Stana de Vale
Scenic Stâna de Vale is a small alpine resort (1300m) in the Padurea Craiului Mountains 27km east of Beius in the Bihor Massif. This is a quiet hiking and health resort in the summer and a bustling ski centre between December and February. The 550m slope is rather tame, best suited for beginner to intermediate skiers. In any case, it’s worth a night’s stay to breathe in the pine-scented air and amble through wooded glades.
There’s a ski lift next to the camping ground where it’s possible to hire skis and get lessons. A couple of hiking trails lead into the Apuseni Mountains – maps are available in the hotels. One of the trails (six hours; marked with red stripes) takes you to Cabana Padis on the Padis Plateau. The blue cross trail leads to Devil’s Mill Waterfall (Cascada Moara Dracului, six hours), which is cinematically blanketed in violet Crocuses in the springtime. Another more challenging trail, marked with blue triangles, leads past the Saritoarea Bohodei Waterfall (Cascada Saritoarea Bohodeiului, about eight hours round-trip) the highest waterfall in Romania (100m). This trail loops back to Stâna de Vale on a different path, which is strongly encouraged as the blue triangles are difficult to spot if you double back the way you came. Alternatively, this trail continues on and terminates at the Meziad Cave (a total of six hours from Stâna de Vale). Don’t attempt this hike in bad weather or in winter. Nearby is the source of Romania’s Wonder Spring (Izvorul Minunilor), a popular brand of bottled water.
In summer, it’s best to bring your own tent here and pitch it in the camping ground, however there are cabins at the western end of the resort, costing about 12 euros per person. Those seeking total immersion can submit to one of the nearby shepherds offering rooms in their huts (and the pit toilets in their gardens), with a meal of placinta (baked pie with cheese or jam). They generally charge about two euros per person. Both Cabana Padis and Cabana Cetatile Ponorului offer clean accommodation in dorms with 2-10 beds and a restaurant
The resort’s main hotel is Hotel Iadolina (Tel. +40 (0) 744 599 334) offers two to four star accommodations ranging from 35-85 euros per night, breakfast not included. The Cerbul Vila & Restaurant, opposite Hotel Iadolina, is open in winter only.