Sfanta Ana Lake – The Only Crater Lake In Romania

Sfanta Ana Lake – The Only Crater Lake In Romania

Saint Anne Lake (Romanian: Lacul Sfânta Ana): the only lake in Romania that formed in the crater of an extinct volcano. As a Romanian girl, I found out about Saint Anne Lake at an early age, in my Geography classes, but because as a child I didn’t get to travel too much, I never got to see it, but that changed last year, when I planned to spend Easter in Balvanyos, a resort only 25 km away from the lake. If you’re thinking about visiting it too, here’s what you need to know about it:

Saint Anne Lake location

The lake is located in the Carpathians Mountains, in Ciomatu Mare massif and is part of Natural Reserve of Mohoș. Because of its genesis, location and characteristics, Saint Anne is among the lakes with the biggest reputation in Romania.

A rare wonder of nature

Although Romania has a whole range of extinguished volcanoes, Saint Anne is the country’s only lake that formed in a volcano crater. It’s also one of the few volcanic lakes in Europe.

Saint Anne Lake formed in the crater of a now extinct volcano.
Saint Anne Lake formed in the crater of a now extinct volcano.

The volcano with twin craters

It’s uniqueness is all the more extraordinary given that the former volcano on which the lake is located has two twin craters. The second crater also had a lake in the past, but it changed over time in a peat bog, with a very particular ecosystem – Mohoș Peat Bog (Romanian: Tinovul Mohoș).

Water and air

The lake’s water is so pure that it’s very similar to distilled water. The explanation resides in the fact that the lake is not fed by any streams, but only by rainfall, therefore no minerals are added constantly. The air around the whole area is very cool, crisp and pure and is charged with negative ions, which has positive effects on the nervous system and the general breathing capacity.

Flora and fauna

A very interesting fact is that the lake itself does not sustain life, because there is no oxygen in the water, but the surrounding areas are boasting all types of life forms. It’s worth mentioning that the forests are among the few places in Europe where you can actually see bears in the wilderness. Therefore, you should be very careful in you plan on doing some hiking trails or if you want to camp overnight. And by the way, if you plan to also visit Mohoș Peat Bog (which you totally should), you’ll find yourself surrounded by many species of rare plants, including carnivorous, poisonous and hallucinogenic. A very good example of how nature can be both beautiful and dangerous at the same time.

Today a lake, tomorrow a swamp

Like I previously said, the lake is not fed by any streams. This type of lake is called “a closed lake”. Because the volume of water added each year is less than the volume of water that is evaporating, the depth of Saint Ann Lake is constantly decreasing. In 1867 it was 12 meters, but now it is less than 7 meters. It is believed that in the future it will become a swamp, just like Mohoș Peat Bog. Come see it while it lasts!


There are many legends associated with the lake, but I have a favorite one. It is said that a long time ago, there were fairies living in the water. Why fairies? Because mermaids are overrated, that’s why. So back to the story, the lake fairies came out of the water at night and danced. They had a problem with the bell from the nearby church though, so they convinced a young man to steal it, promising a big reward. After the deed was done, the fairies drowned the man and many others after him. One day, another young man came to the lake and kissed one of the fairies, and her magic powers vanished. The fairy married the young man and they stole back the church bell. When it rang again, all the fairies were turned into fish. Don’t know why fish, since the lake hasn’t got any, but… Oh well, precisely this lack of logic makes this legend my favorite.

Sign for the Saint Anne Chapel, the catholic church mentioned in the legend.
Sign for the Saint Anne Chapel, the catholic church mentioned in the legend.

If this sounds like your type of vacation, you should consider a trip to Sain Anne Lake.


So are you a fan of spending time in nature? What do you think about Lake Saint Anne? Time to share your thoughts with all of us in the comment section below!

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