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1 day, 3 generations, 5 attractions or What can you do in Pădurea Craiului

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Sunday. Children are getting up slowly. Our parents move in the replay, but take comfort in the thought that we live in sync with the little ones. Our parents are already on the road. Different generations, different habits. To catch up, we take the shortcut.


Family destination


So it is that, by following these less conventional routes, we caught up with our grandparents. Just outside the Cutilor gorge. In fact, the entrance to our route. The vicinity of two establishments, not ten minute’s walk to the gorge, is a good place to leave your car. The little shop and grocery next door are only good for freshening up your water supply and seriously hurting your budget if you haven’t had the presence of mind to keep the kids out. Brightly colored sweets of uncertain provenance will always be far more tempting to little ones than all the ‘healthy snacks’ in the world.


The path for all


To avoid hiking with the sun beating down on you, we’ve approached the Cuti Valley in the reverse of what is generally customary. That is, we started the trail through the forest, climbing – on the “red point” marking – to the viewpoint of Stanu Gurguiat, on the geographical left side. And then we didn’t turn back along the water, just as the high rock walls began to cast their benevolent shadow down into the valley.


Circuitul Cheile Cuților


All in all, a two-hour walk, equally suitable for little ones and grandparents. The route, well-marked, is fairly easy and rewarding for tourists. The imposing views of the right-hand slope are worth remembering, as are the views of the meadows visible all around. The trail drops smoothly down to the water’s edge, the place from where we decided to turn back. The Cuților Gorge is probably the ideal place to explain to someone, big or small, how limestone plays with water, which in turn shapes the stone. The course of the stream, now a little larger than usual because of the rains, appears and disappears under the stones or under the small rocky beaches, only to emerge again, when and where you would least expect it. The path, which keeps intersecting with the water line, will show the lucky and patient a few little surprises. In the Cuților valley you may encounter lazy salamanders and timid crayfish, along with some bored cows looking for shade. Above, as if guarding their estate, a family of rapacious birds flies around drawing swirls in the sky. Done! As we leave the gorge, we pass just long enough to say “Hello” to the craftsman Peter Merinu, a ceramic artist based in Roșia. A visit to his workshop is always a good opportunity to discover his latest works and to tell stories, told and untold until now. It doesn’t hurt to let the man know if you want to pay him a visit:


Casa meșterului ceramist Merinu Peter

The crystal cave is a must-see even with repetition


Very close is the Crystal Cave in the Farcu mine. Some of us have now seen it for the… time, as others in the group have not visited it before. Anyway, we have nothing to regret. If only because, for half an hour, we beat the sweltering heat outside. The mining museum, the underground gallery, and, especially, the “gallery” with crystals are only the most famous of the tourist attractions of the only cave in Romania where anyone can see delicate and shiny calcite crystals. You’ll remember it all! As well as the panorama of the Lazurilor gorges, to be found near the cave, at the end of a trail that is as short as it is pleasing to the eye. The balcony, perched above a rock wall, offers a wide view of the Lazurilor valley gorges.


Traseul Peştera cu cristale din mina Farcu – Stanu’ Cârnului


Our next destination is there and it’s… tempting.



At a fresh trout


Being a driver and arriving at the Cutuș Trout Farm is pure bad luck. You can alleviate your woes of not being able to taste the local bread just by taking it to go. Sure, there, in the shade of the forest, by the ponds with swans and fish, it slides better. It goes down just right with cold spring water or sweetened with house syrup. Obviously from fir buds, how else! Luckily there are still no driving restrictions on eating out. The trout, as fresh as can be, which comes to the table accompanied by steaming polenta, with sour cream and garlic sauce, will fully repay the effort made to guide the car through the streams dug by the rains in the road down the hill of Farcu, to the valley. The place is so well known, appreciated, and sought after, especially in season, that it doesn’t hurt to make an appointment. Not for nothing, but when you’re having such a good time, it would be a shame to have a bad one.


By the way. Summer is tick season. We came back, from this outing, with a dozen or so, distributed totally unevenly, especially among the girls. To avoid such surprises, it’s a good idea to use a repellent against the not-at-all-friendly insects from the start, or at least make sure you wear long trousers and blouses with sleeves up to the wrist. If we’re on the subject of equipment, I’d suggest not forgetting sunglasses and a sun hat, a rain jacket or raincoat, and some hiking boots on your feet. Although the trail is not very demanding, there are some slippery and muddy sections in rainy weather. It’s good to have enough water with you, the flow of the springs in the area fluctuates quite a lot.


Well, not even those hateful vampires lurking in the grassy knoll could spoil our expedition. In one day, we ticked off no less than five of the Roșia area’s sights. Because there’s so much more to see and do in Padurea Craiului, we’ll be back!




Useful information:


Access: Oradea – Roșia ~ 1 h 30 min


Cuților Gorge Circuit: 2 h (red point mark)


Thematic trail “Discover Rosia Valley”: 45 min (blue cross mark)


Visiting the Crystal Cave from Farcu mine: 30 min


Crystal Cave from Farcu mine – Cutuș trout farm: 30 min