As part of my 4-day road trip around Romania, I visited the glacier from Scărișoara Cave, of which I’ve heard so many times before.
Scărișoara is the name of a cave in Romania, of which I’ve heard many times, but had no idea what it’s so great about it. Actually, I had no idea how Scărișoara Cave looks like. I’ve never thought about the name either. Scărișoara means “the small ladder” in Romanian.
I was so so frustrated to have missed till now, that I made it part of my 4-day trip around Romania. Great choice. Cold one too.
How to get to Scărișoara Cave?
Scărișoara Cave is in Alba county, in Apuseni Natural Park of Romania, in the centre-west part of the country. It’s about 16 km before reaching the village with the same name. Although I think the name of the cave comes from the huge staircase that is at the entrance of the cave and which is used to get into the cave.
There are touristic marks, showing the way towards the cave. And at some point, it will show up towards the mountain on the steepest road, and yes, that is the way. I was so sure that cannot be right and went on driving and after reaching the next village, I realised that was the way.
Reaching a small touristic spot, with a few improvised parking lots on the unpaved land, with the locals trying to make some money out of it, and some traditional homemade pies and pancakes, you will know you got to the right place.
From that place, after parking, you will have to walk a bit uphill, through the woods, just follow the people.
Visiting Scărișoara Cave
Reaching the entrance to the cave is a gate which is closed while awaiting its next round of tourists. On the other side is the touristic office, where the guide will sell you the ticket to get in.
Unfortunately, there is no English tour, but there is a brochure in English. The tour is nice, but even if you don’t understand what the guy is saying, you will be impressed by the experience.
The tour starts after a group of around 30 tourists have gathered. Or each hour, not sure, the info wasn’t so clear on that.
One of the most spectacular parts of this experience is getting down to the cave, on a narrow and steep staircase. And the second spectacular thing is the glacier of the cave.
To get into the cave, you have to get to the impressive entrance, hidden in the forest that surrounds the cave. There is a narrow path, sculpted in the rock, where the metallic steps make it easier to go through the 48 meters down to the entrance.
The inside of Scărișoara Cave
Once you get inside the cave, you will feel cold. The floor is made of a thick layer of ice. In the middle of the cave is an enormous block of ice. That’s why is cold inside, and most people put on a jacket before going inside, even though it was summer at the time. The temperature was around 0ºC degrees. Or less.
To the far right end, as you will enter the cave, an area which is called The Church and has stalagmites, is the most photographed place.
Keep your batteries for this one, because the rest of the cave has poor lighting and your batteries levels will be depleted fast, in such cold conditions.
When the weather gets warmer, the ice starts to melt and loses some of its volume, from the bottom and the upper part. But in the winter, a new layer of ice gets to settle on the top.
By far the most photographed part of this cave, is the entrance, the stairs leading towards the entrance. I would say that they are old, and you can still see the remaining of the steps which were caring tourists before this staircase was used.
The oldest ice is on the bottom of the glacier and is 4000 of years old. This very old parts of ice can help research many historical facts, like how the weather was on each of these last 4000 years, or how much gold were the Dacians mining.