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In a wonderful corner of the mountainous region in Banat, the Nera has dug in the imposing rocks one of the most beautiful gorges in Romania. As you discover them, you are under the impression that no man has ever traveled through these lands: the wilderness and the unique sceneries are outright outstanding. The Nera Gorges are the ideal destination, both for those who want a relaxing vacation away from the noise and commotion of the city, as for adrenaline lovers. There are numerous unique tourist attractions in the area which are all worth seeing – caves, insurgent waterfalls, crystal clear lakes of an incredible color, smooth rivers, barren cliffs and bright glades.

Nera Gorges

The Nera Gorges - Beuşniţa National Park

The 'Nera Gorges - BeuÅŸniÅ£a' National Park is a vast natural reservation situated in the Aninei Mountains, Caras-Severin County. It spreads over the spectacular defile created by the Nera River, greenish-blue lakes, among which The Devil’s Lake (Lacul Dracului) and Ochiul Beiului, BeuÅŸniÅ£a’s fascinating waterfalls and secular forests. The flora of this area is extremely rich, with Mediterranean species and rare specimens for the territory of our country: the dogwood, the sumac, or the Turkish hazel. The fauna is also extremely varied: the forests are home to Carpathian stags, otters, badgers or stone martens. Reptiles are also present, as well as the horned vipers. Although it is unlikely to encounter the latter, we recommend additional precaution measures for your hikes on the Nera’s Gorges.

The Aninei Mountains hide not only surprising natural treasures, but also stories and legends passed on from grandparents to grandchildren. For instance, it is said that Negarnita, a rich young lady living in these places fell in love with a hunter. Disapproving this love story, the girl’s father imprisoned the lad on a cliff. Hearing the shouts of her lover, Negarnita begged for divine help. She was thus turned into a stream of water which cleft the rocks to find its lover. In spring, when the snow melts down, the Nera seems it hasn’t yet found its peace, being capricious and menacing.

Beusnita Waterfall


Vaioaga Waterfall

The Beauties on the Nera Gorges

A trip to the Nera Gorges begins in Sasca MontanÓ‘, a most welcoming commune, with board and lodgings and stylish villas, offering accommodation at convenient prices. As you pass the portion called La Tunele (The Tunnels), you will reach Beiului Bridge, then the trout farm. The lakes in the reservation are known for the rich trout population, so the trout farm is a place quite frequented by gormandizers and also by those looking for a place to camp. After a half an hour forest hike, there is the greenish-blue mirror of Ochiul Beiului. Supplied by underground springs, the lake does not freeze even when temperatures drop very much. At the bottom of the lake you will see gleeful fish and boulders covered in vegetation.  It is said that once upon a time these places were ruled by a very sly pasha who had a handsome son, with blue hypnotic eyes. The boy often used to go hunting and one day he met a Vlach girl with whom he madly fell in love. Hearing this, the pasha ordered that the young girl be killed immediately. Saddened by the loss of his lover, the young man mourned for her for a long period of time and then took his life. The legend says that out of his tears, Ochiul Beiului was formed. The blue of the lake, the forest mirroring itself in it and the bright green surrounding it turn this place into a fairytale-like corner where you can sink in yourself and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Uphill, only a few hundred meters away, you can see the enchanting BeuÅŸniÅ£ei cascades. With big or small falls of water, more or less tempestuous, they pour over the rocks, calming down only at the foot of the declivity. Although they do not impress through their ampleness, the white cascades create a pleasant contrast with the moss dressing the rocks and the reddish deposits. Don’t miss the great and thundering VÓ‘ioaga Waterfall either, situated close to Bei Bridge, or ÅžuÅŸara cascade, which is taller, but more gracious and crowded with multicolored butterflies.

Vaioaga Waterfall


Ochiul Beiului


Ochiul Beiului

One of the most important tourist attractions in the Nera Gorges is The Devil’s Lake (Lacul Dracului). Initially an underground lake, it came to surface after the ceiling of the cave housing it crashed. The galleries of the cave are seldom visited as the access is difficult, the calcareous formations are not impressive and the rooms are flooded most of the time. But the lake fully compensates for these minuses. In the same splendid greenish-blue water with which you’ve become accustomed you will see lively fish and crags. The Devil’s Lake has its own legend, too. It is said that an old man was grazing his goats on the shores of the lake when a stranger came and proposed a bargain: the shepherd was supposed to fry a fish without having it curl under the flames, while the stranger would fry a he-goat’s head without it showing its teeth while fried. The old man stuck a stick into the fish, helping the latter remain straight, while the he-goat’s teeth showed. Irritated that his plans had been thwarted, the stranger -who proved to be the devil himself- jumped into the water. The locals say that the lake has been bottomless ever since, swallowing anyone who dares to disrupt its calm. Mountain lovers however haven’t been discouraged by these rumors, so there is a camping area right near the lake.

Close to the exit from the Nera Gorges you will discover one of the most beautiful cascades in Europe, an entirely spectacular fall of water. BigÓ‘r Cascade is crossed by the 45 degree parallel and it can be admired from the wooden bridge near the layover. The brave can go closer to observe this giant calcareous, mushroom-shaped cascade covered in moss, from which water trickles pour down. Coming off the cliff, these water trickles form a transparent curtain at the base of the cliff, creating a charming landscape. Whoever sees the BigÓ‘r cascade once is sure to return to its splendor at least once more.

Bigar Waterfall


Bigar Waterfall


Bigar Waterfall

On its course through the Aninei Mountains, the Nera is either tempestuous, rushing downstream, or calmer, near the translucent lakes. The river has dug many small caves and pit caves in rock, some of them accessible for tourists. In most cases, they consist of a room which isn’t set up for visitors, frequently flooded and with no unique calcareous formations. Examples of such caves would be Dubova, La Gauri or Boilor Caves and the Zbeg pit cave.

Explore the Nera Gorges

Nera’s Gorges are crossed by marked trails from one end to the other, and so the paths combine ascents and descents, traversing clearings, forests and rocky regions. Sometimes the gorges narrow so much that you have to go through cold, insurgent mountain waters to reach a destination. The natural park houses many surprising treasures you should not miss. Here are a few routes marking the most important attractions in the reservation:

Nera Gorges


La Carlige


La Tunele

Ochiul Beiului Lake - Beuşniţa Route (1 hr).

Nera’s Gorges - Stancilova Village Route (2 hr).

Nera’s Gorges - Meliugului Glade - Izvorul TiÅŸului Route (2 hr).

Nera’s Gorges - Habâtului Peak - Izvorul TiÅŸului Route (2-3 hrs).

Sasca Montană - Şuşara Waterfall - Lacul Dracului Route (3-4 hrs).

Sasca Română - Podul Bei - Ochiul Beiului Lake - Anina Route (7-8 hrs).

Close to Bazovici, at Rudăria, on the shores of the river by the same name, there is the greatest mill complex in south-eastern Europe. The 22 watermills are presently used by the locals, so you can have a taste of the genuine rustic atmosphere. The sound of water swooping upon the rocks and the stories of the mills will surely make you linger around the waterfalls.

If you want to have an active holiday in the gorges and get the adrenaline rush, you should know that the Nera is an excellent river for rafting. The area is also propitious for climbing, zip-lining and cycling, as well as archery.



Rafting on Nera Gorges

On Nera’s Gorges and on Beusnitei Valley you will discover an oasis of wild beauty, with greenish-blue lakes and tempestuous waterfalls, rich forests and white bright cliffs. Whether you want a relaxing holiday where you can enjoy a quiet nature corner or you are searching for adventure, you will love this fascinating area. All you need is an equipped backpack and some adventure spirit to catch the amazing beauties displayed by the Aninei Mountains.

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]