Which do you prefer: Maramureş or Bucovina?

 Marcel and I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Maramureş. It was our fourth time in this northern and remote part of our beloved Romania. We couldn’t get enough but there was also another reason for our fifth return: my Dad had not been to Maramureş and he wished to see it.

So, here are some of our trip’s highlights (and dealbreakers) that could help you set up your travel plan (because let’s face it, most travellers are open to travel discoveries and finds).    


Maybe you like Maramu

Our supreme moment

On our second day, we took a walk around Călineşti Village, after the rain. We met friendly villagers greeting us, saw curious goats, and enjoyed the evening light at Călineşti-Căeni wooden church. The 17th-century church is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in Maramureş, its energy and setting are fantastic. The whole visit was soothing and the frescoes that we could see through one of the windows were impressive.

View from Calinesti-Caeni church, Maramures, Romania


A museum visit that was meant to happen

During our last visit, we stayed in Bogdan-Vodă, which is so close to Dragomireşti, where you can learn a lot of things about traditional life in Maramureş /e.g. why is a red pot on top of a tree in a Maramureş household? there is an unmarried woman living there/, at Muzeul Ţărăncii Române [The Museum of the Romanian Peasant Woman]. The guide is a nice local lady, there is a small souvenir store inside, and the old wooden house seems to have so many stories to tell…

Muzeul Tarancii Romane, Dragomiresti, Maramures, Romania


These places haven’t changed, but they were super-crowded

I wanted my Dad to see the Merry Cemetery (entrance fee: 5 lei) and read some of the epitaphs on the crosses painted in Săpânţa blue. But so many other people had the same idea at the same time, so I think my Dad enjoyed his shopping session more, as he went searching for local products.

The Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Maramures, Romania


The highest wooden church in the world, Săpânţa Peri, has the same nice energy even if tens of people are visiting it. Marcel and I were there (first and) last in 2010 and it was still not completed (and it was a wintery March). The garden and courtyard have changed a lot since. 

Sapanta Peri, Maramures, Romania


You can find tasty crêpes in Sighetu Marmaţiei

Savoury and sweet, so… you could have a regular meal or treat yourself to something fruity at Cresp. The service is friendly, the street is charming, we left well-fed.

Crêpes in Sighet, Maramures, Romania



We stopped in Ocna Şugatag to walk through Pădurea Crăiască but we couldn’t find a place to enter the forest, not even after asking the locals. We also wanted to cycle to Gavril Lake but there were road repairs underway /to be honest, I had high expectations regarding this lake and was a bit disappointed by its setting/.  


Maybe you like Bucovina

Our arrival/welcome in Ciocăneşti

…was wonderfully unexpected. Hmmm… we slept in ‘our small wonderful house’ (“căsuţa minunată” like my Dad would call it). La Căsuţa din Ciocăneşti (400 lei/night) is a modern and comfy space, adorned with the local patterns (which I love/can be found around the village) and situated on a green pasture, seemingly away from it all. It’s got everything you need for a perfect getaway, the hosts are wonderful, and… I’d return there in a heartbeat! ♥

La Casuta din Ciocanesti, Bucovina, Romania


Moldoviţa blew my mind

I couldn’t believe how beautiful this monastery was, completed in 1532 by the order of Petru Rareş, the son of Stephen the Great! Marcel felt the same and my Dad joked that we were lucky to be able to see it in between rains. The scent of lilac and the peacefulness of the place were something that I’ll always remember.

Lilacs and Moldovita Monastery, Bucovina, Romania



Reminding me of Humorului Monastery (which had been my favourite on my previous visit to Bucovina), Arbore Monastery, completed in 1502 by the order of Luca Arbore, is actually so different! Albeit some of its frescoes were destroyed, it takes you back in time and it is luckily undergoing restoration. The monastery’s courtyard is also full of character.

Arbore Monastery, Bucovina, Romania



I am crazy about black pottery, which is unique in Europe and stands as proof of Romania’s Dacian heritage. I wanted to reach Marginea so much! I was partly disheartened by the blasée attitude of one of the potters and by the many kitschy designs. On the other hand, if you look, small treasures can be found.

Marginea pottery, Bucovina, Romania


For next time we’re there

I admit: I was a bit hmmm… fearful… and I didn’t insist on riding the longest zipline in Romania and in Central Europe despite going there prepared to do that. In my defence, it was too foggy and I always want to enjoy the view. J I’ll be back! Marcel was actually quite determined to have a go but got dismayed by the weather.

We were also planning to ride Mocăniţa Huţulca and return to the start point by bicycle but the cold rain stopped us and we cancelled our booking.

…Next time!

P.S. Bistriţa River also looked splendid and wild all the way to Cârlibaba, so who knows what our paddling future might bring!


It was rainy, it was cold [don’t even get me started on the 6°C on June 1st, at 10am… leaving aside the gaslighting and manipulation that we are subjected to, the ‘Great Powers’ are playing around with the HAARP technology while they’re pointing fingers at us for a climate change that I used to believe in… until I didn’t], we saw wild boars somewhere near Tg. Mures and deer on Borşa Slope, we had a traditional dinner in Romuli and all breakfasts outdoors, we laughed, we took advantage of the few moments of sunshine, and, in the end, we enjoyed it all.

In Romuli, Romania

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