Lake Cinciș near the city of Hunedoara

Close to the city of Hunedoara, in the Poiana Ruscă mountains, you will find lake Cinciș. The distance between the Corvin Castle and the lake is about 13 km.

Short history of the lake

In 1962 the entire village of Cinciș, which currently lies under the lake’s water, was evacuated. Back then, around 800 families had to be displaced. After the completion of the dam, in 1964, the lake supplied with water the city of Hunedoara and the former steelworks from the city.

If you plan to stay for a longer time near the lake, then you will find many hotels and pensions close to the lake. To be honest the scenery is really beautiful. On clear days you will have the chance to admire the distant Retezat mountains as well.

This place is very popular in the summer season when many tourists come to lake Cinciș to relax or swim.

Lake Cinciș with the Poiana Ruscă mountains in the background.
Lake Cinciș in late autumn.
The scenery which surrounds the lake.
The Retezat Mountains in the background.

What else to do near lake Cinciș?

  • The closest objective to this place is the Corvin Castle which is located in the city of Hunedoara.
  • Not far from Hunedoara, you can visit the Deva fortress as well. This is another popular attraction in the area.
  • You can visit the old stone church in the village of Densuș.

The Deva Fortress in Transylvania

The Deva Fortress can be found in the Transylvanian city of Deva. It’s one of the most important medieval fortifications from the Middle Ages from Transylvania and one of the most important tourist attractions in Hunedoara county.

As a fun fact, the fortress was built on the top of a former volcano.

The entrance into the citadel is free but keep in mind that you can visit it only between the visiting hours mentioned below:

  • From 1st of May to 30th of September – Everyday from 09:00 – 21:00.
  • From 1st of October to 30th of April – Everyday from 08:00 – 20:00.

Let’s explore the fortress!

Unfortunately the inclined lift for some reason didn’t work when we traveled to Deva. So our second option to reach the fortress was to drive up on some steep streets to a smaller parking lot on the Cetăţii street. This parking lot is actually very close to the main entrance into the Deva Fortress.

Deva fortress inclined lift which connects the city with the fortress.

After approximately 10 minutes, we arrived next main entrance. To our luck, we managed to find a parking place. Keep in mind that the parking lot is not that large.

The main entrance into the Deva fortress.

As you pass the main gate, on the right side you will find the wooden stairway which actually helps you to reach the upper levels of the citadel. These stairs can be considered as a shortcut as well.

Wooden stairway near the main entrance into the fortress.
Paved street near the defense walls.

The other option to reach the upper levels of the citadel is to walk on a paved road near the defense wall. Not far from the main gate you will come across Gate II. This gate has a rectangular plan and initially it was built out of local rock and bricks. From there you have the chance to admire the beautiful Mureș Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Gate 2.
The Mureș Valley including the A1 highway.

Continuing our walk towards the upper levels of the fortress, we arrived at the inclined lift station. From there the scenery is even more amazing. The entire city of Deva is visible. To be honest, it is a very beautiful vantage point over this charming Transylvanian city.

Deva cityscape
St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral between the flats in Deva.
The Deva fortress with the city in the background.
The upper part of the fortress.

After you cross this small wooden bridge and walk through the Caesar Gate, you basically reached the highest point of the Deva fortress. Over here you can only follow the path next to the defense walls. When we visited this place, the ruins located in the Enclosure III were not opened to the public.

The wooden bridge in front of the Caesar Gate.

After a long walk we finally reached the large Romanian flag which is visible from the city as well.

Large Romanian flag.
Old ruins in the upper part of the fortress.

From Enclosure III to Enclosure II you can take a shortcut using the semicircular ladder.

The semicircular ladder which connects the northern enclosure.

Things to do near Deva:

I would like to add below 3 important things to do near the city of Deva:

  • Explore the famous Corvin Castle which can be found in the city of Hunedoara. This city is only 17 km away from Deva.
  • You can explore the old Dacian ruins in Sarmizegetusa Regia.
  • Explore the beautiful Cinciș lake. This lake is very close to the city of Hunedoara. I highly recommend to visit this place as well.

Exploring the Praid Salt Mine

This salt mine can be found in the small Transylvanian commune of Praid, Harghita county. Due to the large quantities of salt found in the area, it was named the Land of Salt or Ținutul Sării în Romanian. 

This place is ideally to visit especially in the hot summer season. The temperature down in the mine is around 16 degrees Celsius.

Inside the Praid salt mine, at a depth of 120 meters, you will find a speleology and air therapy center for patients with respiratory conditions.

How do you reach the Praid salt mine?

Unfortunately you cannot travel to Praid by train anymore. A couple of years ago, the private operator suspended its passenger services between Bălăușeri and Praid. So the last stop on the Blaj to Praid railway line is Bălăușeri. Hopefully one day the passenger services will be resumed on the suspended railway segment.

Even though Praid has a charming train station, the last options to reach this place are either by car or bus. Depending on where you are coming from, the most important roads are passing through Praid.

The main roads are:

  • DN 13 A Bălăușeri – Sovata – Praid – Odorheiu Secuiesc – Miercurea Ciuc
  • DN 13 B Praid – Gheorgheni

If you arrive by car, then you will have an option to park your car close to mine. The parking lot is a paid one and you will find on the opposite side of the swimming pool.

The main entrance into the salt mine

This is the main entrance into the Praid salt mine. All the buses that take the tourists inside the mine are using the entrance from the photo below. As you can see, it’s illegal for the tourists to enter the mine.

If you stay close to the mine entrance then you will feel the cold air coming out from the depths of the mine. Along with the cold air, a very strong salt smell comes out too.

The main entrance into the salt mine.
Tourists disembark from the buses near the salt mine entrance.

Inside the salt mine

The entire bus ride from the surface until the final station in the mine takes approximately 10 minutes. The tunnel is 1250 meter long.

Once the bus reaches its final stop in the mine, all the tourists have to disembark. After that you will have to walk down the stairs in the section which is reserved for the tourists. After walking down the stairs, you will enter a very large chamber from where you can go to other larger chambers.

In the mine you will find many attractions, for example there are playing grounds for children, climbing possibilities, 3D cinema and amusement places. You will even find Wi-Fi connections as well.

Inside the Praid salt mine.

In one of the salt mine’s chamber you will find a smaller museum where you can discover many interesting things about the history of the entire mine. Also there are displayed some mining tools and equipment which once were used by the miners to extract this natural resource.

For example, you will see some equipment from the 19th century like carving picks, acetylene lamp and iron wedge.

Also you will find some mining tools from the 20th century like topographical instrument and many other smaller tools.

Old mining tools which once were used by the miners.

Besides the mining tools, you can also check out some of the products which were made of the salt extracted from Praid.

Some examples of products are: refreshing bath salts, Sulphur and iodized medicinal bath-salts, salt tablets, industrial salt and many other products.

Various products made out of salt.

The Chapel

Inside the mine you will also find a smaller ecumenical chapel which was consecrated in 1993. 

The chapel inside the Praid salt mine.
Tourists in the chapel
Large wooden cross behind the altar.

The restaurant

Deep in the mine there is a restaurant as well where you can serve a tasty meal.

The restaurant

Other touristic attractions to visit in the area:

  • The closest objective would be the small narrow gauge steam train or Mocănița Sovata in Romania which runs between the city of Sovata and Câmpu Cetății. Usually this trip will last approximately 2 hours. At Câmpu Cetății, where the locomotive is detached from the front of the train and attached the the back of the train.
  • The Red Lake – this lake can be found 75 km away from Praid, in the Hășmaș Mountains.
  • The Bicaz Gorge – one of the most popular gorges in Romania. The road which goes through the Bicaz gorge is actually the passageway between the regions of Transylvania and Moldova.
  • Another attraction in the area is the Bear Lake in Sovata.

The Bear Lake from Sovata

The Bear Lake from the small city of Sovata is the largest heliothermic lake in Romania. This lake is popular in Transylvania especially in the summer season because of its salty water with healing powers which helps to cure diseases like rheumatism.

One day, after returning back to Sovata from our trip onboard the narrow gauge steam train Mocaniţa Sovata, we decided to check out our last objective, the Bear Lake. After a short drive from the narrow gauge train station, called Gara Mică in Romania, we arrived next to the lake.

This lake was formed in 1875 after a salt mine collapsed and water from the nearby streams filled the former mine with water. In the summer the water can reach a temperature of 35 degrees because the sun heats the layer of freshwater which ultimately warms up the saltwater layer found under the layer of freshwater.

The lake has a depth of 18 meters and it has a salinity of 100 g/l.

The main reason why the tourists are allowed to swim in the Bear Lake only at certain intervals is to preserve the heliothermic effect.

Tourists next to the lake after a summer storm.
Tourists next to the lake after a short summer storm
The Bear Lake in Sovata.
The Bear Lake in Sovata

Other objectives in the area:

  • In the forest behind the Bear Lake, you will find other smaller lakes. If you got tired of swimming or sunbathing you can take a longer walk and explore those lakes as well. Next to the Red Lake, you will have the chance to check out the Salt Mountain, which is basically a smaller hill of salt.
  • Another objective in the area is the Praid salt mine.
  • You can take a ride on the Sovata Steam Train or Mocaniţa Sovata in Romanian. It runs between Sovata and Câmpu Cetății. Usually, the entire ride will take almost 2 hours.