Romania: Văcărești Natural Park #ExperienceBucharest

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.

Văcărești
Some of our group at the start of the tour with Cristi Lascu.
Photo credit: http://bucharest.walkaboutfreetours.com

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.

A view over Văcărești
A view over Văcărești.

My Visit

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.
  • Amphibians
  • Invertebrates
  • Reptiles
Vacarasti
One of the many ponds in Văcărești.

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!

 

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40 thoughts on “Romania: Văcărești Natural Park #ExperienceBucharest

  1. Văcărești looks like a real gem in Bucharest – amazing that locals still don’t really know about it. Love the idea of conserving wildlife. Haven’t been to Romania yet but a few friends of mine were on the trip too!

  2. Wow! Really interesting post with fascinating facts! I did not know this was the only urban park in continental Europe. It looks huge, and with all those species, it’s definitely something that I would like to explore.

  3. Thanks for this great overview of Vacaresti natural park; really liked the layout of this post. We didn’t visit it on our last trip there, but hopefully we’ll visit this gem on our next vacation. We love your photos too much!!

  4. This place looks awesome. It’s kind of a shame that the locals aren’t aware of it more though, it may help it being looked after if they could be proud of it. Interesting to read about its history too. Thanks for sharing! #weekendwanderlust

  5. What an interesting place! I love that the plans fell through and nature’s gotten the upper hand. It would be wonderful to visit and see some of the wildlife. #weekendwanderlust

  6. Oh my, the list of animals is quite a lot. I might fly there just for the cheap cab fares alone hehe
    Great post!
    xx
    J blogthat90sgirl.wordpress.com

  7. Oh what a beautiful looking place! Sounds like you had a great time 🙂 truly a hidden gem like you said 🙂

  8. Great post. Thanks for sharing this with me. I don’t really know much about Romania but its been very eye opening reading this.

  9. I haven’t heard of it before – sounds like a fascinating and fun place to explore – especially for spotting some wildlife!

  10. It was interesting to learn something of Vacaresti Natural Park. It’s a shame more Romanians don’t know of its existence as its always great to have a natural place to escape to and enjoy, free from the day to day pressures. I’m sure the word will get out soon.

  11. Natural Parks are real treasures that protect our natural environment and ensure that the delicate balance of our ecosystems is maintained. I was not aware of the existence of Vacaresti Natural Park and it comes as a revelation. The Park is really lovely and it would be wonderful to get lost in its natural beauty.

  12. This blog makes me think about how to travel sustainably while conserving environment and giving back to the nature. It’s a pity that wetlands and national parks need external help to be protected. The blog is a real eye opener. Thanks for sharing. Is Vacaresti NP also a wetland listed under Ramsar convention of 1971?

  13. Europe has some of the best national parks, and I think I read Văcărești is one of them. Văcărești (I copy-pasted the name so I don’t lose the accents on the letters, lol) looks like a marvelous place to visit. It’s sad that you didn’t see any wildlife, that’s the thing with going with big groups, you can’t go off on your own just like that.

  14. The Vacaresti Natural Park seems to be so beautiful. Simply love the landscape. That’s the beauty of Europe . Just walking in there will be an experience in itself, isn’t it?

  15. Now this is a nice and a different side to Romania. I sure would want to extend my stay in Bucharest for this. Loved the natural park. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. Cool and informative article.Two years ago we were in Romania, I was impressed by the culture and people. Most of all by nature, as I often go on business trips, I saw a lot of interesting places but in Romania it’s really very unusual.

  17. If i could go to romania, i’d love to have a tour of this place… i know there are various species different from where i am from. It must be an informative and fantastic tour!

  18. It seems that nature knows what to do when left alone for a while, right! That’s how that park emerged over two decades, and it looks lovely. Way to go nature! 🙂

  19. Interesting to know that Văcărești Natural Park is the only one urban natural park in continental Europe. It looks great from your photos. I am noting it down now so that I can find more info later for my trip to Romania next year.

  20. I was pleasantly surprised with Romania when I visited. I didn’t get a chance to see Bucharest, but I would like to return and visit someday! This park looks right up my alley. And it sounds like it’s pretty easy to reach.

  21. Romania has been on my Bucket List for a very long time! Especially Bucharest! I heard only the best about the city. And of course it is a starting point to see the rest of the country.

    1. Hi Meira, the nearest Metro station is Mihai Bravu on lines M1 and M3. Let me know please if you do go. Safe travels, Haley

    1. Hi Agness, I’m not sure if there is a bus that goes directly to the park – sorry! Safe travels 🙂

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