Widely unknown by the large public, the county of Buzau- just 120 km from Bucharest – has become a famous destination for professional athletes, adrenalin sportsmen and adventure tourists. The very low populated forests, hills and mountains of Buzau are perfect for lots of sport and adventure activities like off-road tours, mountain biking, rafting, canyoning, paragliding, diving or other niche sports like bouldering. With international sport events, new bike tracks, organized tours and a special sport vacation offer in 2011, Buzau wants to promote itself as sport tourism destination to a larger audience in Romania and abroad.
By Thorsten Kirschner
Over the last years Buzau has become the European mecca for motocross, enduro and off-road car aficionados. Every July, when Romanian Extreme Adventure, Europe´s longest
off-road competition starts, the forests of Buzau capture the spirit of the rally Dakar. The yearly seven-day competition, with a track of more than 1,200 km in Buzau county brings the European off-road elite to Romania. This year, for the first time, sport fans and tourists can spend the off-road week together with the professionals in the Extreme Adventure Camp at Lake Mociaru.
The highlight of the season will be the first big international sport event in Buzau county. From July 9 to 10, the Enduro World Championship will take place in Buzau. A special weekend tourism program will attract national and foreign sport tourists to the region.
The lakes, rivers and valleys of Buzau county allow several interesting water sport activities. Sailing is possible on Lake Siriu, an artificial dam lake with a length of 11 km half the way between Brasov and Buzau. The Buzau river, coming from Lake Siriu is one of the best places for rafting in Romania. Rafting in Buzau has become very popular for company teambuilding events. Canyoning can be done in Basca Mare near the village of Gura Teghii where a canyon is cut in a bedrock stone forming nice gorges with waterfalls. An extraordinary experience near Penteleu Massiv is mountain lake diving on the Black Lake (Lacul Negru).
Another undiscovered place where time stands still is Bisoca. Well-known by professional sportsmen, Bisoca offers possibilities for plenty of outdoors sport activities. One of these is bouldering, a style of rock climbing on natural boulders undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs.
A real adrenaline sport possibility in Buzau is paragliding. A local school offers paragliding courses and trainings at extraordinary places like the Muddy Volcanoes or Dealu Istrita, a hill near the wine village Pietroasele which offers a spectacular view to the Carpathian Mountains and the Wallachian plain.
Real adventurers find a perfect environment in the Northern part of Buzau Mountains – the triangle of Vrancea, Buzau and Covasna county – one of the wildest regions in Romania- even in Europe. An area of more than 3.000 sqkm without public roads or settlements is only populated by bears, wolves, wild pigs and – recently discovered by local hunters– jackals. This area is a preferred place for army training camps. Rumour or real fact – nobody knows exactly- but locals love to tell the story of a British army elite group who broke off a training camp in Buzau because the soldiers got frightened by some Romanian bears strolling through the camp during the night. Specialised tour-operators offer weekend or one week survival camps in this area.
Less adrenaline-containing but not necessarily less spectacular are the sports in the Subcarpathian forests and the hills of the Dealu Mare wine region. Cyclo tourism in general has an enormous growth potential in the region and is part of the tourism development strategy of Buzau county. A unique tour in Romania is a family bike tour through the vineyards of Dealu Mare far away from traffic. Mountain bikers can find a perfect environment for tours in the forests and hills of Sarata Monteoru, Pietroasele, Naeni or Breaza like nowhere else closer to Bucharest.
Unfortunately, maps or official tracks are completely missing, so a local guide is necessary in most of the cases. Tourism development in Buzau is still in the very beginning, but offside the beaten track sportsmen, nature lovers and adventurer can find an enchanting environment for sport activities.
SPORT & ADVENTURE OFFER IN BUZAU
Organised 1-Day or weekend tours from Bucharest:
Off-road tour Buzau Mountains with a professional off-road driver and his jeep
Family safari tour: easy off-road tour with picnic in the forests
Rafting – Buzau river
Canyoning – Basca Mare
Diving – Black Lake/Lacul Negru
Mountain biking with local guides
9-10 July 2011 Enduro World Championship Buzau www.enduro-abc.com
17-23 July 2011 Romanian Extreme Adventure www.romanianextremeadventure.com
Schools & Sport Clubs:
Paragliding School Buzau (www.parapantabz.ro)
Extreme Adventure Club Buzau (www.extremeadventurebuzau.ro)
Further information on sport activities, events and organised tours in Buzau you can find on: www.travelbuzau.com
Thorsten Kirschner is an independent travel consultant, co-founder of Monteoru Renaissance, a tourism development association of Buzau county, and of Carpathian Tourism Cluster Romania, Romania´s first supra-regional tourism cluster. he holds a master degree in International Business and Cultural Studies and has been working as international development and export consultant for more than ten years all over the world. He has been living in Romania since 2009 and is passionate about traveling.