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A salty bath in Cojocna

For those who don’t know, Cojocna is a commune twenty-something kilometers away from Cluj, with some salty lakes formed after the collapse of a mine. Salt is exploited in several places from this area since the Roman times.

It’s easy to get here exiting Cluj-Napoca towards Dej, turning right from Apahida on a secondary road that’s really bumpy. By car, it’s about a half an hour drive. There are buses too, but rare, maybe twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. The interior parking lot is quite small, so many drivers park their cars on the streets near the entrance.

The place was renovated in 2010 with big EU money, but the investment doesn’t seem to justify what meets the eye – part of the amenities had already degraded. One of the lakes looks more like a pool, and the other one is more natural-looking. There are practically just some wooden pontoons around them. Parts of the margins of the second lake are collapsing.

The showers only have cold water, the solar panels installed there don’t seem to work. Part of the shops are closed. There is a terrace with mici and beer and a restaurant that only serves a daily set menu. The prices are ok. There is little space to lay blankets or beach towels and the sand looks like it was brought from a construction site, it’s not beach sand.

Instead, the water is very nice. It’s warm and extremely salty. If it gets in your eyes, it burns like hell and you have to get out of the lake to wash them with normal water. The lakes are tens of meters deep, but there’s no chance of drowning because the water keeps you on surface even if you don’t move at all. There are also some small, red-ish, weird creatures in the water that have somehow adapted to this saline environment.

Many of those who come here are older people, attracted by the alleged healing properties of the water. But it is really a place for all ages if you’re looking for water fun and relaxation. It’s not a typical pool with music, entertainment and people that jump into the water, it feels more like an outdoor spa.

Although this commune claims to be a resort, there are only a few accommodation options, and besides the salty lakes, there’s nothing to do here. Despite the fact that the amenities are quite modest, we like to come here sometimes. If you’ve never been to Cojocna, it’s worth a visit, even for an afternoon if you are in Cluj, because it’s very close to the city.

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