Mud Volcanoes Natural Park – Romania’s lunar landscape

The Mud Volcanoes Natural Park is located on the outskirts of the village of Berca, near the city of Buzau, in the southern part of Moldova, Romania, about two hours drive from Bucharest and Brasov.

This natural geological reserve consists of two areas: Piclele Mari and Piclele Mici. The road passes first through the Berca village and then winds up and down through a hilly area covered in long grasses and shrubs.

There are signs directing travelers to the two separate mud volcano entrances. The cost is 4 Ron per person (about 1 Euro) for the entire day. Once inside, the landscape is pretty much composed of mud dunes, cones, textures, bubbling mud, pools of mud and mud eruptions. A thick smell of gas floats in the air. Please be aware that mud volcanoes are not like lava volcanoes, which are quite big. These are miniature volcanoes compared to the lava volcanoes. The mud erupts from holes in the ground due to natural gases that push mud mixed with water to the surface, similar somewhat to geysers. The bubbling mud flowing out of holes forms cones. The cones vary in size. In time, the old cones  disappear as new ones pop up. The mud dries after a period of time offering some amazing cracked textures.

The best seasons to get the most out of the volcanoes are Fall and Spring. The Mud Volcanoes Natural Park in Romania is the second of this type in Europe. Other places in Europe where mud volcanoes formed on the surface are in Italy, Ukraine, Russia and Moldova. In other parts of Europe, mud volcanoes are found under water, like the ones in Norway.

Right next to Piclele Mari there is a lodge called “Pensiunea Vulcanii Noroiosi”, the only one in the area. The restaurant is good when not too crowded and it also serves tasty traditional Romanian food, but the rooms are nothing fancy, just very basic. One can find more upscale accommodation options in the nearby city of Buzau, just 40 minutes away. Other accommodation options are in the village of Siriu (located on the DN 10 road from Buzau to Brasov) in the vicinity of Siriu Lake/Dam and Casoca/Pruncea Waterfall, which are both worth visiting, as well.