- Banat (West Romania)
The Banat region is located in western Romania sharing a border with Serbia. It is predominantly a mountainous region, and home to a number of national parks. The capital of Banat is Timisoara, a multicultural city with a variety of influential minorities including Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, Italians, Bulgarians, and Greeks.
The Danube River runs through the region creating one of the greatest gorges in Europe where cliffs scale to over 50 metres in height– the ‘Iron Gate’. The gorge lies between Romania and Serbia in the south. Here, the river separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains.
The region also boasts a number of large lakes including:
- Dracului Lake (Devil’s Lake),
- Ochiul Bei Lake and
- “Baia Vulturilor” (Eagles’ Bath) Lake
The Danube and the Great Lakes provide an abundance of underground waters and thermo-mineral springs. Most notable is the Baile Herculane spa, considered one of the most famous in Europe and known for its curative effects. Other springs exist in Mehadica-Cuptoare and Oravita-Ciclova.
Over 20% of the region includes more than 50 protected natural areas. The main parks are The Nera’s Gorges – Beusnita National Park, The Semenic National Park – the Carasului Gorges, The Domogled – Cernei Valley National Park and The Iron Gates Natural Park.
The landscape of Banat is dominated by the forest steppe and alpine areas home to a range of wildlife including the land turtle, royal and white eagles, various breeds of owl, small egret, cliff partridge, cliff house martin, small house martin, red swallow, bat, lynx and bear. The forests and lowlands are rich with an interesting variety of flora including poplars, willow trees, beech trees, fluffy oak, hornbeam, wild lilac, hair grass, mountain pinks, juniper and bilberry bushes.
The climate is continental with summer temperatures averaging 20 ºC (68 ºF).
Connecting flights are available from the UK with a number or airlines, usually via Budapest.