A trip to Maramureş

A trip to Maramureş

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Maramureş is where you go for slow tourism, traditions and beautiful landscapes.

As you enter this county you will notice that the houses are not that big. Even the ones that belonged to boyar families. If you take a closer look you will see something odd: the traditional houses (not the new ones) have no chimney. The fact is that the smoke from the fire went up in the attic where the meat was hanged and so it was smoked. The combo between wood and smoke preserved very well the meat. Through those little windows like small eyes, the smoke came out.

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Houses have also a traditional, big wood entrance that speaks about the wealth of the family and sometimes what its members do for a living.

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Its symbols date back to the pre-Christian period. One of the symbols that you will see everywhere is the rope.

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Initially this symbol was found mostly in churches and then it spread also around people’s houses because it symbolizes a sacred place that is protected due to the rope.

In this area there are 8 wooden churches that are included on the UNESCO heritage list. One of them is the wooden church in Budeşti.

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Right at the entrance of the church you can see another symbol of protection: the wolf teeth.

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The silence and a feeling of peacefulness will go around you.

Outside the church you can find the table used for lunch after the church service. Now it’s still used for food blessing.

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For those of you looking for fun, you can choose horse-riding in the after-noon. At Centrul de călărie Casa Paşcu, Budeşti, you can meet Panda and Roma. The horses are obedient so even if you’ve never ridden before, you can start here.

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Or if you are more into hiking, a day tour to Creasta Cocoşului is an alternative. We recommend to drive to Pasul Gutâi as a starting point and from there it’s 6 km up to Creasta Cocoşului at 1394.7 m height. There’s a difference in altitude of around 400 m until you reach the top. It’s a tour accesible for everyone, there are only a few meters of rocks to climb in a sharper angle. You can return to the village on a different route that will add roughly another 9 km, so for the full day tour you’ll cover about 15 km. If it’s to long for you, you can opt for a shorter tour that doesn’t reach the plateau.

Our friends from Eco Maramures can help you with a guide that knows best the area.

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As we always add on a food twist, let us tell you a little bit about food and drinks.

Villagers go to Creasta Cocoşului in late September to pick up juniper. They use it as a spice to flavor steak or to make gin 🙂

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But the drink usually made at home is not gin, is Horincă, a 50º alcoholic drink processed twice made of fruits (a short video about how it’s made you can see here ).

A meal at Hanul lui Cobală means a welcoming host, with lots of food on big plates. Have a look at the photos below and tell us if that’s right.

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Useful information:

Maramureş is a region of Romania situated in the northern part of the country

Closest airport: Satu Mare (flight will have usually a stop-over in Bucharest airport). From the airport there will be a minimum 2.5 hours drive (depending on final stop)

Note: Closest airport actually is Baia Mare but currently is closed due to an expansion project.

Recommended airport: Cluj Napoca as it has direct flights from several cities in Europe. From the airport there will be a minimum 3 hours drive (depending on final stop)

From Bucharest: travel time will be around 11-12 hours drive. For a pleasant journey where you enjoy the beauties of the country, we recommend to add some stops around Transilvania before you arrive in Maramureş county.

Must eat & drink:

  • Horincă
  • Păstăi hăite (String bean soup)
  • Home made desserts

Must do:

  • Take a walk around the village to meet people and admire their homes
  • Take a day trip to Creasta Cocoşului
  • Visit at least one wood church
  • Horse-riding
  • See artisans at work