During 10 years of traveling together, you are bound to run into something unusual or even unique. For us, that’s the Berca Mud Volcanoes, located in southeast Romania.
But first of all, what are mud volcanoes? Wikipedia defines them as
small volcano-shaped structures typically a few metres high caused by the eruption of mud and natural gases.
And more in detail:
As the gases erupt from 3000 metres deep towards the surface, through the underground layers of clay and water, they push up underground salty water and mud, so that they overflow through the mouths of the volcanoes, while the gas emerges as bubbles. The mud dries off at the surface, creating a relatively solid conical structure resembling a real volcano. The mud expelled by them is cold, as it comes from inside the Earth’s continental crust layers, and not from the mantle.
In Romania, you can only find mud volcanoes not far from Berca. Elsewhere in Europe, you can visit them in Ukraine, Russia, Italy, and especially in Azerbaijan.
How to get there? You will need a car, preferably with a GPS. Program it for Berca or, even better, Scortoasa. The latter is a small municipality, however; if it doesn’t show up on your GPS, put it on Berca anyway. From there, you will see roadsigns saying “Vulcanii Noroioși”. When you follow these, you will automatically arrive at the right spot.
As you can see on the pictures, there is no vegetation around the mud volcanoes. That is because the soil is too salty.
You need to pay a very small entrance fee.
What you also need to know:
- You cannot visit the mud volcanoes during rainy weather.
- Wear appropriate shoes! No flipflops!
- Even when wearing the right shoes, do not walk in the mud itself. You will ruin your shoes beyond repair. Just ask Lars…
Looking for accomodation? The nearest town is Buzau. It’s the easiest option. In some of the surrounding villages, however, you can find some really picturesque hotels as well.
This weekend, I will publish another part of the Lockdown Diary. Changes are finally coming! Next week, we will take you to other corners of Europe!