Cosau Valley

The Cosau River is 15 kilometers in length and it flows into the waters of Mara river. On this valley are some of the least visited and undisturbed villages in all of the region, but which display some of the most impressive Maramures style gates.


The village is 24 kilometers from Vadu Izei. Budesti was first mentioned in a document by King Ludovic “the Great” in 1368.

Budesti has two wooden churches. Both are excellent representations of the architecture of Maramures. The church in the lower part of the village was built entirely of oak in 1643 and named for St. Nicholas. A specific characteristic of this church is its tower. The main tower is surrounded by four smaller towers which were built in a gothic style unique to architecture from Maramures. This church also keeps the chain mail jersey and helmet of legendary outlaw Pintea “Viteazul” (“The Brave”), the Romanian version of Robin Hood. These articles were left here after the flight of the Tartars in 1717. The interior paintings of this church are very expressive. The decoration of the alter is reminiscent of Catalonian paintings from between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The beauty of the glass and wooden icons complete the harmony of this splendid church.


This village is 20 kilometers from Vadu Izei. Its existence was first documented in 1405. Sarbi’s upper church was built of oak in 1532. The paintings on this church’s interior are of rare beauty. There is also a fantastic series of icons on wood painted by Radu Munteanu in the eighteenth century.

The lower church erected in 1665 was also made of oak. It was originally built next to the site of an old monastery, destroyed in the Tartars last raid on Maramures in 1717. The interior painting in the church is barely visible from smoke and time, but the collection of icons is still well preserved.

Ocna Sugatag

Ocna Sugatag sits atop the hill which separates the Mara Valley from the Cosau Valley only 10 kilometers from Vadu Izei. The community dates back to 1360 when the main occupation here was salt mining. Thus the name of the village, “ocna,” meaning salt mine. Today, Ocna Sugatag is a popular health spa which stands out through its hot or cold salty baths and the lake formed when the salt mine collapsed.