The not-so-popular only discovered a few decades ago, Bears’ Cave is a place of wonder and fascination. Seriously, not a lot of this kind of places can be visited, so when in Romania, more exactly in the Apuseni Natural Park, which is in the northwestern part of the country, paying a visit to Bears’ Cave is an absolute must.
I got there as part of my 4 days around Romania trip and it was one of the highlights of my trip.
As it is advertised on the Bears’ Cave website, this is the most important tourist attraction in the Apuseni Natural Park.
Looking for more heritage spots in Romania? Check out the 3-day heritage trip itinerary in Romania.
The history of the Bears’ Cave
You will not believe the story, but I’ll tell it anyway. Bears’ Cave was discovered in 1975, by accident!! There was a marble quarry nearby, and after a detonation there, a pit opened into the cave. Sounds incredible, but they swear it’s true!
The first human to see its interior was a miner. His name was Traian Curta, and at the entrance is a memorial plaque with his name. Afterwards, the cave was explored by speleologists. It took 5 years to set everything before Bears’ Cave was opened to the public.
What everyone can guess is where the name comes from. They say 140 bears skeletons were discovered inside the cave. And that species of bears disappeared a long time ago. They said 15 000 years, but I am not sure about that. The only skeleton that still looks like a bear, is a model, not the real thing.
Even so, shortly after it was opened to the public, it became very popular, mainly due to its natural wonders that it hosts inside. And now I am bragging it to you!
What is Bears’ Cave?
The cave has three galleries and four halls: the Candles Hall, Emil Racovita Hall, the Bones Hall. The interior of the cave has pillars of dripstone, stalactites and stalagmites. The thing is that this is probably the caves with the most, from the caves people can visit.
They have electric lighting and special lights to showcase the special exhibits from the cave. Even so, the light is not the best for taking pictures or videos without a flashlight, and that might bother the others from the group.
Where is the Bears’ Cave and how to get there?
BEARS’ CAVE is located in Chiscau, Bihor. Peştera Urşilor (as we call it) is on Google Maps, no worries.
On the E 79 road, between Deva-Oradea is at some point, around km 86, there is a road going to Chiscau village, which is only a few km away from the European road. I was just following the indications on my phone. Otherwise, you will start to wonder whether or not you got lost. It really feels like the middle of nowhere. For long whiles.
Not easy to find, but trust the GPS and you will get there. although I would recommend setting your GPS before you get lost. Remember you are in Romania and some areas might not have service, still. 2018 but, we still lack lots of stuff. And unfortunately, countryside people do not speak English. Even for me, they have a funny Romanian accent, but they are always nice and try to be helpful.
Visiting the Bears’ Cave
The cave is opened every day, except Mondays, from 10 am to 5 pm. During the summer, when they have lots of tourists, it might be opened even on Mondays. I visited it on a Monday, and I found it out from a policeman, who was nearby Scărișoara Cave, since the two caves are so close by, and can be visited in one single day.
They form groups of around 40 people, and it takes about 1 hour. The price from an adult ticket was 15 lei, in August 2017. The Photo fee was 15 lei and the video fee was 25 lei. Per person! Yes, a bit too much for Romania, but worth it!! And don’t get fooled and get in without paying the photo fee, because it’s worth it. I promise!
Each group has two tour guides. One that conducts the tour and the other that makes sure no tourists are left behind. I became quite close to the last one since I was trying so bad to take pics without people in them. But each time they were switching off the light right when I was ready to capture the scene. It was a bit frustrating, I admit. But the last tour guide was funny. He said that the guy who discovered the cave was his dad.
Ah, and bring a sweatshirt with you! The temperature inside is around 10 Celsius degrees, no matter the season.
And since you are already in the Apuesni mountains, take the time to explore the Natural Park and surrounding villages. It’s a place where everything seems to stand still, where people are not in a hurry and where nature looks out of this world.
Loved it. Words can’t describe it and pictures don’t do it justice. Whenever you are in Romania, plan a few days to see the amazing caves and landscapes. Your Instagram will thank you!