When planning a trip to Cluj county you soon realize that a lot of the things to see and do there are outside the Cluj-Napoca city limits, its biggest town. During our city break we got to visit the Turda salt mine, a futuristic looking underground place, ranked among the best travel destinations in the world, and the Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii) nature reserve.

Turda Gorge is an ideal destination for those who like to hike in the middle of the nature, where human intervention is kept to a minimum.

How to get there

One of the reasons seems to be its remote location and lack of signaling, but if you’re like us and rely heavily on Google Maps you won’t have much trouble getting there. Below is a map of the Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii) region, so if you’re on a mobile device right now hit the directions button and you’ll be taken there without much fuss.

Keep in mind that the A3 motorway is not completed just yet, so new exits and entrances may pop up in the months to come. The safest way to get there is getting on the E60 European road, if you’re coming from Cluj-Napoca, and exit in Tureni. Follow the Google Maps instructions and keep going on the unpaved road when exiting Tureni, even if your gut tells you to head back. You’re not lost, it’s just an old forgotten road.

I can’t tell you much about the alternative road, if you decide to take the Turda-Cheia, but Google’s Street View also shows an unpaved road, so you won’t escape the curse of Romanian roads, which I’m sure you’ve heard about by now quite a few times. The truth is sometimes reality is not as bad as people say, but leave room for a few surprises.

More info can be found on this site. Make sure you use Google Translate, as the pages are mostly written in Romanian.

What’s there to do

I’m sure nature lovers don’t need a reason to visit Cheile Turzii (Turda Gorge), so I’m just going to take you through our activities there. I’m using plural because despite my natural aversion  to physical effort, my girlfriend took me by surprise at the end of our hike in the actual gorge and asked the guy where we paid the tickets for passage inside the nature reserve how long does it take to hill-walk on one of the steep rocky walls of the gorge.

I thought she’s kidding, then realized things are getting serious so I’d better find an escape from this madness. The first question that came to mind was “are we even equipped properly for hill walking?”. The same guy that took less than $3 from us to let us pass bluntly replied “Yes”, so there was no escape for me, no matter how much I opposed the idea of climbing on a steep incline. At least the 2 hours long path on the eastern rocky wall was chosen and not the entire 4-5 hours path that takes you also on the western wall.

Anyway, if you don’t want to spend the entire day climbing on rocks and steep inclines I suggest you do the same: pass through the gorge, as it takes 1-1.5 hours and then head on the eastern wall that guards the Valea Hăşdate stream running through the gorge.

Make sure you pack a couple of bottles of watter, as you’ll get thirsty. And if you are like me and think pauses are a god-bless you can stop at the Cheile Turzii cabin, on the gorge exit towards Cheia. You can eat there, stockpile your backpack and even rest, if you feel like staying the night in this beautiful nature reserve.

Hill-climbing is not my thing…

But there’s not much you can do when you see your loved one enjoying the getaway from our urban life so much. Of course I made sure I’m expressing my discontent in a repeated and persistent matter. It’s good my girlfriend has a sense of humor and pushes me to do things that I’m not enjoying before actually doing them.

I’m pleased to say that the 2 hour long path took us just 2.5 hours to complete. People passed us by, stopped to eat on top of the hill, and were still way ahead of us, but I like to think I was there for the journey, not to win any awards for speed. The uphill part was of course a curse for my 365 days-per-year office sitting body, but the view down when we arrived on top is just something to contemplate about for a few seconds. If you’re the sentimental type, of course. I was just trying to catch my breath for a while…

Anyway, one thing to be careful about if you go there is following the white circle red center path, the one that takes you on both rocky walls. Sometimes it’s obvious where you have to go next, but sometimes the paint is washed out to the point you’re really searching for a sign, especially on the parts of the hill where there’s less vegetation so rain and wind are messing with the signs.

Panorama of Cheile Turzii (Turda Gorge)
Panorama of Cheile Turzii (Turda Gorge)

We didn’t have major problems going up, but when the descent started we kind of picked the steeper road quite  a few times. The entire trip took a small toll on our knees and legs, as I was expecting at least a few days of muscle cramps, but guess I was more physically prepared than I though. Who new I didn’t have to complain that much?!

We took lots of pictures to make sure we’ll remember the Cheile Turzii (Turda Gorge) nature reserve trip as years go by. You’ll find them spread throughout this article and we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we did taking them. And don’t forget to share this article with your nature and travel loving friends, if you liked our story.

In this post:
Related posts

Leave a Comment