Maramureş is a lovely county in northern Romania. In this region, Romanians still care a great deal about ancient traditions and are very spiritual. One can sense the spirituality when visiting the Bârsana Monastery or the Merry Cemetery in Săpânța. For those who wish to go on a spiritual journey but still have some fun, Maramureş county offers a trip back in time with the Mocanița train. On this short ride is where picturesque Romanian hills and valleys are on display. Also, 23 km from the city center of Baia Mare, visitors can have moments of recreation at the Firiza Lake. The lake is hidden in a forest and is an excellent example of raw nature in Romania.
Romania is known for its captivating cities, like Braşov, Sibiu or Bucharest. So, when someone looks on the map and sees the city of Baia Mare in the northern part of the country, that name doesn’t say much. This is such a shame. Baia Mare has many historical churches, is surrounded by hills and is positioned close to the Firiza Lake. Many inhabitants of this city storm the lake on lazy afternoons and weekends. The lake never gets overcrowded though, because not many people outside Baia Mare know of the lake’s existence. It is easy to see why, when searching for the lake. If you don’t look at the street signs, you can easily drive past it and not even know. Those who are attentive can only catch glimpses of Firiza Lake through thickly spread conifers, and only because the sunlight sends sparkles of reflected light from the lake through the trees.
Getting to the lake is easy. If you own a car, then follow the DN 18 road from Baia Mare to Sighet. You will see road signs on the way, guiding you directly to the lake. There is also a bus option (bus nr. 18) available to visitors from the Baia Mare train station. A one-way trip takes about 40 minutes, and the ticket costs 2 RON (0.40 EUR). The bus schedule can be found online. During weekends, the city of Baia Mare offers more frequent rides than during the week. Tourists can exit at the dam or along the lake, at tourist resorts. There are several paths through the forest which take you to the lake, most of which have parking spaces at the main road.
The lake was built to ensure a drinkable water-supply for the citizens of Baia Mare. It became a tourist attraction due to the many activities which are available for visitors. The great fish variety of the lake attracts fishermen searching for the best spots to catch their prey. Officially, there is no swimming allowed in the lake, and yet everybody does this. Tourist resorts rent out boats, kayaks, and huge inflatable flamingo pools. Board paddling is very popular here, as well as relaxing in hammocks, and camping on the lake’s shore.
Club Simared is a tourist resort located close to the lake’s dam and offers many of the activities mentioned above. They have plenty of seating areas, relaxing music, and delicious food. To enter the club, one must become a member. It only takes two minutes, and you have unlimited access to everything they have to offer. The membership costs 20 RON (4 EUR) per entry, and you get tickets for that sum, to use as you please. Visitors need to buy tickets at the main entrance because no money transactions can be made inside of the club. These tickets can be used for food, drinks, and the renting of watercraft.
The Baia Mare forest is a very appealing place, thanks to its charming Firiza Lake. Recreation is hidden here but much appreciated by those who visit this secluded gem. Grab your hammock and enjoy your time in this raw corner of Romania.
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