National parks

The North West region of Transylvania houses some of the most beautiful national parks of Romania. With a diverse flora and fauna and unique relief structures, these parks also offer numerous tourist trails for mountain lovers.

In the Apuseni National Park the majority of the caves of Romania can be found, over 400, some of them unique in Europe. Ursilor Cave (Bears Cave) contains fossil remains of Ursus Spelaeus while the Scarisoara Glacier is the largest underground glacier in Romania.

Many species of animals and plants are protected in these parks, such as motley tulip, one of the most spectacular flowers in Romania.

Rodna Mountains National Park

Rodna Mountains National Park is located in the Northern-Eastern region of Carpathian Mountains and has an area of ​​46,399 hectares. It is the largest protected area in this region, having been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979. The park was founded in 1932 and comprises part of Maramures, Bistrita Nasaud and Suceava Counties.

The park houses more than 1,000 species of plants, animals, reptiles and birds. Among the species protected by law are included the edelweiss, the great yellow gentian (Gentiana Lutea), the dotted gentian (Gentiana Punctata), the angelica or the yew. Species of fish can be found in the rivers such as, trout, grayling (Thymallus thymallus) or common minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus). The mammals specific to this national park are the chamois, the marmots, the Carpathian stag, the wild boar, the bear, the lynx and the tree marten.

In the Rodna Mountains National Park you can also find numerous lakes, glacial basins and spectacular waterfalls. These include Bistrita Spring, Pietrosul, Buhaescu or Lala. The hiking enthusiasts can take mountain routes to the Ineu, Omu – Gargalau, Galat – Puzdrele, Pietrosul Rodnei or Batrana peaks.

Apuseni National Park

Apuseni National Park is located in the Apuseni Mountains, on the Cluj, Bihor and Alba Counties territory. The initiative of setting up this park belonged to Emil Racovita, who in this way highlighted the scientific value of this area in 1930. In this park there are numerous lakes, rivers, mountains divisions and gorges. Also, in the Apuseni National Park there are over 400 caves.

The most important mountains of the park are Bihor Massive, Crisul Mountains, Mures Mountains and Ses – Meses Mountains. Among the most interesting caves of the park we can mention Valea Rea (Evil Valley) Cave, Pestera de sub Zgurasti (the Cave under Zgurasti), Hodobana Cave, Izbucul Tauz, Coiba Mare Cave, Ponor Fortress Cave, Focul Viu (Live Fire) Glacier, Onceasa Cave or Rece (Cold) Cave.

The largest underground glacier in Romania, the Scarisoara Glacier can also be found in the Apuseni Mountains National Park. The Ursilor Cave is the only cave in Romania where they found Ursus Spelaeus fossils. Furthermore, the caves of the Apuseni Mountains are extremely important for the bat species that live here.

Maramures Mountains National Park

Maramures Mountains National Park is situated in Maramures County and has a total area of ​​148,850 hectares, being the second in width of our country. This park houses more than 180 mineral springs with unique chemical composition. The park also shelters more than 40 caves. The most important are Salhoi, Mihailec, Poienile de sub Munte, Pestera Mare (the Great Cave), Pestera Hotilor (the Thieves’ Cave) or Pestera Fantanele (Wells Cave).

The park has a rich fauna and flora, with many protected species, some of them very rare in Europe. The mammals such as, the lynx, the mink, the wolf, the bear and the otter are not missing from the park. The black grouse, the white-throated dipper, the wood sandpiper (Tringa Glareola) or the white back woodpecker are the most common birds in Maramures Mountains National Park.

Among the attractions of this park are included the Salhoi Zambroslavele Rocky Region, the Tomnatec Sehleanu Daffodils Glade, Farcau Peak, Vinderel Lake or Cornu Nedeii Ciungii Balasinei. The mountain hiking lovers can follow several routes leading to the many attractions of the national park.

The Motley Tulip Meadow of Salajul Valley National Reservation

This reservation is situated in Salaj County, near the Cehu Silvaniei town. It has a total area of ​​10 hectares. The species protected in this natural reservation are the motley tulip and the common columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).