Go back



Article published in Speciali di Motociclismo and in Torque Triumph magazines in 2005.

The district of Maramures, in which the ancient Dacians lived, is located in the northern part of Romania, an area certainly outside the usual tourist routes, but with very lively popular traditions and which, historically, also included a dozen villages now past to Ukraine from which it is divided by the Tibisco River.

Read the story published in the Torque Triumph magazine

Right on the border with Hungary and Ukraine, there is a depression surrounded by high mountains that have contributed to the formation of a very original unity of landscape and culture: the Maramures region in Romania. Coming from the Hungarian puszta, flat, swampy and despite the guide indicating the border as a border crossing, we notice that the characteristics of the landscape, but certainly not those of the asphalt (really bad. Yes, we are in Romania), do not change for at least 80km, up to Baia Mare where a violent storm transports us to a completely different geographical area. The mountains suddenly appear and we go up a road in bad condition. An old mine after about ten km flows on the right and we enter a gorge, a prelude to one of the most interesting areas of the continent.

51. This number keeps coming back to me. No he's not a failed latecomer to the lot I'm chasing in vain or the famous nuclear test site in Nevada. 51 €, is the per capita income of this area of ​​the country. And certainly the things that most attract the distracted traveler, to whose category I undoubtedly belong, are the conditions of extreme suffering and poverty which, combined with the truly indecent condition of the roads, brings me back to South American experiences. People? If you decide to come here don't worry, no problem. Perhaps misery, however very dignified, but great hospitality, cordiality and courtesy. Do you have a problem or a concern? You are lost or you cannot find your way (and here believe me it can happen even if you reach the extreme in neighboring Bulgaria). Do not worry, just contact the locals and they will be happy to help you also considering the fact that the language is certainly helpful as it is of Latin origins. Everywhere, which will be normal, children on the street greet us and run to meet us. It begins to rise. It must have recently snowed. We will stop after the mining village of Baia Sprie, which like many cities of its kind is highly multi-ethnic, in the vain hope that waiting will help improve climatic conditions. The next day if possible, the weather is even worse. The girl who works in the residence that she hosted us tells me that the day will be like this and that the weather will remain splendidly anti-photographic for at least another 2 days.

My spirits are sky high !! Let's go.

At least it has stopped raining, we are starting to climb towards the Gutài pass.

A Transylvanian environment will accompany us to Sighetu Marmaţiei, a border town which is also the capital of Maramures. Ukraine is a stone's throw away and after deciding to visit the merry cemetery of Sapanta (which with these lights has very little of cheerfulness apart from the two sprightly old ladies who welcome us) and the house where the nobel prize winner Herry Wissel lived , we take the Iza valley. The day is certainly not the best, a leaden sky (am I repeating myself?) Makes the view gray but every stop is a real joy: everyone, from adults to children, shows us incredible attention and curiosity. By the middle of the day, I already have my address book half full.

They ask you nothing more to send you one of the photos that are taken. We arrive in Barsana in the afternoon and crossing the village where the usual splendid entrance doors are followed one another exclusively in wood, we see the monastery at the top, newly built and in which nuns live: workers at work and a church faithful to the style of the region, therefore wood but with an additional record, that of being, it seems, the highest in Europe! 52m!

We stop for almost 2 hours waiting for the clouds to give way to the storm that has accompanied us from the morning. Things are partially good and at least, when we leave, it no longer rains. Leaving the valley, the road climbs towards the Prislop pass, the only one that connects Maramures with Moldova. As the climb begins, I stay behind to photograph. The road begins to climb in the usual bad conditions, but the view begins to open up. And here is yet another spell: the crater asphalt, the absence of traffic, the solitude bring me back to the experiences of Alaska and the Camino Austral in Chile or the Icelandic lands.

Are we in Europe?

I cross the pass at 1411m. There is snow, it is cold but the feeling is of absolute freedom: I open the visor of the helmet with a click and almost always begin to get down on the footrests. Only trucks, a few, with trunks often longer than a third of their trailers, trying to avoid the potholes in the road and I trying to avoid them.

Long last! After a relaxing winter, here we are again. I missed these moments.

A landslide has interrupted the road and a group of lumberjacks are trying to clean the road surface by dragging logs, probably causing more damage to the road surface. They interrupt to let me pass, a greeting and we start again. I will meet Mauro after 1 hour of absolute, intoxicating solitude, in the first village at the bottom of the valley who talks quietly with a policeman. I am now back in the solitary travel agonistic trance. Let's hope I can handle it !!

"I didn't want to get lost so I asked!"

We will arrive at the established point of the end of the stage naturally late. Very tradi. Too late. You will also find these recommendations in general information: do not travel at night!

Horse carts continue to circulate even after sunset without any possibility of being seen, they do not light even a candle, and often even in the villages there is no lighting: a real Russian or Romanian roulette wheel.

In the evening in the nice guesthouse that welcomes us I will meet Nando, from Paestum, province of Salerno. The manager of a timber company has two Romanians among his employees.

“They are very good in the field (and I believe it!) And they are also exceptional guys, they insisted so much that in the end I had to accept and come and visit their family and what hospitality. Anyway …… what women, in Iasi I was amazed !! "

I reply that until now I had noticed other characteristics of the Romanian people but that in the first town I will try to verify his impressions.

More articles


Request information

Required fields *


Form Customize your tour

Let us to help you create "your" trip, let's plan it together, we will choose the roads, the logistics, the visits according to your needs.

Which of these top destinations do you want to visit?

Top destination Northwest

Top destination North East Italy

Top destination Center Italy

Top destination Southern Italy

Top destination Sardinia

Top destination Sicily

Are there other destinations that interest you?

Give us some information about the group

Participant Info


Sign up to our newsletter

Required fields *


Make your selection

In this panel you can set or reset additional filters to find the tour that makes for you.




Concept, Design, Web

www.kumbe.it | info@kumbe.it



Il suo messaggio è stato spedito correttamente.

Thank you

Thank you: we sent you an email to activate your subscription and select your preferences if applicable

Hide video