The Carpathian Mountains stretch for more than 900 km across Romania. They shelter the largest track of unfragmented forests left in Central Europe and 45% of the big carnivores’ population of the continent.
The Carpathian Mountains have three groups: the Eastern, the Southern, and the Western. Each group has distinct landscapes because of their different rock structure, but they’re just as incredible to hike.
Hiking in the Carpathians is a unique experience because of their diversity, wilderness, and breathtaking landscapes. Moreover, it gives you the chance to visit remote rural communities that conserve lifestyles lost elsewhere in Europe. It’s this old sustainable lifestyle of the nearby villages that conserved their wilderness.
However, the Carpathians face dramatic changes. The main threats are illegal deforestation, poaching, and a lack of sound environmental policies for their protection.
Don’t miss the spectacular Bicaz Gorges where you’ll find some of the most difficult rock-climbing trails in the country. For short hikes, try Ciucas Mountains, Rarau Mountains, and Creasta Cocosului.
Don’t miss the tour of Piatra Craiului ridge, the longest and highest limestone ridge in the Carpathians. Hike in the Fagaras if you want to reach the highest altitude in the country on Moldoveanu Peak (2,544 meters).
Explore Retezat National Park, for many the most impressive wilderness in the Carpathians. The area has over 80 glacial lakes, tens of peaks over 2,000 meters, rare flora, and iconic wildlife species.
Take a two days tour in Cozia National Park and discover surprising landscapes. Go on one-day hikes in Bucegi and Iezer Papusa Mountains, and don’t miss the off-the-beaten-track Sureanu Mountains.
Piatra Craiului National Park, Fagaras Mountains, Retezat National Park, Buila-Vanturarita National Park, Cozia National Park, Gradistea Muncelului-Cioclovina Nature Park, Bucegi Mountains, Parang Mountains
Visit the largest windmill park in South-East Europe, in the village of Eftimie Murgu. There, locals still use 22 traditional water mills to grind their grains.
If you like caves you’re in the right place because in Apuseni you’ll find more than 400 caves, gorges, and karts formations. Among the most famous are the Wind Cave, the longest in the country, the Bear’s Cave, and Meziad Cave. In Scarisoara Cave, you can see the biggest underground glacier in Romania and the second largest in Europe.
Apuseni Mountains Nature Park, Cheile-Nerei Beusnita National Park, Cernei-Domogled National Park, Semenic-Cheile Carasului National Park
Sustainable tourism is one of the few options for protecting the wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains by giving local communities alternative sources of revenue. Next time you go hiking, keep in mind that your behavior makes things better or worse. Use only local accommodations, don’t hunt or scare wild animals, don’t litter, and always keep to the marked trail.
Discover the hiking routes from the Carpathians with this great guidebook The Mountains of Romania.