Piatra Craiului National Park: Hiking Above the Clouds

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Piatra Craiului National Park easily makes it to the top of the most beautiful protected areas from the Carpathians. Only a few kilometers away from Brasov and almost three hours from Bucharest, this is one of the most loved hiking destinations in Romania. Its many trails cross the small mountain villages from the base up to its long and narrow limestone ridge, one of the most spectacular in Europe.

Piatra Craiului National Park

Wildlife and rare plants in Piatra Craiului Mountains

The national park is a protected area since 1938, being one of the oldest in the country. Researchers discovered here 35 world unique species of invertebrates, 216 species of butterflies, and over 100 bird species. Plus, over 40% of the mammal species from Romania roam free in the area of the park. The large carnivores and the gracious chamois open the list.

Piatra Craiului National Park

Piatra Craiului National Park also has on its around 30% of the total plant species from Romania. The most beautiful are the endemic Garofita Pietrei Craiului, also the symbol of the park, the many species of orchids, the edelweiss, the sweet pea, the great yellow gentian, or the vivid rhododendron. Almost all the typical mountain species from the Carpathians grow here, but over 180 are on the Red List of endangered species. The dense coniferous forests and the grasslands complete the landscape.

mountain-flowers-romania

Hiking trails for beginners and enthusiasts

Piatra Craiului Mountains have a dense network of trails, varying from easy routes to challenging multi-day hikes, and is a favorite vacation destination in Transylvania. The main attraction is the 25 kilometers long limestone ridge, the highest and longest of this type from Romania. You need almost two full days for the complete hike, but you’ll enjoy all the effort as the panoramic views are breathtaking.

Piatra Craiului Mountains

Piatra Craiului, the ridge trail

Most hiking trails start in Zarnesti, Plaiul Foii, or small villages like Pestera. Don’t overestimate your strength when choosing the right one for you. There are scarce water sources above 2,000 meters, and it’s better to be on the safe side if you’re only beginning to hike. You can find a few small refuges on the ridge, but having your own camping equipment is always the best option.

You can find the complete list of the hiking trails on Muntii Nostri.

Piatra Craiului National Park

Discover small mountain villages

Don’t worry if you can only do short hikes or your younger kids are coming along. Easier trails start from the villages Magura, Pestera, Sirnea, or Ciocanu. You’ll have a fabulous view of the mountains while enjoying the rural landscape. Sometimes, you’ll even share the road with cows, goats, sheep, or horses grazing without a care in the world.

Read more about family-friendly hikes in the Carpathians.

Piatra Craiului National Park

One of the most popular hiking destinations in Romania, Piatra Craiului National Park is a must for all enthusiast hikers. Its beauty and biodiversity make it a dream destination if you love nature and want to make the effort to experience it from its very core.

Travel tips

Read more about Piatra Craiului Mountains on www.pcrai.ro.

Visit the Bear Sanctuary from Zarnesti, the most important wildlife sanctuary in Europe. Check the visiting schedule on bearsanctuary.com.

Uncover the true story of Bran Castle.

Don’t miss a visit to Rasnov Fortress.

Discover the hiking routes from the Carpathians with this great guidebook The Mountains of Romania.

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