Apuseni Natural Park (Romania)
With over 1500 caves located in the park, Apuseni is an explorer's paradise. Hodobana, a massive underground labyrinth that meanders more than 21 kilometers, is a "must-see" attraction, as is the Zgurasti Cave, which shelters a spectacular underground lake. There is also the Valea Rea, which is one of the world's most significant caves, containing over 35 different types of minerals.
Another unique phenomenon in the park's landscape is the Groapa Ruginoasa. This colossal ravine has a diameter of about 450 meters and is over 100 meters deep. It was formed by water erosion that cut through the layers of sandstone and red-violet clays.
Apuseni is also home to an excess of alpine sports. Hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing are just a few of the many sports that draw visitors to the area.
What makes the Apuseni Natural Park special?
Due to the ever-changing mountain climates, the Apuseni Natural Park never sits still. The region is constantly evolving, with peat bogs emerging in the higher altitudes. The park is also home to over 1,550 different plant species. Spruce forests fill the mountain sides, while wild cherries and black walnuts grow in the meadows.
One of the most extraordinary places in the park is the Padis-Cetatile Ponorului Karst visitor area. It's an area comprised of steep rock walls, wild running water and deep caves.
Recently, carnivorous wildlife, which was previously unknown to science, was discovered in some of the mountain's caves. These discoveries, combined with the already vast numbers of bear, lynx and wolves, make the region a truly remarkable habitat for wildlife.
Tourism continues to steadily grow in the region andthe Apuseni Natural Park has been able to meet this challenge. Developing tourist areas like Vladeasa and Albac offer top-notch accommodations and easy access to the park's attractions.
Having four distinct seasons is also a plus to the region. Tourism is spread out evenly through the year, allowing programs to be implemented to ensure the rehabilitation of the park's hiking and skiing trails. Romania has also reached out to other countries to discuss new and evolving environmental issues and measures. Apuseni Natural Park is a special place and the government plans on it remaining this way.
What to look for in:
- Spring: Water rushing down melting mountain tops
- Summer: Trekkers winding their way down deep caverns
- Fall: Leaves changing colors as the days grow shorter
- Winter: Extreme skiers in search of untouched powder
Highlights of the Apuseni Natural Park
- Take a canoe trip through breathtaking canyons
- Spend a summer afternoon at a mountain festival
- Go rock climbing up limestone walls