The Green Arrow (Ro: Săgeata Verde) has been in operation in (current) Western Romania between 1906 and 1991. Originally there were three sectors on the route: Arad – Ghioroc, Ghioroc – Pâncota, and Ghioroc- Radna. Today, the only line left is the one connecting Arad to Ghioroc and is the only suburban tram line still working in Romania.
I was 11 at the time of the final journey so, for me, the tails of the Green Arrow have come via my parents and grandparents. They knew of it and have traveled on it. Me, not so much. When I saw the announcement that a refurbished historical wagon was going to take tourists on a day trip to Ghioroc, I literally jumped to the occasion and made a reservation for the first open date I could find!
How to book the ticket
On the website, click the “Book a ticket” button and fill in your name, email, and phone number. Currently, you cannot pay for the ticket at the time of reservation (payment is on the spot, after you board). You will get an email confirming the reservation.
Also, on the Friday before your trip – trains only run on Sundays until Oct 1, with hopes to extend this over the winter – you will get an email with the details (where to go to board, at what hour, etc). On the morning of your trip, you will get a text message on your phone. Yes, they are this well-organized! I loved it!
How much it costs and what’s included
The 20 lei / 5 USD includes:
- one way trip on the Green Arrow from Maximiliam stop (Kaufland Micalaca) to Ghioroc
- guided visit of the Green Arrow Museum in Ghioroc
- wine tasting
- guided visit of the Vineyard and Wine Museum in Ghioroc
- return on the regular tram (number 11)
- guides for the entire tour
The departure is at 9 a.m. and the return is on the 1:20 pm regular tram. You may stay longer to sunbathe and catch any of the other trams back as the ticket is valid for the entire day.
When I saw the price, I couldn’t believe how many things have been included. The Green Arrow museum has opened in 2006 but I have never made it; whereas the Wine Museum has been on my radar since the early 2000 but it has never been open when I was there.
Since we live about 30 min walk from the departure station and we left home around 8 a.m., we opted for the tram and got there way before the departure hour. The group started to gather and soon enough our guide, Dan also showed up and talked a bit about the boarding and how the ride would be.
He also mentioned that the guys from Arad Free Tours would be joining them soon. What does it mean to you? Guidance in English, French, and Hungarian is possible. So don’t be afraid to ask for them!
We boarded and left shortly after 9 a.m. While this is a special ride with no “regular stops” to pick up passengers, we did stop at the Arrow’s stop. And yes, some of those original rail stations still exist!
It takes about 45 min to get from Arad to Ghioroc. The same amount of time it took back in 1906. During the ride, Dan was talking to us about the Green Arrow and answering all of our crazy questions.
The first stop was the Green Arrow Museum where the village’s Mayor met us and… turned into our guide for the rest of the trip. And may I say what a fun and lovely guide he was! We proceeded to see some old Green Arrows in various stages of…life (or decay). And I loved that we were allowed to literally go everywhere, as long as we didn’t hurt ourselves. Yes, we got a bit dirty.
In a separate building, where they used to carry the operation of the three sectors, there was another exhibit and also the wine tasting. Luckily they served some cheese and a local snack (bread with pork lard and paprika) so that I didn’t get…that tipsy. I tried 5 wines (and by try I mean drank several good sips of each…) and I felt dizzy enough to want to go out in air and drink a ton of water. Ooops. (I didn’t eat in the morning before leaving home). Oh and we also bought wine for home.
From here we boarded the Green Arrow again and went to the Mushroom (Ro: Ciuperca). It is a building right in the middle of the village, known as the Mushroom because of its shape. It was where the three lines met and travelers could change trains to get to their destination. Nowadays, historical photos adorn the exterior walls and apparently, the interior has been refurbished too (but we didn’t visit). After a history lesson from the Mayor, we walked to the Wine yard and wine museum (300 m walk) where one of the engineers met us and he talked about the history of wine making, tools, diseases, types of wines, awards, and so on.
Quick potty break and we were off to the center of the village to catch the tram back to Arad (it departs from near the Mushroom, where else?). We had time to buy some cold water and a coffee to go.
Sixty-five minutes later we made it to Podgoria (the original departure station from Arad).
Check out our video from the trip:
What you should know
While the Mayor was amazing and offered cold water as soon as we got to the wine tasting part, do remember that summers are hot in Western Romania so a water bottle is a must. Or at least buy half a liter of water per person before you set off (after all, you depart from in front of a store).
You won’t be doing too much walking but you will be walking up hill/downhill a bit so try to avoid high heels. Flat sandals are fine. Walking shoes are a good choice, too.
The Mayor was kind enough to offer a ride to those who wanted to go lounge in the sun at the local lake so speak up if that’s your plan. The plan for the future is to add a mini-bus or a tourist train for this purpose. Should you opt to go sunbathing, there are places to eat.