Last of the Southern Carpathians, or first of them from West to East, the Semenic Mountains are full of unexpected treasures. As a matter of fact, two out of fourteen Romanian National Parks are part of the Semenic Mountains. These are Nerei-Beușnița Gorge National Park and Semenic-Caraș Gorge National Park. To access these beautiful natural parks, you have one of the most spectacular roads in Romania at your disposal. Trans-Semenic opened almost four years ago to the enthusiasm of passionate drivers and locals from Văliug and Gărâna. Once you arrive in Slatina-Timiș and set out on a venture on the Trans-Semenic highway, you will discover 65 kilometers of bliss, passing through the Caraș-Severin wild forest. Some of us have heard that Motorcycle Diaries listed it as very entertaining along with the Danube Gorge, which, by the way, is only 103 km away.
Trans-Semenic Natural Monuments
Less traveled by international tourists, this part of Romania called Banat holds a special place in the hearts of archaeologists. Paleontologists, in search of prehistoric life forms, have studied the fossil-bearing ground of Caraș-Severin County, in Banat. Fortunately, all the state protected natural reservations, from Apadia to Zorlențu Mare are categorized as paleontological “natural monuments,” which means they should be preserved according to the European law. Another marvel of nature, “Peștera cu Oase” or The Bone Cave, is famous for some of the oldest remains of European early modern human life. In 2002, to the amusement of everyone, the speleologists who discovered the human mandible dubbed it Ion din Anina or John of Anina. All these sights are located North of Reșița and South of Anina and can be covered within an hour by car.
Trans-Semenic and the Road To Anina
A Trans Semenic journey should never skip the industrial town of Anina. Settled in the middle of the woody Aninei Mountains, this city is one of the first Saxon colonies established in Romania during the XVIIIth century. Anina has held a long coal mining tradition from 1790 to 2006. One of the surviving artifacts of the mining colony is the Anina-Oravița standard gauge railway. The same Italian engineers who worked on the fantastic Villach – Udine railroad, linking Austria to Italy, built the track. Therefore, the oldest mountain railway in South-East Europe, with 14 tunnels and ten viaducts, remains one the most exciting attractions in the historical region of Banat. As for Anina’s industrial and architectural heritage, a group of Romanian architects launched a promotion and conservation project in 2014. Now marked by the European Cultural Heritage Year, the Anina, Mine of ideas project, might be worth checking out on your Trans-Semenic fantastic journey.
Trans-Semenic Road Trip Map
So, a drive through the Trans-Semenic highway is going to bring you to Reșița, the capital city of Caraș-Severin county. From there on, those passionate about the history of railways in Europe can visit the Steam Locomotive Museum in town. On top of that, you can search for the Anina train station and take a fun ride to Oravița in an old-school coach wagon. Likewise, other significant halts you should take advantage of on your road trip are the spectacular lake on the Miniș Valley, and the dazzling Bigăr Waterfall. Finally, your destination, Băile Herculane, is an ancient locality, which used to be a modern spa town. Your Trans-Semenic fantastic journey could begin and end in the same place, at this famous interwar spa.
Traveling by Car in Romania
Renting a car in Bucharest at the Henri Coandă, Otopeni airport should be an easy thing to do. In case you arrive by plane, most of the renting process happens online. However, traveling by car in Romania can mean long hours of driving. Hence, prepare yourself to enjoy the spectacle of nature and the authentic rural life. Above all, any road trip in Romania should include stays in mountain resorts and hiking tours for the complete experience.
There are, of course, a whole lot of other road trips you can enjoy, including daily tours for budget travel. Also, you will find more on the subject of mountain roads and ecotourism in Romania here and here. Additionally, more maps of short road trips in Romania, like Timișoara – Văliug or Timișoara – Severin and others to come. Stay close to The Adventures of Kiara Yew in Romania.