The Bear’s Cave

The Bear’s Cave is one of Romania’s most famous caves, discovered 40 years ago by accident when locals dynamited the area. Why is it called Bear’s Cave you ask? Because the remains of the Ursus Spelaeus were discovered inside, a bear that has been extinct for over 15,000 years (there is also a funky legend regarding a specific bear, which I’m not going to spoil- you’ll just have to see it for yourself! 🙂

stalagmites in the Bear's Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

stalagmites in the Bear’s Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

stalagmites in the Bear's Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

stalagmites in the Bear’s Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

It is located in the Western Carpathians, near the village Chiscau, in the Apuseni Natural Park. It has a total length of 1,5 kilometers, of which 521 meters have been declared a scientific reserve. The Cave has been open to the public since 1980, on a section of 488 meters, which have a total of three major galleries. Unfortunately, the tours in the early years weren’t sufficiently supervised, thus resulting in a large number of broken stalagmites and stalagtites.

stalagtites in the Bear's Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

stalagtites in the Bear’s Cave/ Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

The entrance fee to the cave costs 20 Ron for Adults (around 4 euros), and 10 Ron for children (~2 euros). Photography is an extra 15 Ron (~3 euros), and filming is an additional 25 Ron (~5 euros).  Once you pay for your entrance, they usually wait for a group to gather, since the tour has a guide who will tell you additional information about the cave. When I was there we went with a Romanian guide who was quite charming and explained in detail and with a bit of humor the most important things, so I was quite impressed (not like with the guide at Scarisoara Ice Cave).

stalagmites at Bear's Cave / Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

stalagmites at Bear’s Cave / Pestera Ursilor de la Chiscau

The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes, and you should dress up in warm clothes since the temperature down in the caves is about 10 degrees Celsius. I am a geek when it comes to everything karst-related (from dolinas to caves), so whenever there’s such a site to see in the area, I usually include it in the must-see list.

If you’re curious about what else you can visit in the area, check out Ordancusii Gorge and Ionele’s Gate Cave and Scarisoara Ice Cave. If you’re headed north you can Get to Know the Western Carpathians: Zichy Cave and Revi Falls, along with Old Man’s Cave and Izbandis Spring.

What about you? Do you like to visit caves during your travels?

Bear's Cave / Pestera Ursilor Chiscau

Bear’s Cave / Pestera Ursilor Chiscau

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