A person setting foot for the first time in the area of the Apuseni Mountains would have a hard time choosing where to begin their exploration of this seemingly magical land. No less than seven waterfalls, two citadels, seven gorges, one canyon, two vauclusian springs, four lakes, fifteen caves, three natural parks, four mountain peaks, and one very particular ethno-geographic region await the curious visitor, ready to take them to places of surreal wonder.
The Roman goldmines
Still the richest goldmine in Europe, Rosia Montana was one of the reasons why the Roman Empire conquered the ancient province of Dacia. The complex of Roman goldmines at Rosia Montana is another precious landmark of the Apuseni area; a village that, throughout its long history of two thousand years, has had its share of both overwhelming riches and stark poverty. As it stands today, the village has kept its charming center that speaks of better days, bearing numerous marks and tokens of gold mining, including a Museum of Mining and several mine galleries, some going back to the ancient Romans’ times, which are open for visitation.
Mocanita mountain train
A walk through those galleries is like a genuine travel in time, but the same can be said about a ride with the Mocanita, a narrow gauge mountain train with a steam-powered engine that used to connect the cities of Alba Iulia and Zlatna. Rides on the Mocanita train are still available for tourists, but only over a 15 km route that takes some three hours to complete. Thanks to its low speed, a ride in the Mocanita train is a splendid opportunity to take in all the wonders of the surrounding landscape and scenery.
Arieseni ski resort
A different kind of scenery may be encountered at Arieseni, a mountain resort situated at an altitude of about 900 m that is highly popular among skiers and snowboarders thanks to the well-equipped slopes of various difficulty levels. In warmer weather, it attracts hikers and people looking for some rest and relaxation.
Detunatele National Reserve
Some might prefer the more bizarre scenery of the Detunatele Natural Reserve, a monumental collection of bare cliffs, peaking at 1258 m, bordered on its western side by what appears to be a giant church organ made of dark grey basalt columns.
Ariesul Mic Valley
Yet others might choose to explore the off-the-beaten path area of Ariesul Mic valley, enjoying the serene beauty of a mountain area not yet discovered by the travel industry; among the attractions it is worth mentioning the memorial home of Avram Iancu – one of Romania’s key historical figures, the wooden church in the village of Goiesti, or the snail fossil reserve called Snails’ Hill.
Other fabulous places and events in Apuseni Mountains