Ciucas Mountains represent one of the best alternatives if you’re thinking of taking your family on a one day hike in Romania. Located between the Eastern and Southern Carpathians, Ciucas Mountains are taller than the nearby mountains, reaching a maximum altitude of 1,954 meters on Ciucas Peak, having nonetheless hiking trails you can easily do even if you’re just a beginner.
Bordered by Teleajenului and Tarlungului Valleys, these mountains are best-known for the unusual and iconic karst formations that made them one of the most popular hiking destinations in the region. The most impressive of these geological attractions are Tigaile Mari and Tigaile Mici, Turnul lui Goliat (Goliat’s Tower), Babele la Sfat (Old Women Talking), Mana Dracului (Devil’s Hand), all of them tall cliffs weirdly shaped over time by winds and precipitation, located in the northern part of the plateau, close to the highest peak.
Many wildlife species live in the area of Ciucas Mountains, from large carnivores species like bears, lynx, wolves, wild cats to the agile chamois and deer and various bird species like the Finch, the Nightingale, the Blackbird or the Golden Eagle. Wild horses are also a common sight, but do your best not to scare or bother them.
Hiking along its trails, you’ll also come across a variety of wildflowers like the Primrose, the Easter Flower, the Bluebell, the Spring Gentian, the Field Pansy or the Edelweiss. You’ll cross dense beech, ash and birch forests before reaching the higher altitudes of the dark spruce forests.
You can choose from 12 hiking trails depending on the season, your free time and your departing point. Most trails start from a local mountain resort, Cheia, easily reached from Bucharest or Brasov. If you depart early morning, a full summer day should be enough even with kids to reach the highest peak and come back before dark. Still, you can also spend the night half-way up in the mountain chalet Ciucas.
You can check here the detailed hiking trails (available only in Romanian).
The perfect option for beginner hikers or families looking to have a fun day on mountain trails, Ciucas Mountains are definitely one of the most beautiful and spectacular parts of the Carpathian range. Popular, but not nearly as crowded as Bucegi Mountains, breathtaking without being exhausting, Ciucas offers the ultimate carefree hike in the Carpathians.
Always check the weather before you start your hike.
Buy a detailed hiking map, while the trails are not difficult, getting lost is no fun in the mountains.
For the most scenic views of the karst formations, plan to catch the sunset or the sunrise on the top.
Discover the hiking routes from the Carpathians with this great guidebook The Mountains of Romania.