Located in a remote place, deep inside
the forests of the Apuseni Mountains, Scarisoara is the
biggest ice cave in Romania, a unique phenomenon in the Southeastern
Europe. The exact date when the cave was discovered is unknown,
but is mentioned in 1863 by the german geographer Adolf Schmidl,
who made some observation and the first map. According to the
scientists, Scarisoara Ice Cave was born during the glaciations,
when these mountains were covered by snow and ice.
We wil start our day from Cluj, but before going hiking we'll
visit the salt mine of Turda and Lupsa monastery, the
first orthodox monastery along Ariesului valey, buit in the
Turda Salt Mine was known in the middle ages as as one
of the most important salt deposits in the entire region of
Transylvania. The Salt Mine is mentioned in official documents
in the middle of the 13th century, when the mine was offered
to the Transylvanian Catholic Church leaders. In the Middle
Ages, Turda was one of the largest places of salt extraction
in Transylvania. It ceased activity in 1932, to be used as an
anti-air craft shelter during the Second World War. Starting
from 1992 the mine entered into the tourist circuit. With its
impressive galleries, mining system, great accoustics and very
healthy microclimate, Turda Salt Mine is most definately a place
The orthodox monastery of Lupsa
has been built in 1429, close to the river valey of Aries. It
played an important role during the middle ages in preserving
the Romanian orthodox faith. The monastery had been closed in
1820, due to Austro-Hungarian pressures and re-opened in 1992
after the Communist regime collapsed. Our visit will be a short
one, enough though to see the old church and the modern painted
representation of the Final Judgement.
Soon after we leave the car in the village of Garda de Sus and
start our hiking jurney to the ice cave. There will be around
2 hours of hiking and then after easy walking through forests
and villages until we reach the cave.
The glacier entrance (1165m high) is made through an impressive
sinkhole, with a diameter of 60 m; descending 48 meters, on
the bottom of a great abyss, we'll walk over a surface of 70000
cubic meters of ice, 23 meters thick. Obviously, on the glacier
the temperature is constantly below 0, so in the summer time
while descending, there might be a temperature difference of
25 degrees or even more.
The most impressive ice structures are found in the second chamber
of the cave - named "The Church", where the ice formations
reach over three meters high, with diameters of 15-30 cm.
After climbing back into the daylight, we'll go for a lunch
to a local Romanian guesthouse, a few minutes away from the
ice cave. The plum brandy ("tzuica") or wild berries
brandy ("afinata") definately won't miss on the table.
Then after, we'll descend a different way through forests and
hayfields to Orancusa gorge which will lead us back to the car
Get ready for a very long day trip in Apuseni Mountains to the
Ice Cave of Scarisoara!
- duration - between 12 and 14 hours;
- validity - thoughout the year;
- minimum persons required - 2.
- 137 euros / person for minimum 2 people;
- 92 euros / person for 3 people;
- 69 euros / person for 4 people;
- 62 euros / person for 5 people;
- 51 euros / person for 6 people;
- 44 euros / person for 7 people;
- 38 euros / person for 8 people;
- 42 - 27 euros / person for 9 - 14 people;
- 28 - 39 euros / person for 15 - 20 people;
- 37- 24 euros / person for 21 - 31 people;
Note: get over 20% off the total
price by being accommodated at Retro
- transfer and tour Cluj - Turda Salt Mine - Ariesului valley
- Garda de Sus - Cluj, by car or minibus;
- English, German, Italian or Hungarian speaking guide;
- snack and refreshings, in the car and while hiking the mountain;
- entrance tickets to the Salt Mine and to the Ice Cave;
- the lunch at Scarisoara village;
- personal expenses.
Note: we reserve the right to change the program according
to the length of the day or the weather conditions.