Nature and village holidays in Maramureș

The quaint Maramureș region is ideal for diving into wild nature and discover the peasants’ lifestyle and rural heritage. Here you can go on wildlife interpretation walks, pick up berries and porcini mushrooms, hike through secular beech and fir forests and observe wild brown bears in the evening.

You can also give locals a helping hand in bringing the buffalo herd from pasture, gather hay, make wooden shingles and even learn pottery. For inspiration, we suggest a 10 days trip that can be tailored as desired.


Daily schedule:

This itinerary is meant for families and small groups, it can be shortened or extended and activities can be added or removed, as wished.

Maramures landscape, mountain and meadowsDay 1 – arrival and pottery basics
Getting to Maramures region and meeting your first local hosts: a very talented potter and his wife from Baia Sprie. From him you will learn the basics of pottery, at first by observing him work and then trying it yourself, with his support. His pottery style can be called figurative ceramics, creating human and animal shapes alongside bowls, pots, vases; for the beginning you will start with a bowl and maybe a vase, something easy to make.

Day 2 – making your bowl and painting ceramics
On this day you can practice pottery more and hopefully you will create your own bowl that you can take away as a souvenir. You Learning pottery. Photo by Dragos Ghebancan also try painting ceramics, using your imagination and a brush. In the afternoon you can go for a stroll, the village is set at the foot of the mountain.

Day 3 – watching the wild brown bear
In the morning you can give pottery another try before moving to Groșii Țibleșului village. On the way it’s worth to stop at Șurdesti, home to the tallest wooden church in the world, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Carpathian brown bearIn the afternoon you can explore the village, learn how wicker baskets are made and visit the local ethnic museum. Towards evening, together with the forest ranger, you’ll go to the bear observatory and hopefully see wild brown bear as he comes to the feeding area; you’ll need to be very silent and wait for a few hours until they come.

Throughout the day you’ll also learn what the nature and heritage conservation project implemented in the by Word Wildlife Fund is trying to achieve in this region.

Day 4 – nature interpretation and buffalo herding
Domestic water buffalo in RomaniaIn the morning, while on a walk in the forest, you can learn how to interpret wildlife from a nature conservation specialist: learn about animal behavior, plants and their importance in the ecosystem and natural cycles.

In the afternoon you can join a local craftsman in making wooden shingles, traditionally used for the roofs, you can take one as a souvenir and the rest will be used for replacing broken ones.

Towards evening you can join the local cowboy to bring the 2-300 domestic water buffalo herd from pasture. Then you can actually try to milk a buffalo and drink the milk fresh; buffalo

People in traditional costumes from Maramures

milk is widely considered better than cow milk, the famous Italian mozzarella is made from it; here locals make their traditional cheese from it and you’ll see how it’s done.

Day 5 – insight into culture and communism

Morning transfer to Breb village, the base for discovering the historic side of Maramureș, as locals call it. During a stroll in the village you you’ll meet a cooper, a woman weaving and a blacksmith.

In the afternoon you can visit the Memorial of the Victims of


Communism - learning how communism regime treated the opposition can be a moving experience. Going a bit further you get to the Săpânța Merry Cemetery, it will help you understand the locals’ view on life and death. It may sound like a grim day but these places will give a good insight into the values of the community and what they have been through in recent history.

Day 6 – picking berries and porcini mushrooms
Early morning is the best time for picking up berries, if you want to make some jam yourself then you should spend more time on it. Locals also make a delicious drink from cranberries called afinata, you might like it and want to know how it’s done.

loading the cart with hayHere you can also find boletus edulis mushrooms, famously known as porcini and said to the best mushroom for cooking. So you can go and pick them up and if you give it a few days to dry, you can take a bag with you back home, they preserve well and you can cook them later on.

Day 7 – simply being a peasant
Starting early morning you can join locals in mowing hay with a scythe or simply gather dried hay and pile it up, it will be used in the winter for feeding the animals. If you want more of it, you can go with a horse-drawn cart, fill it with hay, bring it to the village and make the haystack there, it takes longer but that is Barsana monastery in Maramuresthe proper way to do it.

Day 8 – long day hike
During a full day hike you can go through archaic villages with wooden houses and gates, pass by small lakes, haystacks, people working the land and local artisans to reach the nearby 1500m high mountain peak and wonder at the whole region from top. The region is truly beautiful and it will worth the 8-10 hours walk to see it, a shorter 4-5 hours trail can also be chosen. On the way you’ll see one more wooden church listed in the UNESCO heritage list, either at Desești or Budești; both are trully wonderful and the one in Desești has a plus: mountain Narrow-gauge steam train in Maramures. Photo by C. Rednicbackdrop!

Day 9 – steam train ride
Maramureș experience is not complete without a narrow-gauge steam train ride on the spectacular Vasser valley. This train ride will definetely confirm the feeling of being back in time. On the way back to Breb you can pass by Bârsana, a calming and energy filling monastic place on top of a hill overlooking the green valley. You can end the day with a visit to a sheepfold at the time when sheep return from pasture and shepherds prepare their traditional dinner, you can join them.

Sheepfold in MaramureșDay 10 – leaving and hopefully wanting to return
10 days in Maramureș should be enough to get you hooked on this place as it happend to a French and English family now living in Breb. But if you still feel like leaving, have one last breakfast with your hosts, say goodbyes and head to your next destination, Maramureș will wait for you to come back, hopefully as rural and authentic as it is now.

If this sounds interesting please send us a inquiry through the button on the upper right side or email us at, we will be glad to hear from you.

Or you can take a look at other suggested itineraries for holidays in Transylvania and Romania that can be further tarilored.

Detailed tour information

About Maramureș - a trully rural region

Maramures is a remote region in Northern Romania, on the border with Ukraine. Being a region surrounded by mountains, isolated and hard to access and conquer throughout history, the local culture is unique and has been preserved as centuries passed.

Wood being the most important resource, it was used to build houses, carve wonderful wooden gates and build wooden churches – now part of the UNESCO World Heritage. People are joyful here and you can tell it by the vividly decorated clothes they wear and the pleasure with which they welcome guests. Another proof is the Săpânța Merry Cementary, normally a sad place, here life is celebrated as people pass away and funny poems are written on very colorful tumbstones.

Maramureș is Romania's richest in traditions region and Christmas here is a like a fairytale.

Generally built on wooden foundations, massive and beautifully carved, the wooden churches in Maramureș are a proof of the influences exercised by the Roman and Gothic art. They delight through the shape of the eaves with shingle roofs that look like fish scales, high domes and wooden pillars on the porch adorned with numerous symbolic images of geometric, floral or zoomorphic nature. The paintings that decorate the interior of these churches illustrate religious scenes, aspects of local life or folk costumes.

These wooden jewels created by anonym artists were included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. (Bârsana, Budeşti, Deseşti, Ieud, Plopiş, Poienile Izei, Rogoz, Şurdeşti)

Many traditions and customs are still preserved here and they are passed down from generation to generation.  The most important traditions are the wood carving, weaving, and making hats.

Wood carving is the primary craft and occupation for men, as we are in the land of wood. It is practiced by many peasants who not only carve wooden gates and other wood objects but they also build wooden churches and even their own houses.

Women are mainly busy with making woven textiles for their families, houses and churches. They make carpets, towels and bed throws in vivid colors.  Every respectable house in Maramures has a guestroom where they keep the daughter’s dowry.

The hats that complete the folk costumes are manufactured by traditional hat makers from straw and wood shavings. Every hat is differently decorated; there are those with colorful beads and flowers for the weddings and those simple and sober for funerals.

Important to know about activities and itinerary

Pottery: with some interest and dexterity it normally takes 3-4 sessions (30-45’ each) to be able to make a decent object. The basic things you will learn are to center and then “grow” the object, the potter will of course help you.  Normally it take 2 weeks for an object to dry and then it is burned in the oven to gain resistance, taking it still “wet” will mean it will not be very resistant but you can take it as a souvenir anyways. Since wet objects cannot be painted, if you want to decorate one, you can use on already made and burned.
Picking berries: the months when you can find berries are June, July and August.
Picking porcini mushrooms: they can be found in the forest in June, July, September and October after rains.
Bear watching: it is normal that feeding areas are made for wild bears and since in the region a nature and heritage conservation project is implemented, a bear observatory was built. For safety reasons the forest ranger will accompany you to the observatory where you should a few hours before bears might appear. Bears’ senses are very developed and they will smell any uncommon scent like perfumes and can be reluctant to approach. Also they can be easily scared by noise and go away. They come more often to the feeding areas in spring and autumn, in summer there is plenty of food in the forest and they might not pass daily by the feeding area. So if you go to the bear observatory it is not certain that you will see the wild bear brown.

How to get to Maramureș?

Maramureș is located in northern Romania, on the border with Ukraine. The airport that serves Maramureș is Baia Mare where Tarom flies from Bucharet. Through Bucharest you can connect with any SkyTeam Alliance airline (KLM, Air-France, Alitalia, Air Europa, Czech Airlines) or other airlines flying there.

Cluj-Napoca airport is also an option, having more flights than Baia Mare airport. From Cluj-Napoca we can arrange transfer for you or you can take a train or bus to Baia Mare (4 hours).

You can also reach Baia Mare by train or by bus with Eurolines or Atlassib.

Photo gallery of Maramureș region

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Group size Price per person
4+ 570 EUR
3 590 EUR
2 660 EUR

Payment info:

After further tailoring, as needed, and agreeing on the final trip plan and price, to make a reservation you will need to pay 150EUR/person. 4 weeks before the trip start date, the full amount should be paid. Payments are done through bank transfer upon receiving an invoice.

Please be in touch with us to confirm the dates before booking your flights if the case.

Tour dates:

  • Please propose

Equipment to bring:

  • Trekking boots and adequate clothes for outdoor
  • Raincoat


We will suggest a rural guesthouse in each location owned by locals and which preserves local heritage. In Baia Sprie and Breb rooms have private bathrooms and in Grosii Tiblesului there is a room with private bathroom and two rooms share a bathroom; please specify any preferences you have. We will check availabilities once you contact us for a specific date and book rooms after you have made the advance payment. The easiest will be to suggest guesthouses where English or French is spoken, next in line are Italian and Spanish.


Meals are cooked by traditional recipes and most ingredients come from local farmers. The food is very tasty as it is grown through traditional farming methods.

Journey start and finish place:

Normally you will be picked up and brought back to Baia Mare but if wanted we can help you transfer from any place in Romania.


Once arrived in Baia Mare we will arrange all local transfers between villages and for day trips. You will not need to rent a car yourself unless you really want to.

Included in the tour package:

  • Round-trip transfer to Baia Mare and transfer between villages and for day trips by car or minibus
  • Accommodation for 9 nights and 3 meals a day, lunch can be snack, sandwhich or picnic
  • Activities mentioned in the program: 3-4 pottery lessons of 30-45' each, bear watching, guided nature walk, steam-train roundtrip ride and all village activities mentioned
  • Your hosts will act as guides and will offer relevant information but they will not be all the time with you. In Groșii Țibleșului a staff member of the conservation project will join you.
  • Value Added Tax

Not included in the tour package:

  • Medical insurance, we strongly advise to have one
  • Entrance tickets to tourist objectives
  • Visa related costs
  • Items not mentioned in the above list

For more information please check terms and conditions.

Responsible tourism aspects:

  • Most food ingredients are produced by local farmers
  • Traveling in small groups, on short distances, with local transport, driving less than 500km in 10 days
  • Pension owners are locals thus contributing to local economy
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