The region of Transylvania (Romania) is a brilliant place to visit in and of itself but it is most famous for its expansive and grandiose woods. Why? Well, just listen to the name “Transylvania” and analyse its meaning! It can directly be translated as “The Land beyond the Forest”. But we can’t explore all of these fine natural expanses at once as it would take us a tome as large as the Picatrix – we need to narrow down our vision a bit and halt at the city of Cluj-Napoca, the Heart of Transylvania. So, without further ado, let us see what sumptuousness awaits us between the trees (wink)!
1. Făget Forest:
Without a single drop of doubt, the Făget Forest, sitting on the south-western side of the city, is one of the most visited ones around it. This is the place that most locals use for picnics and natural recreation. Stretching upon an area of around more than 400 hectares and populated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Cornish oak (Quercus petraea) trees, it is an exlusively brilliant sight to behold during autumns. The trees change colours at different rates and the overwhelming visual grandeur is something that everyone should bask in. Note, though, that the Făget Forest is an area of specific national interest and this makes it protected. Do not litter and be sure to watch how you explore its bounds – the sanctity of nature should always be respected. Remember the evil wizard Saruman and his fate when he enraged the inhabitants of Fangorn Forest in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (triple wink)!
2. Girl-Fort Forest:
What’s interesting about this little patch of wood is that it does not have an official name as it is directly adjacent to the aforementioned contestant. They are visibly divided, though, and they have different layouts. “So why did we nickname it Girl-Fort Forest?” you might ask. Well, for the simple reason that it harbours the ancient ruins of a 13th century fortress: the Girl-Fort. This once-proud bastion was built before the year 1241 to protect the locals from the Tatar invasions. Later demolished in 1437 during the Bobâlna Peasant Uprising, some ruins still remain for you to explore. This fine relic is situated at the exact centre of the forest and it should be considered a challenge to find as it is largely overgrown by the local vegetation. An extra bit of info that you might want to be aware of is that the wood itself can be more easily reached via the southern suburbs of Florești (the largest commune in Romania and a directly adjacent one to Cluj-Napoca). Google’s maps also help, of course (wink).
3. Hoia-Baciu Forest:
Quite possibly one of the most renowned wooded areas in the world, the Hoia-Baciu Forest stretches over an area of 295 hectares. Sitting north-west of the city, can be reached by exiting Cluj-Napoca via the Donath street (Grigorescu neighbourhood). But why is it so famous? Well, because it is said that it is a place of intense paranormal activity. Attracting yoga practitioners, Wicca adepts, and mystic amateurs, it is often considered haunted. There is a clearing amidst its canopy that is called “The Circle” and it is said to be hundreds if not thousands of years old. If this doesn’t make you interested then we have no idea what does! Tranquil in nature and not-so-frightening when actually explored, it is definitely worth visiting for the adventure and for spiritual enlightenment (wink with the Third Eye)!
Did you enjoy our list? Which of the aforementioned forests have you trekked in and what lasting impressions have they left you with? Would you put on your hiking boots and explore them again were you given the chance? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and be sure to leave nothing out! Safe travels and see you on our next adventure!