The best nature escape you can get at just half hour from Brașov, Poiana Brașov mountain resort is a great getaway at any time of year. In summer you can wander around, admiring the beautiful mountains that surround you and breathing the fresh mountain air. If you are up for a hike, you can take the path that goes to Postăvarul Peak, at 1,724 metres (5,656ft). The trail follows the ski slopes and forest roads. Once up there, take your time to admire the wonderful vistas that lay in front of your eyes.
In winter, Poiana Brașov lures winter-sports lovers that flee from all over the country to ski, snowboard and snow tube on its 20-kilometre (12.4-mile) slopes.
If you love trekking in the mountains, then you should know that near Brașov you can reach one of the best mountains in the country for hiking: Piatra Craiului Mountains. Sprinkled with rugged peaks, monumental canyons and peculiar caves, the Piatra Craiului Mountains brim with trekking and hiking paths. Among the most popular is the one that goes to Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor, one of the most spectacular gorges in the country.
The Bucegi Mountains have been endowed by Mother Nature with some quaint wonders. Two curious rock formations, namely Babele (the old ladies) and the Sphinx have been carved in the craggy rocks. If you want to go further in exploring the Bucegi Mountains, take the path that goes towards Omu Peak. The road follows narrow valleys and picturesque meadows; you might have to climb some steep slopes, but once you get up there, it’s totally worth it. Use your camera to photograph the breathtaking views and you will surely have some great photos to show to your friends.
Are you up for an adventure? Then head towards the Seven Ladder Canyon. Sited in the Piatra Mare massif, the canyon is made up of seven ladders, each one featuring a cascade, with heights of between 2.5 metres (8ft) and 15 metres (49ft). To get through the canyon, you have to cross boardwalks and bridges that make their way between crevices and cascades. Have you ever climbed steep stairs just next to a cascade? Now you can do it. And to finish your adventure, why not taking the zip line on the way back down instead of walking?
If you like climbing, bungee jumping, doing via-ferrata or zip lining, then the Râșnoavei Gorges is the perfect spot. Boasting the highest bungee setting in Europe, one of the longest zip lines in the country and unique via-ferrata trails, the gorges are a true paradise for mountain lovers. Yet, for some activities, you will need a professional with you. You can get in Râșnoavei gorges by car or by foot from the Trei Brazi Chalet in Predeal.
Located closet to Bușteni, Urlătoarea waterfall is among the most spectacular waterfalls in Romania. Sited at 1,100 metres (3,608ft) high and having a height of 15 metres (49ft), the waterfall offers an enchanting show. You can reach the waterfall by foot, from Bușteni, enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the mountains. Above the cascade, you can rest in Queen Mary’s Meadow, named after the former Romanian queen, as she allegedly stopped there on her horseback riding promenades.
The Perșani Mountains are home to the most recent volcanic activity in the country. Near the Racoș village, the Racoș volcano left behind a crater that was long-exploited. However, the area has been declared a Nature Reservation and the exploitations stopped. Nowadays, the majestic basalt columns measure 15 metres (49ft) high are forming an impressive landscape. Inside, a majestic lake has been formed, the Emerald Lake, whose waters are so-called because of their superb colour.
Discovered 60 years ago, the Valea Cetății Cave stretches over 958 metres (3143ft) and can be partially visited by tourists. The Big Hall of the cave is adorned with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites, the biggest one reaching two metres (6ft) high. From time to time, music concerts are held inside, offering the visitor an unparalleled experience. Take part in a guided tour through the cave and experience a moment in the dark, just listening to the water’s trickle. To reach it, you have to take a steep mountain path through a picturesque forest, sprinkled with benches to sit on and relax.
If you don’t mind being surrounded by small flying animals, then a visit to the Bat’s Cave is worthwhile. Located in the charming village Peștera, the cave is populated with bat colonies, some of the species being very rare. Beware of the soil as it is swampy and the walls have bat faeces. Once you get out from the dark cave, you can enjoy the green pastures of Peștera village and the surrounding forests.
Just next to Brașov, you can wander around Solomon’s Stones, monumental rocky massifs that flank a scenic valley, creating fabulous views. There is a legend about the place’s name that says King Solomon, running from his enemies, would have jumped with his horse across the valley that lies between the rocks. Allegedly, he has escaped while his adversaries fell in the gap. Nowadays, at Solomon’s Stones you can admire majestic steep walls and interesting limestone structures, have a picnic and relax.