Although I knew there were many things to see and do in the area, I don’t think a weekend is enough to visit everything here. We left Bucharest early in the morning, so some of the objectives were thought like breaks on the way to Vâlcea and the final destination – Horezu.
- The first stop you can make is at the historic Cozia Monastery located about 370 kilometers from Bucharest, on the right bank of the Olt, as you come from the capital. After a few hours of driving, a walk through the splendid garden tells many stories and is a good time to recharge your batteries.
- Ocnele Mari Salt Mine is another stop on the itinerary and a time when you can breathe the splendid salty air from Mother Earth’s womb. It is well known how healthy saline air is for the body. In the salt mine you have fun playing pool, table tennis or you can bring badminton rackets, a book or a ball, it depends on you how you feel like spending your time.
Children can play in the mini-cars, there are even some cartoons for them, while adults can walk through the generous space of the salt mine and admire various exhibits. The car is left in the parking lot, then a bus takes you to the salt mine. The entrance costs 30 lei / adult and 20 lei / child, the program is 9-15 (17 or 19, depending on the days) and you can see it here.
- In Horezu there are ceramic workshops with a lot of creative products for sale and I think it’s worth taking a walk among them, to admire the products, to talk to craftsmen and to support them by buying ceramics from them.
- The village of Olari, located near Horezu, has several workshops of craftsmen, which are open to the public, and you can see exactly the fascinating process of creating pottery, from collecting clay to painting and burning it in ovens.
- Hurez Monastery is very well preserved, it was founded by Constantin Brâncoveanu in the 17th century.
With access from the courtyard of Bistrița Monastery, St. Dimitri’s Cave or populary known as The Bats Cave, is an extremely rare and interesting natural monument. The climb to the entrance of the cave takes about half an hour, is quite steep and it would be good to be wearing sports shoes (not slippers). The guide shares a lot of interesting stories, you can admire the little church inside the cave, you can see the bats and a small spring. From the entrance to the cave you can see the splendid Cheile Bistriței, crossed by a forest road, excellent for bicycles or a walk.
7. From the merchants at the entrance to the Bistrita Monastery we learned about the growing stones called trovanți, which are located in the village of Costesti and can also be admired in the museum.
8. Vârful lui Roman (Roman’s peak) is home to Romanii Trout Farmhouse and some very picturesque accommodation in huts. Fresh trout is eaten here and there is also a small zoo.
9. Vâlcea area is famous for its fortified houses named cule, which had a defensive role back in the days. Cula Măldărești and cula Greceanu Măldărești are visited daily except Monday, and more details are here.
Photos: © Adrian Bobocea, Zenoa.