Romania is a land of natural beauty, where all types of landscapes are to be found, from mountain peaks, home to chamois and reaching 2,000m, where you can walk among alpine vegetation, to plains, coastline and the Danube Delta.
The Carpathian Mountains cover over a third of the coutry’s territory and stretch for more than 900 km inside Romania, in the shape of an arch that isolates Transylvania from the rest of the country. Their territory is covered by vast areas of pristine forests, in fact the largest track of unfragmented forests left in Central Europe, and is home to the largest brown bear population in Europe and 45% of the big carnivores’ population of the continent (brown bears, lynx, wolves).
The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe. 60% of European brown bear population lives in the Carpathian Mountains and 400 unique species of mammals, including the Carpathian chamois.
You can witness extremely scenic landscapes that include gorges and defiles, caves (over 12,000), glaciar lakes, megalithic stones and waterfalls.
Romanian Carpathian Mountainsare divided into three groups: Eastern Carpathians, Southern Carpathians and Western Carpathians. The Western Carpathian Mountains are also called the Mountains of the Sunset (Muntii Apuseni).The highest peaks are in the Southern Carpathians – Moldoveanu (2544 m/8,346 feet) and Negoiu (2535 m/8,316 feet).
In Romania’s many national parks, nature parks and reservations, you can see so many specimens protected by the law at European and international level you might be in a botanical museum.
Romanians are famous for their hospitality in the welcome they extend to their guests. You’ll be delighted both by the welcome you receive from your hosts and the traditional food, not to mention the wide range of sporting activities you can choose from.
Travel tips for the Eastern Carpathians
•This is the longest group of the three and you can explore it by foot, bicycle or horse riding. Either way, you’ll have a great time.
•Cycle through beautiful passes (Bicaz, Tihuta, Prislop) shaped by nature ages ago.
•Walk or climb in the spectacular Bicaz Gorges where some of the most difficult rock climbing trails in the country are located.
•Go hiking in the mountains. Don’t miss the volcanic Calimani, the high and difficult Rodnei or the source of many legends, the Ceahlau and the Rarau Mountains.
•Discover the traditional rural life in its scenic valleys (Maramures) and go for a ride with the narrow gauge steam train Mocanita on the last forestry railway in Europe.
•Take a tour of its unique lakes: volcanic (Sfanta Ana), glacier (Lala, Buhaescu) and natural damming (Cuejdel, Red Lake).
Travel tips for the Southern Carpathians
•Also called the Transylvanian Alps for their height and compact structure, this group offers challenging adventures for passionate hikers, climbers and experienced mountain bikers.
•Complete the tour of Piatra Craiului ridge, the longest and highest limestone ridge in the Carpathians.
•Hike in the toughest, highest and most impressive mountains Romania has: the Fagaras, where the maximum altitude of the country is reached on Moldoveanu Peak (2.544 meters), followed by seven other peaks over 2.500 meters.
•Explore Retezat National Park , perhaps the most protected and wildest territories of Romania. Here you’ll find more than 80 glacial lakes and tarns, many peaks over 2.000 meters, rare flora and iconic wildlife species.
•Cycle or ride on the longest and highest (over 2.000 meters) mountain roads in the country: Transalpina (148 km), and the Transfagarasan (92 km).
Travel tips for the Western Carpathians
•The Western group has the lowest altitudes of the Romanian Carpathians, but they over compensate through their traditional villages, numerous caves and karst formations. The best way to explore this group is by foot, bicycle or horse riding.
•Visit the largest wind mill park South-East Europe, in the village of Eftimie Murgu (Almaj Valley) where locals still use 22 traditional water mills to grind their grains.
•If you like caves you’re in the right place because in the Apuseni mountains you will find more than 400 caves, gorges and karts constructions like Cetatile Ponorului from the Padis plateau, a singular phenomenon in Romania’s landscape that you shouldn’t miss.
•Explore the Wind Cave (47 km), the longest cave in the country, the Bear’s Cave, the Meziad Cave and the Scarisoara cave where you’ll see the biggest underground glacier in Romania, and second largest in Europe.
•Stop in the small and hospitable villages of the Aries Valley to enjoy and relax in the natural and slow rhythm of traditional life.