Length & Mass:

The Olt Valley, Romania

Nestled deep within the heart of Romania, Olt Valley is a hidden treasure that amazes travelers with its dark, beautiful forests, high mountains, towering on each side of the the magnificent Olt River. It’s lands, rich in heritage, seem to be a gateway into a fantasy novel, written by Tolkien, or Goldman. This amazing region is a testament to the breathtaking landscapes, historical treasures, and outdoor adventures that Romania has to offer.

In this following post, we’ll take you on a magical journey through Olt Valley, we will show you all the popular restaurants, camping spots and many more, in this must-see region.

The Olt Valley, Romania

General Information

The Olt Gorge is a canyon through which the Olt River flows between the Lotru Mountains and the Căpățânii Mountains located to the west, and the western ridge of the Făgăraș Mountains and the Cozia Mountains, situated to the east. Spanning all the way from Turnu Roșu to Cozia, it runs for an amazing 47km, making it the longest gorge in Romania.

In ancient times, the Olt Valley was considered one of the most important roads in Dacia (the old name for the south part of what is now Romania), because it had important military and economic value, due to the fact that it linked two important regions of that time, Transilvania and the Danube. This prompted the Roman Empire, which ruled Dacia at that time, to create a special “police” unit, with the sole purpose of guarding the Olt Valley from thieves and bandits, thus the Roman Fort of Arutela is born, an impressive construction that still holds up today (and on you can visit).

This amazing region is a testament to the breathtaking landscapes, historical treasures, and outdoor adventures that Romania has to offer. Because of its diverse climate and topography, the Olt Valley has a rich flora, consisting of evergreen conifers such as spruce and pine, towering oak and maple trees and a plethora of edible plants like cherries, blackberries, raspberries, hazelnuts and many more.

As for the fauna goes, it’s equally as diverse and impressive. The mountains are home to a variety of mammals, including bears, wolves, foxes badgers and wild boars. The river itself is home a verity of fish with some of the most common being trout, carp and perch.

LocationRomania, Valcea & Sibiu Counties
Road NameDN7

Your adventure awaits, can you hear it calling?!

As you journey from the South of Romania, and venture North, towards the mighty Carpathian Mountains, you are greeted by the wonder that is the river Olt’s valley. There is nothing that can prepare you for it’s breathtaking beauty for when your first set your eyes on it, your heart races to the top of your chest, and your mind dreams of old times, of ancient heroes, of legendary feats in lands of fairy tales. You feel as if you are Robin Hood, scouting for your next attack, or William Wallace, ready to defend his lands against armies of unrelenting foes.

The trails that lead up the mountain offer quite a challenge for those up to the task so if you enjoy the great outdoors, packed with a little bit of adventure, there is no better place for it. If that’s not your thing – don’t worry, you can also visit the historical sites, where you can check out their impressive museums or take a boat trip on the river Olt itself.

Olt Valley Boat Trip And Mountains

Historical Sites On Olt Valley

Next, I will present to you some of the most famous and beautiful historical sites in, or near Olt Valley:

The Roman Fort of Arutela

A marvel of ancient roman engineering, built during the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s rule, this fort is truly breathtaking and one should not miss the opportunity to visit such a place of wonder.

The castra’s establishment dates back to 138 A.D., constructed by Titus Flavius Constans, the governor of Dacia Inferior. This was confirmed through inscriptions on fragments from two gates. Moreover, a Dacian settlement that thrived under Roman influence was also present at the site. The most recent coins unearthed at Arutela are from between 220 and 223 A.D.

Cozia Monastery

It is a Cristian Orthodox monastery build in the XIV century by Mircea the Old, an important historical figure, and voivode of Wallachia (old name for present day Southern Romania).

It’s an impressive work of byzantine architecture, with high domes and colorful stained-glass art, representing Orthodox saints.

It is a place of pilgrimage with thousands of Christians, as well as tourists visiting every year.

Turnu Monastery, Olt Valley

Turnu Monastery

Turnu Monastery is an important historical site, having been built in the XVI century by Mircea the Shepard from brick and stone, it’s similar in architectural style to Cozia Monastery, but a lot smaller, only 15 meters long and 10 meters wide. Inside you will find numerous Cristian icons, of significant historical and theological value, with some fresco having been painted by the famous Romanian artist Teodor Musat.

Historical records from the 15th and 16th centuries indicate that a group of monks, seeking solitude, departed from Cozia Monastery to lead lives of seclusion and stark poverty. They found refuge in natural shelters such as caves, along with rudimentary structures like shacks and wooden homes.

Ostrov Monastery

Ostrov is a historical monastery situated on an island on the Olt river, having been built by the voivode Neagoe Basarab from 1518 to 1522, it was originally an all-nun monastery.

It’s small in size, but with impressive architectural features and numerous icons and frescos.

The Pietà Icon at Ostrov Monastery is a remarkable and revered religious artifact, embodying deep spiritual significance. This icon, depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus Christ, is a poignant representation of sorrow and maternal grief, resonating strongly with the Christian doctrine of sacrifice and redemption.

Natural Wonders On Olt Valley

Olt Valley also boasts breathtaking attraction that you can vist:

  • Lotrișor Waterfall: Hike up to this amazing natural waterfall in Cozia National Park at an altitude of about 500 meters. What’s truly impressive about this waterfall is that it’s the only one in Romania, where the water runs through a 20 meters-long tunnel before dropping, creating a beautiful scenary.
  • The Green Lake’s Cave: Also known as The Emerald Cave, it’s one of the most unique and beautiful caves in the Carpathians. Inside you’ll be greeted by stunning rock formations and small lakes of beautiful green hues, so be sure not to miss out on this one.
  • Cozia Mountaintop is the highest peak in the Cozia mountain range, with an altitude of 1.667 meters above sea level, it offers a spectacular panoramic view of Olt valley and all its surroundings. It’s renowned for its hiking trails, which can take up to 5 hours for a round trip, and on the peak of the mountain, there is a cross, called “The Shepherds Cross” that overlooks the whole valley, making for a breathtaking view.
Cozia Cabin, Olt Valley

Cozia Cabin

Cozia Cabin situated neat Cozia Monastery, in – you guessed it – the Cozia Mountains, offers a variety of outdoor activities such as picnics, fishing trips and mountain hikes. You can also enjoy a nice warm meal, if you feel like it, at the cabin’s restaurant.

If you want to rest for the night, you can do so, the cabin can accommodate a total of 50 people. The rooms are spacious, with clean beds and shared bathrooms.

The cabin offers spectacular sights, over the Olt’s Valley and the Cozia Mountains. It’s an excellent opportunity for those that enjoy the great outdoors, or for those that simply want to escape from the mundane city life.

Here are a few details that you need to know before setting out to the cabin:

  • The access road is paved with asphalt and is in good condition, so it’s easily reachable by any car, you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle.
  • The cabin has a parking lot, so you don’t need to worry about leaving your car unattended.
  • If you are visiting during the winter, by car, make sure you have all the necessary accessories such as ice-chains for your tires, shovel and ideally a few packs of salt.

The Brezoi Blues Festival

If you happen to be visiting in June, then you are in for a treat, the Brezoi Blues Festival is one of the most important blues events in the country, having started back in 2007 it has since evolved into a one of a Woodstock inspired experience (sort of), minus all the bad parts.

The festival brings together Romanian artists, as well as internationally famous blues musicians, on an open-air stage, situated in the heart of the mountains, making it a truly fantastic experience.
Besides the amazing music, the festival also hosts music workshops, art expositions and fun daily activities for children.

If this sounds like your kind of gig (see what I did there?), head on over, the festival takes place over the course of 3 days, in the last weekend of June. I can guarantee this is one show you don’t want to miss.

Open Air Blues Festival

The Natural Spas of Caciulata and Calimanesti

They say that nothing beats a good day at the spa, so here you can find some of the most well know spa resorts near the Olt’s Valley. First of we have the Caciulata and Calimanesti spa resorts, situated in Valcea county, near the Olt’s Valley, that are well known for their natural sulfurous mineral water springs, recommended for treating skin afflictions and stomach problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the highlights of the Olt Valley?

Surround yourself with the natural beauty of the Olt Valley, where towering mountains, lush green forests, and cascading waterfalls create a mesmerizing tapestry of wonder and excitement. Embark on thrilling hikes along scenic trails, raft down the rushing waters of the Olt River, or explore the hidden depths of local caves.

What is there to see on Olt Valley?

As the saying goes: “Wherever you look, there is something to be seen.” Discover the rich history and heritage of the Olt Valley, where ancient monasteries, medieval towns, and traditional villages paint a vivid picture of the region’s past. Visit the awe-inspiring Cozia Monastery, nestled amidst the Cozia Mountains, and marvel at its imposing architecture. Visit the old roman ruins and ponder the fact that you now walk the same path as a roman soldier did, 2.000 years ago.

What’s the perfect time to visit Olt Valley?

There is no time like the present, so grab your suitcase, and get going. But if you are busy at the moment, or have something exciting planned out and you can’t quite make it, fear not for the Olt Valley is a year-round destination. It offers distinct experiences all throughout the seasons. Summers bring warm temperatures ideal for hiking, biking, and swimming. Autumn transforms the mountains into a painting of vibrant hues, while winter welcomes skiers and snowboarders to the slopes. Spring brings a burst of greenery and wildflowers, creating a picturesque landscape, but don’t just take my word for it, come and see.

How do I get there?

The Olt Valley is well-connected both by car accessible roads and rail, being part of Romania’s DN7 National Road infrastructure system, making it easily accessible from major cities like Bucharest, Sibiu, and Brașov. International airports in Bucharest and Timișoara provide convenient access to the region from around the world, so you can hop on the train, rent a car, get a bus, fly a plane, or parachute down there (just kidding, don’t do it). No matter your means of transport, you have more than one option when it comes to visiting the Olt Valley.

Olt Valley it expensive?

I’m glad you asked that, and can you really put a price on that experience? So let me tell you that you can, the Olt Valley offers a taste of Romanian hospitality at an affordable price, accommodation options range from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels, catering to every traveler’s pocket. Enjoy the delectable local cuisine, featuring traditional dishes and fresh produce, without breaking the bank.

About the author

Subscribe to our Newsletter