Hiking is one of the most common forms of climbing, an activity practiced frequently by those who love the mountains. In fact, trekking can be defined as an expedition on the mountain.
Hiking is a passion for all those who love nature and adventure and want to discover the mysteries of the mountains. Not to mention that trekking has many benefits for the physical and psychological health.
Why you should consider going on a hiking tour?
- Hiking is a great opportunity to interact with nature. Expeditions on the mountain are very educational in terms of environmental protection. Hiking is an activity that differs very much from a simple trip where everything is planned. Weather conditions can influence largely the activities of travelers, but they should always be prepared.
- Hiking can be practiced by anyone, even by children who will surely love mountain adventures. It’s an activity that can be performed individually, in couple, with family or with friends. The fun is in full swing when friends meet at the mountaintop, at the cottage or around the campfire. Moreover, you can practice hiking even when traveling in foreign countries, so that you will be able to learn new things.
- Hiking is an excellent way to keep fit. While for the mind it’s a relaxing activity that eliminates stress, as a physical activity it’s very demanding. Therefore, it’s good for beginners to go on shorter hiking tours and accompanied by more experienced people.
The Carpathian Mountains are ideal for hiking tours, because you have the opportunity to encounter such magnificent landscapes, while having some quiet time, away from the “buzzing” of a city. This is why Romania is clearly becoming a very popular travel destination for those interested in hiking tours.
Here are our recommendations for the best hiking tours in Romania:
Hiking in the Bucegi Mountains
The Bucegi Mountains are mostly known fore some of the most amazing natural monuments, such as Babele and the Sphinx, but also for their proximity to the beautiful Peles Castle, which used to be the residence of the Romanian royal family.
The Bucegi Mountains are not only known for picturesque landscapes and unforgettable routes, but also their difficulty, with many hikingroutes starting in well known resorts in the Prahova Valley. Bucegi are mountains of whims, ready to reveal their beauty only to those who come prepared to face their difficulties. Before starting a hiking tour in the Bucegi Mountains, you must known three important details: the weather conditions, the exact route and accommodation options available.
One of the most accessible hiking tours in Bucegi is the one starting in Bucegi up to the Urlatoarea Waterfall, perfect for beginners and those interested in a weekend getaway in the mountains. Another route goes all the way up to the Piatra Arsa hut, for those more experienced in hiking, as well as a route passing through the Rasnov passage, up to the Diham hut.
2. Hiking in the Piatra Craiului Mountains
The Piatra Craiului mountains are not the highest mountains in Romania and not even ones with a very rich flora and fauna, but is a favorite of many lovers of mountain landscapes, jagged gaps, the variety of trails and sights, and the silence that reigns in the stone fortress of the Carpathians.
Some of the most important tourist attractions in the Piatra Craiului Mountains include Zarnestilor Keys and charming mountain villages such as Pestera and Magura. Many tourists have also the opportunity to encounter shepherds who are known for their hospitality, so you have the possibility to have lunch at a real sheepfold.
Carved in spectacular walls of rock over a length of approximately 2 km, Zarnestilor Keys are distinguished by a monumental view, due to vertical rock walls, with heights exceeding in some places 200 m. In this area, the temperature drops a few degrees because the sun doesn’t penetrate the keys hard enough, just a few hours per day, which provides the opportunity to relax and rest in the coolness offered by the keys in the summer.
3. Hiking in the Retezat Mountains
The highlight of the Retezat Mountins is, without a doubt, the Retezat National Park. Located in the Southern Carpathians, in Hunedoara County, Retezat National Park has an area of 54400 ha and an altitude between 800 and 2509 m.
The park was founded in 1935, on the initial area of 100 square kilometers of the former hunting area owned by the Royal House. The black goats were protected even then, only to be hunted afterwards, which is why at the beginning of the last century areas where grazing was banned have been established.
The park has the status of protected area of national and international interest and starting from 1979, it’s known as a biosphere reserve. Among other important species, the Retezat National Park houses 55 species of mammals (22 of which are protected by law) and offers good conditions for the survival of most important of Europe’s large carnivores (wolves and lynxes). Black goats, deer and roebucks are also well protected by the mountains. Bears now use part of the limestone massif as shelter during the winter.
4. Hiking in the Apuseni Mountains
The Apuseni Mountains are famous for the most interesting cave in Romania, and some of the most interesting in Europe, the Scarisoara cave and the glacier with the same name, as well as for the Focului Viu (Live Fire) cave and Ponorului Fortresses.
The Scarisoara Glacier cave houses the second largest underground glacier in southeast Europe. Thus, the Scarisoara Glacier is one of the most important caves in Romania. Following various studies conducted on the cave, it is believed that the age of the glacier is about 3,000 years. Because the studies were conducted in an area where the block of ice does not reach maximum thickness, it is believed that the oldest layers of ice block would have to deposit at least 4,000 years ago.
The splendid and imposing karst area in Romania, Ponorului Fortresses is located in the Apuseni Mountains, specifically in the northern part of the Bihor Mountains at about 10-15 km from the Pietroasa village. Here grow plant species that occur only in northern Europe or in the tundra. The landscape of rare beauty is complemented by several spruce trees that seem glued to the stone walls.
5. Hiking in the Fagaras Mountains
The Fagaras Mountains are now widely known for a beautiful scenic road, the Transfagarasan. The Transfagarasan is perhaps the most spectacular road in the country, and no doubt, the name comes from the fact that it crosses the Fagaras Mountains. After Transalpina, which reaches a height of 2145 m, Transfagarasan is the road that reaches 2042 m elevation. Unlike Transalpina, the Transfagarasan is fully paved. The route that unfolds the road starts in the Bascov village and passes in front of Vidraru hydroelectric, and climbs to the Poenari Fortress.
You only have to pass about three short tunnels and reach the dam. After passing the dam, you leave Lake Vidraru on the left and reach Capra waterfall and then Balea Lake. Balea tunnel is the longest tunnel in Romania, being unenlightened; it has a height of 4.4 m, width of 6 m plus a one meter sidewalk.
In winter, between November 1 to June 30, the road of between Black Peak and Balea waterfall (between kilometers 104 and 130) is closed, but not totally hidden for visitors. During this period, tourists can reach Balea by cable car. As you can see, a hiking tour in the Fagaras Mountains is quite and adventure.
There you have it, these are our top 5 recommendations for the best hiking tours in Romania. If you would like to embark on such a wonderful journey, you can book a hiking tour with us and discover all the secrets of the Carpathian Mountains.