Prahova Valley (Romanian: Valea Prahovei) is the valley where the Prahova river makes its way between the Bucegi and the Baiu Mountains, in the Carpathian Mountains. It is a tourist region, situated about 100 km north of the capital city of Bucharest.
Geographically, the Prahova river separates the Eastern Carpathians chain from the Southern Carpathians. Historically, the corridor was the most important passage way between the principalities of Wallachia and Transylvania. The present DN1 road, linking Bucharest with the city of Braşov and the future A3 will be built along the Prahova Valley.
As it is quite close to Bucharest, and event closer to Brasov, the road of the Prahova Valley became a major tourist attraction for many inhabitants of these cities. It was not always like that. In fact this area developed quite late when compared with other areas of Romania. It was certified for the first time in the 16th century. Probably a major turning point in the history of this road was recorded in 1695 when Mihail Cantacuzino built the Monastery of Sinaia. Because of the repeted Turkish invasions more and more people settled down in this narrow valley. The Austrians who controlled Transylvania and Brasov cut the first road towards Sinaia in the 19th century. Later on the first king of Romania, Carol I, decided to build his summer residence at Sinaia which was another turning point in the history of the Prahova Valley. From this moment the road became a major tourist destination, a place of the famous landlords or important businessmen of the time, many of them building here expensive estates or real castles such as the Cantacuzino Castle from Busteni.
The communists are the one who built the first large hotels along the valley, especially in Sinaia. Also the first ski slopes were open in Sinaia, Azuga and Predeal. The most impressive part of the road is to be found between Sinaia and Azuga as the Bucegi Mountains reveal their tall craggy cliffs.
At the present the road of the Prahova Valley is a Mecca of the Romanian tourism. Beside the Peles Castle, the Sinaia Monastery, the Prahova Valley boasts the longest cable car in Romania, hundreds of hiking trails, camping places, the Cantacuzino Castle, the Azuga Winery, sky slopes and many others.
The region is a popular destination for mountaineers and for winter sports fans. The most important resorts are:Predeal, Azuga,Buşteni,Sinaia,Comarnic,Breaza.