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Best 2-Day Itinerary for Maramureș region (with map)

It was not at all easy for the stars to align, but somehow we succeeded, because after two failed attempts, we arrived in Maramureș, a top region unanimously recognized as one of the best places to visit in Romania. I propose here the 2-day itinerary in Maramures we covered, but also our gastronomic experiences.

I have always been a long-established traveler, that is, I like to explore as many as possible: monuments, nature, traditions, but also have discussions with locals, and obviously good food. So, in this post you will find the main Maramureș objectives, but also tips experienced by myself.

Maramures popular costume
Sunday, on the way to church
Maramureș landscape
Maramureș landscape

Travel to Maramureș! This land is packed with everything: gorgeous nature, lots of tourist objectives, but above all, habits and customs still alive!

Taste Maramureș! If you plan to feel the true taste of the region, don’t miss on slănina (slab of pork fatback), cheese variations, balmoș (Romanian cheese polenta), not to mention the ubiquitous horincă (hard liquor made of plums)!

Feel Maramureș! It is filled with awesome and hard-working people, churches and wooden gates, carefully woven popular costumes, traditions preserved and many forests!

So, let’s get started!

Show contents

Bonus day
Day 1
Day 2
Other Maramures objectives
Interactive map

The route and sights for the 2-day itinerary in Maramureș took us a little over 2 days, and I will describe them exactly as we experienced it. You can choose your desired itinerary and adjust according to the available time. Of course, it’s ideal to stay several days because you won’t get bored. At the end, find recommendations if you have more time to visit.

I’ll start with the few hours I had besides the two full days.

Mănăstirea Bârsana is one of Maramures objectives
Bârsana Monastery is an oasis of peace and flowers

Bonus day

Bârsana Monastery
No entrance fee

We arrived to Bârsana Monastery after 7 p.m. The place – gorgeous, by the way – was bathed in serenity. Colorful flowers as far as the eye can see, spectacular sunset, peace and quiet. In a nutshell, the kind of place to be alone with your thoughts. I took a tour of the monastery domain and I felt charged! With good energy!

There are several buildings on the premises (museum, store of church objects, nuns’ cells, etc.) arranged in a circle. Everything is made in the typical Maramures style, wood being the star. The (new) church is modest and beautifully decorated.

Insider tip!: Bârsana is a place in high demand not only for believers and stormed not only on holidays. So, given that the operating hours are until late in the evening, it might be better not to rush in the morning when the buses arrive.

We then had dinner close to the monastery, at Casa Bârsan, where we didn’t go wrong with the tripe soup. The day was long, so we hurried to the accommodation at Casa Susani in Călinești, where everything was excellent.

The house we lived in is 100 years old, made of oak, and moved piece by piece from a neighboring village. Its shine was restored by a team of workers nearby, the house being an example of authentic superlative accommodation.

Barsana Monastery is full of flowers
At the monastery
Sunset at Bârsana

Day 1

After waking up, we had a hearty breakfast at the accommodation and started the day, which I knew was going to be full. We went to the neighboring village, Sârbi, to face traditions at home. First, we met the craftsman of slippers and clogs from Maramures, Vasile Borodi, who took us into his workshop to show us some traditional objects and told us about the manufacturing process.

Insider tip!: If you have the possibility, go with a native! It would ease your process of talking to locals! But if you don’t, nevermind! Use your translating app and just enjoy things! It’ll be fun!

Traditional inventions

Next to the “traditional manufacturer”, there was a kind of Maramureş open-air museum where you could observe some old inventions. No matter how far technology’s got today, these old creations always fill me with admiration and respect. I admit that I’m not very good at understanding the mechanics behind it all, but the whirlwind seemed like a super archaic invention. It’s a kind of natural washing machine (without electricity!) that uses the force of water. In the countryside it is still used today for bulky objects.

Being brought up in the city, I had difficulties understanding the two inventions: piua and batoza. The first serves to make the fabric thicker in order to be used as winter clothing, and the other for threshing grain. Not to mention the horincie (the place to prepare the horinca). It was empty and we could only imagine how the famous Maramures horinca is prepared here in late autumn, when the horinca fume calls the whole village just like in cartoons.

Insider tip!: Horinca (Maramures name) is the equivalent of Romanian tuica or palinca. It is a very strong traditional spirit originally made of plums. Maramures is one of the areas where horinca is the strongest, being in average around 50 degrees.

Making of ...traditional slippers
Making of …traditional slippers
The whirlpool, the great-grandma of the washing machine
The whirlpool, the great-grandma of the washing machine

Budești-Joseni wooden church
Entrance fee: 5 lei

However, our 2-day itinerari in Maramures continued with the wooden churches that were part of the day’s program and Maramures objectives. Only 4 km later we arrived at the wooden church from Budești, UNESCO heritage. Built in the XVIIth century, the oak church seems to have respectable dimensions for the times. It preserves old icons on glass and wood, an old manuscript and, right at the entrance, the armour of the legendary local outlaw, Pintea Viteazul.

I put Desesti in the GPS as the next destination.

Insider tip!: Attention, take the road through Hoteni and Hărnicești. It is short, 15 km only, but we couldn’t help eating organic apples directly from trees or filling ourselves with the tranquility of the place.

UNESCO wooden church from Budești
UNESCO wooden church from Budești

Desești wooden church
No entrance fee

The wooden church in Desești had a lock on it, as well as the phone number of the priest who arrived quickly. Meanwhile, I wandered around the cemetery which was full of graves with the same family name. A very common name, obviously, but also proof that the entire village was somehow related.

Personally, I preferred this church. I think the difference was also made by the priest who was there for us and helped with explanations. Also a UNESCO heritage, the church in Desești has a formidable age, inscriptions with Cyrillic characters and naïve representations of heaven and hell.

Detail from Desești wooden church - Maramures objective from 2-day itinerary in Maramures
Detail from Desești wooden church

Sighet, Victims of Communism and Resistance Memorial
Entrance fee: 20 lei

We continued our route from Maramureș and half an hour later we parked in front of the Sighet Memorial and instantly switched to a serious note.

Before you step inside, you should know that, along with the Auschwitz Memorial and the Normandy Peace Memorial, Sighet is one of the main places of keeping memory. The former penitentiary, which today serves as a museum, was the favorite place of detention for the intellectuals of the time, many of them lived here for several years and ended tragically. You cannot remain indifferent to the walls papered with the faces of thousands of political prisoners, to the stories of horror or terror that scream from every cell of the prison. When I finally came out into the light, I truly enjoyed the freedom that those in prison had only dreamed of.

We then had a very tasty lunch at Casa Iurca, just 5 minutes from the Memorial where we feasted on bulz and stew of our choice. Totally recommended!

Prison cell
Prison Cell at Sighet
Sighet - Speechless...

Peri-Săpânța Monastery
No entrance fee

Then we went to Săpânta. Here, before getting to the Merry Cemetery, we stopped at Peri-Săpânta Monastery, which has the highest wooden church in Europe. Apart from this record, the monastery did not particularly impress me, probably because I had seen others that left me speechless.

Mănăstirea Peri-Săpânța
Peri-Săpânța Monastery

Merry Cemetery of Săpânța
Entrance fee: 10 lei

But we moved on to the list of sights in Maramureș to the famous Merry Cemetery, let’s see … how cheerful it is. Well, it’s still a cemetery, but the predominantly blue crosses with colorful motifs and the naïve depictions of the deceased give it an unusual touch. The idea belonged to Stan Ioan Pătraș (whose memorial house you can visit in the village), a local artist who had the idea to personalize the crosses. In the middle of the graves I discovered a gorgeous multi-colored church that I found fascinating both inside and outside. It was getting dark by the time we finished, so we were happy with how much we managed to fit into one day.

The merry cemetery at Săpânța
The merry cemetery at Săpânța
Colourful graves at Săpânța
Colourful graves at Săpânța

Day 2

Cascada Cailor, Borșa / Horses’ Waterfall
Chairlift: 25 lei/ one way or 40 lei both ways

Eager to cram in just as many experiences as the previous day, we set off in the morning for our 2-day itinerary in Maramures. Our plan was to head towards nature and reach the Borșa Horses’ Waterfall. We stopped the car after Borșa, around the Roman Hotel, to take the chairlift. A journey takes about 15 minutes. The route is picturesque, scattered in places with flocks of sheep, cottages and lots of greenery. Once you reach the top, the trail to the waterfall begins.

Insider tip!: Be careful not to accidentally enter Borșa Cluj in the GPS and end up somewhere else!

Insider tip!: The distances between the objectives in Maramures can prove challenging. That is why, if you only have 2 or 3 days, prioritize! Or, pick a day for objectives and one for nature/hiking.

The route takes no more than 40 minutes and is accessible. If you are sporty, you can cover the whole route on foot and it takes about 2 hours. The waterfall is 90 meters high and is the largest waterfall in Romania. According to the legend, the name Cascada Cailor comes from a stable of horses that was cornered by bears, the horses throwing themselves into the abyss, and the tears of horse caretakers would have given rise to this waterfall.

Maramureș green
Horses' Waterfall, Borșa, Maramures
Horses’ Waterfall, Borșa

Breb village

After the waterfall, we really wanted to reach the village of Breb, which we had understood would be the most representative in the area, so a real Maramureș objective. Breb is a typical Maramures village rich in living traditions and customs, where the authentic lifestyle is largely maintained.

It would be a mistake to imagine that there are many things to do in Breb. It’s a village of atmosphere! It’s an old village with unpaved streets, modest houses, instagrammable country scenery and craftsmen who still handcraft wood or weave at the loom. It is the kind of village that is intimate, peaceful and harmonious.

But still, given the influx of tourists around the holidays, Breb also has modern accommodations and some fancier restaurants. And I don’t want to be hypocrite, it also has fences or non-traditional houses, because unfortunately that’s how some locals understood to attract tourists.

Breb, Maramureș objective
Breb, Maramureș objective
Breb, the most typical Maramures village
Breb, the most typical Maramures village

Overall, if you’re looking for a place where time stood still, where you see people mowing, animals around the household, or old women weaving in the yard, Breb is the right place. And with the world moving forward, I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to admire traditions in their raw form.

In addition to the traditional village, I was impressed by the Holy Trinity church, which I found disturbingly beautiful on the inside.

We prepared to have dinner in Breb, but because it was not full season, after 7 pm we only found open at Casa lu’ Dochia, a place with traditional dishes, which looked very good. The problem was that they only had two dishes, but both were really delicious.

Holy Trinity church in Breb
Holy Trinity church in Breb

Other Maramureș objectives

Maramures is no short of beautiful places to explore. So , if you can, swap the 2-day itinerary in Maramures for more!

Mocănita is undoubtedly an end in itself. The last steam train in Europe takes you along the Vaser Valley and leaves (but also returns) to Vișeul de Sus. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets online a few days in advance. The reason why I did not include the famous Mocănița side by side with the nature show in the plan was lack of time. We found out that this trip takes about 6 hours including stops (round trip) and decided to use those hours in a different way. But next time I won’t miss it!

Mocănița, Maramureș objective
Mocănița; photo:

Those who are passionate about nature and mountain trails have plenty to choose from. Here you can check Maramureș sights, such as Rodnei Mountains National Park. We have already talked about the route to Cascada Cailor, but you can also opt for others, such as Baia Mare – Piatra Bulzului or Creasta Cocoșului which offer enchanting landscapes. Or you can go to the Baia Sprie area to complete a half-hour trail at the end of which you can enjoy the so-called Blue Lake.

Insider tip!: Be careful, the Blue Lake does not show its most beautiful shade until May-June.

If you have more hours to spend in Sighet, make sure you don’t miss the Maramureșean Village Museum or Elie Wiesel’s birthplace, American writer and journalist, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, 2.5 km from Sighet Prison, there is the Cemetery of the Poor, an architectural ensemble dedicated to the memory of political prisoners, dead or executed in communist camps.

Traditions -loom
Fruit of the loom 🙂
Horincă de Maramureș
Horincă de Maramureș

In Baia Mare you can climb the Stefan Tower, a small medieval gem. It was erected at the initiative of Prince John of Hunedoara to mark the victory against the Ottoman troops in 1442 and the clock boasts a special mechanism.

Interactive map

I included the most important places and objectives in Maramureș on the interactive map. With red you find the points of interest mentioned in the blog, with green you’ll see the places in nature that are worth a visit, and with purple you will see the restaurants where we ate well. The accommodation we had has a yellow indicator, and I inserted it because it is at a fair distance from the main sights in Maramureș.

Have you been to Maramures before? What did you like? What suggestions or recommendations do you have?

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