Buzău, Romania’s recently discovered gem

by Thorsten Kirschner

“A landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm.”

That’s how a British journalist with the Guardian de- scribed the Buzău region after a week’s bicycle tour- ing through the Buzău Mountains. Despite being one of the closest travel destinations to Bucharest, Buzău coun- ty 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 archaeo- logical sites are waiting to be discovered.

Buzău county has a quite diverse and picturesque land- scape, with sun drenched hills in the south west, Sub-Car- pathian 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 ad- vance 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  in itself 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 geo-park ‘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: 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 the way to becoming a destination for corporate tours and corporate events. Several new wineries, luxury wood cabins and guest-houses offer extraordinary places for team-building activities and events.

RESTAURANTS

Most  restaurants  are  in  Buzău  and  become  very  scarce outside  the  city,  apart  from  several  lackluster  motels  on the main roads ( definitely not recommended). Most of the guest-houses  have  integrated  restaurants  or offer half  or full-board for their guests. Prior booking is recommended.

WINERIES

Crama Lacerta
Address: 434 Fințești St., Fințești/Năeni
Web: www.lacertawinery.ro
Romania’s most modern winery offering premium wines and a spectacular panorama view of the hills of Dealu Mare. A perfect place for corporate meetings, team building, wine and culinary events.
City Compass offers tours, wine brunches and corpo- rate events at Lacerta. See tour and corporate services section at www.citycompass.ro.

Aurelia Vișinescu/ Domeniile Săhăteni
Address: Săhăteni
Web: www.aureliavisinescu.ro
One of the few female oenologists in Romania, owner of Domeniile Săhăteni, Aurelia Vișinescu created her own premium wine brand a few years ago and has al- ready won already several national and international wine prizes. The winery Domeniile Săhăteni offers guided tours through the vineyard, premium wine tast- ing and –one of the exceptions in Romania-  accommo- dation at the vineyard.  The large wine tasting saloon can also be used for team building events and business meetings. City Compass organizes corporate events at Domeniile Săhăteni. See tour and corporate services section at www.citycompass.ro.

TOURISM INFORMATION

The  Tourism  Infopoint  Buzău  at  Berca  offers  tourist maps, leaflets, rent-a-bike, accommodation service and the complete tour program for Buzau county.
–  Access: DN 10 Buzău / Brașov – Berca, turn left after the Buzău river bridge, 400m – direction Muddy Volcanoes.
–  Further information:
Web: www.travelbuzau.com
Phone: +40 729 836 963.

GUIDED TOURS TO BUZĂU COUNTY

City Compass—in cooperation with the local tourism development association TravelBuzau.com—organizes guided tours (in English, French, German) to the future GEOPARK Buzău, off road trips, family safari and cycling tours, rafting as well as special events (truffle hunting, wine events, teambuilding, executive retreats) in the region.