As a child, I was fascinated by trains and I wanted a ride with the Mocanita from Maramures, the only active steam forest railway in the Carpathians. Steam locomotives have a special charm. Besides the fascination with trains, I heard that the ride with Mocanita is real therapy. We had to give up the internet and signal for 7 hours, and forced 😀 to enjoy nature.
Location – Mocanita Maramures
The last forest railway with steam locomotives in the world is located in northern Romania. In Viseul de Sus, city. In a fairytale mountain area, full of forests and fresh air. The city is very chic and small, perfect to stay here for a few days. But we talk more about it in the Accommodation section of this article.
The starting point of the trip, respectively the train station, is located almost in the middle of the city. And it can be found on the map here: CFF Viseu de Sus Station.
Short history – Mocanita Maramures
The CFF Viseu de Sus railway station was built right inside the Valea Raului timber factory in order to be able to monitor the wood transport activity. It was inaugurated in 1930. During the communist period, the factory was modernized, together with the railway station.
The construction of this route was done because it offered a better solution for transporting wood than on the water. Because of this, this forest railway works to this day, both for tourism and for its initial role.
For tourists, a route of approximately 21 kilometers (21.6 km) was organized, to Paltin station. This is the end of the line for tourist trains, the total route having 46 kilometers. Although at first glance the 21 kilometers may seem too few, rest assured, it will be enough.
Mocanita Tickets – where to buy them and Prices
Tickets for Mocanita can be bought directly from the train station, as well as online. We were advised by the accommodation to buy our tickets as soon as possible because it was a busy period and there are chances that we will not find available ones. We went to the train station and there were really no tickets left. But we were advised to keep an eye on the site and see when other available spots appear.
Said and done, the next day we constantly refreshed the site and we managed to catch open seats. The site worked very well and it would be ideal to buy tickets in advance, to be sure that you get a ride with Mocanita. Depending on the season and the number of tourists, the number of trains will differ.
There are two types of tickets for Mocanita Maramures:
– Round trip ticket, which costs 65 lei for Adult, 55 lei for students and 45 lei for pupils;
– Special ticket, which includes: transport, grilled food, a drink, a coffee and a pastry. It can be purchased at the price of 109 lei/Adult, 98 lei/student and 76 lei/pupil.
We chose the simple ticket and we can recommend it with confidence. If you are hungry you can buy quietly at the destination, at the same price.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Mocanita, Viseul de sus – operating program:
The first departure is at 9:00 in the morning, and trains are added at 30-minute intervals depending on the number of tourists.
But all departures/arrivals/breaks are adapted depending on the season.
Our experience with Mocanita
If you still haven’t realized, it was a great experience for us. Surely we will try to get here in the winter because surely the landscape remains just as beautiful.
Our train left at 10:00. We arrived at the train station 15-20 minutes before departure, in order to have time to validate the online tickets and to find our sits. Already from the accommodation, we received the recommendation to don’t stay in the first or last wagons because we are going to get smoked. Said and done, we chose a wagon in the middle.
The Mocanita left on time, without delay. And as soon as it started to move, we can say that the first part of the therapy started. In the first part, I took a lot of photos and analyzed the whole route.
From the railway, bridges, and how it meanders between mountains and hills.
On the way up we had 3 stops, of which only one was arranged. The other 2 were technical stops to supply the locomotive with water. The main stop was at Paltin station. Here are arranged areas with benches where you can eat and a pavilion where you can get hot or cold drinks and fast food.
Summer cars (at least) do not have the most comfortable seats. And after 3 hours of sitting down, you have doubts if you have a behind or not. For this reason, we recommend that you have a thick blanket with you. You can use it both to keep you warm and as a pillow to sit on it.
At Paltinu station, you can eat, you can relax on some mountain trails, or visit a small museum. The return train comes back pretty quickly (it seemed so to us). So you have to move fast if you want to do more activities.
On the way back you can fully enjoy Mocanita. For us, fatigue took over, and it is as if we were entering a trance. Enjoying the noise of the train and the wonderful landscapes we passed through. The fresh and clean mountain air helps your imagination get loose.
Accommodation in Viseul de Sus
For Mocanita it is best to get accommodation in Viseul de Sus. The town has everything you need, from guesthouses to hotels, large restaurants, but also very small ones with delicious food. Besides these facilities, the city it is very well positioned to be an excellent starting point in visiting the whole area. From here we visited at least 10 other sights in Maramures.
Below is a selection of accommodation available in Viseul de Sus.