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.

Ultimate place in the mountains with beautiful autumn colors

This ultimate place where you will have the chance to admire the beautiful vibrant autumn colors can be found approximately 15 km away from the Romanian city of Petroșani. In order to reach this place you will have to drive to Hotel Rusu which is located on the top of a smaller mountain at an altitude of 1100 m.

Hotel Rusu is the largest hotel which was built at the footsteps of the Parâng Mountains and if you plan to stay for a longer time in this area, besides Rusu there are multiple pensions and hotels where you can find accommodation.

From that place you will have the chance to admire not just the amazing autumn colors but you can actually admire almost the entire Jiu valley, including the cities of Petrila and Petroșani. Also in the distance you can admire the Retezat Mountains as well.

You can also drive up to the Parâng resort which can be found at an altitude of 1600 m. The road was recently asphalted.

The city of Petrila in the Jiu valley with the Parâng Mountains in the background.
The Jiu Valley
The Retezat Mountains in the background.
The Retezat Mountains in the background
Autumn colors in the Parâng Mountains.
Alpine scenery in the Southern Carpathians
Autumn in the mountains
The Jiu valley with the Retezat Mountains in the background.
The Jiu valley with the Retezat Mountains
The Parâng resort on the top of the mountain.
The Parâng resort on top of the mountain
The road leading to the Parâng resort.
The road leading to the Parâng resort

Mălăiești citadel located at the foothills of the Retezat Mountains

This small medieval citadel can be found in the Romanian village of Mălăiești which is located at the foothills of the Retezat Mountains. It’s actually not very far from the city of Hațeg.

Speaking of Hațeg, close to this city, you will find the Bison Reservation which is another important place that you can visit in the Hațeg region.

About the Mălăiești medieval citadel

This small medieval fortification was built in the 14th century and back then according to the story, the nobility lived in that small tower which was entirely surrounded by fortification walls.

Usually these types of fortification were built because the nobles from the medieval period wanted a very protected living place. This was a perfect place for them to store their valuable items or maybe a large chest packed with gold.

You can visit the exterior of the small citadel for free, you will only have to pay for a ticket if you want to visit the small museum inside the tower.

Path leading to the Mălăieşti Citadel.
The Mălăieşti Citadel
The citadel and the remaining defense wall.
The citadel and the remaining defense wall
Paintings on the defense wall of the Mălăieşti citadel.
Interesting paintings on the wall
Paved road up to the Mălăieşti citadel.
Paved road up to the citadel
View from the medieval citadel.
View from the medieval citadel

Lake Rugănești at Sunset

On our way back from lake Zetea, we decided to make a short stop at lake Rugănești since it was close to the main road leading to Sighișoara. This lake is pretty popular for those who like catch some fish and for campers as well. Also, you have the possibility to rent a small wooden house if you plan to stay there for a longer period.

When we arrived there, the sun started slowly to set behind some larger hills which surrounds the lake, to our luck the bar was still open and we managed to buy some refreshments. Since the sun started to disappear behind some larger hills, I’ve decided to capture some sunset photos of the lake before drove away from this amazing Transylvanian lake

This lake is located in Harghita county, on the outskirts of the village of Rugănești. The closest major city is Sighișoara which is about 26 km away from this lake.

Lake Rugănești at sunset.
Boat tied to the pontoon at lake Rugănești
Stone table next to the lake.
Stone table next to the lake
Lake Rugănești and the surrounding landscape.
The lake Rugănești
The landscape that surrounds the lake
A part of the landscape which surrounds the lake

What to do in the area:

  • As I mentioned above above, since the medieval citadel of Sighișoara is only 26 km away from this lake, I highly encourage you to check out this unique medieval citadel. I bet that you won’t regret it.
  • Another place that you can visit is the small memorial park from Bezid. Right next to the memorial park, you will find the lake Bezid.
  • I would like to mention the old fortified church from Saschiz.