Nature in Romania is for us the supreme and must-see attraction of this beautiful country. Believe it or not, few other places in Europe can rival when it comes to the magnificent natural landscapes you’ll discover here.
Romania has one of the highest biodiversity in all of Europe. This means that here you can find more landscapes, habitats, plant and animal species than on the rest of the continent. It’s perhaps the best reason to visit Romania if you’re a nature lover.
One-third of the course of the Danube and half of the Carpathian chain are on Romanian territory. Add the Black Sea and the Danube Delta and you have the most bio-geographically diverse country in Europe.
The variety of landscapes sustains a rich fauna and flora – over 33,000 animal species and 3,700 plants species – and more to be discovered. The vast forests of the Carpathians represent the habitat for many of them, including for the biggest population of large carnivores in Europe and 40% of all mammal species of the continent.
The isolated wilderness areas from the Carpathian Mountains still offer them the large habitats they need to feed, hunt and reproduce.
The second longest chain in Europe, the Carpathians, crosses Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. It’s truly a hikers’ paradise, offering the best and most breathtaking wilderness hikes.
Half of the Carpathian range is in Romania, almost cutting the country north to south and east to west. Hundreds of hiking trails will take you to the highest peaks, through virgin forests, across caves, to pastoral landscapes and secluded villages where a few scattered houses testify the almost surreal existence of their owners.
Exploring these scenic mountains is the best way to enjoy nature in Romania as most hiking areas are only available on foot.
The panoramic view of the glacial lakes from the Carpathians is one of the most beautiful images of nature in Romania. Usually small and located at alpine altitudes, these relics of the glacial period are a must-see for wilderness enthusiasts. You’ll find the highest density in Retezat National Park and Fagaras Mountains.
You might also be interested in reading Top 10 Lakes in Romania You Should See
Even if over 20% of Romania’s territory is protected by law, the unique wilderness of the Carpathians is, however, endangered by chaotic human and infrastructure development.
Romania has 13 national parks, all in the Carpathian chain except Macinului Mountains from Dobrogea, 13 nature parks, two geo-parks, one biosphere reserve – the Danube Delta – and hundreds of Natura 2000 sites.
The Danube Delta and almost 24,000 hectares of virgin beech forests are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
National parks in Romania: Buila-Vanturarita, Calimani, Ceahlau, Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas, Cheile Nerei-Beusnita, Cozia, Defileul Jiului, Domogled Valea Cernei, Piatra Craiului, Macin Mountains, Retezat, Rodnei Mountains and Semenic-Cheile Carasului
Nature parks in Romania: Apuseni Mountains, Balta Mica a Brailei, Bucegi, Comana, Defileul Muresului Superior, Gradistea Muncelului – Cioclovina, Lunca Joasă a Prutului Inferior, Lunca Muresului, Maramuresului Mountains, Iron Gates, Putna – Vrancea, Vacaresti and Vanatori – Neamt.
If you’re in search of a completely different landscape than the Carpathians, close to the sea level, Romania is also a great destination. The country has 19 wetlands of international importance, the Danube Delta being the largest of all.
A jungle of canals, lakes, willows, reed and lianas, the Danube Delta is the biggest wetland in Europe, but also one of its youngest areas, constantly growing given the alluvia deposited every year by the Danube.
Mid-way between the frozen North and Africa, the Danube Delta is a major stopping point for migratory birds in late summer and early autumn, the best time for a bird watching vacation. Adding its own permanent birds, more than half of the European species, the Danube Delta is the birds’ paradise.
Other wetlands of international importance include Comana Nature Park, Iron Gates Nature Park, Techirghiol Lake and Mured Floodplain.
Romania is one of the best European destinations for wildlife watching, whether you want to observe large mammals or bird species. In the last years, wildlife tourism has developed greatly in Romania and, today, you can choose from various options, in most areas of the country.
The Carpathians remain the top destination for large carnivore observation, like bears and wolves, while the Danube Delta is the best place for bird watching.
Whatever your option, be a responsible traveler and choose a program that limits as much as possible its potentially harmful impacts. Using processed food to tempt the bears to come to the special feeding areas where you can see them has a silver lining as bears can be negatively impacted by this diet change.
If you prefer to observe birds, choose only local guides. Book your tour in time to be sure you’ll have the best ones.
We encourage you to choose a wildlife tour that offers you a great experience without causing more harm than good.
We hope we made you curious enough to uncover nature in Romania. You can do it no matter your age or fitness level. There are enough options for everyone as long as you’re a responsible traveler.
If you’re looking for a guided tour to discover the splendid nature of Romania, check our nature and active tours in Romania.