If you happen to be visiting Eastern Europe and are in the mood for some outdoor adventure, then be sure to consider enclosing upon Transylvania – the great “Land beyond the Woods”. As its name suggests, this fair geographical region harbours countless types of landscapes and they all share one specific aspect: they are all awe-inducing. Forests, thus, are the most common sights and they are used by the locals for recreation all the time. So where do we want to lead you? Well, to the small town of Turda and the adjacent Turda Gorge, a natural wonder-hotspot.
Considered one of the most renowned natural reserves in the entirety of Europe, it sits six kilometres away from the town it draws its name from (Turda). Expanding upon a massive area of about 324 hectares and boasting walls as tall as 300 metres, it is a brilliant magnet for alpinists and fearless daredevils from all over the world. Countless mountain faces can be scaled there and they all have specific names (often related to their difficulty). For example, one fun fact is that two such faces are called Popeye and Bluto. Olive Oyl should not be that far (triple wink)!
Pierced by the Hășdate River and formed through the erosion of the local Jurassic limestone, it reaches a maximum length of 2.9 kilometres. The canyon itself is varied in width but it has significantly been accommodated for a relatively safe walk-through. There are several narrower places where visitors have to hang on to metallic threads to keep their balance next to steep pitfalls. The trek itself takes you from one side to the other constantly as the navigability of the gorge is not consistent at all times. We recommend that you follow the preordained path and do not step off the road – miscellaneous journeys should only be considered at your own risk! Oh, and do not try to explore the gorge at night or the slippery parts might cause serious trouble – and no, the canyon is not illuminated at night!
After you pass the first bridge at the entrance, there will be an entry fee of approximately 1-2 Euros but this is not always the case – there are days when you have to pay and there are others when you’ll find no one there to pay to. This is a gamble but even if you have to pay, it is an insignificant amount of money for the grandeur that awaits you further on. And are you ready for the great news? At the end of the gorge, there is an open expanse where you can consider dipping yourself in the river (when it’s warm outside, of course). But this is still not the best news as that can only be the fact that there is a bar right after the canyon opens up and spreads into the local nature. If you feel exhausted by the trip, be sure to hop in and grab yourself a good-old bottle of ice-cold beer (wink)!
With more than 1,000 plant and animal species harboured, the Turda Gorge is well-known for its preservation of endangered species. Eagles, wind boars, amphibians, foxes, weasels, reptiles, and all sorts of butterflies have made this fascinating rocky place their home and photographing them has become somewhat of a trend (if tourists get lucky enough to spot them, of course). Cave-wise, the gorge harbours around 60 caves, the longest of which reaches a maximum length of 120 metres. If you are a cave-delver, be sure to pack your equipment as this place is definitely for you!
In conclusion, it does not matter whether you are a rock climber, a tourist, a random traveller, a daredevil, a photographer, a biologist, or just a casual camper, the Turda Gorge is an excellent place for you to find tranquillity, grandeur, and joy. You can sleep at the local hotel there or bring a tent – though keep in mind that it can get a little chilly during night-time. Pack those hiking shoes and when you have a little bit of time, be sure to check back to us for some exciting new updates! Safe travels!