One-Day Winter Escapade to Hunedoara County

Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

Welcome back my lovely readers! It’s already the second week of 2019, but we’re still going strong with our New Years Resolutions, aren’t we? As in previous years, one of my main goals for 2019 is to provide you with a consistent flow of high quality blog posts throughout the entire year. And while I usually stick to this plan until the middle of the year, once summer comes around I’m either too busy or too unmotivated to keep up with blogging.

This year, though, I’ve come up with a different plan, which I really-really hope will work. I’ve already put together an editorial calendar for the entirety of 2019 and I can definitely say that you’re in for some amazing travel content if you (and I) stick with CityoftheWeek. But enough blabbering about this “New Year, New Me” mentality, and let’s get to the point already!

I thought I’d kickstart the year with a lesser-known county of Romania, which is also home to one of the most iconic attractions in the country. Hunedoara County lies in the southern part of Transylvania and is mostly known for its emblematic Gothic castle, ancient archaeological sites and the fascinating Retezat Mountains. You can see the mountain range in all its glory towering in the background as you approach the city of Hațeg.

Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

But what many might not be aware of is that Hunedoara is also home to an animal sanctuary, a superb waterfall with hot water running through it, as well as some very cool Roman baths. Here are three awesome places you should definitely check out during your winter visit to Hunedoara County:

Silvuț Bison Reservation, Hațeg

As you approach Hațeg on the E79 road, you will encounter a large signpost on your left, signalling the side road leading to the nature reserve,(” Rezervația de Zimbri Silvuț” in Romanian), just before you descend to the city. After a short drive on said road you’ll see the designated parking spot where you can leave your car and continue your journey on foot. Soon you’ll get to a small house, where you can buy your entrance tickets to the Bison Sanctuary. You’ll likely be greeted by welcoming locals, a cat with green eyes matching the ticket office’s door and some squirrels looking for shelter in the woods.

Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

Once you’ve arranged your tickets, you’re merely a short walk away from the animals. Just follow the marked path between the trees of the forest and you should be able to see the wooden fences in no-time.

Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

The first pair of bison were brought to the 50 hectare nature reserve over 50 years ago from Poland. Since then over 50 animals have crossed the reservation, with some being transferred to other sanctuaries as others were brought in and new ones were born on site. Today the Silvuț Bison Reservation of Hațeg is home to 6 bison in total: 3 males and 3 females.

Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania
Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

The European bison is the largest land mammal on the Old Continent and has been hunted to extinction in the 20th century. They’ve been reintroduced through sanctuaries as this in forested areas all across Europe, even in places where they were previously non-existent (like in Romania).

Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania
Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

Although they’re looked after, well-fed and in a virtually safe place, I couldn’t help but wonder whether their homes at the nature reserve could provide them with an even better life. From what I’ve read, there are plans to make the Bison Reservation an even nicer place both for visitors and for the animals, so I’m looking forward to seeing these ideas becoming a reality. Until then, these gorgeous, majestic creatures will be hanging around, without being too bothered by the curious glances of onlookers.

Bison Reserve Hateg, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

Practical Info:
Bison Reserve Opening Hours: Mo-Sun 8 AM – 6 PM
Bison Reserve Entrance Fee: Adults – 7 ron (1.5 euro) / Children – 5 ron (1.1 euro)

Before you head towards your next destination, take some time to delve into the fascinating panorama the city of Hațeg enjoys on a daily basis, with the gorgeous Retezat Mountains serving as the perfect backdrop:

Corvin Castle, Hunedoara

In all honesty, we’ve visited this castle 3 times already in the past, but we’ve never actually got around to explore its exhibitions inside. We either arrived too late and everything was already closed, or we just decided to stop by and take a few shots of its exterior. I mean, who can get enough of its gorgeous architectural details, am I right?

Corvin Castle, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

I’ve continuously postponed writing about Corvin Castle because I really wanted to present it after we managed to finally visit its museums. But since that still didn’t happen, you shouldn’t be deprived of it just because of our negligence. So here it goes, in short:

Corvin Castle can be found in the small town of Hunedoara, located approximately 30 kilometers north-west of the previously-mentioned Bison Reserve. The Gothic-Renaissance edifice was ordered to be built by John Hunyadi, a high-ranking Hungarian official, in the mid-15th century. The castle was constructed on the site of a previous, humbler citadel and was it was further strengthened by additional walls and other rooms in the 17th century.

Corvin Castle, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

It might be hard to believe now, but Corvin Castle was once quite neglected and the situation has only been remedied thanks to thorough (and quite costly) renovation efforts. Naturally, it would’ve been a devastating shame to leave this gorgeous edifice to perish, especially since it’s one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the entire country.

From what I’ve read, during the castle tour visitors get to see most of the emblematic edifice’s interior rooms, including a few towers, the old bedroom and the final resting place of Matthias Corvinus, the Caveliers’ Hall and the old Ceremony Hall as well.

Corvin Castle, Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

Practical Info:
Corvin Castle Opening Hours: Monday: 12 – 5 PM / Tues – Sun: 9 AM – 5PM
Corvin Castle Entrance Fees: Adults – 30 ron (6.5 euros) / Retirees – 15 ron (3.2 euros) / Students – 7 ron (1.5 euros)

Geoagiu-Băi Waterfall & Roman Baths

Concluding our list is perhaps the most underrated destination in the bunch, the once-stellar spa town of Geoagiu-Băi , which has definitely seen better times. Nevertheless, the small town has two quite fascinating attractions which have drawn me to it: a waterfall and some ancient Roman baths.

Clocota Waterfall, Hunedoara County, Romania

The first one, Clocota Waterfall, can be leisurely reached via a 10-minute walk from the town’s center. Just leave your car in the parking lot and simply follow the signposts which say “Cascada Clocota”, you can’t actually miss it. Especially since its uninterrupted turbulent sound can be heard from quite a distance!

Clocota Waterfall is special in many ways, but it’s mostly particular because it collects water from 16 different thermo-mineral springs in the area. Thus, it’s actually a hot-water waterfall, so it never really freezes and that’s why you can see so much lush vegetation around it, even though there were about -10 degrees Celsius outside at the time the photo was taken.

Clocota Waterfall, Hunedoara County, Romania
Clocota Waterfall, Hunedoara County, Romania

I don’t know how visible it is from this photo, but if you look close enough, you might be able to spot the warm water steaming in the cold winter air. All in all, seeing Clocota Waterfall up-close and personal was quite a memorable pit stop during our trip, and I’d recommend a visit to anyone who’s close-by!

Geoagiu-Bai, Hunedoara County, Romania

Another interesting sight in the same small town is the ruins of the ancient Roman Baths, also located near the heart of Geoagiu-Băi. In the photo above, you can see me standing above the baths, for scale, in the upper central-right part of the photo. We didn’t find any information about any kind of opening times, so feel free to visit the sight at any time during the day.

Geoagiu-Bai, Hunedoara County, Romania

Before you descend into the pit, feel free to admire this interesting piece of history from above first. Just make sure you watch your step, because there are numerous cracks on the ground which might be hard to see because of the snow.

Geoagiu-Bai, Hunedoara County, Romania
Geoagiu-Bai, Hunedoara County, Romania

Referred to in ancient times as “Germisara”, the Roman Baths of Geoagiu-Băi have been frequented by many, mostly because of the healing thermal waters boasting beneficial therapeutic characteristics. Though left unused for hundreds of years, it’s still quite an interesting sight, which you should definitely include in your road trip itinerary through Hunedoara.

Geoagiu-Bai, Hunedoara County, Romania

I hope that this article helped you in finding a few lesser-known gems Hunedoara can be proud of, which you might also consider visiting one day.

Other attractions about places in Hunedoara County you might be interested in: 

If you liked the article, feel free to pin it to Pinterest to help spread the word. Thanks!

Visit Hunedoara County, Romania

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