Spring overdose – the thousands of snowdrops in the Orăștiei Mountains

The past year we discovered that there are amazing places in Romania in every season. In this sense this country has it all and you can’t ever get bored travelling in Romania. No matter if it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter you can adventure in beautiful places here 😊

Brief useful information:
Date: 25th of March 2017
Route: Grădiștea de Munte – Vârtoapelor Plateau – the forest with the snowdrops
Signposting: does not exist
Distance: 4.8 km
Slope: + 326 m/ – 326 m
Duration: 3h (breaks included)
Difficulty: easy (steep but short climb at first, then easier as soon as you reach a forest road)
We heard about this place about this time last year. However it didn’t make it in our travel plans since we didn’t know the exact whereabouts. It’s true that it’s not easy to get hear so we had to ask around many people in order to find out where this special place is hidden.

You should already be accustomed that you’ll find a map at the end of the article which shows you the exact route we followed and that we recorded on a GPS watch. This place is hidden away somewhere near the Dacian Fortress of Sarmizegetusa Regia in the close vicinity of Grădiștea de Munte. You can go by car up until where we started the hike.
We want to get to Vârtoapelor Plateau and then dig into the forest that hide tens of thousands of snowdrops. The snowdrops can usually be seen between 15th of March and 15th of April and they span over 10 hectares. Our expectations are high 😋

We leave our car on the dirt road leading to the hamlets in the Orăștiei Mountains. Then we climb straight up and we pass close to a cemetery, then we pass through a broken wooden fence (image above) and finally we cross over a small creek. Our Labrador, Hany, accompanies us and happily sniffs everything. She had to go through a 3 hour drive up ’till here 😔
At one point we leave the semi-obvious trail and continue on a forest road which climbs so very gently. We pass a house (image above) where the road takes a 90 degrees right turn. As abruptly as the road changes course the forest changes as well: from hardwood to spruce and fir.

We reach the Vârtoapelor Plateau after a light 45 minutes climb. It’s a grassy ridge that we quickly leave to the right and enter the forest in order to see the hidden gem: thousands of snowdrops!
We had a surprise right after entering the forest: no snowdrops, but tons of wild garlic. Well, we couldn’t resist and we thought how many healthy goodies we can use wild garlic for: plain salads, pesto, or add it to a soup. Lucky us that we had a bag on us and we filled it up with this garlic-tasting green goodies. 

However, don’t you be disappointed because the snowdrops are not quite here yet. There’s just a bit more to hike through the forest in order to see them. Follow the barely visible trail which makes its way through the wild garlic on the forest floor. Then you pass a broken and rusty wire fence and continue the climb. Slowly but surely you’ll start to see small snowdrops “nests” and as you climb further they start to be more and more of them. You’ll finally reach a pit surrounded (and filled) by thousands of snowdrops!
What we did was to go round this pit and we couldn’t actually believe it that the forest floor was literally white. Such an incredible place! When we reached the other side of the pit we found out that the other side of the mountain was also full of snowdrops. What an amazing feeling. What an amazing place! 😀

As much as we loved these special snowdrops (they are quite big and have green or yellow dots) we didn’t take any with us. We know the temptation of leaving with a snowdrops bouquet is big but please consider that the other people that come after you will also want to see this amazing spectacle of nature. So please respect this place and limit yourself to admiring and taking pictures of the thousands of snowdrops 😊
 Our route on the map:

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