Overrated Romania: The Mud Volcanoes

Romanians love banging on about the many unique natural wonders their country boasts. And indeed, from the Danube Delta to the Carpathian Mountains, there are certainly a decent number of natural sights to take in and enjoy.

The Vulcanii Noroiosi (Mud Volcanoes), near Buzau, about an hour and a half's drive from Bucharest, are not, alas, a natural wonder to boast about. Never before in Romania have we been so utterly dissapointed. Listening to any number of the Romanians who over the years have told me about this 'unique natural wonder' or 'spectacular moonscape' I was eager to get here, so much so that I dragged the entire family here on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.

So, what did we find? A spectacular moonscape of hot bubbling mud, with smoke and violent, dramatic eruptions?

No. We found a desert-like landscape of rather small proportions littered here and there with the odd puddle of mud, like this:

Not all that impressive at all, and certainly not worth the drive.

The next time a Romanian bangs on about this place I will ask if they have actually been there.

I am now fairly sure the answer will be negative.

For those of you still want to visit the 'volcanoes', you will need a car. Drive to Buzau, via Urziceni, and take the road to Brasov. At the village of Satuc you will see the first signpost for 'Vulcanii Noroiosi'; from there it is a simple case of following the signs, which for once are clear and correct. There is a car park and cafe at the entrance to the volcanoes, but no real visitors' centre. A sign (in Romanian only) explains how the volcanoes were found (but not formed), while a bored man sells tickets and postcards.

All in all a sorry affair, and somewhat typical of Romania.


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Romania, Bucharest
The reason you were disappointed was your bad timing actually. Your picture is nothing like what I saw when I was there and the main reason is the heat. You probably went there in the middle of the summer and the mud got a little much too dry. Next time try to go there between October and May.
Romania, Bucharest
First of all i want to say that I visited the volcanoes. They may be a disappointment to a tourist who expects to find a big mountain which looks just like the classic volcanoes, but instead of erupting lava, there's mud, just as the Author thought they would be. And the rough road till there may add to the disappointment as well. By the way, the mud volcanoes are not hot! But if you took some time to document before you had your trip, you would have known what are they and how they look like. That picture is by far the most unfortunate and worst photo of those volcanoes I've ever seen.Very disappointed by you! An advice to the other tourists: please get as much information you can on the places you gonna visit and don't do it from only one source or at least be sure it's a wiki, not a personal review. We all know how how subjective individuals are. Besides, decide it yourself if you think it worths or not a visit, don't let others decide for you.If I was to proceed like our Author did, I would've described Beusnita waterfall from Nerei gorges (Cheile Nerei) as a disappointment as well cause I wasn't lucky enough to see it with water. It was a very dry weather then and the waterfall was gone, but that doesn't mean it was ugly. In fact is a wonderful place which i would visit again. Google yourself and see the pictures.Enjoyable and safe trips to everyone, wherever they may be!
Ba baiatule tu esti suparat ca ti-au furat aia ceva. Overrated... hah who says that?
Thomas Hiergens
Belgium, Ghent - Brussels
To the author of 'overrated romania': you are more or less right. I was at the volcanoes just a week ago, and I too was 'disappointed'. But not really disappointed, because I knew I shouldn't expect to much. This small volcanic site is not bad, but not as stretched out and volcanic as one would expect. Worth a visit, when in the area. But don't travel to far for this, it isn't worth it. But dear Author, you have to admit, the picture you are showing in your piece isn't the best picture you took, right? ;) Whatever.For real disappointment, go to the salt mine in Praid (transylvania)! True horror, surely for a nature loving traveller. I visited the mine with a Hungarian friend. The 'salt mine' is just a big hole at -150 metres, filled with romanian tourists playing pingpong, badminton and kids jumping around in air castles. There is nothing salt-miny or cave-like about it: just an underground playground with restaurants, bars... forget it! Badminton seems to be a must when visiting... BUT, there is another salt mine in Turda, close to Cluj Napoca, of which my Hungarian friend said it's much better, he visited the mine last year. I believe the salt mine in Turda will at least give you the feeling of visiting a salt mine.I was biking transylvania and the Carpats for 10 days. Really beautiful, unspoiled nature, lovely people. I truely loved it, and the transylvanian food and people are great too. But everywhere I came, I had the feeling that what was said to be nice and beautiful, was just the opposite. I had by far the best time at the shores of nameless lakes and in forgotten villages. There was very little about the Calimani Natural Park and the volcanic lake in my book, I rode into the park and up on the volcanoe with my mountainbike... man it was great! Not 1 tourist for the whole day, drinkable rivers, eagles, wild horses, talking forests, and yes the obligate awful dogs. Forget about what your travel book says, just get out there and explore...In Romania I had the feeling that local tourists can spoil and litter the (natural) site very fast and heavily. My advice: don't go to places which could be very crowded or that every travel book and every romanian recommends. Go of the beaten track, much better. Romania is a pearl, go out and discover it yourself.
USA, Phoenix,Az.
There is indeed many things to look forward to enjoying in Romania. If you are looking for really upsacle Tourism,go to France or Germany.If you are looking for something that exists in a Fairy Tale boook,then,do go to Romaina,and out into the Northern Countryside. Transylvania is incredible,and totally worth the effort to get there.While this site invites you to go by train from Hungary,it is quite easy to get to Bucharest from the US by Air.And,no haggling over money,visas,or other such confusion.Once you make it to Bucharest,well,..the beauty just outside the city is wonderful! The most beautiful are the smaller villages that show people out in the fields,taking care of their work,ploughing,sewing seed,etc,and not wearing the latest fashions.I,for one love that.I am sick of going to places,seeing people wearing the same things I am,and doing things same I leave America to get away from.Anyway,..Romania is great! Enjoy it!