Romania is increasing in popularity as a trekking destination in Europe, and this is due tot the fact that tourists have plenty of things to see while climbing the Carpathian Mountains. The diversity of the plants, animals, birds and interesting natural sights is impressive, which should come as no surprise since Romania has no less than 14 national parks spread all over the country.
The list of natural parks also includes the Danube Delta, but now we’re focusing on national parks in mountain regions, as they are the majority and are less known by foreign tourists who travel to Romania. Therefore, if you love spending time in nature, here are some of the most beautiful national parks in Romania that you should definitely visit.
Retezat National Park
The park includes 20,000 hectares of nature reserve with over 1,000 plant species, of which about 100 are endemic, meaning they can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. The park also includes more than 20 peaks higher than 2,000 meters and about 100 lakes. The glacial lakes and the deepest lake in the country are all here. This whole landscape is characterized by a heavy silence covered by the chirping of over 180 species of humming birds and dozens of waterfalls. Retezat National Park is exceptional, with unique landscapes. The feeling of wilderness and unspoiled nature make this place seem unreal, like cut out of fairytale books.
Animals such as bears, wolves and lynxes, chamois, deer, pigs or rabbits are just some of the creatures that romp in an ideal habitat, in valleys studded with caves and potholes.
Rodnei Mountains National Park
The park, which spans on 46,000 hectares, of which 3,000 are declared biosphere reserve, is home to the most impressive relief from Rodnei Mountains, with numerous peaks exceeding 2,000 meters high. Inside the park are dozens of glacial lakes and rich alpine and sub alpine flora specific areas with many rare species.
A rich fauna is also represented, with specimens of brown bear, deer, lynx, mountain eagles, chamois or mountain grouse. Moreover, the park hosts rarities such as the bison or the yew tree. Area attractions include high peaks of over 2,000 meters, the daffodil meadow – unique in the world, the Blue Spring of Iza, Horses waterfall, Aries Valley and the lakes: Lala, Iezer, Stiol and Buhaiescu.
Calimani National Park
The park covers 24,000 hecare and includes three natural reserves, the largest volcanic crater in Romania, a natural tree – mix of spruce and zambru unique in Romania and very rare in Europe – rare vegetation and fauna. The three reserves in this park are the Scientific Reserve with juniper trees and pinus cembra trees, unique in the country and very rare in Europe, Iezer Lake Reserve and the Geological Reserve 12 Apostles, all covered by a scrub of mountain ash, wild rose, hawthorn and hazel. The rich fauna includes bears, deer, lynx, badgers and wild cats.
Among the attractions to be visited there is Vatra Dornei.The resort is a starting point for those visiting the area. Other attractions are the Red Rocks, 12 Apostles Peak and the Tihu waterfall.
Nera Keys National Park
It covers 36,000 hectares and it’s home to six nature reserves. The landscape has heights between 600 and 1,000 meters and it’s covered by dense forests. Here inhabit bears, the Carpathian deer, wild boars, otters, badgers, rock martens and other creatures, in an environment untouched by man.
The extremely rich flora is represented through over 100 species with their subspecies. The protected area preserves many species of fauna and historical cultural resources. Near the park, there were discovered traces of the Cro-Magnon man, with an estimated age of 42,000 years.
Nera National Park is characterized by karst lakes such as Ochiul Beiului and Iacul Dracului, the Beusnita, Bigar and Susara waterfalls, and caves such as Plopa, Ponor, Dubova and Boilor Cave.
Park visitors have the opportunity, in addition to the mentioned sightseeing, to practice ecotourism and hike on marked trails, rafting on the river Nera, climbing on especially designated routes, cycling on forest roads or practice spelunking in the caves in the area.
Bicazului Keys National Park
On an area of 6,500 hectares, the park hosts over 1,000 higher plants, some of which are unique in the world, natural monuments, “Lady Slipper”, the only mountain climatic resort and about 5 kilometers of keys. 95% of the area is covered by forests of spruce in which inhabit yellow-bellied toads, vipers and snakes, chamois, bears, wolves and the Carpathian deer, as well as birds such as the woodpecker. Among the attractions that you should visit are: Red Lake resort, the Munticelu cave, the Hasmasu Mare peak and the Lonely Rock. Hiking enthusiasts have the opportunity to choose one of the 18 hiking trails created in the park.
There are the most popular national parks in Romania and some of the most beautiful in Europe, but it’s also possible to visit other natural reservations as well during exciting hiking tours. Find out more about the attractions included in our active tours, or book a tour in Romania to discover what else there is to see in our country.