The Blue Wonders of Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park is the perfect destination if you’re looking for easy hikes in the wilderness. The remoteness of this protected area works to its advantage. It conserves its biodiversity and natural wonders, including its beautiful blue lakes and waterfalls.

Located in the southern part of Aninei Mountains, the national park has 36,758 hectares. It’s one of the main nature sites from Caras-Severin, the only county in Romania with three national parks. Domogled-Valea Cernei and Semenic-Cheile Carasului complete the list.

Vaioaga Waterfall

Vaioaga Waterfall

You’re more likely to see vipers instead of bears

Cheile Nerei-Beusnita is a rare presence in the Carpathian chain when it comes to biodiversity. Unlike other Romanian national parks where high-altitude habitats and vast coniferous forests give plenty of roaming space for large carnivores, here, the most common animals are amphibians, birds, bats, and the viper.

Feared by many, the poisonous viper species are protected. They’re so elusive that the chances of an attack are low as long as you pay attention to the path. Avoid sunny cliffs and rocks, and you’ll stay clear of any unwanted encounter.

viper Romania

Viper, Romania

Hike across the wild Nerei gorges

The geomorphology of the area created a dazzling landscape with gorges, hills, valleys, caves, ravines, waterfalls, and rare lakes. These are the attractions of this national park where swamps, wetlands, forests, and cliffs are the predominant habitats. The most famous are Ochiul Beiului and Devil’s Lakes, Beusnita Waterfalls, and its over 20 km long gorges.

From Sasca Romana to Sopotu Nou, the gorges the Nera River creates are some of the wildest in the country. While hiking their complete trail takes almost two days, the scenery is more than worth your time. A shorter, but even more adventurous option to see the gorges is to spend a full day kayaking on the river. But this is only possible in late springs or early summers.

Cheile Nerei Beusnita

Devil’s Lake

Either way, you’ll see the 12 meters deep Devil’s Lake, the only one in Romania formed after the collapse of a cave ceiling. This turquoise lake got its name after the legend of a devil who drowned in the dark waters of the lake.

Another lake is, however, the most popular attraction. Ochiul Beiului, a lake so blue that for a moment you’ll feel you’re half the world away. Only three meters deep, this lake is easy to reach on foot from Podu Beiului and is an all-year-round attraction. Supplied by a karst spring, it never changes its tropical blue color and never freezes. Like the Devil’s Lake, Ochiul Beiului also gets its name from a local legend, this time from a tragic love story.

Cheile Nerei Beusnita

Ochiul Beiului Lake

Less than half an hour away from the lake, you’ll find the waterfalls of  Beusnita. They’re a succession of small waterfalls that lead to the most impressive one, five meters tall, covered in moss and lichens. The waterfalls Susara and Vaioaga are also easy to reach from Sasca Montana and Ochiul Bei.

Hiking trails in Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park

Cheile-Nerei Beusnita National Park has many hiking trails to choose from. You can hike the complete itinerary of the gorges, from Sopotu Nou to Sasca Romana that also includes the Devil’s Lake and the rock tunnels between Podu Bei and Sasca Romana. Or you can leave from Sasca Romana on the suspended bridge, through the rock tunnels to Podu Bei, Ochiul Beiului Lake, and the waterfalls of Beusnita.

Cheile Nerei Beusnita

Hiking to Podu Bei

Another option is hiking from the old mining village Sasca Montana to the Devil’s Lake. If you don’t have enough time, you can drive from Sasca Montana to Poiana Logor and hike around 2-3 hours to the lake.

This area is also a great choice for easy family hikes.

Cheile Nerei Beusnita

Bridge over Nera

You’ll need at least four days to discover on foot the natural attractions from Cheile-Nerei Beusnita National Park. In the end, this is one of the most remote wilderness areas in Romania. The best time is from late spring to late autumn. For a memorable time, combine it with a visit to Iron Gates Nature Park and the watermills park from Eftimie Murgu.

Travel tips

Accommodation is scarce in the area. The best option remains Sasca Romana, but book in advance. You can also camp near a small trout restaurant close to Podu Bei.

Reserve half a day to take the train from Oravita to Anina, one of the oldest mountain train routes in Romania, with many viaducts, tunnels, and forest views.

Discover Romania with our private tours. More details on www.uncover-romania-tours.co

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