From London, expect 2200km,24 hours drive. Only to be done if you have the time to enjoy the journey,have plenty of stops and take it leisurely. Things are smooth until yo get to Budapest,then roads become slower and more dangerous. Once in Romania, best if you drive daytime only. Roads are poor and accident-prone.
Maramures is one the best kept Europe's secrets, the place where the time hasn't moved for decades, a place where the traditions, the wooden art and the human kindness are well preserved.
Close to the Ukrainian border, Maramures covers 3381 sq km of valleys, beautiful villages, hills and mountains (up to 2303 m high). On this small surface are preserved over 100 wooden churches (8 of them listed on UNESCO list), a natural reserve also protected by UNESCO, about 60 villages and small towns, the only narrow gauge industrial steam train still in use in Europe, and many other attractions.
The wooden churches (protected by UNESCO) in Bârsana, Budeşti, Deseşti, Ieud, Plopiş/Siseşti Commune, Poienile Izei, Rogoz/Târgu Lăpuş and Şurdeşti/Siseşti Commune, erected between XVI-XVIII centuries, in "Maramures gothic style" and painted hundreds of years ago.
The Merry Cemetery in Sapanta, unique in the world, famous for its colourful tombstones with native paintings describing, in an original and poetic manner, the persons that are buried there as well as scenes from their lives, today an worldwide known tourist attraction.
The tallest wooden church in the world (78 m high, erected at Sapanta, between 1995-2003).
Pietrosu Rodnei Natural Reserve, UNESCO listed since 1979, established in 1932, part of the "Rodna Mountains National Park", protecting edelweiss, gentians, marmots, chamois, etc.
Maramures Mountains Natural Park, the largest and wildest in Romania, covering 1480 sq km, protecting 1260 plant species, bears, wolves, lynxes, etc.
Breb, village adopted by the HMS Prince of Wales (he bought there three old wooden houses).
Sarbi Village, group of water powered machines (fuiling and watermills, thresher, alcohol distilleries, whirlpools).
Budesti Village, the best preserved traditional Maramures settlement.
Horses Waterfall (Cascada Cailor), located at Baie Borsa. You can go up by the ski lifts (operating in the summer as well), and visit it with a short walk (approx 15-20 min).
Textile Study Tour, . Active Holidays organizes a Textile Study Tour in the Maramureș region, which gives tourists the chance to experience specific Romanian embroidery, wool spinning and much more from the region. Tourists are taken to homes where people are still using the looms, and even dyeing their own wool using natural dyes, made from plants, leaves, roots. Apart from visiting Romanian homes where such practices are still live today, participants will have the opportunity to wash and comb the wool, get it ready in yarns, gather plants that will be used for dyeing the wool themselves, spun threads from yarn, practice weaving and take home their own work, and last but not least to make different lace patterns. Alternative activities are offered for spouses not interested in textile work and visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites are included in the package as well.edit
Wooden Culture Tour, . Characteristic for Maramures are the beautiful sculpted wooden gates, the colorful traditional costumes, still worn, and the peaceful, hectic-free life of the people, a piece of lost Paradise. The first attraction of the tour will be Sibiu and the Bruckenthal Museum, followed by Surdeşti Wooden Church and Rohia Monastery, the Jolly Cemetery and Sighet (including a visit to the prison where important politicians and personalities were imprisoned by communists). The Iza Valley with the famous wooden churches, a ride on the newly refurbished steam powered train leads through the big forests will leave you breathless. The tour will end with a tour around Sighisoara's medieval citadel. The whole itinerary and other details can be accessed at the link above.edit
The locals are very friendly and welcoming,they are proud of their traditions and happy that you will take an interest in them. To make the best of Maramures, arrange accomodation in local houses and have local guides. You will be well looked after.
Maramures is getting away from it all,stepping back in time and relaxing, but if you feel like an evening out head for Mirage Resort in Viseu. Various other hotels(pensiune) have sprang up in recent years, for the best follow local advice.