There are many things I like about Romania, but the one I like the most is that it has so many tourist attractions that are not yet known. Today I am going to tell you more about one of such places mainly known by locals and some mountaineers as it’s off the beaten track: The Living Fires of Buzau.

”A landscape that could only be dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm.” That’s how a British journalist with The Guardian described the Buzau region after a week bicycle touring through the Buzau Mountains.

Many already know about the Muddy Volcanoes, which are also a wonder of the nature, but few know that the area where the two attractions are located will soon become a Geopark, joining the network of 48 already present in Europe.

The Living Fires of Lopatari are some of the most mysterious, and unusual phenomena you will find in nature, on a hiking path, within your reach. The important thing is to know where to look. In the village called Terca you will find this phenomenon, which is unique in Europe, but not in Romania.

Two similar sites can be found in the Andreiasu and Reghiu communes in the Vrancea County. Although the Fires in Andreiasu are considered to be more spectacular, as they also cover a larger area, the ones in Lopatari are more popular among tourists due to the other attractions in the area: the Muddy Volcanoes, the Dealu Mare wine-growing district, the Salt Mountains near Manzalesti, the oil springs at Pacuri, or the amber mines at Colti, Romania’s only amber extraction site.

Wondering how this works? The natural emanations of gas are lit at the surface, under the rays of the sun. The fires burn at night as well, when the scenery is at its most spectacular display. At times you can see a flame rising up to 1 m above the ground.

For travelers, the fires are a natural curiosity. For the locals however, they are a source of legends, mystical beliefs, and superstition. Many local traditions have been inspired by these “eternal flames,” some no longer practiced, others still leaving their mark on local pottery or costumes.

So are you ready for a hike in the beautiful area of Buzau? To reach the place, take DN2/E85 to Buzau, drive through the city and then take DJ203K to DC159 in Lunci and then continue for another 7 km until you reach Terca. Keep in mind that the car cannot take you to the Fires. The road takes you on uneven terrain up the hill, on a twenty minutes hike. Make sure you follow the signs and you will get to see this wonder of nature in no time.

By Oana Pascu