The singularity of the Rosia area in the Padurea Craiului Mountains is given by the karst landscape, the Rosia area being one of the most beautiful karst regions in Romania. On the surface, the limestone created a varied relief, the karst plateaus riddled with sinkholes being separated by deep valleys, which present wild areas of gorges.
You will not find here a main ridge, as in higher mountains, but gentle tops, often forming karst plateaus, chaotically oriented in all directions.
The harmonious combination between the karst landscape and the cultural landscape offers the tourists a delightful visit. The locals shaped the natural landscape by practicing activities that preserved the beauty of the area.
The haystacks alternate with pieces of cultivated land, with orchards, beech forests and farms scattered on the hills.
The main attractions of the Rosia karst area, however, are in the depths, the caves constituting an undeniable wealth of the area. The Rosia area, where you can find the largest concentration of caves in the Padurea Craiului Mountains, has some speleological superlatives. They have been beautified in recent years so tourists enjoy at most their visit.
The Rosia area (“rosu” means red in Romanian) derives its name from the red colour of bauxite, ore that was mined until the 90s. Surface bauxite lenses remained as testimony to the exploits in the area. It was during mining that the Crystal Cave of the Farcu Mine was discovered, currently one of the main objectives in the area.
Location and access to the Rosia area
The Rosia area is located in the Natura 2000 site “Crisului Repede Gorge-Padurea Craiului Mountains”, in the northwest part of the Apuseni Mountains, in Bihor County. Rosia area is part of the Ecotourism Destination Padurea Craiului Mountains along with other areas of tourist interest, such as: Crisul Repede Gorge, Iadului Valley and Vida Valley area.
Valea Rosiei is a right tributary of Crisul Negru, its entire basin comprising an area of about 308 sq. km, from altitudes of 150 m up to 1000 m.
In Rosia area there are three municipalities:
– Rosia, with the villages Rosia, the village of residence, and Lazuri as well as the hamlets Curatura, Runcuri, Teis, Poniţa, Farcu, Ţarina, Orasu de Jos. Rosia was first documented in 1445.
– Cabesti (attested since 1552) including the villages Cabesti, Goila, Gurbesti, Josani and Sohodol.
– and Remetea documented in 1422 under the name Remethe, composed of Remetea, Dragoteni, Meziad, Petreasa and Soimus.
Rosia Valley is crossed by County Road 764 that connects Beius (on DN76 Oradea-Deva) to Borod (on DN1 between Oradea and Cluj – Napoca). The asphalted county road crosses Padurea Craiului Mountains from north to south; crossing a picturesque trail of 50 km. Rosia is 18 km away from Beius and 32 km from Borod.
Several cobbled/forest roads connect the area with neighbouring river basins. These roads are very good for mountain bike lovers, some of them being marked for MTB. One of them is the MTB marked circuit Remetea-Pomezeu – Luncasprie – Rosia that connects, on two roads, the Rosia Basin to the Vida Basin.
Another route recommended for mountain biking, but unmarked is the forest road that crosses the high area of Padurea Craiului Mountains. It connects the village Meziad to the holiday village of Coada Lacului Lesu (19 km).
You can also reach the Rosia area, particularly the Meziad Cave, by coming on foot from the Iadului Valley or Stana de Vale Resort on the following tourist marked trails:
– blue triangle mark: Stana de Vale-Cabana Meziad- Coada Lacului Lesu
(22 km long route from Stana de Vale > Meziad and 12 km long route from Meziad > Lesu)
– red triangle mark: Baraj Lesu – Cabana Meziad (19 km, around 7 hours).
Sights to visit in Rosia karstic area:
– 2 of the 4 caves in Padurea Craiului Mountains:
1. The Crystal Cave from the Farcu Mine -the only calcite crystal cave in Europe
– 5 of the 10 caves (caves in which access is made in limited numbers, with guide and properly equipped):
3.Pestera Hartopul Bonchii,
The first two, Gruiet and Dobos are intended for those who want to take their first steps in speleology, being accessible to children. Hartopul Bonchii, Ciur-Ponor and Craiului caves have a high degree of difficulty and take longer time to visit. They also have more difficult passages to cross.
– 4 picturesque gorge areas:
– karst springs (“izbuc” in romanian) located in picturesque, wild places (we remember here only a few, those of tourist interest):
1. Izbucul Rosia,
2. Izbucul Bulbuci sau Toplicioarei,
3. Izbucul Toplitei de Rosia.
– karst plateaus pierced by sinkholes:
1. Runcuri Plateau,
2. Farcului Hill
– old wooden or stone churches:
1.The Reformed Church in Remetea,
2. The wooden church in Soimus-Petreasa,
3. The wooden church in Gurbesti,
4. The wooden church in Goila.
– Rosia Water Mill – built at the end of the 19th century, the only functional water mill in Bihor.
The marked tourist trails in the Rosia Basin are mostly short, accessible to families with children.
1. The most famous and crossed trail is the thematic route Discover Rosia Valley. It is marked with a blue dot and starts from the Crystal Cave in the Farcu mine. The cave is accessible by asphalt road from 2 directions: from Rosia village and from Lazuri village.
From the centre of Rosia we go 4 km on the village road signposted with signs leading to the cave.
From the cave parking begins the thematic route of about 2 km and 70 m elevation gain. On the trail there are stops and information boards that get tourists familiar with the karst phenomena of the area, the history of bauxite mining as well as the species of trees and wild animals specific to this area. The trail culminates with the picturesque belvedere on Stanu Carnului. From the built-in balcony you can see a wide panorama towards the upstream part of the Lazurilor Valley. On the rocks below the balcony there are 48 climbing trails with difficulties between 5 + and 10+.
2. The trail Farcu Cave-Izbucul Rosia, marked with a blue cross and a length of about 2 km.
3. The circuit of the Cutilor Gorges, marked with a red dot and a length of about three kilometres.
4. The circuit of the Lazurilor Gorges, marked with a blue dot and a length of 5.7 km.
For those who want to go longer trails in the area, they can follow one of the 2 marked trails for runners.
1. The trail of Vaii, the mark is represented by the silhouette of a runner coloured in green. The route has a length of 17 km and an elevation gain of 650 m.
2. The trail of Colinelor, the mark is represented by the silhouette of a runner coloured in red. The trail has a length of 30 km and a cumulative elevation gain of 1600 m.
Cyclists have at their disposal 4 marked trails.
1. Discover the village of old traditions: Remetea – Dragoteni – soimus – Petreasa –Remetea. It has a length of 11 km, with about 70m elevation gain.
2. A visit to the Meziad Cave: Remetea – Meziad – Pestera Meziad – Meziad – Sohodol – Cabesti – Josani – Remetea. Length: 36 km and around 320 m elevation gain.
3. Rosia Valley: Rosia – Ponița – Crystal Cave in Farcu mine– Dealul Farcului – Valea Pietrii Negre – Dealul Tinoasa – Platoul Runcuri – Ponița – Rosia. Length: 21 km and 630 m elevation gain.
4. Padurea Craiului Mountains, all-inclusive: Remetea – Josani – Goila – Valani de Pomezeu – Campani de Pomezeu – Pomezeu – Sitani – Luncasprie – Cheile Albioarei – Platoul Runcuri – Ponița – Pestera cu cristale din mina Farcu – Lazuri – Rosia – Cabesti – Josani – Remetea Length: 54 km and 810 m elevation gain.
Rosia Valley can be visited all year round, especially if the main reason for the visit is the caves. But the best periods to take pictures are spring and autumn. In spring, in the second part of April, the flowering fruit trees and green grass contrast with the white background of the higher peaks.
In June the hay begins to be enamelled with flowers and the cultivated plots stand out among the sprinkled houses. The warm days invite you to cross the wild portions of the gorges.
In autumn, warm light, pleasant temperatures, mowed fields with haystacks and rust forests invite you to hike or cycle on the gentle tops.