Nestled in Southeastern Europe, Romania is a land where mountains, hills, and plains converge in a symphony of topographical diversity. This intriguing mix of terrains is mirrored in the spectacular array of Romanian waterfalls that bedeck its landscape. However, these cataracts and cascades aren’t always easy to find.
These water features, which range from delicate trickles to powerful torrents, offer a breathtaking complement to the country’s natural beauty. They’re woven into local folklore and have etched their place in the hearts of locals and travellers alike. Despite their elusive nature, the thrill of finding these hidden gems adds a layer of mystique to their allure, making a journey to these natural spectacles a compelling part of any Romanian adventure.
In this article, we’re journeying to the most captivating falls of the nation. Our chronicle starts on a melancholy note, remembering the former glory of the Bigar Waterfall.
The fairy tale image of Bigar Waterfall is imprinted on the minds of many, not only as one of the most captivating waterfalls of Romania, but the world. Sadly, this is now somewhat a thing of the past. In 2021 the base of this iconic cascade broke away, crashing into the waters below. Water still falls at Bigar, but it looks very different from the bucolic domed fountain it once was, now a much more traditional horsetail.
In the heart of the country, the Fagaras Mountains represent the highest point of the Transylvanian Alps. And, in between its two tallest peaks, one finds the sprawling spectacle of Balea Waterfall. With a drop of almost 200 feet, it’s said to be the highest of all tiered waterfalls in Romania. Nearby, the 66-foot high Serbota Waterfall or “Cascada Serbota” is like a mini version.
Rodnei Mountains National Park in Maramures County is where one finds what is hailed as the tallest of all Romanian waterfalls. Known both as Cailor Waterfall and Borsa Waterfall, it’s a magnificent, multifaceted cataract rising somewhere between 295 and 328 feet high. Like many waterfalls of Romania and indeed around the world, Cailor is steeped in stories and legends, a fact reflected in its name. Cascada Cailor translates as the Horses’ Waterfall, harkening back to a sorrowful equine tale.
The southwestern national park of Domogled Valea Cernei is home to several of Romania’s best waterfalls, the tallest of which is known in Romanian as Cascada Vanturatoarea. The fact that Vanturatoarea is not the most powerful of Romanian waterfalls is part of its charm. Its waters spray down the cliff side like a gossamer veil, travelling almost 200 feet down, the rock face seemingly curving in to protect it. The name “Cascada Vânturatoarea” translates to mean Hunter Falls. Other cataracts in the park include Cascada Cociului, Bobot and Cosustea.
Sweeping down some 66 feet before sharply curving and rushing down a further 16 feet, Duruitoarea Waterfall is a striking sight. Far from the biggest of waterfalls in Romania, it’s the very epitome of small but mighty. In fact, “Duruitoarea” translates as “the painful one,” apparently alluding to its thunderous clamour. It’s found in the mountains of the Ceahlau Massif in Ceahlau National Park.
Capra Waterfall, literally Goat Waterfall, derives its name from the high number of these animals in the area and shares the moniker with Capra Lake, from which it springs. As for the fall itself, it is a chaotic tumble of approximately 115 feet down the dark, jagged southern slope of the Fagaras Mountains. It’s also known as Iezerului Waterfall.
Romania's Best Waterfalls
While the partial loss of the iconic Bigar Waterfall leaves a void, there remain countless other awe-inspiring waterfalls in Romania, each adding its own unique verse to the nation’s rich natural symphony.
Each waterfall, with its unique cascades and captivating surroundings, tells a different story. These stories, etched in the flow of water and engraved in the surrounding landscapes, capture the essence of Romania’s diverse topography and rich cultural heritage. Some of these waterfalls, like the Cailor and Capra, are steeped in legends that echo the past, while others, like the Vanturatoarea, embody the unyielding spirit of nature.
They’re not just water tumbling down rocks; they’re profound expressions of nature’s power and grace, offering sensory delights and serving as serene retreats away from the bustle of modern life.
Romania’s waterfalls are a testament to the country’s geographical diversity and natural beauty. Each has its own charm and character, contributing to the richness of the landscape and the allure of the country. They are not just tourist attractions, but integral components of Romania’s environmental heritage. From the impressive height of the Cailor Waterfall to the delicate grace of the Vanturatoarea, Romania’s waterfalls are indeed a spectacle to behold, a poetic tribute to the majesty of nature.