Moneasa – breathing the purest air in Romania and hiking to the Tinoasa Karst Plateau

It so happened that this year’s 1st of May was not booked for us. No trip, no nothing. That’s a bit unusual for us so we couldn’t stand it and tried to take a short and close trip 🙂 We chose to go to Moneasa, only 100 km away from Arad, a 2 hour car ride.

Moneasa is said to have the cleanest air in Romania, the most oxygenated and to tell you the truth, every time I come here you feel that your lungs fill up with rich air and you quickly get sleepy. At least that is my reaction , especially after a nice lunch here. So, it’s not a legend! 😛

It’s the only mountain resort in the Arad county and it’s placed at the base of the Codru Moma Mountains, which are part of the Apuseni Mountains. There’s not only clean air you can find here but also a lot of forests, touristic trails where you can trek relaxed enjoying nature and listening to the little birds.

The resort itself is quite small. It has a few restored hotels, others are new and there are a few beautiful mansions where you can find accommodation and restaurants. All of these can be found on the main street in the resort pretty close to each other. There’s also a small and cosy swimming place fitted with two swimming pools, freshly cut grass and surrounded by tall trees. We recommend this place for a good swim and some relaxing.

Details about our route:

 Date: 1st Mai 2016
Route: Moneasa Hotel – Megheș Valley – Tinoasa Karst Plateau
Signposting:   +   
Distance: 5.5 km
Altitude difference: +400 m/ -400 m
Duration: 1.5 h going up, ~ 1 h coming back down
Difficulty: easy
The surrounding of Moneasa contain caves that you can visit and also a black and red marble quarry. The most famous place in this resort is the lake near the centre, called the Calm Lake where you can rent a boat to paddle across the lake.
 
We chose to take a trail, actually a wide forest road, up to the Tinoasa Karst Plateau. Just follow thesignposting which starts on the main road at the Moneasa Hotel. Here, take a left just behind the hotel and follow the Megheș Valley. Our plan was to get to the Gaudeamus Cottage but our plane was changed by some events 🙂 I’ll tell you later.
About half of this route is on the Megheș Valley which you’ll have to your left. This part is a very slow and easy climb. The sound of the water combined with the surrounding forest and the birds sounds make for a relaxing hike.

In this trip we took our Labrador girl, called Hany 🙂 It was really funny hiking with her here since she was constantly tempted to go down to the water and hunt…I don’t know exactly what, but that’s her instinct 🙂
The second half of the route is slightly steeper than the first but it’s still very easy and relaxing. We leave the valley, and continue on the wide forest road. Like a walk in the park! 🙂

On the way up we come across several tourists that climb using their mountain bikes. When I saw them I suddenly realised that this would be a great route to go on a mountain biking circuit I planned several months earlier in which we would cross the mountains from Moneasa into Bihor county and came back over the mountains on a different route.
At the time I’m writing this article we managed to do the mountain biking circuit that I told you about and I promise to post an article about it in the Cycling section on the site as soon as possible 😀

 

Closing in to the end of the climb we come across the signs you can see in the picture below. A man, which has a small farm to the right of the road, sees us with our dog and tells us not to go any further because we might stumble upon some sheepfold dogs that are very aggressive towards other dogs. So we decided to back off and forget about going to our objective, Gaudeamus Cottage, which was about 20 – 30 minutes away now.
So we decided to abandon our objective for that day and we were somewhat disappointed. However we were lucky that the man who told us about the dogs also told us about a beautiful place really close just to our right: The Tinoasa Karst Plateau.

Since we missed today’s main objective, we went to see what this place is about. We had to pass an electric fence that has a safe mechanism to easily remove by hand so that people can cross so it’s not at all dangerous. It’s meant to keep the cows and the horses that graze here inside their perimeter 🙂
We step into a very, very beautiful world, totally unexpected. In order to get here we turn right from the forest road, pass the electric fence and follow the   signposting. The trail is straight forward so there is no need for marking, you won’t get lost. There’s a small trail crossing the small and soft grass of this plateau.

Only 5 minutes after passing the electric fence we reach a panorama point (image below) from where we could watch the tens of cows and horses grazing somewhere down at the forest edge. This sight was so calm and peaceful: the animals, all the green, the surrounding forests. We stayed here for almost an hour to admire it and simply connect to nature while taking a quick lunch. It is worth coming to this place! 🙂

Our route on the map:

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