Turda Gorge, Transylvania, Romania by Lucy MallowsTurda Gorge is home to limestone cliffs and unusual plants © Lucy Mallows

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

Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii) is a drive of some 15km northeast of Turda. Head for the village of Petreştii de Jos, where you turn left onto a rough track, reaching a place to park the car after 1km. It offers a fascinating (if far from level) walk along the side of a stream at the base of 300m limestone cliffs, which are also a major destination for rock climbing. The karst environment is home to some unusual plants like the twisted-leaf onion (Allium obliquum), otherwise mostly associated with central Asia. The 3km-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. Over the wooden bridge next to the car park is a small campsite. There is, in theory, an admission fee for the gorge, but the booth is usually shut.

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