[Romania] One week in Roșia Montană
Roșia Montană is, starting 2021, as it well deserves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some more than excellent piece of news that we considered was very much worth celebrating so we took a whole week of vacation (actually 10 days) this summer to spend it in and around the village (not to mention, of course, that we have been regular visitors for years now, regardless of the season).
According to the UNESCO website, Roșia Montană Mining Landscape contains the most significant, extensive and technically diverse underground Roman gold mining complex currently known in the world, dating from the Roman occupation of Dacia (106-271 CE). Roșia Montană is situated in a natural amphitheater of massifs and radiating valleys in the Metalliferous range of the Apuseni Mountains, located in the historical region of Transylvania in the central part of Romania.
And above all that, Roșia Montană is a village surrounded by mountains, lakes and nature. In summer the village is very much alive, with local organizations being actively involved in its social life. Sports events, film, music and theater festivals, guided tours, renovation projects with the opportunity to get involved as a volunteer bring locals and visitor together and contribute step by step to making this village worth of its UNESCO title.
We spent 10 days this summer in and around the village and we didn’t get bored at all. We just enjoyed the quiet around, the calm of the village life and the fresh air. We visit Roșia Montană at least 2 – 3 times a year, as it’s quite close to Sibiu and a good option to stay outdoors even if the weather is not the best.
But let’s see what exactly is there to be done in a village like this for 10 days.
Hiking, hiking and hiking
One of the main reasons we keep coming back to Roșia Montană is because the hiking trails are suitable for kids. Not too long, not too high, not dangerous, just perfect for keeping kids outdoor and active. When you add some forest fruits in summer and local dogs that are very friendly and always interested in joining us for our walks, you get the perfect combo.
There are plenty of hiking paths to choose from, paths that will guide you through the village, over the surrounding mountains, through forests, passing by the beautiful lakes that were once used as water supplies for washing the gold. You can walk, but the trails are very well suitable for cycling as well.
HERE you can find a list of all the hiking trails. They are all well marked and most of them start from the center of the village where you will also find a map. The hikes are suitable for all seasons, even with kids. We have done them in summer, but winter as well.
Guided Village Tours
A good way to support the local community is to opt for one (or more) guided tours, with the local young guides. They will show you the village, its patrimony buildings, they will tell you more about its history and culture, about how gold has been extracted from the surrounding mountains since the pre-Roman times. More info and bookings HERE.
A perfect option for those who want to explore the wider area around Roșia Montană. Guided by locals who have 4×4 off road cars, you can choose one of their tours (4 hours, 1 day or 2 days) and go deeper into the mountains and the neighboring villages. Bookings HERE.
Visit the Roman Galleries
The main reason Roșia Montană is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Roman Galleries. A place that we have still not managed to visit (for some reason, the place is closed during the weekends), but that is very important for the area. The Mining Museum is where you can visit the Roman Galleries, kilometers long tunnels dug from Roman times until modern times. They are unique in the world and together with the tools discovered here through archeological diggings, you will enter the fascinating world of gold diggers.
Check out local producers
Another way to support the local community is by buying local products. You can have meals prepared by the locals – just ask the host from your accommodation for recommendations on the subject. If you want to buy cheese, butter, jams, fruits, veggies, tea, ask again your host and there is for sure someone in the village selling.
Get yourself some quality wool clothing knitted by the women in the village at Made in Roșia Montană. Get yourself some handmade jewelry made of resin and plants from the area at TRAP. For teas, syrups, handmade cosmetics pay Căsuța Plantelor a visit. They can, on demand, do guided tours for foraging.
Enroll as a volunteer
Adopt a house in Roșia Montană is a project that aims to bring the village back to life by giving its buildings a new face. With the help of volunteers, they yearly renovate houses and important buildings of the village, using local materials and techniques. There is always a need for help, so if you can contribute, just contact them.
A full Roșia Montană experience
If you’re not a natural born planner, don’t worry about it, the locals can take care of you from beginning to the end. Let them plan your whole stay as to make sure you don’t miss anything. Check THIS for a complete experience – village tours, Roman Galleries, meals prepared by the locals and many more.
Events during the year
Local organizations are more and more involved in doing events for the village, to attract more and more visitors, but also to offer support to the local community. Roșia Montană Community is the place to keep you updated on what and when is happening in the village. You can get sports events, volunteer programs, film, music and theater festivals, workshops, most of them perfectly suitable even for families with kids.
There are more and more places to chose from in terms of accommodation in Roșia Montană, including camping options (full list HERE), but for us, there are two places that we take into consideration.
Casa Petri is for sure one of our favorite guest houses, the host is the nephew of one of the locals and he’s one of the main promoters and activists when it comes to defending the village. The place is just in the center of the village, renovated in style, as to preserve its authenticity. We love it in winter, when we have to make our own fire in the stove and cuddle in after a long day of hiking.
Cabana Piatra Corbului is our second option, for when we want to be a bit away from the village, surrounded by nature and quiet. We love it for its huge backyard, that always becomes the best playground and for the beautiful sunsets over the hills.
As an extra, Casa Manu has a small outdoor pool, as an extra chill activity for summer hot days.
As you can see, it’s quite en exhaustive list of activities to keep you active, to learn more about the village and to interact and support the locals. Enjoy! 🙂