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Turda Gorge - A view from our expert author


Turda Gorge, Transylvania, Romania by Lucy Mallows
A tractor at Turda Gorge © Lucy Mallows

Perfect for either a relaxing stroll or challenging hike, this 1.5km-long gorge has caves, fossils and towers for the visitor to peruse.

Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii) is just half an hour’s drive north out of Turda on the E60 road towards Cluj-Napoca. Take the left turning opposite the church and head for Petreştii de Jos. Continue past a quarry along a road, which bends around to the left. In a small village, you’ll see a yellow sign indicating ‘Turzii gorges’. It is the most wonderful place for a Sunday afternoon stroll or a strenuous hike. The gorge is overshadowed by 300m-high, almost vertical, limestone cliffs where outlaws used to hide out in some of the 60 caves.

The cliffs are ideal for free climbing and there are more than 100 routes with all levels of difficulty. The 1.5km-long gorge has a large variety of morphological features: caves, fossils, towers and arcades formed by the river’s repeated attempts to penetrate the limestone walls. The canyon has a unique microclimate, providing a habitat for flora usually only found in central Asia or by the Mediterranean Sea.

The only thing spoiling the view is the amount of litter lazily discarded by the rushing stream, beer cans and fizzy drink bottles being the worst offenders. English ramblers should be warned that oncoming hikers don’t stop on the narrow slippery path through the gorge but charge straight ahead, gaze fixed firmly on the horizon. Be prepared to hurl yourself into the undergrowth rather than down the steep cliffside into the tributary of the Arieş River.

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