Ceahlau Mountain: Nature and Legends

If you’d like to go on a hiking tour in Romania, check our active tours on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

The Ceahlau Mountain is the oldest and perhaps the biggest tourist attraction of the Eastern Carpathians due to its beauty and moderate difficulty that makes it accessible even for unexperienced hikers. Bordered by large valleys that separate it from the surrounding mountains, Ceahlau has the appearance of a dominating massif, easy to spot from the neighboring regions.

Ceahlau Mountain

Photo by Visit Neamt

The mountain covers 290 square kilometers from the 7.7 hectares of Ceahlau National Park, and reaches its highest altitudes in Ocolosul Mare Peak (1,907 meters) and Toaca (1,904 meters). Ceahlau has many bizarre and interesting rock formations like Panaghia, Dochia, Cusma Dorobantului, shaped over thousands of years by the actions of external factors like winds and precipitations.

Iconic wildlife and rare plants

The territory of Ceahlau National Park is also an important element for the conservation of the Carpathians’ biodiversity. Its protected areas – the Scientific Area Ocolasul Mare, the Natural Botany Reservation Polita cu Crini, Duruitoarea Waterfall (25 meters) and Avenul Mare – host over 1,100 species of flowers and 90 protected species of birds and animals.

ceahlau-mountain

Photo by Visit Neamt

Many of these species are rare or endangered such as the Lady’s Slipper and the Edelweiss flowers or iconic mammal species like the chamois and the big carnivores – the brown bear, the wolf and the lynx.

Easy and scenic hikes

This mountain offers scenic hiking trails and you can choose from seven well-marked routes departing from Durau, Izvorul Muntelui, Bicazul Ardelean and Neagra. Most of the trails are accessible all year round, and they vary in their length and level of difficulty, but they are generally accessible during summertime even for beginners.

ceahlau-mountain

Two accommodation options exist above 1,000 meters – Fantanele (1,200 meters) and Dochia (1,790 meters) – this being one of the oldest Carpathian chalets in Romania and an excellent starting point to explore the rock formations and the mountain plateau.

Legends and religion

This mountain is full of legends that go thousands of years back, to the ancient gods of the Dacians. Don’t be surprised if you’ll hear a legend for every bizarre rock formation, waterfall or peak you see. This is why Ceahlau is known as ‘the Romanian Olympus’ and its fame made it the first Romanian mountain mentioned in a literary creation and the first mountain destination starting with 1809. Ceahlau is also considered the second holy mountain of the Orthodoxy after Athos because of its religious edifices. Plus, it’s the only mountain in Romania that has its own religious holiday.

ceahlau-mountain

Photo by Visit Neamt

The perfect destination for an active family holiday, this mountain has all it takes, from easy, but panoramic hiking trails to waterfalls and geological formations that inspired countless legends. For the best solitary experience, avoid summer weekends.

If you’d like to go on a hiking tour in Romania, check our active tours on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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