Holidays in Maramures: Top destination of European rural tourism

Rural tourism, the new luxury of simplicity.

Are you tired of the crowded places, the bustle, loud noises and the stress which is so typical of urban areas?

Do you want to rediscover the joy of life?

Well, Maramures will help you reconnect to life off the grid.

Explore Maramures

Where is Maramures?

This historical and ethno-cultural region is located in the north of Romania, on the border with Ukraine.

Maramures, the epicenter of Romanian traditions and culture.

Maramures, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations for the rural tourism enthusiasts, abounds in tourist attractions. Some of the oldest wooden churches in the world, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, have their cradle here. They bear the mark of the skilled craftsmen who have transmitted their talent from generation to generation to this day.

We are going to present to you the most beautiful guesthouses, sights and places to visit in Maramures. Also, we are going to make an incursion into the local gastronomy, in the traditions and customs of Maramures, and even in the local folk dress.

In the end, you will be able to plan your best vacation in Romania all by yourself, without paying any fees or charges.

Did you know that...?

Maramures almost equally divides its territory between Romania and Ukraine.

The length of the region is approximately 150 km (from Hust, Ukraine, and up to Prislop Pass, Romania), and the maximum width of about 80 km.

The Land of Maramures is one of the most extensive depressions of the Carpathians, with an area of ​​over 10,000 km². It is guarded by ridges with altitudes of over 2,000 m, the maximum being reached on Pietrosul Rodnei Peak (2,303 m).

Much of the surface of the Maramures region is occupied by mountain ranges, covered with oak forests and also spruce. At altitudes above 1,500 m, alpine pastures appear, where year after year local shepherds wander with their flocks of sheep.

These mountain ranges have isolated Maramures, favoring the preservation of the local culture and the traditional lifestyle for centuries, keeping them almost intact to this day.

At the same time, the wild nature here houses numerous species of plants, birds and animals, some of them endangered. Of these, the most fascinating are the birch hen, the mountain rooster, the mountain eagle, the marmot and the black goat.

Until 1852 the mountains were populated by communities of bisons, but the last one on the Romanian territory was hunted here, in Maramures, in the year previously mentioned.

Explore Maramures

The most beautiful places to visit in Maramures

If you want to spend your holiday in Maramures, the tourist map will be of great help to you. Unfortunately, a good quality copy is not currently available, so you will need to make your own version. We will present the main attractions and sights in Maramures, and you will be able to set them on a route made with an interactive map, such as Google Maps. The order below is random.

Vaser Valley: The magical realm of Mocanita

Mocanita in the Vaser Valley is a magical place. Tens of thousands of tourists come here every year to admire one of the most important cultural and technical values ​​in Romania. It is the last (authentic) forestry railway in the world, on which a steam locomotive is circulated, wood fired.

The tourist route has a length of 21.6 km and runs along the river Vaser. Travelers are taken slowly to a wild world, revealing dreamy landscapes: huge wooded lands with unpaved forest roads. There are no hamlets or villages here, but only wild animals and unaltered nature.

You can check the schedule of Mocanita on the official website:

Barsana Monastery, a masterpiece of the craftsmanship in Maramures

If you are planning a vacation in Maramures, your tourist map must necessarily include Barsana Monastery. This document attested monument in 1390 proudly presents the art of wood craft, characteristic of the local artisans.

The ensemble of Barsana Monastery is composed of: the Maramures gate, the bell tower, the church, the summer altar, the monks’ cells, the chapel, the house of the masters and the artists’ workshop. The church of Barsana was considered until recently the tallest wooden church in the world (57 m).

Rodna Mountains National Park

An oasis of tranquility, relaxation and fresh air, designed for mountain hikers. Dream landscapes reveal to you in a wonderful place, reaching altitudes of up to 2,300 m. Glacial lakes, spectacular caves, rare plants and protected species of animals await you to discover them.

The Waterfall of the Horses

This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Romania. At the same time, it is also the highest waterfall. The access is made from the Borsa mountain resort, also famous for its ski slopes.

Happy Cemetery in Sapanta, a unique monument in the world

Famous for brightly colored tomb crosses, naive paintings and humorous messages, this landmark in Maramures is unique in the world. In Sapanta, contrary to popular culture, death is considered a joyous event.

Some crosses in Sapanta Cemetery are painted on both sides. The front side shows with amusement the essential details about the life of the deceased, and the back side shows the reason for his death.

Breb village or the Valley of the beavers

It is one of the best preserved archaic villages in the world. The village of Breb attracted the attention of Prince Charles himself, who decided to invest in the restoration of some traditional houses here.

This area is one of the main destinations of rural tourism that we recommend on our platform. You will find below the most beautiful guest houses where you can stay in the Valley of the beavers in Maramures.

Cocosului (Rooster) Ridge

You can take a weekend hike in Gutai Mountains to admire this wonder of nature. The mountain top, with an altitude of 1,428 m, and the shape of a winged ridge offers fabulous views over the picturesque plains at the base.

This protected area, which covers an area of ​​50 ha, is home to bears, Carpathian deer, boars or eagles. So be vigilant!

The pain memorial in Sighet

This museum, located in the former political prison in Sighetul Marmatiei, reconstructs the memory of the Romanian people, who, for half a century, was presented with a false history.

The prison was built in 1897 by the Austro-Hungarian administration. In 1950 it was transformed into a prison for Romanian high officials, arrested on political reasons, some of them without even having been trialed in a court of law. They were humiliated and mocked, and torture often lead to death.

Teleki Castle, nicknamed “The most beautiful castle in Ardeal”

This building, erected by General Samuel Teleki in Satulung, Maramures, represents a Transylvanian architectural masterpiece. It was built on the ruins of an old Tatar fortress.

In the castle area there is also a dendrological park. It is home to trees that are over 300 years old, of inestimable value.

The Ethnographic Museum in Maramures

It has a pavilion section and an outdoor section. The pavilion section is located in the municipality of Baia Mare and the other on the Flower Hill.

At the Ethnographic Museum in Maramures you will discover objects of historical heritage and household assemblies (churches and individual households).

The Peri Monastery in Sapanta and the wooden church in Ieud

Two architectural masterpieces in Maramures. The first of these is considered the tallest wooden church in the world. It is also included in the Book of Records. The second is considered one of the oldest wooden churches in the entire world.
Both illustrate the artistry of the craftsmen in Maramures.

Prislop Pass, the highest passage in the Eastern Carpathians

Prislop Pass connects Maramures Depression with the Golden Bistrita Valley. This trans-Carpathian road reaches a maximum altitude of 1,416 m. Along the way you can visit other tourist sights, such as:

  • The Prislop Inn and Monastery, together with the military cemetery in which 136 soldiers from the two world wars rest;
  • The Romanian Round Dance at Prislop – a folklore festival attested in 1738. It is organized annually, on the first Sunday after the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (end of August);
  • The Roots Museum that houses over 100 bizarre tree roots. There are also mine flowers, dyed eggs and objects collected from the battle fields of the two World Wars;

By clicking on the tourist attractions mentioned above, you will discover their exact location on Google, as well as related reviews and photographs. In this way you can pin all the attractions that you want to visit and also set the route from one attraction to another.

Three less known sights in Maramures

The hill on which cars go up without motor power

Between Cavnic and Ocna Sugatag there is a hill where cars go up even if they are out of gear. Most likely, it is an optical illusion, the hill being more of a valley.

There are numerous explanations on the Internet regarding this phenomenon. It is best if you go on site and see for yourself.

Hoteni Peatland

Many people go to Maramures, but very few have heard of Hoteni Peatland. Access to the peatland is not very easy, but it is worth the effort.

The swamp and the Hoteni lakes are located at an altitude of 530 m and cover an area of ​​2,5 ha. The lakes are basically peat layers that float on the water, giving the feeling of moving land. They were formed after landslides.

Two rare species of carnivorous plants can also be found here.

The Green Road in Maramures

This road connects 7 traditional villages and 7 protected areas. It is 88 km long and only bicycles and animal drawn carriages can pass on it. Car access is completely forbidden. Of the 88 km, 48 km are approved mountain trails.

If you go along all of it, you will discover the Cocoşului (Rooster) Ridge Reserve, The Crăiasca/Princess Forest, Morărenilor Lake, Hoteni Lakes, Iezerul Mare Peat Bog, Tatar Gorges and Poiana Brazilor Marshes.

Are you looking for accommodation in Maramures? Here are the most beautiful guesthouses

We have presented Maramures as a top destination for European rural tourism. We have given you a couple of less known details about this fairytale land. We have listed the best tips on tourist attractions. Now it is time to present the most beautiful guesthouses in Maramures. Mansions, inns or traditional houses, hundreds of years old, excellently restored … you are going to find them all on our platform.

In addition, we are going to offer you a quick and easy way of booking, without having to pay any fees or service charges. You will be able to contact the owners directly, using the internal messaging platform. You will also be able to check availability and prices thanks to the interactive calendar. Following our advice, you will be able to plan by yourself the best vacation in Maramures.

Explore Maramures

Traditional culinary recipes, with specific flavours from Maramures

One of the main components of rural tourism is local gastronomy. Maramures also excels at this chapter, placing on your tray dishes cooked following hundreds of years old recipes.

The cuisine in Maramures perfectly combines Romanian, Saxon and Hungarian influences. According to chefs, in this area there is the greatest culinary diversity. There are zamuri (soups), balmos (polenta and cheese dish), stews and papricas (fricassed veal highly seasoned with Hungarian pepper) and also gomboti (plums dumplings) – you will find them all in Maramures.

Old customs, religiously kept

In Maramures, meals are served following closely the old customs. In order for the host not to feel offended, the guest must eat everything that the host places on the table. Guests are seated at the table in a place of honour, just like the elders or the important people in the village (the priest or the teacher). The master of the house, usually the man, is the one who takes the first sip and only after the rest of the guests can start drinking. Before the bread is cut, a cross is made.

All these customs in Maramures have been inherited from ancestors and are still passed on from generation to generation.

To feel like a local, you have to start your day with cheese, bacon and egg polenta dish (mancarusca). A glass of plum brandy will increase your appetite and make you start your day with joy. Lunch always consists of soup or borsch.
Balmos, one of the most appreciated dishes in Maramures, is not considered a daily food. Even if this local delicacy is only found in less touristy villages, the mention of this recipe in A Georgeoni’s book (1936) will ensure its perpetuation.

Horinca is always on the table in Maramures. It is double distilled, usually exceeding 50 degrees. For Christmas, Easter or Boboteaza meals, horinca is sweetened with honey.

Agriculture in Maramures is mainly focused on maize crops. Therefore, mamaliga (made from corn) is another food that is always present on the table of the people in Maramures. Wheat bread is eaten only on the occasion of major holidays. Communion bread and bread rolls are also made from wheat flour. They are served at various events.

Being an area where people keep animals, the gastronomy in Maramures is also based on fresh milk or its derivatives. Cheese is prepared in the house from the curd taken from the sheepfold. It order to preserve it until spring, the cheese is hermetically clogged in a wooden cask (barbanta). A layer of clay and a wooden chopping board are placed on top of it. People here also drink buttermilk (winter sour milk).

Traditions and customs in Maramures

Maramures is the symbol of the Romanian archaic village. This fairytale world, guided by ancient traditions and customs, projects you on a journey in time. The simple way of life has been kept here unspoiled for centuries. The spirituality and culture of the Romanian village is illustrated in an idyllic way.

Christmas and New Year in Maramures

Christmas and New Year in Maramures are packed with special customs and ancient superstitions. These practices are thought to bring happiness, prosperity and rich harvests.

Winter holidays begin on December 20 with customs related to the Ignat tradition. The pig is slaughtered and with its blood the children are marked to help them become stronger and healthier.

On Christmas Eve trees are limewashed and tied with dry stalks to make the fruit rich. Children must eat pumpkin to redden their cheeks and keep them plump throughout the coming year. The Christmas tree is adorned with willow twigs and garlands in which beans are inserted.

On December 24, the caroling begins. The little ones go from gate to gate, dancing the traditional Capra (goat) dance and singing the traditional Steaua (the star) Christmas carol, making good wishes to each villager. They are rewarded with bread rolls, nuts and apples. The caroling starts from the priest’s house and follows the path of the Magi from the East, until the gate of the last house in the village is reached.

Easter in Maramures

Easter holidays in Maramures are also packed with old customs. The people in Maramures consider Easter to be the most important religious holiday, but also the most important spring day. This is why the Easter holidays is an opportunity for you to get to know the religious traditions, but also the pagan ones.

The Easter fasting is consecrated to prayer and the avoidance of sins. During this period, the elderly dress in humble clothing, in sober shades. On Maundy Thursday, people give away food and clothes and they commemorate those who have been restored.

Men sacrifice lambs and housewives lay eggs with traditional motifs.

On Resurrection night one goes to church to receive the Holy Light. The first day of Easter finds the locals in Maramures wearing new clothes. Men take the goodies to be served at the festive table to church to be blessed by the priest. The first egg is struck by the head of the family and the eggshell is used as medicine for the animals. Also, it is considered that if the first guest received in the household is male, you will be lucky all year.

Explore Maramures

Get Updates & More

Thoughtful thoughts to your inbox