Romania Travel

Visiting the Bigar Waterfall in Romania (Plus the Water Mills in Rudaria)

The Bigar Waterfall is probably the best known waterfall in Romania and it became so because of the internet. Several years ago, it was picked up by various publications and named as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The rest is history!

I was happy to visit the Bigar waterfall with my family a few years ago. After sharing with you in a recent article the beauty of Vanturatoarea waterfall near Baile Herculane, it’s time to check out the new an more famous one.

In today’s article, I will share some words about our visit to the waterfall itself, some photos that I took as well as the answer to the burning question: how to get to the Bigar waterfall and is it worth getting there?

The funny thing about the Bigar waterfall is that it’s located in Caras Severin, just a bit over an hour away from my home. Yet, until it rose to fame thanks to the internet, I had never heard of it. But since it was so close, we decided to visit it – after all, there were so many people coming to see it from much, much farther away.

And, boy, we were happy we did because Bigar waterfall is indeed beautiful and the same can be said about the surrounding area.

We also visited some water mills nearby afterwards – the old Water Mills at Rudaria and I’m going to share some images from there as well. It’s just half a day that you can spend there to be totally satisfied that you have seen everything.

How to Get to Bigar Waterfall in Romania

This attraction is located in the Caras Severin county and the closest major Romanian cities are Resita, Caransebes and Drobeta Turnu Severin – all cities an hour and a bit away from it. Timisoara is also relatively close, but expect to spend double the amount of time in the car.

Officially named Bigar Cascade Falls, it is located at the intersection of two National Parks – Semenic and Cheile Nerei and you should make sure that, if you search for it on Google Maps, are taken to its location (here) since Google Maps has the habit of taking you to the Bigar village if you search for “Bigar” (also in Caras Severin but nowhere near the waterfall itself) .

There are no trains getting there, and no bus rides that I know of, but some nearby cities offer tours to Bigar and nearby attractions. For example, this 1-day tour from Timisoara.

Most of the ride to the waterfall itself is beautiful as the road takes you through forests and offers beautiful sights, which you might even get the chance to admire as you’ll drive at low speed because of the curves and turns. The road itself is in a really good condition, which was a big surprise to me.

And you will eventually get there. The Bigar waterfall is very close to a special parking area and you can basically just hop out of the car and admire it – so no walking required for those who don’t like hiking. This is a big bonus, as most natural attractions are hidden well up the mountains.

When we went there, there was some construction work happening around but I am sure that since that (we checked it back in 2016) the construction work is done and the area looks a lot better. You have at least a couple of small restaurants and shops in the area as well do get a snack or enjoy a drink in that beautiful landscape.

Now here’s the Bigar waterfall as it looked when we visited it:

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Apparently, because of the drought, there was less water than it usually is, but it still looked good! Not like in those photos that made it famous, but still pretty good!

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This was still being built as we got there, it’s right near the waterfall and looks nice with all that wood and barbecues that it has inside.
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Just a few kilometers away, there’s this nice lake, perfect for a quick picnic. Or you can just get inside the restaurant that’s right in front of it and eat some fresh fish or traditional Romanian dishes.

In case you want to hear the water as well and see some motion and the Bigar waterfall itself,=, I also have two videos for you. The first one is the waterfall itself:

And a second video that shows a bit of the surrounding areas as well: you can take a very short walk up to the spring and there’s also a cave there, but it’s closed to the public. If you want to skip to the waterfall directly, jump to minute 2:20:

How much does it cost to visit Bigar Waterfall?

You don’t have to pay anything to see the cascade itself! It would be difficult to even put an entry fee since it’s right next to the road and you can easily see it from various angles. So all you would have to pay is gas for your vehicle and any snacks you’ll buy in the area.

Have in mind that the restaurants there are privately owned, so don’t feel obliged to spend money to help the area – all the money you spend goes into a company’s pockets and not to help the waterfall itself.

Water Mills at Rudaria – the next stop

After the visit to the Bigar Waterfall, on our way home, we also had a quick detour to the water mills at Rudaria. We had never heard of these before either, but saw them advertised on some panels and decided to check them out.

The road to the place is horrible though and I doubt there has been a big improvement over the years. Tight and filled with twists and turns (and a lot of potholes), it’s not a pleasant visit. At all.

Actually, when we got to see the first mills, even more were advertised to be farther away down an even more horrible looking road and we decided against checking them out.

We weren’t as impressed by the mills as we were by the fact that at least one was still functional: after all these years, in some areas in Romania, stuff that you would consider more suitable for museums still works and is used to produce food! That was amazing – and they definitely don’t build things as durable as they did back in the day.

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It costs nothing to walk around the area and check out the mills and it’s pretty impressive to see the one that’s still working doing its job. When we got there, nobody was actually using it, but I think it’s even more impressive if you are lucky to see people actually using it.

And, in the end, we had to stop again in Orsova to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a beautiful view of the Danube:

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This whole trip took less than a day to complete and, apart from the road filled with twists and turns, it was an easy drive – not a lot of traffic and not tiresome at all. We had fun and hopefully managed to convince you that at least the Bigar waterfall is indeed worth visiting.

Don’t forget to pin this for later (or for others to see it!):

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12 Comments

  1. I totally get calling it one of the most beautiful waterfalls ever. It’s incredibly pretty and very photogenic. It must be have been a great feeling seeing it. I’ve some waterfalls in my day, but l really like this. A lot! I’m not surprised the mill still works though. It seems everything built in those days last unlike the crap of today 🙂 . Eric is quite the big boy now isn’t he? and what a great view !!!

    1. Yes, it seems that they really knew how to build things back in the days! And indeed the waterfall is beautiful – even somebody without photography skills like myself can take some decent photos of it. I can only wonder how nice the photos would look like if you guys took them. And yes, Eric’s growing so quickly – hopefully soon it will be him who’ll be saying “come on, dad, let’s travel the world!” 🙂

  2. Hi Calin:
    Super marvelous pictures! If it was hot enough, could you swim in the pools at the waterfall’s base? This was a day trip for you, then? Very calming environment.
    Enjoyed the videos. You ought to include more of these–it really puts the reader much closer to your lovely country.
    So, how bad is the drought? Everything still looks mighty green.
    Your son is very photogenic. You ought to enroll him in an agency which would provide opportunities for him to be in catalog ads, and even in TV ads. (You never know, he could be the next Sebastian Stan;-)
    Thanks for sharing this lovely part of Romania!
    ~Teil

  3. Hello Teil! Yes, this was indeed a day trip for us. I thought about people getting in the water, but I don’t think mane would do that: that’s a mountain stream and even when it’s hot outside, the water itself will be ice cold. The area itself is surrounded by dense forests so I don’t think it ever gets really hot there. But I am sure that would be an awesome photo if somebody decided to hop in the water.

    Regarding the dry spell… I don’t really know. To me, it didn’t seem to be that bad this year, but people were complaining all over the place. However, overall, I think it was better than in the past couple of years as we had quite some rain, especially during the first month of summer.

    1. I am happy I could share the beauty of Bigar! Regarding the restaurant, as far as I know, it’s only two of them that are in the city and have the terrace built over the Danube, so you can’t miss them. They are probably an attraction in the city, but mostly because of the views and not necessarily because of what they serve – the food doesn’t stand out as much, but it’s not bad either.

  4. The old fish restaurant at the junction of the E70 and main road into Orsova has this year re-opened after being closed for at least 8 years. In its day it was the place to eat in Orsova. Its all refurbished and looks great in its new form, clad in fresh wood. Still the same traditional menu but we stopped only for a drink and to be nosey, we will eat there when back in October Cascada Bigar is beautiful.

  5. I’ve actually been there! My friends and I went to see it on the way back from Timisoara. But I didn’t know about the watermill. Next time I visit, I’ll have to check it out But with the virus, it might be a few years before Europe allows any Americans to travel there.

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