Located in Western Romania, Timisoara is not only close to other big cities like Budapest (~300 km) or Belgrade (less than 200 km), but also to many unique natural tourist attractions.
Did you know that from Timisoara you can reach the mountains in about 2 hours?! If you are planning any day trips (or weekend trips) from Timisoara, the mountains are a great destination. One of the closest mountain you can visit is Semenic mountain. And while enjoying fresh mountain air, you can also take a dive in a mountain lake like Valiug or Trei Ape.
If this sounds like an interesting idea for a Timisoara day trip, then keep on reading, as this article is for you.
A drive to the Semenic mountains
To reach the full height of the Semenic mountains, you will have to drive for about 2 hours, towards the city of Resita and then up the mountain. You can choose as your destination the highest peak of the mountain, Peak Piatra Groazei (1446 m), or you can try to explore other beautiful Romanian landscapes along the way.
The lakes of Valiug and Trei Ape are popular attractions of the Semenic mountains, for tourists and locals alike. Since they are quite close to Timisoara, they are very popular weekend destinations, especially in the summer. These mountain lakes will give you an opportunity to get away from the heat of the city, while still working on your tan and enjoying a nice bath.
Valiug Lake: weekend sun and fun
Valiug lake is a “man-made” lake, which was created thanks to the building on a damn in 1909, to support the coal mining industry in the area. The coal industry is no longer active, but the lake has survived. More than that, it has been revived as a popular tourist destination.
A lot of travellers go to Valiug lake to enjoy the wilderness, usually camping in the area. There are several lake-side terraces where you can sunbathe, have a drink or rent a boat or a “water bike” to explore the lake.
In recent years, the “La ponton” terrace in particular has been gaining a lot of popularity and has become a very “hip” place to spend the weekend. They organize all sorts of parties and events and many find this the perfect way to spend the weekend.
Trei Ape Lake: a relaxed weekend in nature
If you find the popularity of Valiug Lake overwhelming, don’t worry, you may still find something more to your liking. Just keep driving a bit further and you will eventually reach the lake Trei Ape (translated as “three waters”).
This lake is 45 ha. wide and is the highest artificial lake in the area. It has been formed by building a dam to block three mountain streams (Brebu, Grădiştea and Semenic), that meet here to give birth to the river Timiş.
Located at a higher altitude than Valiug, Trei Ape is also a bit cooler and maybe a bit less popular. However, it is a beloved destination for those who just want to enjoy some peace and quiet. It offers superb views, as the lake is surrounded by a beautiful fir tree forest.
As both these destinations are not too far from Timisoara, they are perfect destinations for a one-day trip in the summertime. In case you want to take some time away from city life, then do spend some time in this area. You can either camp in nature (this is not really reglemented, but a lot of people do it) or you can try to find accommodation in one of the villages: Crivaia, Garang or Valiug.