Why choose Maramureș - Main Reasons for Touring

Located in the northern part of the country, along the Tisa River and guarded by the imposing Carpathian Mountains, Maramureș is an area of unparalleled natural beauty. It has everything one might desire to see during a holiday in Romania: mountains, caves, lush forests, waterfalls, lakes, thermal springs and plenty other wonders. However, Maramureș is more than a heaven for nature lovers. It is also a place where tradition and customs are highly regarded and well-preserved. With an intriguing history going back thousands of years ago, Maramureș boasts plenty attractions that make up a large and diversified patrimony. Wooden churches, museums, memorial houses are some of these places where you can unveil this region’s fascinating history. No matter what lures you to come visit Maramureș, you are bound to have a memorable vacation here. We can help you discover this unique area according to your preferences. Whether you have specific objectives in mind, or you’re willing to let us surprise you with our creativity, we’re in for it. You can define your own itinerary, or we can design the perfect route based on the type of attractions that appeal to you. We’re flexible and always ready to adapt to your wishes. So, before we meet, let us broaden your view about what you can experience during a tour in Maramureș

Popular attractions

1. Wooden Churches in Maramures

One of the first things you will learn in any organized tour through Maramureș is that this region has an impressive number of wooden churches. In fact, these are some of the most visited attractions in the area. The art of woodworking is nowhere else in Romania mastered as well as in Maramureș and these churches are the living proof. Moreover, they also hold great historical significance as some were built back in the 16th or 17th centuries. In 1999, the wooden churches of Maramureș have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage. There are numerous noteworthy wooden churches in Maramureș, so let us make a selection of the most popular ones.

  • Bârsana: built in 1970, located in the homonymous village, on a beautiful hilltop, this church was placed in its current location in order to bring rest to the souls of the plagued people who died here.
  • The Church of Ieud: the origins of this old church remain unknown up to the present date, some suggest that it was built in 1364 which would make it the oldest church in Maramureș. Others say it is only 3 centuries old. Nonetheless, the church boasts some impressive paintings.
  • The Churc of Șurdești: with its dazzling 72 meters height, this is one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world.
  • The Church in Rogoz: built in 1663, this church has a strange peculiarity: sculptures showing pre-Christian motifs and an asymmetrical tower and roof.
  • The wooden church in Desești: built in 1770, it stands out through its interior post-Byzantine paintings and the enigmatic Celtic crosses found in its cemetery.
  • The Church in Poienile Izei: one of the oldest in the region, this church was built in 1604 and it features remarkable mural paintings of the Last Judgement.
  • The Church from Budești: located in the heart of Maramureș, in Roșia Valley, it dates back from 1643 and its highlight is a 15th century-icon representing Saint John the Baptist.

2. Nature’s Beauties in Maramures

  • Mocanița – Valea Vaserului: the railway between Vişeu de Sus and Paltin is the last railway in Europe where steam engines are still in use. The narrow gauge steam train called ‘Mocanița’ takes tourists on a fascinating tour through the unspoilt natural beauties of Valea Vaserului (Vasser Valley). On your way, can admire lush vegetation in the Natural Park of the Maramureș Mountains, cross bridges, see examples of wildlife and simply reconnect with nature.
  • The Horses’ Waterfall: with its 90 meters, it is the highest waterfall in the country and one of the tourist sites in Maramureș that’s definitely worth seeing. Located in Rodnei Mountains, the Horses’ Waterfall is surrounded by a breathtaking scenario and tranquility. You can arrive here by taking a stroll through the forest or using the cable car service.
  • The Nature Reserve of Pietrosu Rodnei: Pietrosu Rodnei is the peak that tops all the other rivals in the easter Carphatian Mountains, measuring 2303 m. A popular trail for hikers is available here. As you climb, you will be surrounded by mountain chains and their majestic appearance and you will be able to admire an old glacier lake.
  • Ocna Șugatag: located in the Mara River Valley, it is popular for its salty mineral waters which provide health benefits. If your idea of a perfect holiday includes a balneary destination, this is a good stopover. The local spa resort is equipped with modern tourist facilities. But there is much more to Ocna Șugatag than mineral water. If you’re here, you may also want to see other beauties in the area such as secluded villages with wooden gates or the protected oak Forest of Crăiasca.
  • The Prislop Pass: there’s no better place to admire nature splendors than this point which marks the passage between Bucovina and Maramureș. Here, you will find yourself at the highest mountain pass in the country (1416 m). The panoramic view and the fresh air will reward you for your effort.
  • The Blue Lake: situated in Baia Sprie, this lake has an interesting and unique feature; it changes colour depending on the sun’s position due to the minerals that lie on its bottom. Therefore, it looks totally different as the seasons change, featuring different nuances of blue and green.

3. City sightseeing

  • Sigetu Marmației

Sighetu Marmației is one of the most popular cities in Maramureș and a great departure point to other attractions in the region. This city has an impressive historical and cultural patrimony and plenty museums to prove it.
One of the places you shouldn’t miss if out get here is the Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance where the opponents of the Communist regime were incarcerated. This museum displays the terrifying testimonies of the Communist period through pictures, torture chambers, cells and moving stories.
The Sighet Village Museum is a noteworthy display of the old Maramureș lifestyle, featuring traditional wooden houses from different periods.
The Jewish Cemetery, Elie Wiesel’s Memorial House, the Monument of the Holocaust Victims, the Sephardic Synagogue are other highlights of Sighet.

  • Baia Mare

The capital city of Maramureș county, Baia Mare is surrounded by the Gutai Mountains. This historical city has been a human settlement for the past 2000 years. Some of its middle ages vestiges are still visible today. The tower of Saint Stephan dating back 6 centuries ago and the Butcher’s Tower, a remaining of the medieval fortress, are two of the landmarks of Baia Mare. The city has a charming old center lined with dining places and cafés. Other places you should visit here are the art, archeology, ethnographic, and mineralogy museums, the planetarium and the observatory.

  • The Cemetery of Săpânța

This is one of the must-see places in Maramureș. If you’re wondering what you should be looking for in a cemetery, the answer will surprise you. You’re here to laugh. The Cemetry of Săpânța is probably the funnies in the world. Each cross serving as a headstone has a unique humorous description. As you take a walk through the cemetery, you can read the imaginative poems relating to the lives of the people who are buried here, carved on their cross. The memorial house of the artist that authored these peculiar pieces of art, Stan Ioan Patras, is open to visitors. In the museum, you can also admire beautiful handcrafted items of clothing or different household items that are specific to this area.

4. Hidden gems

We are proud of our non-mainstream approach. So, while we will not fail to include some of the attractions above on our itineraries, we typically try to deviate from standard Maramureș tours. What we can offer you is an absolutely unique experience tailored to your needs. In other words, we won’t take you where it’s easier to get or where you should go just because everyone says so. You’re absolutely free to choose the destinations and the routes that you desire. We will, of course, offer you support and suggestions to help you make your choices. Besides popular tourist sites, and city touring, we always try to show our clients the rural paradise of Maramureș. In this region, there are plenty lovely villages where you can explore the authentic Romanian lifestyle and get closer to nature and even to God. Some of these villages have become quite renowned in recent years, so you can expect to see other visitors around. Others, which are less popular and populated, will help you immerge in a tranquil and pleasant ambience where time seems to stand still.
Here is just a sip of what you can taste if you choose us as your tour operators in Maramureș.

  • Sârbi: this charming traditional village is located between Călinești and Budești and not far from Șugatag. It has been inhabited for the past 6 centuries and it is a living example of how tradition and local culture can stand the test of time. Sârbi features impressive examples of local architecture with small houses built and decorated in the traditional style. The manually-crafted wooden gates of Sârbi and the 100 years old water mill are other reasons to come here, along with the genuine products you can purchase form the locals. The Peasant Technique Centre in Sârbi will provide detailed information on how traditional machines such as wooden whirlpools and mills function.
  • Breb: this village is also famous for its craftsmen. Here, people produce premiere wooden items 100% handmade. Embroidered clothes made by the locals are quite fashionable and absolutely unique. Keep this in mind if you want to go home with a fine gift or souvenir. Natural products such as vegetables or dairy products are also available for sale depending on the season. Furthermore, the natural reserve of Lake Morărenilor is located nearby.
  • Vadu Izei: located only a few km away from Sighetu Marmaţiei, Vadu Izei is well-known for its wooden sculptures. The area where the village now lies has been a human settlement for thousands of years since the epoch of bronze, as shown by the historical vestiges discovered in these lands. Vadu Izei is praised for its talented local people who produce wool blankets and carpets, glass paintings, walnut wood baskets. Moreover, the locals have preserved the custom of drum playing up till the present day and are happy to show it.
  • Glod: another Maramureș village that is utterly proud of its musicians is Glod. The musical traditions of this small and secluded village have been well-kept over the years and so is the green environment surrounding the village.
  • Budești Josani: Included in the UNESCO patrimony, this village has a church that dates back to 1643 and a collection of impressive wood and glass icons. Also, there are plenty beautiful traditional houses with wooden gates and robust wooden fences you can admire along the way. Multiple wooden household items such as whirlpools are displayed in the locals’ gardens. This village also has an Ethnographic Centre.
  • Botiza: another hidden gem of Maramureș, this village lies in a picturesque area at the feet of the Ţibleş Mountains on Botiza River. Botiza village is a good stopover where you can rest a bit and indulge in the beauties of nature. Surrounded by hills and forests, it is the perfect getaway. Furthermore, numerous mineral water springs are located in the vicinity.

Every village we just named is a small ecosystem that portrays everything Maramureș stands for: imposing gates carved by handy people, churches that dates back centuries ago, fresh fruit and vegetables, well-preserved customs and genuine hospitability. We can show you all these secluded treasures of Maramureș and plenty others.

5. The Maramureș heritage

Maramureș is one of the remaining regions in Romania, and Europe, that seems untouched by the passage of time and the frenetic modern lifestyle most of us now adhere to. This land is an oasis of peace and quietness where you can still see humble and honest people living in tune with nature. If you want to relax and take a break from the fuzz of the city, Maramureș is a great choice. No matter where you come from, you will certainly feel welcomed and respected here. People here will show you their old hospitable manners and share their stories and fresh products with you. Unlike other tourist destinations, Maramureș is not a place where you will feel the pressure of purchasing and leaving. In fact, the people from this area are often the subject of irony due to their natural calmness and stress-free attitude. Whether you want to buy something form them or not, they will treat you kindly and offer you precious recommendations and good wishes. The locals, also known as Moroşeni, are proud of the traditions they strived to preserve over the centuries. Here, unlike in the rest of the country, you can still see women washing their clothes manually in natural whirlpools and men carving the wood for a living. Speaking of which, it’s worthy to remember that the old tradition of wooden gates in Maramureș has a symbolic meaning. The motifs portrayed on the robust wooden gates that guard the entrance of many traditional houses have a particular purpose. They’re meant to cast away evil spirits and purify those who walk through them before they are allowed to get inside the house. Maramureș has an impressive collection of wooden sculptures, gates and churches featuring motifs that stem from Christian and pre-Christian beliefs. Some of these valuable vestiges have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage. The traditional wooden houses with their typical roofs, the custom and the costumes of Maramureș are all testimonies of a remote but not forgotten past. The rich lands in this region have been inhabited since the Neolithic age. Therefore, Maramureș boasts a great cultural and historical inheritance. Many migratory peoples have marked this area over the centuries. One of the most pronounced influences was that of the Habsburg Empire which dominated these lands until 1848. Traces of Communist influence are also present especially in the architecture of the cities of Maramureș. Being somehow isolated from the rest of the country by imposing mountains and green valleys and hills, Maramureș is also famous for its natural beauties. Except for the sea, there is no natural asset you can’t find here. Maramureș has a little bit of everything; mounains, rivers, lakes, thermal baths, places where you can practice extreme sports. Besides fresh air, impressive landscapes and historical vestiges, in Maramureș you can also get acquainted with a genuinely natural cuisine. Romanians like to eat fresh products they grow in their garden and Maramureș is a region where this healthy practice is quite extensive. Locals are ready to share with you their natural products, ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables, to eggs, meat, milk or diary product. Especially if you come from abroad, the price you will pay for these genuine delicacies will seem insignificant. Another tradition that is deeply rooted in these good-humored people is that of producing and, of course, drinking ‘horinca’. Any moment of the day is good for a sip of this strong plum liqueur. If you don’t feel like tasting it on the spot, do buy a bottle as a souvenir, as there is no chance you’ll find anything similar at a liquor store.

What we offer

  • Whatever it is that you find more appealing, we’re here to help you make the most of your Maramureș tour.
  • Our professional staff is ready to provide you transfer to and from the major airports in the area and guided tours in Maramureș, based on your choice of itinerary.
  • We can show you the most popular and less-known attractions.
  • We’ll be there for you on every step of the way, helping you deal and bound with locals, find accommodation, and grasp the meaning of the sites you’re visiting.
  • City tours, mountain trails, secluded villages, picnics and lavish meals in local dining places … just name it and we’ll help you organize and enjoy it.
  • Moreover, if you or your child have Romanian relatives in Maramureș, we can also help you trace and re-bound with members of the family as part of our back-2-roots service.

Why Choose Us?

We are native Romanian and Hungarian speakers, fluent in English, and can get along with Hebrew, Italian, French and German.

We are not geniuses, just went to school, pay a bit of attention, and have some good connections. Probably also helped the fact that Transylvania is a multiethnic region, nowadays with roughly ~ 60% ethnically Romanian people, ~ 20% Hungarian (Magyar, Székely), ~ 8 German (Schwabian, Saxon, Zipser), ~10% Gypsy, and under 5% Ukrainian, Serb, and other ethnical groups.

The situation was a bit different during the 18’Th and 19’Th century, when probably it was something like: ~ 40% ethnically Romanian, ~ 25% Hungarian, ~ 15% German, ~ 10% Gypsy, ~ 5% Jew and under 5% Ukrainians, Serbs.

I can personally say, as long as I know, that I am something like 25% German, 25% Romanian, 25% Hungarian, and not sure about the rest because one of my grandpa’s was born somewhere in Galicia (present day Ukraine) and there the situation was even more complicated .

We offer mainly custom services / custom packages which are basically a combination of multiple single services tailor made to the traveler’s needs.

It can be a complete package as a sightseeing tour, a guided heritage tour or a family tree tour, even airport to airport tours, but we offer also, as we call it, single services like:

  • Airport transfers from or to Budapest, Cluj Napoca, Debrecen, Timisoara Airports
  • Services of a private driver or other transportation services
  • Car rentals from local, flexible companies
  • Organization services
  • Training and team building type activities
  • Translations and interpreting
  • Research, representation or just consultancy

We call a service, a package or a tour as airport to airport all-inclusive when we plan the whole trip and organize for our travelers all the needed services from landing at a specific airport to taking off from the same or another airport.

In these cases we expect and meet our travelers at the airport terminal and say goodbye in the same place. “All-inclusive” usually includes:

  • Planning and creating a custom tour – itinerary, sites, objectives etc
  • All the necessary reservations
  • Airport transfers and all the needed transportation services
  • Guiding and interpreting
  • Assistance throughout the whole period of stay

In this way we can spare a lot of time and money and gain more comfort and safety.

We are flexible and always deliver considering your wishes. For example, a specific place or area might catch your attention and decide to stick around more than it was planned, we are flexible enough and can easily adapt to such situations or even more than that.

We prefer to guide and deliver information towards your curiosity and interests rather then follow a specific, memorized program.

As small business owners with several years spent also in multinational corporations we learned to value time.

Being passionate about history and with a rich experience in travelling across Romania and Europe we can promise that if you are interested we are able to widen your knowledge about our regions and about Eastern Europe in general.