When Nature Gives You Water, Make a Beach

A new beach surfaced overnight in the county of Bihor – no less than 800 kilometers far from the Romanian seashore. How did this happen, and why is this place compared to Thailand‘s Railay Beach?

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Suncuius Beach in Romania in the heart of the apuseni mountains
Suncuius Beach in Romania - in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. Photo: Adi Seres / stock.adobe.com

You may have heard of Romania’s heavy winters, with snow piling up to no end and temperatures reaching as low as -38°C – but that’s nothing compared to Romanian summers. Heatwaves, scorching sun, and temperatures up to 40°C characterize your summer months here. It is no wonder people would do anything to cool down, even if that meant bringing the beach over or making one from scratch.

Yes, you’ve heard that right. For the people of Bihor, one of Romania’s westernmost counties, crossing over the country to reach Romania’s coastline (which is, by the way, located 813 kilometers away) is not always an easy thing to do. What proved to be easier was to bring the beach over. And so, in 2017, a new beach appeared in Romania, one that many publications were quick to compare to Thailand’s Railay beach.

Can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to you

It happened in Șuncuiuș, one of Bihor’s most renowned commons. The region is appreciated for the Crișul Repede River, its mountainous rocks and green fields, and for hosting numerous caves, among which include Romania’s longest. Five years ago, Șuncuiuș gave people a new reason to be visited: a beach. But how and why did this beach appear, out of nowhere, in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains?

It was all the idea of one man, the owner of one of the multiple lodgings around the region. Passionate about climbing and going on mountain trails, he wanted to offer people a place to relax after an exhausting activity, be it rafting, alpinism, speleology expeditions, or just a long day in the sun. And so came to life Bihor’s first ever, one and only beach located at the foot of the mountains.

Calm waters and blue skies ahead

The high rocks are not only fun to climb, but they’re not bad on the eyes either. Because of them, the beach soon gained notoriety for its beauty. The great stones surrounding Crișul Repede River have given the Șuncuiuș beach an international appeal, many comparing it to the Railay Beach in Krabi, Thailand. And the resemblance is quite uncanny. Fine sand, refreshing waters, and, most importantly, enormous stones contribute to the similarity between the two. The beach is suitably decorated to fit the needs of any beach enthusiast: umbrellas, folding chairs, and hammocks, all so that you can experience the perfect day at the beach – in the mountains.

On Șuncuiuș Beach, you can enjoy the sun, the water, and the earth, all in one. The Apuseni Mountains are Romania’s most cave-rich area; the Crișul Repede River provides the most courageous visitors great opportunities to go rafting or kayaking, and, if you’re tired after a long day or simply wish to relax, the beach has been made for this exact purpose. And worry not, for the fun does not go down with the sun. Gather your friends and warm up around the campfire and enjoy the clear mountain sky.

If the Romanian coastline, or Thailand, is on your bucket list for next summer, make sure you give Șuncuiuș a chance for an all-inclusive experience. After all, you know what they all say, a mountain tan lasts longer than a beach tan. Plus, where else could you find caves, rock climbing, tanning, swimming – and much more – all in one place, other than Șuncuiuș, Romania?

Naomi Gherman

Master student in Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations at Babeș-Bolyai University, eager to share more about our world's most fascinating stories and people. Romania-based reader, writer and content creator with a strong interest in journalism, foreign languages and politics.

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