Discover Maramures | The most important places to visit in Maramures

Karoline

When we say Maramureș, we define folk art, costumes and traditions, Maramureș being the place where they are preserved like nowhere else in Romania.

Maramures is also known as "Wood Country" or "wood land" because it is an open-air museum, being an idyllic land thanks to customs that are unchanged for hundreds of years, culture and civilization, brightly colored costumes, the daily life of the Maramureșan village that truly represents the return in time and authentic wooden architecture.

Surely Maramures is a place worth visiting, and a weekend may not be enough to discover this corner of paradise which is located in the north-west of Romania, and borders the following regions of the country: in the east with Bukovinain the south with Transylvania and in the south-west with Crișana. On the western side are Hungary and in the north Ukraine. In an attempt to discover this idyllic land, we managed to sum up some of the sights that are definitely worth visiting once you get here.

In an attempt to discover this idyllic land, we managed to sum up some of the sights that are definitely worth visiting once you get here.

Useful information

Accommodation - Where to stay in Maramureș

  • Transylvania Castle  - The hotel is built in a medieval-inspired architectural style and offers outdoor pools overlooking Baia Mare, a nightclub, a conference room and an à la carte restaurant. The 4-star, all-inclusive hotel has an all-inclusive rating of 9.7/10 on the booking website. The price of a night spent here is around 320 lei, where you also get breakfast included.
  • Ambassador Apartment - If you want intimate, private and stylish accommodation, Ambassador Apartment can offer you all this. The apartment is 85 m² in size, has two spacious bedrooms and all facilities included. The price of one night's accommodation is approximately 250 lei and varies depending on the period of booking.
  • Iza Hotel - Iza Hotel is located in Sighetu Marmației, 1.6 km from the Maramureșean Village Museum, and offers accommodation with restaurant, bar, garden and free private parking. Facilities include a 24-hour front desk, concierge service and free WiFi throughout the property. It's a 3-star hotel, and the price of a night's stay here with breakfast included starts from 300 lei and can vary depending on the room chosen.
  • Cozy Little Place - As the name implies, it's a cozy accommodation that has a 9.8 star rating on booking, and is located 1.6 km from the city center. It's a good place for a small group of people looking for stylish, modern, intimate accommodation at a low price. The price for one night's accommodation is 200 ron and includes all necessary facilities.

Attractions Maramures - What to visit in Maramures

The Merry Cemetery

Once in Maramureș you must visit this unique place. As one of the most important tourist attractions in the country, The Merry Cemetery in Săpânța earned its place because of its unique approach to death, which is seen as a celebration rather than a tragic event. Another unique feature of the cemetery are the crosses which are painted in a special shade of blue and decorated with traditional motifs, each one illustrating a personal or significant feature of the deceased's life: the verses are full of humour, sarcasm and gaiety. The story of the Merry Cemetery began in 1930 when Stan Ion Pătraș, carved the first oak cross, and one of the most famous crosses in the cemetery has the following lines:

"Under this heavy cross
My poor mother-in-law lies
Three days of living
I was lying there and she was reading. "

Memorial to the Victims of Communism and Resistance

One of the most important towns in Maramureș is Sighetul Marmației, also called "the place where the map is nailed", being the northernmost point of Romania. Once here, you must also visit the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and Resistance, believe me, you won't regret it. It is also called The Sighet Memorial or the Museum of Arrested Thought.

The current Museum building was built in 1897, having been a prison in the previous century. The museum is a reminder of what it once was, during the communist period, being the place where many personalities of Romania were arrested and tortured at that time, who opposed the communist regime, so you will certainly not leave there with a smile on your face, because you will get chills when you see what others went through for us to have this life. The museum is special because it embodies the less than beautiful history of the country and the realities of that period.

The museum can be visited daily, from 09:00 to 18:30, and the price of the tickets is: students: 4 lei, pensioners: 5 lei, adults: 15 lei. Photography fee: 5 Lei, filming fee: 15 Lei. Free: former political prisoners and deportees, disabled people, journalists.

During the tour you can visit the torture chamber and the cells, the museum also offers a collection of photographs and information illustrating the history of communism and scenes from the daily life of the prisoners.

Sighet Village Museum

The Sighet Village Museum is an open-air part of the Ethnographic Museum of Maramures. It is made up of traditional village houses arranged along narrow roads. The houses show the different artistic styles and decorations used by people and craftsmen throughout the ages.

Wooden churches

The Maramureș gate is a symbol for this region, wood being the main resource of this region, it was used by craftsmen to create works of art, imposing gates that are real tourist attractions in Maramureș. In addition to those gates, Maramures craftsmen also used wood in the construction of churches, for their towers, roofs and structure.

Of the over 100 churches which are located in this county, 8 of them are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. These 8 churches are distinguished from others by their typical Maramures wood carving, which combines Orthodox features with Gothic influences. There are also religious scenes inside.

The 8 churches, masterpieces of wooden architecture included in the UNESCO World Heritage are: the Wooden Church of Bârsana, the Wooden Church of Budești Josani, the Wooden Church of Desești, the Wooden Church of Ieud-Deal, the Wooden Church of Șurdești, Poienile Izei, the Wooden Church of Rogoz, the Wooden Church of Plopiș.

Bârsana Monastery

Bârsana Monastery is one of the highest in Romania, with a height of about 57 meters, it is located in the historical Maramureș, on the Iza valley, at the exit of Bârsana, 22 km away from Sighetul Marmației. The church is one of the main tourist attractions of the area, being preferred by tourists and pilgrims from Romania as well as tourists from abroad due to its carved Maramureșan style gates, the culinary area and the folk costume.

Whether you are a tourist or a pilgrim, the beauty of the churches and the area will surely delight you and remain in your memory. In addition to the two churches in the courtyard, you can also visit the museum that was recently built. This beautiful region certainly has a lot to offer, waiting to be discovered by every tourist in search of new adventures, peace, a break, harmony.

Săpânța-Peri Monastery

The monastery complex is the tallest wooden structure in Europe and is 78 metres high. The church was built in 1997 using traditional methods and is made of a lot of gold, making it easy to see from a distance. The base is stone, but the rest is oak. The exterior wood carvings are really beautiful.

The Mocca

Offering a fairytale experience, the Mocca is the only narrow gauge steam-powered train in Europe that is fully functional. The Mocănița leaves from Viseu de Sus and en route arrives in the beautiful Vaser Valley, crossing the Natural Park of Maramures Mountains, being one of the longest trails, totaling 55 km in the mountain area with a wonderful view.

The Mocănița train ride takes about 3 and a half hours each way, that is about 7 hours in total, and there is a rest stop in the middle of the route where tourists can admire the beauty of nature and the view. The break is about 30 minutes.

It's certainly an unforgettable experience, with the train running predominantly in an uninhabited, wild area with not much phone signal. The Mocca from Vișeu de Sus is the last forest railway in the world. Departures start in the morning and we recommend arriving at least 30 minutes before the train departs or purchasing tickets online as the number of tickets issued is limited.

Standard Moccasin Ticket is: 75 lei Adult, 65 lei Student/Pensioner, 49 lei Student (6-16 years).
Special Moccasin Package: 124 lei Adult, 114 lei Student/Pensioner, 89 lei Student (6-16 years)
Includes: ticket, a grill platter, a coffee, a soft drink, a pastry.

Cailor Waterfall

Being located near the mountain resort Borsa, Cailor Waterfall is the largest waterfall in Romania, with a length of 90 meters high, and it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Maramures. If you want to visit the waterfall, you can walk there on the well-marked mountain trail or take the cable car to the ski area, then take a short walk down to the valley to see it. The waterfall can be visited in both summer and winter, offering great views in both seasons.

City of Baia Mare

When you come to Maramureș, the city of Baia Mare should be on your list of tourist attractions. Baia Mare was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the communist period, the city became very prosperous. As a result, some traces of socialism can still be seen in the city, but the old town is worth a visit. The central square is filled with medieval buildings and beautiful cafés. Nearby there are also some relics of the medieval Baimarean times: Stefan's Tower and Butchers Tower. Another tourist attraction of the city is the Planetarium. It was the first Planetarium in the country, being inaugurated in 1969.

Rodna Mountains National Park

Rodnei Mountains National Park is a really important place to visit in Maramures. It is the second national park in Romania and it is really beautiful. There is so much to see and do in the park, so I think it would be a shame if you didn't take a walk through it while you are in Maramures. The beautiful landscapes will be different depending on the season, so you'll never know what you'll find. There are lots of different trails in the park, but some are more challenging. Choose a trail that you're sure you can walk easily and avoid being in the park after dark.

Blue Lake in Baia Sprie

I told you earlier that there are many tourist attractions in Maramures. One of them is the Blue Lake in Baia Sprie. This lake has different colours depending on how bright or dark the light is. Thus, in summer it is dark green with emerald hues, in autumn the colour transcends into a darker green, even brown, and in spring the lake is blue. The artificial lake was formed in the 1920s by the collapse of an old mine shaft and some researchers claim that the colours of the water are due to the minerals that remained after the mine collapsed, although the colours of the lake also depend very much on the season and the position of the sun. The lake is just 35 minutes' walk from the centre of Baia Sprie.

The Valtorile and peasant mills in the village of Săcel

There is a very special place in Maramures county that you must visit if you are a tourist. It is called Sacel, a very old village, famous for its beautiful architecture and interesting history. The main sights in Săcel are the wallows and the peasant mills that still work, as in the old days.

So Maramures is truly a fairytale land worth discovering, a destination that perfectly combines the past with the present.

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