The Romanian capital has been subject over the years to many brutal transformations, but probably the most surprising is the urban delta Vacaresti – the only urban natural protected area in Europe just a 30-minute stroll from the city centre.
From an unfinished piece of urban water infrastructure abandoned in 1989, Văcărești has been reconquered by nature and wildlife without any human intervention, to become one of Romania’s most diverse ecosystems.
Following a four-year campaign led by a small but determined group of environmental activists, the government finally granted its protected area status, officially making 183-hectare Văcărești the only biggest urban nature park in Europe.
Why is it special ?
The diversity of landscapes is fascinating. The northern edge is a meadow with wild grass, nut trees, poplars and elms, but venture deeper into the park, towards the three interconnected lakes at its heart, and the vegetation becomes denser and more characteristic of wetlands: various types of willow, Johnson grass and water lilies.
Along the way you will also come across some of the 100-odd species of bird that have been spotted in Văcărești – from wild ducks to herons. With luck, you might also see a turtle or fire-bellied toad – two protected species.
The park is open for visits based on reservation only by contacting the Vacaresti Natural Park Association. For more details you can access their main page. Therefore, have fun exploring our urban delta!