Hiking is the best way to discover the beauty of Romanian mountains. We’ve rounded up the best hiking trails in the Carpathian Mountains to include in your next trip to the country.
While Bucharest is perfect for a city break, hiking in the Carpathian Mountains will allow you to breathe the freshest air, take in the picturesque views and enjoy the surprising wild nature Romania has to offer. Follow our recommendations and always remember to check the exact route you are planning to take, the best accommodation options available, as well as to be up-to-date with the weather conditions.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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Bușteni – Urlatoarea Waterfall in Bucegi Mountains
With their stunning views, Bucegi Mountains (2,505 m / 8218 ft) are some of the most popular with hikers. Most trekking routes start in the resorts that dot the Prahova Valley, such as Sinaia, famous for one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, the iconic Peleș Castle.
The hiking route to Urlatoarea Waterfall starts in Bușteni, another popular resort, home to the Cantacuzino Palace, a must-visit architectural landmark. The route, which is perfect for beginners, takes around one hour, but if you go slowly and stop to enjoy the views, you can easily give it half a day. Other beautiful routes in the area are those to Piatra Arsă cabin and the trail passing through the Râșnov Passage to Diham Cabin.
Piatra Craiului Mountains
The Piatra Craiului Mountains (2,244 m / 7362 ft) offer a variety of hiking routes as well as beautiful sights with rugged peaks and picturesque mountain villages. The highlight of the trails are Zărneștilor Keys, a spectacular two kilometer long passage carved in rock as high as 200 meters. The mountain villages of Măgura and Peștera, nestled between the hills, are perfect for experiencing the locals’ hospitality as well as delicious traditional food. If you happen to pass a sheepfold, go greet the shepherds and get yourself invited to a lunch with bulz and other delicacies.
Apuseni Mountains (1849 m / 6066 ft) offer stunning views and over 400 caves. One of the most interesting of them, Peștera Urșilor, translated as Bears’ Cave, was named after the 140 cave bear skeletons discovered there, still on display. One of the natural wonders of Romania, Scărișoara Cave, is home to a 3,000 old glacier with a volume of 75000 cubic meters.
For a weekend of hiking, start at Stâna de Vale Cabin and continue the trail until Adăpostul Padiș. It takes around six hours to hike along the 20 kilometer route. Next day, from Adăpostul Padiș you can hike to Scărișoara Cabin. Set aside around seven hours for about the same distance.
Very popular with hikers, Făgăraș Mountains (2,544 m / 8346 ft) are located in the heart of Romania. A spectacular trail runs from Bâlea Waterfall to Bâlea Lake. Expect to spend five hours hiking along the 10 kilometer route. For a lighter hike, try the three hour route from Capra Cabin to Capra Lake, and you will also get to see Capra Waterfall, located at 1,690 meters.
The Retezat Mountains are dotted with over 80 glacial lakes and are home to the Retezat National Park, a biosphere reserve which includes 55 species of mammals, including wolves, lynxes, black goats, deer, roebucks and bears.
One of the most picturesque hiking trails is that of the glacial lakes. Start from Bucura Lake, the biggest in the massif, which is fueled by five springs and covers nine hectares. You will have the chance to admire seven lakes, including Florica, Viorica, Analia, Tăul Porţii and Bucurel. Very accessible for beginners, this hiking trail can be completed in around three hours, selfie time included.
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