Enjoying Raw Romania: a Trip to Vanturatoarea Waterfall in Baile Herculane

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One of the advantages of living in Drobeta Turnu Severin is that you are not just a stone’s throw away from Serbia, but also close to some extremely impressive must see cities or attractions, including the well known Bigar waterfall, Decebal’s statue, the Danube and many other smaller towns, villages and attractions. And… guess what? We’ve decided to visit more around us now that our son is starting to get old enough to fully understand and appreciate these sights.

So, we’ve recently took a trip to Baile Herculane, passed through it and stopped some 8 kilometers away near the Cerna river and Cerna Mountains, ready for a hike to Vanturatoarea Waterfall – a waterfall we didn’t even know existed until very recently.

We were lucky to start early in the morning, when the summer heat was still behind the mountains – which proved to be a very good thing during our one hour and a half ascent to see the waterfall. It was a pretty steep, but beautiful hike up the mountain, through the old forest and the sights were on many occasions spectacular. Our son couldn’t walk for long before he got really tired, so I had to carry him – but it was, honestly, safer that way as the trip up to Vanturatoarea waterfall wasn’t really the safest for the three-year-old.

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We started early in the morning near the Cerna river, when the weather was still pretty cold.
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I simply forgot to take more pictures of our way up. This is the only one I took – so it has to do!

After 1.5 hours of climbing, we finally reached what we thought was the waterfall. It was in what seemed to be the peak of the mountain and we were extremely disappointed with what seemed to be a barely visible stream of water.

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We got up there where the views were breathtaking to say the least.
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We could barely see the “waterfall” – it’s on the right side up there in the mountains. You can see it if you try really hard.

Fortunately, Wife Romanian was paying attention to the signs around us and noticed a sign on one rock, a sign that was telling us to keep on going. After 10 more minutes of walking, we finally got there and it was indeed impressing. Vanturatoarea Waterfall is actually a pretty big waterfall! Because of the extremely dry weather, it wasn’t as spectacular as it could be, but we still loved it and had no real reasons to complain!

Everything about it and the surrounding areas was beautiful, as you can see in the photos below:

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Even though the photo doesn’t do much justice to the waterfall, it was actually pretty impressive!
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It’s huge, situated in a really nice area. Wife for scale.
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It looked good and it was truly refreshing during the hot late summer day!
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If you are brave enough, you can climb and take a shower. I decided against it.

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A great place for a quick snack. The sound of the waterfall, the breeze coming from it… everything was just perfect!
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Again a photo that doesn’t do much justice, but I had to go up there just to show you how big the waterfall actually is. Yes, if you look closely, I am there behind the falling water. No hidden treasures found there, though.

The way back was even more difficult, especially as I was carrying my son, which complicated things a little bit. We were almost back to the starting point when my knees started to shake and I just had to drop down and take a short break. But it was all worth it – an overall amazing experience, one that showed me why so many people love raw Romania (or should I call it Rawmania?) so much: because it is indeed breathtaking!

On our way back home, we took a quick detour and visited Saint Ana monastery in Orsova, which is also really beautiful. We’ve been there on numerous occasions and I was so tired that I didn’t realize I should take more photos of it and the surroundings for the blog… but I will definitely have this in mind for future trips:

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We’re planning to visit more places in Romania, especially those closer to home because we still can’t go on very long car rides with our son – so hopefully we’ll turn these plans into reality and we’ll be able to show you even more of beautiful Romania.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Very nice trip and it looks like a nice adventure. Are there any good travel guides that you would suggest that I can buy in the US at Amazon for an upcoming trip to Romania? Or any good videos to watch online that would be helpful? We speak no language aside from English, but want to travel to see Romania. It looks like such a nice country and the food looks good too!

  2. Oh thank goodness you saw the big waterfall 🙂 . I tried really hard to see like you suggested at the first picture..couldn’t see anything. That looks like it was a fun day. I’m not big on hiking but less than 2 hours would be fine with me. It is humongous, you looked like a tiny speck under it..haha! The monastery looks nice. Was it one of the ones you had written about before? Your little boy is so big now :-).

    • Yeah, when I got there to the top and saw the tiny stream of water I was SO disappointed! Thank God we didn’t turn around then :)) And yes, I wrote about the monastery in a previous article, it’s the one that used to be a disco back in the days. It really looks good and I just found out that the nuns there actually allow tourists to spend a night (or more) in one of the rooms for the price of about 6 Euros per night. And yes, the little one is growing, just started kindergarten and having a very tough time adjusting to it…

  3. Aloha Calin:
    Loved the photographs! Son Romanian is a spitting image of his father. Good thing Wife Romanian was along to keep things in “perspective”;-)
    Looks like a great day-trip. Does Wife Romanian do any driving, or are you the designated “Dacia Driver”?
    I was wondering if there is any bears or other large critters to be on the lookout for? It seems as if you had the area to yourselves, though.
    Since you live on the Danube, are there any day cruises offered from your hometown? That would be something I’d really like to do. (I am not a fan of heights–your pictures made me even more dizzy than I already am!;-)
    Was your summer about the same as normal, or was it hotter, or colder, or wetter? I know it normally gets pretty toasty.
    Thanks for sharing your photographs!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil! It was really fun and even though there are some bears in some mountain regions, the one around us is safe of them and other wild animals. It is said that there are some really venomous snakes in the area (vipers) but we fortunately didn’t meet any during any of our trips to Herculane.

      My wife has a license to drive too, but she doesn’t really drive – it’s been so long since she got it and drove so little that she would surely need a few more classes before getting behind the wheel.

      Regarding the Danube, there are unfortunately no cruises at the moment (although I am sure you could arrange for a non-official one) in the city I live in, but there are numerous options with sights to be seen leaving from Orsova which is some 30 kilometers away. You can even take the train for 30 minutes to get there.

      Regarding the summer, it was – strangely – one of the coldest summers everybody in the area remembers. It had long dry spells, though, even though at times it seemed like the rain wouldn’t stop. However, the weather is really warm now for the time of the year, with temperatures easily getting to 30 degrees Celsius during the day.

      • Hi Calin,

        This was a cool article and it looked like you guys were having fun & really enjoying yourself getting out there in the wild. It’s beautiful there, but I suspect there is a lot of beautiful & different types of wilderness all over Romania too.

        Your response also started me thinking about something that you may want to cover in an article and could be of interest to both people wanting to visit or even relocate to Romania. Different kinds of wildlife, where to find them, (and for some folks, where to avoid them!). Even though wolves are often demonized in the press, they typically won’t bother people even if you come in contact with them. I spent some time around wolves in Northern Washington, and also in Alaska. Would love to find some there to photograph, etc and even bears too, but with bears, from a safe distance only!

        To your knowledge, where are best places in Romania to find wolves, bears, other forest animals? And also, where should you be especially careful snakes, wild boar, etc. I ask because I hopefully will be spending a good deal of time in the Carpathian mountains & elsewhere, hiking and taking nature photos. Thanks, and take care. JC

        • Hello JC,

          Unfortunately wild life almost doesn’t exist any more in Romania. Apart from bears which sometimes make the news when they head to mountain resort towns like Sinaia, Predeal and the kind to search for food in the dumpsters, there’s not much left (un)fortunately. I think that wolves are extinct in Romania and I know nothing about wild boars or other wild animals. There are still foxes to a degree, but they’re not dangerous to humans. Even snakes – like the vipers in Herculane – can no longer be seen and are more like urban legends. So in this regard, apart for bears, there’s not much to worry about or hope about seeing in the wild.

        • Hi Calin,
          Not to doubt you Calin, but everything I’ve read still says that Romania has one of the largest populations of brown bears and grey wolves in Europe. Over 5000 bears, 2500 wolves, along with lynx, fox, wild boar, deer, etc. Bears are not quite as hard to find, but wolves are incredibly difficult to find, even when you are looking for them, which I’m sure you weren’t..lol. For example, there are over 11,000 wolves in Alaska, and even though I knew where the packs were approximately, it took days & days to spot one. The Carpathian mountains in Romania are supposed to have among the most abundant wildlife in all of Europe. So, going into the mountains, you could be incredibly unlucky or lucky, depending on how you look at it…hahaha So, I believe they are there, but it may take a professional tracker with a guided tour to have a chance to see one, as they are incredibly elusive. Part of the fun, part of the challenge. There are numerous sites about Romanian wildlife, but here is one specifically about the status of wolves:

          http://www.rri.ro/en_gb/carpathian_wolves-2542583

  4. Great hike! I remember when I decided to leave the USA and move to Germany, one of the things I most looked forward to was hiking on the many well-marked trails through landscapes loaded with historical significance. I was literally walking in areas where Roman soldiers had once roamed, where armies fought during the 30 Years War, where very recently a barbed wire no-man’s land separated the West and the East. Romania with its “church castles” and wonderful natural beauty also has a lot to offer the hiker. Too bad by the time we retire, the body is too old a decrepit to take advantage.

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