Romania is a destination with astonishing scenery, friendly people, and unforgettable experiences. If you’re looking for a unique adventure for your Balkan trip, we have good news: check out what the Carpathian trails offer!  The Carpathian Mountains represent more than 900 km of Romanian territory. They are shaped like an arch separating Transylvania from the rest of the regions. These mountains are one of the main reasons you can spice up your vacation with trekking, exploring, kayaking, climbing, walking, or just admiring nature’s beauties from a cozy train ride!

Carpathians mountains

Not just any train ride… But a wonderful trip by steam train – Mocănița – the last remaining forestry train in Europe. If you ever wanted to feel like part of a fairy tale, this is your opportunity! Mocănița (“The Shepherdess”) has been used since 1932 for transporting timber. Still, nowadays, this steam train welcomes tourists from all over the world to uncover its secret paths within the Carpathians and rejoice at the Romanian’s pristine forests, fast-running rivers, or calming lakes.  This train ride is indeed a unique experience, so you’d better remember to take your camera!

The land of deep forests and high peaks of the Vaser Valley are a Romanian treasure you will want to remember forever. The train no longer carries timber like it used to in 1932, but instead is taking tourists through a barely accessible area (hence the small dimensions of the railroad). The steam locomotive pulls the train along the banks of a mountain river through an untamed landscape, where there are no hints of modern life.

So, if you are looking to disconnect from city life and all technologies, this ride might be for you! Its utilitarian raw-materials transport functions are mostly gone today. However, the routes it served still offer beautiful views of less-trodden paths. Some of the available itineraries are below if you care to hop on!

Mocanita steam train

Vișeul de Sus, Maramureș

Vișeu de Sus sits in Northern Romania, in Maramureș County, and it will be the start of your ride. You can reach this village by road or train and then take a 15-minute walk from the village’s center to arrive at str. Cerbului 5 – the exact location of the steam train station.  If you are curious about when the train is available, the running period is from March to November. Any season will be spectacular, but from our point of view, you should not miss Autumn! The colors of the forests, the warm sun-kissed skies, and the lively animal habitats will be out of this world and worth observing!  Tickets cost between 35 RON (8.23$) and 64 RON (15$). Regarding the schedule and price options for this year, you can check them all here.

Criscior – Brad, Abrud – Câmpeni, Hunedoara

This Mocănița train in Central Romania’s Hunedoara county travels only on the 7 km route between Criscior and Brad villages. It has a capacity of 130 seats and operates on this route twice a week (mostly on Thursdays and Fridays), but it’s better to check ahead if you are planning to go. Besides the train ride, tourists can visit the workshop in Criscior and the Gold Museum in Brad for a deep dive into the locomotives’ world. On Thursdays, you can also visit the market in Brad, located right next to Mocănița’s route. Do not forget to bring a bag for all the goodies! A round-trip ticket is 20 RON (about 4.71$) for adults and 10 RON (2.25$) for children. You can find further info here.

Teaca – Râciu, Bistrița

This railway is one of the most popular ones! It makes a 35 km tour, linking the Teaca commune in the Bistrița-Năsăud county to Râciu in Mureș county. It is known as The Mocănița of Transylvania! Going on this ride will make you feel like you are part of a fantasy story that locals have kept alive for over a century. So, if you are up for an unforgettable time-travel experience, the first trips start in May and June! Find updates about future rides here.

Huțulca – Argel, Suceava

Initially 24 km long, linking Moldovița to Rososa, this steam train ride was created in 1888. It goes through Bucovina, one of Romania’s most picturesque and untouched regions. The current railway is 12 km long and runs daily, no matter the season! Its only requirement is to have a minimum of 10 people aboard. If you are interested in this one, find more information here.

Sovata – Câmpu Cetăţii, Mureș

Running only on coal and hardwood, this narrow-gauge steam locomotive offers you a two-hour ride, covering 14 km between Sovata and Câmpu Cetății. It runs daily in the warmer seasons, except for Mondays when it is closed. Usually, it requires a minimum of 15 passengers to run.  The best reason to choose a ride like this is the diverse region, nestled so picturesquely in the dense Carpathian Mountains. Stop what you’re doing, and add this ride to your bucket list. You can see further information and pricing options for your tickets here  

Sibiu – Agnita, Sibiu

This route is not fully available for tourists yet, but we feel it is worth mentioning! Romanian volunteers and British railway preservationists have been working to re-open the historic narrow gauge railway line that runs in the Hârtibaciu valley, between Sibiu and Agnita. This project was sponsored by Prince Charles back in 2006, and it has the potential to become a famous touristic attraction in Transylvania. It runs through the Centre of Romania, a lovely region with wild fauna and peaceful landscapes, embraced by the mighty heights of the snowy Carpathians peaks. However, if you want to, you can visit this railway and enjoy a short ride of 7 km that will evoke all the efforts put into this project. Or maybe rent a locomotive for a private event since they also offer this service! Want to find out more about this particular railway? Click here!

Romania is a country that deeply treasures its natural beauty. It would be a shame not to enjoy at least one of these fantastic train ride experiences. They are pretty unique. Whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure or just want to visit certain regions, we recommend allowing these steam trains to carry you among the ancient mountains and reveal all the secrets of the Carpathians! If you are the kind of person that likes everything organized for you and not by you, you can always check for private Romanian tours with Balkan Trails and book something that suits you! And if you can’t find that perfect trip on our website, email us, and we’ll prepare the ideal tailored tour for you. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to discover the hidden treasures of Romania!

Book your custom tour now and embark on an unforgettable journey through this captivating country. With our expert guides and personalized itineraries, you’ll experience the very best that Romania has to offer.

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