The Red Lake

The Red lake is about 26 km away from the small Romanian city of Ghiorgheni. If you plan to visit this place, you should know that you will have to drive on winding roads in order to get there. I bet that the entire journey won’t disappoint you because you will have the opportunity to admire the beautiful mountainous scenery. Right after the Red lake, the beautiful Bicaz gorge will start.

Short history about the Red Lake

The Red lake or Lacul Roșu in Romanian, is probably the largest barrier lake which can be found in the Eastern Carpathian mountains. The lake was formed due to massive landslide which blocked a part of the valley and after that, the water started to gather in the newly created basin. The lake has received it’s name from the reddish alluvia deposited on the lake’s bottom.

The Red Lake in a beautiful summer day.
Pine forest next to the lake.
Large forested mountains which surrounds the Red Lake.
Piatra Altarului mountain.
The Red lake in the summer.

Boat riding on the lake

Another way to explore this lake is by renting a boat. You will find close to the restaurants a place from where you can actually rent a paddle boat.

Paddle boats on the Red Lake.


The only thing that I didn’t liked, was the lack of parking places in the area. Back when I visited this place, I saw only one paid parking place right next to the main road and that place was obviously full with cars. So I had to leave my car on the edge of the main road behind other cars. Beside this aspect, I highly recommend to visit this area. By the way, you will find many hiking and trekking routes in the area.

Mocănița Sovata

Mocănița Sovata is a narrow gauge steam locomotive hauling 3-4 passenger cars. This steam train runs between the city of Sovata and Câmpu Cetății which is a Transylvanian village located 14 km away. The starting point of each journey is from Gara Mică in Sovata. The entire journey to Câmpu Cetății and back usually takes approximately 2 hours. Along the line, the Transylvanian rural scenery is pretty amazing. I bet you won’t regret this trip on the Mocănița Sovata.

What is a Mocăniță?

In Romanian, Mocăniță means a train which runs on a narrow gauge railway. The most important one is in the region of Maramureș. However, there are a couple of them in Transylvania as well. Today, the majority of the narrow gauge lines in Romania are used for touristic purposes.

What type of steam locomotive is used?

The steam locomotive which is used on the Sovata to Câmpu Cetății narrow gauge line was built in Poland in 1949. It has a top speed of 35 km/h. On this line, the steam train doesn’t exceed an average speed of 15 km/h.

764.052 narrow gauge steam locomotive in Sovata.

What is the history of this line?

In 1912 the construction of the narrow gauge railway line between Târgu Mureș and Praid has started and the first train started to operate on this line on 31th January 1915. Unfortunately, after 82 years, this amazing railway line was closed. In 2011 a private company has started to operate on a 14 km segment of the old Târgu Mureș – Praid narrow gauge railway line. To be more precise, between the “increasingly popular health resort” of Sovata and Câmpu Cetății. In a nutshell, this is how Mocăniță Sovata was founded.

From Sovata to Câmpu Cetății

As I mentioned above, the starting point is at Gara Mică in the city of Sovata. Below you will find some photos of the beautiful Transylvanian rural landscape along the railway line.

The Mocăniță Sovata close to an accident with a car.
The Mocănița Sovata with tourists.
Transylvanian houses in a Romanian village.

At Câmpu Cetății

Basically this is the terminus station on the Sovata – Câmpu Cetății narrow gauge line. Here, the steam locomotive is uncoupled from the front of the train and its coupled at the back of the train. Usually at Câmpu Cetății, the train stays for almost 10 minutes. In those 10 minutes you have plenty of time to take some amazing photos of the gorgeous train and the surrounding area.

Changing tracks at Câmpu Cetății.
The Mocăniță Sovata next to the passenger cars in Câmpu Cetății.
Tourists taking admiring and taking photos of the Mocănița.

From Câmpu Cetății back to Sovata

After almost 10 minutes the Mocănița Sovata was ready for the journey back to Sovata. Below, I’ve shared a couple of photos from this part of the trip.

Transylvanian rural scenery.
Forested hills next to the narrow gauge railway line.
The former trains station in Săcădat, right before Sovata.
Transylvanian rural landscape.

We are back in Sovata

After another hour, the steam train has arrived in Sovata. Here another large group of tourists and train enthusiast were waiting for the Mocăniță.

Mocănița in Sovata
The steam locomotive at the depot in order to be loaded with wood.
Passenger cars in Gara Mică.