of the churches have very nice fresco's inside
where water whirls to wash carpets, rags.
see many superbly carved wooden gates
|detail of a
stags in Maramures, the slender form shows
that the region often has rain, the hay in a
large wide hay stag would rot inside
along the line
oven and workshop
The hikes can only be done by hikers that are
well experienced with maps and compass or with GPS.
The reason is that the trails that we use for some
of the hikes are since a few years hardly used by
the local population and now overgrown or sometimes
hardly recognizable as a trail.
Maramures is worldwide known for its fabulous wooden churches and its lovely
wooden homesteads. The people claim that they descend directly from the Dacians
(Romania's oldest inhabitants) and were never conquered by the Romans. There
might be some truth in that, especially when you compare their features -
blond and with blue eyes - with the Romanians - mostly dark hair and brown
eyes. Anyway, the people kept their traditions high and many folk events
are still part of daily life.
The region, the Maramures Mountains, are a superb environment to make beautiful
hikes. The mountains are up to 1850 meter and mostly covered with foliage
trees. They are part of the Carpathian Mountain range and extend far in the
Ukraine. The villages are located along the rivers in the valleys. The farmer
don't grow much crop in Maramures but breed cows and sheep on the lower hills
surrounding the villages.
The villages are often closed entities dominated by one or even more beautiful
wooden churches. Some of these churches are many centuries old and are decorated
inside with fantastic frescoes.
Another attraction brings also a lot of tourists to the region.
One century ago Transylvania, Maramures and Bukovina had a dense network
of narrow gauge forestry railways.
Most of them disappeared except in Maramures and Bukovina. Daily small steam
engines run along the beautiful Vaser River deep into the mountains to haul
The trains have a passenger car as well and you can travel with the harvesters
up in the mountains.
We prepared your beautiful trip around the small town Viseu from where the forestry
line starts up in the mountains. You walk from the Viseu Valley
to the Iza valley where you find the finest wooden churches in the village
Ieud and Poienile Izei. At the end you go up in the mountains with the steam
train and get back again on foot. You sleep in guestrooms at local farms
can watch a short video clip by clicking the link:
Highlights of the program:
- The beautiful wooden churches from Ieud: There are 2 wooden churches,
the higher Wooden church dating back from 1364 (oldest church from Maramures).
The Ieud Codex or the oldest written document in Romanian was found here.
(now it is in Bucharest) Best-known paintings from Alexandru Ponehalski (1782)
The part of the village around the higher church is may be most representative
example of the authentic Maramures village. Lower church: from 1718, with
very high roofline.
- Poienile Izei: Wooden church with scary frescoes of Hell from the 18thc. This was some kind of rulebook to scare
sinners and especially women. Certainly worth a visit.
- Botiza: known for handmade carpets, woodcarving.
Wooden church from 1700, originally built in Viseu de Jos and moved in 1900
There are mineral springs near the village.
- Narrow gauge forestry railway along the Vaser river.
Wooden churches in Sieu, Ieud, Dragomiresti, Botiza,
Poienile Izei and Salistea de Sus
Visit beekeeper, artisan distillery, watermill under
guidance of Ioan Sabau (English spoken)
Museums in Dragomiresti and Ieud
You can extend your trip with an extra cultural trip and visit the merry cemetery
of Sapanta, (where cynic, sometimes funny lyrics and paintings decorate
the grave posts of the village) The same day you can visit the wooden monastery of Birsana
with the highest wooden church. And there is the
open air museum in Sighetu Marmatei with again wooden churches, watermill,
small farms. Price transfer 60 Euro, 4 people can take place in the car.
extra night in Viseu: 30 Euro pro person in full board
cemetery in Sapanta (optional)
lovers can extend the trip with a stay in the Rodna
Mountains. Price 30 Euro pro person pro night in full
board. Transfers 25 Euro/transfer
between the Maramures hiking area and Borsa ski resort
from where you can hike the Rodna Mountains. (there is
place for 4 tourists in the car)
more information about the Rodna Mountains, see at:
rental car can be arranged for 1 or 2 days. Price about
the Rodna Mountains
Arrival in Vişeu de
Ioan Sabou, our local co-operator (who speaks English)
will bring you to the first guesthouse. In
Viseu de Sus begins the forestry railway. Viseu
de Sus is a small town where most activity is linked
with the wood industry. The place grew after the
Romanians had to built a new main line into Maramures
because the country lost a small part of it's
territory to Ukraine, after the 2nd World War.
Hiking trip to Salistea de
Sus. Itís a trip from
the Viseu Valley to the Iza Valley. It a nice trip
through the hills, over pasture and hay land and
scattered parts of forest. You walk along the Ciunca
hill (847 m) and will enjoy the panoramaís over the
Ţibleş mountain (1800m) and the Pietrosul
Rodnei (2303 m), the highest peak from the Eastern
Carpathians. The village Saliste is the first village
of the authentic Iza valley, world wide known for its
Distance 14km, about 5 hours hiking, 420m climbing and 430m
to Dragomiresti. You make a nice hiking trip in the
surrounding hills and walk along open pastures and
small patches of forest. The trip ends in the village Dragomiresti
where there is an interesting ethnographic museum with
textiles, carpets, wooden household items, looms and
other tools for preparing wool. Transfer back to
Salistea de Sus.
about 7 hours
570m climbing and 570m
via Dragomiresti to Ieud. First along the vallei to
Dragomiresti, then a short hike through the surrounding
hills which allows you plenty of time to visit the
very interesting village Ieud. It has the best preserved
village center of Maramures. Itís located around the church on the hill, (oldest wooden
church in Maramures dating back till 1364) In Ieud is
a small private museum. Distance
11km, about 3 hours hiking 70m climbing and 120m
Hiking trip to
A trip along the Ieud river and the Botiza river,
small farm fields, hayland and pastures, patches of
forest. Botiza has a lovely wooden church. The village is known for
itís handmade carpets.
Distance 9km, about 3 hours hiking, 325m climbing and
Hiking trip to
Poienile Izei. Hike over pastures and through small
patches of forest. In Poienile Izei you certainly
have to visit the church. Sheís superbly decorated
with frescoes inside. Those frescoes were often made
as a guide or rule book for the people and especially
the women were warned to behave well.
Distance 8,7km, 3-4 hours hiking, 280m climbing,
to Sieu. You exit the village and walk along the ridge
to Sieu. The trip brings you along Hay and grass
fields, small patches of forest and orchards. You stay with lady Ioana, teacher in Sieu.
In Sieu is a wooden church and a watermill. Distance
12km, 4 hours hiking, 230m climbing, 360m
Sabou, will pick you up in the morning and will bring
you to a beekeeper, a local distillery, a potter and watermill and show you
how people live, will explain (show) you typical
customs. In the late afternoon you will be brought
back to Viseu de Sus where you stay for the night.
Trip with the narrow
steam locomotive along the Vaser river. In Romania
there are still working narrow gauge steam
locomotives. (about the last ones in Europe). As you
will notice, time is not important and physics have
other laws along the Vaser. It will be a wonderful
experience in a world you hardly could imagine it
still exists. In the evening you should get back in
Viseu. (can be anytime between 4pm and 8pm)
Hiking trip in the
Maramures Mountains. Itís a lovely roundtrip at the
other side of the Viseu River along open fields, a
settlement and through dense forest.
Evening back in Viseu de Sus. Hiking trip 22,3km, about 7-8
hours hiking, 330m climbing and 330m descending.
Breakfast, end of
||guesthouse in Salistea de Sus