetery in Romania

Arguably the most popular sight in Maramures, and probably the biggest reason people visit, is the Merry Cemetery. In the town of Săpânța, just a stone’s throw from the Ukranian border, is one of the most unique cemeteries in possibly all of the world.

What is the Merry Cemetery? Rather than the typical cold, grey or marble tombstones and dull, metal crosses typically found throughout Europe, the people of Săpânța have taken a different approach.

Rising high above the concrete tombs, ornately carved, wooden monuments mark the graves of the dead. The markers are brightly painted in blue, with accents of yellow and red hues. Cartoonish images of the departed feature scenes from his or her life – sometimes even depicting the manner in which death occurred. Poetic epitaphs, filled with dark humour and hilarious sarcasm, are written with remembrance below.

It’s such a curious and lighthearted way of looking at the inevitability of death. They have decided to celebrate the lives of the departed with uplifting monuments, instead of a constant, cold reminder of the pain. Visiting here was not only terrific for the physical beauty, but also the inspiration. The outlook of these people at how they remember their loved ones resonated for some time after we left.

How to Get to the Merry Cemetery

Renting a car or going with an organized tour is the best way to get here. If you are already in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei, it is only a half hour bus ride.

It is 5 Lei per person to enter, which mainly goes towards the upkeep of the church and grounds.

Check out Autogari for the local bus schedule.

Blue crosses and gravestones with colourful art on them

Try Romanian Plum Brandy

Plum brandy can be found in many forms across Central and Eastern Europe but the region of Maramures is especially known for producing some very high-quality product.

Many locals produce this potent spirit themselves, hoarding barrels of the stuff in their cellars. The makers pride themselves on their product and are more than willing to show it off. You’ll likely not have to venture far before someone will offer you a sample of their “natural” beverage.

We assume the natural part is because it’s made from their own organic fruit, rather than manufactured — but we don’t know for sure. Regardless of the meaning, it’s certainly a mark of pride and a perceived selling point for the makers.

We’ve been offered samples in small markets at 10am while searching for fruit, and given several more – for free – while buying beer at a local pub. One time we were given an entire bottle upon checking into a guesthouse. The bottle was included with the booking!

You’ll want to be careful though, this stuff packs a powerful punch!

Go Hiking at the Blue Lake

Only a short drive from Baia Mare, you’ll find the “Blue Lake.” Lacul Albastru is a gorgeous little pool high in the hills above Baia Sprie.

From the cool early months of spring through the summer and into the autumn, the colour of the water changes quite dramatically. Some locals call it magic. It begins as a bright, turquoise-blue, and transitions almost magically to a deep, emerald green.

The pool itself was formed after the flooding of a former stone quarry. The resulting minerals in the water cause the stunning colour shift as the temperature changes throughout the seasons.

Nearby, there are also several hiking trails leading further into the hills, some of which lead to some absolutely superb views over the towns below. Another point of interest nearby is the old mining ruins close by, but watch your step, it’s a steep drop!

How to Get to the Blue Lake in Romania

Drive to Baia Sprie and either park at the big white church (Biserica Adormirea Maicii Domnului) and hike from there, or take the skinny steep roads up to as far as you can drive on Strada Dealul Minei.

There’s also a bus from Baia Mare that takes about 30 minutes. Get off at the church mentioned above and start your hike uphill.

Download Maps.me for a decent map of the hiking trails.

Two people sit beside a pond

Ride an Old Romanian Steam Train

This famous steam train in Maramures is a wildly popular attraction for locals and foreigners alike.

Originally built nearly 100 years ago, for the purpose of hauling lumber into the town of Viseu de Sus from the mountains, the train has been in constant use the entire time. As it’s initial purpose was to access some of the remote wilderness in the region, it’s a much smaller than a typical passenger train.

The old Romanian steam train is used primarily to take visitors on a round-trip tour of the area. Winding along the Vaser River, the train chugs along through mountain tunnels and over bridges into the remote wilderness high into the Carpathian mountains.

Ticket prices vary across seasons but range from 45 lei for children to 65 lei for adults (2022 prices).

Order tickets ahead of time on the official website .

Steam train coming towards you

Stay at a Classic Romanian Guesthouse

Accommodation in these parts is typically in the form of smaller, privately owned guesthouses. We based ourselves in the tiny village of Valeni, in a place called Casa Relax .

Full disclosure: we are not being paid to say this, nor were we given any discount or offer on the room. We’re simply suggesting this spot because it really was one of the best guesthouses we stayed at in Romania.

It’s an older building, right in the town, that has been completely upgraded inside. Big, beautiful rooms; a large, well put together communal kitchen; and a very comfortable common area/living room. The modern vibe on the inside of the house is a radical contrast to the sleepy village life outside.

There’s also a fantastic patio area beneath a large pear tree, which is a perfect spot to sit and watch the sunset while the chickens and cows wander around the yard across the wire fence.

Check Booking.com for prices at Casa Relax.

Don’t forget to ask about their homecooked meals! They will bring the ingredients to your kitchen and make you a delicious meal for a small price! We had these amazing Sarmale!

Taste Some Organic Romanian Honey

While driving along the roads that wind through the valleys, you’ll undoubtedly cross a proud farmer selling another local specialty. Brilliantly painted bee hives can be seen dotting the fields across Maramures, keeping the crops and orchards well-pollinated. The luxurious byproduct of this necessary cycle is, of course, the sweet nectar of bees.

Honey stalls are set up at random throughout the area, much like the fruit carts you’ll see elsewhere in the country. Often they’re no more than a simple wooden table on the side of the road, as a quiet local calmly waits for your business.

One in particular that stands out was a larger operation on the side of the road northeast of Valeni. The same wooden table displaying the sweet, golden honey, stood near the road, but the entire bee farm was housed on a large trailer which doubled as the farmers’ office. It’s one of those sights that, to me at least, really defines Maramures.

Prices tend to range from about 15 – 40 RON depending on the size of the jar.

Several colourfully painted bee hives sit in a field in Maramures

Visit Cascada Cailor – The Horses Waterfall

With no lack of beautiful scenery in Maramures, stumbling across the tallest waterfall in Romania should come as no surprise. The 90-metre high “Horses Waterfall” is one of the most beautiful in the entire Carpathian range and flows down a series of cliffs from a glacial lake at the top of the mountain.

Why is it called “Horses waterfalls”? Well, according to legend, a herd of horses became lost at the top of the mountain under a blanket of a heavy storm when they came across a large hungry bear. Because of the thick rain and fog, the horses panicked and took a collective dive over the falls, plunging to their death.

Seeing as this was in the days prior to camera phones, the accuracy of the event remains questionable to this day. But it makes a decent story at least.

Cascada Cailor can be visited throughout the year, though it’s said to be at its most brilliant flow in mid-summer. For those well-experienced, canyoning over the falls is an option as well, though this should only be done with a guide.

To access the falls, head to Borsa Resort, near the town of the same name. Ride the ski lift to the top of the hill and follow the old forestry access road which leads to the bottom of the waterfall.

Eat Locally Prepared Romanian Food

Eating a home-cooked meal in the house of one of the locals is an unbeatable experience while visiting northern Romania. It’s also often the closest thing to a restaurant you’ll find in these smaller towns.

During our stay at Casa Relax , the meal was actually brought to us! A local woman and her young friend stopped by early one evening with a sampling of the traditional cuisine and joined us at the table to share this fantastic meal.

Romanian Tripe Soup

First, we enjoyed tripe soup, quite possibly the most famous dish in the country. It was a light, slightly sour, yet very rich broth full of beans and garlic. We each devoured a massive bowl along with some fresh bread and butter.

Next, it was the main course: Sarmale (essentially Romanian cabbage rolls), served with sour cream and sausage. This meal, quite simply, changed my life. I’ve always enjoyed cabbage rolls, though I’ve never loved them – they’ve always been, more or less, a decent side dish. Sarmale, on the other hand, they’re a meal. Sour cabbage leaves are stuffed with a pork and rice mixture flavoured with love and the alluring essence of the gods. That or some spice blend I haven’t quite cracked yet…

Romanian Sausages

The sausages were almost falling apart. Not to be confused with mititei , the ground meat snack popular across the country, these were much more like a Ukranian kielbasa; though unlike any I’ve ever tasted before.

Sour Cream – More than just a condiment

Then there was the sour cream, made fresh from a nearby farm. I can’t begin to describe how ridiculous this stuff was. It was tangy, almost like yogurt; very thick, more like a soft cream cheese or labneh , and almost had the mouthfeel of butter. It was unmistakably sour cream, yet so different from the mass-produced supermarket variety.

How many other traditional Romanain dishes have you tried?

Cabbage rolls and sausages on a white plate

The Famous Wooden Churches of Romania

Found throughout Maramures, something that cannot be missed on a visit here, are the famous, UNESCO-listed, wooden churches. These astonishing buildings are more than mere places of worship, they’re works of art.

The incredible craftsmanship that goes into the construction of these churches is simply remarkable. While they resemble the familiar shape from afar, the intricate woodworking can only be appreciated up-close. It wasn’t until later that we learned Maramures is renowned for its woodworking as a whole. Nearly every wooden church you’ll find across Romania was likely constructed by a Maramures native.

Although they’re found in some form or another in almost any town in the region, there are a few that are worth tracking down specifically. The churches in the towns of Denesti and Rozavlea are wonderful to visit, as is the one in Breb. The convent of Manastirea Huta, high on a hillside north of Huta Certeze, is another impressive work, with some truly breathtaking views.

However, if you’re really wanting to see the best of the best while in Maramures, check out Barsana Monastery below!

Check Out the Epic Barsana Monastery

We passed by this fantasy-esque monastery almost by accident while heading to Viseu de Sus to catch the steam train one afternoon. As we rounded a corner on a winding stretch of highway, the spires of these stunning wooden cathedrals towering over the trees caught our eyes.

The grounds are comprised of several astonishing wooden churches, along with several other smaller structures, a museum, and housing for the residents. The entire site appears almost like some scene from a fantasy story. It simply cannot be put into words how fascinating this place truly is.

If you’re familiar with the Elder Scrolls video games, such as Oblivion or Skyrim, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to some village in the mountains of Tamriel . Ok, so I’m geeking out a little here, forgive me. However, the resemblance to locations in the games is uncanny. And while I couldn’t find any connection between the two, it certainly would appear that some inspiration was found here.

Several strange shaped wooden buildings in a field

Experience Village Life

Honestly, one of the best parts of our time spent in Maramures was simply slowing down. The atmosphere of this part of the country feels as though you’ve been transported to another time.

As we were leaving the Merry Cemetery, wandering the streets of Săpânța, we wandered past an old lady, probably in her 80’s, sitting back on a bench in the sun. She was there smoking one of the fattest cigars I’ve ever seen, not smiling, not frowning, just totally in the moment under a thick cloud of tobacco smoke.

While staying in Valeni, we would go for an evening walk and soak up the vibe. We’d sit down on the side of the road and watch as villagers rolled in on horse-drawn wagons under the setting sun. Their faces weathered by years toiling in the fields, yet they would always smile and wave. They appeared happy – content with their lifestyle.

Moments like these are so hard to come across these days. If you find yourself in Maramures, do yourself a favour and just stop. Leave your electronics in the room, and go for a walk through the quiet streets of one of these peaceful little towns. You’ll be surprised what an impact it will have on you.

A couple with some logs in the back of a horse-drawn cart in Romania

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About the Author

maramures tourism

Mark Stewart

Mark is a multi-passionate creative with a fascination for getting the most out of the human experience. While he isn't chasing adventures around the globe as a travel journalist and photographer, he works as a freelance writer, private chef and web developer.

Comments 12

maramures tourism

Wow! It is wonderful. I’ve visited Romania a few years ago as a part of youth exchange and saw few popular places between Bucharest and Brasov. I fell in love with the country and now dream about doing a roadtrip there someday. This part of Romania will definitely be on my list as it is absolutely stunning. It really feels like a step back in time.

maramures tourism

That’s great that you were able to visit! Hopefully you’ll be able to return and explore up north!

maramures tourism

Are any of these sights possible with public transportation?

Unfortunately, due to the remoteness of the area, it can be a little tricky to get around without a car, but it is definitely possible.

Many of these locations are accessible by bus from Baia Mare (the biggest city in the area). Some of the destinations will require connections along the way, such as stopping in Sighetu Marmatiei to take another bus to Sapanta. As well, many of the smaller villages, like Breb and Barsana don’t have bus stops, but buses pass nearby. Ask around at the Baia Mare bus station for the bus that goes nearest to the destination you want and the bus driver will let you off. From these spots, it’s easy to hitch a ride, take a local taxi or walk the last little bit.

I hope this helps!

Thank you! I guess I’ll be renting a car and giving people rides! Is it customary to chip in for gas when hitchhiking?

From my understanding, drivers would like a bit of payment for hitching, though only a little. And if you don’t have money, tell them ahead of time and they’ll likely drive you anyway.

maramures tourism

Thanks so much for the rental car suggestion. So cheap!

maramures tourism

No problem! Let us know how it goes!

maramures tourism

Hi ! We are planning on renting a car and traveling throughout Transylvania. But after reading about Maramures area, I think we might need to add it ! We plan to go in early September for about three weeks. Do we need to make room reservations or can we just not be on a tight schedule and find accommodation as we arrive in a town/ village? Thanks Carole

Hey! Great to hear that you’ve decided to add Marmaures! It’s such a beautiful area to explore!

As far as places being available or not, nothing seemed too busy when we visited (we also visited in September). However, many accommodation options in the smaller villages aren’t really well-marked, and not every village will have something, so just showing up and hoping to find something could be a little tricky.

I’d look online and try to book ahead, just to save you the time driving around trying to find a spot.

Safe travels!

Thanks Mark! Did you guys make it to the painted monasteries of Bucovina?

Thank you for reading! We didn’t make it to the painted monasteries unfortunately, we ran out of time! We’re planning a return some time in the near future, so we’ll definitely plan on seeing them!

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Home > 12 Sights & Things To Do In Maramures, Romania Not To Miss

12 Sights & Things To Do In Maramures, Romania Not To Miss

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Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

Nobody who visits Maramures comes back disappointed. Nobody. Here is an excellent list of things to do in Maramures for everyone to enjoy.

Romania Travel Blog_Things To Do In Maramures Romania

When you say Romania , most people think Transylvania is a major attraction here. Yes, Transylvania has its pluses, and nobody can deny that.

But once you start reading more about Romania and its other regions , you discover that each one of them has something appealing. Maramures, the northern part of Romania, will offer you more than one reason to come here.

It is considered a place with unspoiled nature and well-preserved traditions, a place where people can enjoy food and landscapes as they were 100 years ago.

Before traveling here, it is better to do your homework and learn when is the best time to visit it, how you can get there, where to stay, and what things you can do in Maramures.

Three days are enough to check all the main attractions here. But if you need a relaxing holiday, plan a whole week , and you will have time to savor some walks in the forest, easy hiking, and traditional activities.

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Things To Do In Maramures, Romania

Things To Do In Maramures Romania_Barsana monastery

The best thing to do in Maramures is to relax. Enjoy the quiet life here, the nature charging your batteries, and the good, natural food. There are not many corners around Europe so well preserved, which is something Maramures can take pride in.

But besides relaxing, there are other things to do here and places to visit for a complete experience.  

1. Visit The Wooden Churches In Maramures

The wooden churches in Maramures are known for their impressive architecture and old history. Even though almost every village has a wooden church (more than 100 wooden churches in the region), only 8 are UNESCO heritage, and some were built 400 years ago.

These eight churches are tall and narrow and were built using a specific technique to combine wood. Not all of them can receive visitors daily, so it is good to know which one to choose because getting to them takes some time. I recommend you visit the Barsana Monastery and the wooden church in Desesti.

Barsana Wooden Church

The most visited wooden church is the Barsana monastery (comuna Barsana, nr. 6, Romania) . It was built at the beginning of the 18 th century with oak wood and had a very tall bell tower (around 57 meters). It has an interesting story because it was moved twice from the original place it was built. Around 1806, it was moved to where it can be found today.

Local painters painted it inside; today, it is part of a group of buildings that form the Barsana monastery. You can visit it every Monday to Friday, 8 am – 9 pm.

Desesti Wooden Church

The most accessible wooden church is the one in Desesti, and you can visit it from Baia Mare to Sighetu Marmatiei. It doesn’t have official opening hours, but if you get there and find the door closed, you can contact the person in charge by phone (his phone number is written on the door). The painting inside, very well preserved, illustrates scenes from the Bible (very interesting is the one about the fire in hell and the tortures suffered by the ones getting there).

The other six wooden churches of UNESCO heritage are in Budesti, Ieud, Plopis, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, and Surdesti. If you like these types of monuments, you can visit them all, but plan your trip carefully because not all the roads are accessible, and you will need more than a day to do that.      

2. Take A Walk In The Merry Cemetery

Things To Do In Maramures Romania_Merry cemetery

Another popular attraction in Maramures is the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. Once upon a time, there was a man who hated death. That man was Stan Ioan Patras , and he decided to continue Dacia’s lost tradition. This is how the story of this cemetery begins.

The Dacians (Romanians ancestors) believed that death was a happy event because they could meet their major God afterward. Stan Ioan Patras started to design colorful crosses when someone died, and he wrote a short poem on the cross about the life of the defunct. After Stan Ioan Patras died, his disciple continued his work.

Today, almost 800 painted crosses can be found here. The most important ones have a sign on them so they can be easily spotted. This is how the Merry Cemetery was created.

Some of the poems are very interesting (for the whole experience, ask someone to translate them for you), but the overall feeling is still sadness after visiting this place . The creator of the Merry Cemetery is buried here, just in front of the church.  

3. Roam Around The Local Villages

The many villages in the Maramures region are very close to one another, so you can easily visit them during your stay. You can choose to walk in a leisurely manner, or you can cycle. There are many places to hire bicycles, so you’ll have no issues. 

Seven villages weave through protected areas, covering 88km. All routes are marked, so you’re not going to get lost! 

If you prefer to cycle, the Rooster’s Crest Trail and Rooster’s Trail are the most difficult, with the latter covering 22km. The Rails’ Trail is a good option for those who don’t want to break too much of a sweat, covering 20.8km.

4. Discover The History Of Communism At The Memorial Of Suffering In Sighetu Marmatiei

Things To Do In Maramures Romania_Memorial of suffering

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and Resistance was opened in the old communist prison in Sighetu Marmatiei. Here, you can learn what communism meant in Romania , how it was established, and what happened to people who fought against it. At the entrance, you can read the same motto written in Auschwitz: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana.

For those interested in the history of communism, visiting here is a must. All notes are in Romanian , but you can find some printed materials in English. After you visit the prison, go in the backyard to see a sculpture: a group of people pushed by a headless body, representing the repressive system.

5. Sighetu Marmatiei

After checking out the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, the town of Sighetu Marmatiei is worth exploring further.

This town first came to prominence in 1325, and it’s thought to be the first and only town in the whole of Maramures. The town has certainly seen its fair share of history, with communism and Nazi rule scarring the area. 

Be sure to check out the Village Museum, where you can learn about this beautiful town’s history.

6. Buy Handcrafted Goods

Souvenirs in Romania - Eggs in Romania

In the many villages, you’ll find craft stores and stalls that sell handmade goods . These are ideal for taking back home as gifts for loved ones. As a few starting points, you’ll find plenty to check out and purchase in Sarbi, Barsana, and Botiza. 

Locals are only too happy to let you watch as they go about their work and explain what they’re doing as well as they can. You will probably be mesmerized watching them!

7. Put On Your Hiking Shoes

It’s the local villages you should wander around and the mountains too. You’ll surely  need your walking boots , but don’t let that stop you. 

The Rodnei Mountains are the second largest national park in the country, and if you’re up for a challenge, you’ll see some fantastic scenery by taking a day’s exercise. Otherwise, Maramuresului Mountains Nature Park will still give you amazing things to see but with less effort.

8. Take A Ride With The Steam Train

Things To Do In Maramures Romania_

My favorite experience in Maramures is the steam train ride. Every morning, from Spring to Autumn, an old steam train called “Mocanita” departs from Viseu de Sus.

The trip takes around half a day . After 2 hour ride in the wilderness of Northern Romania , you will arrive on a green meadow, where you will stop for another 2 hours.

Here you can visit the small train museum, have a traditional lunch, listen to local music, or lie down and breathe the fresh air – no restaurants, no cars, no phone signal, just a morning in the middle of nature to relax you. The steam train ride is a popular attraction, especially during Summer, so book your ticket in advance.

While you explore this fantastic region, occasionally admire the traditional villages and old houses with big wooden gates and walk in their isolated lanes.

9. Ride A Lift To Horses Waterfall

Head to the Borsa Tourist Complex for a chairlift ride up into the Rodna Mountains. Once at the top of the lift, take a quick 30 minute hike to find Horses Waterfall, a 90 meter high fall flowing in the mountains.

If you are feeling adventurous, continue taking the path until you reach Stiol Lake – a glacier lake that’s absolutely breathtaking.

10. Join A Carpentry Workshop

In Barsana village, head to the carpentry workshop of Teodor Barsan . Not only does Teo make artisan custom wood creations for customers worldwide, but often carpentry workshops are offered onsite for visitors.  

11. Try Local Cuisine

Homemade Romanian Food with grilled meat, polenta and vege

You’ll undoubtedly enjoy filling up on local cuisine , although if you’re on a diet, you’ll probably want to take a day off! Dishes here are famously quite heavy but shouldn’t be missed, many including meat and cheese. Meat eaters will enjoy sampling Caltabos, Slanina, and Toba, while vegetarians have several options , including vegetables cooked in different ways or salads.   

For lunch and dinner, consult the menu before choosing a particular restaurant. Some have only traditional dishes, while others include salads and lighter food.   

12. Explore The Town Of Baia Mare

Head to the town of Baia Mare one morning. Spend time wandering around the Old Town Square and Stephen’s Tower. 

While in town, check out the little known mineralogy museum. Here you can admire over 20,000 mine crystals, rare minerals and gems.

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When is the best time to visit maramures.

When you decide to visit Maramures, consider that winter is winter (with snow and maybe freezing temperatures), and summer is summer (temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius). And that applies all over Romania .

Spring or autumn is probably a good choice if you are not a big fan of extreme temperatures. These seasons can be rainy but also full of beautiful colors. Autumn is even more colorful than Spring: all shades of red, yellow, orange, and green can be seen! To see the blossom trees and green gardens, book your trip in Spring. During Easter , you will have the chance to see some of this region’s traditions: painted eggs, traditional costumes, and delicious food.

Summer is the holiday season. It may not be as warm here as in a big city, but summer in Romania is hot, and Maramures is no exception! It may be a little more crowded than usual, but only at the main attractions. But it is the perfect time to enjoy nature and mostly stay outside as much as possible! The hills, gardens, and forests will be just yours!

Winter can be tricky here . If you don’t like snow, I don’t recommend winter at all! But if you don’t have a problem with cold weather, Maramures will reward you with fantastic white views. Christmas is another great moment to experience the local traditions.

The only thing with winter is that if you decide to come in January or February, some attractions are closed, or their winter schedule is short. Once you have determined the best time to visit this exciting place, it’s time to choose how to get there.   

How To Get To Maramures

Things To Do In Maramures Romania_Desesti wooden church

Before planning your trip to Maramures, it is good to know that you will need a car to explore this area. Whether renting one, coming on your own, or booking a guided trip , a car is necessary to reach the main attractions. Maybe that is why the region is unspoiled: it is not easily accessible.

Getting To Maramures By Plane

The closest airport is the one in Baia Mare (the central city of the region), named “Maramures Airport,” but you won’t find international flights that land here (yet). Another airport is the one in Cluj Napoca . It will take you around half a day to get from Cluj Napoca to Maramures, but the airport in Cluj is not very big either.

The two options with enough international flights are Bucuresti, Henri Coanda, or Budapest . Of course, you will need a day by car to get from Bucharest /Budapest to Baia Mare or another flight.

But most tourists stay in Bucharest and tour Romania, including Transylvania and Maramures.

Getting To Maramures By Train

Another option is to take the train from Bucharest (or any other major city in Romania) to Baia Mare. The ride takes around 13 hours, which is not your best option. But if you choose it, you can book your train tickets online .

Getting To Maramures By Bus

If you land in Bucharest, you can also take the bus, and after 13 hours, you will arrive at Baia Mare. The bus is also an option to explore the region for those who don’t like driving and do not want a guided tour.

It will only take you near the main attractions, but the bus schedule won’t allow you to see as many items as possible by car. Also, some attractions are not reachable by bus. It would be best to consider all these conditions before deciding the best way to travel to Maramures.

After establishing how to get there, you must choose where to stay in Maramures.

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Where To Stay In Maramures

An excellent base to explore the region is Sighetu Marmatiei. Sighetu Marmatiei is a small town in the north, and from here, all the tourist attractions are easy to reach.

You can find good hotels and B&Bs. If you want to stay in the countryside, choose one of the many pensions. Most are traditionally decorated, but you still have some options if you prefer luxury accommodation. The best part about these pensions is that they have massive gardens. You can lie on the grass and listen to nature’s sounds all day.

Not all of them offer breakfast, and not all of them have restaurants. If you want to start your day early in the morning, choose accommodation with breakfast included.

Nobody who visits Maramures comes back disappointed. Nobody.

Discover this land where it seems like time stood still.

People are astonished by its beauty and thrilled that it seems so isolated and still. In a world full of gadgets, speed, and big cities, visiting here is like a breath of fresh air, a trip back in time.

What are the recommended sights in Maramureș, North Romania?

The Bârsana Monastery, local villages, particularly Sârbi, traditional festivals in Maramureș, the traditional water-actioned mechanical systems in the Sârbi, the historical sites in the Breb village, the Merry Cemetery in Sapânța, the Peri Monastery, the Sighet Village Museum, and the Horses Waterfall.

What can I do at the Bârsana Monastery?

Visitors can admire the beautiful architecture and gardens that the monastery has to offer.

What activities are available in local villages like Sârbi village?

You can experience authentic cultural interactions with artisans and locals.

What are the annual traditional festivals in Maramureș?

Annual traditional festivals and celebrations are usually associated with important dates in the Orthodox calendar and often involve traditional costumes, dance, and music.

What unique tradition can be found in Sârbi village?

The village is known for maintaining traditional water-actioned mechanical systems.

What attractions can be found in Breb village?

Historical houses tied to Prince Charles and the old Archangels Michael and Gabriel church are key attractions.

What is special about the Merry Cemetery in Sapânța and the Peri Monastery?

The Merry Cemetery is known for its colorful and descriptive tombstones, while the Peri Monastery is known for being the tallest wooden church construction in Europe.

What can be seen at the Sighet Village Museum?

The museum displays traditional Maramureș wooden houses and farm buildings.

What is the Horse Waterfall?

It is a natural attraction accessible via a chairlift and a short hike, known for its stunning landscape.

Are you ready to take this trip?  What will be on your things to do in Maramures list?

  • Romanian Food
  • What To See When You Visit Romania
  • Things To Do In Romania
  • Bucharest Tours
  • Things To Do In Brasov, Transylvania
  • Where To Stay In Brasov

Comments (2)

I would like to plan a trip to my mom’s birthplace. She was born in what was Tisa Vereshmort, in Maramures, Romania. I can’t find this on a map. her home had a well on her property. She called her home Mikif before she left in 1940. Any ideas or tips are appreciated. I tried googling the area, other than an old map nothing comes up for me.

Kudos for giving Maramures, Romania some well-deserved love in your blog!

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10 best things to do in Maramures

Cold winter morning in a village in Maramures

Located in the northern part of Romania in a large valley with the same name, Maramures is an area where people are still following, for the most part, the traditional way of life. From our visits, we have selected for you 10 best things to do while in Maramures. This are places and activities which will give you an idea about the treasures of this area. The order of the attractions is not necessarily as a top 10, where number 1 is the most attractive. Some tourists might be interested more in the religious heritage of the area, while others would appreciate more local cuisine.

What is Maramures mainly known for

With a long and interesting history, communities in this region managed to preserve their traditions like no others. Very skilled people have created real wood masterpieces along the centuries. Building with wood has become an art in Maramures: houses, gates, churches, tools – everything is built out of wood here.

1. Visit Barsana Monastery

The old monastery of Barsana (name coming from a sheep breed in the area) was built in the second half of the 14th century, but the Tatars destroyed it in 1717. In spite of people struggling to rebuild it, this was not possible up until 1991, after the fall of the communism. The are several buildings in the monastic compound. All of them are made with local materials, respecting the traditional building methods. Among them, the main church is built out of  strong oak beams and is 57m high (187 ft), one of the tallest in the world. The "summer altar" is more like a pergola, built entirely out of wood, where religious ceremonies are held during summer days. The "refectory", with 2 large terraces and many flower pots hanging, will impress you through its architecture.

Barsana wood Monastery

2. Take a ride with Mocanita - steam-engine train

Another "must-do" in Maramures is Mocanita , located in Viseu de Sus. From here, the Vaser river valley goes deep into the wilderness, for approx. 60 km /37 miles. The thick forest here has always provided valuable row material for the famous wood "industry" of the area. The canyon-like valley is hard to cross, so locals built a narrow gauge line after the First World War, for hauling logs down from the mountains. Surprisingly, the steam-engine trains are still used for this purpose. More recently, tourists have discovered the impressive mountain landscape offered by Vaser valley. As a result trains have been adapted to this new role. It is a very interesting experience, both from the engineering point for view as well as for the beauty of the wild nature.

Mocanita steam engine traine on Vaser river valley in Maramures

3. Visit the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta

As strange as it may sound, the most visited tourist attraction in Maramures is the Cemetery in Sapanta village. Every day there are hundreds of tourists from Romania and other countries are visiting this place.

But what makes it so special? The uniqueness of this cemetery are actually the vivid colors of its crosses: from blue to red, yellow or green. Its history starts actually in 1930, when a local artisan, Stan Ioan Patras, has chosen to present death through a different perspective. This way of seeing a person’s most tragic event is actually going down the centuries to free-Dacian people, living in this territory in ancient times. They were not seeing death as a sad event, but rather an opportunity to leave an ever-lasting life alongside with their main God: Zalmoxes.

Along the years, the sculptor has created hundreds of such vivid-painted crosses, almost managing to drive-away sadness from the cemetery. Every cross has the same style: a flower-decorated cross on top, followed by a bas-relief, depicting a symbolic scene from the deceased’s life and a funny poem (an epitaph), detailing the scene:

"Underneath this heavy cross Lies my mother in law poor Had she lived three days more I’d be here and she would read You that are passing by Try not to wake her up For she comes back home She’ll bite my head off But I’ll act in the way That she will not return Stay here my dear Mother-in-law."

Merry Cemetery in Sapanta village, Maramures

4. Enjoy local accommodation in Maramures

Romanians are known for being welcoming and friendly, but you won’t meet the real Romanian hospitality until you check-in in Maramures. People in this region are very communicative and they love having guests.

Many of the local families have transformed their houses for accommodating tourists by enlarging them or even building new ones. Not all of the guesthouses are of a good taste, respecting local architecture, but you will for sure be able to find an authentic one in every village.

Accommodation facilities are usually the equivalent of a 3 stars hotel. They provide comfortable rooms, most of the time decorated with local embroideries and carpets. Bathrooms are often modern, fully equipped with shower, hot water and central-heating (even if this sometimes means for the owner to wake up in the middle of the night and refuel the wood-fired central heating unit).

Usually every guesthouse has a large yard where you can relax or a family-owned farm, where you can see their animals.

For sure a local Travel Agency will be able to point out for you the most authentic places to stay in Maramures.

Local_guesthouse_in_Maramures

5. Visit the wooden church in Surdesti

Although at the edge of Maramures province, we can definitely include this attraction on our list.

The Graeco-Catholic church of Surdesti was built in 1766. For many years this was the tallest wooden church in Europe (72m / 236ft). It has a rectangular shape, with a polygonal chancel apse. The roof has double eaves, covering chancel as well, with a secondary row of windows between the two eaves. The tower is really impressive, with a ledge, about half-way up and four pinnacles at the corner of the roof.

Although very tall, the whole is harmonious and nearly reaches aesthetic perfection.

The interior wall-painting is even more impressive, as it is painted directly on the wood-walls. Almost all paintings have white background, making the entire interior looking clean and bright.

6. Visit Sapanta Peri monastery

Between 14 th and 18 th century, the Peri monastery was the largest and most important monastery in Maramures. It was originally located on the right side of Tisa river, an area which nowadays belongs to Ukraine.

The new monastery was built in an old forest, right at the edge of Sapanta village, starting 1995. It took the same name, in a sign of continuation of the monastic tradition in the area. The main church of the monastery was finished in 2003 and since then is the tallest wooden church in the world (78m / 256 ft.) It is built on a tall concreate foundation, which, to my opinion, “steels the start” in competition with the wooden church in Surdesti. The church impresses though through its proportions and the complexity of the steep-slope roof.

Surdesti wooden church

7. Taste local cuisine

Maramures’ cuisine is simple, yet, it requires time and attention to understand it. It holds inside of it the entire cultural heritage of the area. In Maramures every meal, sometimes even the breakfast, starts with a shot of “horinca” (local plumb or apple brandy). It continues with a thin slice of pork-fat (usually smoked), some freshly-backed bread and a piece of onion. From here it continues on countless “roads” – from soups to grills and from cabbage-meat-rolls to the delicious "cozonac" (a kind of sweet bread).

All dishes are freshly cooked with local ingredients. They are based on meat (usually pork or lamb) and vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, onion, etc). Deserts are simple, but delicious, as they are made with love: from different types of pies (cheese, plumbs, pumpkin) to donuts.

Holidays are special to the locals and so are the meals prepared on these days. Every holiday starts at the church, where the priest blesses the food, which is then brought back home and shared with the family. Every important holiday would have its own main dishes: Christmas is mainly about pork and Easter is always about lamb.

If you can schedule your holiday in Maramures, try schedule it during Christmas or Easter. You will not regret it! And even if you come during the year, locals will be glad to cook for you some specialties, as you will be their special guest.

freshly_backed lamb in the over

8. Go hiking or biking

If you are passioned about hiking or biking, Maramures it is the place to be. With its calm-hills relief and surrounded by medium-heights mountains, the area offers countless options for outdoor activities.

There are many marked and unmarked paths which you can take. Along the route nature will impress you with its wilderness. Speaking about which, you should pay attention to wild animals and sheepfolds’ dogs.

My preferred hiking route (because I am not a professional hiker) is the one towards “Cascada Cailor” (Horses’ Waterfall) and Taul Stiol (Stiol lake). It can be done in less than a day (both ways) and it offers spectacular views.

Taul Stiol lake in Rodnei Mountains, Maramures

9. Visit the Communism Memorial in Sighet

The Memorial is located in the center of the town, in a former prison which functioned here from 1899 until 1965. Between 1948 - 1955 the place was transformed into one of the most feared political prison in Romania.

Most of the cultural, political and intellectual elite of Romania was set behind bars by the communist regime, while driving the entire country into poverty and darkness. Considered enemies of the regime, all prisoners were tortured, poorly fed, kept in unhealthy conditions with no heat or light. Due to this “treatment” some of them lost their lifes and were buried during the night in anonymous tombs, in the Poor People’s Cemetery, in the outskirts of the town. Among them, Iuliu Maniu, former Prime-Minister.

Communism Memorial in Sighetul Marmatiei

Fortunately, in 1955 Romania joined United Nations and following this step, the political prisoners were moved to other prisons or freed.

The Memorial was inaugurated in 1997 and shows all the atrocities that prisoners had to face during those dark times. Most of the former cells are now thematic rooms, exhibiting different aspects of the communism period in Romania. Although a very emotional experience, I recommend it to you.

Valtoare Maramures

10. Take a walk through the village

Probably the best thing you can do in Maramures, in order to better understand the local architecture and way of life is simply to take a walk through the villages.

Walk slowly, take pictures and admire the beautiful carved wooden gates and houses. You can’t miss the spirit of the community. Immediately you will notice if they are busy or if they are celebrating, depending on how quiet the village is or how many people you will meet on the street.

You will also have the chance to meet some local artisans. Most of them will be happy to invite you in for a shot of “horinca” and they can show you how they work: be it wood carving, hat-making, weaving or other traditional activities.

In the village most of the people know each-other, so don’t be surprised if someone will greet you on the road. Simply reply with “Buna ziua!” (Good day!).

old wood gate in Maramures

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13 Incredible things to do in Maramures: Europe’s lost in time region

From charming churches and monasteries to the last steam train in the Carpathian region, traveling to Maramures means going back in time. And if the welcoming Romanians won’t steal your heart with their warm hospitality the incredible rural experiences will. Let’s dive into the most detailed travel guide about the best things to do in Maramures.

The photo from the cover is by the local Romanian photographer Markus Sorin .

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In This Article

1. visit sighetu marmatiei.

  • 2. See Europe's highest wooden structure: Peri Monastery
  • 3. Wander in Sapanta's Merry Cemetery

4. Explore the World Heritage Site, Barsana ancient Church

5. visit the new monastery of barsana, 6. explore saint paraschiva church in botiza, 7. admire the beautiful st. nicholas church in budesti, 8. get to know the locals in breb, 9. explore stramtura lovely town, 10. meet incredible artisans in sacel, 11. admire mocanita, one of the last narrow gauge steam trains, 12. chase views in borsa, 13. attend a sunday mass, is it worth visiting maramures, when is the best time to visit maramures, how to arrive and move around, where to stay.

  • Continue exploring Europe's gems

This city of 40.000 inhabitants was once the capital of Maramures. During World War II, Sighetu Marmatiei was the largest ghetto in the region, with more than 10.000 prisoners. Among them also Sighetu’s native, Elie Wiesel, who later won the Nobel Peace Prize. Nowadays you can visit Elie Wiesel Memorial House, a large collection of the awarded author’s objects and photos, inaugurated by the writer himself.

Although the most important monument of the city’s dark past is the Memorial to the Resistance and Victims of Communism . Situated in an ancient political prison, the museum covers the dramatic events during the Communism period in Romania and also in the neighboring nations.

You can’t end your visit without seeing Sighet Village Museum. This open-air museum traces the story of Romanian traditional architecture through the centuries, by showing different houses. It’s also interesting to admire the evolution of architectural and decorative elements.

Memorial to the Resistance and Victims of Communism in Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures, Roumania

2. See Europe’s highest wooden structure: Peri Monastery

Close by the Merry Cemetery, in Sapanta, there is Europe’s highest wooden building. I’m talking about Peri Monastery. Even though the monastery dates to 1997, they built it using ancient techniques. The impressive 78 meters tower has many detailed and beautiful decorations that make the ensemble a must-see when visiting Sapanta.

Before going have a look at the Jewish cemetery nearby the monastery. In complete contrast with the Merry Cemetery, the place has a romantic/haunted feeling especially when the sun starts to go down.

3. Wander in Sapanta’s Merry Cemetery

The Merry Cemetery ( Cimitirul Vesel in Romanian) is one of the most-well known attractions in Sapanta, a small village 4 kilometers from Ukraine’s borders. What makes it special? There are more than 800 wooden crosses painted in bright blue, with carved icons of the deceased.

The craftsman Stan Ioan Patras started the tradition almost 100 years ago by starting to create these merry tombstones. In addition to the beautiful decoration and bright colors, a short text completes the small monuments, reminding a peculiarity of the deceased. Many tombs have also poems or parodies and funny texts.

The reasons behind this “happy” vision of death are the inhabitants’ belief that Death is not the end but the beginning of a second chapter.

Sapanta Merry Cemetery in Maramures Roumania

Not to be mistaken with Barsana New Monastery.

The Entry of the Virgin at the Temple Church is one of the most extraordinary Churches in the region and in Roumania. The story of the church began in the early 18th century when the wooden structure was built in a location called Părul Călugărului (Monk’s Hair literally). Soon after its construction, the monks disassembled and rebuilt it in the Barsana Monastery Area. Where today the modern complex stands.

BUT the church’s pilgrimage to its final destination wasn’t over. Soon after the monks abandoned Barsana Monasteries, the inhabitants of the village decided to bring closer the wooden structure to the city. The new location wasn’t a hazardous choice. In fact, it was moved to a hill that was the burial site of the victims of the plague that infested the area in 1742.

Besides its incredible story, what makes the Entry of the Virgin at the Temple Church more special, are its incredible frescoes, showing scenes from Genesis, the Last Judgement, the Old Testament, and the Passion of Jesus.

The original complex dates back to the 14th century. Unfortunately, centuries of raids, battles, and opposition from the government, forced its reconstruction multiple times.

The complex that today is a well-known peaceful oasis was built in 1993 following ancient techniques. And like all the other churches it’s built in wood. There are several buildings that are very beautiful to walk by.

Why wood? When the Hungarian government controlled the region, they prohibited the use of stone to build orthodox churches. Instead, the craftsmen used oak and created incredible carved decorations

Barsana Monastery nearby Stramtura in Maramures, Roumania

Just like Barsana Ancient Church, Saint Paraschiva was moved to the place it stands today after being disassembled. The first building construction dates back to 1796, in the small village Viseu de Jos. Following Botiza’s growth, a neighboring village, the community decided to move it to a new location.

The church is full of light because it has more windows comparing other churches in the region. The beautiful frescoes are dark but decorated with many flowers. As a result, the church is beautifully decorated and very interesting to see.

One of the largest and most beautiful churches in the region, St. Nicholas Church was built in 1643. Its interiors and exteriors are equally beautiful for the rich decoration and colorful frescoes.

The church features an admirable collection of wooden and stained glass icons. Before going you can wander among the charming streets of the lovely Budesti village. A small but welcoming community.

Saint Nicolas church in Budesti, Maramures, Roumania

Almost every village or town in Maramures has the lost in time feeling. But in Breb that’s more of an immersion. An agricultural centred village that feels like the set of a historic movie. The wooden houses and the inhabitants’ traditional costumes make it an incredible experience.

People are also very friendly and will be eager to greet and welcome you. Sometimes even inside their houses. If you are a passionate photographer don’t be afraid to ask them to pose, they will do it with a smile on.

Simply wandering in the streets is a lovely experience.

Breb in Maramures inside a villagers house. Roumania

Another typical village and a must-see is Stramtura. Situated in Maramures center, this is also the ideal place to stay as it’s close to every interesting site, including Barsana village.

Something to pay attention to? The houses’ entrance doors and gates. They are all carefully decorated in the unique style that is so typical of the Marmures wood carving tradition. Similarly to Breb, many villagers live out of agriculture and farming. It’s really common to see horse-trained chariots and other animals in the streets and courtyards.

The uniqueness of this small village is the many artists that live there. Sacel is famous for its red pottery which uses ancient Dacian techniques.

Would you like to visit an atelier of traditional masks? Head to the workshop of Vasile Susca. For many years he has been creating beautiful masks from the Romanian tradition.

Vasile Susca in Sacel, Maramures Roumania

Mocanita is a narrow-gauge railway once used for cargo or passenger transportation that connected the regions of Maramures, Transylvania, and Bukovina. Nowadays there are a few steam trains that remain in use for tourist purposes.

Notice during Summer the train get really crowded, expect also for waiting lines. The experience is still 100% worth it!

Book the tickets to the Mocanita train online to skip the line at the station. The trip lasts about 6 hours and has three stops in the incredible Vaser Valley. I would not recommend buying the food during your tour. Instead, organize yourself with a sandwich or eat when the tour is over. At the last stop, before heading back, traditional dancers and music await to entertain tourists.

The landscapes on the way are amazing and the whole ride is very pleasant, although you may want to consider seating in the covered part of the train during winter, due to the cold breeze.

Want to know how a ride is? Check out our Mocanita dedicated post .

Mocanita steam train in Maramures Roumania

Let me start by saying that there are plentiful incredible landscapes in Maramures. Heavenly valleys and enchanting forests, and of course the rustic villages. Along with the above-mentioned, Borsa has a mountainous outline that reminds the Alps. Absolutely beautiful under Winter snow, during Summer you will get to enjoy the many possible hikes that start from there.

Not to miss: the trail to the Horses Waterfall. To get there you will take a chairlift that has an incredible view of the valley and on Borsa. Once you arrived, there is a short walk (about 1 kilometer) to Roumania’s tallest waterfall, 95 meters. The views on the way are really worth the effort too. Just note to take comfortable hiking shoes, especially in winter when the ground gets slippery.

Borsa snow landscapes, view from Maramures in Roumania

Even if you have different religious beliefs, attending Sunday mass in one of the beautiful local monasteries or churches is an incredible experience. The Orthodox Catholic ceremony lasts about 2 hours and is divided into different phases.

First, the faithfuls arrive, dressed in their most beautiful traditional costumes. Once inside, they light candles in memory of their beloved ones. Then the service can begin. Most prayers are sung, and the whole mass has a joyful atmosphere.

The celebration continues outside the place of worship where Prosfora, similar in meaning to consecrated host, is offered to the faithfuls. The remaining host is given to the faithful and brought home.

Catholic Orthodox mass in Maramures, Roumania

FAQ for planning your trip to Marmures

Maramures is a region rich in history and of undeniable natural beauty. But what makes it unique are its people. People from Maramures are some of the most welcoming in the world. It’s really common to be invited to enter their houses and be offered drinks when wandering in the villages. And that’s when the magic begins.

Their lifestyle will bring you back in time to half a century or more. People have cars, cellphones, and even Facebook profiles, but you will see also many horse-drawn carriages and some houses still have external bathrooms inside small wooden cabins.

Many houses also have a “museum piece”. An extraordinary room where carpets cover from the floor to ceiling, and where the most important objects are displayed.

In Summer the temperatures make it easier to walk around and enjoy the hikes in the idyllic nature. But when Winter lays its snow mantle on the valleys and houses, the landscape looks out of a fairytale.

How to arrive in Maramures Roumania

Maramures airport is Baia Mare, in the region’s South East. The best connections are from Milan (30€) and London (50€), operated by Wizz Air, or Paris (74€) by Ryanair.

The best way to move around is by renting a car. Once more I have to recommend our favorite car rental service: rentalcars.com . Thanks to the fact they work with the biggest car rental brands, they can always offer the most competitive prices. The daily cost of renting a car is around 20€.

There are many hotels in Maramures, as Romanians love the region and there is a lot of local tourism. As the distances are not long you could easily pick an accommodation and move from there to the major points of interest. There are solutions for every kind of traveler, even spa hotels. But I highly recommend choosing more “authentic” accommodations to put yourself in the mood.

Our pick: We had a royal welcome at Sanziene Pension in Stramtura . Our host Zakaria was absolutely lovely. In addition to the friendly staff, the ambiance is typical of the region, but with all the comforts! There is a bathroom inside each room. One more reason to choose Sanziene? Its central position. You will get easily everywhere in less than an hour.

maramures tourism

Continue exploring Europe’s gems

Roumania is absolutely magical! And we are preparing more posts about Maramures incredible region. Meanwhile you can continue reading about the many destinations we write about in our destinations page .

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Things to do in Maramures, Roumania lost in time region

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Maramures Region: The Ultimate Slow Tourism Destination In Romania

Maramures is considered by many the soul of the typical Romanian village . The picturesque villages, green hills, and fields full of wildflowers will make you feel like you went back in time.

Maramures is a unique, slow tourism destination.  It has carefully kept the traditions, the culture, and the lifestyle of peasants who lived in bygone ages.

Not that many customs have changed in the past few centuries in this region. The craftsmanship and traditions are being transmitted from one generation to the next one.

In this article, we will reveal the most interesting aspects of Maramures, such as:

  • The history;
  • The traditional villages;
  • The architecture;
  • Traditional food and drinks;
  • Representative tourist attractions.

Let’s get started.

The History of Maramures

The history of this region goes way back to the Superior Paleolithic era. Archaeological discoveries can confirm the fact that there was a primitive society in this area. Plenty of artifacts were found here that can even be dated 6,000 BC.

Dacia is an old term that refers to the Romanian land that is between the Carpathians mountains and the Danube river. After Dacia had been conquered by the Roman Empire in 106 AD, Maramures remained an independent territory.

The  earliest written documentation about Maramures dates back to 1199 , and it was a deed. Then, throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, the number of documents about this region increased. In them, there were details about how the population was organized. People were living in small feudal communities, known as a principality.

By the end of the 14th century, the entire region of Transylvania was under Hungarian rule. It included Maramures as well.

In 1359, Bogdan, a famous prince, crossed the mountains over to Moldova to confront Blac, a Maramures Noble. Blac had a lot of influence over Maramures and Moldovia. Bogdan was victorious, proclaimed himself ruler, and reshaped Moldavia into an independent state.

To honor this victory, the town he was from, Cuhea, changed its name to Bogdan Voda.

In the 15th century, the Hungarian overlords started putting a lot of pressure on the people living here. One example is  a decree  which stated that the Romanian Orthodox churches would be made only out of wood.

As we’re going to discover later in the article, thanks to this decree, an important architectural culture was born.

Here are some other highlights from Maramures’s history:

  • In 1526, it became part of the Transylvanian Principality;
  • In 1711, it was annexed to Hungary;
  • In 1918, a part of Maramures was split between Romania and Cechslovakia.

In the 1960s, due to the collectivization that occurred in the communist regime, people were forced to give their lands. Despite this, the region wasn’t affected too much because the mining industry and logging were thriving.

Also, tourism flourished in this area because of the area’s cultural value and its beautiful landscapes.

Now, let’s see what makes Maramures so unique.

The Traditional Villages in Maramures

Maramures is probably the only region in Romania where you could swear that time has frozen. This is one of the reasons why it’s a slow tourism destination you shouldn’t miss out on.

Late in the afternoon, old women rest and chat in front of their houses. Many of them are wearing the national costume. It is formed by a white shirt with ruffles, long black skirts, aprons with stripes which cover the skirts, headscarves, and peasant sandals ( opinci ).

On Sundays, wearing the traditional garment is mandatory even for children. The villages are renowned for their wooden gates, which are beautifully sculpted.

The knots, the drawings, and the sun motif are the most common ornaments that you will find on these gates.

Other traditional motifs you can find on the gates are the grapevine, the acorn, the twisted rope, crosses, and forest animals.

The Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Romania says that the two most beautiful villages in the country are in Maramures. They are called Breb and Preluca Noua. Also, Breb is the most photographed place in Maramures.

Prince Charles of Wales visited this village a few years ago and was impressed by its picturesque feel.

The villages Barsana and Oncesti have the largest number of impressive wooden gates. Ciocanesti is probably the prettiest village in Romania. It’s because the houses are covered with painted flowers and geometric shapes.

Rarely you will find a village that doesn’t have a wooden church . All the churches have been built back in the 17th or 18th century and have impressive gothic belfries. They all have a common pattern, but at the same time, each of them has a distinct feel to them.

We’ve given you a little glimpse of the architecture in Maramures, but now we’ll dive deeper into it.

Maramures, The Land of Wooden Architecture

When you say Maramures, you say wooden structures, which made the region known not only locally, but internationally as well.

The architecture is one of the most original and beautiful from the South Eastern Europe.

Here are the most representative aspects of the architecture in Maramures:

  • The church . The main characteristics are the high tower, which can be as high as 50 meters, and the gothic motif. The tower is made entirely out of wood, and despite its heights, it’s extremely stable even during windy weather. The wooden churches are included in the  UNESCO sites in Romania .
  • The gate . The gates in Maramures have become famous due to their dimensions, and their ornaments. Back in the day, people used to believe that the gate acts as a barrier against evil, and it settled the boundaries to their universe. Under the pillar which was connected to the sill, people used to put money, incense, and holy water. They thought that this would keep the evil away from their home.
  • The house . The houses are made out of wood girders placed horizontally. There are two types of wood that was used for the houses: oak and timber. They also stand out because the windows’ corbels, the frames, the big gates, and the cowshed doors are beautifully carved.
  • Objects . Wood is one of the oldest raw materials used by man. In Maramures, people still craft today different objects which are used on special occasions. Here are just some of them: seal engraver, canteen, or miniature sculptures.

What To Eat And Drink In Maramures

When you visit Maramures, you have to be prepared to eat a lot of fantastic food. Hosts welcome their guests with homemade bread a small glass of  horinca . It is a traditional double-distilled local brandy made out of fruit.

It’s considered bad luck for the host if the guest doesn’t eat and drink everything they’ve been offered.

Maramures has plenty of local, traditional dishes. Here are the main ones:

  • Balmos  – an ewe-cheese, milk and polenta meal which is oven-baked and served in a wooden or clay pot;
  • Smoked sausages and bacon that are homemade;
  • Different kinds of cheeses made out of sheep milk;
  • Soups and borsch, which the people here are always having for lunch;
  • Pasca  for Easter – a cake with sweet cheese;
  • Piftie  – pork jelly that is eaten at Christmas;
  • Stew, made with pork, beef, chicken, spicy sausages, brown sauce and it’s served with polenta;
  • Bonus: horinca , an alcoholic drink that is usually made out of plums and has over 50 grades;

In most of the dishes from this region, the bread is replaced with polenta. The stew is one of the most appreciated meals by tourists from all around the world.

For breakfast, polenta with cheese, cream and bacon is a staple. The rural omelet is also incredibly delicious and is made out of ham, mushrooms, and bacon.

What makes all of these dishes so tasty is the fact that the ingredients are local and usually home grown.

Now, let’s discover the main tourist attractions.

What You Should Visit in Maramures

  • Sapanta Merry Cemetery . The village of Sapanta is located close to the Ukrainian border. This cemetery is unique for a few reasons. First, the crosses are painted in vivid colors. Second, the cross has a carved image that characterizes the deceased person. Third, each grave has a short, funny poem, written in the first person, as if it was a confession from the dead person.
  • Sighetu Marmatiei . In Sighet, you must visit the Sighet Memorial Museum. During the communism, this was an infamous prison. It was a place where intellectuals and politicians were tortured and starved to death. This museum is dedicated to their memory, and the cells have been transformed into rooms.
  • The wooden churches . We’ve already talked about their beautiful architecture. When in Maramures, you should visit the churches in the villages of Surdesti, Barsana, and Sapanta Peri.
  • Joiner’s workshops . The Barsana Monastery is one of the most beautiful attractions in Maramures. In this village, you can find the workshop of the carver Teodor Barsan. He is worldwide known for his amazing creations.
  • Traditional villages . Vadu Izei, Ieud, Poienile Izei, Breb, and Botiza are must see villages you should include in your itinerary.

When Will You Be Joining Us On This Slow Tourism Destination?

William Blaker wrote a book called “Along the enchanted way” where he talked about the years he spent in Maramures. It’s filled with history and rich details, so if you want to learn more about this region, we recommend reading this book.

At TravelMaker, we have a couple of dreamy tours which include visiting Maramures.

One of these tours is Maramures, Bucovina & Danube Delta Tour which lasts for 5 days.

If you’d like to book a slow tourism destination or request more details about them, don’t hesitate to contact us at  40 735 525 710. 

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Maramures: Wooden Architecture, Haystacks, and Hard-Working People

Home » Facts about Romania » Regions of Romania » Maramures: Wooden Architecture, Haystacks, and Hard-Working People

Discover Maramures and Romania with our Walking Tour in Maramures

Maramures, also known as the ‘land of wood’, is that part of Romania most travel agencies promote as stuck in time, with traditional villages and people working the fields for a living. This is only partly true.

The natural landscape is indeed scenic. The tall belfries of the wooden churches and the slow-paced atmosphere of smaller villages make it a great destination to discover on foot. Time often becomes a commodity you don’t miss or need if you choose to stay in one of these places.

Traditional house, Desesti village

Less true is, however, the assumption that things and life haven’t changed at all. Overall, many young people have left in search of a better life. The results of their work are often displayed in the same quiet villages that enchant travelers. Many new houses appeared in rural Maramures, bigger and richer but empty for most of the year.

The new social realities coexist with the traditional ones. Despite the changes, the cultural identity of Maramures is still representative, impossible to copy, as well as the kindness of its hard-working people.

A short history of Maramures

The history of Maramures was strongly influenced by its geography. Isolated by the Carpathians , Maramures remained an independent territory after the Roman Empire’s expansion in ancient Dacia, almost 2,000 years ago. Centuries later, it fell under Hungarian rule, and hundreds of years after it became a part of the Habsburg Empire. In 1918, Maramures reunited with Romania, at the end of WW1 .

Women wearing traditional clothes, Botiza

The isolation of its territory allowed the region to partially escape the forced collectivization ordered by the communist regime. This is one of the reasons it preserved until recently its almost archaic countryside scenery.

The culture of wood as a way of life

The abundance of wood in the surrounding mountains has shaped the culture of Maramures. Forced by poor agricultural resources, the people of Maramures relied on wood exploitation, livestock, mining activities, and seasonal working migration. Wood became a symbol of their life, belief, and social status.

Traditional houses were made of wood. Carving the raw material for their imposing wooden gates became an art transmitted from generation to generation. This is why only here you can admire wooden churches that still stand after centuries, excellent testimonies of locals’ strong belief in God.

The most beautiful places to see in Maramures

The charm of the region ultimately lies within its specific culture. Its rolling hills and haystacks, its wooden masterpieces entangled in a slow rural rhythm, spiced up with the omnipresent alcoholic drink horinca and delicious food make Maramures a great destination.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The symbol of historical Maramures, the wooden churches are scattered across the region. Surprisingly, these centuries-old monuments survived invasions, war, and the determination of the Habsbourg Empire to impose a new religion.

Barsana Church

Eight of the almost 100 wooden churches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites . You can find them in the villages of Barsana, Budesti, Desesti , Ieud, Plopis, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, and Surdesti.

History & Culture Landmarks

Sighet memorial.

The Memorial of Victims of Communism from Sighet is the mirror of the first decades of communism in Romania. A major extermination prison for the interwar democratic elites, the Memorial is a must-see for its powerful incursion into the history of communism.

Check the visiting schedule on www.memorialsighet.ro

Cortege of the Sacrificial Victims

If you’re curious to find out more about this time, visit also the Memorial House of Ilie Lazar from Giulesti. A local leader of the National Peasant Party, Ilie Lazar was imprisoned between 1946 to 1964. He was surveilled by the secret communist police until his death in 1976.

Elie Wiesel Memorial House

The childhood house of Nobel-prize winner Elie Wiesel is another great landmark from the small town of Sighetu Marmatiei. The center of the massive Jewish deportations organized by the occupying Hungarian forces in 1944, Sighet is one of the tragic locations of the Holocaust.

The Memorial House offers a straightforward history lesson about the somber faith of the local Jewish community during WW2.

Check the visiting schedule on http://muzeulmaramuresului.ro

The Jewish Cemetery

Continue with a visit to the Jewish Cemetery, the biggest of this kind in Maramures, only a short walk from the Holocaust Memorial. Hundreds of funeral stones offer a better perspective on the size of the Jewish community just decades ago.

Jewish Cemetery

To visit the cemetery, call the number listed on the entrance door. Ask the caretaker of the cemetery to show you the Soap Monument, a funeral stone that hides a piece of soap brought from the extermination camp in Auschwitz.

Mocanita Steam Train

The most famous steam train in Romania, Mocanita runs on the last forestry railway in Europe. The narrow-gauge line, in function since the time of the Habsburg Empire, goes deep in the forests of Vaser Valley.

Book your tickets on www.cffviseu.com

Photo source: Facebook Mocanita

The Merry Cemetery

The Merry Cemetery from Sapanta is one of the most famous images of Maramures and Romania. Its blue painted crosses and ironic poems offer a lively atmosphere that makes you forget you’re in an actual cemetery.

The Peasant Women’s Museum

In the traditional rural Maramures, women took care of the house, worked the fields, cooked daily, and made clothes for the entire family. The story of these strong and hard-working women is the theme of a small museum from Dragomiresti.

Sculptures at Peasant Women’s Museum

Maramures Village Museum

The Village Museum is organized as a miniature version of rural Maramures. Old households, a wooden church, traditional installations, and colorful houses of local minorities recreate the past rural world.

The Florean Museum

This open-air museum of sculptures looks and feels almost abandoned, hidden in the forest, outside Cernesti village. You’ll miss it unless you pay close attention to the side of the road, looking for a small statue in front of the tree line. It’s best to park your car and walk the next two-kilometer until you see the first sculptures.

Shepherd representation, the Florean Museum

Creasta Cocosului Peak

Creasta Cocosului Peak is the most popular nature icon in the region, seen from all the villages along the Mara Valley. Various routes take you there, crossing Gutaiului Mountains, on foot or cycling.

Rodnei Mountains National Park

The second-largest national park in Romania, Rodnei Mountains have the highest altitudes in the Eastern Carpathians, 2,303 meters on Pietrosul Mare Peak. Breathtaking hiking trails go to its highest peaks, glacial lakes, and caves.

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Maramureș Romania – Best things to see and do

Peter Althaus Wild East

  • Gepostet am 18. May 2021
  • last updated 4. August 2022
  • , in: Romania

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Romania is on the rise as a tourist destination. But when tourists come here, they are usually drawn to Transylvania. Yet not far from there is a region that is much more pristine and traditional than overcrowded Transylvania: it’s called Maramureș. Wooden churches with pointed towers, Orthodox monasteries, cheerful cemeteries and a steam train that still works like in the old days – all this can be discovered in the north of Romania. Therefore, here we present you the best things to see and do in Maramureș.

Maramures Sights Baia Mara Museum of Folk Art

Wooden churches in Maramureș

Nothing stands for Maramureș like the wooden churches. In almost every village there is one of the typical pointed churches. Eight of them have been put on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Here you can find a list of UNESCO World Heritage churches. Even though only eight of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, some of them are still very distinctive. Incidentally, the characteristic buildings have prevailed because Orthodox churches in the region were not allowed to be built of stone. Therefore, the construction technology has continued to improve until today. Even today, new churches are being built all the time. During my visit, I saw three alone that were still under construction.

Maramures sights Barsana Monastery

Bârsana Monastery

It existed since the Middle Ages, but then fell into disrepair and was demolished. Since 1993, however, the Bârsana Monastery has been rebuilt. And it looks fantastic. Several wooden chapels, the characteristic pointed church towers of the region, a pond in between. The monastery is a place of rest and serves many day visitors to rest on a trip to the most beautiful Maramureș sights. At the time of my visit, the monastery was virtually deserted. Nevertheless, I was able to enter the open buildings and look around in peace.

Merry Cemetery Săpânța

Merry Cemetery Săpânța

That life does not end with death was probably already believed by the ancient Thracians, who settled the region of today’s Romania even before the time of the Romans. Therefore, it is not necessary to be sad, thought the wood artist Stan Ioan Pătra. As early as the 1930s, he began to carve artistic tombstones that tell beautiful or funny episodes from the lives of those buried here. A beautiful idea that continues to this day. Today, the Merry Cemetery in Săpânța already has more than 800 of these tombstones, which makes it one of the curious Romania sights. Also, in the meantime, a very beautiful church with one of the pointed roofs typical for the region has been built at the cemetery.

Peri monastery Sapanta in Maramures

Peri Monastery Săpânța

The Săpânța Peri Monastery, located only about two kilometers from the Happy Cemetery, is also worth a visit. The monastery is still partly under construction and is constantly being expanded. However, one can visit the premises at leisure and see everything. Only the rear part of the monastery is private property where only the nuns of the monastery live.

Maramures Forest Railway

Maramures Forest Railway

To this day, the locomotives of the Maramures Forest Railway puff through the water valley to bring the trees to the sawmill in Vișeu de Sus. Even though today only diesel locomotives run for the factory railroad, it has been decided to let one of the old steam locomotives run for tourists. With her it goes on a six-hour excursion, always from 9 o’clock in the morning until the afternoon. Tickets now cost 65 lei, which is almost 14 euros. On my last visit in 2016, they still cost around 40 lei, which was a bargain for an excursion of this duration.

Those who, like me, are unlucky and unfortunately come outside the season or the operating hours or simply miss the train, can either wait for the work train that returns from the woods in the afternoon or at least look around on the grounds of the Maramures Forest Railway. That’s what I did then. Especially since there are also the carriages of a small hotel there, where you can rent in and sleep in railroad carriages. You can also watch the loading of the logs here. So it’s best to book tickets in advance via the provider’s website to be sure of your place in one of the most beautiful Maramures sights.

Blue Lake Baia Sprie

Blue Lake Baia Sprie

The Blue Lake of Baia Sprie is the chameleon among the lakes in Romania. Formed only in the 1920s by the collapse of a mine, a sulfur content gives it a turquoise to blue color in good light. On my visit, however, the light was unfortunately not particularly nice and the water was a rather green broth. Nevertheless, the hike from Baia Sprie through the forest to the Blue Lake was a nice march.

Sighetu Marmatiei in Maramures

Sighetu Marmației

Sighetu Marmației is located right on the border with Ukraine and was therefore the first place I visited in the region when I arrived in Maramureș from Ukraine. Sighetu Marmației, or simply Sighet, was the birthplace of Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, whose former house you can still visit today. The memorial commemorates the victims of communism. There is also a synagogue in the town, which is worth a visit. The marketplace is also quite nice. The city is also a good base to discover the other Maramureș sights – see the travel tips.

Baia Mare

The capital of the Romanian Maramureș County is also the surprise in Maramureș sights. Thanks to my wonderful Couchsurfing host Ioana, I spent three nights here and used the time to explore the city and the area. And lo and behold, Baia Mare is much more interesting than I thought. Not only does one have a fantastic view of the surroundings from the Stephen’s Tower.

There is also an interesting art museum, as well as original houses from the villages of Maramureș in the Museum of Folk Art. You should also visit the Mineralogy Museum. If you are interested in the architecture of socialist modernism, you can see many interesting buildings in Baia Mare.

Maramureș travel tips

Many Maramureș sights are quite easy to travel around. Local transport is cheap and there are many accommodation options for the region.

Transport in Maramureș

There are also several ways in which you can visit the sights of the region quite easily.

Car rental in Maramures

The easiest way to drive in Romania is definitely by rental car. There are gas stations everywhere. The fuel is cheaper than in many other countries in Europe. The traffic rules are about the same (but beware 0.0 alcohol limit!). You can easily book a rental car for your trip through Maramures and Romania. Here you can book a rental car at Billiger Mietwagen.

Hitchhiking through Maramures

I hitchhike a lot and this time I hitchhiked almost my entire trip through Romania. Only once I took the bus. Hitchhiking in Romania is widespread and very safe. Even older people, especially in the villages hitchhike. Romanians usually also give a little money. However, I was asked for money only twice – in certainly almost 100 rides.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to ask beforehand and also to have a few small bills (5 or 10 lei) with you. I was able to see much more by hitchhiking than I would have been able to by bus. I was often on the road later and still got there earlier. I also managed to hitchhike all the sights around Sighetu Marmatiei in one day. So no problem.

Buses in Maramures

Buses in Maramures are reliable but not always frequent. It is best to ask local people about the times, they usually know about it and how much it costs. In the cities there are city bus lines, with which you can go to the outskirts and thus also come to some of the Maramures sights.

Trains in Maramures

There are several railroad lines from Sighetu Marmatiei, among others to Viseu de Sud to the Forest Railway. The railroad line from Sighetu to Cluj-Napoca is said to be particularly beautiful. Baia Mare is also well connected to the railroad network in Romania. More information on travel times is available in German from Deutsche Bahn, which has embedded the entire European timetable there.

Overnight stay in Maramures

Übernachten in sighetu marmației.

I personally did not stay directly in Sighetu Marmatiei, but in nearby Vadu Izei in Casa Muntean. Owner Florin is also a tour guide and had many interesting tips ready for me and also helped me plan my day. The house is very comfortably furnished and was also the cheapest in the area. For a small extra charge, Florin also likes to pick up his guests. I paid two euros extra for this, so cheaper than a cab. You can book a room at Casa Muntean here via Booking.com.

Overnight stay in Baia Mare

I have heard good things about Pensiunea Marioara. It also has one of the best ratings on Booking.com and is supposed to be very family friendly. Here you can book a room there via Booking.com.

Restaurants in Maramures

Restaurants in sighetu marmatiei.

I ate at Casa Iurca and can highly recommend it. To drink beer I was in the evening at Friend’s Pub.

Restaurants in Baia Mare

Since no one of my friends there really goes Romanian food, we were instead in a pizzeria. We ate at the pizzeria Il Padrino (Scolii No. 9 in the new town). And the good thing is that unlike in Ukraine, here the pizzas are really quite good. I had anchovies and salami on the pizza – an amazingly good mix.

Romania book tips

You want to travel to Romania or get to know the country through literature? Then our book tips are just right for you!

Reise Know-How Reiseführer Rumänien

  • Remus, Joscha (Author)

This classic tour guide presents Romania and neighbouring Bulgaria in all its variety.

Reise Know-How KulturSchock Rumänien: Alltagskultur, Traditionen, Verhaltensregeln, ...

This well written books tells you everything you need to know about Romania’s troubled history.

Der sanfte Flug der schwarzen Damen: Rumänische Rhapsodien (Picus Lesereisen)

Who was the real Count Dracula? This book tells you what he was really like!

maramures tourism

* – this link is an affiliate link. If you buy or order something here, we will receive a small commission. It won’t cost you a cent extra and we can continue to write new articles for you. Thank you for your support!

Peter Althaus

Peter Althaus is a journalist, author and blogger. In 2011, he founded the travel blog Rooksack. But his real love has always been Eastern Europe. He now lives in Lviv, Ukraine, where he runs a tour operator. But since he still loves to write, today there is Wild East – the Eastern Europe travel blog.

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  • 2 Understand
  • 4.1 By plane
  • 4.2 By train
  • 5.3 By thumb
  • 6.1 The wooden churches
  • 6.2 Museums
  • 10 Stay safe

Maramureş is a region in north-western Romania . The Romanian part of the historical Maramureş is a rather small region consisting of Maramures County and Satu Mare County.

Map

  • 47.656667 23.571944 1 Baia Mare — a mostly unsightly city across a mountain range from true Maramures; the largest transportation hub into Maramures.
  • 47.79 22.89 2 Satu Mare
  • 47.930944 23.894694 3 Sighetu Marmaţiei — the center of the "real" Maramures on the border to Ukraine
  • 47.737387 23.883268 4 Breb — a village which is a great example of true Maramures culture. The only village with budget travel infrastructure.
  • 47.660833 23.877778 5 Cavnic — former mining town, now a developing ski resort
  • 47.711111 24.426389 6 Vişeu de Sus — starting point of the famous Vaser Valley Forestry Railway
  • 47.655278 24.663056 7 Borşa
  • 47.635782 24.199804 8 Ieud — village on the Iza valley, home to two old wooden churches
  • 47.919942 23.670345 9 Săpânța — the famous Merry Cemetery is here

Maramureș is a multicultural region. This part of the world was several times invaded by different powers. This is the reason why not only Romanian but also Hungarian and Ukrainian are widely spoken here. In the bigger cities and more important tourist attractions, you can get along with English pretty well, but you can have a more profound experience in this primarily rural area if you can travel with a native speaker and/or are able to understand at least the basics in one of the aforementioned languages.

To Baia Mare there are four trains daily from Cluj , three trains from Bucharest and one train from Timisoara .

To Sighetu Marmatiei there are two direct trains from Cluj, one from Bucharest and one from Timisoara. Check timetables on cfrcalatori.ro [dead link] .

There is also a cross border train from Hungary to Satu Mare, which has some carriages coming directly from Budapest ; check for timetable on elvira.hu .

There are buses to Baia Mare from cities in Spain , France , Switzerland , the Czech republic and Hungary as well as from major cities in Romania. Check for timetables at autogari.ro [1] and Eurolines [2]

Bus is the most reliable way to get around without a car, but buses generally only go along main roads between larger cities, and smaller destinations are not officially listed as stops. For example, if one wanted to take a bus from Baia Mare to Breb, a small village between Cavnic and Ocna Șugatag, you will yield no results searching on autogari.ro for a connection even though getting on the bus and asking the bus driver to drop you at Breb is perfectly normal and ok.

Even the main roads in Maramures are poor, so be extremely careful. Also know that hitchhiking is very prevalent and you will probably be constantly inquired. This is a great way to make a bit of extra cash, but if you do not wish to just give them a downwards gesture with all your fingers from the steering wheel and they will understand.

Hitchhiking in Maramures is extremely easy and prevalently done even by locals, although smaller roads of course have little traffic. It is expected to give a few lei in return for services. Note that thumbs up will get you nowhere here, though. Extending your arm and doing a sort of downwards gesture with your hand, almost like petting a dog, is the preferred way of asking for a ride. It's difficult to describe, but you'll see it everywhere.

maramures tourism

Maramureș is one of Europe's best kept secrets, the place where the time hasn't moved for decades, a place where the traditions, the wooden art and the human kindness are well preserved. Close to the Ukrainian border, Maramureș covers 3381 sq km of valleys, beautiful villages, hills and mountains (up to 2303 m high). On this small surface are preserved over 100 wooden churches (8 of them listed on UNESCO list), a natural reserve also protected by UNESCO, about 60 villages and small towns, the only narrow gauge industrial steam train still in use in Europe, and many other attractions.

The wooden churches

  • The tallest wooden church in the world (78 m high, erected at Sapanta , between 1995-2003).
  • 47.469139 23.92643 10 Rogoz Ethnographic Museum ( Muzeul Etnografic Rogoz ).  
  • Pietrosu Rodnei Natural Reserve , UNESCO listed since 1979, established in 1932, part of the "Rodna Mountains National Park", protecting edelweiss, gentians, marmots, chamois, etc .
  • Maramures Mountains Natural Park , the largest and wildest in Romania, covering 1480 sq km, protecting 1260 plant species, bears, wolves, lynxes, etc .
  • Sârbi Village , group of water powered machines (fuling and watermills, thresher, alcohol distilleries, whirlpools).
  • Budești Village , the best preserved traditional Maramureș settlement.
  • 47.590638 24.801747 11 Horses Waterfall ( Cascada Cailor ) ( at Baia Borșa, you can go up by the ski lifts - operating in the summer as well and visit it with a short walk ).  

maramures tourism

Take the Vaser Valley Forestry Railway from Vișeu de Sus .

Horinca, Ţuică - strong (>50% alcohol) double distilled fruit brandy easily available throughout the region and almost exclusively home distilled

  • the Bucovina if you feel like visiting more historical churches and sedate villages
  • Cluj-Napoca in the heart of Transylvania as a vibrant university city

maramures tourism

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Romania has been described as a country with one foot in the industrial future and the other in the Middle Ages – that’s still true enough of Maramureş, crammed up against the borders with Hungary and Ukraine and little changed since Dacian times. Within 30km of industrial Baia Mare , forested mountains and rough roads maintain scores of villages in almost medieval isolation, amid rolling hills with clumps of oak and beech and scattered flocks of sheep.

Maramureş funerals

Southern maramureş, wooden churches.

The county’s main attraction is its villages , with their superb wooden houses and churches, and traditional way of life. Every family occupies a compound with its livestock, fenced with timber, brush or latticework, and entered via a beamed gateway ( poarta ), the size of which indicates the family’s status and prosperity. Nowhere else in Europe do folk costumes persist so strongly, men wearing tiny clop straw hats and medieval rawhide galoshes ( opinchi ) or archaic felt boots bound with thongs, and women weaving boldly striped catriniţa aprons of cloth from the water-powered fulling mills. It is the women who embroider the wide-sleeved cotton blouses worn by both sexes – most conspicuously during markets and festivals . Villagers have retained their traditional religion (Orthodox rites alloyed with pagan beliefs), myths and codes of behaviour.

Most interesting of all is the marvellous woodwork of Maramureş: the gateways, many elaborately carved with symbols such as the Tree of Life, sun, rope and snake, continue to be produced today, and are rivalled only by the biserici de lemn or wooden churches , mostly built during the eighteenth century when this Gothic-inspired architecture reached its height – Maramureş has the finest examples in all of Eastern Europe, their fairy-tale spires soaring from humpbacked roofs. While some wooden churches are in a poor state, around twenty of the most valuable have been restored in recent years, and eight are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In recent years many new monasteries have also been constructed, in a modern version of the traditional style. Wooden houses, on the other hand, are vanishing from Maramureş villages, as modern homes are built and old timbers sold off to panel bars across Western Europe.

It’s particularly worth making the effort to see the towering wooden church at Şurdeşti , the beautiful church paintings at Bârsana , Rogoz and Deseşti , the frescoes and icons of Călineşti and Budeşti , the superb prison museum in Sighet and the quirky “Merry Cemetery” at Săpânţa . Further afield in the Iza valley, the visions of hell painted inside the church at Poienile Izei are the most striking images you’ll see in Maramureş, while the frescoes at Ieud are the most famous. There’s also good hiking in the peaceful Rodna and Maramureş mountains on the borders with Bucovina and Ukraine.

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Relaxing beach fun - the Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria and Romania

The perfect trip for those that are looking for sun, sea and sand while also getting to know the culture and history of both Bulgaria and Romania. Start and end in Bucharest and discover Constanta, Sunny Beach, Nessebar, Burgas and Madara Rider.

The legend of Dracula

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Transylvania is known to be the land of Dracula. Are you curious to visit the places mentioned in the book and the castles that hosted the major life events of Vlad the Impaler, the cruel ruler known as Dracula? Explore mysterious places and breathtaking landscapes all over Romania.

Luxurious Highlights of Romania: From Bucharest to Transylvania

Luxurious Highlights of Romania: From Bucharest to Transylvania

Romania offers plenty for the discerning traveller, including beautiful Boutique properties. On this trip, discover Bucharest, the Danube Delta, Bucovina and Transylvania with Dracula's castle. A private guide will accompany you throughout the trip, well-equipped with Romanian knowledge and facts.

World Heritage in Romania and Bulgaria

World Heritage in Romania and Bulgaria

Discover the most important UNESCO heritage sites in Romania and Bulgaria as well as some lesser-known attractions. From the capital Sofia to Plovdiv and Nessebar, as well as Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria to Romania's capital Bucharest to Sibiu, Cluj and Dracula's castle in Brasov.

Delicacies in Romania: food & wine

Delicacies in Romania: food & wine

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Grand Eastern-European Tour

Grand Eastern-European Tour

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To the south of the Gutâi and Igniş mountains, BAIA MARE , the largest town in Maramureş, makes a good base for forays into the surrounding countryside. Mining has been important here since the fourteenth century when, under its Magyar name of Nagybánya (“big mine”), it was the Hungarian monarchs’ chief source of gold, but it remained a small town until the communists turned it into a major nonferrous metals centre in the 1950s, diluting its largely Hungarian population to just fourteen percent of the total. The town has an attractive old core, now largely restored, and some worthwhile museums, in particular the Art Gallery and Village Museum .

The heart of Baia Mare’s old town is Piaţa Libertăţii , a beautifully restored square lined with sixteenth- to eighteenth-century houses; it is now pedestrianized, along with parts of the neighbouring streets, and there are plenty of bars along its south side. At no. 18, the thick-walled Casa Elisabeta was begun by Iancu de Hunedoara, fifteenth-century Regent of Hungary, for his wife, and completed by their son, Matei Corvin; next door is the house where the great Hungarian actor Lendvay Márton was born in 1807. On the west side of the square a lovely Secession hotel is now the newly refurbished Cinematograful Minerul. To the south of the square rises the 40m-high Stephen’s Tower , built in 1442–46 and all that remains of a Roman Catholic cathedral that burned down in 1769; the adjacent Baroque pile, built by the Jesuits in 1717–20, then became the city’s cathedral. Immediately north of Piaţa Libertăţii, at the junction of Strada Monetăriei and Strada Podul Viilor, is the landmark Reformat church , built in 1809 and topped by what seems to be a giant red diver’s helmet, which appears in many paintings by the Nagybánya School. Other than the museums listed in this account, the modern Muzeul de Mineralogie (Museum of Mineralogy; B-dul Traian 8; Tues–Sun 9am–5pm), towards the stations, is also worth a quick look.

The Chestnut Festival (Sărbătoarea Castanelor), held over the last weekend of September, celebrates – naturally – the chestnut season, with exhibitions, a riotous beer festival and traditional music on the Sunday.

The Nagybánya School

The Nagybánya School (using the Hungarian version of Baia Mare’s name) was responsible for transforming Hungarian art at the close of the nineteenth century. Its founder was Simon Hollósy (1857–1918), born of Armenian stock in Sighet and trained in Munich, where he was influenced by the refined naturalism of Jules Bastien-Lepage. In 1886 he set up his own school in Munich, and from 1896 brought his students to a summer school in Baia Mare. An exhibition in 1897 of the school’s paintings was seen as marking the start of a new era in Hungarian art and the school became known as the “Hungarian Barbizon”, although the area’s motifs and colours were closer to those of Provence.

In 1902, Hollósy suffered a creative crisis, and the leadership of the school was taken over by Károly Ferenczy ; tuition fees were abolished, and the embittered and jealous Hollósy left to set up a rival school in Técső, now the Ukrainian town of Tyachiv, just downstream of Sighet. Ferenczy suffered a similar crisis in 1910, and did little work thereafter. Of the second generation of artists, the most gifted was Cavnic-born Jenő Maticska (1885–1906). After his untimely death, Béla Czóbel, Csába Vilmos Perlrott, Sándor Ziffer and others revolted against creeping stagnation; their 1906 exhibition, influenced by Cézanne, Matisse and German Expressionism, again marked the start of a new era in Hungarian art. After World War I the school was opened to both Hungarian and Romanian students – up to 150 a year – but interest faded in the 1930s and the school closed its doors.

The Cult of the Dead is central to the culture of Maramureş, where rituals are fixed and elaborate; if anything is omitted, it’s believed that the soul will return as a ghost or even a vampire. There are several phases, covering the separation from the world of the living, preparation for the journey, and entry into the other world. A dying person asks forgiveness of his family and neighbours, who must obey his last wishes. Black flags are hung outside the house where the deceased lies for three days, while the church bells are rung thrice daily, neighbours pay their respects and women (but not men) lament the deceased in improvised rhyming couplets.

The wailing reaches a climax on the third day when the priest arrives and blesses a pail of water, extinguishes a candle in it, and consecrates the house with a cross left etched on the wall for a year. The coffin is carried by six married men, stopping for prayers (the priest being paid for each stop) at crossroads, bridges and any other feature along the way, and then at the church for absolution. The funeral itself is relatively swift, with everyone present throwing soil into the grave and being given a small loaf, a candle and a red-painted egg , as at Easter; these must also be given to passers-by, including tourists (be aware it would give great offence to refuse it). The knot-shaped loaves or colaci bear the inscription NI KA (“Jesus Christ is victorious”), stamped in the dough by a widow or some other “clean woman” using a special seal called a pecetar . The seal’s wooden handle is often elaborately carved with motifs such as the Endless Column, the Tree of Life, wolf’s teeth or a crucifix.

Three days later there is another pomană or memorial meal , when bread is again given to all present. After nine days, nine widows spend the day fasting and praying around the deceased’s shirt; six weeks and then six months after the funeral, the absolution is repeated with another meal, as the dead must be given food and drink, and after a year a feast is given for all the family’s dead. Until this time the close family may not attend weddings or dances and women wear black. As elsewhere in Romania, cergare (embroidered napkins) are hung over icons in the church or over plates on house walls in memory of the dead. The Uniates also remember their dead on All Souls’ Day.

Marriage is seen as essential, so much so that if a person of marriageable age (in fact from 8 years old, the age of first confession) dies unmarried, a Marriage of the Dead (Nunta Mortului) is held, with a stand-in bride or groom (as appropriate), and a bridesmaid or best man dressed in wedding costume, although everyone else wears mourning garb.

The southwestern corner of the present Maramureş county, beyond the River Someş, is known as Codrul ; immediately south of Baia Mare is Chioarul ; and further east lies Lăpuş . While the rolling green landscape is not as dramatic as in the north, it is delightful, and you could easily spend a couple of days pottering around the region’s fine wooden churches . Folk costumes here are similar to those of historic Maramureş, although the tall straw hats are unique to the region.

Târgu Lăpuş and around

Buses from Baia Mare run southeast only as far as the nondescript little town of Târgu Lăpuş , the hub of the Lăpuş area where many villages have wooden churches. There are various places to stay in Târgu Lăpuş, making it a good base for exploration.

The finest wooden churches in Lăpuş are the two in ROGOZ , 6km east of Târgu Lăpuş, which, despite the arrival of a modern church, remain well maintained: the Uniate church, built around 1695 in Suciu de Sus and moved here in 1893, stands in the grounds of the larger Orthodox church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, built of elm in about 1663. The latter is unique thanks to its naturalistic horse-head cantilevers supporting the roof at the west end, and its asymmetric roof, with a larger overhang to the north sheltering a table where paupers were fed. It’s one of the most beautifully decorated churches in Maramureş, with paintings by Radu Munteanu, notably a Last Judgement , to the left inside the door, and the Creation and the Good Samaritan , on the naos ceiling. Next to the church is a museum house created by the very entertaining priest (he speaks some French), displaying clothes, rugs and tools.

A swathe of wooden churches stretches across Eastern Europe, from northern Russia to the Adriatic, but in terms of both quality and quantity the richest examples are in Maramureş. From 1278, the Orthodox Romanians were forbidden by their Catholic Hungarian overlords to build churches in stone, and so used wood to ape Gothic developments. It was long thought that most were rebuilt after the last Tatar raid in 1717, acquiring large porches and tall towers, often with four corner-pinnacles, mimicking the masonry architecture of the Transylvanian cities. However in 1997 a tree-ring study showed that the wood used in many churches – notably those of Corneşti, Breb and Onceşti – was far older, the oldest dating from 1367.

In general, the walls are built of blockwork (squared-off logs laid horizontally), cantilevered out in places to form brackets or consoles, supporting the eaves. However, Western techniques such as raftering and timber framing enabled the development of characteristic high roofs and steeples in Maramureş. Following the standard Orthodox ground plan , the main roof covers the narthex and naos and a lower one the sanctuary; the naos usually has a barrel vault, while the narthex sits beneath the tower, its weight transmitted by rafters to the walls and thus avoiding the need for pillars. The main roof is always shingled and in many cases double, allowing clerestory windows high in the nave, while the lower roof may be extended to the west to form a porch (exonarthex or pridvor ).

Inside, almost every church has a choir gallery above the west part of the naos, always a later addition, as shown by the way it is superimposed on the wall paintings . These extraordinary works of art were produced by local artists in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, combining the icon tradition with pagan motifs – such as ropes and suns – and topical propaganda against the invading Turks. They broadly follow the standard Orthodox layout, with the Incarnation and Eucharist in the sanctuary (for the priest’s edification), the Last Judgement and moralistic parables such as the Wise and Foolish Virgins in the narthex (where the women stand), and the Passion in the naos.

The first of the major painters was Alexandru Ponehalski , who worked from the 1750s to the 1770s in Călineşti and Budeşti, in a naïf post-Byzantine style with blocks of colour in black outlines. From 1767 to the 1780s, Radu Munteanu worked around his native Lăpuş and in Botiza, Glod and Deseşti, painting in a freer and more imaginative manner. A more Baroque style developed in the first decade of the nineteenth century, with Toader Hodor and Ion Plohod working in Bârsana, Corneşti, Văleni, Năneşti and Rozavlea.

Since 1989, there has been a renaissance of the Uniate or Greco-Catholic faith, repressed under communism and forcibly merged with the Romanian Orthodox Church: many parishes have reverted to Greco-Catholicism, reclaiming their churches; in others, one church is now Orthodox and the other Uniate, while in some villages the congregations even manage to share one church. Many villages have built large, new churches, making it more likely that you’ll find the wooden churches locked – even on a Sunday. Finding the key-holder can be problematic, but ask around and someone is bound to help out. People dress conservatively here, and wearing shorts is not appropriate for visiting churches.

Of about a hundred wooden churches in Maramureş, 35 are left in the north of the county and thirty in the south. Eight were placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999: Bârsana, Budeşti (Josani), Deseşti, Ieud (Deal), Siseşti, Plopiş, Poienile Izei and Rogoz.

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written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 26.04.2021

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  • Where to stay
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  • 12 reasons to visit Maramureș!
  • UNESCO Heritage
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  • Tourist attraction
  • The land of Maramureș
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  • The land of Chioar
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The newest guide on visiting Maramures County is now just a click away!.

Maramureș is rich in history and culture, and it is extremely attractive in terms of tourist attractions. It is ready to be discovered by the curious eyes of beauty seekers, and it is always ready to write new and interesting stories in the travel diaries of those who want to know it.

Integrating relevant tourist information and unique functionalities, Visit Maramures app brings this destination closer to users, constituting an extremely useful tourist assistance tool. Download the application for free and explore the tourist heritage of Maramures County, active tourism and nature connection options, accommodation and dining suggestions, histories, stories and legends, but also many other relevant information.

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2 or 3 Days in Maramures: Wooden Churches, Traditions & Village Life

Guided tour in Maramures

What you need to know about this guided tour of Maramures:

  • This is a 2-day trip (can be extended to 3 days) from Cluj-Napoca with a flexible itinerary so you see the best of Maramures region!
  • All-inclusive: all transport, 1 night stay in local guesthouse, half board, entrance fees to 3 sights and special tasting event
  • We will visit 2-3 UNESCO Wooden Churches, the Victims of Communism Memorial in Sighetu Marmatiei and the Merry Cemetary of Sapanta, the most important sights in Maramures
  • Enjoy traditional and delicious Romanian dishes made with locally sourced or home-grown products from locals. Enjoy a tasting of the traditional regional drink 'palinca'
  • Accommodation at a local guesthouse where owners make their own cheese and cured meats! Depending on season, you could see the making-of process live!
  • Responsible tourism at its best: you will meet lots of locals, learn about their lives and see local crafts such as woodcarving or knitting
  • 1 day tour extension: we can ride the Mocanita Steam Train (ticket included) and the itinerary will be more relaxed so we can visit more, go hiking through the villages and slow down!

Additional information

The schedule of this trip is rather busy, but it will give you a unique and complete insight into the region of Maramures, Romanian culture and our old way of life. If possible, we recommend you extend the trip to 3 days / 2 nights (extra price of 150 Euro/person). 30% deposit required when making a booking request; you need to cancel with 7 full days before the booking date to get a refund - medium cancelation policy applies

Moments to expect during the Maramures Wooden Churches tour:

See the 300 years old unesco wooden churches.

These wooden churches are unique in Romania and for Christianity. We will learn about their 400 year-old history, architecture, religious celebrations and superstitions surrounding these churches. There's a reason why wood has been used to build these churches and we're going to find out! They're representative for culture in the region and beautifully decorated on the inside. And if you book your tour on a Sunday then you'll have the chance to see locals going to church wearing their best folk costumes!

See the 300 years old UNESCO Wooden Churches

Taste 'palinca' and visit craftsmen

The traditional Romanian drink is 'tuica' or 'palinca' - a clear distilled spirit made out of plums or other fruits, all natural! Beware - only for the brave! Depending on availability and your interests, we can also visit a traditional wood craftsman who makes the huge gates you'll see everywhere to see him in action. Or local ladies who make by hand the beautiful and detailed rugs with a waiting list of 2 years!

Taste 'palinca' and visit craftsmen

Hearty, delicious Romanian food!

Maramures is well known for its delicious, traditional and belly-filling dishes, and people here are very hospitable, which means you can't leave the table without finishing your plate! On our first day we'll visit a family of local producers to taste products from their own farm (matured cheese, cured meats, home-grown vegetables).

Hearty, delicious Romanian food!

The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta

Have you ever been to a happy cemetery? The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta is such a place where colourful wood-carved tombstones colorfully depict the lives of those resting there with anecdotes and funny jokes about their lives. You quickly forget you're in a cemetery and it's a unique place in the world!

The Merry Cemetery of Sapanta

Victims of Communism Memorial

This former prison in Sighetu Marmatiei has a terrifying reputation. The communist regime sent many political opponents here, most of which never came out. Turned into a museum, visiting this prison will give you an insight into Romanian history and the difficult times our society endured for almost 45 years.

Victims of Communism Memorial

The slow life in Maramures will make you want more!

As you'll see, locals here take it slow. They enjoy the simple things and spending time together. In 2 days you'll see many attractions, yes - but the real spirit of this region is experienced by SLOWING DOWN, disconnecting from our busy lives in the big city. Many people choose to extend this trip with 1 day to meet more locals, go on short hikes and relax in nature. But that's not always possible on short notice... So my advice - we're always in a rush, so give yourself this experience, you'll thank me later! [extra 150 Euro/person for overnight with meals]

The slow life in Maramures will make you want more!

[3-day tour extension] Ride the Mocanita Steam

Spend another day in Maramures to make your itinerary more relaxed and enjoy the peaceful countryside! On the 3rd day we go on the famous Mocanita Steam Train [ticket included] a slow ride that will take you through the mountains and a picturesque valley, where you can just relax and enjoy the ride. And then we can explore more of the region, or even go on a short hike. [Extra 150 Euro/person]

[3-day tour extension] Ride the Mocanita Steam

Cancelation & refund policy

Sends us or the guide an email 3 days before the tour informing us you can't make it and you'll get a full refund of your payment, no questions asked.

Location details

  • Starting point: Cluj-Napoca
  • Nearest airport: Cluj Napoca International
  • Nearest train station: Cluj-Napoca Train Station
  • Landscape: Countryside

Reviews from travellers

Guide

Very fun 2 day tour of Maramures with Mihai. We saw so much, ate delicious food and also found some time to relax as Mihai did not rush us and adjusted the itinerary based on what we wanted. Highly recommend.

Great tour that gave us lots of interesting experiences from Maramures! Florin was a very friendly and knowledgable guide.

Excellent time. Florin was a fantastic guide and we really enjoyed our trip!

My friend and I booked a private tour to Maramures through Romanian Friend and it was fantastic! The booking was easy to arrange throught the website and the responses and information leading up to the tour was quick and helpful. The actual tour was so fun! Our guide Florin was very knowledgeable and so friendly that all the locals seemed to love him enough to invite us into their homes and share their lives with us. I definitely recommend!

I cannot recommend this tour enough. Florin is an amazing and incredibly skilled tour guide; he has an incredible knowledge of the communities you visit, the history of the region, and the religious symbolism you come across visiting the various churches and distinct regional architecture of the Maramures region. Florin is very personable and it often felt like he knew virtually everyone within the villages we visited. I don't know exactly how many languages Florin speaks and can read (it's a lot), but I do know he was very fluent in English and was able to not only read many of the very old Romanian and Greek church texts but also had a wealth of information about each site we visited, including the beautiful murals in the churches. I was able to meet many of the locals, who were incredibly kind and welcoming. I extended to a third day and did the steam train ride, which I also really enjoyed--It was incredibly beautiful and worth the additional day if you can swing it. The Pension we stayed at was amazing. The host was incredibly kind and the meals were fresh. She not only makes the meals (dinner was three courses each night) but also makes many of the foods you eat as well, including the cured meats/sausages, cheese, and fresh vegetables. Everything was fresh and sourced from her land or the local community. It was one of the coolest Bed and Breakfasts that I've stayed at. I had originally just planned on a more standard Transylvania tour but am very glad I decided to travel to the Maramures region and experience this tour. While I loved visiting Transylvania, I deeply loved visiting the Maramures region, and in retrospect, I feel that had I not visited this region and done this tour, I would have missed out on an incredibly beautiful and culturally rich and distinct region of Romania that you just cannot get if you don't visit the region. If you are looking for a fuller, richer, experience within Romania that goes beyond the typical Transylvania tours, I highly recommend this tour. It will be well worth your time and money.

Marius from Romanian Friend matched me with another solo traveler so I pay less. Mihai was our guide and he took into account our suggestions and also made great choices himself for our 3 days tour in the region of Maramures. We visited many wooden churches, monasteries, villages, the merry cemetery in Sapanta and made a great journey in a Mocanita steam train. We had a great time. Come and visit this lush green region so full of little stories, nice wood architecture and sculpture..those Maramures doors and arches!!!

Florin was a super interesting guy and a wealth of knowledge. The sites, food, and stay were all top notch. It was an excellent tour that I would not hesitate to book again. A great way to explore the region on limited time.

Florian brought a personal touch to our tour, driving us around UNESCO world heritage sites while recounting the history of a people as beautiful as their region, Maramures, albeit without overloading us with information. Although we were surprised by the expensive restaurants, we enjoyed delicious traditional Romanian food with lush green views of rural Romania. In addition to engaging in intellectual interesting conversations, Florian's kind, clam and pondered personality shines through, so you will have no difficulties connecting with him as you tour Maramures. The highlight of our trip was undoubtedly the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance. Mulțumesc, Florian!

Our two day trip in Maramures with Florin was fantastic. Florin is such a nice and smart guide. As a history major, there was hardly a question he could not answer. We learned about historical and current Transylvania along with religious observations and customs of those who worshipped in the World Heritage wooden churches. The drive through Transylvania during the fall was spectacular! The stops for coffee and delicious traditional lunches were especially tasty! We spent the night at a guest house on a farm with mostly farm grown and all homemade food and drinks for dinner and breakfast. The next morning we explored the farm and neighborhood after breakfast. The stops at the Merry Cemetery and the Communism Prison Museum were memorable. We looked at other tours for Maramures but this one was definitely the best!

Snapshot of traveller

Wonderful! Florin is the best tour guide and we recognized without reservation. Maramureş was beautiful and we loved our tour. ♥️

We loved this tour. Florin wasn't available but he connected us with his colleague Alex who made the trip into a great combination of seeing "The Sites" (wooden churches, the Merry Cemetery), which we loved, and low-key road-trip exploration (stopping at some small farmer's markets, staying in a rural pension where the only other tourists were domestic, marveling over a walnut tree and stopping right in the middle of parking lot to eat the fresh nuts), which we also loved. There was an off-itinerary museum that we really wanted to see along the way, and Alex was happy to comply and suggest the necessary changes in our itinerary to fit it in. Alex was really knowledgable and easy to talk to. We took the two-day tour, but would recommend extending it if you can; we wished we could have spent longer exploring Maramures. There's plenty of driving time in this tour, but lots to look at and talk about (and naps to take in the back seat). We were stitching this trip together with time in Bucharest and time in Transylvania, and emailed with Marius (of Romanian Friend) in advance to get his advice about how to order our trip. That was really helpful. What we did is fly into Cluj-Napoca from Bucharest and have Alex meet us at the airport, which worked well!

Florin was just fantastic: his love for Romania was shown from the very first minute we met. Two wonderful days in the Maramures region where in spite of the winter season we manage to see the wonders of this lovely part of Romania. We highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the wooden churches and everything else Maramures has to offer!

Our tour with Florin was great. Thanks to Florin we saw not only the most famous sites in Maramures region, but also a few of the rare, off-the-beaten-path places on the tour. Florin is very knowledgeable about many subjects, including history, architecture, linguistics and so he proved to be a great source of information on the tour. He also is a very good and thoughtful organizer and he made sure we were exposed to various aspects of life in Romania. We met wonderful people and ate great local food. We stayed at a village guest house in an old wooden house which featured many traditional elements, yet was very comfortable. The car ride, despite being relatively long, was pleasant and safe. Thanks for everything and to Romanian Friend for recommending this trip!

The trip in Maramures was highly enjoyable and Florin was a great guide! He was very helpful and always went a step further for us, which we are grateful of. He was also very knowledgeable, not just about Romania but also the region and other worldly affairs. We loved conversing with him. I also appreciate the quick responses from Romanian Friend and help with linking us up. Thanks for everything!

My recent 2-day tour visiting Maramures region with Florin was spectacular. Florin's knowledge is boundless, his enthusiasm contagious and his well-planned itinerary excellent. The Maramures region is packed with wonderful scenery, wondrous wooden churches and a center for maintaining century's old traditional lifestyles. The staff at Romanian Friend couldn't have been more helpful or courteous. The entire experience was A+ and I can highly recommend joining Florin for a trip through Maramures.

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Partii schi Maramures

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  • În Borșa, la Prislop, a fost inaugurată o nouă pârtie de schi
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Custom guided tours across Maramures, Bucovina and Transylvania

Unique experiences you will never forget

For an unforgettable cultural immersion

Recommended by Lonely Planet and Rick Steves Europe , we have 20 years of expertise in quality private tours for very small groups.

Join us to discover Maramures (the Europe’s best preserved corner with a genuine traditional way of life), Bucovina and Moldova (mostly known for their great painted monasteries), Transylvania (with its castles, old cities and fortified churches) or other destinations.

We will also show you attractions and special people that the books, websites or other operators not even know about.

Our tours and packages, flexible and fully customizable, are respectful to the particular customs and traditions, bring direct benefits to the communities and are sustainable.

If you plan to get in touch with the local characters, uncover lots of things that demand insightful explanation and immerse yourself in the Romania’s culture for an ultimate experience, book with Maramures Tours!

WhatsApp : +40.745.944.555

Email : [email protected]

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IMAGES

  1. The Best Trip to Romania Travel Itinerary

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  2. Explore Rural Maramures

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  3. Maramures, the Land Beyond the Mountains

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  4. Traditional Lake House in Maramures, Romania Stock Photo

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  5. The best of Maramures walking tour

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  6. Visit Maramures

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COMMENTS

  1. Visit Maramures: 10 Things To Do in the Land of Wood

    Even better, Maramures offers great outdoors, perfect for walking, cycling, and hiking, our favorite ways to visit Maramures. Without further ado, here's our list of the best things to do in Maramures, the 'land of wood'. 1. Walk or cycle from village to village. This is the best way to visit Maramures, following the routes villagers used ...

  2. MARAMURES, Romania

    Natural features include rich wildlife, caves, crevasses, forests, moraines, springs, and valleys. 4. Maramures village hopping, by foot or bicycle. See the scenic Maramures countryside and discover the region's way of life and traditional crafts ( two-hour to multi-day itineraries ). 5. Baia Mare Mineralogy Museum.

  3. Discover Maramures

    About Maramures. Discover the enchanting beauty of Maramures, Romania, a region where time-honoured traditions, picturesque villages, and pristine landscapes converge. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry, exploring iconic wooden churches, vibrant folk art, and the whimsical Merry Cemetery. Wander through charming villages like Breb ...

  4. Visit Maramures

    Former capital of the region of Maramures, the city of Sighetu Marmatiei, also known as Sighet, is the point of departure for all major tourist attractions in the area. The city itself is known for its rich cultural heritage and the high number of museums reminiscing of the city's past. Memorial to the Resistance and Victims of Communism

  5. Visit Maramures: A Timeless Journey

    Tourist attractions in Maramures. Now let's get into the juicy stuff. There are several important tourist attractions in the region, as well as some interesting activities and things to do. Some of them are perfect if you're considering a holiday with the kids in Romania as this is a preferred destination for Romanian families too.

  6. 8 Remarkable Things To Do In Maramures, Romania

    Maramures and Bucovina, the two regions in the North of Romania, are known for their unspoiled nature, well-preserved traditions and beautiful landscapes. ... Tourism brevet no.25279 Holder Preda Florin-Alexandru Insurance policy Series I No. 58716 from 16.01.2024 valid until 15.01.2025. Social capital: 25000 RON. Search

  7. 11 Unique Things to Do in Maramures, Romania

    Cimitirul Vesel - The Merry Cemetery in Romania. Arguably the most popular sight in Maramures, and probably the biggest reason people visit, is the Merry Cemetery. In the town of Săpânța, just a stone's throw from the Ukranian border, is one of the most unique cemeteries in possibly all of the world.

  8. 12 Sights & Things To Do In Maramures, Romania Not To Miss

    9. Ride A Lift To Horses Waterfall. Head to the Borsa Tourist Complex for a chairlift ride up into the Rodna Mountains. Once at the top of the lift, take a quick 30 minute hike to find Horses Waterfall, a 90 meter high fall flowing in the mountains.

  9. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Maramures County

    Nice view, nice history, lovely experience in the historical city centre of Baia Mare. 6. Horses Waterfall. 103. Waterfalls. By Feliciasoo. ... some black berries on the way (plucking and eating them) and amazed by the stream of river from the waterfall. See way to experience (1) 7.

  10. 10 best things to do in Maramures

    3. Visit the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. As strange as it may sound, the most visited tourist attraction in Maramures is the Cemetery in Sapanta village. Every day there are hundreds of tourists from Romania and other countries are visiting this place.

  11. 13 Incredible things to do in Maramures, Roumania

    11. Admire Mocanita, one of the last narrow gauge steam trains. Mocanita is a narrow-gauge railway once used for cargo or passenger transportation that connected the regions of Maramures, Transylvania, and Bukovina. Nowadays there are a few steam trains that remain in use for tourist purposes.

  12. Maramures Region: The Ultimate Slow Tourism Destination In Romania

    Maramures is considered by many the soul of the typical Romanian village. The picturesque villages, green hills, and fields full of wildflowers will make you feel like you went back in time. Maramures is a unique, slow tourism destination. It has carefully kept the traditions, the culture, and the lifestyle of peasants who lived in bygone ages.

  13. Maramures: Wooden Architecture, Haystacks, and Hard-Working People

    The abundance of wood in the surrounding mountains has shaped the culture of Maramures. Forced by poor agricultural resources, the people of Maramures relied on wood exploitation, livestock, mining activities, and seasonal working migration. Wood became a symbol of their life, belief, and social status. Traditional houses were made of wood.

  14. Maramureș Romania

    Peri Monastery Săpânța. Maramures Forest Railway. Blue Lake Baia Sprie. Sighetu Marmației. Baia Mare. Maramureș travel tips. Romania book tips. Romania is on the rise as a tourist destination. But when tourists come here, they are usually drawn to Transylvania.

  15. Maramureș

    Map of Maramureș. 47.656667 23.571944. 1 Baia Mare — a mostly unsightly city across a mountain range from true Maramures; the largest transportation hub into Maramures. 47.79 22.89. 2 Satu Mare. 47.930944 23.894694. 3 Sighetu Marmaţiei — the center of the "real" Maramures on the border to Ukraine. 47.737387 23.883268.

  16. Maramures Travel Guide

    Within 30km of industrial Baia Mare, forested mountains and rough roads maintain scores of villages in almost medieval isolation, amid rolling hills with clumps of oak and beech and scattered flocks of sheep. Baia Mare. Maramureş funerals. Southern Maramureş.

  17. Best Places to Visit in Maramures, Romania (By a Local)

    Best things to do in Maramures 01. Visit the Merry Cemetery in Sapanta. One of the most unique places you can visit in Maramures (and probably in the world as well) is the Merry Cemetery (ro. Cimitirul Vesel), located in the village Sapanta, where death is not as grim as we know it to be.. The cemetery became famous for the brightly colored and skillfully decorated tombstones that describe in ...

  18. Visit Maramures

    Integrating relevant tourist information and unique functionalities, Visit Maramures app brings this destination closer to users, constituting an extremely useful tourist assistance tool. Download the application for free and explore the tourist heritage of Maramures County, active tourism and nature connection options, accommodation and dining ...

  19. The full tour of Maramures region & UNESCO Wooden Churches

    This is a 2-day trip (can be extended to 3 days) from Cluj-Napoca with a flexible itinerary so you see the best of Maramures region! All-inclusive: all transport, 1 night stay in local guesthouse, half board, entrance fees to 3 sights and special tasting event. We will visit 2-3 UNESCO Wooden Churches, the Victims of Communism Memorial in ...

  20. Visit Maramureş

    Poartă spre tradiţie. Despre Maramureş, colţul de ţară din Nord-Vestul României, s-a spus adesea că e un tărâm uitat de vreme, cu biserici de lemn şi obiceiuri de când lumea. Cei care l-au vizitat deja nu se mai întreabă " de ce Maramureş? ", pentru că amintirile şi poveştile cu care s-au întors acasă vorbesc de la sine.

  21. Maramures County: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024)

    Plan Your Trip to Maramures County: Best of Maramures County Tourism. By Gabriela M. 316. Maramures County, Romania. Essential Maramures County. Stay. A mix of the charming, modern, and tried and true. See all. Hotel Carpati. 96. from $55/night. Gradina Morii Hotel. 169. from $50/night. Mirage Resort. 54. from $38/night.

  22. TurismMaramures.ro

    Atractii turistice din Maramures - Cele mai frumoase trasee si obiective turistice - descrieri si imagini din Muntii Rodnei, Muntii Maramuresului, Mocanita, Defileul Lapusului, biserici de lemn, statiuni turistice, ski Maramures

  23. Custom guided tours across Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina

    Let's discover places and experiences around Transylvania (with its castles, cities or fortified churches, but also sheltering diverse ethnic groups), Maramures (the Europe's best preserved corner with a genuine traditional way of life), Bucovina and Moldova (mostly known for their impressive monasteries, some with exterior frescoes). We propose a long list of experiences and places…