Hiking through the crater landscape
Mud volcanoes are actually a rather rare phenomenon, so don't miss this natural highlight. Although the volcanic cones are only 1-8 meters in size, they are less fearsome than their fire-spitting relatives. In addition, the absence of heat allows you an extensive hike through the crater landscape, which invites you because of the absence of larger vegetation, as it gives you a boundless view. If you are planning a walk like this, you should always take a pair of rubber boots with you, because if the miniature volcanoes spew a lot of mud, the whole bottom of the nature reserve can be covered with it.
Day tour with lots of variety
A trip to the area around Berca is worthwhile in any case. So you can immediately choose between two volcanoes, because in both Paclele Mari and Paclele Mici you can find specimens of the mud volcanoes. After you have visited the nature reserve, you can make your day trip even more varied and visit the monastery of Ciolanu on the way through Buzău towards Magura. Otherwise, the surroundings are also an artistic highlight, as there are sculptures of Romanian artists spread over the whole landscape. In addition, the area is also recommended for hikers, so there should be enough variety for you here.
Nature reserve at Berca
The area around Berca in the Romanian district of Buzau has been known for its mud volcanoes for almost 150 years. These were first seen by the French-born H. Cognard, who originally drilled for oil in the region and discovered this small natural phenomenon. The area and the miniature volcanoes were then studied in detail until the Berca area was finally declared a nature reserve in 1924. This is distributed over a total of 30 km² and therefore has a wonderful landscape to offer in addition to the mud volcanoes.
Emergence of sludge volcanoes
The actual emergence of the mud volcanoes near Berca has not much to do with the generally known volcanoes and their hot lava, because the variant settled here is definitely more peaceful. In general, the mud volcanoes are formed by small gas eruptions under the earth, which bring mud and water accumulations to light with the rising air. Some of these come from depths up to 3000 meters and transport clay soil and groundwater upwards accordingly, so that the small sludge explosions for which the area has been known for so long ultimately occur on the surface. Once in the air, the mud dries gradually to form craters and cones that are distributed over the entire landscape. Although the surroundings are beautiful to look at, there is no possibility for green plants to thrive here. As the sludge also brings sulphur and salt water to the ground, they completely extinguish the breeding ground for many plant species. However, plants such as Nitrariaceae can blossom here, as this shrub is very robust and can therefore withstand the unfavourable conditions.
How to get there
You first leave the city via Strada Ștrandului, which you follow for about 1.7 km and then change to DN1B and follow it for about 56 km. Then turn left onto the 203G in the direction of Merei. Behind it you keep to the right and reach DJ205, where you will stay for about 10 km. Then you reach DN10, from which you turn right after another 10 km onto Strada 1 Decembrie (DJ102F) and thus reach Berca. From here you follow the Strada Valea Lupului and turn right onto the DC108 shortly before Scorțoasa, where you stay until you reach the mud volcanoes.
You first drive out of the city via the Bulevardul Dorobanților (DN22B) and get to the DN2B via Șoseaua Buzăului . Keep on this road for about the next 95 km and then turn left onto Șoseaua Brăilei . You now cross Buzău and then change to DN10, which you follow for the next 17 km. Via the right turnoff to Strada 1 Decembrie (DJ102F) you finally reach Berca. From here you follow the Strada Valea Lupului and turn right onto the DC108 shortly before Scorțoasa, where you stay until you reach the mud volcanoes.
You first leave the city to the south and stay on the Bulevardul Unirii. After this you change directly to DN2, which you follow for the next kilometers. Shortly before Buzău, keep right and change to DJ203K in the direction of Lopătari. You keep going along the river and finally reach Berca. From here you follow the Strada Valea Lupului and turn right onto the DC108 shortly before Scorțoasa, where you stay until you reach the mud volcanoes.