Traditional Maramures culture is visibly embodied in the age-old crafts still practised in the region. Hat-makers, wood crafters, weavers, potters, blacksmiths and millers can be visited, not as tourist attractions or living museums, but as skilled individuals continuing their crafts, where elsewhere the art has died out. Visits to these craftsmen provide a great opportunity for purchasing unique souvenirs but also an educational opportunity to learn a lot more about the way of life of our own ancestors.
This route is the largest of our suggested routes and following it as laid out will take three days, although each day’s itinerary can be followed individually. Additionally, visitors may choose to follow only sections of the itinerary for short excursions from the major towns which anchor the route. Anchor towns are in bold.
From the capital of Maramureş, Baia Mare, the route takes you through small hamlets set amid rolling hills and meadows filled with a blend of pink, white, yellow and purple wild flowers. In the summer and autumn months, locals hand-cut the grass with long-handled scythes and create unique haystacks propped up by simple wooden structures.
Sighet, as the locals call it, is small enough for visitors to explore in a few hours on foot. Day 2’s itinerary suggests that the morning be spent exploring the sights of Sighet, before travelling the short distance to Sapanţa and then returning to Sighet for the evening. Be sure not to miss the Sighet Prison and Museum of Arrested Thought, the Elie Wiesel Memorial House, and the Maramureş Ethnographical Museum among other sites.
The route for day 3 of this itinerary follows the scenic Iza River Valley through a series of small villages and hamlets set amidst rolling hills and small forests. The first major stop on today's itinerary is Bârsana, home to a magnificent UNESCO wooden church and a stunning monastery.