“A landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm.”
That’s how a British journalist with the Guardian described the Buzău region after a week’s bicycle tour through the Buzău Mountains. Despite being one of the closest travel destinations to Bucharest, Buzău county is largely unknown to tourists as it has not been included in publicized tourist programs – up until now. Buzău offers breathtaking mountains and wild forests, unique natural phenomena, the cradle of Christianity in Romania, a future geo-park and one of Romania’s best wine regions.The sparsely populated forests, hills and mountains of Buzău are perfect for sport and adventure activities such as off-road tours, mountain biking, rafting, canyoning or paragliding. Traditional villages, monasteries and archaeological sites are waiting to be discovered.
Buzău county has a quite diverse and picturesque landscape, with sun drenched hills in the south west, sub-Carpathian forests and hills in the center and wild mountains to the north of the county. Rural tourism is predominant. Tourism development in Buzău is still in its infancy but here, off the beaten track, a truly enchanting environment can be found. Unfortunately, good maps or official tracks are unavailable, so a local guide or good preparation in advance is recommended. Information signs are rare and the same goes for restaurants, whereas rural guesthouses can be found in the whole county, but quality varies a great deal.
Buzău city is the capital of Buzău county and makes a convenient starting point, but as a tourism destination it pales next to the surrounding countryside.
The best-developed tourism destination in Buzău county is Sărata Monteoru – nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland.’ Sărata Monteoru was once a famous spa with tourists visiting from all over Europe, but nowadays it is sadly a long way from its former glory. Crowded by tourists on summer weekends – who mostly come to swim in the salty waters – off-season, Monteoru is a peaceful place for recreation and walking in the spacious and hilly forests. Sărata Monteoru is a good starting point to discover the Dealu Mare (Big Hill) wine region.
Another tourism center is the Berca area, which will be the center of the planned geopark ‘Land of Buzău.’ It’s a perfect place to start hiking, biking or off road tours to the hilly landscape of the muddy volcanoes, the salt mountains, the Meledic plateau, Lake Mocearu or the Living Fires. Real mountain aficionados and climbers will find an eldorado at Gura Teghii, the area of Lake Siriu, Chiojdu or Bisoca.
Buzău county is mainly a weekend destination for Romanian tourists during the summertime. Spring and autumn, however, offer very good conditions for leisure activities. The winter – completely free of tourists – creates an enchanting environment in the sub-Carpathian mountains. Despite missing ski-lifts, a lot of activities can be done including sledge riding, snow walking and – the latest tourism product – truffle hunting. Due to its proximity to Bucharest, Buzău is perfect for a one-day or weekend trip.
That’s why Buzău is also on the way to becoming a destination for corporate tours and corporate events. Several new wineries, luxury wood cabins and guesthouses offer extraordinary places for team-building activities and events.
Access to Buzău is fairly easy, compared to the Prahova Valley. The closest destinations can be reached in 1 ½ to 2 hours’ drive from Bucharest.
• From Bucharest:
DN 2 Voluntari–Urziceni–Buzău (c. 110 km)
București–Ploiești Highway–DN 1B–Urlati–Buzău (c. 120 km), this route is much more attractive as it passes the Dealu Mare wine region
• From Brașov: DN 10–Prejmer–Întorsura Buzăului– Lake Siriu (80 km)–Buzău (180 km).
The Brașov–Buzău route is one of the most beautiful Trans-Carpathian routes.
By Thorsten Kirschner