Văcărești Natural Park is unique. A hidden gem. It is the first urban natural park in Romania and the only one in continental Europe.
As part of the recent #ExperienceBucharest press trip, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a tour of the park with Carmen from Cultour Association, some other bloggers and influencers, and Cristi Lascu, who is a park ranger and former editor of National Geographic (Romania) magazine – this guy really knows his stuff.
History of Văcărești
Văcărești was a victim of the many unfinished and ambitious plans for Romania made during the Communist era. The plan to turn Văcărești into a lake was abandoned due to the overthrow of Ceausescu in 1989. In any case, it wouldn’t be successful due to the porous soil.
For the next 25 years or so, nothing was really done with the area, and it was left untouched. This allowed nature to take control and form a unique but fragile ecosystem. Nowadays it is a protected area, a large wetland expanse surrounded by the urban sprawl of Bucharest.
As previously mentioned, my visit was as part of the #ExperienceBucharest program. Due to the fact, there was a large group of us, I didn’t see any wildlife. If you were to go on your own and were able to spend more time in the Park, then there is a variety of wildlife on offer.
- Over 90 species of bird come to Văcărești.
- Small mammals such as foxes, weasels and otters.
Cristi was happy to answer any questions we had, and even though he was taking us through the park, he still kept his eye out for poachers and fishermen. He did spot some whilst we were there and gave them a friendly reminder to stop.
How To Get To Văcărești
The park is free to enter and is still fairly unknown to many residents of Bucharest.
I took a tour with Walkabout Free Tours – click the link to contact them directly.
You could also go on your own. The nearest Metro station is Mihai Bravu on lines M1 and M3.
Taxi’s and Uber are very cheap in Romania. A 7.85 kilometre journey cost me 12.52 Leu (£2.41 GBP / $3.01 USC / 2.74 Euro).
Let me know if you have any questions about Văcărești or Bucharest in general. I’m happy to answer them!