Romania is a very diverse country when it comes to landscape: mountains, seaside, plains, hillside – we have it all. We even have some more exceptional landscapes like a glacier lake, a volcanic lake, the most beautiful waterfall in the world (or so they say). High on the 'peculiar natural elements' list are the mud volcanos. Yes, you’ve read that right – they spill mud instead of lava.
Set in the hillside area at the arch of the Carpathians, the mud volcanos are a strange natural phenomenon that appear in areas with natural gas reserves. Although rare, they are not uncommon. Mud volcanos can be spotted also in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
The natural process is: somewhere 3000 m deep in the Earth, gas decides that it wants out. On its way to the surface it collects clay and water so the eruption comes out as mud and gas bubbles. The difference between the mud volcanos and real ones is that the eruption of the mud volcanos comes from Earth’s continental crust layers and not he mantle therefore they spill cold mud instead of hot lava.
Cold mud eruptions are surely not frightening but they are the reason why the land around them is very salty and dry making it impossible for barely any kind of vegetation to survive. Basically when you set foot in the reservation you feel you’ve just landed on the moon.
The mud volcanos are located in the village of Berca in the county of Buzau. There are about 150 kms far from Bucharest which makes it a 2 hour drive from the city and a pretty good day trip if you want to explore Romania a bit off the beaten path.
The best option to go there is by car on the route: Bucuresti- Buzau on the E85 and then turn on the DN10 towards Brasov that will take you to the village of Berca. From there you will see signs towards Vulcanii noroiosi (Romanian for mud volcanos). The drive is quite beautiful going through a hillside area of the country. The road is not bad although a bit bumpy so you might need to be careful. Very important: the last part of the road – just before you reach the reservation – is a dirt road so do not go in case it has rained. You run the risk to get stuck in mud.
The entrance fee is 4 lei for adults, 2 lei for students and 1,5 lei for children.
Since you are in the area you should also know about the Plescoi sausages – typical for this region and highly appreciated by the entire country. They are made out of sheep meat so some of you might find the taste a bit too strong but do give them a try! Let us know how you find them!
TIP: If you want to make a day out of it you should know that the reservation of the mud volcanos is close to the wine region of Dealu Mare in the neighboring county of Prahova. Dealu Mare is famous for producing some of the best red wines in Romania and is full of picturesque vineyards.