advertisement

Tarom, B-dul Bucuresti 5 (tel. 0262/22-1624), flies regularly from Bucharest to Baia Mare, the main city, and there are now also international connections via Vienna, thanks to Austrian Airlines (www.aua.com). The airport (tel. 0262/22-2245; www.baiamareairport.ro) is 10km (6 1/4 miles) from the city at Tautii Magheraus village. There are also daily train connections from the capital and most other major centers, including Cluj, Oradea, Brasov, and Suceava; Baia Mare's train station is at Str. Garii 4 (tel. 0262/22-0995). One train per day pulls in from Budapest. It's also possible to catch a train directly to Sighetu Marmatiei, near the Ukraine border, although you're looking at a much longer journey. You can purchase onward tickets at the CFR office, Str. Victoriei 57 (tel. 0262/21-9113).

For thorough assistance with the region, contact MaramuresInfoTurism, Gheorghe Sincai 46, Baia Mare (tel. 0262/20-6113; www.visitmaramures.ro); the small hard-working team can help you find your bearings and plan your stay.

Maramures is best explored by car (or on bicycle), and you are better off having a driver who knows his way around; the region may be small, but it is certainly not signposted to make life easy for outsiders. If you need a taxi in Baia Mare, call Stotax (tel. 0262/953) or Gallant (tel. 0262/942).

All the villages are situated in two valleys in the eastern part of Maramures, occupying a fairly compact region. These are the Mara Valley and the Izei Valley, both northeast of the district capital, Baia Mare, which is likely to be your point of arrival in Maramures. Three days in the region, using a car and driver and staying at private homes in the villages (avoid the larger towns, which have little to recommend them aside from their small historic centers) will give you ample time. Arrange to be met at the airport or station by your driver, and head immediately for the Mara Valley and beyond (perhaps stopping briefly at Baia Mare's colorful outdoor market to pick up some fresh fruit, and perhaps a cheese that you can give to your host as a gift).

Organizing Your Maramures Experience

For complete peace of mind, contact DiscoveRomania. Laura Vesa will tailor-make a Maramures holiday for you, arranging transport (about 50€/$64 per day) and accommodations (25€-30€/$32-$38 per person per day, half board) and incorporating fabulous experiences along the way. You can arrange everything via e-mail, and know that there's nothing to worry about; she will also let you know about local festivals so that you can plan your trip accordingly. DiscoveRomania is dedicated to eco-sensible sustainable tourism, so accommodations are mostly in village homes; if you insist on being in a city hotel, ask for one of the options in Baia Mare or Sighet. Iron out the details of your itinerary with Laura well in advance since your hosts may not speak English; this won't be a problem if you've arranged for a guide to accompany you, but if you're doing without a guide, it's best that your hosts understand all your needs while you're there.

If you leave your planning until your arrival in Maramures, head for the Mara Holiday Travel Agency inside Baia Mare's Mara Hotel, B-dul Unirii 11 (tel. 062/22-6656); on fairly short notice, they'll put together an itinerary and set you up with transport.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.