Baile Tusnad - between bears and wonderful landscapes

Baile Tusnad is a very quiet city in the Carpathian mountains. I took advantage of the 4 days off due to the 1st of May and I planned a trip to Baile Tusnad. And it was a good decision!

Baile Tusnad is a small town in Harghita county, surrounded by Harghita and Bodoc mountains, on the valley of the Olt river. The city is well-known for its mineral waters and their curative properties. Also, the bears are usual guests, the local people being accustomed to seeing them in the city.

We were highly surprised to see a bear while enjoying a pizza on a terrace near to our hotel. We were comfortable sitting outside and enjoying the food when… (my boyfriend said):

– Look! It’s a bear!

Firstly, I thought he was kidding. I turned and saw the bear crossing the road and getting lost on a near street. He seemed scared or at least, this was my impression. The funny part is that some minutes earlier a minibus full of tourists was passing by that street and I was suggesting to follow that road to see if there is something to see there. I am wondering if the tourists managed to see the bear.

The city does not have anything special and it is very small but the landscape created by the forested mountains, the hiking opportunities, turn Baile Tusnad into a wonderful destination! I enjoyed the songbirds in the morning, the sound of some late train, the beautiful view from my window and all the quietness of the city.

How to get there from Bucharest

You can get there by train (either direct connection or with one change in Brasov).

The cost is around 100 RON/person/return and the journey takes up to 4 hours

What to do in Baile Tusnad

First of all, hiking! it is so enjoyable and the landscapes will surprise you!

Hiking routes:

  • Apor Tower (up to 20 minutes)
  • Hawk Rock (up to 1h 30 minutes)
  • St Anne Lake (up to 4 hours)

Apor’s Tower – The journey takes approximately 20 minutes and it is easily accessible even for children.

Starting points:

  • Ciucas hotel – the road is not well marked and the last part of the road is a narrow trail;
  • Tusnad hotel – I would recommend you this route as it is better marked.

We started our journey from Tusnad hotel and returned on the other way.

We got there late (around sunset time) and I was afraid of meeting a bear (everything was so quiet, there were no tourists in the area) but it ended well, no bear showed up. Once there, we enjoyed a wonderful view:

Hawk rock – a very challenging road until there but the view is wow! spectacular!

The more difficult the path, the better the view!

In order to get there, you should cross the line trains, then the bridge over Olt and you will find a marked road. Be careful: it involves a loooooot of effort and appropriate equipment. We got there in 1h and a half, this because we were not accustomed with the effort and we lost some time trying to avoid the inclined slopes. Near to the starting point of the road, we met a man that encouraged us. He told us that there were only 10 minutes from that point until the end so we were very enthusiasts that we will get there quickly. But…a difficult endless journey followed.

What is important to know is that you will find some trees fallen in the trail so be careful when avoiding them! For some of them, it is not possible to jump over, but you will have to find alternative routes. We felt like in a hurdle race and the slopes are not friendly (at all)

However, I have seen families with children getting there so it is possible!

After feeling my heart beating like crazy, losing my water on a slope while focusing on climbing, we finally arrived. The first view that you will see is not the best one so do not limit yourself only to this one but continue the trail until a wonderful landscape will take your breath away.

Once arrived, you will feel like a hawk, fearless, stepping on the rock and admiring the spectacular view!

The way back was not easy as we got our sneakers slipping like hell so we were careful in getting safe home. I would approximate the journey to 40 minutes.

What I liked (or not) in Baile Tusnad

  • Liked – Walking on the pedestrian part of the Ciucas lake. The lake surrounded by forested mountains creates a beautiful view. Also, there is an adventure park near the lake and the last zip-line is crossing over the lake. I enjoyed seeing other people as I wouldn’t have the courage to try it.
  • Didn’t like – the restaurant localized on the lake is abandoned (and it’s a shame as its structure is really interesting)

Liked: the quietness of the city, the beautiful green landscapes

Also, in Baile Tusnad there is 2 small modern park for children:

Other activities:

Enjoy Baile Tusnad from the mini train. The journey takes up to 30 minutes (you will see all the important places) and it costs 10 RON.

Other useful information:

  • All local people speak fluently Romanian and Hungarian. They do not have any problem to speak Romanian.
  • In the area, there are 2 ATMs: CEC bank and BRD (this one is a bit weird – located in an abandoned building and without surveillance camera – so I would not trust it)
  • There are some shops well equipped, a kurtos shop and 3 souvenir shops.
  • Places to eat: not too many: one place where you can eat some delicious pizzas and the prices are very convenient and one with traditional food – the prices are a bit high but the food is good.

Trip costs:

Accommodation: 755 RON/2 persons/3 nights with breakfast and dinner included

Train: 100 RON/1 person/return

The trip to St Anne lake: 40 RON

Travel. Enjoy. Repeat.