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Travel

Hiking in Romania in November – Putna Vrancea Natural Park

Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit Romania, in my opinion. What can you expect hiking in Romania in November? An entire explosion of colors, especially in the mountains. The tenderness of the sunlight, the pleasant temperatures (around 15-20 degrees), and the specific smell of wet leaves and humid soil in the forests make it an irresistible destination for nature lovers and photographers. You should consider that there is also a lot of rain in November, so check the weather before starting your adventure.

Preparation for the hike

First of all, don’t go on to this destination without having the proper equipment with you. The hike is ranked as an easy one, but there are a few dangerous areas and you can risk getting hurt. What you should have with you:

  • Trekking boots (covering the ankles for better support)
  • Headlamp (there is a 200 meters long tunnel on this hike!)
  • Water (it is not recommended to drink water from the rivers)
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses (even if the sun is not so bright in the autumn) I didn’t take mines and regretted it afterward…the light is still strong enough to hurt your eyes.
  • waterproof jacket
  • non-slip gloves. I would have used those as it had rained just before we arrived, and the handrails of the wooden bridges and stones were very slippery. I also managed without, but it would have been better with them 🙂

Putna waterfall

First, I stopped at the Putna waterfall. This is a natural protected area, part of the Putna Vrancea Natural Park. There is an entrance fee to access the waterfall. On the rocks of this waterfall, you can find the Edelweiss.

This area is also the place where the legend of Miorita was born. This legend is one of the most profound and definitory of the folklore of Romanian people.

Before descending the stairs and arriving at the waterfall, you can find local people with natural products for sale: honey, jam, seabuckthorn, honeycombs, and traditional Romanian alcoholic drinks (Palinca, Visinata). Yum! 🙂

Natural products for sale
Natural products for sale
Putna Waterfall
Putna Waterfall

November hike through Tisita Natural Reserve

This is also a protected area. To access the Natural Park, there is an entrance fee of 3 RON (0,63 EUR).

Entrance to the Natural Park
Entrance to the Natural Park

The entire hike is quite long. It lasts approximately 10 hours. It has 2 parts; the first one is easy, and the second one moderate in difficulty—the reference point in a 200 meters long tunnel.

I covered the easiest and most touristic part of it, the first 10 km. Unfortunately, my timing didn’t allow me to arrive at this tunnel and admire it. During this time of the year, the days are much shorter, it gets dark early, around 5 PM. I was pretty close to the tunnel when I had to go back. As I have said in other blog posts when you are traveling in wild places you have to be flexible and put safety first.

My hike lasted for approximately 6 hours, and I walked 20 km in total. It is an easy hike with no significant altitude differences. This road used to be a railway, built by the Germans during the First World War, when they occupied part of the region for approximately 2 years.

Even if this is an easy hike, some parts can be dangerous if the ground is wet and slippery. There are 2 wood bridges that I had to cross.

The picturesque views of the gorges and Tisita river made it difficult for me to keep looking where I set my foot instead of admiring the surroundings and taking pictures. 🙂

Group walking through the gorges
Group crossing wooden bridge

Tisitei river

House next to the trail

View over Tisitei Gorges

How to get there

The route that I took was: Bucharest – Buzau – Focsani – Putna Waterfall (Lepsa). There is a distance of 260 km from Bucharest to Putna waterfall. If you go there by car, the drive is around 4 hours (breaks included). One drawback is the incredibly small parking near the entrance in the Natural Park. I imagine that during the summer season it is impossible to find parking spots. In this case, you may want to leave your car somewhere before arriving at the entrance. The bus I traveled with was quite big, so we didn’t even go to the entrance because it was not enough space to turn around.

Romania map - road from Bucharest to Putna Vrancea Natural Park

What I appreciated the most

This was a group trip Organized by Oxigen Tour. This is what I liked about it:

  1. The balanced schedule. Overall there were enough breaks; the pace was not too fast nor too slow. If you are thinking of going on your own, probably you should consider an entire weekend. To drive 7-8 hours from Bucharest and back and hike for 6 hours, it’s a bit too much, in my opinion.
  2. The guides. These are the kind of people who are not just doing their job but are passionate about going into the mountains. This showed in their attitude, their stories, and their enthusiasm while leading the group.

Facts and Figures

This Natural Park is recognized as an officially protected area by the Romanian Government since 2004. It has a total surface of 302 km2. The forest contains mostly beech and pine.

Tisita Natural Park in Romania is home to several wild animals specific to this area. The most important predatory species are the Brown Bear, the Grey Wolf, and the Lynx. After entering the park, you will find information boards on the route about these animals.

Informative board with information about animals in the region

Also, an interesting fact about this part of the country is that, in the past, the people from this region were almost all the time under attack.

They were situated right at the border with great empires, like the Austro-Hungarian, before Transylvania was part of Romania, Russia, Ottoman Empire. These great forces around this small country were constantly attacking and trying to conquer it. The people usually ran off into the Carpathians mountains to save themselves from the attackers. Then they came back to the villages or cities and rebuilt everything from scratch.

For example, the city of Buzau, a 1600 years old settlement, was destroyed 6 times, and every time the people rebuilt it. This is why today you will find the Phoenix on the city emblem, as a symbol of rebirth.

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