There are many paths we get to walk in this life. If you are visiting Bucharest, one of them should be through Vacaresti Nature Park.
Vacaresti Nature Park is wonderfully unique. Unique in a way that makes you want to spend an entire day discovering every corner of one of the largest urban wilderness deltas in Europe.
The history of Vacaresti Nature Park
Vacaresti Nature Park was initially built to be a lake. The plan was that the lake would be connected to the Danube River and could also be used as an outdoor sport and water complex.
But in the late 1980’s, the project was abandoned and due to some engineering miscalculations, the lake never actually filled with water. All that remained was a deep, concrete-lined basin surrounded by an elevated ridge.
Nature took one look at it and said, “Yeah.. we’re taking this back.”
Visiting Vacaresti Nature Park
To get to Vacaresti Nature Park, take the metro line 1 or 3 to Mihai Bravu. Walk down Pasajul Mihai Bravu in the direction of the Lidl and continue across the bridge. At the roundabout, turn left onto Strada Gladitei.
Continue straight past the apartment buildings until you hit the tall embankment that marks one of the entrances to the park. Look for the five tall apartment buildings with different color squares on them.
In one of these buildings, there is an observatory where you can get a nice areal view of the whole park. It requires an appointment in advance, which you can make using their website here.
You’ll know you found the edge of the park when you hit the steep hill that seems to go on forever. Take the stairs to get to the raised path that encircles the wildlife below. From the top of the hill, you can look inside to see the gorgeous park or you can look outside to see normal city life carrying on as if there isn’t a dense wildlife reserve just a few feet away.
At several points around the ridge, there are grippy mats and railings covering the steep concrete sides so you can venture down into the delta.
Once you’re inside, it’s quiet. Surrounded on all sides by steep concrete walls and the tops of buildings visible, it’s like sinking into a different world, a notably lion-less Serengeti.
Then, you can follow the loosely carved trails wherever they lead. Inside the park, you will be completely enveloped in nature. There are trees, swamps, grasslands, and endless wildlife to discover.
It is free to visit Vacaresti Nature Park. Bring a camera because you will want to take pictures of this strikingly beautiful “nature win” in the middle of a busy city.
Go earlier in the day because it takes a while to see everything. And trust me, you’ll want time to see everything.
Staying Safe at Vacaresti Nature Park
When I visited, I was with a friend of mine so we were able to walk through the park without much worry. If you are traveling alone, find a buddy to go with you if you want to go down into the delta.
There is wildlife down there and even though you can’t get too lost because you’re contained by the raised edges, the park is pretty big. We only saw one other person while we were there, so just to be on the safe side, this is a good activity to do with a friend.
If going down into the park isn’t your cup of tea, there is plenty to see from the top of the elevated ridge that separates the pure wildlife from the city.
As we walked around the narrow, elevated trail, we saw a handful of joggers, a family on bikes, and several groups of friends relaxing, taking in the view. The trail that runs along the perimeter of Vacaresti Nature Park is well maintained with benches and signs.
Overall, visiting Vacaresti was one of the highlights of my time in Bucharest, a city that I absolutely adore. While I could spend days exploring the architecture and history of Bucharest, it is nice to have the option to get out in nature without straying too far from the city.
Whether it’s your first trip to Romania or your 100th, Vacaresti is definitely worth seeing.
For more information about what you can see in the Park and how to plan a visit, check out the Vacaresti Natural Park website!
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