So our favorite flowers are… wildflowers! No bouquet can outshine those colorful decorations that nature creates in spring and summer time. These flowers might not look that special one by one, but the millions of them covering the fields are a feast of colors for the eyes. We like early spring bloom on California’s coast (those vibrant orange poppies…), hunting for snowdrops and pasque flowers in the Buda Hills in February and March, and the wildflower carpets of the High Tatras in June and July.
Last year we heard about two spectacular wildflower blooms in Romania’s Carpathians that instantly got their place on our bucket list: the crocus blooming in Apuseni Mountains and the rhododendron blooming in Rodnei Mountains. Since we wanted to plan another hiking trip in the Carpathians, anyway, we considered whether we can time it to experience one of these famous wildflower blooms. Of course, we could. The Easter long weekend was just the perfect time for the crocus blooming.
When do crocuses bloom?
Crocuses usually bloom in late April or early May in the Apuseni Mountains. It varies a bit each year, depending on how long winter is in a certain year. As a general rule, most of the landscape is still covered by snow when crocuses start to bloom. These tiny violet flowers pop their heads up under the melting snow, and by the time the snow is gone, they are gone, too.
Where can you see crocus fields in the Apuseni Mountains?
Everywhere. 🙂 Okay, everywhere on the fields. Since peaks are still deeply covered with snow, and wildflowers can usually be found on the fields, it’s quite logical, anyway. But to be more specific, Padiș Plateau is probably the best starting point. It’s just at the right elevation and offers countless trails that cross those wonderful violet crocus fields.
The villages of Stana de Vale and Padiș are both great places to start your hike on Padiș Plateau. We tried both. The road to Stana de Vale are not that great, there are some sections with large potholes. On the other hand, a bunch of nice trails start from there – though several trails were closed because of the damages caused by the harsh winters when we visited.
The road to Padiș is in a surprisingly good condition, it’s brand new. Previously there was only a dirt road leading to Padiș and further into the wilderness. Now the road is paved – but beware, it’s paved only until Padiș (from the direction of Oradea and Beiuș). Even though Google Maps suggests you can drive further, we wouldn’t do it with a normal car, especially not in spring when there’s still a lot of snow at higher elevations.
As soon as we arrived to the village of Padiș, we noticed the crocus fields. We left our car at a designated free parking area and took a walk around the village. If you’re more of a photographer than a hiker, you don’t even need to go much further. This remote village in the middle of the violet crocus fields is a perfect place to take countless pictures.
Our favorite hikes to photograph crocuses
If you’re up to do some hiking, too, it rewards you with even more beautiful wildflower scenes. We started the blue trail from Padiș towards Piatra Tâlharului and Stana de Vale. It’s a day hike one-way. But we did it only about halfway, partly because we took an insane amount of pictures that slowed us down, partly because the trail was not well-maintained after a certain point. And also because I was already pregnant last spring and got tired more easily.
We could see some crocuses and other wildflowers in Stana de Vale, too, but not nearly as many as in Padiș. The red trail from Stana de Vale towards Bohodei peak led us to wildflower wonderland though. It crossed several large crocus fields on the way to the peak. Some giant fallen trees made the path a bit more challenging, but we were rewarded with fabulous views.
We’re sure that we haven’t found all the crocuses on Padiș Plateau. These are not all the trails we’ve done either. But these two trails impressed us with the most wildflowers. And this getaway to the Apuseni Mountains last April was one of those few occasions when our timing couldn’t have been better. We’ve seen the peak of the crocus blooming, and it was unforgettable!
Some more pictures from that hiking trip…
Just because wildflowers are so pretty. 🙂
Have you seen any spectacular wildflower blooms? When and where?
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