Rarau Mountains are included in our Active Tour in Cultural Bucovina.
The Rarau Mountains create an unmistakable landscape of weird shaped rock formations and panoramic views, all in the space of a former prehistoric tropical sea. Famous for the unmistakable silhouettes known as the ‘Lady’s Stones’, Rarau offers some of the most scenic mountain views in Romania, despite their modest altitude – a maximum of 1651 meters – much lower than the nearby massifs from Calimani National Park and Rodnei Mountains National Park.
What makes this place so special is the unique combination of ruiniform landscapes, steep slopes, narrow valleys, and exo-karst sculptures like the ‘Lady’s Stones’, Soimului’s Stone, Zimbrului’s Stone.
With varying altitudes from 10 to 70 meters, these natural sculptures are the creation of a continuous erosive process that shaped the limestone rocks formed from reefs, corals, and marine fossils from 140 million years ago when this part of the Carpathians was covered by the waters of a Cretaceous sea. The result of this geological evolution is spectacular. The sculpted rock towers dominate the Rarau Mountains, overlooking the vast natural areas of Bucovina.
The geological particularity is only one of the natural treasures of the Rarau Mountains. Dense spruce forests are found on its territory as well as over 320 plant species and the iconic large carnivores – the brown bear, the wolf, and the lynx – but also deer, foxes, wild boars, and martens.
Many species of birds live in the area, including ravens, mountain roosters, black grouse, hazel grouse, white-winged snow finch, and spotted nutcrackers. The trout is the dominant fish in these mountain rivers. The almost extinct Danube salmon (lostrita) is present in the area but rarely seen.
The ‘Lady’s Stones’ and the other rock formations from the highest altitudes are the main attractions of all hiking trails. Like any other respectable geological formations from the Carpathians, they also have their own legend.
In this case, it involves the medieval Prince Petru Rares, whose wife and son found shelter here from Tatar invasions. Lady Elena prayed for salvation that came, however, with a cost. Big rocks fell from the mountain, killing the Tatars, but also burying the treasure Lady Elena was hiding. According to the legend, the treasure is still buried under the ‘Lady’s Stones’, named this way after Lady Elena Rares.
Several hiking trails depart from Campulung Moldovenesc, Pojorata, and Chiril. It takes on average four to five hours to reach the highest peak, but some of the trails are not recommended during winter.
One of the top attractions in Bucovina, Rarau is a perfect destination for easy and scenic hikes and a great starting point to explore the region. If you’d like to discover even more of the natural wonders of Bucovina, visit the secular forest from Slatioara and the volcanic Calimani Mountains.
The road Transrarau crosses the mountains. You can leave your car at Hotel Alpin, and start your hike from there during wintertime when the days are shorter.
You can eat delicious trout and mushrooms specialties in Pojorata.
Discover the hiking routes from the Carpathians with this great guidebook The Mountains of Romania.