The Southern Carpathians offer the highest peaks, Moldoveanu Peak (2,544 meters) and Negoiu (2,535 meters) and more than 150 glacial lakes. They have large grassland areas and some woodlands but few large depressions and subsoil resources. The region was crisscrossed by an ancient network of trans-Carpathian roads, and vestiges of the old Roman Way are still visible. Numerous passes and the valleys of the Olt, Jiu, and Danube rivers provide routes for roads and railways through the mountains.
The Retezat Mountains (literally: Hewed Mountains) are a fantastic stone “fortress” with the highest average altitude of the Romanian Carpathians range (more than 60 peaks reaching an altitude of over 2,200m, culminating with the Peleaga Peak, 2,509 m). But it is not only the height of the Retezat that impresses the visitor: here, the greatness of the glacial scenery is unique in the Romanian mountains, being adorned with the sparkling jewels of more than 80 glacial lakes. For all tourists, the Retezat are mountains of superlatives. Declared a National Park in 1935, it is a complex scientific reserve in Romania and UNESCO has included it among the natural preserves of the Biosphere. The park has over 2,000 ha that covering the glacial relief, more than 100 glacial lakes including the largest glacier lake in Romania – Bucura Lake (lacul Bucura) – 8.9 ha, situated at an altitude of 2030 m and, rare flora (mountain orchid, edelweiss, wild nut tree), valuable animal species (chamois, deer, bear, lynx, wild boar and in the clear waters of the mountain lakes and rivers, the trout).
Parang Mountains are by no means inferior to the Retezat. The Parang even surpasses the heights of Peleaga of Retezat with 10 m, as Mandra Peak (or Parangu Mare) culminates at 2,519 m. Most of the glacial lakes are situated in the upper basin of Jiu. The ridge is more compact than the one in the Retezat, while especially the Eastern section is rarely visited by tourists.
Also known as the “Transylvanian Alps”, as a 19th century traveler called them, the Fagaras are truly the highest, largest, widest, rockiest and most impressive mountain range in Romania, whether we are talking about extreme skiers, rock climbers, regular mountaineers or people interested in a nice and quiet place in the middle of the nature.
Stretching for more than 70 km from E to W, south of the main Brasov-Sibiu road, they will reveal to a daring hiker more than 20 summits at above 2000 meters, among which six offering the unique feeling of walking on the clouds, by being elevated at over 2500 m above the sea level. The mountains are peppered with more than 40 glacial lakes, the highest of which is Lake Mioarele at 2282m, Balea Lake is the widest (4,65 hectares) and Podragu Lake is the deepest (15,5 m. depth). Temperatures vary widely in between their recorded extremes (-38°C to +25°C).
The second highest road in Europa, (highest point: 2040 m. elevation), also known as the Transfagarasan, crosses these mountains from Curtea de Arges (S) to Cartisoara (N), being open between late June and October. It gives access all year round to the base stop of the cable car, which goes to Balea Lake, the sole site with skiing facilities in these mountains. Balea Lake, as well as most of the villages Northwards of the main ridge, provide best options for hiking incursions in these mountains, from easy a couple of hours hikes, to the 5-7 days long main ridge hike. Apart from the skiing or mountaineering opportunities, the Fagaras also have some outstanding cultural sites one could consider, such as Sambata Monastery, Poienari Castle (Vlad the Impaler’s real castle), Fagaras Fortress a. o.
The Bucegi mountains are located in central Romania, south of the city Brasov.
The Bucegi mountains own their fame to the spectacular landscapes and the accessibility of their routes. Well known for hiking, winter sports and climbing, these mountains are high compact blocks, edged by steep slopes which dominate the Prahova Valley (Busteni, Sinaia, Predeal) a popular land for its mountain resorts. At a higher elevation is the Bucegi Plateau, where wind and rain have turned the rocks into spectacular figures such as the Sphinx, a rock with the shape of a human-like face, with a lingering and enigmatic smile and a cluster of gigantic stone mushrooms, nicknamed Babele (the old ladies).
The landmark of Bucegi Mountains is a stunning monument that seems to watch over the entire Prahova Valley – The Heroes Cross, built between 1926 – 1928 on top of Caraiman Peak, in the memory of the heroes that died defending the country in the First World War.
The Bucegi Mountains are also known for their colorful diversity in plants. They are the most visited mountains in Romania. You can hike to the highest top, the Omu peak at 2505m and a take roundtrip through the beautiful nature reserves. Most foreign visitors are amazed about the enormous variety of wild plants and flowers all over Romania. You will find all kind of orchids, gentians, campanulas and 12% of the plants are endemic to the Carpathian Mountains.
Baiului Mountains watch over the resorts from Prahova Valley from the other side, opposite to Bucegi. The two mountains are like brothers, so close, yet so different. Secular forests wrap Baiului Mountains up with their green mantle so thick that from a distance you can only guess the mountains hidden underneath.
Piatra Craiului Mountain
Piatra Craiului – The Rock of the King – is probably Romania’s most loved mountain especially by hikers and nature lovers. It is a beautiful limestone ridge, about 25km long, from where you have superb views over the surrounding country. The shining glow of this huge white limestone ridge can be seen from afar and it is probably the source of its unusual name. Highest elevation, La Om Peak – 2244m.
The mountain ridge has the biggest bio-diversity of the country. It is a National Park. The wildlife is very divers and there is still black chamois on the high cliffs and brown bear, wild boar, deer and stag, foxes, wolf and even lynx in the forests. The Piatra Craiului Mountains are further known for the abundance and diversity of flowers and plants.
Visit: Piatra Craiului National Park