Retezat National Park: Romania’s Most Precious Wilderness

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

Take a look at our hiking tour in the Retezat Mountains

Retezat National Park is a must for passionate hikers and wilderness enthusiasts. Its 20 peaks over 2,000 meters and 80 glacial lakes and tarns create one of the most impressive landscapes in Europe. Even better, this is one of the best-conserved wilderness areas in the Carpathians, a must for the real nature experience.

Don’t miss a hike in this paradise.

Retezat National Park

Bucura Lake

Read also Top Things to Do in Transylvania for the Curious Travelers.

The Retezat Mountains, one of the last wilderness areas in Europe

Located in the western part of the Southern Carpathians, this is the oldest national park in Romania and a UNESCO Reserve of the Biosphere. It has a surface of 38,138 hectares, including one of the last remaining pristine forests in Europe. The alpine and forested areas make the Retezat Mountains a great home to 55 species of mammals. Over 20% of all European terrestrial mammals live here, including brown bears, wolves, and lynx.

Retezat National Park is also the ideal place for passionate bird watchers. Around 120 bird species like the song thrush, the ring ouzel, the red-breasted flycatcher, the chiffchaff, the nutcracker, and the rare golden eagle nest in the area.

Don’t be surprised if you see rare butterflies. Two Prime Butterfly Areas exist in the area of this park. It’s no wonder since one-third of Romania’s flora species grow in Retezat. 90 of these are endemic, while 130 are rare or vulnerable.

Retezat National Park

Chamois

Photo via Fotolia

Retezat National Park is a hiker’s dreamland

Retezat is a hikers’ dreamland, with its rocky and abrupt landscape, waterfalls, and many glacial lakes that made it famous as the ‘blue eye land’. It has the third-highest altitude in Romania, 2,509 meters, and the largest and deepest glacial lakes, Bucura (8,8 hectares) and Zanoaga (29 meters).

Its highest peak, Peleaga, offers a panoramic view over Papusa (2,508 meters) and Custura (2,457 meters), while the hike to Retezat Peak (2,482 meters) gives you an overwhelming image of the glacial lakes. But Retezat has many more hiking routes, from day trips to multi-day itineraries across the ridge.

Check the routes on Muntii Nostri, and start planning your adventure.

Retezat National Park

Taul Tapului

Nearby attractions you should visit

Explore the historical Country of Hateg, and start with the ruins of the ancient Roman capital Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa. Visit the mysterious Densus Church, the 14th century Corvin Castle, and the ruins of Malaiesti Fortress. Don’t miss the stone churches from Santamaria Orlea Sanpetru, Suseni, Baru, Ostrov, and Strei.

Save some time to visit the Dinosaurs Geopark where Europe’s only dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago.

Corvin Castle

Corvin Castle

Romania’s oldest national park, Retezat National Park is one of the few places in Europe where wilderness still exists. Hiking here is a privilege you should live at least once in a lifetime with the care and respect nature deserves.

Where to stay

The best options for a multi-day hike are camping or staying at the high-altitude mountain huts. If you’re planning for shorter hikes or if you want to relax, choose the guest houses from the nearby villages. Our recommendations are Pensiunea Retezat, Casa Canda, Pensiunea Dumbravita, Cabana Soarelui Retezat.

Travel tips

The weather can be very unstable even during summers. Come prepared with warm and waterproof clothes.

Camping is only allowed at designated points. Be sure to bring all the necessary camping gear.

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