The Carpathian Mountains are often compared with the Alps, because of the beautiful, breathtaking landscapes. Although the Carpathians are not as tall, they attract thousands of tourists each year, as they have lots of intramontane depressions and meadows where you can enjoy the view.
As far as the Romanian Carpathians goes, the tallest mountains are found in the southern part. The Bucegi Mountains are quite the tourist attraction during winter season, because it’s where most Romanians and foreigners go skiing, but exploring the Bucegi during summer time is also an adventure. Hiking is very popular, as there are plenty of beautiful hiking routes, perfect for active vacations, for those who enjoy being on the move while discovering exciting new places.
If you decide to take a hiking tour in the Bucegi Mountains, you should make sure you visit some of the most interesting natural monuments, architectural monuments and places known for their extraordinary landscapes.
Prahova Valley is one of the most visited routes in Romania, connecting Transylvania with Wallachia. The route is full of mountain resorts, which range from high class luxury spas and hotels to budget friendly motels and pensions.Prahova Valley is the valley of the river with the same name, which makes its way between mountains.
One of the mountain resorts found in the Prahova Valley is Sinaia. Sinaia served in the past as a residence for the Romanian Royal Family. The town of Sinaia was named after the Sinaia Monastery, around which it was built in 1695. The name Sinaia was inspired by the Biblical Mount Sinai. The town is located near the Bucegi Natural Park region, a region that is under strict protection and shelters natural monuments. It’s good to know that camping is allowed only in authorized and designated spaces and tourists need to follow certain protection standards.
The Peles Castle
The Peles Castle was home of the Romanian Royals family. King Carol I of Romania fell in love with the beautiful scenery, the fresh mountain air and the surroundings, so he decided to build a castle near Sinaia. The construction began in 1873. German architect Johannes Schultz as a grand palatial alpine villa, combining different styles, designed the castle.
After King Michael’s forced abdication in 1947, the Communist regime seized all property, including the beautiful Peles Castle. Fortunately, the castle was not destroyed and it was used by several Romanian cultural personalities as a retreat.
After the December 1989 Revolution, the castle was re-established as a heritage site and open to the public. About a quarter million tourists visit the Peles Castle each year, and it was even featured in the 2009 American movie “The Brothers Bloom”.
Natural monuments: Babele and the Romanian Sphinx
The most famous natural monuments in theBucegi Mountains are Babele (Old Ladies) and the Romanian Sphinx. These are natural formations of stone, formed by erosion. The monuments are made out of granite stone, which leads to various folklore tales and myths regarding how they were shaped. Nevertheless, it’s worth seeing what wonderful things nature can do.
OmuPeak is the highest mountain from the Bucegi (2.505 m). If you really want to experience having a “view from top”, it’s well worth it hiking up to the Omu Peak. Asides from the view, you will have the opportunity to spot unique plant species and rare animals’ species, such as the black Carpathian goat.
The Bran Castle
Perhaps the most famous Romanian castle of all is the Bran Castle, the legendary castle of Dracula. The castle was first mentioned in official documents in 1377, when King Louis I of Hungary gave the Saxons of Brasov the privilege to build a stone citadel on their own expense. Having a history of more than 700 years behind, the Bran Castle is worth visiting, not only to discover Dracula’s traces.
In the 1920s, the castle was the favorite home and retreat of Queen Mary of Romania.
Other tourist attractions in the Bucegi Mountains
The Bucegi Mountains have a lot to offer and anyone who’s enjoying active vacations is bound to discover at least one favorite place. Other things you could discover in the Bucegi Mountains are Ialomita cave, Urlatoarea waterfall, the Cantacuzino Castle, the Caraiman Peak or Poiana Crucii Natural Reservation.
If you would like to see all the beautiful places above or discover special places on your own, try a 2-day hiking tour in the Bucegi Mountains.