What if I told you that there is a crystal-clear lake in the Anina Mountains that never freezes? You might think that I am telling some sort of a mythical story, yet things couldn’t be more real. Ochiul Beiului is a baby blue lake in the Cheile Nerei-Beuşniţa Natural Park that is not to be missed. Once you see it in south-western Romania, it will allure you to stay as much as possible in its proximity.
Ochiul Beiului Lake, as much as it is beautiful, is also a hidden gem of Romania. Not many know of its existence, and those who do, keep their knowledge of the lake relatively on the hush side. This makes the lake special because it is still wild and never overpopulated. Arriving there makes one feel free and grateful to be able to witness its loveliness. There are a couple of hiking trails that lead to the lake, one of the shorter ones (one hour long) being also suitable for families with children.
You may be wondering why the lake never freezes. Well, let me explain. The source of the lake is an underwater spring, which helps the temperature of the water remain constant. This means that no matter how cold it may be outside, the water temperature never reaches freezing levels. The flowing spring and shallowness of the lake (only 3.6 meters deep) are the factors that make the not freezing of the lake possible.
I’m sure that this lake has already caught your attention, but wait until you see the water’s seldom seen bright-blue color. The baby blue color comes from the sunlight reflecting on the limestone sediments in the water and because of the carbon dioxide concentration of the lake.
The lake’s color and its capacity to never freeze aren’t its only memorable characteristics. Even the lake’s name has an interesting, yet sad story attached to it. Translated into English, "Ochiul Beiului" means "the Bey’s Eye". Bey is the name for a Turkish leader. The story goes that the son of a bey who had bright-blue eyes, fell in love with a shepherd’s daughter. His father didn’t agree with his choice and killed the girl. The boy ran into the woods and filled a part of the forest with his tears. These tears reflected the color of his eyes and are supposedly today’s Ochiul Beiului Lake.
There are many activity options in the lake's region. Besides swimming in the summer, Ochiul Beiului Lake is near the waterfalls which shouldn’t be missed. Bigăr Waterfall, one-of-a-kind beauty in Caraş-Severin is not far away by car either. There are also closer waterfalls along Bei River, easy to find. People gather around the lake to meditate, they dive underwater to see the swimming trout and visit the lake as a part of a bigger hiking excursion. To the more experienced hikers, Ochiul Beiului is one of the first stops on their longer hiking route through the Cheile Nerei-Beuşniţa National Park.
After exploring the lake and its surrounding forest, head to a private trout pond. There is one at a distance of 3 km from the lake, and it’s where hikers usually park their cars. The pond keepers offer visitors freshly cooked trout with polenta and garlic at a very small cost.
Swim with trout, meditate or dive underwater at the never-freezing lake in the Anina Mountains. Take your friends and family on an unforgettable road trip to one of Romania’s most beautiful lakes. I can assure you that you’ll have an awesome time.
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