At the end of August, we were in the mood for a salty bath and heard that Sovata changed for the better in the past few years. So, we went there to check whether the myth according to which this resort is a place for pensioners with communist hotels and nothing interesting to do is still valid.
From Cluj, Sovata can be reached by car (in two hours and a half) or by bus (in 3 hours). The road is pretty good. Buses usually leave you at a gas station on the national road, a few kilometers from the resort. From there, we shared a taxi along with other tourists.
Our accommodation was on the upper side of the resort, at a nice guesthouse on the edge of the forest. The city looks a lot better than in the ’90s when we’ve seen it last time. Big investments were made for renovation and modernization, from EU and local funds – many hotels and new premises were built, old hotels were renovated. The streets are clean, neat and with lots of flowers. It looks like a small town in Hungary!
The resort is full year round. Most of the population are Hungarian, but there are also Romanian owners of restaurants and accommodation units. Tourists come here from all over the country, but lately the location is very popular in the Republic of Moldova and Hungary. Prices are higher than the rest of the Szeklerland, but the conditions are better.
A Hungarian company took over several communist hotels as well as Ursu Lake and renovated them quite nicely. But they have high prices, tourist packages are for the Hungarians with money from the neighbouring country. Nevertheless, there are enough more affordable alternatives. We also took a bath in this lake, which is the largest and most famous of the resort. It’s weird how the bathing in the lake is allowed only with mandatory breaks after a few hours, and at noon you can’t leave the location without paying the entrance again if you want to return. Probably the system is designed to force you to eat at their restaurant, which is expensive.
The water is not as salty as in other places, there are ducks that live here and swim among the tourists. But even for those who can’t o swim, it’s safe to go across the lake, because the water keeps you on the surface. Also, the water is cooler than the tourist presentations say. But it is a place to be checked for anyone who comes to Sovata.
The next day, we went to try a newly built place: the Black Lake (Lacul Negru). Here, the water is brown, extracted from the lake with the same name and heated. It’s a very cool place to relax! Prices are decent, both for the entrance and for food.
In Sovata there are 6 salty lakes, 2 sweet and one swampy marsh. Recently, a project has been completed through which alleys have been built through the forest, between all these lakes. You can walk around entire miles here in good conditions, with stops that have benches and belvedere points. In addition, a high tower from where you can see the whole area has been built.
All of this, plus the camping near Paraschiva Lake and the touristic routes you can take in the area, as well as the proximity to Praid (which can be reached in half an hour and has a newly renovated swimming pool) have increased the attractiveness of the resort for young people. There are also places that have music in the evenings (generally live, pop or folk music), but this will probably change in time, to match the tastes of younger tourists.
Besides a lot of bathing and walking around, we spoiled ourselves with the traditional langos pies and kurtos kalacs, tested different restaurants, licked a small “mountain of salt”, took pictures and watched the stars on the cradle behind our pension, listening to the rustle of the trees.
We returned to Cluj by bus but changed it in Târgu Mureş this time, because it was more convenient this way.
It was a restful and relaxing mini-holiday that we recommend to you!